Friday, September 21, 2012
Here Comes the Boom (PG/105 Min.)
“Without music, life is a mistake” –Nietzsche (sort of) and Marty
How many of you out there saw the movie Zookeeper? Come on. A show of hands please. I know it wasn’t just me. And how many of you vowed to never see another Kevin James movie as long as you live after you saw Zookeeper? Okay, fewer hands. I get that. I may have been a tad drastic in making that vow. The lovely people at Gofobo provided passes for the screening of Here Comes the Boom and I snatched them up. I had seen the previews several times on TV and thought that maybe, just maybe, it would have enough redeeming qualities that I could sit through what I was sure would be an overabundance of stupid silliness. This is proof that you shouldn’t always judge a movie by its trailer. I loved it! Kevin James, I owe you a huge apology.
Why did I like this film so much? It involved two of my favorite things; music and sport fighting - in this case, Mixed Martial Arts. Yes, I am a complex woman. It’s why I’m such a catch. To make it better, they mixed them together. Because what is a televised fight without the music? Pretty darn boring, I’ll bet. If you knew me in middle school or high school you can probably figure out my love of music since I was one of THOSE people; the band geeks. I also grew up in a singing family. To this day it’s no surprise when one of us just bursts in to song. Yeah. We’re THAT family. I have absolutely no explanation for my love of fighting. Or watching it, rather. It’s just fun. Especially at Buffalo Wild Wings when Manny Pacquiao (yes, I realize that’s a different style of fighting but it still rings true) is fighting on the big screen and I’m in the middle of a huge crowd of people and I’m sharing a big, round table with absolute strangers and we’re all glued to whatever is happening on that screen and, for just those few moments, we are of one heart and mind. I love it. And I just took a huge detour there.
If you’ve avoided the television and haven’t been to any movies lately to have seen the trailer for Here Comes the Boom let me lay it out for you. Kevin James is Scott Voss, a Biology teacher at a high school in Boston. He’s basically just phoning it in until the day the school decides to cut some of the extracurricular programs because the budget just can’t cover them. Any guesses as to what is cut? Yup. You guessed it…the music program. Debate and Art were cut too but I am the worst arguer on the planet and I can’t draw stick people so you can see how I didn’t focus on that. Can’t you? Anyway, Scott decides to come up with a way to raise the money to save the programs. How, you ask? By becoming a Mixed Martial Artist (or MMA fighter if you prefer) and donating his cut of the purse to the school. He ends up doing so much more than he set out to do but I’m not going to tell you about that here.
For those of you who’ve read previous posts you might have caught my ramblings about how much I love to go to movies with my mom because if it’s a really good movie and something wonderful happens she does not hold back. She giggles and breaks in to applause and has the entire theater joining her. Her happiness knows no bounds. I almost made it to that point. The only thing that stopped me was my absolute fear of being the center of attention. But only just. I figured, at the last minute, that yelling, “KILL HIM!!!” in the middle of a fight scene would earn me a glance or two…hundred.
Kevin did an excellent job as Scott Voss. I don’t know if I thought that because my expectations were so low or because he really was that good but I’m leaning towards the latter. He was funny. He was sweet. He was cute. Well. He was. Best of all, he was inspiring. If you’re not rooting for him by the end of this movie, you might want to check your pulse. Regarding my earlier statements about Kevin I do have to admit that I really liked him in Hitch. I shouldn’t have let “that other movie” dissuade me.
I am also happy with Salma Hayek again. Savages really made me not like her for a while. That’s what makes her such a good actor. She’s right up there with Christian Bale in The Fighter. They were so good at being bad that it took a while for me to come to grips with the fact that they were just acting. It wasn’t real! In Here Comes the Boom, Salma played Bella Flores, the school nurse and object of Scott’s affection. She was also funny. And sweet. And inspiring. That’s just the kind of movie this was. She and Kevin need to be in other movies together. They play well off each other. Two of my favorite scenes were the sneak attack scene and the dislocated shoulder scene. No, the one did not cause the other.
Henry Winkler is Marty, the music teacher. Some of you may remember Henry as The Fonz. Some of you may not. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, join Netflix and rent Happy Days. It may still be on TV. I wouldn’t be surprised. That has nothing at all to do with this movie though and Marty is so completely different than The Fonz but you really can’t appreciate Henry if you don’t see how he got his start. Marty is the other reason Scott wants to raise the money. What is a music teacher without a music program? If you said unemployed then you are right, my friend! Marty is Scott’s biggest fan and cheerleader. You just can’t help but love him. They have a real bromance going on. Yeah. I said it. Marty also delivers one of my favorite lines in the film…and in life really. “Music takes us where words cannot.” Wow. Deep.
Now here comes the part in which some of my earlier comments might seem a bit off. There were at least two actors in Here Comes the Boom that probably most any MMA fan would know. I knew neither. When I saw them I kind of wondered if maybe they were real fighters but I didn’t know for sure until I came home and jumped on IMDB. In my defense, I have been a big boxing fan for years but have only recently started watching more and more UFC bouts. So, I really couldn’t be expected to know that the guys who played Niko, Scott’s coach, and Ken “The Executioner” Dietrich, one of Scott’s opponents, are real, live MMA fighters, could I? There were other real fighters in the film but these two have the major roles so they’re getting mentioned. Bas Rutten is Niko and Krzysztof Soszynski is Dietrich. They both did well in the film though I don’t recall Soszynski saying anything. He was really good at being intimidating. One of the few scenes I didn't care for at all involved Niko. He was so bitter and selfish that he almost ruined a lucrative opportunity for Scott thereby affecting the kids. Niko, you should be ashamed.
Many, MANY thanks to the two people who commented questioning why I left out any mention of Mark DellaGrotte. Basically, he was left out because my hand-writing sucks pond water. As mentioned previously, I'm relatively new to MMA so I'm still trying to figure out who, in Here Comes the Boom, are the fighters in real life. I wrote down his name while watching the movie but it was dark and I couldn't read my writing when I went to type this up. I am so glad y'all said something as I liked Mark from the get-go. Mark played...Mark. He is the owner/operator of the Sityodtong USA Branch in both the movie and real life. He agrees to take a look at Scott's mad skills to see if he's worth training. He was hilarious. He was loyal. And he did 2 things that completely surprised me in a movie like this. He quoted scripture and he led a pre-fight prayer time. I have no idea if that portrayed the real Mark DellaGrotte but I was happy to see it in the film. And the reason I was ashamed of Niko above? Mark busted him on it. Well done, you!
Another person who might make you question my earlier comments is Charice. What? You don’t know who Charice is? I didn’t either until tonight. She is a flippin’ good singer is who she is. And her acting isn’t too shabby either. Charice plays Malia, one of Scott’s students and the pianist in the school orchestra. She also gets to sing in the movie. This girl has a got a set of pipes, let me tell you! Where have I been while she was becoming so widely popular? Absolutely no idea. Malia totally and completely proved a theory my dad had for years about my study habits. He always said that if I put my schoolwork to music I would remember everything and make A’s in all my classes. Let’s just say I’m not big on studying but I can memorize a song quicker ‘n a wink. I loved Malia’s breakthrough with Niko. Her rendition of Holly Holy even made me tear up a little. I couldn’t help it.
I know I’m rambling. It’s late. I got too in to researching the different actors that I lost track of time. I’ll wrap up the character comments by talking about Joe Rogan. While not one of the greatest actors in the world there was a moment in which he thoroughly impressed and moved me. In the movie Joe Rogan plays the part of Joe Rogan, ringside announcer. He does something so incredibly touching (and irresponsible at the same time) that I couldn’t help but think, “What an amazingly generous man!” Once again, it took me a second to remind myself that this was just a movie and that Joe didn’t really do what he did. It was still sweet though.
I believe the people running the pre-screening shindig said that the movie is rated PG but I can't remember for sure and I can't seem to find the rating anywhere. Found it! It's definitely PG. There is one thing and one thing only that I think might make you reconsider before taking your kids to see this and that is the fight scenes. Let’s break it down and I’ll show you what I mean.
Sex/Nudity – None at all.
Cussing – I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know for sure because I got so wrapped up in everything else. I do think a couple of A**’s slipped, no pun intended, but other than that I don’t remember any of the big words being thrown around.
Drinking/Drugs – There’s really not a lot of drinking. I saw beer and wine but not much of it. It was so not a big part of any of the scenes that I almost didn’t mention it but since helping parents make good movie decisions for their children is a big reason for this blog I figured it wouldn’t be right not to. I’m curious. What kind of chaos does a quadruple negative cause?
Stomach Turning – Yes, this is a new category that I hope to not have to use very often. I must mention that there is a vomit scene. Having said that, most of you will be able to figure out about when it’s going to happen. Trust me on this one. I wouldn’t even mention it if it wasn’t incredibly gross.
Violence – With this film this is just a given. Not every fight scene had a lot of blood but the big fights certainly did. The final fight most definitely did. It was streaming down their faces. Did this bother me much? Not at all actually but remember, I watch this stuff quite often. Also note, though, that despite the blood, it wasn’t gag-worthy and their faces weren’t beat to a pulp. That’s never fun to watch. I do have to admit that the slow-mo Superman punch was way cool.
There are so many people I would recommend this to that it’s just easier to say who might NOT like it. If you absolutely, 100% abhor violence then this isn’t for you. As for the rest of you, I hope you like it as much as I did. Jumping back to the music, I more than likely won’t own the soundtrack because a lot of it is mostly yelling but it was perfect for this film. The yelling songs were all used during the fight scenes and, as mentioned before, what is a fight without music? It gets you pumped and ready to watch two guys beat the snot out of each other. Wahoo!
There is no reason to stay through the credits. At least there wasn’t during the pre-screening. So, head on out to your various modes of transportation with your friends, spouses, dates, whoever and spend that time talking about what a good movie this was. Then tell all your friends who decided not to go that they really missed out. It’s only right.