Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Movie Review

Even if you don’t watch a lot of movies, the twists in this movie will still bore you and come off as cheesy. Seriously, even if the only movie you’ve ever seen is The Lion King, you will still watch these twists unfold and register zero shock.

Probably not the intention they were going for, but, that’s Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. A remake of a film from the 50s. You have a District Attorney who has rattled off a string of murder convictions. A number so high that he is well beyond “He’s On Fire!” territory in NBA Jam. He’s a good District Attorney, is what they’re trying to establish with that (and a really cheesy closing statement line that the lead character eats up). But, wait! There’s more. A reporter has “uncovered” that the District Attorney, played by Michael Douglas in a role so brutal that undoubtedly had to make Douglas wonder what it would be like if he brought his Falling Down role to reality, is planting DNA/forensic/CSI! evidence on crime scenes that consist of otherwise circumstantial evidence. The reporter, played by some dude I’ve never heard of, seeks to bring him down based on very little evidence that they reveal to the audience. How does he have to do this? Well, of course he has to find a murder, and then plant circumstantial evidence that HE, the reporter, committed the murder, then wait for the DA to plant forensic evidence.

Of course.

The concept more or less only works as a comedy, yet, this was trying to pull off a Thriller.

Orlando Jones provides the strongest performance. That’s about all the positive I can say about this film. Amber Tamblyn appeared to be comfortably rested in her scenes, possibly taking naps while actually filming the scenes as they were so tepid, would be the next most positive thing.

Here’s the best part of this film. And by best, I mean “the thing I googled and laughed about the most” while watching. The main character is doing a news story for TV on the DAs alleged transgressions in order to win a Pulitzer Prize. The wikipedia page for the Pulitzer Prize says the following, “The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition.”

Click Read More if you want the rest of the review, but, be warned, it contains SPOILERS. As frankly, this movie is so bad that the only way I can handle writing about it is by covering the spoilers.

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Greatest Criminals (fictional): Point Break’s Bodhi

The Greatest Fictional Criminals series is just something we’re going to do here for a bit of fun. Why be a servant to the law, when you can be it’s master?

Point Break hit theaters 20 years ago this week. So, why not take a moment to reflect on one of the Greatest Criminals that fiction has ever seen?

Were there dudes who stole more loot than Bodhi? Absolutely. Were there dudes that had more fun doing it? Doubtful. That’s why you won’t see Robert DeNiro’s character from The Score in this series, that guy was stealing so he could own a Jazz Club? Bodhi was robbing banks because it was wild.

Bodhi (Dalton) is also an old school bank robber. At one point in the movie, they boast that they’ve heisted 30 banks in 3 years. That’s a good amount of banks, considering they only heist summers part time and surf the rest. All Bodhi needs when he steps into the bank is his Ronald Reagan mask, and some old fashioned fear. At one point, Bodhi refers to his methods of bank robbery as “dog psychology.” Which makes you think, how would Bodhi exist in society as a bank robber 20 years later? With all sorts of heist movies based on new technology, could dog psychology still torment Southern California banks for 3 straight summers? Do people even surf still?

One of Bodhi’s best  moments comes at a point where the Ex-Presidents realize that Johnny Utah (Ted “Theodore” Logan) is an F….B….I…Agent! He responds, Yeah, I know man. Ain’t it wild? That’s what makes it so interesting. You can do what you want, and make up your own rules. Why be a servant to the law, when you can be it’s master?

Sidenote, did Johnny Utah ever trade memorabilia for tattoos when he played Quarterback at Ohio State?

Bodhi wanted to ride to glory, and in the end, Johnny Utah let him do just that. If you consider “death while surfing crazy huge waves” to be glory, at least.

Point Break, 20 years young this week.

HBOs “Hot Coffee” Documentary Reviewed

HBO premiered a documentary this week dealing with the American legal system, specifically the Civil Courts and tort reform. After watching the documentary, it’s somewhat difficult to review. Do you review it as a documentary? In which case, it slips in many ways. Do you review it as a hit piece? Designed by a Plaintiff’s Attorney, it very much screams, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Ultimately, it isn’t really fair to review it as either. As a documentary, it walks and talks like a documentary, but the end result would be like if you developed the doc-Hoop Dreams from a reflective perspective that was designed to show the perils of kids who had dreamed of making it big in basketball. Rather than what it did, picking two talented youths and letting the documentary be taken to wherever they may roam. To label the documentary a hit-piece would also be a bit disingenuous. That does a dis-service to the stories told in the documentary.

But, in the end, this is laid out like a closing argument of one side of a case/issue. In this instance, that side is the side in favor of those who bring lawsuits. To be clear, that argument is laid out very well. And, it’s an effective documentary in the sense that, if public perception is that lawsuits are frivolous, let’s ram it home that there are very real needs for Civil verdicts. And that’s most definitely a discussion that should be had. Let’s take a look…

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