Because I have humble Midwest roots, I searched for a film this week that was a true representation of what that means.

There’s a lot out there – so I just watched Over the Top instead.

For those of you who don’t know – Over the Top is all about sweaty man trends…like arm wrestling…and trucks…and parental visitation rights.  This movie really is a triple threat (of things that I really know nothing about…)

What you should know is that Sylvester Stallone plays a deadbeat dad who gets stuck with his kid for a weekend despite needing money and a new truck that helps him avoid things like stability and responsibility.

 His ex wife is dying and insists that he spend some time with his kid, which he begrudgingly does, and then makes grunty arguments with the kid’s wealthy grandfather. Grandpa understandably hires people to kidnap the kid.

When you’re learning how to be a father and struggling to build a dream, that usually costs money. Thankfully, there’s a arm wrestling competition – winner gets $100,000 AND a brand new truck.  Its a big enough deal where there’s a hefty prize, but niche enough to ensure truckers flock from everywhere to join.

I’d also like to point out Stallone’s affinity for girl cut scoop neck shirts. Flattering and gives just the right amount of edge.

Over the Top is an experiment in the Stallone Acting Method – behind those eyes, its all seriousness. Even if there’s something lighthearted going on – he’s like an animal watching his prey.  DO NOT GET IN THE WAY OF HIS EMOTING.

Even when he’s making bad parenting choices (like putting your underage son behind the wheel of a large, unwieldy truck), he’s all business under those dark brown eyes.

Here we have the kid’s grandfather as the main villain of our story. According to him, Stallone is an unfit father because he hasn’t been around until now when his ex wife made him, he’s not financially stable and he’s only going to drag him to a arm wrestling tournament.

Solid reasoning so far.

You can also tell his classic ’80s villain – rich white guy, red faced yelling about business in his crisp white shirt. This is a standard if you’re playing 80s Movie Bingo.

Here we have emerging Father of Year, shoving his child into hand to hand combat. Grandpa is so close minded.

Fell the moist Stallone rage. Just staring at you through your soul and your white Brooks Brother shirt. Take that corporate paternal greed!

Lets talk about what’s important, which is the actual arm wrestling competition.

Most of the participants are giant slabs of man pecs on legs. Some of them understand the point of wearing a shirt. Some don’t.

And then some of the guys are just your dad who got super bulked up just for this.

There was this moment where Valvoline got an unexpected product placement opportunity. Note to readers – drinking motor oil will not help you in athletics or really any endeavor that you pursue. This man probably collapsed within minutes of shooting this scene.

“Where’s your Valvoline now?”

Brace yourself for Stallone’s  “Straining for Victory” Face…




 And in case this movie wasn’t enough for you to feel good about yourself and your own life decisions, you can always play Over the Top: The Home Game

My hat is now officially on backwards.

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THE LIAM NEESON EDITION – The Other Man (2008)




This week, Liam Neeson returns to our screens and our hearts to shout at people, wave guns and solve seemingly impossible mysteries.  Given his track record of high level excitement (Taken, anyone? That time he trained Batman, then almost destroyed Gotham? He released the Kraken!), I figured there had to be some other unknown gem of octane in the many folds of Netflix.

Liam once took down a Mexican cartel for pulling out daisies from his front lawn.

Here’s the plot quoted from iMDb:

“In this taut thriller, a software engineer Peter (Liam Neeson) and the shoe designer Lisa are successful in their careers and have been happily married for twenty-five years. When Lisa is gone, Peter finds a message in her cellular and decides to snoop her e-mails and discovers in a secret folder named Love that she had a lover, Ralph. Peter travels to Milano and stalks Ralph; he finds that the man plays chess in a bar”

A taut thriller involving shoe design, international travel and games of chess? Batten down the hatches ’cause its Neeson Season!


We open with a fashion show. This movie is going to be like Sudden Death…but with fashion.

You can tell, Liam’s a caring family man and will take this whole place apart if anything gets threatened. Just a matter of time for this story to actually begin….




…we have Liam doing some light housecleaning…




…we see him hold on to Laura Linney….

…and we see him checking email.

You can’t accuse this movie of not being action packed. If your actions are limited to frittering away an afternoon. Which Liam does a lot in this movie. I’m sure the movie told me what he does for a living, I just never saw it.

Liam writes an email letting his wife’s paramour know that she’s no longer at this email address. Liam does not know that emails are not like houses. You simply do not move away and let someone else move in to it.
Its pretty disappointing to learn that he doesn’t know how email works.
Skip ahead to the story where he goes to Milan to confront the man his wife, Laura Linney is cheating on with.  Let the chase and heartpounding action begin!

I’ve never been to Milan, but I’ve heard its a big city. Liam goes from Somewhere, UK to Milan in a day and automatically finds Antonio Banderas crossing the street.

Yep, this was the chase of the movie – a casual mosey across the street.


And then the two rivals meet and battle it out over chess….
The rest of the movie is a game of chess. Strap in, and forget the airplane. Because THIS is the non stop action you were looking for.
And flashbacks. Lots of flashbacks.
Like, remember the time she made this face at you when you were telling her an anecdote of what you did with your day?

This might have been your first clue that she was moving on to someone else.

Someone who enjoys tranquil boat rides for example.

And that time Liam Neeson read a  explicit email from Antonio to his wife…to his daughter. Because this is how fathers and daughters bond?

Frankly, why isn’t Antonio Banderas the action hero in this? He at least goes outside.

They like taking creepy pictures together.

Remember that time when you just whispered vague emotional promises to each other and it was kind of dull? That’s how I remembered it anyway.

Needless to say, the chess game doesn’t go well. Antonio wins and in the first bit of action after about an hour, Liam throws the board on the floor in a fit of rage.

And then they take a walk together.

Because this is what men do? Seriously, I’m asking.

After some more heartpounding chit chat, Liam sets off to go home, but his daughter has followed him here.

See that face? That’s his “I’m going to get $%# done” face. Which is usually followed by action of some sort…

Nope. Just moves directly into his exhausted “Emotional processing” face.

In the end, people were let go, people moved on, and Liam found a new bravery in moving on to a different part of the house to check emails and sort laundry. And Laura Linney moved on from this:

Which has to be by far, the creepiest picture you could ever take of someone. Liam would never do that to you.

NEVER. Because he will shut that DOWN.