Death To Smoochy

Year: 2002
Directed By: Danny DeVito
Written By: Adam Resnick

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is my third favorite movie of all time. It’s hard for me to keep any kind of ranking system when I love so many movies but I have had a set and unchanged top three of all time since I saw this movie for the first time.  It’s mystery movie #1 that we haven’t reached in the collection yet, The Big Lebowski, and Death to Smoochy. When I saw this movie for the first time I was in love with it in the first few minutes, it took no more than this and I was sold. It’s so ironic and awesome. Something about Robin Williams surrounded by little people singing that song just hits my funny bone the right way.  I distinctly remember seeing this film on a list in the newspaper of “10 worst movies of the year” back in 2002.  I have also never met another person who likes this movie as much as I do (or at all), but it is special to me and I think it is great.

I think Danny DeVito did a masterful job directing this movie.  I think the direction and the performances are what make this movie so good.  He has great lighting, great set design, and uses excellent angles when filming.  I have always liked Danny DeVito but he isn’t so great as an actor all of the time.  He has gotten so disgusting and weird in his old age on the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I actually think that show started a downward spiral the minute he joined the cast. The show was funnier before he arrived.  There is an entire episode about him pooping down his pants leg regularly because “poop’s funny.”  Is poop funny? I have one kid who just got out of diapers and we are due in a week with another baby.  I don’t think poop is funny and can’t find anybody else who does.  Nevertheless DeVito has done many great things in his career like Batman Returns, Twins, Matilda,  and in my opinion this film. I don’t know why people can’t appreciate this film, it got really horrible reviews.  I think the story is clever, the dialogue is witty, and the performances are fantastic. This is a dark comedy, and I think most people just didn’t get it.

This was part of Robin Williams psycho trilogy that also included One Hour Photo and Insomnia. I consider this the last good movie Williams made but I have to admit I haven’t seen much of his recent work because I have heard bad things.  I know that Williams has struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout his career, I think those issues ultimately created problems later and recently in his career. Williams is great as Rainbow Randolph who  grows more insane as the film progresses.  I love so many of his lines in this movie. When he calls Sheldon to threaten him and says he’s going on a safari I burst into laughter every time. When he proclaims Smoochy as the face of evil and points to the grinning and dancing Edward Norton on the big screen I can’t help but smile.  I also love when he has Sheldon and Nora at gun point in the condo he used to live in. He describes a picture he had on the wall when he lived there of a naked woman, “not a picture of your F-ing mother!”, there is a picture of a Rhino on the wall. When someone throws an egg at his head he begins to first scream that he has been shot and then starts shouting “SALMONELLA, THAT’S SALMONELLA!” Robin Williams is really great in this movie and he has so many great lines, but he isn’t the best.  I’d have to say the best performance went to Edward Norton.

Edward Norton was coming off several roles as a bad guy including American History X, Fight Club, and The Score. He played really violent people in a couple of those movies.  When he curbs that guy in American History X is sent a shock through me that left a mark for a while. So when I saw him playing the part of Smoochy, I was blown away by his complete reversal in character.  I think the character of Sheldon Mopes is so interesting.  He is an over the top nice guy that has a dark part of his personality suppressed and we only see it briefly near the end of the film. Norton seemed so natural and honest in the part.  He had a joyfulness to him that burst through the screen and made his performance special.  This role made Norton one of my favorite actors, but unfortunately he hasn’t had many hits since this film.  I really liked him in The Incredible Hulk and was disappointed that Marvel chose to replace him for The Avengers.  He will be playing a substantial role in Wes Anderson‘s next movie Moonrise Kingdom and I am really looking forward to that.

This is a rare acting role for Jon Stewart and I think he brings a lot to the film.  I should really have a lot more to say about Stewart but I have never really watched much of his show.  Not because I don’t like him but just because I try to avoid politics and that’s his thing. I like Catherine Keener in the female lead, she doesn’t get the lead very often but she is usually good when she does, such as in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Danny Woodburn is also worth mentioning. He played Angelo, the leader of the little people so to speak.  Woodburn was really great as Kramer’s friend Mickey on Seinfeld and I have always been fond of him because of that role. All of these actors as well as the ones I haven’t mentioned came together to make a really weird movie that meant a lot to me even if nobody else liked it.

This movie really was a financial disaster. It had a budget of $55 million and only managed to gross $8 million.  That is really bad and I’m not sure why it was so unsuccessful.  Robin Williams was actually nominated for a Razzie for his part in the movie. None of this means anything to me though, I think this movie is awesome.  I often enjoy dark and weird stories that nobody else seems to appreciate, and I care little about what others think when it comes to something I like.  I am interested nonetheless in anybody else’s opinion about this movie.  If you haven’t seen it then check it out and let us know what you think.  I think this film is worth your time and I hope you enjoy it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. Not a lot of people have heard of it or seen it, but it is truly one of the funniest, most interesting movies that I have ever seen. This film shows a side of Ed Norton that we have never seen before. He plays the part of a well to do, vegan eating, people loving purple dinosaur and plays the part to a “T.” The movie is interesting and weird and it is hard to actually explain it. I know that Ryan wrote a book about it, so I am going to just simply say watch this movie. There is no if you want to or not, I am just saying go and watch it. It is awesome. We both loved it, and I know that it wasn’t received well by critics, but what do movie reviewers know anyway?

NEXT MOVIE: Deliverance (1972) <————————-You must read this review….I need to explain.

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