Just Getting Started

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This movie didn’t screen for the critics. That’s never a good sign. The commercials for it looked awful. Another bad sign. Yet it’s starring two Oscar winners (Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones), that have never been in a movie together. It was written and directed by Ron Shelton, who won an Oscar for Bull Durham. He’s done some of the funniest sports movies — White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup, and the one nobody ever remembers — Best of Times (Robin Williams, Kurt Russell). I forgave him for his bad boxing movie (Play it to the Bone), because he also gave us a good one (The Great White Hype). He did an interesting baseball movie — Cobb, and he brought Tommy Lee Jones to this turkey to team up with Freeman. Perhaps Morgan had so much fun in those goofy films like Bucket List, Red, and Last Vegas…where he gets to play the old dude that’s still got it. In this, he’s constantly horny, or constantly trying to one-up someone in the rec room of a retirement community. Apparently, that’s what makes all the women at the retirement villa swoon.

Those women are written so horribly, it’s an insult to females. It’s crazy to think that this is Glenne Headly’s last film.

When Rene Russo shows up as the corporate boss that needs to find out why Duck Diver (Morgan Freeman, with perhaps the worst character name of his film career) runs the place the way he does, Jones and Freeman vie for her affections. My wife made an interesting observation as we were leaving. She said, “It’s funny how in movies, the guys are always so much older than the women…even when it’s old guys. Instead of them going after women their age, it’s a woman that’s still younger.” [side note: she’s 17 years younger than Freeman]

At least Russo got a plum role a few years ago in Nightcrawlers (of course, she was sleeping with the director; literally — it’s her husband).

Anyway, Shelton hasn’t made a movie since Hollywood Homicide (Harrison Ford) in 2003, and it’s a shame the script he’s giving us is devoid of humor. His idea of a joke is Duke Diver (you never get used to saying it) trying to seduce Headley’s character [who in real life is 18 years younger], only to be surprised that Sheryl Lee Ralph [20 years younger in real life] is having a bubble bath waiting to seduce him in the other room. Oh, and he forgot about that big poker game in which he took $5,000 of the company money, to try and win Tommy Lee’s money.

There’s also another woman he sleeps with — Elizabeth Ashley, who I haven’t seen in over a decade. She’s actually age appropriate, being only two years younger than Freeman in real life.

After a series of unfunny jokes (my wife and I didn’t laugh the entire movie), the film tonally shifts to a story about a hitman trying to kill Duke Diver. We wondered about that early on, after Jane Seymour [14 years younger than Freeman] calls in the hit on her ex-husband.

This movie is so bad, it also wastes the talents of Joe Pantoliano and comedic legend George Wallace. They just stand around rooting Duke Diver on. At least when I heard Pantoliano’s voice say “You’re the Duke” I thought of him yelling that into the phone in one of the best comedies ever made — Midnight Run.

Often times we hear actresses complain there aren’t any good roles for women in Hollywood. This movie is a perfect example of that. These characters are all idiotic, sex-starved loons, that stand around fanning themselves as the guys compete against each other. At least the sex-starved Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) in Bull Durham had a brain.

Here are some examples of the humor in this movie: A guy drives his golf cart into a sign with another guy’s name on it. A guy shoots at a rattlesnake in his golf bag. Another guy holds up huge Christmas ornaments while somebody says he has “big balls.”

And I suppose watching two old guys play ping pong, or bench press, is supposed to make you smile. Nope.

It’s crazy that I thought Tommy Lee Jones wouldn’t make a worse movie than Hope Floats a few years ago. Boy was I wrong; although I don’t fault the actors. Warren Beatty once said in an interview how he didn’t think the script for Ishtar was that funny, but it wasn’t horrible. He explained how jokes often work better once they’re filmed.

Also, Sam Elliott has said in many interviews how he read the script for The Big Lebowski and just didn’t get it. And we all know how funny that movie is.

Just Getting Started never got going. In fact, it got so bad, my wife and I didn’t even stay for the entire hour and a half. It had about 15 minutes to go, before we decided to go.

It gets 0 stars, and just made my list of the year’s worst movies.

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