The List: 5 Films That Earned Their Twist Ending

It is time to delve back into another list concocted by myself. As usual, these are my opinions and if you feel different, please go ahead and list them below.

With that out of the way, let's begin this list. This is a list of 5 films that I feel earned their twist ending the most. This is not my personal Top 5 films that earned their twist ending, but more of 5 films that really did a good job of providing a film with a twist ending that you do not feel cheated with. So without further adieu, I present my list of 5 films that I feel earned their twist ending.

Obviously, while talking endings to films, spoilers will be had. You've been warned.

5. The Usual Suspects, 1995

Bryan Singer's 1995 crime drama about 5 criminals brought together to do a job for a shadowy figure named Keyser Soze. Written by Christopher McQuarrie, (who won the Oscar for this film) the film is told in flashback by a survivor, Verbal Kint, (Kevin Spacey, who won an Oscar for his role) of a massacre on a boat. As the story unfolds, Customs Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) begins to question the validity of Verbal's story and believes that something more is going on.

I know most people list this as either one of the best twists ever or one of the worst twists ever. I can see both sides to this argument, but I feel the twist is earned. The audience views the story through Kujan's eyes as he is told the story by Verbal. So even though Kujan doubts certain aspects of the story, he still sees the picture that Verbal is painting for him.

When the twist does happen, Verbal actually is Keyser Soze, it is realized by Kujan after he has had time to assess the story by Verbal. Unfortunately for Kujan, his realization happens too late and Verbal/Soze is able to elude capture and return to being a spook story criminals tell their kids. This twist is earned as Verbal toys with Kujan by giving him clues throughout the story, but Kujan is too blinded by his determination to capture Keaton, (Gabriel Byrne) that he does not realize the truth until it is too late.


Fenton Mieks (Matthew McConaughey) walks into the FBI office in Dallas, Texas and speaks with FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) about his brother being a serial killer known as the God's Hands Killer. Agent Doyle is at first skeptical about Fenton's accusations, until he tells the story of his childhood with his brother Adam and their Dad (Bill Paxton).

As the story unfolds, Dad believes to have been visited by an angel and tasked with destroying demons on a list given to him. Dad wholeheartedly believes the story and begins to murder people who he thinks are demons with the help of his sons. Adam believes Dad, but Fenton believes Dad to be crazy for what he is doing. As the story progresses, Fenton becomes at odds with Adam and Dad until Fenton is forced to kill Dad in an effort to stop what he believes is madness.

Back in the present day, "Fenton" reveals himself to be Adam and has lured Agent Doyle out to the local rose garden. "Fenton" touches Agent Doyle who is revealed to have killed his own mother. "Fenton" destroys the demon and continues the angel's work.

There are multiple twists in this film. First, "Fenton" has to pretend to be the other brother to lure Agent Doyle out to the rose garden to be destroyed. Alongside that, after that twist is revealed, what I feel is the major twist kicks in. "Fenton" and Dad really were visited by an angel and can actually see who are good men and who are demons. This, like The Usual Suspects, relies on an unreliable narrator and flashbacks to conceal the twists the films have in store. This is exactly like the The Usual Suspects twist as we are in Doyle's shoes as the story is told to us. Unfortunately this film seems to have fallen by the wayside, but is truly a well made film and worth a look.

3. 12 Monkeys, 1995

Terry Gilliam's 1995 sci-fi thriller is one of the best time travel films of all time. Bruce Willis plays James Cole, a volunteer from the future who is sent to the present (1996) to gather information regarding a global virus that has been released. During his time in the "present" he tries to obtain help from Doctor Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) and mental patient Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt).

Probably a more subtle twist than a lot of films out there, the climax of the film takes place in an airport. James and Kathryn locate the person suspected of releasing the virus. As they attempt to stop the suspect, James is shot and killed while the suspect boards the plane to begin the release of the virus. As the suspect sits down for the flight, though, an astrophysicist from James' present sits next to him, claiming to be in insurance. The sad twist for James is that he is stuck in a loop where he dies while trying to stop the viral outbreak, but he did succeed in his mission for his present to identify the origins of the virus to help find a cure and make the Earth inhabitable once again in James' present.

2. The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

Forget about the twist ending, this is just an amazing film on its own merit. As this article is about twist endings, though, lets get to that. Frank Darabont adapted Stephen King's story into an Oscar nominated film about two prisoners: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) who bond and become close friends over almost two decades in prison together.

The twist of this film comes from the point of view. Us, the audience, observe the film through Morgan Freeman's eyes. He is already in prison when Andy is brought in for the murder of his wife and her lover. The two bond as the years pass, but near the end of their time together, Red becomes worried about Andy's mental stability; until one day it is revealed that Andy escaped Shawshank Prison. Once Andy escaped, we are shown that almost from Day One, Andy had been plotting an escape and are shown details of how he escaped. Even though it is somewhat of a cheat by not being with Andy at all, you are so emotionally wrapped up in the story that even when it is revealed that Andy has escaped, you are just happy to see that Andy was able to free himself and you, along with Red feel the joy that Andy felt.

1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978

Philip Kaufman provides what I feel to be one of the most earned twist endings in film. This version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a remake of the '56 'Invasion' and follows a small group of residents from San Francisco led by Donald Sutherland's Matthew Bennell who uncover that aliens are replacing humans who identical pod people, sans emotion. They try to stop the pod people, even as the number of humans is dwindling down fast.

Matthew and the remaining survivors make their way to the facility where the pods are being grown in an attempt to destroy the pods. Matthew is successful as the pod people begin to descend on Matthew's location. We then cut to daytime where Matthew appears to be blending in with the remaining pod people by showing a lack of emotion. In the street, he spots Nancy, (Veronica Cartwright) who had been separated while trying to flee the pod people. She is happy to see Matthew, but Matthew points his finger and emits a screeching sound to alert the pod people Nancy's location and reveals that Matthew has been taken over.

This is one of my favorite twist endings of all time. You are on this journey with Matthew to stop the pod people invasion and it is a bleak and sad ending to see that our heroes lose. This feels like a true ending though as the pod people had been, and still continue to take over the humans. It is an iconic and what I feel is a well-deserved ending.

Again, these aren't the best twist endings ever, some that I just feel are well deserved and justified. I know there are plenty of others including: The Sixth Sense, Citizen Kane, Primal Fear, Fight Club, Saw, etc. If you got anymore, please feel free to list them.


The List: 5 Films The Academy Got Wrong (1990-Present)

As with all my lists, this is just my opinion. I understand that what I think may not be what you agree with. If you have suggestions, feel free to post them.

This is a list of what I feel the Academy got wrong between 1990 and the present. This is to cut down on the number of inconsistencies over the years that the Academy has graced us with. This can be argued back to the first awards show where Wings won Best Picture, even though most argue the film should not have won.

5. Gladiator, 2000

Directed by Ridley Scott, this mega-budgeted historical epic stars Russell Crowe as Maximus, a general who is betrayed by an emporer's son, Commodus and eventually becomes a slave. He must learn to fight in a gladiator arena and survive the harshness of slavery in ancient Rome while plotting revenge against Commodus.

This film has exactly all the elements that the Academy loves. An international star and director with a big budget that takes the audience into a historical world. If a film has swords and sandals, odds are it also has at least one Oscar. Unfortunately, the screenplay for this film is average at best.  It's a story as old as Maximus and Commodus. All the flair in this film belongs to the visual eye of Ridley Scott, who ironically did not win the Best Director Oscar.

The Best Director Oscar went to Stephen Soderbergh for his film, Traffic. Along with winning the Best Director Oscar, the film also won the Best Supporting Actor Award for Benicio Del Toro, the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and the Best Film Editing Oscar. And even more ironic, Traffic won every award it was nominated for besides Picture.

Gladiator on the other hand, besides Picture, won Best Actor, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Mixing. By that rationale, Russell's Crowe's performance was so amazing that it made the film itself the best picture of the year. Though with rationale, I never look toward the Academy. Anytime there is an epic film from a different time period, odds are if you aren't that film, you will lose. See #2.

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, 2011

This one will be short and to the point. 2 Oscar nominations total: Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Max Von Sydow. A very heavy topic: Dealing with the emotions of the September 11th attacks. Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 47%. Pretentious and preachy. Exactly what the Academy falls for, hence why it was nominated.

3. Zodiac, 2007

One of David Fincher's best films got zero nominations from the Academy. Even Norbit got a nomination. There were other factors that went into why this film was absent from the Oscars. Zodiac was released in March and overshadowed by two much larger films released within the same time frame (Wild Hogs and 300).

Zodiac tells the story of various lives that are intertwined by the hunt for the Zodiac killer in San Francisco. The screenplay by James Vanderbilt takes us through many years and is much more of a police procedural drama than a true serial killer film; ala Fincher's own Se7en. As this follows closer to procedural, this film was hard to market (check out the schizophrenic theatrical trailer) and opened weakly in theaters and fell hard down the box office totals.

As this film was forgotten even before the Summer movie season began, it was no surprise that the Academy ignored this film. Some of the blame obviously goes with the marketing department, as this should have been released in the fall and had a better marketing campaign behind it. The Academy does get some blame though as screeners were sent to Academy members as a reminder for nominations. And it is unfortunate that this film was overlooked as Mark Ruffalo gave an amazing supporting performance. Along with that, this should have been a contender for Best Picture and Best Director. As it is, the Academy does what it does best and screws over movies more deserving of Oscars than others.

2. Goodfellas, 1990

Martin Scorcese's masterpiece of mob life from the 1950's through the 1980's. Goodfellas brought all the elements from past Scorcese classics into one film. Unfortunately, Goodfellas was released the same year as the historical epic Dances With Wolves. Now this is a personal taste, but I find Dances With Wolves to be an unbelievably boring film. Obviously, I am in the minority so I must be wrong.

Goodfellas details the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) from childhood all the way through to his downfall. The story itself has been done before, but with Scorcese at the helm and a great script by Nicholas Pileggi with Scorcese, they turn a tried and true story into a very entertaining, violent and often funny film.

Even though it seems like the Academy has a love affair with Martin Scorcese, he never won a Best Director Oscar until 2006's The Departed. Granted, The Departed is a really good movie, but the Oscar felt more like a gimmie as he had never won before. And, with the exception of Joe Pesci for Best Supporting Actor, it is a shame that Martin Scorcese nor the picture itself didn't win the Oscar(s) it deserved.

1. The 68th Annual Academy Awards, 1996

I know the topic says 5 films that the Academy got wrong, but there were many at this Oscar ceremony that it had to be listed.

I'm not even going to say the biggest Oscar miss was letting Braveheart win over Apollo 13. My biggest gripe with the 68th Annual Academy Awards is the multitude of films that were NOT nominated for best picture, let alone any major awards.

Multiple films that year were majorly snubbed. From Terry Gilliam's time-travel mystery, 12 Monkeys to David Fincher's Se7en. Two dark films that were amazingly written and directed superbly. In 12 Monkeys, Bruce Willis played James Cole, a volunteer who time travels back to the 1990's to try and thwart a viral outbreak. In Se7en, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are partners on the trail of a serial killer who's motif is that each kill is inspired by one of the seven deadly sins.

Beyond those films, The Usual Suspects, a winner of Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Screenplay (already two-up on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) was left off the Best Picture list. And possibly an even bigger snub goes to Heat. Michael Mann's good guys versus bad guys epic starring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in top form did not receive any nomination at all from the Academy.

Multiple films of amazing quality were again left off the list by the Academy. I know you can't be right all the time, but it seems like there are a lot more misses than hits.

As I said, this list is just mine and nothing official. I know there are other snubs like There Will Be Blood losing to No Country For Old Men in 2007 or Pulp Fiction and/or The Shawshank Redemption losing to Forrest Gump in 1994. Obviously there are plenty, but these are the ones that really jump to mind first.


The List: 5 90's Films That Feel Like An 80's Film

This will be my first list created on this blog, and let me apologize ahead of time. These are obviously just my opinions, and if you do not agree with them, them please feel free to reply back.

Now with that out of the way, I present my opinion of 5 action films from the 90's that resemble action films from the 80's.

5. Under Siege (1992)

Directed By: Andrew Davis
Written By: J.F. Lawton
Starring: Steven Seagal, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey, Erika Eleniak

Steven Seagal stars as Casey Ryback, a no-nonsense cook aboard the USS Missouri during its final mission. As he is no-nonsense, Casey has no friends aboard the ship, which suits him just fine. As luck would have it, Casey also is a master martial artist which comes in handy when terrorists take control of the ship, led by the always entertaining Tommy Lee Jones. Casey escapes the clutches of the bad guys, teams up with an unwitting partner (Erika Eleniak) and tries to save the day.

Under Siege takes the formula started by 80's king: Die Hard. You have one guy taking on a bunch of terrorists in a remote location and occasionally helped by a partner. The difference with Casey Ryback and John McClane from Die Hard is that Casey is a hand-to-hand/weapons specialist. Obviously, knowing that Casey is amazing in all ways considered amazing, that removes most of the tension that this film tries to create.

The main character is very different compared to John McClane, but the non-stop action and decent use of humor give this the feel of an 80's action film. Under Siege does feel more slick than most 80's fare, but the humor, numerous random henchmen and a sense of fun make this a worthy consideration.

4. Cliffhanger (1993)

Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: John Long, Michael France, Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, John Lithgow

Possibly the biggest budgeted film on this list.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Gabe Walker, a rescue ranger who, after losing the life of a fellow mountain climber, attempts to return to his former life. The woman in Gabe's life, Jessie, (Janine Turner) along with his former best friend and mountain climber, Hal, (Michael Rooker) want nothing to do with him.

Meanwhile, bad guy Eric Qualen (John Lithgow sporting some kind of European accent?) and his team of bad guys attempt to hijack $100 million dollars from a United States Treasury plane. The plan does not go according to plan and the suitcases filled with the money fall into the mountains below. Eric sends out a phony distress call, which is picked up by Gabe, Hal and Jessie for support in locating the briefcases.

Cliffhanger, in the simplest words, is a pure summer film.You had Sylvester Stallone, who at the time, was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. You have a heist film and you have a film just filled to the brim with action and stunts. Sylvester Stallone, for a good portion of the film is by himself when battling John Lithgow and his gang of baddies, providing a bit of a Die Hard-feel. Beyond that, the action is big and in your face while the feel of the film is meant to just be fun. And in my opinion, Cliffhanger succeeds in a major way.

3. Universal Soldier (1992)

Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: Richard Rothstein, Christopher Leitch, Dean Devlin
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker, Jerry Orbach

Sci/Fi and action meet in a film written and directed by the team that gave us such classics as Independence Day, the 1998 Godzilla remake and Stargate. This early film from Roland Emmerich finds military soldiers Luc Devereaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) at odds with each other during the Vietnam War. As their differences get in their way, both men are killed in action.

Flash forward to 1992 and a secret organization has reanimated the dead soldiers plus a host more and are now called UniSols. Both, Devereaux and Scott begin to regain their memory of what happened and continue onward with their lives within the UniSol program. Scott begins to return to his insane personality and Devereaux must stop him with the help of a plucky news reporter (Ally Walker).

Before Roland Emmerich found multiple ways to destroy the world, he began with this classic and a much lower budget. As both stars have now appeared in The Expendables 2, you can imagine that acting isn't their strong suit. Jean-Claude Van Damme is fine as the hero, but Dolph Lundgren is highly enjoyable as the crazy Scott. Beyond that, you get some moderate action scenes and good hand to hand combat. Again, the hero is teamed up with a civilian who finds herself in the midst of the action. A solid, if unspectacular film.

2. The Last Boy Scout (1991)

Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: Shane Black
Starring: Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Noble Willingham, Halle Berry

What type of list would this be without ol' Bruno making an appearance? With this film we get what was at the time, the most expensive screenplay sold. Was it worth it? Well, it fits on this list so that answer of course is no. Instead what we get is one of the stupidest, yet fun, films of the last 30 years.

Directed by the late Tony Scott, we meet Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis) who is assigned to protect stripper, Cory (Halle Berry). Cory's boyfriend Jimmy (Damon Wayans) does not get along with Joe. Before long, Cory is murdered and Joe and Jimmy team up to solve the murder with predictable humor and action-packed results.

As this is written by Shane Black, a film like this fits perfectly into his mold. You get one-dimensional characters, big action and lame one-liners. This is a love or hate movie, but those who are able to know that this movie is stupid yet able to turn their brain off will have a fun time. I mean, just look at the poster. There is a paragraph-long tagline and a huge explosion behind the main characters. That's really all you need to know about The Last Boy Scout.

1. Sudden Death

Directed By: Peter Hyams
Written By: Gene Quintano
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Dorian Harewood, Raymond J. Barry

Jean-Claude Van Damme returns to the list in what I consider the perfect 80's movie made in the 90's.

JCVD stars as Darren McCord, a former firefighter turned fire marshal for the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. He is divorced and having trouble communicating with his ex-wife or 2 children. He gets tickets to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and takes his kids with him. As so happens, the Vice President of the United States (Raymond J. Barry) is also attending the game. And on top of that, former government agent Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) and his goons have planted bombs throughout the arena and taken the Vice President and all in the executives in the luxury suite hostage. With time ticking away and his daughter being kidnapped, Darren has to think and react fast to save the day.

Yes, that is all you need to know about this film. JCVD has fun with the role, making one-liners and homemade weapons during the film while Powers Boothe has a ball chewing up the scenery as the flamboyant bad guy. What really makes this film feel like an 80's movie is that everyone really tries and believes in this film without forcing any of the film upon the audience. The script, dumb as it is, has a basic setup with your basic characters, but executes all the beats needed for this type of film perfectly. This is a fun film, that doesn't need to wink at you and tell you to have fun. It just is.

One final thing that makes this movie stand out: This was filmed during the 1994-1995 NHL lockout. As all the NHL players were not allowed to play hockey, these players were available and add and authenticity of the hockey action seen throughout the film. As a fan of hockey, this added an extra layer of love I have towards this film. This is a highly recommended film for anyone who enjoys fun action films. A perfect representation of an 80's film made in the 90's.

Thank you for reading. I understand my opinion may not match other people's opinions about this topic. This is an opinion piece and if you have any suggestions, feel free to post them.


The Expendables 2

A film by Simon West.

As the tagline states, The Expendables are back and ready for war. And also, they are back to cash their paychecks.

Since the last installment in The Expendables saga, Mickey Rourke is nowhere to be found, and in his place is an Army sniper referred to as Billy The Kid (Liam "Not Chris" Hemsworth). Billy is teamed up with the rest of The Expendables: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Hale Caeser (Terry Crews), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren) and Toll Road (Randy Couture).

After completing their latest mission, Yin decides to step out of the film and Billy informs Barney that he is ready to quit The Expendables and live a normal life with his French girlfriend. Before that can happen, the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) reappears and makes Barney and his team accept a mission to Albania where a plane has crashed with a safe. Barney and his team are to retrieve the contents of the safe and return the items, along with a tag along provided by Church, Maggie (Yu Nan), in pristine condition.

With such a simple job, you know things will never go that smoothly. Before Barney and the team are able to complete the mission, they are interrupted by super villain, Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). The contents of the safe are taken, along with the life of an Expendable. Needless to say, Barney and The Expendables are not happy with this turn of events and will not rest until they stop Vilain and blow up almost all of Europe.

The biggest problem I had with the original Expendables was that the film seemed to take itself way too seriously for a film that was supposed to be fun. The infamous monologue delivered by Mickey Rourke is a sequence that still makes me cringe when I think about it. The first Expendable adventure tried WAY too hard to be a fun 80's film. You cannot purposely make a fun 80's action film. Those things happen by accident (see 1995's Sudden Death starring Jean-Claude Van Damme for proof).

Most of the seriousness of the first film has been taken away, but that has created a new problem. The film is too self-referential now. Some of the most groan-inducing one-liners in the history of film found their way into The Expendables 2. This film finds itself on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to tone. Yes, I do think the violence is harder in this film, but when not blowing limbs off random bad guys, this film's tongue is planted way too firmly into it's cheek.

As bad as it is to say, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Trench seems to suffer the most in this film. Everything out of his mouth is a horrendous one-liner. Now, I love me some cheesy one-liners, but these one-liners are not about the action on film. These are more along the lines of describing the actors. If you don't believe me about the awful, forced one-liners, just wait for the "Yippie-Ki-Yay" one-liner. The way it is used is so forced that you just have to roll your eyes and stop yourself from booing at the screen.

Beyond the one-liners, Randy Couture's Toll Road still continues to serve no purpose in the film. Each character seems to have some quirk, but basically Toll is there to just stand off to the side. Along with Toll, Jet Li makes what should be considered an extended cameo instead of a starring role. Granted the action he does in the film is entertaining, it is just disappointing to see his character randomly leave the film without a proper goodbye. And then there's Chuck Norris' Booker. Well, he's useless. His character has no explanation as he is a "lone wolf" yet appears out of nowhere, disappears and then reappears again. A horrible character who is only there to sell a couple tickets for the people who would be wanting to see Chuck Norris on the big screen again.

And what is it about this franchise and the shoddy CGI? Good God. That and the CGI blood should really be reined in. The classic 80's action films were all about practical effects as it added an extra layer to the film.

I don't want you to feel this will all be negativity, as there were some good things in this film. As with the first one, Dolph Lundgren again is one of the best reasons to see the film. I really believe that Dolph is the only actor who understands what The Expendables films should be. He brings the action but also the fun. Beyond Dolph, Jean-Claude Van Damme is a very welcome addition to The Expendables franchise, even if he is underused. Van Damme brings a giddy menace that the first film was missing. His character wants to destroy the world (what else would a super villain want?) and will do anything to accomplish his mission. Unfortunately, besides his first scene and last scene, he is relegated to just barking out orders as his plan is under way. Overall, though, Van Damme is a good choice and you can tell he really embellished the role.

Overall, I feel this is a slight improvement over the first one. The humor adds to what the first film was lacking. Though with the added emphasis on humor in this film, the constant winking at the camera gets old (like it's stars) very quickly. If they can find a better balance between the action and humor for the inevitable The Expendables 3, that might make the film these guys have been trying for since the first one.




Alright, after two positive reviews it was bound to happen. A film that I did not like. And from the sound of it, I appear to be the only one.

Lonely child, John Bennett wishes that his teddy bear could come to life and be his friend. Surprisingly, this wish comes true over the Christmas holiday. John and Ted stay best friends even as word of Ted's miracle spread. Ted becomes a celebrity, but through it all, Ted remains a true friend to John.

Flash forward to present day, where John and Ted are still friends. They smoke weed together while watching Flash Gordon, even as John's loyal girlfriend Lori feels pushed aside. Lori is understanding of John and Ted's unusual friendship, but as in most films like this, Lori wants her relationship with John to move forward. For their relationship to go to the next level, that means separating John and Ted. The story follows Ted and John trying to separate their friendship and Ted trying to live on his own.

I know I am in the minority here, but most of Ted I did not find funny. I am a fan of Seth Macfarlane, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis but this film just did not pull me in. It was a weird experience watching this film. I went in, really wanted to like it. A few chuckles here and there and then it ended. I walked out not hating the movie, it just did not generate many laughs from me.

This is not to say the film is entirely bad; the performances are fine and the motion capture for Ted is quite seamless. The screenplay is very haphazard and most of the jokes and surprises do not work. The structure of the film is almost as odd as it is predictable. The film follows the basic structure of most romantic comedy films as Lori wants to be married, John doesn't feel they are ready and the two of them deal with this problem until the predictable resolution occurs.

The part of the story that drew the most interest from me is a subplot involving Giovanni Ribisi. This is a hit-and-miss subplot as it is unusual and doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the script. Even more strange about this subplot is that this subplot kicks in once the main plot thread has already been resolved. The Ribisi subplot almost feels like it was forgotten and then they just stuffed it into the end of the script to resolve this plot thread.

Like I said, I appear to be the only one to not like this film. I didn't hate the film, but I think the script really wasted what was a promising idea. The effects in Ted are really well done and everyone in the film really tries their best. Judging by the box office, my review is way off balance. It's just my two cents.


The Campaign

It's election season so that means bring on the election spoofs, documentaries, and political-related films that yield mixed results!

Speaking of mixed results, this particular election film is called The Campaign and stars Will Ferrell (a man who provides the most mixed results in film) as Cam Brady. A four-term congressman in North Carolina's 14th District who has continually run opposed. As he is about to be elected, unopposed, for his fifth term, he is interrupted by Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) who throws his hat into the political ring. Hilarity ensues. (Yes, I went there.)

Anyway, this is a crude, R-rated comedy that mixes raunchy humor with political satire. Marty Huggins is a nice guy who doesn't understand the true game of politics. Cam Brady has been in the political game long enough to understand that your hands will get dirty. After Cam Brady's image is damaged, Glen and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) use their financial power to back Marty Huggins in an attempt to coerce him into office so they can set up Chinese sweatshops in the 14th District and double their already doubled profits. Yeah, I know.

As Marty has never run for office before, the Motch Brothers hire Tim Wattley (Dylan McDermott) as Marty's campaign manager and have him get Marty into political shape. Meanwhile, Cam and his campaign manager Mitch Wilson (Jason Sudeikis) deal with trying to restore Cam's image while destroying Marty's.

What follows are a bunch of hit and miss satire, crude, slapstick or some combination of those types of jokes. As with any Will Ferrell film, some jokes hit and some jokes fall flat. The funniest jokes come when the script wants to go for smart satire. Some of the commercials and interesting ideas like Cam Brady's car and two punching sequences are highlights. When the scripts goes for more lowbrow humor, like creating a sextape, the ideas become almost groan-inducing.

Will Ferrell has played this character before and could probably do it in his sleep. Zach Galifianakis plays Marty as a nice guy who gets caught up in the political game. His arc is probably the most defined as we follow him throughout the film. Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow play the bland, stereotypical bad guys who are there to explain the plot motivations and then disappear until the plot requires them to return while Brian Cox is practically wasted as Marty's father. The standout for me was Dylan McDermott's character of Tim Wattley. His portrayal of a man who will do whatever it takes to ensure his candidate wins was the funniest of the film. The way he has no remorse, especially towards Marty's family was some of the more entertaining stuff in the film.

As I thought this would be, the film was a mixed bag. When the film hit, it did so in some pretty big ways. Unfortunately, wedged in between big laughs, were long periods of silence as the plot advanced and mild chuckles as some jokes landed with a thud. As I always find Will Ferrell films hit and miss, this fits perfectly into that mold. This is no Anchorman, but thankfully, this is also not Kicking and Screaming.