Jason Schwartzman

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)

 

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Moonrise Kingdom

Year: 2012
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

RYAN’S REVIEW

How funny it is that so soon after we review Monster’s Ball we should come to another love story so equally awkward and awesome.  I think on paper the love story of a teenage girl and a khaki scout running away together to prematurely get married doesn’t sound so good but with the right guy at the helm it can become magic. I’ll admit that there are times during this movie that I feel a bit awkward because the stars are so young but it really takes nothing away from how cute and romantic their relationship is. Like all Wes Anderson movies this one is built on outstanding performances from a rich cast to go along with smart dialogue and unique direction.

I think Wes Anderson is one of the smartest filmmakers out there today.  Like a solo Coen Brothers act that makes something with a style of his own that never fails to be different and interesting.  I would never insult the man by trying to diagnose him myself.  I wholeheartedly believe this man more than most to be smarter than myself and I have no business trying to put his work under a microscope.  It’s incredible, its original, and it is a reminder to me that there are still fresh movies being made during this age of big budget special effects monsters. Wes Anderson is a director that knows how to develop characters during the time constraints of a film.  He draws top tier actors to his films and puts them all in a position to play a really memorable role. I don’t know where he found his two stars for this film but I thought the love struck couple was played by some outstanding young actors.  The supporting cast is as good as any I have ever seen yet these two kids manage to still really distinguish themselves. The star crossed lovers, Sam and Suzy, were played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.  I don’t know what the future holds for them but they have the talent to grow into greats one day.

This was the first Wes Anderson film to feature Ed Norton and I hope we see more collaborations between the two.  I am and have long since been a big fan of Ed Norton. I do not know what’s been up with him for the last decade or so. He really blew up in the late 90s and early 2000s playing parts that left quite an impression on me.  Since then the only noteworthy thing he has done has been The Incredible Hulk and although I thought he was great as the mean green machine he burned bridges with the studio.  That movie was to be part of the cannon of films being made around The Avengers franchise but when Norton got into a dispute with the studio over a writing credit he was dropped like a bad habit.  His character was replaced for the big show and as a result there is a good possibility we don’t see anymore solo Hulk films for quite a while.  I think it’s a shame because I liked Norton as Bruce Banner and I would have liked to see more of his Hulk movies.  In this film he is awesome as Scout Master Ward and I think he fits in nicely with the Wes Anderson crew.

Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand were also collaborating with Anderson for the first time in this film and like Norton I think they fit in perfectly.  They are both in points of their careers where they can seemingly do no wrong when given the right opportunity.  For all his talent I think Bruce Willis makes a lot of crap these days but I am specifically thinking of the recent Die Hard sequels.  The man is too good of an actor to keep beating a dead horse in my opinion.  McDormand on the other hand doesn’t make stupid movies, and I love her for it.  Great actress that can never get enough credit.

The Wes Anderson regulars know what he wants now and their performances in his movies are always perfect.  Bill Murray is a legend and I love everything that he does.  He continues to be part of incredible films and I specifically love the way he has grown as an actor and entertainer over the long haul of his career.  Jason Schwartzman always plays an interesting character and this film is no different.  I have loved Schwartzman since his portrayal as “Cool Ethan” in one of my favorite comedies of all time, Slackers. That movie is largely forgotten and I rarely meet anybody who has even seen it but he is so damn funny in it.  In this film I specifically like the slow motion scene when Sam and Suzy are leaving the chapel as “man and wife” having just been wed by Schwartzman.

I have loved each and every film that Wes Anderson has made and this one is obviously no different.  I look forward to his most recent film, Grand Budapest Hotel, because I haven’t seen it yet.  Despite not seeing it I have already bought it and expect it on my doorstep the day it is released to video.  I have that much faith in Anderson that I will buy what he has made whether I have seen it or heard anything about it or not.  That isn’t something I can say for too many directors but I have no doubts about this one.  A truly remarkable filmmaker and in my opinion each and everything he does is worth your time.  He is still a young director so I hope we have a lot more to look forward to from him in the future.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I just love this adorable movie. It’s an interesting little love story about two kids, who I feel in the end teach everyone a little something about love. It takes a special kind of actor to pull off any Wes Anderson film, and I think he always does a fantastic job of finding actors who can portray so much depth even though they are mostly melancholy the entire film. Another note worthy thing about a Wes Anderson film is the opening credits. They are the most artistic in the business. It doesn’t get much better from an artistic opinion.

moonrisekingdom

This is how you fit everyone in the movie into the poster in an effective way. No cheesy glows and fading, floating faces. One big group shot. Any other movie and this might be cheesy as well, but not this movie. Because it’s too intentional. It works. The coloring matches the movie and the scenery matches the plot. The typography is a little hard to read since the value of the yellow is really close to the blue behind it, but it’s strange and out of place because of the fancy script; yet this too works simply because everything in his movies are strange and out of place. Yes, I will admit I am biased, but this poster works for me. I was already interested in seeing the movie because it’s Wes Anderson, but just in case…the poster also makes me want to watch.

NEXT MOVIE: Multiplicity (1996)

The Darjeeling Limited

Year: 2007
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Written By: Wes Anderson

RYAN’S REVIEW

Some movies can just speak to you in ways that you can’t really put into words.  Sometimes a film can coincide with your life so well that you feel an instant bond with it. Wes Anderson films typically revolve around people with suppressed emotions and difficulty coping with dramatic circumstances.  I was going through similar issues in 2007 and while my issues were completely different from those in the film it put me at ease nonetheless. Wes Anderson movies do that to me though, he has an interesting method when it comes to storytelling.   This film is also set in India, which is another reason I really like it.  There is a lot of emphasis in the film on India culture and I have always been very interested in India.  It is a very rich and diverse culture that has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Wes Anderson is the kind of director that draws a lot of talent to any project, even when he travels to the other side of the world.  This film has many of his regular stars.  Bill Murray makes a small cameo in the beginning, this was his fourth collaboration with Anderson.  Anjelica Huston in her third film with Anderson as the mother of the three brothers.  As the brothers he has Owen Wilson, who has worked with Anderson on all of his films. Jason Schwartzman plays the youngest brother, he also frequently works with Anderson. I am a big Jason Schwartzman fan, he is a really talented and funny entertainer.  Adrien Brody plays the middle brother and I am a big fan of his as well.  I didn’t like Brody at first but he has continued to impress me with his range as an actor, he just keeps making good movies.  What really makes Wes Anderson movies great is the fact that they get better each time you see them.  He is a true filmmaker, being involved in all aspects of production.  It’s the movies that are made by men like Anderson that tend to be my favorites.  In many ways he is very similar to the Coen brothers that way.

This is a really good movie but it isn’t one I usually recommend to anyone.  Wes Anderson makes such a unique film that I never feel confident trying to persuade someone to give one their time. My favorite Anderson film is far and away The Life Aquatic, but I love them all and this one is probably either second or a close third behind The Royal Tenenbaums. If you give this one a shot I hope enjoy it as much as I did.  This isn’t really a good enough review for a movie I love so much, you will have to excuse me.  I have  recently cut caffeine out of my diet, it blows.

AMBER’S REVIEW

If you know anything about us, you should know this. We are HUGE Wes Anderson fans. I believe the first one I ever watched was The Royal Tenebaums and I have been in love with his films ever since. This one is a more recent installment compared to the rest that we own. The whole concept of this movie is very strange and weird in true Anderson fashion. Most of his films revolve around weird and unusual family situations that are completely outside of the normal family unit. In this one, their father dies and their mother has joined a convent. The three borthers (Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody) go on a journey to bond and to try to find their mother that left to become a nun and didn’t attend their father’s funeral. The movie is filled with strangeness that cannot be explained and is completely worth watching.

One of the best things about Wes Anderson is that he loves working with the same people. He takes these actors that I feel he finds “worthy” and uses them in different films and in different scenarios. It always works out and they always perform so well and different every single time. He loves Schwartzman, Wilson (both of the Wilsons), Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, and has even made Ben Stiller into someone he usually is not. I love this film and this guy. All of his films are worth watching and this one is no exception. You have to see it, it’s not even a suggestion.

NEXT MOVIE: Darkman (1990)