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PCR #432 (Vol. 9, No. 27) This edition is for the week of June 30--July 6, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Hancock"  by Mike Smith
Saturday Morning Fever: CBS 1974  by ED Tucker
Base Balls In ‘bama .... No More Big Paydays? .... Aaron Rodgers: Cocky Or Clueless? .... Tampa Sports On The Rise .... Orlando Falls To Cleveland .... Seattle Sonics Move To Oklahoma .... Favre Saga Continues .... My Apologies
Special Supplement: Gruden vs Dungy   by Chris Munger
Shock Theater Classics!! .... Riverdays Is Upon Us!! .... Masters Of Horror Update ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
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Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman
Directed by:  Peter Berg
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 32 mins

There is always something interesting about a flawed hero. Especially a super hero. One of my favorite “flawed hero” moments occurs in “Superman III,” when the “bad” Superman walks into a bar, gets drunk and then begins flicking peanuts off the bar, destroying everything in sight. Notice I said “bad” Superman. The filmmakers made sure that distinction was made so the audience could be assured that eventually “good” Superman would return. After all, nobody would love a super hero that was rude and drunk all the time. Would they?

Los Angeles. A robbery gone wrong finds a string of police cars chasing the bad guys at high speeds down the freeway. Miles away, sleeping off a bender on a city bus bench, lies Hancock (Smith), the closest thing to a super hero the city has. After opening a fresh bottle and taking a few belts, Hancock takes off to apprehend the criminals. An estimated $9 million in damages later, he has deposited the getaway vehicle, and its occupants, on top of the Capitol Records building. Meanwhile, across town, Ray Embrey (Bateman), an up and coming public relations specialist, is pitching a pharmaceutical company, hoping to convince them to give away they’re most popular medications as part of a goodwill campaign. On his way home, Ray daydreams in the car and suddenly finds himself trapped between cars on a train track with the engine bearing down on him. Bracing himself for the impact, Ray is surprised to find his car flipped up in the air and out of harm’s way. Hancock has saved him. After giving Ray a “lift” home, Hancock joins Ray, his wife Mary (Theron) and their son, Aaron (Jae Head) for dinner. Ray is quite aware of Hancock’s reputation and, as a way to repay him for his good deed, offers to construct and oversee a complete overhaul of Hancock’s public persona. But it’s not going to be easy.

It’s no secret that Will Smith owns the 4th of July weekend at the movies. Heck, he owns every weekend at the movies. Since 1996’s “Independence Day,” 11 of the 13 films he has done has grossed in excess of $100 million in the US alone. The two that didn’t, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and “Ali,” still did surprisingly well considering their audience. If I ran a studio, I wouldn’t be in business with Harrison Ford or the Toms (Cruise and Hanks). I’d tell my underlings to get me Will! Well, we have Will in “Hancock,” and once again he doesn’t disappoint. As the surly hero that nobody loves, Smith gives a multidimensional performance, mixing humor and pathos perfectly. Though he longs to hear the cheers of the crowds who gather when he appears, he does nothing to cultivate them, instead using his anger towards them to fuel his self pity. Only later, when he tries some of Ray’s suggestion, does he allow himself to smile and enjoy his talents. The film works best at this point, giving Smith some of his best lines, as well as those around him.

The special effects are outstanding. It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years since “Superman the Movie” promised that “You’ll Believe That A Man Can Fly.” Here Hancock not only flies, he leaps tall buildings and stops bullets, just like you know who. Kids will enjoy his unnecessary destruction of public property when he goes into action. However, parents should also be warned that the film takes a very unexpected dramatic turn towards the end and that Hancock says a few choice words when he gets upset. That being said, “Hancock” is the perfect hero to rescue your holiday weekend.

On a scale of zero to three stars, I give “Hancock”


This week's movie review of "Hancock" 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.