Comedy

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Year: 1999
Directed By: Trey Parker
Written By: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady

RYAN’S REVIEW

The rate of reviews we have published has slimmed quite a bit in the last couple of months. The reason being that I thought we would binge watch the entire series of South Park before diving into the movie. It had been years since I had watched the show regularly and I was shocked to realize that there were actually 20 seasons now. Watching them in succession has been quite a time consuming process, albeit totally worth it.

We’re still a few seasons from finishing the entire series but I found myself with time today and wanted to watch this movie. Going back and watching South Park in succession is an interesting experience. It almost feels like a history lesson as the show often makes a play on current events. I was in season 3 I think when I realized an episode was all about Elian Gonzalez. I had nearly forgotten about that immigration crisis it’s been so long but here the show served as a reminder. It has been a recurring thing as we have made our way through the series.

It’s fascinating to see how this show has grown and evolved over the past 20 years. How it continues to push the limits and make us think and laugh at the same time. When this movie came out the show was so much smaller. What used to be a bigger, longer, and uncut version of the show has just become the show now. Not that there is anything wrong with that because it continues to be awesome. This most recent season 20 was a congruent story that continued every week. I’ve always wished they would make another movie but why do so when they can air bigger, longer, and uncut versions of the show on TV now? They have come so far since having to release this movie to theaters with an R rating.

As for this movie, it’s not my favorite but only because the competition is so steep. As much as I love this movie I don’t know that I can put it above Imaginationland, Cartoon Wars, Member Berries, and plenty of others. This movie is hilarious and an awesome South Park story but there are just so many now. The genius of Trey Parker and Matt Stone is both fruitful and tireless. For over 20 years they have been two of the ballsiest entertainers in the world. They know how to make a point and they aren’t afraid to go too far in order to make that point. It’s absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

The show has evolved so far since this movie came out that it’s lacking in some of the things that have become so prevalent now. Like Randy and Butters, two awesome and pivotal characters in today’s South Park. However, what it lacks with characters like those guys it makes up for with big roles for the Devil and Saddam Hussein. Is there anything funnier than the love story of those two? I specifically love the episode in which Saddam comes back and creates a love triangle with the Devil and his new boyfriend, Chris. In this movie I don’t know why but there is a picture of Skeet Ulrich above Satan and Saddam’s bed. I have never known why but I have always found the randomness of it hilarious.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are so talented when it comes to writing and performing musical work. There is so much of their work to serve as proof of that and this movie is part of it. I love so many of the songs in this movie. Satan singing a song about wanting to be “up there” is hands down one of the funniest things I have ever seen. This movie is full of hilarious songs though and that’s why it was nominated for an Academy Award. Blame Canada was actually performed at the Oscars by none other than Robin Williams the year this came out.

Such an awesome video, may Robin Williams rest in peace.

I know people who hate South Park and I get it, sort of, but they’re simply missing the point. Yeah, maybe there have been a couple episodes here and there that literally almost made me throw up but there is more to this show than disgust. Yeah maybe when this movie came out I watched it in secret. Maybe it’s the type of film that if my grandparents saw it I would deny having ever heard of it. Maybe they go a bit too far now and again but it remains funny. It’s generally all on the way to a larger point at hand and there is usually a pretty compelling message attached to it. They might gross you out but after you hear them out it’s hard to argue with their logic.

I wasn’t an original South Park fan. I was 13 when the show debuted and absolutely not allowed to watch it. I remember it and may have seen an episode or two but by in large I was more interested in other cartoon shows like The Simpsons or King of the Hill. I think I was 17 when I saw this movie for the first time over at a friend’s house and I was instantly sold. I don’t know that I ever laughed harder but it was still years before I started watching the show.

It wasn’t until 2006 when I started really watching the show and I binged it on DVD before binge watching was even a thing. I was so amazed by the intelligence of the show and realized I had been missing out on something awesome. I lost touch with the show again sometime during parenthood until recently. For the last few months my nights have often consisted of a couple of episodes once my children are safely put to bed where they can have dreams innocent of the obscene show mommy and daddy love so much.

I love this show and I stand behind it no matter how far it goes, but I wouldn’t let my kids watch it. I don’t know how old they will have to be before I’m cool with it actually. This show is hilarious and brilliant but some things need to be adult only. I have no illusions that I’ll actually have any say so at a certain point once my kids are older and decide they want to see something. Nevertheless I’ll protect their innocence as long as I can, and that means it’s only past bedtime that I get to watch South Park.

This is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. If you aren’t a South Park fan you could easily watch this movie and understand why the series has been ongoing for 20 years. Plenty have doubted this show, including myself in the beginning. Even at 13 I didn’t think this show with its crappy animation could ever compete with the powerhouse of the Simpsons. That was when I was simply ignorant though, I know better now. Even more interesting is that while I grew out of The Simpsons my appreciation for this show has only grown. If you have a problem with South Park I’d suggest you pull the stick out of your ass and see what you’ve been missing. South Park is as obscene as it gets but it’s also a highly intelligent show that will surprise you more often than not.

Bottom line, this movie and the series it is based on are more than worth your time. There are 20 seasons worth of episodes with no end in sight and no sign of slowing down. If you’ve been missing out it’s time to see what all the fuss is about.

 

NEXT MOVIE: South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut (1999)

 

Slackers

Year: 2002
Directed By: Dewey Hicks
Written By: David H. Steinberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite comedies of all time going back to the first time I saw it in the theater back in 2002. I don’t know why this is such an unknown and unappreciated movie. I have never even met another person who has seen it and I can’t believe that because I sincerely think this is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Need I say more than “Cool Ethan???” Jason Schwartzman is flawlessly funny in this movie and makes it a film that deserves more notoriety than it receives.

I was 18 when this movie came out and it was one of the films I built and screened in my part time job at the movie theater. Had it not been part of my job I never would have seen it on my own and may have missed it entirely. It didn’t have a wide release and didn’t even open in the largest auditorium but as I sat in the theater verifying my work I laughed harder than I ever expected. Sometimes a movie can hit you just right and it gives you a feeling that lasts a life time. So far anyway, as every time I watch this movie I find myself loving it as much as I did almost 15 years ago.

I like the trio of Devon Sawa, Jason Segal, and the ginger from The Adventure of Pete and Pete. They are funny and cunning in such an interesting way. They all bring something unique to the table which makes them a well rounded cheating team. I love Devon Sawa’s “seed of doubt” method but it barely comes close to this:

Jason Segal has grown into a well known star but when this came out he was still a relative nobody but you could see he was heading to bigger things. The same can’t be said for Devon Sawa or Michael C Maronna but they both bring something funny to the group. As a taste of their cheating methods I found this little nugget:

Their scheming is fun and humorous but it’s the awkward Cool Ethan played by Jason Schwarztman that really steals the show and takes this movie to another level. He is so weird and confident in unusual ways. Ethan is a stalker of the queerest sort. He likes one particular girl and is so obsessed with her he collects her hair. He is weird in the way that makes you cringe but when he interacts with other characters it is the funniest thing you will ever see. When he catches one of the guys cheating he has all three of them by the balls unless they help him get what he wants. He wants these cool guy schemers to help him get the girl he has been obsessing over, Angela, or he will have them expelled for cheating. I like everything about this weirdo from his mannerisms to his chest hair shaved in the shape of an A. Schwarztman is a really talented actor but this is and always will be my favorite of his roles.

The female that Cool Ethan has his eye on is Angela, played by Jamie King who in this movie is billed as James King. I don’t know why but have always found that to be interesting. She is backed up by Laurie Prepon who was hot at the time for her role in the popular “That 70’s Show” sitcom. Prepon plays the polar opposite to the innocent and angelic Angela and it’s quite funny. They go a bit too far with Prepon in this movie when she has a gimp with her at one point but it still manages to be funny.

This film is criticized as being nothing more than another raunchy teen comedy but I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t even see this as a teen comedy because it is set in college. However, it was released during an era of non stop teen comedies so I think it gets unjustly lumped together with them. It is raunchy but no more than you would expect out of college kids. This movie is more than just some other teen comedy and I have to think that all the haters out there are just not giving it a chance because of preconceived notions. If you sit down expecting the same old same old from an already exhausted genre then that is what you will probably see. I didn’t know what this was when I first sat down to watch it for the first time and it thoroughly surprised me. Knowing it as I do now I still don’t see it as another teen comedy. This is a movie about adults in college and the content reflects that.

I love this movie so much I do not care that nobody else gets my Cool Ethan references. It’s a largely forgotten film, like everything Devon Sawa did, but it is remembered fondly in my household and has a special place in my DVD collection. If I were to rate my favorite movies of all time by genre then this one would easily be in my top 5 for comedies. As far as I am concerned it is right up there with Dr. Strangelove,  and The BirdcageAccording to it’s ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes there are plenty of people out there that would tell you that this movie isn’t worth your time but they are wrong. This is such a fun and quotable movie. If for no other reason you should sit down to this one simply to laugh at Cool Ethan. This movie is worth your time regardless but Cool Ethan especially makes it worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: Sleepy Hollow(1999)

 

The Simpsons Movie

Year: 2007
Directed By: David Silverman
Written By: 15 credits from The Simpsons team including Matt Groening and James L. Brooks

RYAN’S REVIEW

I grew up watching this television show and for a long time collected the series on DVD. I think I have the first 13 or 14 seasons but somewhere along the way simply outgrew the show. I never imagined it would happen but somewhere in the year or so preceding this film I just lost interest in what Homer and his crew were up to. I did and do however love that they made this movie because it was something I had always hoped for. All throughout college I spent so many hours with this show and even though I don’t watch it now I still consider it something special to me.

There is really little beyond length, and nudity, that separates this movie from the television show. There is nothing wrong with that though, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Simpsons have been making people laugh for twenty five years now and there is no end in sight. It’s incredible really and as my time of fandom has passed it’s really not something I have any business talking about these days. As for the movie I have little to say.

I like this movie and enjoy watching it, but it inspires nothing in me worth writing about. The Simpsons are as American as apple pie and that’s awesome. I think any fan should check this out and even if you’re not a fan it’s still a funny movie to sit down and enjoy. The Simpsons will typically only take a half hour of your time but this movie makes about three times that much worth it to watch.

NEXT MOVIE: Sin City (2005)

 

Shaun of the Dead

Year: 2004
Directed By: Edgar Wright
Written By: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

RYAN’S REVIEW

When it’s time to pull your life together you gotta make a decision, and you can’t let some little thing like the zombie apocalypse get in the way. Shaun is a man who picks the wrong time to get it together but that doesn’t stop him from doing so in this delightfully funny movie that pays homage to the true zombie films.

This movie came out the same year as the Dawn of the Dead remake, which did nothing but sully the original, and it was perfect timing for a movie like this. The sprinting zombies became all the rage back in 2004 but this movie held true to how the creatures were originally created. When asked why they didn’t use running zombies Simon Pegg said it best when he replied “because death isn’t an energy drink.” He couldn’t have been more right. While running zombies are scary enough to make you jump out of your seat they don’t factor in to good movies.

Personally I think the whole idea is stupid because zombies on speed equal nothing but the end of the human race. There is no survival when zombies are coming at you with 40 times that would get them drafted in the top 10 of the NFL draft. Zombies are much scarier as a manageable threat because the real scary stuff is the collapse of society and the dog eat dog world that rises afterwards. Thinking people are much more dangerous and unpredictable than a horde of dead runners. The runners are just going to kill everything, but the walkers are going to leave you with hope. Without hope Shaun would have never been able to make things right with his girlfriend, mother, and life.

I have personally watched this movie at least 25 times and I can honestly say it still makes me laugh and it gets better with each viewing. Even watching it now I see things I have never noticed before and they only make me laugh more. Even now I’m recognizing for the first time the line lifted from the original Night of the Living Dead, “We’re coming to get your Barbara!!!” I don’t know how I ever managed to miss that but it just goes to show how this movie has layers that make it continuously entertaining.

I love the pairing of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. I would literally watch anything the two of them do together and have enjoyed all that I have seen of them. Hot Fuzz, Paul, and The World’s End were all fantastic movies but they can’t beat this one. In this movie their relationship is actually based on their own relationship as roommates before they hit it big. Any time the two of these guys get together you can expect me to be tuning in. They don’t currently have anything lined up according to IMDB but in time I hope to see these friends back on screen together. There was at one time talk of a sequel to this film in which they would do something similar only with a different monster. The working title was “From Dusk till Shaun'” and I for one think that sounds like it would have been pretty funny.

I mentioned already that I have seen this movie an egregious amount of times but I know without doubt it won’t end there. As long as this one makes me laugh I’ll be enjoying it now and again. Given how much I enjoyed it when I sat down to it this time I have every reason to think I can watch it another 25 times and still enjoy it. That’s a special type of movie and one that is easily worth your time to see. There are tons of backstory and inside jokes within this movie that I couldn’t possibly list or even go into. I just love the movie and I think anybody else would love it just as much.

NEXT MOVIE: The Shining (1980)

Secondhand Lions

Year: 2003
Directed By: Tim McCanlies
Written By: Tim McCanlies

RYAN’S REVIEW

Occasionally as I make this journey through our DVD collection I look at what comes next and have to comb my memory for an explanation. When I reached this movie I had to dig deep into my psyche for an answer. Sometimes I come to a film and it’s one I haven’t seen in more than a decade and it can be really difficult to remember. This is a movie that really seems to not belong so it took me a minute to figure out how it ended up in our collection.

It was until half way through this heartfelt and cute movie that it dawned on me how it ended up here. This was a movie my Grandmother talked me into watching years ago and I found it surprising if not silly. I think I bought it one day for a cheap price with her in mind and the memory it brought about her.  I think she really liked seeing an older Robert Duvall in a tough guy role despite his advanced age.

This isn’t a bad movie by any means it just isn’t my forte. It’s cool to see Haley Joel Osment grasping hold of that last little bit of youth he had. He was a terrific child actor and it was a shame for him to grow into an awkward adult nobody wants to watch. In this movie he still had some of that boyish look that people fell in love with in The Sixth Sense. He actually went through puberty during the filming of this movie and it is noticeable if you listen to him closely.

This is a nice heartfelt movie that you can watch with your kids. There is something to be said about that. Otherwise I don’t think it really measures up to the caliber of film I generally add into our collection. My Grandmother may have loved this movie but for anybody else out there I would consider before investing my time in watching it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

 

 

The Royal Tenenbaums

Year: 2001
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This one takes me back to a long time ago when life was so much simpler. A time when a good time was a an hour down the road at my brother’s apartment and life’s greatest concern was getting school work done on time. It was at my brother’s apartment where I first saw this film and I fell in love with it immediately. I was in college myself at the time and this movie just spoke to me at that time and place in life.

I think Wes Anderson is an awesome filmmaker with a very unique style that sets him apart. I am a bigger fan of the movie he followed this one up with, The Life Aquatic, but this was a great movie in and of itself. This movie tells an interesting story about a family that used to be a big deal but tragedy befell them all as time moved on. They are all estranged until they find themselves being drawn together for the first time in almost 20 years. Their conflicting and contrasting personalities make for a great black comedy.

The cast of this movie is quite remarkable. I don’t know the whole back story behind the connection between Wes Anderson and the Wilson brothers. I know they went to college together and have a friendship beyond their careers but there is certainly more to the story than that. He must be a quite likable director because many actors and actresses continue to work with him regularly. Some even go out of their way for him actually. I read that during the shooting of this movie some of the other actors like Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray would specifically work to shield Anderson from Gene Hackman who notoriously can be difficult to work with. I read that Murray would actually show up on set during his days off just for this purpose.

Whether he was hard to work with or not I have always been a big fan of Hackman and like him in this movie specifically. He is perfect as Royal Tenenbaum and I think it was a role that capped off a great career. It hurts my heart to consider that after more than a decade of not acting we have definitely seen the last of him. At 86 years old he is still with us though, and hopefully enjoying his retirement. The last time I heard anything about Hackman he had been in a road rage incident in which he beat up somebody giving him guff, and that was only a few years ago. The man, even in his 80’s, is too badass for the general public to cross. I could be wrong about the story I’m remembering but I like it the way I remember it.

Beyond Hackman the cast is nothing short of fantastic. It’s always fun to see Ben Stiller and the Wilson brothers together but I think specific props go to Gwyneth Paltrow who played such an interesting character in this one. I think the role that Bill Murray plays is his weakest of all the roles he has played in Wes Anderson films. Murray is great as always but his character is just underused and not his best. I think Danny Glover is fantastic as Herny Sherman. While still very active as an actor Glover just doesn’t get the roles he used to and that’s a shame.

I don’t feel like I’ve said enough about this movie but this movie is all Wes Anderson and I have written my thoughts on him before. For more insight into my thoughts on the director see some of our reviews of his other films. We have reviewed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limitedand Moonrise KingdomWe also have The Grand Budapest Hotel in the collection but it was a late addition we have yet to get around to reviewing.

So in the spirit of not being redundant I’m going to close out this review simply by letting you know that this movie is worth your time. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson then you should have already seen it but if you aren’t then you should check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

I am sure there is plenty of backstory to this movie that is interesting and note worthy. Unfortunately I have never taken the time to read about it. Anybody who does know more about the Anderson/Wilson relationship and how it transitions into the movie feel free to leave a comment and enlighten us.

NEXT MOVIE: The Rules of Attraction (2002)

 

 

Roles Models

Year: 2008
Directed By: David Wain
Written By: Several people

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sometimes you need nothing more than something that can make you laugh and that’s when a movie like this comes in handy. This movie has a funny concept and more than enough funny people to make it really fun. Not even going to lie, after seeing this movie I really felt an urge to go Larping, Laire, whatever the role playing thing they do in this movie is. The mature adult in me knows it’s pretty lame but I have a hard time denying that there is a medieval warrior inside of me screaming to be let out. That guy is still screaming as I have never participated in the activity but I’d consider it if the opportunity came up.

This is one of those movies that perplexes me because I have never been a fan of Paul Rudd; yet here is another movie he is in that I really like. Paul Rudd is funny enough but he seems to always play this same part to me. The pessimistic guy with a stick up his butt that has funny complaints and a really cool friend. In this movie that friend is Seann William Scott giving yet another rendition of his classic and hilarious character of Stifler. As a guy who came of age at the turn of the century I love Stifler and enjoy every opportunity to laugh at his antics.

You have a ton of fantastic people in smaller roles like Jane Lynch and Ken Jeong. In even smaller parts you got guys like Joe Lo Truglio and Matt Walsh. In the beginning of the movie you can see Louis C.K. as the police officer that nearly gets run over by the Minotaur truck. He most likely was part of some specific scenes that got deleted. That says it all about the cast really; there were so many funny people here that they were cutting the likes of Louis C.K.

I really like McLovin in this role of the LAIRE warrior from Zanthia. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a really funny guy who I hope isn’t limited by his awkward physique going forward. He is great in this movie but hardly anybody in this entire film can even hold a candle to Bobb’e J. Thompson. As the aggressively profane Sturdy Wings kid he is hilarious. “You white, you Ben Affleck!” I don’t know where this kid went or what he has been doing for the last eight years but he was great in this movie.

When this movie went from being funny and immature to being sentimental and thoughtful it became “shelf worthy” for my collection. The LAIRE battle in the end of the film is so much fun. It’s touching as well how these guys come together to support Augie in a selfless manner. When they realize they want to spend their time with these kids not because they are being punished but because they can make a difference. It makes for a nice story peppered with profanity and popular comedians.

When you need a movie that can inspire laughter and lift your spirits you cannot go wrong with this one. I think this movie is more than funny because it is fun. If I ever do get weird and go all out in some live action fantasy role play it will be because I thought it looked so cool in this movie. I think this one is easily worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

NEXT MOVIE: Ronin (1998)