Comedy

Superbad

Year: 2007
Directed By: Greg Mottola
Written By: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a really funny movie and I enjoy it every time I sit down to it. This recounting of the good old days for Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is hilarious. We all have those memories from our youth that have formed into legend and hats off to these guys for making a movie out of theirs.

This is just a great group of funny people brought together to be funny. I think the pairing of Jonah Hill and Michael Cera is great and they have terrific chemistry together. Rogen and Bill Hader are hilarious as the two cops. Last but not least is Christopher Mintz-Plasse making his film debut. I don’t think there are tons of roles out there waiting for this guy but he was awesome as McLovin. This is also Emma Stone’s film debut and how high her star has risen since. There are plenty of great performances in the background of this movie as well.

I’ve watched this movie a dozen times or more and I still find it funny. However I have little to nothing to say about it. Not inspiring lengthy commentary aside this movie is still worth your time. It’s a very funny movie and I don’t usually recommend it because everybody I know has usually already seen it. It’s immature and over the top but it’s a lot of fun.

NEXT MOVIE: Superman (1978)

 

 

Stripes

Year: 1981
Directed By: Ivan Reitman
Written By: Len Blum, Daniel Goldberg, and Harold Ramis

RYAN’S REVIEW

When you got this core of Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis together in the 80s they were going to make some magic. The men behind Ghostbusters had a specific quality that transitioned onto the screen and you can see it in this movie. Originally written to be Cheech and Chong join the army this movie worked far better than it ever had any business doing so. These guys took a bombed idea and turned it into a comedy classic.

This is one of my favorite examples of how funny Bill Murray is. I think the thing for Bill Murray is that he has to be paired with a director who will just let him do his thing. Bill Murray is notoriously weird and can be hard for some to work with. Harold Ramis had a great ability to work with Bill Murray that lasted for a long time. Up until their last collaboration, Groundhog Day, they had a fruitful relationship. Don’t know what happened to dissolve that relationship but it’s really unfortunate.

I think this movie runs a bit too long. I think if they had stretched out boot camp a little bit more and not been deployed into their protection detail it would have been better. There are plenty of scenes in this movie that look like hold overs from the Cheech and Chong intended script. With a deep cast of funny people including John Candy and Judge Reinhold they managed to make it there own.

This is a movie that speaks for itself. It’s a classic comedy like Caddyshack and it simply doesn’t need my stamp of approval. For me it takes me back to middle school when I was first introduced to it. I thought it was a really funny movie then and I still enjoy watching it today. It’s easily worth your time but like most people you have long since discovered that on your own.

NEXT MOVIE: Suicide Kings (1997)

 

The Stepford Wives

Year: 2004
Directed By: Frank Oz
Written By: Ira Levin (book), Paul Rudnick (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This film has sat on our shelf for over ten years and I don’t think I have watched it since we were in college. The film made it into the collection as a gift for Amber on some anniversary or holiday along the way. We’re only minutes into the movie now and I’m already wondering what I was thinking. We own so many movies that there’s bound to be a dud here and there and we’ve stumbled across one it seems. I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for why it’s part of our collection but that memory has been lost along the way.

In one of the very first scenes the dialogue was clearly changed because it doesn’t match up with the lips of the actors. That’s frustrating but it was the plight of this movie. It’s one that’s been disowned by everybody involved including several actors and even the director. Not only did things not go well during filming but it suffered greatly in post production as several things were changed and some even re shot altogether. I have never seen the original film but perhaps I should seek it out now because I do like the idea behind this movie. It won’t be the first mistake I have made watching a remake of something that was much better before.

I’m thinking specifically of The Manchurian Candidate. Coincidentally that very film was advertised on this DVD. I learned a lesson when I watched the original and the very same thing could happen here. I’d really like to test that out but I don’t think it’s going to happen. A quick search shows the original film must be out of print because the DVD cost almost $70. That’s outrageous and I don’t want to see it that bad just to test out a theory. I can settle for the book but I’d have to invest too much time and I’m not really that interested.

Glenn Close is a gem and it’s sad to see her talent wasted in a movie like this. She so exaggerated in the scene where they are “working out” that you can’t help but laugh. She’s just so deftly delightful and her hand motions are fantastic. She shines in this film where everyone else is cloudy.

I have never been a big fan of Nicole Kidman but I do respect her talent. I can’t say that it’s on display in this movie though, her heart clearly wasn’t in it. I like Ferris Bueller as much as everyone else but there is rarely ever a role when I think ‘Matthew Broderick would have been great for this.’ On the other hand I can’t imagine a performance given by Christopher Walken that isn’t awesome but he’s just going through the motions in this movie and that’s a shame.

This movie was directed by Frank Oz and he has never really been a favorite of mine. He hasn’t gotten behind camera in ten years but still serves as the voice of Yoda when called upon. I don’t generally like his movies, however his final film Death at a Funeral was hilarious and needs to be added to the collection now that I think about it. Amber and I watched both the white and the black version of it years ago and enjoyed both.

Aside from Glenn Close, and that one awesome joke about Connecticut, there really isn’t much going on with this movie. It’s a really cool story but it wasn’t delivered properly at all. I wish I could watch the original to see how it measures up and maybe I’ll get that chance at some point. If anybody who has read the book is reading this let me know if it’s worth it and I’ll probably check it out. I can’t say this movie is actually worth your time to see though. It’s short and that’s a plus but even with a short running time it’s just not worth it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stir of Echoes (1999)

 

Stay Tuned

Year: 1992
Directed By: Peter Hyams
Written By: Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein, and Richard Siegal

RYAN’S REVIEW

I don’t remember much from the year 1992 but I do remember seeing this movie in the theater. I was eight years old and the idea of regular people going into the television programming as part of it was such a terrific fantasy for me. 1992 was one of the years leading up to my parents divorce and TV was my great escape. If I wasn’t playing outside with my action figures I was sitting in front of the tube with one in hand watching whatever served as an easy distraction. When I saw this movie I loved it because the idea of being able to go into the world of television was just awesome. The fact that it served as some sort of hell in this movie was beside the point, I was eight, it was the idea that appealed to me. As our collection grew the memory of this film bubbled to the surface one day and I went out of my way to add it to the collective.

The Humphrey Bogart movie seen on the television early in this movie was The Maltese Falcon. Bogart plays badass private eye Sam Spade and in the scene on screen he is confronting the damsel in distress who is actually the perpetrator behind the murders.  Really cool movie that is actually part of our collection. We reviewed it a few years ago. I like this movie a little bit more now for featuring it.

Not really sure what Jeffrey Jones’ character is all about in this movie. Is Mr. Spike the devil? It certainly seems so with the evil laughing as he drives down into Hell presumably. As the boss of Hell Vision he is out to steal your soul and kill you, for some reason. I do like this evil organization who kills and possibly sends people to hell but also trains interns. Interns that can rise quite dramatically it seems. There’s a great reference to Dr. Strangelove at one point down in the depths of Hell Vision. As the movie goes on you still don’t really know what Spike is all about. He’s evil enough though, he’ll choke you out if you talk back to him and kiss you if you give him good news.

I love how this movie mocked the current TV programming of the early 90s. One of my favorites is the Sadistic Hidden Videos. The officer brings the woman to tears with news of her husbands death and two seconds later she’s laughing when she realizes she is on hidden camera. I remember the commercial the Max Hell segment is making fun of with that guy sitting back in that chair and the sound of his stereo blowing his hair or something. I can’t remember what the product actually was but that’s pretty funny. What parent doesn’t want a Silencer of the Lambs now and again on a long ride to keep the kids quiet?

“This is one clever pussy.” That’s hilarious because they found a way to drop the P word into a PG rated film. Followed shortly by “My Three Sons of Bitches” and then the spoof of Wayne’s World. I never got into the Wayne’s World skit, or the movies. Ah there it is, The Maltese Falcon is mentioned by named in the segment that is obviously inspired by it.

Sometimes this movie borders on trying to be a horror film with so much themed around hell and death. Segments like Duane’s World and the Exorcisist can really make it a bit confusing about what the film is going for. There are an awful lot of references to Hell and 666 in this movie for it to be rated PG. I’m not a stickler for such things but in this movie the hell references just seem so random.

John Ritter is so well cast as the typical guy. He had a special quality as an actor and was so likable. I think the scene when he shows up on the Three’s Company set it’s really funny.  He’s the kind of actor who can drop pussy into the dialogue and still come off as innocent. He died before his time, may he rest in peace. Long before he was Jim’s dad on American Pie Eugene Levy was proving he had the potential to make anything he was in funnier. Maybe it wasn’t in this movie because nobody really saw it but he does make this movie funnier.

AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It seems I cannot escape Star Trek, as it has followed me beyond the 12 prior films and into this one. John Ritter as Captain Picard is good for a laugh even with the horrible reminder. “Holy Shatner,” he does it right and gives respect to both crews. The Star Trek fan I have purged from myself would be proud.

Crash Test Dummies! That’s awesome, and it’s followed shortly by Driving Over Miss Daisy. This is a funny movie. It’s silly and I’m probably putting more thought into it than it’s worth but I’ve enjoyed watching it again. The whole message is as John Ritter says in the end “Too much TV can get you in trouble.” This really isn’t the kind of movie to put too much thought into though. I think it’s worth your time simply because it’ll take you back to the early 90s.

NEXT MOVIE: The Stepford Wives (2004)

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)