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Remember a few months ago when I saw the trailer for WHITE HOUSE DOWN and thought it looked so great? Well – yay!! It’s actually better than that.

It’s one of those summer blockbusters with the blow ’em up mentality that can backfire (har har) but in this case, everything works. Channing Tatum did a great job of being brave yet complex, and as for Jamie Fox, well he can be my president any day.  He has the ability to seem completely serious, to have political savvy, and still give us the sincerity and optimism we want in a leader.

And the rest of the performers are terrific as well. Maggie Gyllenhaal, whom I didn’t always enjoy as a performer, is becoming one of my favorites and in this show she doesn’t disappoint. James Woods was James Woods – in other words, he played his part very well.

There was a kid, which of course sets off warning bells, but even she was absolutely perfect in her role. Sulky teenager, but not too sulky. Smart mouth, but not to an extreme. Smarter than the average kid, but not a savant.  When the moment came for me to cry over the poignancy of it all, I didn’t even mind. I usually hate that tug-at-the-heartstring manipulation stuff, but this time, I felt they truly earned it, so I didn’t fight it when my eyes welled up.

So yes, a perfect blend of schmaltzy heroism, explosions, great characters, humor and sharp dialogue, making it my second favorite film of 2013 after MAN OF STEEL. (Oh wait, I loved Iron Man 3 too. And The Hobbit was good -- was that 2013? Time flies. But still, I think the order stands in terms of my top two.)

Which leads me to ask, what the heck is wrong with the critics this year? They keep getting it wrong! Thank God I don’t rely on them in selecting my entertainment.

Next up? PACIFIC RIM. Woo-hoo, I can’t wait. And yes, the critics seem to be panning this one too. Let’s hope that’s a good omen!!

Meanwhile, go and see WHITE HOUSE DOWN. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for sharp entertainment with little-to-no angst or message. And frankly, on a hot summer’s day in Sacramento (100 degrees plus), that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Save the message for winter, right?


P.S. If you’ll recall, I was especially impressed by the trailer for this movie because I had just finished reading a novel about an attack on the White House, and the novel – while lauded by such critics as Publishers Weekly –  had proven devoid of excitement, characterization, or charm. Instead, it was a mess of clichés about terrorists and muscles and women who get weak at the knees. I can assure you, WHITE HOUSE DOWN is the exactly opposite.

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