February 8, 2013 in Random Thoughts
My dad is a movie lover of epic proportions. He’s also obsessive, so he has a list cataloguing every movie he’s ever seen in his life. As a retired librarian, his list is nicely arranged in alphabetical order with asterisks noting the ones he’s seen in Blu-Ray and special notations for the IMAX films. A conservative estimate of the number of movies he’s seen in his life? 4400.
My sister loves movies just as much as my dad, and has her own list going. I love movies too—although I don’t keep a list, which is probably a good thing. Since I tend to watch the same movie over and over again, my list of movies would probably amount to 20 original movies watched over 1000 times. Re-watching movies, by the way, is something my dad never does.
Is it any wonder that as we sit holed up in my dad’s home together, we wind down our evenings by watching a movie?
There is a whole stack of movies to choose from brought to us by Blockbuster and Netflix. For some reason, both my sister and I latched on to Tower Heist, a 2011 release starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. With those two, it was guaranteed to be funny, and with a name like Tower Heist, suspense was bound to be involved. The only problem? My dad had already seen it.
“That’s ok,” we convinced him. “You’ve been falling asleep through all the other movies we’ve watched. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already seen it.” It was a small miracle that he let us get away with that.
And so began a perfectly wonderful night of movie viewing.
Tower Heist has an all-star cast. Alan Alda plays a smarmy wealthy businessman who makes off with the pensions of his staff he had promised to invest. When one of the charming staff members attempts to commit suicide after losing his life savings, Ben Stiller’s Josh Kovaks concocts a scheme to get their money back by breaking into Alan Alda’s high-rise penthouse suite and stealing the money he is sure is locked in a hidden safe.
But he can’t do it alone. He enlists the help of the fabulous Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, and Gabourey Sidibe, but there’s just one thing: none of them have ever stolen anything before. They need a real thief to show them the ropes.
Enter Eddie Murphy as Slide, a rubber-faced actor who can make me laugh hysterically with a simple lift of an eyebrow.
This movie has references to movies and TV shows I love: Ocean’s Eleven, The Doberman Gang, Davy and Goliath, and H.R. Pufnstuf. Plus it is set in New York City during the Macy’s Day parade…what is not to love about this movie?
There’s a great plotting scene in Ocean’s Eleven that goes a little something like this:
Saul: I have a question. Say we get into the cage, and through the security doors there and down the elevator we can’t move, and past the guards with the guns, and into the vault we can’t open…
Rusty: Without being seen by the cameras.
Danny: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that.
Saul: Yeah well, say we do all that… uh… we’re just supposed to walk out of there with $150,000,000 in cash on us, without getting stopped?
[pause as everyone turns to look at Danny]
Saul: Oh. Okay.
Tower Heist has a similar scene, but when Ben Stiller begins to talk strategy by showing a photo of the tower lobby, things get segued (I’m paraphrasing liberally!):
“Who’s that hot girl in the red dress?”
“She’s a lesbian.”
“She’s a lesbian?”
The conversation drifts so far from the topic that Michael Pena finally has to ask: “So this robbery basically involves running a gauntlet of lesbians?”
There’s plenty of laugh-out-loud humor, especially between Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, there’s a lot of heart, and there’s even a hint of romance between Ben Stiller and Tea Leoni’s FBI agent.
Best of all, my dad stayed awake for the whole movie and laughed out loud with us, reveling in the shots of NYC, arguably his favorite place in the world, and he didn’t complain once that he had seen the movie before.
It was a really good night with my dad.