Musings From the Bench

musings from the bench-2This week’s edition of Musings will be the review of two movies I recently watched. Both were from Netflix; one a DVD and the other streaming. First up is Oldboy, the one I streamed. This film was written by Mark Protosevich, directed by Spike Lee and came out in 2013. It stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen (sister of the twins) and Samuel L. Jackson. The other actors names were not familiar to me so I won’t be listing them here. It’s rated R and plays for 2 hours 49 minutes. The write up from Netflix states: After being unaccountably held captive for years, Joe Doucett is suddenly released. Now, his only mission is to hunt down and punish his captors.

In 1993, Joe Doucett is an advertising executive who drinks to excess, likes to hit on women…even if they’re in a relationship with someone else. He’s the divorced father of a 3-year old girl but rarely sees her. The day of his daughter’s birthday, Joe has an arguOldboy_2013_film_posterment over the phone with his ex about seeing his daughter, Mia, on her birthday. He has a few drinks, goes to work and is told by his boss there’s a dinner meeting that night with a big client and Joe is to close the deal. Joe meets with the client who attends the meeting with his girlfriend/accounts executive and the deal is sealed. The client excuses himself from the table to attend to matters in the bathroom leaving his girlfriend alone at the table with Joe. Joe then tries to get the woman to have a one night stand with him and when the client comes back, she tells him what went on while he was gone and the deal is off. Joe then does what he does best and drunkenly makes his way to his friend Chucky’s bar and sees a woman with a yellow umbrella standing behind a table with cheap toys. Thinking of his daughter, Joe buys a rubber ducky for $5. He makes his way across the street trying to get Chucky to let him in but Chucky tells him to leave. It’s at this time Joe is knocked unconscious and the rubber ducky is left on the bar’s doorstep for Chucky to find.

No one knows where Joe is including Joe. His only link to the outside world is the TV in the room he’s locked in. Nor does he know who his captors are or why he was taken. He learns from TV news reports that he is the only suspect in the rape and murder of his ex-wife while he’s been locked up and that his daughter has been adopted by others. His focus now is solely on escape and revenge on his captors.

It’s 20 years later, Joe comes to in a trunk-like box in the middle of a field. He opens the trunk, looks around, sees the woman with the yellow umbrella and follows her. His quest for revenge has begun.

I’ve never seen a Spike Lee movie so I don’t know if this film is a good example ofSamuel-L.-Jackson-Oldboy-Hairstyle-2013 his talent or not. There were only two reasons I even watched this movie (but not all the way through), the write up and the fact Samuel L. Jackson was in it. Those of you who follow SLJ know he has a different hair style in every movie he makes and this one was no different. He played the part of Clancy, the man taking orders from the Stranger. And yes, he does say his MF catch phrase. Even though he played a bad guy I still enjoyed his performance.

However, this was not my kind of movie. It was too violent, too dark and too gritty for me. Once Joe got his revenge and met with the Stranger, things went sideways in such a way that I had to stop the streaming and walk away. Entirely too disturbing, but if you like these kinds of movies check it out for yourself.


Next up is the DVD of Last Vegas.

last vegasLast Vegas was released in 2013, is rated PG-13 and a mere 105 minutes in length. Directed by Jon Turteltaub it stars, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline as “The Flatbush Four”–lifelong friends since grade school. It also stars Mary Steenburgen.

The write up states: Four sixtysomething pals–Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam gather in Las Vegas to celebrate Billy’s nuptials with the intention of running wild for four straight days. But Sin City has gotten a lot crazier than they could’ve ever imagined.

I enjoyed this movie. The four main actors certainly seemed to enjoy each others company and whether that was just acting, it came through the movie as genuine. 

Three of the Flatbush Four had taken the plunge into marriage, two were marywidowers and one still married. Billy believes it’s time he got married and wants his oldest and dearest friends with him when he does so he conference calls Archie and Sam with his plan and they get in touch with Paddy. They all meet up in Vegas and it’s like they’ve never been apart. They may be in their sixties and have all the aches and pains and meds that go with it, but inside they’re still 18.

The humor is infectious. Not that hit-you-over-the-head humor or the quick one-liner type of humor. This was genuine laugh-out-loud humor that you experience when four good friends get together. And that’s what this movie was all about. Four good friends meeting up after a long time and picking up where they left off. Calling each other names, worrying about one another, having each others back when needed. “No one insults us but us.” And working out old hurts and other issues. I sincerely hope Hollywood comes up with another script as good as this one so we can all tag-a-long with The Flatbush Four at their next reunion. If not, I guess we can watch this one again. Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….until it gets posted to youtube.


So how’d I do? Let me know in the comments.


Thanks for reading Musings From the Bench. Until next time.


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About Jane Gray 58 Articles
Born in the '50s, grew up in the '60s, got married in the '70s. Gave birth in the '80s and started collecting social security in 2013. My time is my own and I don't mind sharing my opinions on everything with everybody. I hate injustice, the truth is easier to remember than a lie. I like the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics, the New York Mets, and that English futbol team from Liverpool.


  1. I didn’t like Oldboy. I’m not a big fan of Spike Lee (shocking being from Brooklyn and all) but this isn’t his best by far. I’m partial to Do The Right Thing, but to me his heyday was his late 80’s early 90’s works.

  2. I checked online to get the write up of the rest of Oldboy, you know, to find out what I missed without having to see it and I’m glad I stopped watching when I did. I also read a lot of comments about Oldboy being a remake of a Japanese or Chinese movie. Some folks said this wasn’t a remake because the original was so much better and others who said Spike Lee didn’t know how to direct this type of film. Even though I didn’t care for it, the acting was good. They sure had me believing everything.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. “It was too violent, too dark and too gritty for me.” My kind of movie. I’m not a big Spike Lee fan, but this sounds interesting. I actually own Last Vegas, but haven’t watched it. You’re doing a fine job, Jane. I look forward to your Monday “musings.”

  4. Thanks, Hllywd. I hope you do watch ‘Oldboy’ and then let me know what you thought of it. I think you’ll enjoy ‘Last Vegas’. Lots of things we Seniors can relate to.

  5. the Original Oldboy was one of my bucket movies. I’ve got a partial write-up on it, and I needed to watch it before the Spike Lee version to come out.

    I’m so glad I did the Original is Korean, and ONE MESSED UP FILM. But just a great movie.

  6. Here’s what I learned.
    Joe and the Stranger went to the same prep school. Joe saw the Stranger having sex with his own sister and talked to the whole school about it. Years later after Joe is married and has a daughter he gets held captive until his daughter grows up. Joe is released, meets a nurse named Maria and gets help with his wounds. He and Maria develop a friendship that turns sexually intimate. Joe then finds out the Stranger is really Adrian from prep school and that Maria is really Joe’s daughter. At some point after that Joe decides to climb back into the box (trunk) and close the lid.
    I can only assume all those others people being held captive are Joe and Adrian’s classmates and will be destined to meet the same fate as Joe.
    That Adrian was one sick MoFo.

    The fact that Joe’s daughter Mia has blue eyes and Maria has brown eyes was something people commented on in some of the forums.

    Very disturbing movie..

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