Ben Stiller

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)

 

 

Orange County

Year: 2002
Directed By: Jake Kasdan
Written By: Mike White

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here is another movie that simply doesn’t belong.  I fell victim to the easy deals offered by Amazon Prime and ordered it at a really cheap price.  I remembered that I didn’t like it when it came out but thought it was worth a second chance.  I remembered thinking this movie meant something, that it had to be important because of all the people involved but despite myself I just didn’t like it.

This movie gave me every reason to think that young Colin Hanks was on the way to following in his father’s footsteps and on the way to being the next big actor.  Tom Hanks had yet to start slowing down in his career and his son was a spitting image of him in this movie full of famous comedians.  This movie wasn’t much of a hit but I thought it represented more to come from Colin Hanks.  After 12 years though I feel safe in saying that was a completely false assumption. Hanks has been part of some great things over the years, most recently the stellar first season of Fargo on FX, but he has never risen anywhere close to his father’s level.

This movie co-starred Jack Black who was largely up and coming at the time and it sported cameos from many big players.  Making brief appearances in this movie were the likes of Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, John Lithgow, Ben Stiller, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, and Leslie Mann.  I thought all those names meant this was significant.  I thought it meant that this movie was better than it actually was but I was wrong.  Having watched it again for the blog I just can’t help feeling the exact same way I felt when I watched it at 18.

This movie has a laugh here and there but it’s not a good movie.  I won’t go as far as to say it’s not worth your time to see but you could undoubtedly find something better to do with your time when faced with options.

NEXT MOVIE: The Other Sister (1999)

Happy Gilmore

Year: 1996
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Written By: Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now this is an Adam Sandler movie I will stand behind. It is arguably just as stupid as any other Adam Sandler movie but this one came out when I was 12 and it has had me laughing for 16 years now.  This was Adam Sandler at his best and in my opinion it has nearly been all downhill since.  He still has a rather large fan base despite what I think though. Sandler is really funny in this movie and that makes it memorable.  It is also memorable simply for being a golf comedy. It is no Caddyshack but it is second only to that. Even those that don’t appreciate this film have to find themselves laughing and enjoying the epic fight between Sandler and Bob Barker.

I wrote down my opinions about Adam Sandler in our recent review of Grandma’s Boy.  He wasn’t in that film but it was made by his production company Happy Madison. I think Sandler was great in the 90s but I haven’t been able to stomach him since The Wedding Singer.  That movie wasn’t even particularly funny but I still enjoyed the film.  I don’t think Sandler has ever been able to get back to the kind of comedy that made him funny in the 90’s but I have enjoyed all of his efforts into being a serious actor.  I enjoyed his serious roles in Punch-Drunk Love and SpanglishI think he has a lot to offer as a serious actor and I would really like to see more of that from him.  Years ago I heard that he was really interested in the lead role as the hitman in Collateral.  A role that ultimately went to Tom Cruise.  If I remember correctly he was turned down because the role was too violent for his image.  Well I think that’s a shame because I would much rather see a violent Sandler than more of the same crap he has been doing for years.

This movie has a fun cast around Sandler.  I have always liked Christopher McDonald as Shooter McGavin.  It is the role I have always associated him with.  I think Carl Weathers is really funny and I liked what he brought to the film.  I thought Julie Bowen was really hot but looking at her today I find myself repulsed by how unnatural and different she looks in Modern FamilyBen Stiller has a cool cameo that was part of a story line mostly cut out of the film.  Deleted scenes include Happy going back to the old folks home and confronting Stiller about the racket he has been running.  I thought it was funny but it must have proved to make the movie too long.  Allen Covert plays a role he was made for.  As Happy’s homeless caddy he has virtually no speaking lines.  I like Covert but I think he was really bad as the lead in Grandma’s Boy. Last but not least I cannot fail to mention Bob Barker, in one of the greatest cameos of all time. “The price is wrong bitch!”

This is a fun movie that I think even the mature can still enjoy having not grown up with it.  I won’t stand behind too many Adam Sandler films and tell you they are worth your time but this one offers a good time and a lot of laughs.  If you get a chance to see it then your time will be well spent.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I can recite almost this entire movie. Instead of going on about how you should watch this movie, (because I know that you have seen it already, right?) I am going to put my favorite quotes.

“Hey, my girlfriend is dead, you know. She fell off a cliff and died on impact.”

“You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up! Now, you will go to sleep! Or I will PUT you to sleep. Check out the name tag. You’re in MY world now, grandma!”

“Did that go in? I wasn’t watching, did it go in? I didn’t see it, could you tell me if it went in?”

“But she’s an old lady. I mean, look at her. She’s old. You can’t just take her stuff. She’s too old.”

“Just taaap it in. Just taaap it in. Give it a little tappy. Tap Tap Taparoo.”

NEXT MOVIE: Harlem Nights (1989)