Brian Dennehy

It’s debatable who the biggest action star of the modern era is. Some say Schwarzenegger. Others say Stallone. Some people even make a claim for Tom Cruise, but chances are they aren’t reading this anyway. With The Expendables 2 hitting theaters this Friday, Sylvester Stallone once again brings together some of the biggest action stars of yesteryear in a massive explosion of a movie. For his determination to keep action alive, Stallone may take the edge on the all-time list. So this week, we’ve decided to go back to the film that started Stallone’s ascent to the throne of the action star. First Blood and its ensuing – and exceedingly violent – sequels were the films that dropped the word “action” in front of the word “star” when talking about the man. We loved seeing him punch people as Rocky, but seeing him blow people away as Rambo was what did it. Let’s hear the man speak for himself, though, and go through all 28 things we learned from the First Blood commentary.

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For those of us who are not predisposed to spend hours of our time spying on birds in a forest, birding aficionados can seem like an awfully strange lot. That’s not to suggest that their hobby isn’t understandable. After all, the satisfaction in finding a rare bird seems similar to the sense of accomplishment one feels upon finishing a difficult puzzle, or upon finally locating Waldo. Still, anyone who’s ever accompanied a birder on his mission knows that once the object of prey is spotted there will be a long, frenzied staring and photographic session, with any slight movement met with enthusiastic “oohs” and “aahs.” If you’re not of the niche birder community, this is an insufferable experience. So it’s hard to fathom why director David Frankel and screenwriter Howard Franklin imagined anyone would be especially entertained by a movie about it.

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There’s something to be said about movies that adamantly refuse to give you whimsical circumstances or endearing characters. There’s something to admire about a movie that refuses to pander to its audience, instead expecting a certain degree of work and a different kind of investment from them entirely. Such is the situation in the indie-family-drama Every Day, the feature writing/directing debut by Nip/Tuck producer Richard Levine. Ned (Liev Schreiber) is a staff writer on a medical melodrama whose cheap theatrics are reminiscent of Grey’s Anatomy, and is growing increasingly sick of the limitations and deep lack of satisfaction experienced in both his personal and professional lives. His wife Jeannie (Helen Hunt, who really needs to be in more movies) has just moved her sick father Ernie (Brian Dennehy) across the country to take care of him at their home, but quickly realizes she is in over her head with the responsibility and the mess. Their openly gay son Jonah (Ezra Miller) is a high school student ready to start dating, but is suffocated by the overbearing paranoia and implicit homophobia of his father. The younger son Ethan (Skyler Fortgang) is suffering from, well it’s never made quite clear – either a dark chronic pessimism or performance perfectionism as a young violin player.

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Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino from Righteous Kill

Die-hard Pacino and De Niro fans will enjoy seeing their favorite actors on the screen, but my suggestion for this movie is to go in with as low of expectations as you can.

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