Not Another Teen Movie

Year: 2001
Directed By: Joel Gallen
Written By: More names than I want to list.  Five different writers credited.

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a low point of the collection.  Even in 2001 when I was seventeen I felt like I was above a movie like this.  Yet, at the same time, I had seen all the movies this one was making fun of and I found myself laughing at it.  I found that I liked it just enough to add it to the collection when I found it for a really cheap price. This movie is just funny enough and I enjoyed everything it parodied.  High school movies can define a generation, in the late nineties and at the turn of the century this was fully realized and everybody under the sun was trying to make the next high school classic. This movie, and truthfully many that it parodied didn’t make their mark quite like some of the real classics. Nevertheless you have to appreciate the effort, and this movie was a comedy about the efforts of so many to make that next John Hughes like film.

I just watched the movie last night and this should be easy, but in no discernible order here is a list of films this movie parodies that I noticed:

American Beauty
American Pie
She’s All That
The Breakfast Club
Varsity Blues
Cruel Intentions
Pretty in Pink
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Risky Business
Can’t Hardly Wait
10 Things I Hate About You
Grease
Footloose
Dazed and Confused
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Porkys
Rudy
Road Trip
Sixteen Candles
Never Been Kissed
Bring It On

There are undoubtedly references to even more films that I either didn’t catch or didn’t recognize.  If you notice one not on the list feel free to leave a comment and add to it.  Obviously this isn’t a movie that I, or anybody for that matter, can take seriously.  It’s more stupid than funny too with lots of bad sex jokes and toilet humor.  I find it somewhat nostalgic despite this. I own several of the movie it references and I saw the large majority of them when I was younger.  I was in the target audience when this movie came out to and obviously it got me.  Today I would never see a movie like this.  These parody monstrosities continue to come out with a variety of different themes but I have seen enough with this one. I can honestly say that I have probably viewed this movie for the last time in my life because I can’t imagine ever watching it again for any reason.  It will only remain on our shelf simply as a reminder about another time when life was different.

On that note there are a few quick things I want to note about the movie because I am like to forget them otherwise.  Memory space stretches and makes room for everything but anything about this film will only be taking the place of something more valuable. First, I had completely forgotten Chris Evans was the star of this film. I didn’t even recognize him until half way through it with that black hair and because he looks so much younger. I like Chris Evans as an actor and it was cool to see him being funny long before he became Johnny Storm and then Captain America.

Secondly, I have never liked Jamie Pressly despite how hot she is.  I just literally find her to be a bit too scary as a woman and have never seen her play any other part than the ones kinda like she has in this film. She has a voice that can cut like a knife and just seems like the kind of woman I would never want to meet in person.  I find it hard to believe she is doing a lot of acting either, and that in real life maybe she is just a mean and bitchy beauty.  I know nothing of the sort, just an impression I get from her.

Third, Amber and I recently burned through the whole series of How I Met Your MotherSo something I never would have noticed in 2001 I saw last night for the first time. Josh Radnor has a small part in this movie.  What I find funny is how many of the things that he said seemed so much like something Ted Mosby would have said.  Given his limited acting career I think that maybe Josh Radnor is Ted Mosby and he is simply a guy that only knows how to play himself.  I think he’s funny but that’s just because of the attachment you develop to any character after you get invested in their show.

This is a forgettable movie and I don’t recommend it to anybody.  You will find some laughs here but I can’t say with a straight face that it is worth anything, especially the time it would take you to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie can put me in a good mood every time I watch it. We still quote it today, randomly. It takes everything from all those cheesy movies we watched growing up in high school and shortly after and exaggerates them, and always taking it way too far, which I always love.

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There really isn’t much I can say about this poster, it truly just “is what it is.” It isn’t special, it isn’t groundbreaking design. It does what it is supposed to do. It’s a parody of a bunch f different teen movies, and they include all of those character and give them high school cliche titles. It’s nothing special. But the movie is great. If you have seen at least three to four of the movies that Ryan listed above, you should get a kick out of it.

NEXT MOVIE: Nothing to Lose (1997)

No Time for Sergeants

Year: 1958
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy
Written By: John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Ira Levin (play), Mac Hyman (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I am a proud southerner. More importantly I am a proud North Carolinian and nobody has ever been more beloved in North Carolina than Andy Griffith. He grew up here, he went to college at UNC, and he made it big time but always stayed true to his roots. I have driven the Andy Griffith Parkway myself and I have been to Mayberry (Mt. Airy). Since before I was old enough to talk I have been watching The Andy Griffith Show. I am a third generation fan as my dad is a big fan and to this day my grandfather still watches reruns of “Andy and Barn” on a daily basis  As I grew up, the wisdom of Andy Griffith, albeit via The Andy Griffith Show or Matlockwas ingrained into the principles that I live by today.

I came by this movie in the most obvious of ways I suppose; it was passed down to me through my family.  This is honestly the only movie that this kind of scenario applies to but my father watched this movie with his dad and he watched it with me. That makes it special for me but aside from that it would be obvious to anybody who watched it how funny it is.  Andy Griffith was a timeless comedian, one of the greats that will always be funny no matter how the times have changed.

This movie preceded Griffith’s run on his famed television show and was more or less what helped him make a name for himself.  Griffith broke into acting in 1955 with a role in a one hour teleplay of No Time for Sergeants adapted from the book for a TV special.  He later reprised the role for an expanded version created for Broadway.  He was actually nominated for a Tony Award for the role but didn’t win.  In 1958 he again reprised the role for this film and the rest is history.  This story was a significant factor in Griffith’s rise to success and it would also go on to inspire other media such as the Gomer Pyle show.

There is a small cameo from Don Knotts in the film. It wouldn’t be right without one right? This was actually the first collaboration between Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, who would go on to share a lifelong friendship afterwards. What I like most is just the opportunity to appreciate how funny Knotts was.  I have had the privilege of seeing Don Knotts work his talents many times in the role as Barney Fife.  I especially enjoy an opportunity to see him doing something different. I love the fact that in doing something different he still doesn’t fail to be funny.  Don Knotts was a very funny man and I think it is important we don’t forget the legends that make everything comedians do today possible.  Knotts was one of those men and I hope he is remembered for all time.

I love this movie and I enjoy each and every opportunity I get to see it.  It’s not a film I often have success talking people into because so many people my age and younger turn their noses up to a film so old.  It’s given me common ground to start conversations with older generations many times in the past though and I always appreciate the opportunity to get into a conversation with such.  I am a firm believer in giving seniors their due respect and I am always looking for ways to show it because I find it fulfilling personally.  When I can talk to them about popular movies from their generation it helps. More often than not they are surprised by my interest in them at all.

If you find yourself in position to see this film then seize the opportunity.  You won’t be disappointed and it will give you an idea of the value of older films.  Films have always been made to entertain and while times have changed rapidly some of them never lose the ability to make us laugh.  This is one of those films and it is worth you time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I am about to commit such a blasphemous act, according to anyone in the South, especially my home state of North Carolina, but I need to confess that I HATE The Andy Griffith Show. I cringe every time I even hear the whistle to the theme song. You have to understand though, everyone down here loves that show, they have a favorite episode and think Don Knotts was the funniest man that ever lived. I don’t even understand my reasoning, except that I just can’t stand it. I hate the goody-goodyness of the whole thing. The super thick southern accents, and the Aunt that cooks and has dinner on the table and the cleaning done all the time, it all just drives me nuts. I hate it.

Having said all of that, I don’t hate Andy Griffith. I think his life is really interesting and to make a career like he did is something to admire. This movie is actually really funny. I remember watching it the first time, going into it with a negative attitude assuming I would hate it. Although it is set in the same southern tone of most of the projects he worked on, I found it to be an interesting take on a military movie with a Southerner as the main character. His accent is THICK. Most movies even today still hate our accents down here. But Andy Griffith made a really impressive career for himself, despite that southern twang and good ol’ boy attitude.

And this video of Braid Paisley’s Waiting on a Woman, is one of my all-time favorite Andy Griffith appearances. SEE RYAN, I DO like Andy!

5414832_1_lFor the time, this poster is pretty creative. It uses Patriotic colors, and usually that can be hard to do without it being overly in-your-face Patriotic. I think it’s subtle, but important to the story line. I think it gets the idea across and makes people interested. Also, because this was such a popular Play and book before it made it to the big-screen, I think people already knew what the movie would be about. This gave more leeway for the design process. Andy was still a new kid in town at this point, so I think it was wise to leave his face out of the main scene.

 

NEXT MOVIE: Not Another Teen Movie (2001)

R.I.P. Robin Willaims, Thanks for the Laughs

Like so many others tonight we are fans in mourning.  This has been a significant loss of a beloved comedy figure.  Robin Williams was a legend, and in his day nobody brought it like he did.  The circumstances of his death are as shocking as they are unfortunate.  It’s hard to imagine what could have brought such an incredibly talented artist beloved by so many to such a decision.  It just goes to show us all that no matter who you are or what you have accomplished we all have demons to battle.  Sometimes after a long fight the demons can win and that seems to be the case here. I hate to think what kind of demons were eating at Robin Williams but at least his fight is over. I hope he is at peace now. Our hearts go out to the family he has left behind and we sympathize with all the other fans out there who are feeling the loss.

I will never forget Robin Williams as the Genie in the Lamp, as Professor Keating, as Peter Panning, or as Rainbow Randolf (Death to Smoochy is one of my favorite movies of all time).  My favorite of his many beloved roles is still the one he performed in The Birdcage. One of the funniest movies I have ever seen and he was terrific in it.

I’d also like to remind people of this awesome performance at the Oscars:

I will always cherish this man for what he gave us as an entertainer.  I am saddened by the loss. His career has not been what it used to be over the last decade or so.  I had always held out hope for a magnanimous comeback one day.  That will never happen now, but at least we will have what he left behind.  Great actor and comedian who I hope will be remembered fondly for what he did, and not how he ended.

No Country For Old Men

Year: 2007
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay) Cormac McCarthy (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

2007 was a big year for the Coen brothers.  They won 4 Academy Awards for this film including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.  This movie was a big hit with the Academy and it was a big hit with the audience as well.  Despite that I am not the biggest fan of it.  I think it is a great movie but I don’t feel like it was their best movie.  This seemed to be the time that everybody realized who the Coen brothers were and that bothered me on some level because I had long since been a big fan of their work.  As good as this movie is I still wouldn’t even categorize it as one of their top 5 films and I’m always annoyed when something becomes trendy and people suddenly understand something that had always been there had they taken the time to notice.

I also think this movie drags a bit too much at times.  I think it’s the lack of music that makes it feel so slow.  Music helps a movie move at a specific pace and the absence of any score in this one slows it down for me.  Tommy Lee Jones is incredible and I think he is great in this film but during one of his monologues later in the film I wanted to scratch my eyes out with boredom. The lack of a musical score did nothing to inhibit the movie and in truth the first time I saw it I was so enthralled I didn’t even notice until the second viewing.  I think though, once the shocks have been taken in that attempting to watch this movie again seems mundane.  I loved it the first time I saw it but the more I see it the less enthused I am about it.

So much of the strength of this film lies in the performance of Javier Bardem, and he was absolutely terrifying in the part.  When watching this movie for the first time you literally never know what he is going to do.  He is so intimidating and brutal.  It’s a role that deserved to win the Academy Award and it will live on forever as one of the baddest of the bad.  With his sudden ferocity and unique weapons Anton Chigurh ranks right up there with the greats like Bill the Butcher or Heath Ledger’s Joker. Nevertheless as much as I respect the Coen Brothers and appreciate the performance of Bardem I don’t love this bad guy or this movie.  I bought into it all 100% the first time I saw it but I find myself short of lasting love for the any of it and that is unusual for a Coen Brothers film. I’m a guy that loves a good bad guy and can’t get enough of him, but this bad guy hasn’t stood the test of time for me.  Anton Chigurh is a ruthless and capable hitman but he isn’t the badass boss type of bad guy that I usually find myself shamefully pulling for.

Around this the time this movie came out Josh Brolin suddenly seemed to be in everything. He was in a number of successful films in 2007 and he continues to be a player in the industry today.  I was puzzled seven years ago about it and I’m puzzled still how and why this Goonie suddenly popped into the limelight seemingly out of nowhere.  In 2007 he had significant roles in this film with the Coen Brothers, as well as Planet Terror with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and American Gangster with Ridley Scott.  How did this happen so suddenly? These are big time directors all of a sudden casting important parts to a guy who had been around but hadn’t done anything significant for over twenty years.  I suppose I have to be wrong, I must have missed some performance that stood out among the rest.  I’m not really a fan of his work so I haven’t ever made any effort to research the matter but sometimes in the back of my mind this mystery needles at me.  If anybody knows the story behind Josh Brolin’s sudden rise into success please let me know.  I would love to satisfy that curiosity without having to actually do any digging to find out.  There is something about him I just don’t like and can’t quite put my finger on it.  He is well cast in this movie though because I think he fits the part perfectly.

I like what Woody Harrelson and Stephen Root bring to the film because they are both two of my favorites but there just isn’t enough of them in this one. Root has his typical pinch hit of a role but as usual he hits it out of the park.  You just never know where he is going to be but you can always trust that when you see him he will be doing great at whatever he is doing. As for Woody Harrelson you can just never have enough of him, and I feel like his part in this movie is altogether too short.

I have been too critical in this review and don’t get me wrong.  I think this is a great film, I’m not contesting that.  I just don’t particularly like it, anymore.  I felt then that it was a shame that most people came to know the Coen’s through this film because they already had a number of incredible films under their belt.  Despite their impressive filmography they weren’t well known by any means to the casual film watcher.  Their movies were never known in the past to be high grossing at the box office but they were often awarded for their work because despite the money it had made they were great films. When people talked about this movie I would tell them to go watch Fargo or The Big Lebowski. I would ask if they had ever seen Blood Simple or Raising Arizona.  I would mention classic scenes from The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty. I know that I’m just an annoying know it all when it comes to films and I take stubborn stances on things from time to time but this one frustrated me.  I wanted people to know that they had been missing out on something great and that No Country for Old Men was only one of many incredible films from these two brothers.  They are smart filmmakers in a class all by themselves, and like many great filmmakers their movies don’t always reach the widest of audiences.  When things don’t involve explosions and special effects not enough people turn out to the theaters.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think this film is incredibly original and extremely terrifying. It’s hard for me to watch a movie Javier Bardem is in because I think he just did such a great job of being a completely ruthless killer. So scary. Also, there was no music in this movie. That sounds like a crazy thing to do, and yet they did it, and it just adds to the creepiness of the whole thing. It takes a strong movie maker to make a decision like no music. I often think about the Coen Brothers and wonder if their creativity tank will ever dry up. I know that I get burned out doing creative stuff all the time, and it makes me wonder what their creative process is like. Wouldn’t that make an interesting documentary?

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I like this poster. It’s very much in the Coen Brothers style. Most important…DO you see how freaking scary he looks? Those dead eyes. This poster is filled with symbolism. The mouth appears to be consuming the body of the running man, and this supports the movie’s tagline…”There are no clean getaways.” The stacked typography is also a symbol for this tagline, and the meaning of the movie. It is staggered and unsupported. It could potentially tumble at any moment. I love this poster and the idea it gives for what the movie is actually about. If you haven’t seen this film, do.

 

NEXT MOVIE: No Time for Sergeants (1958) 

Nixon

Year: 1995
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Oliver Stone, Christopher Wilkinson, and Stephen J. Rivele

RYAN’S REVIEW

Richard Nixon was a profoundly interesting individual for so many reasons.  To imagine all the national secrets he must have known after his lengthy time involved in the highest levels of government is mind boggling.  The amount of history that he personally had a hand in is incredible and worthy of a number of films.  The problem with this movie is that it is painfully long but there was simply no other way to do it.  Even at more than three hours it had to gloss over so much of what Richard Nixon was all about. This is an interesting movie if you have a mind to see a biased and dramatized depiction of actual events but I wouldn’t call it entertaining.  This is a good movie but it is altogether too slow and boring to really enjoy.

Despite how great of an actor he is I feel like Anthony Hopkins is the problem.  He does a terrific job acting and was nominated for the Academy Award for his performance but I still think he is the problem here.  It’s not his fault either but he just doesn’t look anything like Nixon.  Nixon was a unique looking person but he looks so different I find it distracting.  Those distinct features that made Nixon so easily recognizable are necessary and no matter how good Hopkins was he just didn’t look anything like Richard Nixon. The nose is all wrong.

Beyond Hopkins this movie had a stellar cast and a director who had a passion for the content.  Nevertheless the movie drags and you really have to be invested to get into it.  I couldn’t successfully get my wife to sit down for this one with me and I’ll be brutally honest in that I found it difficult myself.  This is a great movie, but it is not a good one.  I could get really into the nuts and bolts of that but frankly don’t feel the effort would be worth it.

If you enjoyed this movie enough to say something good about it leave us a comment and speak your mind.  Otherwise, you won’t be missing much if you don’t see this one and I don’t consider it worth your time to see. This movie is in our collection as a stalwart from my college years.  I could have written a really in depth review about it back then but these days my passion runs colder for this type of film.

NEXT MOVIE: No Country for Old Men (2007)

Natural Born Killers

Year: 1994
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Oliver Stone, the original screenplay that was picked up off the bottom of a pile of rejections was by Quentin Tarantino

RYAN’S REVIEW

It gives the wrong impression, it’s not something I generally admit to people openly, but this is my favorite movie of all time.  Since the very first time I saw it I was in love with it. It is unlike any movie I have ever seen and I think it is indisputably a work of art, despite its content.

As to the content of this movie. This isn’t violence it’s anger, pure unadulterated anger.  Anger at a world that isn’t right.  Anger that manifests itself in a violent response.  Mickey and Mallory are the response to what this world was in 1994 and still is.  It is a violent and evil world; there is no innocence, even among the good.  Everything is mainstream and we all do as we are told.  Mickey and Mallory came from the worse elements of this world and what they turned into was simply reactionary. The response from the world depicted  by the public in this film isn’t off base either, that’s the sad reality of the whole thing.

I don’t think this is a movie that should be watched by a younger audience and I don’t think it’s wise for unsettled people to watch it under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.  Both of which have caused unfortunate problems in the past and the consequences were grave.  It is an awful thing when people watch a film and do something crazy afterwards. I like it even less when the film is blamed because the actions that follow are on the heads of the perpetrator and not film.  Those people were and are crazy.  If it isn’t the film or song they were listening to that triggered them then it would have been something else.

I myself watched this movie at too young of an age in truth. I was 15 or 16 the first time I picked it up off the shelf at the video store I worked at.  I specifically remembered that my step-father had watched it with my older brother and found it repulsive; saying that the rest of us were never to see it.  More than anything it was the look on his face I remember, and the tone in his voice. Something about this movie made it different. We were forbidden from in it a way that somehow surpassed other such declarations. It was years later when I broke the rules and tasted this forbidden fruit alone in my room.  I can say honestly that it had me from the opening scene and instantly became my favorite movie of all time. It claimed the spot early and has never been toppled.

I have also, as a matter of fact, watched this movie under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and I’m not afraid to admit that.  I was in college; a time long long ago in a town far far away.  Oliver Stone was under the influence of mushrooms at times before and probably during the filming of this movie.  The influence of psychedelics is obvious even to someone who has never experienced them. The scene when Mickey and Mallory eat mushrooms and get followed by a cop was actually based on something that happened to Stone and someone else while they were scouting locations.  Seeing this movie on mushrooms was like watching a different film and I have thought since that the movie was made to be seen like that.  Obviously it is not something I recommend to people and it’s not an experience I expect to have again as times are different now and youthful experimenting is a thing of the past.

I think this movie gets a bad rap, but it earned that in spades.  The content of this movie is harsh and it’s not for everyone.  I have just always seen through all of the violence and loved what is beneath.  Underneath it all is a relationship that I have always found inspiring.  Mickey and Mallory are two people completely in love and hopelessly dedicated to one another.  Their actions are fiendish and awful, but the connection they share is a beautiful thing.  When I was in high school I would tell people about this and tell them to look at the love story that was underneath it all.  I love their marriage over the river when they bond their blood and send it into the river.  I also love when they finally reunite in prison during the riot, great scene.  I don’t care for the implied rape of the hostage, and the very real allusion to it in the uncut version of the film.  These are really bad people, and these are the kind of things those types of people do.  I don’t condone any of the actions Mickey and Mallory take in the film. I love the characters but in no way think that anything about them is alright. It’s just a movie though, and rooting for bad guys is always a guilty pleasure. These bad guys happen to share a love that I admire and it is the love that gets me with this movie.  There is plenty to love and appreciate about this movie but for me it’s all about Mickey and Mallory.  They have a love for one another that is special.  Sure they are crazy, but they are crazy for each other in a touching way.

At the top of this review I credit Oliver Stone with the writing of this film and I want to explain why.  When Quentin Tarantino was trying to get started he sold two screenplays to earn enough money to get Reservoir Dogs started.  Those screenplays were True Romance and Natural Born Killers.  Both of which turned out to be good films. Good films both of which were about a couple that go on a wild cross country crime spree and kill a lot of people. Yeah the stories are different, but only by variation. Quentin Tarantino has loudly criticized this movie in the past because so much of what he intended was changed, and because…you know, his giant over bloated ego was wounded.  Tarantino is brilliant, but when he starts talking he rarely comes across as anything but an arrogant douche bag. Oliver Stone is an incredible writer in his own rite.  He picked up this screenplay off the bottom of a pile of rejected scripts and redid it in his own way. With all due respect to Tarantino, he is a great filmmaker, but he isn’t even half the talent that Oliver Stone was in his heyday.  I’ll be the first to admit things are dramatically different now and the exact opposite today but in his day Stone was hands down incredible.  He made some outstanding movies that, despite their content or political agenda, were works of art and most of them are absolutely unique in their own way.  This movie for example, is unlike any you will ever see.  If you can look past the surface and see it for what it really is you will see that this is more than a film.  It is the product of an artist who was in his element, with a camera as his brush and an editing room as his studio.

During his heyday Oliver Stone was the type of director that a lot of grade-A talent wanted to work with.  You only need to look over the casts of his films from the 80s and 90s to see that.  This movie was no different and the cast it offers is an outstanding one.  It starts with the lead roles of Mickey and Mallory.  Woody Harrelson is not only an interesting person personally but he is the kind of acting talent that it is hard to not like.  He has seemed to only get better with age and this day in age he is just so flawlessly cool.  He is excellent as Mickey Knox. Mickey is uneducated and ignorant but sly and cunning despite that.  He is vicious in the ways that only a man of lifelong repression can be yet he wins you over with that charming quality that can only be embodied by Woody Harrelson.  Harrelson has the benefit in this film of having an outstanding counterpart in Juliette Lewis. To cast Mallory Knox they had to find someone who could be sexy yet batshit crazy at the drop of a hat.  They couldn’t have chosen better.  Nobody pulls off batshit crazy like Juliette Lewis. She is such a badass, she actually broke Tom Sizemore’s nose while filming their scene in her prison cell. I don’t know what has happened to her lately as she only appears in the most random of films these days and always as a cameo.  She doesn’t capture the big roles anymore and I don’t know why because I have always thought she was an outstanding actress.  Like Harrelson she always has a really interesting back story personally.

Tom Sizemore brings his own element of crazy to this film.  I have always been a big fan of Sizemore but his personal life has loudly been problematic.  He has had significant struggles with drugs as well as anger issues that have led to problems for him before.  I do not condone his personal actions but I have always liked him in the supporting roles he is famous for.  In this movie he fits the part like no one else could have and I think he is really good as Jack Scagnetti.  The name of his character specifically is part of this movie that shows its roots from Tarantino.  Scagnetti is a name Tarantino has used before.  In Reservoir Dogs Mr. Blonde mentions his parole officer is named Scagnetti.

This was one of the last significant acting roles Rodney Dangerfield had as his career came to a close.  That is unfortunate as it was a very unsavory role but like Sizemore he just fit the part so well.  I was never a fan of Dangerfield’s loud style but in this movie he did something dramatic and different.  He plays a sick and depraved man. The type that makes you feel sorry for the daughter that grows up to be a psychotic killer. This was Rodney Dangerfield’s first and only performance in a dramatic film and I think he did an excellent job. Despite the role he plays in this movie Dangerfield deserves the respect and recognition of comedy fans.  He was a one of kind comedian who helped pave the way for those who would follow him.

Rounding out the big names in the cast is none other than Oliver Stone’s good friend Tommy Lee Jones who he shares a birthday with.  Jones is a bit over the top in this film but he did so on purpose.  As a Harvard graduate Jones is a highly intelligent actor who in fact was never schooled in his trade.  Jones never took an acting class but that has never inhibited him.  He has had a long a distinguished career as an actor that he continues to build on.  Jones was hot during the time this movie came out having hit it big winning an Oscar for The Fugitive the year before. This role is a much different part and that only highlights his talent as an actor.  He became a beloved actor playing straight laced types like we saw in The Fugitive or The Client but in this movie he is much more uncouth and heinous. It’s not my favorite role from Jones by any means but I still like what he brings to the table as McClusky.

This movie makes a statement about society, the media, human nature, and American culture in the mid nineties.  I think by and large it is misunderstood, but with good reason.  There is a lot more to this movie than meets the eye at first approach.  If you don’t see anything but the worst in it then you are missing out on what makes it the best.  I love this movie and I have never been afraid to admit it.  I have never been one to broadcast it because it sets the wrong impression but I will gladly mention this movie every time the question of favorites comes up.  This movie is my favorite because it is different, because it is bold, and because it says something about the world.

I don’t generally recommend this movie to people, because it isn’t for everyone and I fear too many just won’t understand.  I don’t argue about it either, the content is too controversial and strong opinions come with it.  A movie like this comes with certain preconceived notions and assumptions that can give people the wrong idea about a fan.  People will think what they think but anybody who doesn’t look deeper into this one is missing out.  It has been my favorite movie of all time since the first time I saw it and I love it just as much every time I see it again.  Watch this one at your own risk, it is what it is and not to be taken for granted.  It’s not like other films but that it part of what makes it special.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ryan made me watch this when we were in college. I wasn’t allowed to see anything like this growing up. I didn’t know a movie like this even existed until Ryan showed it to me. I have seen it many times now over the years, but even today it sucks me in and intrigues me. The story is incredibly different than anything else I had ever seen, and still today is a great take on the media. It’s even worse today than when this movie was made. Imagine this movie set in today’s world, with social media the way it is today. It was ahead of its time, not even knowing what the monster social media would become.

Natural Born Killers PosterThis poster is cool. I don’t think it does the film justice, but for its time in history, I think it’s pretty cool. The image is set in all black and white, with the exception of his glasses, which also have the reflection of Mallory. There could be so many connections drawn here about the color and the image of Mallory, but I feel it’s all too cliché now, and probably wouldn’t work today. I just don’t feel like this poster is memorable or as special as the movie is. It really gives no allusion to what the movie is at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT MOVIE: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

 

 

 

Napoleon Dynamite

Year: 2004
Directed By: Jared Hess
Written By: Jared and Jerusha Hess

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was in college when this movie came out, and I cannot stress enough how much of a hit it was with my generation at the time. I specifically remember a stretch of college where it seemed like everybody was talking about Napoleon Dynamite.  I hadn’t seen it.  In a stubborn stance I didn’t watch it because it was an MTV film and I had decided recently that I had outgrown the network. I still feel like that but it wasn’t long until I realized it was the wrong impression to stubbornly hold onto in the case of this film.  This movie is so delightfully weird, does anybody else catch the awkward nature of high school quite like Napoleon Dynamite?

I love this image of Idaho, ten years behind the rest of the country and just taking things one day at a time.  For years Amber has argued with me that this movie was set in the 90’s, because of the clothing styles, trapper keepers, side ponytails, cassette players, and so on.  It’s not though, you see the date on Napoleon’s student ID in the beginning of the film.  Idaho just looks like the 1990s in 2004 because culture is just making its way out there slowly.  Maybe I’m wrong, I’ve spent my whole life in the southeast and Idaho is an enigma to us all down here.  Ask a local around here what they know about Idaho and you are doubtful to get more than potatoes and Boise St.

Maybe one day I can find out for myself what Idaho is actually like but until then I am content to imagine it’s like what we see in this film.  A land more isolated where things are a little bit behind and a little bit different. Not that there is anything wrong with that.  The things I hear about that part of the country are that they live much more relaxed lives and I at least hope that it true. I doubt the high school kids all appear to be in their thirties but that’s part of the strange that makes this movie so appealing.

I’ve read that Jon Heder played this part for only $1,000.  If that is correct it’s a shame because as great as he did playing this part I do think it inhibited him in his career later on. Looking over his filmography it appears like he has been really busy over the past year or so but he hasn’t done anything as significant as this film since. As Napoleon Dynamite he is the very definition of awkward but he manages to pull it off in such a comedic fashion.  What I love the most is how he just runs away so suddenly and with such vigor.  The guy is just so exceptionally weird and it’s awesome.

I was recently asked to name a fiction athlete in a fantasy football scenario.  I blanked and had nobody coming to mind and settled for the first thing that popped in.  I said Uncle Rico, because he just needs a chance. In that scenario you would want someone who believes in himself, check (he’s willing to put money on the fact he can throw a football over a mountain).  You’d want someone who honed his talents, check (love the videos he makes of himself and the enthusiasm he has in them).  You want someone willing to go the extra mile, check (the guy fried his balls trying to travel back in time for another chance to play). Uncle Rico just needs that shot, I’d put him in whatever fantasy game exists and let him win me state.

This movie has a lot of weird characters I find endearing but my favorite is the cage fighter in training Kip.  Who else can rock roller stakes like that? Rex-Kwon-Do can brag about his muscle woman all he wants but Kip brought home “La Fawnduh.”  I think that relationship adds a lot of comedy into the film but I think the scene after the credits was overkill.  It was shot after the movie was finished when it became clear that it would catch on.  The scene cost half as much as the entire film and you can see that in the production of the scene.  I laughed at the ceremony until Napoleon rides up on the horse, it was a bit much.

I don’t love this movie and I don’t like it like I did 10 years ago but it is still fun to revisit occasionally.  I know a lot of people who watch it and simply don’t get it.  There’s nothing to get though. It’s just a weird and awkward comedy that is funny because it is unique.  Many people heard all the fuss over the movie and went in expecting something knee slapping funny but that’s not this one.  This is definitely the kind of movie you don’t want to sit down to expecting more than it will deliver.  It is what it is and you have to appreciate it for what it is.  This is a short movie so I would say it is worth your time but if you haven’t seen it I wouldn’t make any special effort.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still just love this movie so much. So many people don’t get it. They don’t understand what makes it so funny. I honestly don’t have a magical answer for why it is was so popular, or why I still find it hilarious, but it’s just that. Hilarious. I can’t even count how many times I have seen this movie. It used to play on MTV all the time when I was in college, and like everyone else in the country, all of my friends and coworkers were spouting out lines like crazy.

napoleon_dynamite

This. I love this. This couldn’t be a better foreshadowing for the movie. It’s very edgy and relates to the target audience, which is obviously the same as MTV. MTV has always had really great designers that are constantly breaking the rules. You get an immediate look at Napoleon, and the character he probably is. He also happens to doodle, scoring a date to the dance by drawing a sweet picture of a girl from school. The sketching is also incorporated in the typography of the title, which I think works incredibly. This handwriting will always be Napoleon Dynamite in my mind; it has become a logo-like mark over the years.

I also want to note that the intro credits in this movie is one of the better ones I have ever seen. I just remember finding it fresh and original. Also, how many times did they have to try and write the ones done in condiments.

napoleon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT MOVIE: Natural Born Killers (1994)