So what is my problem with Opie Cunningham? Why would I take the time to abuse such a beloved American filmmaker? Why am I prejudging Tha Da Vinci Code on anything other than theology? Is there something wrong with me? Everybody loves Opie. He makes wonderfully palatable movies for the entire family. They make us laugh, they make us cry. They make us feel good. We forgot about them immediately.
I agree, a Ron Howard movie is like dining at Applebee's, Chili's or TGIFridays. You know what you are going to get. It is according to plan. Sometimes, as in the case with Applebee's Chicken Fingers, you know it will be pleasing (see Splash, Cocoon). Sometimes, as in the case with TGIFriday's Jack Daniel's Grill it is quite pleasing, unquestionably filling and surprisingly delicious based upon the quality of individual ingredients which overshadow the derivative nature of the product (see Backlash and Cinderella Man- each work because of good acting and story but offer nothing to the genre -Backlash is not really like the life of firefighters and Cinderella Man turns a good man into a evil caricature- Max Bauer). Yes, Apollo 13 is like fajitas. Even an inept chef could not screw it up as long as we have burnt meat, cheese, peppers and guac.
More often than not, if looking for true art, you leave full, but not impressed. Oooh, it was exactly what I expected. Mmmm good, I will not remember this in the morning. Many times it is a disappointment, because the ingredients and picture on the menu leave you thinking, "wow how can this be anything other than perfection?" Then you remember, I am at Chili's. And occasionally you leave so disgusted by the lack of care, the predictability and the horrible ending to an otherwise undistinguished meal (Far and Away) that you need to purge immediately.
Ron Howard is a chain restaurant. There is nothing wrong with that. But, while it is palatable and predictable, even pleasantly surprising, you know it is not going to be dangerous, innovative, or awe inspiring.
So, now you know how I feel about Ron Howard. I do not hate Chili's. I do not hate Ron Howard.
top 10 Ron Howard flicks
1. Apollo 13
4. Cinderella Man
6. Night Shift
7. Willow (hitting bottom)
8. Parenthood (could be on both lists)
9. Grand Theft Auto
10. I am really stretching things and cannot continue
bottom 5 Ron Howard flicks
1. Far and Away
2. Far and Away (so bad it counts as 2 bad movies)
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
5. A Beautiful Mind
(coming soon, Rick compares Ron Howard to the band Bon Jovi, the QB Vinny Testeverde and Miller Genuine Draft).