Movie Review: the Equalizer

Let me be honest. I’m a sucker for movies in which one person is smarter than everyone else. The first time I recognized my weakness was in a movie called Hopscotch with Walter Matthau. Let’s just say not only was that not even close to Walter Matthau’s best role, nobody else watched the movie but me. In spite of this, I loved it.

If you’re looking for romantic comedy or a movie that’s going to change your life, The Equalizer is not it. The Equalizer is an action movie like any of the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone movies. These movies are clichéd. The bad guys are really, really bad. There are the good guys and then there are those innocent bystanders who stand around somewhat befuddled in the middle.

The two things that make this movie different from other action movies are Denzel Washington and Antonie Fuqua. Antonie Fuqua was also the director of Training Day. In my opinion, the direction of this movie was masterful. The movie was dark when it needed to be. It was fast-paced when it needed to be. It was also very stylized when it needed to be.

Denzel Washington is simply an actor at the top of his craft. We’ve seen this in Anthony Hopkins, Harrison Ford, Samuel L Jackson, Clint Eastwood and a few others. A real actor can suck you into the character even when the rest of the story is only so-so. Denzel Washington makes this guy believable. By the end of the movie, you wouldn’t be surprised if you walked into a Lowe’s or a Home Depot and found a mild-mannered stock boy who is really a highly trained CIA assassin.

In order to enjoy this movie, you have to sit back and relax. It takes a little while to unfold. Once the movie begins to unfold, you’re going to have to excuse the overused clichés. The good news is that this movie did not fall for the ridiculously stupid one-liners that we see in all of the Schwarzenegger movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is somehow able to pull off these one-liners almost nobody else can. Denzel Washington has one of those lines and it works fabulously.

Then there is the cliché in which the bad guys are moving in to capture or kill our hero. They’re coming closer and closer. The suspense is growing bigger and bigger. Suddenly, we find out that our hero is not exactly where we thought he was. I gave the director a pass in spite of using this plot element not once but twice in the movie.

Finally, in all of these movies, you have a problem with the bad guys. How real do you want the bad guys to be? Maybe they should be so bad that they’re over the top and bigger than life? Or they could be just a little bit bad and become more realistic. I don’t know what the right answer is. The bad guys in this movie are basically Russian mobsters. This breaks from the recent trend in which everybody has to be an Islamic terrorist. So, I don’t have a problem these Russian mobsters. They are bad. They have no redeeming qualities.

This is a nice movie that came out in the fall because I don’t think it could’ve stood up to the summer blockbusters. All that being said, I think this movie is worth sitting down and enjoying. It’s clearly worth the price of admission. Sit back and enjoy.

Ryder Cup

I feel like I have to write something about the Ryder Cup because I’m a golf fan. Well, it was ugly. It was just as expected. The Americans were expected to lose and we lost. We simply were not as strong throughout our line up. We needed Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley to step up. Although Rickie Fowler played pretty well, the rest of the line up played average. The exception to this mediocre play was Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. I really think that Fowler is a hair’s breath away from being truly great.

On the other hand, the Europeans got great performances from some of the guys we really didn’t expect to hit it out of the park. Jamie Donaldson played GREAT. Dubuisson played outstanding. He was steady and focused. World number 1 Rory McIlroy started off in a funk but played his way out of it. By Sunday, he was putting lights out. The biggest surprise was Justin Rose. He was great. He kept making shot after shot and putt after putt. It isn’t that Rose can’t play great. He can and he has. He seems to fall short in the Majors. He plays steady golf. He never seems to blow you away in a normal PGA format but in the Ryder Cup he was fabulous.

So, the Americans go home once again licking out wounds. I don’t know what the Americans could do better. I do think that there were a couple who should have been there but weren’t. The biggest name was Billy Horschel. He was playing the best golf in the world over the past month or so but he peaked too late for the Ryder Cup. I think that his passion and fire would have been great for the Americans who all looked a little flat. I also wonder from Brandt Snedeker would have been a better pick than Webb Simpson. Finally, Gary Woodland is an interesting player who was been solid all year. His game is really coming around. He could always bomb it off the

NFL: Finally a good week

Michael Crabtree grab

Sunday afternoon, I was going to write a post asking the NFL to stop putting the Dallas Cowboys on prime time. They don’t deserve it. They have played from awful to mediocre for several years. Then the Cowboys came out and absolutely played the best game that I have seen in years. They spanked the New Orleans Saints. This was the same team that embarrassed the Cowboys last year by racking up 40 first downs, a NFL record.

Tonight the always great New England Patriots did what they have never done during the Brady era. They laid an egg on national television. The Kansas City Chiefs ran and passed their way to a rout. They smacked the New England Patriots. Jamal Charles and Knile Davis ran inside and outside and all over the Patriots. Alex Smith had time in the pocket and he looked sharp. It was a very impressive performance. Then, to add to the problems that the Patriots were facing, the Chiefs showed up with a defense. They pressured Brady into some bad decisions and plenty of turnovers. It was a great night if you hate the Patriots or like to see someone else win every once in a while.

The marquee game of the weekend was the San Francisco 49ers verses the Philadelphia Eagles. Let me start by saying that I don’t like the Eagles. To me, a great Cowboys season always includes beating the Eagles; not once, but twice. This was an entertaining game from start to finish. The Eagles high flying, smoke and mirrors offense was grounded by a strong and fast 49ers defense. It is unclear where this defense has been all year, but it sure showed up on Sunday. The Eagles stayed in the game with defense and special teams touchdowns. The 49ers offense made enough plays to snag the win.

For the first time in weeks, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy was not the focus of the NFL. Adrian Peterson wasn’t the focus of a Minnesota Vikings team that figured out how to play offense and defense without their best player being on the field. They won against an Atlanta Falcons team. Nobody could figure out with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and he looked very good.

This was a good week for the NFL.