Anthony Anderson

Me, Myself & Irene

Year: 2000
Directed By: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Written By: The Farrelly Brothers and Mike Cerrone

RYAN’S REVIEW

There is often a fine line between funny and stupid.  Nobody out there knows how to teeter on that line better than the Farrelly Brothers.  They have been making us laugh, and blush, for twenty years now and this film is exactly what I expect from them.  A stupid scenario formatted to be really funny.  Occasionally I find their movies to be too stupid but there are some exceptional ones.  This one is incredibly funny but does tend to get too stupid here and there. However, the laughs this movie offers will challenge those you got out of any film.  A funny movie made by funny people with their favorite funny man.

I remember the days when Jim Carrey was just full-on bursting with comedy.  In the mid to late nineties the man was so relentlessly funny and everything he touched turned to gold.  That all changed somewhere along the way and looking back over his career it seems to have ended after this film.  I am and always will be a big fan of Jim Carrey but he has been missing something for quite a while now.  I don’t know what that is but I will always hold out hope to see the Carrey of old come back.  His talent is undeniable but something has certainly changed about him.  He is currently wrapping up the sequel to one of his greatest, his first collaboration with the Farrelly brothers in fact.  Dumb and Dumber To will be hitting theaters sometime in the near future and I have high hopes for it.  Those guys were hilarious the first time around and I look forward to seeing what they are able to do now. At the same time I have concerns about the state of Carrey’s career when he is going back to Lloyd Christmas while nothing else seems to be working.  Jim Carrey if you are out there I am hoping you hit a home run with your next film and I believe in you man, never give up.

While I will never accept it until it is undeniable, this is currently the last really funny movie made by Carrey.  He has made a couple of comedies that weren’t bad since but nothing as nonstop funny and over the top.  With that being the case, Carrey really went all out in this one.  The two personalities of Charlie and Hank gave Carrey a duality to capture two different kinds of comedy.  I love when he turns into Hank and tries to pull off a super cool persona.  One of my favorite parts of the film is when he slides off the hood of the car in one motion while smoking a cigarette, hilarious.  I also love so much about his character as Charlie too.  His half-assed explanation about his children being that “his great grandmother was half Italian” is simply priceless. I remember when this movie came out Jim Carrey was seen as such a crazy guy that with each new film there was a prevalent thought along the lines of “what will he do this time?” In this movie he admitted that his antics were too much for even him at one point.  The specific scene that made him blush was the one in which he drinks milk from the mother’s breast.  He should have blushed too; he was really going to town on that thing. All for the greater good though, you gotta love a comedian that will literally do anything to make us laugh.

Since seeing Chicago and Cold Mountain I have considered Renee Zellweger one of the most impressive actresses of the decade but this film never seemed right for her.  This part, the hot girl in trouble messed up with the wrong people, in a film like this.  It’s just beneath her as an actress.  Granted this was before the two movies I mentioned but it still doesn’t seem like a good career decision.  Why did she play a part like this? She isn’t bad in the film I just think she could have done better in 2000.  I am a huge fan of Richard Jenkins and always enjoy a chance to see him in any movie.  I don’t think this film really showcases what he has to offer as a comedian and actor but he’s here.  Chris Cooper is great in the bad guy role.  He has a real sinister look to him and a tone in his voice that brooks no argument.  Cooper is never cast as a guy that gets picked on, for good reason.  Any time I have ever seen him I feel like he is always a character that conveys some power or a sense of danger. The rest of the cast only makes the film funnier.  There are plenty of people I haven’t even mentioned that are worth noting.  Tony Cox is always great and brings some great laughs to this movie.  Anthony Anderson is awesome whether he is being funny or stone cold gangster “Antwon Mitchell” style. He’s like a chubbier Michael Strahan; you can’t help but like the guy because he makes everything he is in better.

This movie is what it is, but when what it is makes us laugh it’s easy to be forgiving as a critical viewer.  This movie occasionally is a bit too much but it is funny enough to make you forget about anything that was simply stupid in the effort to be funny.  It is a relentless movie that will have your side hurting after all the laughter it provokes.  I sincerely hope that in a few months Jim Carrey will give his greatest comedic performance in his next collaboration with the Farrellys but until then I will always be happy to have this one.  It’s going on 15 years since this came out but this movie is just as funny now as it was then.  Having said all that I wouldn’t recommend a movie this vulgar to my mom, but to anybody else I’d point them toward it and tell them to get ready to laugh.  A very funny movie that is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie. I never get tired of watching it. I know that a lot of people hate on this one. Actually they hate on Jim Carrey in general, but I don’t care. I love that guy. I love him when he is serious, I love him when he is funny, I just think he is one hell of a person. Also, on a side note, when he dated Jenny McCarthy, he got along famously with her Autistic son, she referred to him as an autism whisperer. THAT makes me love him EVEN more. Back to the matter at hand though, this movie shows what it can be like when a person just finally gets pushed too far. I think we can all (to some degree) relate to that feeling.

Me Myself & Irene

The only reason this is a great poster is because of Jim Carrey. He carries it completely and you totally get a sense of what the movie is about. He looks seriously goofy and nice on the left side and the right side he looks utterly like pure evil. The tagline is great too. “From Gentle To Mental.” The thing I really hate about this poster is the typography. And that’s a big one for me. I like that they used different weights for the words, but the outline and overlapping and drop shadow are killing me. Really? Other than that, this poster is really successful. I always know what movie it is immediately, and that’s simply because of the main focus. Jim Carrey. (I love him.)

NEXT MOVIE: Minority Report (2002)

Hustle & Flow

Year: 2005
Directed By: Craig Brewer
Written By: Craig Brewer

RYAN’S REVIEW

In 2005 there was still a willful and adamant Eminem fan inside of me who got bitter when another rap song was awarded the Academy Award for best song.  I felt that it was quite a distinguishing honor for Eminem to be the first musician in his genre to receive the honor for his efforts on the 8 Mile soundtrackFor Three 6 Mafia to win the same award only years later seemed to sully the distinguishing nature of his accomplishment.  I had nothing against Three 6 Mafia, in fact I am a fan, but these guys winning the Academy Award was just bullshit, and still is in my opinion.  There is a stark difference between the work of Eminem and Three 6 Mafia regardless how talented they both may be, and I felt that Eminem was much more deserving of the award.  I took pride in the fact that he had won, he deserved it and the Academy made the right decision in awarding it to him.  I might like Three 6 Mafia, and I did like the song that they won for, but I imagine the competition was very low when they won because it just isn’t an Academy Award worthy song and doesn’t deserve to be in the same class as “Lose Yourself.”

I had never wanted to see this movie because I was bitter over it winning the award and for years avoided it altogether.  It was Amber who encouraged me to finally sit down and watch it, albeit I did so begrudgingly.  I was thoroughly shocked when I found the movie to be incredible, and it’s one I think about whenever I don’t want to listen to my wife’s recommendations. She was right about this one through and through.  I made the mistake of thinking it would be just another typical movie about a rapper but I found it to be so much more than that.  It’s about determination, about believing in something, and about a man trying to figure out who he really is. I am not necessarily a fan of Terrence Howard but he gave the performance of a lifetime in this movie.  He deserves any and all credit he gets in association with the role.

In preparation for this role Howard lived in Memphis for a time before shooting to learn the dialect and area better.  Not only that but he interviewed countless real life pimps and even lived with one for a while to get more into character. His efforts paid off in spades because he really had the role down, but he did so much more with the character.  He plays the kind of character that I would never give any thought to, a low down good for nothing pimp.  These men are vile people who do nothing but take advantage of the weak and exploit them for everything they are worth.  Howard’s DJay is dealing with the common problems that we all face; he is struggling to survive and doing the only thing he knows how to do.  He is stressed out and you can feel it when you see Howard’s performance. You want him to succeed despite what he has done to reach success. When he begins rapping I don’t think the viewer really expects him to be any good at it. His character does nothing up to that point that gives the impression he has anything more to offer the world.  It seems like he just making a desperate reach for something he has no business doing but when he starts you can clearly see he has talent.

I found the life of a pimp that Howard portrays to specifically be an eye opener. From the very beginning when the first trick rolls up and DJay tells him the rates for his girl.  “$20 in the front, $40 in the back.”  That just doesn’t seem like enough to me.  That poor girl has to do the nasty with five different men, the easy way, just to make 100 bucks. That’s just such an awful reality that I’m certain many poor and desperate women have to face every day. One thing I noticed and find myself really curious about is DJay’s car.  There is one panel on the front painted a different color.  Is this because DJay can’t afford any better, or is this a mark for the tricks? I wonder if the different colored panel is a message that he has a woman in the car. It seems like that could be the case but I don’t know.  If anybody actually knows the answer to this please let me know. His home with three different women was also quite a sight, the different sorts of lives some people lead can be hard to imagine sometimes.  You could literally fill a book with the kind of stories that would come out of that situation on a daily basis.

I think I’ve said enough about how great Terrence Howard was in this movie, now it’s time to move on to everyone else.  This movie had a great cast all around.  I am a really big fan of Anthony Anderson. I think every movie he is in is just that much better because he is in it.  He is well cast as the straight laced man who gets in business with a street criminal he knows from childhood.  I like that his wife is ultimately understanding of the situation and gets involved rather than the typical story line of just creating more drama over it.  Taryn Manning is incredible as Nola and the character was well written.  I find myself shocked to be pulling for the prostitute here too, but the girl is more than that.  She quietly suffers all the while listening and learning.  It is so awesome that she is the savior of the cause in the end, using all the cunning she has absorbed from a man who has to be cunning to be in business. DJ Qualls turns in one of his finest performances in this one.  I like Qualls but his strength lies in playing dorky guys who learn to party and get crazy. I thought he was really good in this one. Ludacris did well enough playing a part that should have come really naturally to him. Any rapper would have served though.  He is just a name and face to slap on the DVD cover.

As a big time South Park fan I must mention Isaac Hayes playing the part of the club owner who introduces DJay to Skinny Black.  Hayes of course was the long time voice of the beloved character Chef until Trey Parker and Matt Stone mocked Scientology on the show.  Hayes was a member of that organization/religion/cult until his untimely death in 2008 at the age of 65.  Nobody really talked about it but I thought it was a peculiar way to die.  He was found next to a moving treadmill and I think they eventually said he had died of a stroke but the whole thing just seemed too strange to me.  Yeah he was in the age range to have a stroke, but given that he is involved in Scientology I think the circumstances of his death are very peculiar. If you research into Scientology you will find no end to strange and unusual things that have happened but the most disturbing part is the knack members have of disappearing and dying suddenly under unusual circumstances.  Scientology is a dangerous organization that goes ignored by far too many people.  The largest infiltration of a government organization in this country’s history was perpetrated by members of Scientology who infiltrated the IRS in an effort to get their “church” tax exempt status.  This group included the Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, who was convicted of fraud and sentenced to prison.  Despite all this the organization has flourished and continues to do so, I find it alarming.  I’m going to call it here and now, one day Tom Cruise will run for President and he will likely win in this country where the masses can so easily be manipulated. If Schwarzenegger can become governor of the largest state in the country then one of America’s favorite movie stars can get elected to its highest office.  I fear the possibility but honestly believe it is coming.  Cruise is the Scientologists greatest asset and they will eventually try to use him to get into real power.  Excuse the long tangent, but I believe for whatever reason the strange and sudden death of Isaac Hayes has something to do with the religious organization he was involved with.

Now back to the movie, I think the greatest thing about this movie is the ending.  It leaves you with so many possibilities ahead for our main character.  As an aspiring rap artist there isn’t much more he can do to get famous aside from doing time for beating down a big time rapper and shooting one of his crew.  To come out with his music on the radio, the sky is the limit for him.  He has become the new “Skinny Black” as two guards persuade him to listen to their demo on his way out of prison. DJay walks out of the prison with his head high, a look of confidence that is unmistakable on his face.  He knows things are looking up now, and he walks into freedom ready to take over the world.

This is a fantastic movie that I have really looked forward to reviewing.  I enjoyed watching it as much this time as I did the first time and there is a lot to be said about a movie like that. This movie is more than worth your time and I think you should go out of your way to see it.  Three 6 Mafia may not have deserved an Academy Award for their song, but the movie does deserve any and all credit that was bestowed upon it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I tried to get Ryan to watch this movie a million times. I kept saying, I know what you think it’s about, and it is but it’s really, really great. I think this movie is wonderful. It tells the story of a pimp and his girls and their struggle in the world. I love how the director of this movie tells us the story of someone different than us, but he is having the same struggles that we all face. Working to have enough money to just feed everyone. We really see him trying to change and become something better for the girls and child he considers family. I love this flick. It’s a good one.

Hmmmm. I just struggle with this one so much. I like the typography and symmetrical lines that frame the title, but I honestly think the rest of it is really messy. I hate when they fade out people’s heads. There are two big heads fading into the body of Terrance Howard. The car at the top is just a half car inverted on the other side. There are more heads fading out up at the top beside the title and outside of the lines. They just had to get everyone in there. Some things are better when you see them in the movie for the first time…this one is giving everyone away.

NEXT MOVIE: In Bruges (2008)

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

Year: 2004
Directed By: Danny Leneir
Written By: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a funny movie but I do feel we have reviewed way too many stoner movies lately.  This one is another product of our college years when life was different. I thought it was funny then and it still makes me laugh now.  At the time I really enjoyed the efforts from Kal Penn and John Cho to become the new generation’s Cheech and Chong. I think they are both really funny in this one but it’s really just a typical pothead movie.  Like most mainstream movies like that it sports a lot of cool cameos.  In this one we see Ryan Reynolds, Anthony Anderson, and Neil Patrick Harris to name a few.  If you get a chance to see it this one it’s good for a laugh but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.  It’s worth your time if you have time to spare.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I still really like this movie. I think it is a funny comedy about being a stoner and going the super extra mile to find some munchies. It still makes me laugh. I also love Neil Patrick Harris. Number one, I love gay people. (Side note here: I love gay people because I am among a minority that was once refused rights and therefore, I am utterly and completely 100% FOR equal rights for every single person on this planet. You cannot let religion get in the way of people’s rights.) Sorry for the mini-preach. Second, when I was little we used to watch Doogie Howser, M.D. all the time. I love that guy. This movie is super silly and somewhat slapstick, but I thoroughly enjoy it.

NEXT MOVIE: Heat (1995)

The Departed

Year: 2006
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Written By: William Monahan

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was considered by some to be the pinnacle of Martin Scorsese‘s career after it won the Academy Awards for best direction and best picture, among others.  It won those awards honorably because this is an exceptional movie and aside from the fact that he had such a great cast to work with Scorsese has just gotten really good at what he does. I don’t think this is Scorsese’s best, as good as it is it’s still a recycled movie, and I think Scorsese has made much better films. I call it recycled because this movie is based off of a Hong Kong film that came out years earlier. I am disappointed with the idea that we have to borrow ideas from the other side of the world in order to have hits, but it’s hard to argue with such an exciting and entertaining movie.

Scorsese did do a great job making this movie but I think he had a lot to work with as far as script and talent go.  He gathered a great cast of very talented actors and some of them really distinguished themselves with this film.  Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors of his generation, he outdoes himself with nearly every film and has been doing so since a young age. I think he is terrific in this film but I think he and Scorsese’s best collaboration was Gangs of New York in 2002.  I am not the biggest Jack Nicholson fan but I think he did do a great job in this movie. He was given a lot of freedom with his character in order to make him more provocative and unpredictable. He used the freedom to great benefit for the film.  Ray Winstone as his right hand man Mr. French is awesome, I am a big Winstone fan.  Matt Damon is good and well cast in his part.  Alec Baldwin is great in his small but important role.  Martin Sheen was cast when Robert De Niro had a scheduling conflict and that’s too bad. I am a fan of Anthony Anderson but I don’t know that he was appropriately cast in this film.

I think the actor that distinguishes himself the most in this film is Mark Wahlberg, who really stood out among such an elite cast.  I do not like Wahlberg but cannot deny his talent due to roles like this.  I have had a problem with Wahlberg since seeing a documentary about him a while back.  When I found out that Wahlberg had spent time in prison for what pretty much amounts to a hate crime I developed a different attitude toward him.  When he was younger he was arrested for beating a Vietnamese man almost to death with a blunt object in order to steal a six pack of beer from him while screaming racial slurs. He spent some time in jail for that and when he got out of jail his brother was part of New Kids on the Block.  He became the opening act as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  Later he was discovered by Calvin Klein and used as an underwear model.  He soon began an acting career and the rest is history.  Today he is not only a superstar actor but a successful producer involved with HBO.  I have to admit he is talented but I really despise a racist douche bag and hate it every time I have to accept that he was good in something. Despite all his success he has never made an effort to make amends with the man that he blinded for life.  I consider it unfortunate when that kind of person reaches the level of success that Wahlberg is at, but it happens all the time.

This was a great movie and given that it won best picture of the year plenty of people saw it and offered their opinions.  You don’t need me to tell you this was a good film because you have probably already been told.  I don’t think this movie is quite as good as everyone makes it out to be but I do think it was a really awesome movie.  It is worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of those movies that will suck you into the story line. It is filled with stars that everyone knows, and it truly is an unforgettable movie. You can’t really guess what is going to happen and as soon as you think you have it figured it out, it changes and leaves you guessing again.

This movie is filled with attractive actors and seasoned pros. I definitely recommend it if you haven’t seen it. It was very, very popular when it came out and I haven’t met anyone that has seen it that doesn’t like it.

NEXT MOVIE: Desperado (1995)