PCR past banners
Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #420 (Vol. 9, No. 15) This edition is for the week of April 7--13, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Leatherheads"  by Mike Smith
Charlton Heston – The Sci-Fi Years  by ED Tucker
Guest Editorial: Sports Talk  by Chris Munger
Charlton Heston Rip .... Planet Of The Apes Dvd Set .... Moh Updates .... New Top Ten  by Matt Drinnenberg
Welcome To The New Guy .... Rock Chalk Jayhawk .... Darwin Award Nominee .... Tripping The Light Fandango .... Count Da-money .... Heston .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1976 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2008
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

Starring: George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski and Jonathan Pryce
Directed by: George Clooney
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 54 mins

While watching one of the special features on the DVD of “Bugsy” the other day, I was caught by a comment by screenwriter James Toback. He said that at the time the film was made, Warren Beatty was the ONLY person who could have pulled off the role. What struck me about the comment was that it was true. As long as there have been movie stars, very few of them, male or female, really had the range to do it all successfully. Clark Gable. Jimmy Stewart. Cary Grant. Gary Cooper. Paul Newman. Pretty much a short list of actors who had the ability to make everything they did believable, be it comedy or drama. Warren Beatty is also on this list, but he has achieved as much acclaim behind the camera as he has in front of it. With “Leatherheads” it’s time to add George Clooney to the list.

The time is 1925. At Princeton University, 100,000 fans are screaming during a college football game. The team is led by star player Carter “The Bullet” Rutherford (Krasinski). After another great game, Rutherford is interviewed for radio, the question being what he plans to do after college. After suggesting a few ideas one of the reporters replies, “you could always go pro.” After a brief pause, the whole group breaks out in laughter. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, team captain Jimmy “Dodge” Connelly and his Duluth Bulldogs are playing football before a crowd of dozens. The pro game is so unpopular and bankrupt that when the game ball is stolen by a fan the Bulldogs have to forfeit because the team only owned one ball. When word gets out that Carter won the Medal of Honor during World War II for having made an entire enemy platoon surrender, he is suddenly on every magazine cover in the country. And when he’s not on the covers, he’s on the pages inside, hawking everything from toothpaste to soda pop. Understanding the power of marketing, Dodge convinces Carter to leave school and go pro, turning the hapless Bulldogs into a team with a following. Enter Chicago Tribune reporter Lexie Littleton (Zellwegger), whose assignment includes checking out a rumor that Carter was never a war hero. The lovely Lexie soon gains the attention of both men, resulting in a love triangle of comic proportions.

In his third film as director, Clooney has taken us back to the films he enjoyed as a child, the classic romantic comedies of Preston Sturgess and Frank Capra. The one liners flow like wine as Carter, Dodge and Lexie begin to wonder aloud why they feel the need to resist the others’ charms. And like watching Gable and Lombard or Tracy and Hepburn, the words gather momentum between them like a high class tennis match. The period detail is perfect, with Clooney paying the same attention here as he did with “Good Night and Good Luck.” The three leads are spot on, with Krasinski the big winner in his breakout role away from television’s “The Office.” The supporting players are just as entertaining, with each player getting his own personality and allowing it to shine. The only drawback is that it may seem too “slow” to some viewers who may not appreciate the leisurely way Clooney tells the story. Other than that, with baseball now in full swing, here’s one more glimpse at football before fall. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “Leatherheads”

This week's movie review of "Leatherheads" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.