Comedy

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

Year: 1991
Directed By: Michael Pressman
Written By: Todd W. Langen, based on characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird

 

RYAN’S REVIEW

OK full disclosure here, I haven’t watched this movie in order to review it. Oddly enough I found myself watching it with my kids sometime within the last six months and I think that gave me a good enough impression to go with. I’m like a freaking adult now, can’t be having two sittings of this movie within six months of one another. That would just be silly.

I distinctly remember this film coming to theaters, I was 7 at the time. There was a contest for coloring a picture of the turtles to get free tickets to the film. I specifically remember how much effort I put into it, not only the easy part of getting all the colors correct but also shading with crayons in a way that could rival my abilities as an adult. I put all the effort capable of a seven year old into that drawing and I was so proud to turn it in. When I got the call that my coloring had been selected I lost my shit. I felt like I had won because I was somehow a superior Turtles fan. I had poured my heart into something, probably for the first time in my life, and I had succeeded at it. Low and behold I realized years later that my dad was the manager of the theater that promoted the competition. A coincidence that can’t be overlooked as one reflects on life experiences.

That charming memory aside I loved this movie through and through when it came out and I saw it in the theater. I thought it far exceeded the original film and captured the humor that the turtles were capable of. Plus there were other mutants in this one! I have always been a fan of Toka and Raza, the capabilities of Jim Henson Creature Shop can never easily be overlooked. These guys were no Bebop and Rocksteady but they upped the ante for the turtles nonetheless.

Yet as I have gotten older I find myself revisiting this film now and again. I find that with each viewing I see more and more childish shenanigans. Things I started out blind to because of my childhood love suddenly started to come into focus. The ninja turtles don’t even really fight in this one. In fact they’re the motherfucking Harlem Globetrotters of combat! How can I knock this guy down without using any actual violence? Hmmmm we’re gonna need more props and gags.

The thing is I no longer know what to think about this movie. I watch this movie now and I want to sit here and tell you it’s garbage. Nothing but juvenile nonsense and it isn’t worth your time. However I have to consider the memories that come flooding back. I absolutely loved this movie when it came out and ignored all flaws for years following. Maybe this is a great movie because it captured me as part of the obvious target audience. Maybe what I think about it now fails in comparison to the magic I saw as a seven year old.

If nothing else this movie continued the turtle story line and deepened their characters. That can’t be said for the third in the franchise. I don’t think this movie was worth my time to sit down and watch again within a certain time frame. Upon deep consideration I would say that it is most definitely worth the time of your preteen child. Even though it is silly I think there is still plenty to like about the film for any Ninja Turtles fan.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

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Team America: World Police

Year: 2004
Directed By: Trey Parker
Written By: Trey Parker and Matt Stone

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was in college when this movie came out and I specifically remember scraping money together for a chance to see it in the theater. Sure I needed every cent, food and expenses being what they were for a broke college kid, but this movie was a priority. All my anticipation and penny pinching was validated when I sat down to see it. I don’t know that I’d ever laughed so hard before and I appreciated the satire in all my adolescent political prowess. I’ve since seen it more times than I can count and I love it more with every viewing.

I think this is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, top 5 all time comedy hands down. The fact that it features puppets only makes it more impressive. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are nothing short of genius. I don’t know why they haven’t made more movies but I really wish they would. This proves it because it’s so unbelievably exceptional. Everything from the dialogue to the music is just perfect, and they did it with freakin puppets!

I am a proud American but I have not always been proud of my countries actions. This movie captures exactly how I felt back when I was involved and I cared. My political feelings aside, I don’t know that anything has ever summed up America quite like this:

It’s the attitude behind it, the inclusion of all things American from Walmart to Disney World. In a nutshell this is the country I have grown up in.

I love this movie. It’s just brilliant how ridiculous and serious it can be at the same time. It so flawlessly captures the ignorance, arrogance, and the entitlement of America as a nation. I love my country, but I can’t help but laugh. It is what it is and when you can’t change it you have no choice but to accept it. As an American though there is one thing you can’t forget…

As much as I love this movie there are two scenes I can’t stomach. Something too disgusting to watch is to be expected from Parker and Stone now and again. The two scenes I can’t and won’t watch are when Gary violently throws up for what seemed like forever because it is just so disgusting. The second is the sex scene. It’s funny at first, these two puppets are getting it on, but then it goes too far. And it keeps going, and when you think it’s gone as far as it can go it gets more perverse. It’s too much, but it’s easy enough to skip those two scenes and enjoy what it otherwise so perfect.

Back in 04 the leader of North Korea was just as crazy as the son is these days but he didn’t get the attention of the Saddams and Bin Ladens of the world. I have always thought it was hilarious that he got the spotlight in this film. Kim Jong un is crazy and has exceeded his father in gaining attention for threatening the world. Long before he rose to power his crazy sire was calling the shots and this movie serves as a great reminder of those times. I actually like this portrayal of Kim Jong il better even than Saddam in South Park. I love the scene when Hans Blix comes to inspect. “Ah no not fucking Hans Brix.” Blix’s threat that the UN will write them an angry letter is hilarious. Kim Jong il is a villain I always feel a bit bad for because..

I think special mention has to go to the people that brought this movie to life. The people behind the scenes that made the puppets and the work of the actual puppeteers who did such fantastic work. I don’t know who any of these people are but they are exceptional talents. I hope there is still work out there somewhere worthy of their skill. My disgust aside, what they were able to accomplish during the sex scene was pretty impressive. I love when things come to fisticuffs as well. The fighting that ultimately looks like dancing around is just hilarious. They are puppets after all and these puppeteers could only do so much to make the magic happen.

Love it or hate it you can’t help but laugh if you give this movie your attention. While there is plenty of truth said in jest you can’t take this movie too seriously or it is wasted on you. Trey Parker and Matt Stone create a lot of controversy, but they are two of the most talented comedians I have ever had the privilege of laughing at. If you somehow miss the boat on these two then you should catch up on your South Park, and give this movie a chance because you will rarely see anything funnier. This movie isn’t for the faint of heart, and I wouldn’t let my kids see it, but for any mature adult that doesn’t have a stick up their butt this is a must see.

NEXT MOVIE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

 

 

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)