Guardian of the Movie Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy

Review from Movie Date, weekly segment (Fridays) on NPR’s The Takeaway

Podcasts or live on Fridays on NPR

  • guardiansThe Takeaway’s culture producer Kristen Meinzer and Newsday film critic Rafer Guzman discuss movies, à la Siskell and Ebert, with one GREAT exception


The duo discuss each movie in less than a minute: no long, drawn-out discussions.  In a few seconds we get all the info we need to decide whether to see a movie. 

Plot: Superheroes in space

Bottom Line:

She said (Kristen Meinzer): hates superhero movies and this one has everything that she hates about them: cliches galore, vacuous plot, bad dialog, bad acting.

He said (Rafer Guzman): not a fan of superhero movies, but he would recommend this one. It’s a great ensemble piece that is funny and smart.

Comment: In other words, if you hate superhero movies, stay away. If you are neutral, go see it–it’s a good one. If you like or love superhero movies, then, baby, this one’s for you!

Note: It is garnering rave reviews.


Brendan Gleeson
The great, ubiquitous Brendan Gleeson (the priest here, but also the one-eyed pirate character in the Harry Potter series.)

Review by Kirk Honeycutt, former  chief critic of the Hollywood Reporter

Plot: A whodunit, prequel version: in the confessional box, a parishioner tells Father Lavelle, (his priest, played by Brendan Gleeson) that he’s going to kill him and gives the priest one week to get his things in order. Father Lavelle recognizes the voice as that of one of his parishioners, but doesn’t know which one.

The priest talks to his parishioners, one at a time. Honeycutt describes them this way: “Each and every parishioner is a flamboyant figure of comic dysfunction, nihilism or misanthropy.”

Bottom Line: It’s a dud. Flat characters are caricatures whose ailments and conditions we are suppose to take seriously.

Comment: This review is organized effectively: rather than starting out with the plot of the movie, Honeycutt begins with his chief criticism–the characters–and then explains the plot. This works well because the the characters are the backbone of the movie.

However, this sardonic, cynical review comes off as arrogant.

Note: Honeycutt’s opinion seems to be an exception–most reviewers like this movie.

Movie sounds much better when you read my fellow blogger‘s review, where he describes the main theme of the film:

Will Father Lavelle die for our sins?

4 Minute Mile (Dallas Fort-Worth news and entertainment site, one of the the networks owned by


The great, ubiquitous Richard Jenkins (plays the coach)
The great Richard Jenkins (plays the coach)

Review by Cary Darling

Spoilers:  Too many! It gives away the problems, tragedies, troubles, etc that the two leads have had in their lives. It sounds like this may be one of these movies where you gradually learn what lurks beneath the anger of these characters. If that is the case, then the Darling’s review, as my mother would say, is N.G. (Not Good).

Plot: High school track star (played by Kelly Blatz) has anger management problems, due to major troubles at home in a “run-down neighborhood.” After a fight with a teammate, he quits the track and field team. Along comes a former track coach (the great, ubiquitous actor, Richard Jenkins), who has anger issues and drinks too much. Can the coach find redemption by helping the kid? Can the kid find redemption from the help from the coach? Can we find redemption by watching this low-budget indie?

Bottom Line: Thumbs up. It avoids “slip[ping] into cliches so easily…it’s a moving, if occasionally heavy-handed, sports drama that deserves a wider audience than it is probably going to find in its limited release.”

On a personal level, I really want to see the first two movies (yes, I love superhero movies). The third one–I’d watch on Netflix.


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