Tag Archives: Juliette Lewis


Convinced that her brother, Kenneth (Sam Rockwell), has been unjustly convicted of murder and incompetently defended by court-ordered attorneys, high school dropout Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) puts herself through law school in order to represent him in his appeal. Inspired by a true story, director Tony Goldwyn’s stirring drama also stars Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher and Clea DuVall.

Rating: 8 out of 10

This is the kind of story that is too good for a writer to make up. I loved the idea of a sister being hell-bound to prove the innocence of her brother after he was sentenced to life in prison.

The director, Tony Goldwyn, weaves a nice story, telling both the back story of the brother, the sister, and their childhood. We also get the narrative of the present, as the sister uncovers the mystery of proving her brother’s innocence. I was glued to the story and never bored. It never felt long or drawn out, despite the many legal hurdles they the siblings face throughout.

The performances in this film are excellent. Rockwell and Swank deliver memorable roles. This is a really well made film that didn’t get a lot of love. It should have.

Due Date

Days before his pregnant wife’s due date, Los Angeles architect Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) is about to fly home from Atlanta when a series of unfortunate incidents land him on the “no-fly” list, forcing him to hitch a ride across the country with slacker Ethan (Zach Galifianakis). As Peter desperately tries to get home, he must deal with Ethan’s laid-back attitude, numerous delays and several mishaps in this road trip comedy. Jamie Foxx co-stars.

Rating: 4 out of 10

I soooo wanted this to be good. A buddy comedy with RDJ, Zach Galifianakis, and that cute dog. It should be funny right? It’s not. Not enough at least.

The odd couple works but the story gets too serious and the mishaps are too out there. The two strangers get thrown off a plane together and are forced to travel together in a rental car from Atlanta to Los Angles. RDJ is in a rush because his wife is about to give birth (that’s where the due date comes in). Along the way they (mostly RDJ) are shot, drink the ashes of Galifinakis’ dead father, are in a way-too-serious car accident, and get detained at the Mexican border.

I usually hate movies that are made up of a bunch of misunderstandings, when each one is more ridiculous then the next. And, this is a perfect example of all of that. It’s a big mess and annoying to watch. It’s too bad but this story was better the first time when it was called “Planes Trains and Automobiles.” Hollywood needs to stop remaking the classics.

Whip It

Escaping the beauty pagent plan of her smothering mother (Marcia Gay Harden), small-town Texas teen Bliss (Ellen Page) joins an all-girl roller derby team in Austin and begins living a thrilling double life as Babe Ruthless. Drew Barrymore makes her directorial debut and plays fellow teammate Smashley Simpson in this coming-of-age tale. Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Eve and Jimmy Fallon co-star.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Grrrrrrllll power!

I love roller derby, not because of the sport or the sex appeal, but because of the empowerment and bond the women share. If you’ve ever known a roller derby chick, they’re very cool, fun people and are a close-knit bunch. While this is a fantasy version of that world, Barrymore delivers a nice movie with a simple message that girls can go after their dreams, make friends, get the boy they always wanted, find success and be someone that matters.

Of course, these themes are also the movie’s downfall. It was hard not to gag a little from the overpowering sweetness, but the movie has enough charm from Page and the supporting cast to make it worthwhile. Lewis is always solid, and Wiig and Fallon are funny people I enjoy seeing on the screen. Harden is very sharp as the overbearing, Texas mother who hides her smoking habit and never looks anything but her best.

Barrymore made a sharp, visually appealing movie with a fun cast, great soundtrack and likable characters. It was a little sappy for my taste, but a fun movie nonetheless.

Top 5 underrated actresses


This list is in response to my brother’s Top 5 underrated actors he posted last week. Again, our definition isn’t limited to actresses and actors who aren’t famous. I’m putting the spotlight on five women who are often overlooked in the conversation of who the best actresses working today are.

5. Catherine Keener has been very good in a ton of supporting roles and a handful of leading roles. She was nominated for best supporting Oscars for Being John Malkovich and Capote. Her career didn’t quite take off until the late 90s, but since then she’s had a string of good movies such as Your Friends & Neighbors, Death to Smoochy, The Interpreter, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Friends with Money, Into the Wild, Where the Wild Things Are, The Soloist, An American Crime and Cyrus. Most of these movies are very good, but even when they’re not, like The Soloist, her performances are very strong. I could see her winning an Oscar while she’s in her prime.

Keener in An American Crime, where she plays a deranged woman who tortures a young girl. This is a disturbing scene:

4. Juliette Lewis is a bad ass. On top of always being great in movies — she was nominated for an Oscar for Cape Fear — she also fronts the rock band Juliette and The Licks.  I always find her enjoyable to watch, even though she can be very intense. Again, Lewis is usually in supporting roles in films like Whip It, Natural Born Killers, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, From Dusk Til Dawn, or The Basketball Diaries. But she is also excellent when she takes on a leading role in a film such as My Louisiana Sky. She a triple threat in comedy, drama and music. She’s got loads of talent and she’s not afraid to take chances. She’s my kind of gal.

Lewis from a scene from her Academy Award-nominated role in Cape Fear

3. Sigourney Weaver has been nominated for three Oscars, two Emmys, and six Golden Globes. She won Golden Globes for best supporting actress in Working Girl and best actress for Gorillas in the Myst in the same year. She was nominated for a best actress Oscar for the iconic sci-fi film Aliens, which is saying a lot because the Academy rarely nominates anything that has to do with science-fiction. If they do, it’s usually for special effects and not acting. She’s chosen a huge swath of characters to play, from an autistic woman in Snow Cake, a cellist possessed by a demon in Ghostbusters or an activist scientist in the highest grossing film of all time, Avatar. There are few actresses willing to take the chances Weaver has, and her career has shined because of it.

Weaver in a scene from Snow Cake where she plays an autistic woman

2. Catherine O’Hara is always good, even if it’s a bad movie. She’s hilarious but has proven she can take on dramatic roles in films like A Mighty Wind (she performed on the Oscar nominated song from the movie) and The Life Before This. She’s been in a ton of hilarious roles in films like Beetle Juice, Heartburn, Best in Show (for which she won an American Comedy Award), Dick Tracy, Home Alone and Waiting for Guffman. She’s also done some great television, such as HBO’s Six Feet under and won an Emmy for SCTV. Comedic actors don’t get enough love, and they should. It’s hard to be funny and O’Hara is one of the funniest actresses who gives consistently good performances and always makes me laugh.

O’Hara in Best in Show

1. Ellen Burstyn is my number one. I know it may seem silly to have her as the most underrated actress when she’s been nominated six times for an Oscar and won once for Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. But Burstyn’s brilliant performance in Requiem for a Dream lost to Julia Roberts, who was the darling pick for Erin Brockovich. That is the definition of underrated. When was the last time you heard someone mention her among the best actresses? Or who was the last person you heard say, “Ellen Burstyn is my favorite actress.” She’s been in more than 125 roles as an actress, including classics like The Exorcist, The Last Picture Show, The People Vs. Jean Harris, Requiem for a Dream, and has had a fantastic recurring role on the HBO series Big Love. Aside from Requiem for a Dream and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, she was also nominated for best actress in Resurrection, Same Time, Next Year, The Exorcist, and for best supporting actress in The Last Picture Show and won an Emmy for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for a guest role. Burstyn has a natural strength about her with a genuine vulnerability and has a fantastic delivery of any part she plays. She never mails in a role.

Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

I couldn’t embed this video, but click on the link and watch this scene from Requiem for a Dream. Hard to believe she lost to Julia Roberts