Irma P Hall

Nothing To Lose

Year: 1997
Directed By: Steve Oedekerk
Written By: Steve Oedekerk

RYAN’S REVIEW

It wouldn’t be for almost another ten years before the name Steve Oedekerk meant anything to me, but long before I saw Kungpow I was laughing at this movie.  It was a popular film in my home after it came to video and many evenings of my early high school years were spent watching it. As it goes with comedies like this it’s a pretty simple film.  The strength lies in the chemistry of the men who play the unlikely companions in the film and this one does well enough.  The unlikely pairing of Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence is pretty funny and I still enjoy watching it on occasion.

Back in the days before one, or two, or THREE Big Momma movies I thought Martin Lawrence was great.  I still think he is great but he never impressed me with his career as a leading actor.  My favorite role of his has always been his part in Bad Boys but this movie is a really close second.  This one takes me back to a time when I was younger and before I and my siblings grew up to move away. I think he has surprisingly good chemistry with Tim Robbins. While he never impressed me as a leading actor, I always felt the strength of Lawrence’s acting came in the supporting role.  Much like his role in this film or in Bad Boys where he isn’t the center of attention but the funny guy who brings his chemistry and comedy to the movie. I have not seen his new show where he is paired with Kelsey Grammer but I think that is an interesting duo with a lot of potential to be funny.  If anybody has seen this show I’d love to hear thoughts on how it is.

I have never been much of a fan of Robbins.  He is a great actor and there is no denying that. I think part of my disliking of him goes back to my younger days when I was simply jealous that this goofy looking guy got to go home to Susan Sarandon during his downtime.  They had a long time relationship that my ill place adolescent admiration of her took hold of my better senses.  I have long since though Sarandon was one of the most beautiful and talented actresses to grace the screen.  She is much older now but still doesn’t fail to be beautiful and even sexy in her later years.  It’s sad that with such a distinguished actor such as Tim Robbins that all I can do is talk about how lucky he was with the wife he had but like I said I’ve never been much of a fan.  He plays a different role in this movie and I do think he is quite funny at it.  He had surprisingly good chemistry with Martin Lawrence and it made for good comedy.

Now, to Steve Oedekerk.  I have said in many reviews now that I think he is hilarious and this has been a pleasant surprise because I had no idea until watching this film recently that he was responsible for it.  It makes sense though, when a movie is really funny as much credit goes to the man directing the show as it does to the talents of those playing the parts.  Oedekerk wrote a funny script for this movie and he did a good job directing it.  He plays a small cameo in the film to that I had also never noticed or made the connection with.  He plays the security guard that goes wild with his own personal and presumed to be private dance routine during the scene when Lawrence and Robbins are breaking into Robbins’ boss’s office.

Also worth mentioning is Irma P. Hall who plays Mama in the film.  I specifically remember Hall from her role in The Ladykillers and I thought she was hilarious in that part as well as this one.  This movie precedes Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma trilogy and I have to think that her role in this film was a significant influence on the idea Lawrence had when he started that franchise. If she wasn’t what influenced him from the get go then her performance in this film undoubtedly influenced Lawrence in his performance in the part.  Granted I only saw the first one, or at least part of it, but I can clearly see a correlation between Big Momma and Irma P. Hall.  Hall was a very talented woman who always fit the roles she was cast in appropriately.

If you haven’t seen this movie you really haven’t missed anything significant but you may have missed something you would enjoy.  I love the movie that came out in the later 90s when comedies weren’t made with the teenage market in mind.  We still have plenty of funny R rated comedies coming out today but not like we did in the late 90s.  Martin Lawrence is without doubt funnier when he has free reign on his vocabulary.  When you censor him down to a PG-13 rating you have take something away from him.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this film but if you get a chance to see it your time won’t be wasted.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of those easy-to-watch movies that they usually play on TBS, or Comedy Central on repeat during certain times of the year. It’s always interesting when they put to people you normally wouldn’t see together and see how they play off of each other’s comedic abilities. This is a funny movie and I always like watching it, if even just listening to it while doing something else. It’s completely easy to follow.

nothingtolose

There isn’t anything special about this poster, but it’s not completely horrible either. I love how they play up the height difference between Lawrence and Robbins. The typography is simple, but a little offset, and I think that replicates the movie pretty well. I don’t know if “The Funniest Comedy Of The Year” is true or not, I am guessing not, but ultimately I hate this little retail plug. I don’t think the viewer cares at all about this opinion.

NEXT MOVIE: Notorious (2009)

The Ladykillers

Year: 2004
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay), William Rose (original film)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, the Coen Brothers.  Those genius filmmakers that can’t help but do something special each and every time they get behind the camera.  They have a range with no limits.  They can make the dynamic award winning films that prove they are masters of their art and then on the flipside they can make silly films that make us laugh with witty dialogue and intelligent jokes. With this movie about an elaborate heist they brought together an incredible cast of interesting characters and wrote an outstanding script for them to perform.

The cast as much as anything makes this film awesome.  Tom Hanks was still at the height of his career in 2004 although his star was beginning to fall.  In this movie he plays one of the most bizarre characters he ever has and delivered an incredible performance. He looks like Colonel Sanders and speaks with a great southern draw that comes across quite eloquently   He has very unique dialogue that is loaded with whit.   He has a very deep vocabulary and Hanks delivers these lines flawlessly.  It is probably one of my all-time favorite roles from Hanks.  I think the next greatest role has to go to J.K. Simmons, hands down.  Simmons has an incredibly funny quality about him and brings humor to everything he is in.  The Coen brothers recognize this talent and have used him multiple times.  He was great as the CIA director in Burn After Reading. I have always loved him in the role of Pancake, the man who “brought his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” I have always liked Marlon Wayans too but usually dislike most of his movies.  I thought he was awesome in this movie as the “proverbial inside man.” The rest of this ensemble is just as great.  The little known Tzi Ma barely needs to say anything at all in the film and still manages to be a badass.  I love when he is “even now exercising every effort” to catch that sneaky cat Pickles when it escapes again.  I have always been a big fan of Ryan Hurst but he plays the weakest role in this movie. It’s not his fault though, that is just the way the character was written.

The ensemble might be made up of terrific characters but it doesn’t stop there in the film.  Irma P. Hall is terrific and on point for the whole film.  Is there anything more intimidating in the world than an elderly strong minded black woman set in her ways? I love the scene that opens the film with her complaining about rap music and I also love when she continually slaps Marlon Wayans for his profanity, “sometimes it’s the only way.” Stephen Root is also on hand in this film and as I have said before, the man is simply incredible.  Root can literally do anything and I think he brings something great to each and every role he plays.  Also, I don’t know who plays the part and don’t think it is important enough to look up but the man who plays the choir leader in the church is awesome.  The suit, the hair, and the expression on his face as he directs the music is just too funny.  The Coen’s have quite a knack for finding actors like him to fill into small roles and it always serves them well.

This is not the greatest of the Coen Brothers’ movies and I don’t even know if it is one of their better ones but like all Coen Brother movies it offers unforgettable and incredible scenes that make it worth wild.  I absolutely love when the two gangsters try to rob the donut shop and get nowhere.  The General just stands there expressionless and smoking as these guys threaten him and demand “that donut money.” With a movement so quick the camera barely catches it he has incapacitated the one standing in front of him and their reaction to the action is hilarious.  One of the greatest intros to a character I have ever seen hands down. I love the scene in the Waffle Hut all around from Tom Hanks demanding waffles from the waitress to J.K. Simmons bringing “his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” They always write terrific scripts and I will say again that I think nearly everything Hanks says in the film is solid gold. I loved his response to the notion that Pancake would have a pretty good lawsuit if he decided to sue them over his finger. He takes a serious tone and different demeanor as a character to explain that they are part of a criminal enterprise and not subject to typical rules and regulations.

While I do love this movie and think that it is awesome I can’t even say it qualifies as one of the Coen Brothers better movies.  I have always felt it started to come apart in the end somehow.  After Pancake is dispatched the movie starts to lose my interest a bit.  It still has its moments afterwards but it just seems to lose that captivating quality and closes kind of poorly in my opinion.  However everything that comes before makes the movie worth wild.

This movie offers some of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and I enjoy it each and every time I watch it.  I think anything the Coen Brothers do is worth the time of every movie fan out there and that includes this one.  Yes this is not their best film but this is still a good film and there is plenty to appreciate and enjoy about it.  If you get the opportunity to see it I strongly encourage anyone to give it a shot.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is not my favorite Coen Brothers film. It’s funny and interesting, but some of the actors parts fall flat and I think they could have been a little better. The point of the story is awesome, and I support anything that these guys do. It is worth seeing.

ladykillers

This is a great example of how to include multiple characters into one poster. I love the scene and that you can’t see the lady’s face. The typography is really nice as well. I think the designer did a good job a offsetting it and making it look off in a really nice way. Sometimes, it can get out of control. Overall, really successful poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Land of the Lost (2009)