Olympus Has Fallen (“My Romantic Weekend In Laguna Beach”)

6 Apr


Synopsis: “Disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.” (Rated R; 1 hour, 40 minutes)

Just see this movie. It won’t be winning any awards, but see this movie. The dialogue is ridiculous, and the characters are silly caricatures, but see this movie. Wait, you don’t like action movies? Okay, fine, DON”T see this movie in that case. But if you do enjoy an absolutely brainless “yippee-ki-yay” action movie, where all that matters is that the good guy gets as many bad guys as possible to kill, and has the craziest obstacles to overcome, then this is your movie. And yes, that means this was my type of movie, and I hope yours too! Apparently Adi and I had our own adventures to deal with just getting to the theater, so before I get into the review I’ll give you my own ridiculous context…

Here we were having an absolutely lovely and beautiful weekend in Laguna Beach, an extravagant engagement present from dear friends Melissa & Anthony. Friday night was spent eating the fabulous dinner Adi had packed up, as well as walking around the quiet streets of Laguna; this included a proverbial romantic walk on the beach. Saturday (aka our Jewish Sabbath day) was spent walking around town, looking at tide-pools and lying on beach-chairs on the sand. The weather was perfect, the setting was lovely, it was paradise for us! Well, for Adi that is…for this crazy movie-fan, what took this weekend from being fun to being sublime was when Adi suggested, “if we can find a movie that starts at the right time, we can see something Saturday night after dinner”. For those of you who don’t know me, that may sound like a normal statement for someone to offer for a Saturday night out. But for those who DO know me, the statement was no different than telling a child, “Timmy, if you behave I’ll let you have ice cream and candy and this bucket of sugar tonight”. Little Timmy is about to be the best kid you’ve ever seen, just as I was about to make sure a movie happened…it was a foregone conclusion.

“Look movies up tonight” Adi suggested, but no, I needed to find a newspaper NOW and look up showtimes. Thankfully, the hotel’s office had complimentary LA Times for the guests, so that was easy enough. And after Adi realized that there was a sushi place she wanted to eat at in Fashion Island, I found that there was a movie theater at the mall showing Admission at 10:20pm. Okay, same location…we had a plan: we’d leave Laguna at 845pm sharp, and it would be tight but should work out!

8pm – Not so fast, the Sabbath ended and the first thing I (obviously) needed to do was check my fantasy basketball lineup. Come on people, I may have been on an engagement weekend in Laguna Beach but Sunday (the next day) was the last day of the fantasy basketball season, and I was neck and neck with Yoni in the finals. Clearly coming in first place should still be the priority, right?! So what was the problem? The internet. The frustrating, infuriating internet. The hotel’s Wi-Fi didn’t work. Not even after they called technical support and sent their in-staff engineer to the room. I pretty much went through every stage of the following chart other than “acceptance”.


830pm – They then tried to give me free access to the pay-computer in the lobby, but even that didn’t work. Amazingly it was for an unrelated technical reason. C’mon, the clock was ticking…

835pm – They sheepishly apologized and offered me use of their work-computers. You know, the ones behind the desk where only employees stand and apologize to other guests for their internet being down. “Thank you, I’ll take it, I just need to update my fantasy roster” I explained to the manager (who amazingly sympathized and told me that he loves playing fantasy sports himself, thus validating my Laguna Beach priorities). Eureka, there was working internet! Loading Yahoo’s fantasy sports page…”FORBIDDEN – YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCESS A SITE THAT IS NOT ALLOWED” What??? “Oh”, the manager realized, “They block a lot of websites here so the employees don’t waste time on the job, I’m so sorry! Let me think if I have any other ideas for you…”

Access Denied

840pm – The manager then called in a favor from the Holiday Inn across the street, telling them about the internet being down and said, “I have a guest at our hotel who is very important and has some business to deal with online, can you please give him access to your WiFi tonight?” Access granted!

845pm – I set up my computer at the Holiday Inn across the street, where I was greeted with reverence: “Mr. Hepner, we’re very sorry about the inconvenience. Please sit anywhere you’d like. Can we get you anything? Coffee? Lemonade? Popcorn?” Oh my goodness, there was literally a popcorn machine in the corner of the lobby, staring at me with all of its bitter irony, mocking me for potentially ruining my chances to see a movie at 1020pm; and choosing fantasy basketball over its seductive past-time. My phone buzzed…it was Adi. “Where are you? We have to leave. If we’re late I hope you realize we’re skipping the movie, NOT dinner.” I replied, “Okay, I get it, I’ll make it work, I finally have internet access, let me do this quickly!” I made my basketball updates, and ran back to the hotel. (Pictured below is the actual lobby where I did my “very important business”, taken during daylight hours.)


905pm – We were finally off speeding toward our dinner. Yikes, we were running late. Adi reminded me, “If we don’t make the movie, then we don’t; it’s as simple as that.” Yes Adi, and if a drug addict doesn’t get his hit that night, it’s not a big deal, right?

925pm – Dinner. We ran in, and had a lovely time. They were even sweet when they saw Adi’s engagement ring and brought out a congratulatory piece of cake that neither of us could eat (Adi because she’s gluten free, and I because of my kosher diet). Below is a cute photo they took, printed out and gave us before we left!


1018pm – “Check please, we have to run!” I said. Adi rolled her eyes but played the part of an amazing  fiancée and dashed out with me toward the movie theater on the other end of the mall.

1030pm – I ran…panting…out of breath…

Boaz: “Are the previews still playing for Admission or has it started?”

Manager: “There are another 90 seconds to go before it starts.”

Boaz: “Fantastic! 2 tickets please!”

On the seating chart, I saw we were the only people in the theater. I chose our seats.

Manager: “39 dollars please.”

I laughed, assuming he had misheard what I said.

Boaz: “No, I only need two tickets to Admission.”

Manager: “It’s 19.50 per ticket.”

Boaz: “EXCUSE ME? How is that even possible?!”

Manager: “It’s a Saturday night, and we are a premium theater experience.”

Boaz: “Saturday night? You’re empty. Literally nobody is here, I can’t see a single person anywhere, and there are zero tickets sold. How does that justify charging more?”

Manager: “Sorry, we are also a premium theater. We have comfortable seats and cup holders and will even bring you alcohol if you order it.”

Boaz: “You have comfortable seats and cup holders? How is that something to brag about? That’s like saying this new car is the luxury model because it has automatic windows. That may have been a luxury 15 years ago but now that’s just normal. And I don’t want any alcohol.”

Manager: “Sorry sir, I know it’s expensive, that’s just how it is. So do you want to buy the tickets?”

Boaz: “No. I wanted to see a movie badly, but on principle this is just kind of gross. It isn’t your fault of course, I assume you don’t set the prices, but seriously this is worse than rip-off LA prices. What happens now if we don’t come? There are no tickets sold for the movie, so can you at least turn it off and save electricity and go home early?”

Manager (laughing): “I wish, that would make so much sense. No, they have a contract with the theaters that the movies will play a certain number of times each day. So legally they have to play it from start to finish even if nobody comes to watch it.”

Boaz: “That’s hilarious, what a waste of electricity and your time.”

Manager: “Yep, I totally agree, this whole thing is silly, and the prices are insane. Do you want me to see if I can find another theater still showing movies nearby? They should all be normal prices.”

At that moment, my spectacular fiancée interjected that she was looking up things on her phone during this silly exchange, and found Olympus Has Fallen a few blocks away at 1030pm. We could try! The manager wished us luck, and we ran out the door back to the car.

1040pm – We arrived at the theater, bought tickets (only $12.50 each, “normal” prices again!) and ran inside with enough time to catch 4 previews before our movie began! Does my entire story make me look nuts? Yes. Should I have sucked it up and just paid the insane ticket price for the first movie after all that? Probably. Was it all worth it at the end? Absolutely.

Did I mention to go see this movie if you enjoy any sort of action? You really should. This is what the latest, awful Die Hard sequel SHOULD have been. An entertaining movie that puts the “F” not only in curse words, but in “FUN”. It had the violent action of Commando mixed with the one-man-against-everyone-in-the-building premise of Die Hard, with a strong dash of the patriotic silliness of Air Force One and Independence Day. The hero was Gerard Butler, doing a great job impersonating Steven Seagal in his prime, mercilessly (and heroically) killing everyone who got in his way. Even Jack Bauer wouldn’t stand a chance. The only thing I would have changed was him NOT playing yet another American, because he still has one of the weakest accents out there if you ask me. But otherwise he was awesome, and it would have been hard to justify a Scotsman playing a high ranking secret service agent I suppose. But no more-so than most of the other plot-lines.

I would love to dedicate an entire paragraph just to listing the silly flaws in the logic of the story, but most of them would act as spoilers so I will just say to see it yourself. Though I will point out that the “noble” decisions that the president made throughout the movie were awful, awful decisions; but in movie-land it made him a great and inspiring leader. So I’ll just leave it alone and swallow that logic along with the rest of the movie…this is after all a flick where the entire secret service literally ran out of the White House INTO machine gun fire one after the other after the other…everyone except for Gerard Butler of course, who realized that NOT walking into a machine gun slaughter was actually the better tactic, that’s why he’s the hero!

Do I sound like I’m making fun of the movie? I really don’t mean to, because I’m not being sarcastic when I write that it’s a damn entertaining piece of film-making, and I want to believe that every part of it was intended to be. Gerard Butler was meant to be the only character with the sense and know-how to beat the endless stream of (Korean) bad guys. Morgan Freeman (who becomes the acting president) was meant to be a natural and amazing decision-maker; he should be since he was the President in Deep Impact. Angela Bassett was meant to be…actually, I don’t know what her purpose was in the movie. She was kind of wasted in a role as one of the people in the War Room looking concerned throughout the movie. Besides her there was Robert Forster and Sean O’Bryan playing some of the douche-bag politicians and generals who had the audacity to question Gerard Butler; you just knew that every decision they made would be wrong, and when Gerard Butler called them idiots you had to cheer. (Hooray for insulting your superiors!)

No, this wasn’t an intelligent movie. Most of the characters were as clichéd and silly and predictable as they come. But the action was simply awesome, the thrills were actually thrilling, and you were excited to watch it play out. There are times where not being believable in a movie can really ruin the experience, but this wasn’t one of them. When are those times? I would give that the same answer as how Justice Potter Stewart famously defined pornography in 1964, “I know it when I see it”. And I certainly knew this wasn’t it.

Antoine Fuqua has made some gritty action films (Training Day) but here he provided the audience with a good old-fashioned experience that reminded me of the fun I had watching a prep school kid kill countless bad guys in Toy Soldiers. This is what going to the movies is for: having a hell of a great time.

As for Adi? She had a great time watching it as well, and we each had a wonderful weekend in Laguna Beach. Clearly, it was a restful, peaceful and romantic experience; with just the sun, the beach, the lack of internet, my fantasy basketball and the rush to the movie theater adding to the experience. And no, it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to have someone put up with all of what you read!

The movie was better than A Good Day To Die Hard, which I reviewed here. In fact it’s basically the sequel that should have been made in the first place. It still doesn’t match up to the perfection that was the original Die Hard, which is a model for so many great action movies that modeled themselves after it.

Quality Rating: B+ (Unless I can actually hear Antoine Fuqua claim that he meant to have every absurd part of the movie turn out that way, in which case it gets a solid A)

Boaz Rating: A+ (As if you couldn’t predict that)


9 Responses to “Olympus Has Fallen (“My Romantic Weekend In Laguna Beach”)”

  1. Linda Hepner April 8, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Hurray, I really enjoyed your incredible time in Laguna! I hadn’t taken in that it was an engagement present to you and Adi from Melissa and Anthony. What wonderful friends! I love all 4 of you! xxxx Mum in the Hood!

    >________________________________ > From: Boaz’s Movie Obsession >To: lrhepner@yahoo.com >Sent: Monday, April 8, 2013 11:56 AM >Subject: [New post] Olympus Has Fallen (“My Romantic Weekend In Laguna Beach”) > > > WordPress.com >boazconstrictor posted: ” Synopsis: “Disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.” ” >


    • boazconstrictor April 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Thank you to the woman who gave me life…or at least that’s what the photo albums claim.


  2. Sarah.A. April 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Lol. Glad you had a nice time. But I think you’re crazy 😉 oh, in a good way of course….


    • boazconstrictor April 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      You think I’m crazy? How could you get that from THIS post?! 🙂


  3. Craig Bender April 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    You guys really are a perfect couple and I love that Adi still lets you be the person who you are (fantasy leagues, movie lover, kosher, etc.) and loves and supports you…This is another example of how great you guys are at communicating and compromise with each other and your marriage will be great! On another note…another stellar review. I had no interest in this movie, but will now catch it on DVD when it is released in probably 3-4 months.


    • boazconstrictor April 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      No, go catch it in the theater now instead! Just kidding, I’m happy to have changed your mind, it was such a ridiculous and entertaining movie.
      And thank you for the high praise about us as a couple, that’s extremely generous and a compliment that I’m happy to take!


  4. cindybruchman April 10, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    LOL what a great post. You two had a memorable weekend!


    • boazconstrictor April 10, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      It was memorable, and my fiancee once again proved why she’s an angel 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting!



  1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (“My Theories On Why I Didn’t Like It”) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - April 28, 2013

    […] a grand old time watching an action spectacle? Read my review for The Last Stand, and especially Olympus Has Fallen, action movies can be extremely entertaining in spite of having little to no substance. There just […]


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