Miss Congeniality 2002
When a threat is issued against the Miss United States beauty pageant an FBI agent must be recruited to go undercover. Enter Sandra Bullock. The only problem is that she is more gutsy than glamorous, more confrontational than charming and most definitely not delicate. She must undergo a transformation to prepare her to enter the surreal world of beauty contests. The makeover artist is played by the always enjoyable and highly versatile Michael Caine, and the banter between the two is wonderful. Benjamin Bratt plays the love interest. There is also a 2005 sequel, but this one is the better of the two offerings.
The Incredibles 2004
This is one of two choices from Pixar that I am featuring this week. The CGI (computer generated imagery) is excellent, but it's the story that really steals the show. Mr. and Mrs. Incredible are living a quiet suburban existence after being forced into retirement by a series of lawsuits launched by the ungrateful public they were trying to help. Bored to distraction, Mr. Incredible is lured by the promise of one last super hero adventure. His wife and three children enter into the fray when he runs into trouble. Great fun.
Galaxy Quest 1999
If you are at all a fan of Star Trek (and I might as well confess right now, that I am a diehard Trekkie) you'll get lots of laughs at the not so subtle references to characters such as Kirk and Spock. And if you are not, there are still plenty of laughs to be had. Eighteen years after their popular show has been cancelled, the cast of 'Galaxy Quest' are still appearing at conventions. Whether trying to relive or live down the experience the group is having difficulty getting on with their lives. When they are presented with an opportunity to actually save a race of aliens they must rally together one last time. With the exception of Tim Allen most of the cast is better known for more serious, dramatic or even villainous roles and they put in some very funny performances. Sigourney Weaver, usually the quintessential alpha female does a great job playing against type. Alan Rickman is a lot of fun to watch and Sam Rockwell (often cast as a miscreant) is wonderful as the whiny and nervous 'unnamed crewman # 6'. This movie is not so much spoof, as homage.
I recently rewatched this, my second Pixar pick, and I was instantly reminded why it is one of my faves. In a parallel world, monsters harness energy from the screams of frightened children to power their city. The two main characters (voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal) work hard at being the #1 scream team; but when a little girl follows them back into their world, all goes very wrong. As with "The Incredibles", the CGI is amazing -- you won't believe how Sulley's fur flows when he walks. And the little girl, Boo, is absolutely adorable. This might be a little intense for younger children, because it does have to do with fear of the monsters in our closet, but it resolves happily and really is worth watching as a family.
The Princess Bride 1988
Missed this one of the many times it's been on television? Take it home with you now and settle in for a very enjoyable movie. There is something for everyone in this offering from Rob Reiner. It has criminal masterminds, gentle giants and dread pirates. There are damsels in distress, dashing heroes and dastardly villains. There is a really outstanding sword fight, and of course, true love.