My Kind of Remix

January 27, 2012

I want to recognize remixes that aren’t done as often- not sure if there is a formal phrase for them- I personally call them chopped and screwed mixes.  Not chopped and screwed as in Houston/DJ Screw/Sizzurp music, but songs that are screwed around with, chopped up a little, and slowed down.  See, most remixes fall into two categories.  The first is where the song remains the same, you just have a rapper do a cameo and add a verse at the beginning, middle, or end.  A recent example is Big Sean’s “Dance (Ass).”  The song you hear on the radio and the video out is the “remix” with Nicki Minaj.  But for those of us who have the album,  the ‘remix’ it is basically the same exact song just with Nicki’s verse.  Another example is the “N*ggas in Paris” remix with T.I.- same exact song, just now featuring T.I.  These remixes are for the most part boring, unless you get someone spitting something absolutely amazing and raising the song’s stock by a lot.  (see: Fat Joe and Wayne’s “Make it Rain”-  made superbly better in the remix feat. R Kelly (“Don’t ask me what my name is, stupid bitch I’m famous”), T.I. (one of his best verses), Rick Ross, Ace Mac, and the ever hand-rubbin Baby):

Second you have the remix where any popular slow song is simply turned into a techno song.  Recent example: if you were in a bar or club in the last year, that was the remix for Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” sending every drunk vagina to the dance floor, screaming along to the lyrics.   We all are aware that tech savvy DJs can turn any song into a dance number.  This transformation takes absolutely zero effort from the artists themselves.

One type of remix I approve of is where the beat stays the same, but the artist completely leaves the song (except for the hook) and a whole new slew of artists take over.  The “Make it Remix” is sort of one of those.  But I have two better examples: the first is a lesser known remix I thought was very well done:  Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex.”   The original song is catchy, good beat- but I definitely listen to the remix featuring Pit Bull, Trey Songz, Tierra Marie, Stat Quo, and Ludacris more often.  Pit Bull and Ludacris have funny, witty lyrics pertaining to ‘birthday sex’ (Luda sounding particularly sexy demanding “shut up do what I said”).  Tierra Marie’s voice is very pretty and a nice female addition to the song.  And who doesn’t want to listen to Trey Songz crooning, “No limit to sex girl, I’m bout it, bout it.”  Original and remix below:

Next is a remix I love, but just a warning- it is very, very dirty.  Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy” was completely taken over by the then-ladies of rap:  Trina, Shawna, and Foxy Brown.  All women, all very unlady-like, but all a little…bad ass.  Original and remix below:

So now we come to my favorite type of remixes- where the artist actually has to go back to the studio and record a different version of the same song.  It’s not just about tweaking some things – like singing the same thing slower.  It requires creativity: different, yet similar beats that still connect to the old song, new lyrics… a completely new twist.  Here are a few I want to give a shout out to:

Nelly’s “Ride wit Me”  If you are in my age group, most old school Nelly will send you into a memory bliss of your college years.  “Ride wit Me” is off Nelly’s first album, a great song, but what I loved equally was the remix he did with John Mayer (yes, that John Mayer, not singing, just playing guitar).  Original, and remix below:

Another great one is Usher’s “Love in this Club” (great beat, one of my favorite Usher songs).  The remix was beautifully made, using the same beat, just way softer and slower, and featuring Beyonce and Lil Wayne.  All the lyrics are re-done, but still completely relevant to the point of the song- making love in a club (I love how I am writing about an ode to having sex in public).   Original and remix below:

Last song is my favorite remix.  I don’t know how popular this is, but back in college, in my Napster days, I found this remix and just fell in love with it.   It is Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.”  Now before you roll your eyes, it sounds NOTHING like the original (except for the very end).  Timbaland is a genius.  He took the girls back into the studio and made them re-sing and create a completely different version of the making-your-man-say-your-name anthem.  He also added a guy talking throughout the song, an element not seen as much these days.   Anyways, give this song a chance, the beat is brilliant, one of my favorite songs from my college years.  I’m not even including the original because that’s how good this remix is, blows the first out of the water, just like those two original members of DC…

Contraband

January 19, 2012

I knew what I was getting into when I saw the trailers for ContrabandGone in 60 Seconds-meets-The Town-meets-The Italian Job.  But I also saw Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Lukas Haas and Giovanni Ribisi- and signed up.  I love a heist movie, especially with the right actors, so I had no problems watching a slightly altered version of a familiar story.  But the writers threw in a surprise inspiration- Ghost.  (Also, I have heard that this is a remake of a foreign movie, but don’t know much else about it).

So let’s start at the top of the list- older experienced ‘heister’ brother helping out his younger brother who has gotten way in over his head, a la Gone in 60 Seconds?  Check. (just with a slight variation as it is a younger brother-in-law shithead).  A guy who has given up his heisting days but bad guys threaten to hurt his woman unless he does this one last big job, a la The Town?  Check.  Mark Wahlberg playing the only role he knows how- Mr. Tough Guy, “You think you’re the only guy with a gun?” (see: hilarious impression by Andy Samberg on SNL), a la The Italian Job?  Check.  Having main character’s best friend be involved in the conspiracy and then try to steal his girl, a la Ghost?  Nice twist.

I did enjoy seeing New Orleans, a break from the usual Chicago, Miami, NYC, and LA, and getting a glimpse into the world of international smuggling.   And I always enjoy seeing Wahlberg and Ribisi’s movies.  I was especially happy for Ribisi, who has grown since Gone in 60 Seconds, graduated from the smaller little brother role to the main villain.  I also haven’t seen Ben Foster in a movie since playing crazy in 30 Days of Night.  Anyone else still associate him as the kid from the old TV show Flash Forward?  My sister and I used to think he was sooo cute, it’s really funny now to look at now:

Even though I was entertained throughout Contraband, it is a forgettable movie.   I can (and have) watch Gone in 60 Seconds and The Town over and over; have no desire to see Contraband again.   The story is a little all over the place, and there is really no one big heist, a little disappointing.  And as soon as you see Wahlberg flatly refusing to have drugs as the smuggling-in item (“I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that…”), you know this is going to be a little more PC than other movies- namely, there was no way Kate Beckinsale was going to die at the end.  You can feel from the beginning of a movie how dark it is going to get, i.e. within the first 20 minutes of Se7en you just knew Brad Pitt was going to end up a widower.  Therefore the last scene in Contraband was pretty weak, no one was holding their breath while the cement was pouring.

If you didn’t see Contraband opening weekend, I would probably just wait and rent it.  There are other action movies coming out soon I would give a whirl first.

New Year’s Eve

January 15, 2012

Oh my god, where should I start?  Maybe with my expectations, which were relatively low.  Low enough for me to wait weeks after the movie’s opening night in early December to see it.  I saw New Year’s Eve on the night before the real New Year’s Eve.  Figured it would be a nice low key way to start the weekend, and get in the mood for the next day. I would also like to use this opportunity to apologize to the four (yes, four) men who agreed to go see this with- believe me, I suffered just as much as all of you did.  It was unbelievably painful to sit through this.  So painful, I was actually wishing I was seeing Valentine’s Day instead (director Garry Marshall’s predecessor to this mess).  Overall I was disappointed with that too (see: my review for Valentine’s Day).   But man, after New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day looks like Citizen Kane.   New Year’s Eve was so bad, I found myself wishing I was watching Sex and the City 2 again (see: my review for Sex and the City 2), because at least with that I could enjoy the outrageous outfits.  New Year’s was filled with lovely ladies- Sofia Vergara, Katherine Heigl, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel- but they were all dressed-down and too plain.  Don’t even get me started on what they did to Michelle Pfeiffer- way to age her 20 more years.  Anyways, I digress.  Why waste time on the lack of fun outfits when we can discuss the stellar story lines…

Sorry, I fell asleep for a moment.  Where was I?  The story lines – they were poorly thought out, poorly written and poorly acted.  Not ONE of them moved me or made me think for a moment I was watching a romantic comedy.  I honestly didn’t know what the hell I was watching half the time, what the purpose of any one thing going on was.  We have Lea Michele, who (don’t you worry, she gets her chance to sing her pretentious little head off) gets stuck in an elevator with this odd character, Ashton Kutcher, who hates New Years Eve for some reason.  I kept waiting for the Phoebe-Cates-explanation-of-why-she-hates-Christmas-in-Gremlins moment, but it never came.  Somehow during their time in captivity these two fall for each other, but the reasons why are really not articulated well to the audience.  They bond over singing and drawings.  Next we have Sarah Jessica Parker fighting in one too many scenes with her daughter Abigail Breslin- who you feel no sympathy for at all.  What pre-teen deserves to roam the streets of NYC on New Years Eve?  This isn’t a supervised prom- it’s nighttime in a goddamn big city with the streets filled with tons of wasted people.  And might I add that Breslin is not aging well, and her little love interest was poorly cast because he was way too cute for her.  Speaking of no chemistry, who the hell is going to believe Sarah Jessica Parker… and Josh Duhamel???  It’s not even about the age difference- get your cougar on, but with someone who deserves it. (see: Dwyane Wade and his 10 years senior girlfriend Gabrielle Union).  The public has a hard enough time believing his marriage to Fergie, I love you girl, but you guys are really an odd couple.  Duhamel looks like he should be dating a younger-looking blonde….oh wait (google: last year’s stripper scandal in Atlanta).  When Parker arrived in that carriage at the end of the movie and they kissed, it looked so awkward I had to look away.

I don’t even have the energy to continue, there were so many things wrong with this film.  Maybe I should try numbering them:

  1. Not one thing Sofia Vergara or her Indian sidekick said was funny.  Way to typecast minorities, Garry Marshall,  welcome to 2012…. Please don’t judge Vergara from that absolutely cheesy, awful performance- she plays the sexy Latina role much smarter in Modern Family.
  2. Jessica Biel cannot act.  Mr. Marshall this was established in her over-the-top horrible acting in Valentine’s Day.  Let’s just let her look pretty on the red carpet with Justin Timberlake, and let us drool over her body in US Weekly paparazzi beach shots.  Directors of the world need to unite and stop trying to fool her into thinking she can act by casting her.
  3. Speaking of, don’t you think Biel and Seth Meyer’s little storyline about having the first baby of the new year would have worked better if it seemed like this was a long-standing competition between them and the other couple, that they had been aware of the competition and trying their best to make it to midnight of the New Year?  It would have seemed sweeter for them to give it up at the end then.  I wasn’t even sure how invested Biel was in winning- one minute she was glaring “It’s on” and the next being the voice of reason and apologizing to the other mom.
  4. Why was Bon Jovi in this movie?
  5. The next time I cannot sleep, I will YouTube the inspiring, touching, moving (completely cheesy and unnecessary) speech Hilary Swank gives to the city when the ball’s lights are not working.  Ambien, you have competition.
  6. Who else was expecting Michele Pfeiffer to have some kind of terminal disease, or for us to find out why she was so weird? Nope, no explanation for her behavior.  She did not deserve Zac Efron’s kiss at the end.
  7. How exactly did Bon Jovi win Katherine Heigl back?  By singing a song a year after ditching her?
  8. Zac Efron is Sarah Jessica Parker’s little brother?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Who waits 30 years between having children?
  9. Who else burst out laughing when Cary Elwes’ and Robert DeNiro’s first lines to each other were: “How much time do I have left, Doc?” “Well, you have refused chemotherapy and all medications…”  Did Marshall hire the writers of All My Children?
  10. Who else burst out laughing when the police officer Hilary Swank was talking to turned out to be… Chris “Ludacris” Bridges?
  11. Did any of these stars actually read the script before signing up?

OK, enough ripping – let me try to find some good in this movie.  I think Zac Efron was the one shining light and source of entertainment in the film.  Kid can act; he is very charismatic and charming and he really stood out in an otherwise drowning movie.  Also, I WILL ADMIT, I did cry in New Year’s Eve– when Halle Berry starting skyping with her military husband overseas (played by a shaved and almost unrecognizable Common).  I didn’t just tear up, I definitely cried.  But I think that is just me, and not the result of any spectacular acting.  The only time I cried in Valentine’s Day was during the military story line- when Julia Roberts reunites with her son.  Anything involving soldiers and their loved ones will make me cry.  This includes the Folger’s commercial where the young man comes home before Christmas and his little sister puts the bow on him and goes, “You’re my present.”  I can tear up just thinking about it…

Bottom line: don’t see this in theaters, don’t even spend $1.20 when it comes to RedBox, watch this in a couple of years when you are home sick with the flu, on the couch, and nothing else is on TV.  There has been ONE time where the concept of following different-but-somewhat-interwoven-love stories has been successful- He’s Just Not That Into You.  Rent that instead.

Midnight in Paris

January 13, 2012

I don’t use the word often, but this movie was…delightful, actually.  It is not complete reality, nor complete fantasy either.  I would call Midnight in Paris a hybrid between Back to the Future, Chronicles of Narnia, and (another one of director Woody Allen’s movies) Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  It is similar to the latter because the manner in which Allen directs is pretty unique, so you can tell you are watching one of his movies.  But also like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris is about Americans traveling to Europe, with complicated love triangles ensuing.  In Chronicles of Narnia, the main characters walk through a closet and enter into the completely different realm of Narnia;  the main character of Midnight hops into a Parisian cab at midnight to enter his ‘fantasy’ land.  But unlike Narnia, the land is not completely different than the one he is in.  He just goes back in time to Paris in the 1920s, hence the reference to Back to the Future.

You can’t question logic in this movie, in order to enjoy it you just have to accept that Gil (played very well by Owen Wilson), travels to old school Paris each night at midnight and gets to canoodle with all his literary and artistic heroes.  It’s not too difficult to stop trying to figure out why and how this is happening because you will get wrapped up in how beautiful 1920s Paris (great job of costumes, lighting and filming), and all the life and vibrancy of the characters- you have Ernest Hemingway, Zelda Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Salvadore Dali, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso (and solid actors like Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody)… In the end things do come full circle and you understand what the movie is about.  I won’t say much more because it’s better just to see it and understand the message for yourself.

I will warn about one Inception-type moment though- when Gil is hanging out with his 1920s-Paris love interest Adriana, played by Marion Cotillard. (Gil’s modern-day love interest is his fiance, Inez, played by Rachel McAdams. Fun Fact: you get to see Rachel McAdams fall for her current boyfriend, actor Michael Sheen, they started dating during filming of the Midnight.  There must be something in the air during Woody Allen filming, because Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem fell for each other during Vicky Cristina).  ANYWAYS, I didn’t realize it at the time, but Gil and Adriana- who are in the 20s- actually time travel back even further into Paris’ history, where Adriana decides she wants to stay and not return.  That moment when she is begging Gil to stay with her, and the fact that Gil had now double time traveled- started to freak me out.  I felt like I was back in Inception, watching the same actress, Cotillard, beg Leo DiCaprio to go wherever the hell she wanted (still don’t understand or have closure from Inception).  Luckily, this was a fleeting moment in Midnight, with Gil promptly returning back to modern day and realizing what he needs to do with his life.

Besides the brief Inception flashback, I wonder if anyone else had the same thoughts I did while watching Midnight in Paris (probably not).   Even though time-traveling to Paris in the 1920s and meeting all those famous writers and artists in their prime is not a dream of mine, I felt so excited for Gil, and almost vicariously living through him because his dreams were literally coming true.  Both his waking/daydreams and his night dreams.   You know when you’re sleeping and have an amazing dream, maybe you are hanging out with a famous celebrity or working with them- something unobtainable is happening… and then of course you have to wake up to the disappointment of it not being real.  Well here you have this guy living out scenarios that were day-dreams and also very well might have been previous night dreams of his.  But he wasn’t waking up!  He got to go back and continue the dream each night.  I love the concept, and it got me thinking what would be my own Midnight in Paris– what era would I like to travel back to and re-live.  The first place that came to mind was not the 60’s, not the 70s…but London in the early 1980s.  Part of me has always wished I could have been in my late teens/early 20s during that time, instead of a Rainbow Brite-totin-Mr. Roger’s-watchin child.   Specifically, I wish I could have been ‘of age’ in London when the band The Smiths first formed in 1982.  And I was going to small dive bars and watching them perform before making it big.  And my friends and I could talk to them, hang out with them and watch them in their prime.  We would go see other bands of the same era too, like Joy Division.  Would be so amazing to see London during that time….

I also made a decision at the end of Midnight in Paris that I want to travel to Paris this year.  I usually prefer to travel to beach spots more so than cities with museums and architecture, and my original destination was Jamaica.  I don’t know if it was the way in which Woody Allen filmed the city, or the fact that I saw Jay-Z and Kanye perform “N*ggas in Paris” about eight damn times in a row last month…but I’m going to Paris.

Verdict- I enjoyed Midnight in Paris, it is a unique film worth watching.

I saw this in IMAX on Christmas Eve with my parents.  I have not seen any of the other Mission Impossibles; they never really interested me.  But it was the holidays and I wanted to take my parents out, and I figured each of us would be pleased: the lovely Paula Patton for my dad, my mom adores Tom Cruise, and of course I enjoy Jeremy Renner (see: my review for The Town).   We went to the last show of the night, theater packed, and I found myself excited to finally see what this whole franchise was about … and then the trailers began.

The best part about Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and why you should shell out the extra bucks to see it in IMAX: there is a 10-minute-extended trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.  I wouldn’t even call it a trailer – they basically throw you an entire scene from the movie.  As soon as it started, I knew what movie it was for and became a little too geeked (given the fact I am NOT an 10-year old boy); began gasping “Oh my god!” and squeezing my poor father’s arm as hard as I could.  But in my defense – there was a murmur of excitement throughout the rest of the theater as well.  After a couple of minutes I started second guessing my reality, “Wait a second, are we here to see Dark Knight?” because this trailer is  snippets of the movie sandwiched around a legit entire scene.  I’ll save the rest of my Ode to Batman for the review for the actual movie, but just a little background-  Batman is my favorite superhero and my love for all things Batman started way before Christopher Nolan came around- as a kid I was obsessed with the TV show, and every subsequent movie that came out with Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer… George Clooney not so much (poorly casted).  And I love where Christopher Nolan has taken the franchise with the darker, more serious tone- I dragged my father to go see The Dark Knight twice in theaters.   So needless to say I was extremely excited to see this trailer.  And to fuel the hard-on even more (I know, horrible analogy given this was a family outing), I had just rented Warrior the night before and was still fresh off my new-found crush on Tom Hardy- who just so happens to play the villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises and is the main focus of the trailer.  You can’t see his face, and his voice is muddled, but believe me his body is enough.  Watching Mission: Impossible after all that was like having filet mignon as the appetizer before a main course of chicken noodle soup.  Well maybe not so dramatic, but still…

I’ll continue with the food analogies.  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is like going to dinner at T.G.I.Fridays- the quality is good, you get what you expect, you enjoy your dinner, but you never leave the restaurant raving, “Now that was a meal.  Wow.”  This movie is high-budget, action-filled, has a decent story-line, but no ‘wow’ factor.  I cannot pinpoint anything wrong with it, except maybe the blatant BMW advertising throughout the movie.  Obviously there isn’t much reality in these assassin/secret agent type of movies, but throwing BMW in our face at every chance took out any ounce of taking things seriously.  Every car in the movie is a beemer, no matter what country or what scene.   Anyways, Tom Cruise looks great for his age, especially doing all the crazy stunts, and Paula Patton redeemed herself from her over-the-top performance in Jumping the Broom.  She looks great kicking ass just months after having a baby in real life.  Unfortunately Jeremy Renner looked like chopped liver coming off the heels of buffed-up Bane, and I couldn’t enjoy him as much.  Also, this role was underwhelming for him- he wasn’t given much opportunity to shine.  This movie would have been more appropriate for him earlier in his career, he should be focused on lead roles after The Hurt Locker and The Town, which I guess he is doing because he’s the next Jason Bourne.  He just seemed out of place in, and could have skipped out on Mission: Impossible.

Bottom line: Mission: Impossible a fun, somewhat cheesy, forgettable movie that is enjoyable to see in theaters, but just as good waiting to rent.

Call it a cheesy teeny-bopper show, but The O.C. introduced us to some great music (even had me contemplating pursuing a career as a Finder-of-Music-to-Set-as-Background-For-Television-and-Movies because it seemed like such a fun job).  Finley Quaye’s “Dice” is such a great song, and I love how the director set it to these multiple scenes from The O.C.‘s new year episode- made it look like a music video.

So if you didn’t get your magical kiss last night, vicariously live through these fictional characters and enjoy one of my favorite TV moments:

Warrior

December 31, 2011

The reason why I didn’t watch Warrior when it came out in theaters was because I heard it was a knock off (no pun intended) of The Fighter – which had just come out in 2010 and set quite a high bar in my eyes (see: my review for The Fighter).  But Warrior definitely holds its own, and I loved it.  Despite its similarities to The Fighter, I cannot pick my favorite of the two because they both tell such good, unique, compelling stories.  I’ll break it down:

Similarities

  • A set of brothers: both boxers in The Fighter; both Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters in Warrior
  • A main character’s substance abuse problem: brother Dickie Eklund’s crack addiction in The Fighter (Christian Bale won a well-deserved Oscar for this role); alcoholic war veteran father Paddy Conlon in Warrior (played by previously Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte)
  • A former fighter making his way back into the spotlight: Dickie Eklund in The Fighter; Brenden Conlon (played by lesser-known but solid Joel Edgerton) in Warrior, while other brother makes his debut into professional fighting: Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) in The Fighter; Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) in Warrior
  • One brother has a supportive girlfriend/wife: Amy Adams excellently playing Micky Ward’s girl in The Fighter, Jennifer Morrison playing Brenden Conlon’s wife in Warrior; other brother remains single
  • One brother feeling favoritism from his parent toward the other brother: Melissa Leo won an Oscar for her role as mother/manager in The Fighter, Nick Nolte does an excellent job in Warrior as a father/trainer
  • Motivating Rocky-esque training scenes:  both movies
  • A surprising twist: we find out Dickie Eklund’s HBO documentary is not about boxing but about his crack addition in The Fighter; we find out Tommy is a war hero and the real reason he left the military
  • “Celeb” cameos:  Sugar Ray Leonard in The Fighter; a whole slew of real MMA fighters in Warrior, plus TapouT founders Punkass and Skyskrape (if you were initially like me, wondering why the camera kept panning to these LMFAO-looking dudes during the fights, that’s who they are)
  • Final dramatic-winner-takes-all fight: both movies

Differences

  • The Fighter about boxing, Warrior about MMA
  • One brother coaches the other during final fight in The Fighter, both brothers fight each other in final fight in Warrior
  • Well known, A-list actors in The Fighter, lesser known (with exception of Nick Nolte) actors in Warrior
  • The Fighter takes place near Boston in 1980s, Warrior near Philadelphia in present day
  • The Fighter based on a true story, Warrior is fiction

Now that the similarities and differences have been highlighted, I’ll tell you why Warrior holds its own and works.  First, it gives the lesser-known and newer sport (at least in the Hollywood world) of MMA a platform I don’t think has been given before.  I myself don’t know too much about MMA; I’ve only watched a couple of episodes of The Ultimate Fighter (a reality show about MMA) and a couple of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fights back in the day.  I don’t even know any names of MMA fighters, except for Kimbo Slice.  Warrior did a good job of subtly explaining the sport in the movie (kids in Brenden Conlon’s classroom explaining to each other what MMA is, Sports Center highlights throughout the movie giving fun facts about the sport).  But more so than MMA, and the fighting aspect of the movie- Warrior tells a compelling story of a family torn apart by its abusive, alcoholic father/husband.  Nick Nolte nailed this role, and judging by the below mugshot this was not a far stretch for him:

So because of Paddy Conlon’s abusive ways, his wife moves away with the younger son Tommy (Tom Hardy) and the older son, Brenden, only 16 at the time, stays with his father.  Brenden stays behind mostly because he wants to remain with his high school sweetheart Tess (who he later marries and starts a family with) but you later learn he also stays because he wanted all of his father’s attention.   Both brothers grew up as competitive wrestlers, but Tommy had been the star of the family.  So Tommy and mom move to another state, mom gets cancer (I believe) and dies, and Tommy joins the Marines and goes overseas.  Some horrible, mysterious accident happens then, which causes Tommy to move back to Philadelphia and reunite with his father after 14 years.  You then see that Tommy is not the only son to have grown up to hate him, Brenden and his family have also severed ties with Paddy, even though he is now sober and has found God.  The drama doesn’t stop there.  Our country’s good ole recession gets a shout-out when you learn Brenden and his wife are working multiple jobs trying not to lose their home.   Brenden loses his teaching job and goes back to his former career, MMA.   Back to Tommy Conlon; you learn his best friend died as part of this mysterious accident overseas, and Tommy has taken it upon himself to provide for the friend’s widower and children.  He also chooses to get into MMA, and this particular lucrative upcoming fight to be his money-maker.  So each son has his own life drama, and then his own severed relationship with his father, and then their own severed relationship with each other.  The most moving scene (besides the final fight) is when Paddy has a relapse with alcohol in his hotel room (as well as a legit breakdown/flashback from the war) and Tommy takes care of him.  If you have seen the movie you know it’s hard to describe that scene in words- there is so much going on.  You finally see the meaner/alcoholic side of Paddy and what it must have been like growing up with him, you see Tommy as an adult, not scared, unflinching at his father screaming… and then you see how sad the whole scene is,  Tommy now understanding, from his own war experience, a little bit of why his father drank and was so angry.  It’s the first time you see Tommy soften and show emotion.  You understand how much hurt his father must have put him through for Tommy to be such a asshole to him throughout the movie.  You see Tommy doesn’t want to hate his father, wants to love him.  It’s a brilliant scene, explains so much of the movie in such few words.

Even though the actors playing brothers in Warrior are not as popular as Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, they do an exceptional job.  Especially considering both had to hide their accents-  Joel Edgerton is Australian and Tom Hardy is British.  The only movie I had previously seen Tom Hardy in was Inception, and he was cute but dressed a little goofy (plus I couldn’t pay much attention to him or Leo because I was trying to figure out WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON).  But Tom Hardy is bona fide fucking hot in this film:

For all my gays and girls that equally enjoyed him, he has more movies coming out in 2012: This Means War, a romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon (looks really stupid and why is Witherspoon still making these lame movies) and playing villian Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (THIS LOOKS SO AWESOME- CAN’T WAIT FOR IT).

Back to Warrior, here are some fun facts:  if you thought Tommy was such a bad ass by knocking guys out with one punch in basically all his fights, the movie makers actually had to do this because Tom Hardy has no background in fighting.  They couldn’t realistically film long fight scenes with him. Joel Edgerton on the other hand, actually does have a background in MMA and hence his fight scenes are all longer.  Even the professional MMA fighters in the movie had difficulty shooting their scenes, because every fight is choreographed as opposed to natural fighting.  Warrior’s director, Gavin O’Connor, also plays the role of the promoter in the movie.  This role was originally for the third TapouT founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, but he died right before shooting began.  His Ferrari hit a utility pole and literally snapped in half.  The movie is dedicated to him.

Definitely, definitely recommend seeing Warrior.  One of my favorites of 2011.