Notes from the back row 

Happy anniversary

Well, we’re a few weeks into my fifth year of doing the movie column, which is piss-all compared to Max’s current stint, but, in any case, I thought I’d celebrate this week by writing about something quite close to my heart- The Rock.

Not the 1996 Alcatraz movie (although it wasn’t that bad) but the actual Rock himself — the WWF wrestler-turned-actor.

The Rock has a new movie out and usually I’ll see it based on that alone. One winter the Sushi Village waiters all got into Monday night WWF. It seems like everyone did back then, because of The Rock. In those days he was the People’s Champion (he still is if you ask me), known to spit in his hand and then smack the shit out of opponents or verbally berate them before each match. The Rock ruled.

We only watched wrestling for a few month and eventually The Rock moved on to a movie career ( The Mummy Returns.) He was way too good for wrestling. Anyhow, he’s frickin’ huge and used to taking a hit, so he is able to do a lot of his own stunts. This makes for some really cool shots. I’m always into The Rock’s action movies.

The Game Plan , however, is not an action movie, it’s a Disney movie. The Rock plays a big time pro quarterback superstar so on top of life he actually calls himself “the King.” One day he opens his front door and one of those mature, genius, Mozart-listening eight-year-old girls that seem to be everywhere tells him she’s his long lost daughter… and he believes her. From there the flick slides from bad to worse — bulldogs in tutus, exploding blenders launching goo everywhere, weird gay allergic reactions — that kind of humour. At one point The Rock ends up on a stage in the middle of a bunch of kids doing ballet. Thanks Disney, this makes me want to puke down the inside of my own shirt.

The Rock is still the best part of this overlong (110minutes) movie aimed at kids and bored moms who will sit through anything for two hours of quiet. Somehow, the Rock has enough wit and charm keep you from punching your own face with your fist. He’s a real actor and a pretty good one at that. Especially if he can shine in this pile of dung.

Speaking of good actors, Feast of Love, the newest flick from director Robert Benton ( Kramer vs. Kramer) opens Friday with a well-rounded and competent cast headed by Morgan Freeman. It’s a character- and dialogue-driven film — you don’t see so many of these anymore — but the convoluted multiple narratives and archtypical roles (the nice guy, the wise old professor, etc.) get kind of old fast. The message is “love makes fools of us all”, and ain’t that the truth. But I’m kind of sick of Morgan Freeman playing the “deep calm voice of age and wisdom” role. It was awesome in Shawshank Redemption but that was over 10 years ago. On the other hand, Feast of Love has enough nudity and screwing to keep it from becoming a total bore (much like real love) but it rarely hits any mark above soap-opera melodrama and, honestly, this is one Feast that might have you sticking your finger down your throat by the end.

Let’s shift gears and focus on real world love, and get back to anniversaries. My fantastic parents, Jack and Sheila Banks, are celebrating their 35 th wedding anniversary on Sept 29. Thirty-five years — that’s a pretty impressive run. Especially considering they had to raise me. Happy Anniversary mom and dad, you rule.

AT VILLAGE 8 Sept. 28-Oct. 4: Feast of Love; The Game Plan; The Kingdom; Resident Evil: Extinction; 3:10 to Yuma; Eastern Promises; Brave One; Bourne Ultimatum; Good Luck Chuck.

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