Tag Archives: Alec Baldwin

JPFmovie reviewer at large TV reviews the biggest box office flop in history: The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

As everyone know we here at JPFmovies love our guest reviewers.  So when TV wanted to take a look at the worst financial investment Holly Wood has ever made who were we to say no?

Over continued bouts of, “where did the 100 million dollars go!” If it weren’t for the badly glued together editing job which encumbers the fact that the acting simply gets worse from one scene to the next.  One might think cameos by Alec Baldwin and John Cleese would help, but served only to further aggravate and annoy the viewer.  One thing is for sure, few movie productions cost $100,000,000.00 (one hundred million dollars) and then sit on a shelf for two years while, assuredly the Studio Castle Rock Entertainment co founders Martin Shafer and Rob Reiner must have yelled “where did the 100 million dollars go!”


By the end of the 21st century, mankind has established itself on the Moon and also established lunar colonies, which have expanded into large cities, such as Moon Beach and Little America. Human cloning is now common, body modification is now.  In 2080, there is a colony on the Moon called Little America. Eddie Murphy plays a retired smuggler called Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy), who just out of prison, buys a nightclub.  Naturally there would be no “Adventures” if Pluto simply retired into that goodnight.  A plot enhancement overlooked by Director Ron Underwood.

After facing down two Moon Mobsters Gino (Burt Young) and Larry (Lillo Brancato), over his friend and previous owner.  Pluto rebuilds the club and establishes it as “Club Pluto.” In the next seven years, Club Pluto is a hit.  In 2087, Pluto is approached by a young woman named Dina Lake (Rosario Dawson), who has become stranded on the Moon and desires to earn some money by which to pay for transport back to Earth to Salt Lake City. Because her father “Nicky Sticks” was a friend of Pluto’s, she seeks help from Pluto, offering her skills as a singer. Pluto instead gives her a job as a server at his club and allows her to remain inside to sleep after closing.


its nightly closure to the public. During the same night, Pluto is roughed up by Mogan (Joe Pantoliano) and Kelp (Victor Varnado), soldiers of a mysterious gangster called Rex Crater. They tell Pluto that Rex wants to buy Club Pluto and convert it into a gambling casino. Pluto has none of it.

In the plot twist that “nobody saw coming” Rex Crater’s soldiers destroy the club. “Fortunately” Pluto, Dina, and Bruno escape.  Having Pluto and Dina simply die in the mob hit was another plot enhancement overlooked by Director Ron Underwood.

With the club in shambles, Pluto decides to investigate Rex Crater, and learns that Rex Crater has never seen outside of a penthouse in the city of Moon Beach, and that he was involved with a genetic engineer called Runa Pendankin, who specialized in human cloning before her mysterious death.

In what has to easily be the most atrocious scene in modern cinematography the viewing audience is subjected to Pluto and Dina’s to the Cosmetic Surgery Store.  Therein the viewing audience is tormented with “jokes” regarding Pluto and Dina’s ever shifting body sizes and looks, potentially theirs for the right price.

Pluto and Dina’s body morph scene that completely eviscerates the hope of a discernible plot.  Pluto and Dina could have had a terrible genetic mutation go wrong and then attack the Moon. That’s another plot enhancement overlooked by Director Ron Underwood.

In their continued investigation Pluto and Dina meet Pluto’s mother Flura Nash (Pam Grier), who comes there, and has robot Bruno recharged in his room. They are then ambushed by Rex Crater’s assassins, who have tracked them to their hotel.

After some suspense with Pam Grier and the introduction of Robot Bruno Pluto and Dina then hijack a limo with a holographic chauffeur named James (John Cleese).  Amazingly, John Cleese was not funny at all in what was supposed to be a zany slapstick scene, simply became another excuse to freshen my drink, this time with a heavy pour of gin.  I was beginning to understand why the British Royal Expeditionary Force issued rum rations before combat.  For Chrissake, there was another half of a movie left to watch.  After a groaned look from J.P., the snoring began and I knew I was in no man’s land alone.  Swig of Gin indeed!

Pluto takes Dina and Robot Bruno to an old refuge outside of the colonies of his from his smuggling days.

At the hideout Pluto searches online for information regarding any Earth criminal with the initials “WZW.” When this yields nothing, Dina suggests that the initials are in fact “MZM,” having been seen upside-down by Mona Zimmer. Pluto searches for “MZM” and discovers a criminal called Michael Zoroaster Marucci (Alec Baldwin). The cameo of Alec Baldwin is perhaps the only watchable minute and a half of this movie. Was this a plot enhancement not overlooked by Director Ron Underwood?

Finally, Pluto suspects that Michael Marucci and Rex Crater are one and the same.  The genius of Pluto Nash and his keen analytical mind are impressive and Pluto and Co. infiltrate Rex Crater’s casino/hotel. Robot Bruno romances a robot slot machine whose lever he accidentally breaks. When Robot Bruno is taken away by security, Pluto sends Dina to pay for the damages and get Bruno out.

Eventually Pluto makes it to the office of Rex Crater.  There Pluto Nash discovers his nemesis, himself.  Pluto Nash has been cloned.

Pluto vs. Pluto-Rex chicanery ensues.  After several painful attempts at witticisms and apparently having forfeited a plot long ago. Pluto Rex kills Mogan and Kelp for their incompetence. Pluto Rex and Pluto then fight while the others are uncertain which is which. Pluto finally defeats Pluto Rex.

The movie ends with the heroes celebrating in the rebuilt Club Pluto with Nash as the owner.

“Where did the 100 million dollars go!”




Posted by on June 12, 2017 in Movie Reviews


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The Hunt For Red October (1990).

The third review in our Cold War trilogy couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.  Unfortunately, a few days ago, at age 66, author Tom Clancy passed away due to a massive heart attack.  By 66 he had written the Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, the Sum of all Fears and others.  Each book was made into a commercially successful film.  Prior to writing The Hunt for Red October, Clancy apparently sold insurance.  Well that was one hell of a first novel, being made into a block buster movie within a couple of years after publication and having a strong cast.


It is also interesting to note that the mutiny portrayed on the Red October was actually based on the mutiny of a Soviet frigate led by the ship’s political commissar, Captain of the Third Rank Valery Sablin, who wished to protest against the rampant corruption of the Leonid Brezhnev era.  Though his aim was to seize the ship and steer it out of the Bay of Riga, to Leningrad and broadcast a nationwide address to the people, not turn the ship over to the enemy.  In the planned address, Sablin was going to say what he believed people publicly wanted to say, but could only be said in private: that communism and the motherland were in danger; the ruling authorities were hip deep in corruption, demagoguery, graft, and lies, leading the country into an abyss; true communism had been discarded; and there was a need to revive the Leninist principles of “justice.”  So while defection was not the ultimate goal of this mutineer, it was the genesis of the Hunt for Red October story.


Back to Red October: in the film Sean Connery plays the Russian Captain Marko Ramius, Sam Neill his executive officer, Alec Baldwin portrays CIA analyst Jack Ryan, James Earl Jones the well-respected Admiral Greere, Fred Thompson the commander of an aircraft carrier fleet and Scott Glen Commander Bart Mancuso, Commanding Officer of the USS Dallas.  This is a pretty heavy cast for a first time novel turned movie—and it is well done I must say.

The movie starts a cold dreary port somewhere in northern Russia with Connery speaking to his executive officer (in Russian) Sam Neill about how cold it is and orders the ship to move on its way to start its mission.  What no one but Soviet officials know is that this particular sub uses a new form of propulsion that is virtually undetectable by conventional sonar means.  It is sort of described as the jet engine of the submarine world.  Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) is called to his boss’ office (James Earls Jones as Admiral Greer) rather quickly as new photographs of the sub had been obtained showing unusual ports alongside of the sub.  Ryan goes out on a limb and suggests that these photographs are evidence of a new propulsion system that would permit the sub to slip through all the US and NATO safeguards tracking traditional submarines.  Alarmed by this potential weakness in US defenses, Greer arranges for an immediate briefing with the President’s national security advisor.  Ryan gives the briefing but isn’t told until the last minute.  After his summation to the powers that be, an NSA representative reveals that a phone call was made from a Russian Admiral (Ramius’ uncle) which resulted in the immediate dispatch of the entire Soviet Northern naval fleet with orders to pursue and hunt down The Red October.

Virtually all military personnel at the meeting immediately conclude that Ramius is a madman loose with 23 nuclear missiles in an undetectable submarine heading towards the coast of the United States.  After a few minutes of deep thinking, Ryan starts laughing and claims “the son of a bitch is going to defect!”

Everyone in the room dismisses his comments, except for the national security advisor who says that he’s “a politician and when he’s not kissing babies he’s stealing their lollipops, but it also means he keeps his options open” and lets Jack explore the possibility of this Soviet defection.


While en route to the United States Ramius tells his men that in order to motivate them, much like Cortez did when he had his men burn his ships upon landing, he sent a letter to the powers that be that they intended to defect with the ship.  Soon Soviet forces are dropping sonar buoys, torpedoes and other weapons at the Red October, scaring the crew who are unaware of his plans and begin to think something is very very wrong.


Ramius’ concerns are not the Soviets though but the Americans.  He is afraid that if they encounter some “buckaroo” a/k/a cowboy all will be lost.  Enter Jack Ryan, who is convinced that Ramius is ready to defect, the only problem is that the Capitan Bart Mancuso, Commanding Officer of the USS Dallas has already received his orders to destroy the Red October.  Ryan convinves him that he knows Ramius so well that he predicted which way the Red October would pull a “crazy Ivan” to clear its baffles.  Mancuso then ups his periscope to communicate with Ramius directly, but is worried that his Morse code is so rusty that he might be transmitting the “[playboy] playmate of the month’s measurements.” Stunned that the Americans have guessed his plan to defect, both subs move towards a very deep part of the ocean where no wreckage could be found in case they have to fake the Red October’s destruction.


There is one wrinkle; that is, one of Ramius’s former students Tupolev has been hot on his tail and begins to torpedo the Red October.  After missing his first chance because the safety mechanisms were on, his second shot is with torpedoes with no safeties.  Enter USS Dallas that in a daring move is somehow able to divert the torpedoes into chasing it rather than the Red October and circles around ultimately leading the torpedoes back to their original shooter and destroying the ship.


The game is not over yet though as there is a KGB agent on board disguised as a cook’s assistant who is trying to hotwire one of the nuclear missiles to destroy the Red October before she falls into enemy hands.  Ryan is sent in to kill him but not before Ramius delivers a great line warning him to be careful what he shoots at because there are nuclear missiles in there.  Naturally Ryan takes care of business and fools the Russians into thinking that the Red October has been destroyed.


Yes I know this has been a long review, but this is an action packed thriller.  Its great cast and the film’s central fear of superpowers engaging in nuclear war, while seemingly quaint in light of today’s more insidious terrorist threats, has added resonance given recent revelations about the USSR’s Cold War designs to annihilate us.  Politics aside, however, The Hunt for Red October is a thrilling edge-of-your-seat trifle that has admirably withstood the test of time.  The film personifies the very real fears of the cold war era, but places itself outside of the dour the Spy Who Came in From Out of the Cold and the somewhat campy Ice Station Zebra.  Proof of its resilience is seen in a 96% Rotten Tomato’s rating and the film that in my opinion all future Clancy novels-turned movies are judged against.


This film makes for excellent comfort viewing, hearkening back to an era when all that was American was right and just, Reagan was the father we could look up to, and only a Communist would dare question the inherent gift that God had given to America to rule the earth.  All cinema has its agenda, and this film made little secret of it.  The Cold War must go on, and justify those enormous ‘defense’ budgets, promote the ideology of the good guy.  Though the Bush revolution has had its share of films attempting to pick up where this tradition had left off, they were largely miserable failures, insufficiently blinded by ideology. The days of the 80′s action hero are quite dead.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Movie Reviews


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The Cold War–A Tribute.

I was watching my step daughter’s history documentary list for school and one of the last videos supposedly documents the Cold War.  Then it hit me.  Both she and her younger sister have no idea what living during the cold was like.  In fact, my ten year old even asked” “Why would anyone have an iron curtain?”

So our next tribute (which as you know is always three movies) is dedicated to films representing or otherwise try to capture the tension of the cold war.  Our first film, Ice Station Zebra (1968) is a classic staring (among others) Rock Hudson, Earnest Borgnine and Jim Brown.  One little known fact about this movie is that one of my hero’s (before he went off the deep end) the great pilot Howard Hughes was said to have watched the film on a continuous loop over 150 times in one sitting.

Our second movie in The Cold War tribute is The Spy Who Came in Out of the Cold (1965) starring Richard Burton and is about a British Spy who is stuck in East Germany,

The third and final tribute to the Cold War is The Hunt For Red October (1990) starring Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Fred Thompson, James Earl Jones and Sam Neill.  The formidable cast in the film makes it a great movie to watch and is even relatively clean for the kids.

So there you have it.  Our tribute to the Cold War—watch for the pending reviews.


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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Movie Reviews


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As you know we reviewed Glen Garry Glen Ross some time ago. Now here is a little Glen Garry Christmas for all you movie fans.

As you know we reviewed Glen Garry-Glen Ross and thought that Alec Baldwin should have won an academy award for his “motivational” speech to the seedy salesmen.  Well now here is a little something for the holidays–enjoy.   I almost started crying I was laughing so hard.



Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Movie Reviews


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