Mike Myers

Inglourious Basterds

Year: 2009
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. I had long since lost faith in Tarantino as a director with feelings I wrote extensively about in our Death Proof post. This movie proved me wrong about him however. Amber and I went to see this movie in the theater and I really went in wanting to hate it. I specifically remember the first shot of the film gripping me right there in the theater. I was immediately drawn in and then the scene that followed was so overwhelmingly powerful that not even I and my fledgling hatred for Tarantino could deny the greatness of this film. Let me say it plainly and straight, while I still feel Kill Bill and Death Proof were horrible films, Tarantino obviously still has a lot to offer as a filmmaker and he deserves our respect.

Tarantino was nothing short of perfect with this film. His writing, choice of music, and attention to detail was incredible. This movie had a long and interesting journey to being made but all the time and effort paid off. I remember it first being listed as in production on IMDB.com in 2003 and I spent six years waiting for its release. Tarantino spent something like seven years working on this film and at different times had roles for Adam Sandler, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth at least. I did not expect much from it after all the different developments over that time. Especially since none of those guys, or the characters they were listed to play ended up appearing in the film. Right before the movie came out I heard it was a remake and all hope was lost for me. I have never seen the original movie but I don’t have to in order to know that this movie hardly qualifies as a remake. Tarantino may have taken some basic plot elements from something else but otherwise this movie was all him and he nailed it.

Despite the many casting changes that went on during the lengthy production the lead role ultimately went to Brad Pitt and I felt his performance gave his career validity again just as much as the movie gave validity back to Tarantino for me. Pitt got his swagger back with this one. He was great as “Aldo the Apache” with an awesome accent and flawless delivery. I had lost faith in Pitt too before this movie following his roles in movies like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Ocean trilogy. This movie proved to me he still had it though and I look forward to what he still has to offer as he enters the sunset years of his career. My favorite thing about his character in this movie is the scar he has on his neck. It is never explained and that makes it all the more interesting. Aldo the Apache is a crude and blunt man. With his kind of demeanor it is obvious that at some point someone tried to slit his throat. From the look of the scar they made all efforts to get it right but Aldo survived despite that. That’s part of what makes Aldo such a great character, but there was no shortage to what made him great.

I had never heard of Christoph Waltz before he was cast as the villain in this movie, but like everybody else, I will never forget him afterwards. As Colonel Landa, Waltz was intimidating and brimming with power. He has such a calm and patient persona that you don’t realize, and then nearly forget, what he is actually capable of. He has an extreme ruthlessness masked behind impeccable courtesy and charisma. He is an ambitious man who will sell out anyone and even his cause for his own means.  He gets it in such a satisfying fashion in the end too. He survives the war, but as the viewer we know that he will never escape his crimes.

Eli Roth was great as “The Bear Jew.” He is a large and intimidating man already but brought such a savage violence and tenacity to his character in the movie.  Prior to this movie coming out Tarantino financed the US release of his movie Hostel in 2006. Michael Fassbender has a small but significant part in the movie.  He has burst onto the scene since the release of this movie and I think he has great potential.  He was incredible in Prometheus and I thought he was great as Magento in X-Men First Class.  Also adding this movie to their filmography are Harvey Keitel and Samuel L Jackson who lend their voices to the film.  Jackson has a voice over at one point discussing the Basterds and Keitel is the American officer on the phone who makes a deal with Landa in the end. Mike Myers has an unusual but welcome cameo in the movie too.  About fifteen years ago Myers might have been one of the funniest men in movies but that time passed.  I am still pleased to see him when he is in anything now, and I like what he brought to the film in his short role.

Diane Kruger was great as the German double agent who aids the Basterds in their fight against the Third Reich.  As good as she was in this movie though I think the best female performance undoubtedly goes to the unknown Melanie Laurent. She was cool and cunning as Shosanna, the Jewish girl who gets the last laugh against the Nazis. I still wonder if Colonel Landa in fact knew who she was during the scene in the restaurant.  He is such a sly and villainous character that there is no telling but the fact that he ordered her milk seemed telling.  Her character seems concerned when he places that order but I think in the audience we were all on the edge of our seats because of that too.

I don’t know that there is any place to criticize this movie because it is as perfect as they get.  I happen to like the way Tarantino changed history to suit his own purposes in this movie but it is misleading to the young people who don’t know any better.  I remember once back when I was teaching a kid told me I was wrong during the lesson because the Americans were actually the ones who killed Hitler. That frustrated me but the ignorance of youth will always frustrate. If for whatever reason you are unaware pay close attention: this movie is ENTIRELY fictional and none of the events that transpired are based in any fact.  Of course Hitler probably committed suicide in 1945 as the Russians were breaking down his door and that was what ultimately ended the war in Europe.  I say probably because there are some interesting theories out there suggesting the possibility of Hitler’s body double actually being the one that was found and Hitler having escaped to somewhere in South America.  I do not know well enough to say what might have actually happened but I found the History Channel special on the topic to be very interesting.

When this movie came out I remember my sister telling me she had heard it wasn’t any good from a friend.  That friend told her that when this movie ended people actually stood up and applauded it.  She had never seen such a thing happen and couldn’t figure out what they thought was so great about it.  All I have to say to that is that my sister’s friend was an idiot.  People stood up and applauded because this movie was that damn good.  The movie closes with Brad Pitt saying his most recent swastika was his masterpiece.  I see that as Tarantino telling us that he felt he had just finished his own masterpiece and I concur. Despite the feelings I had developed for the director I had once loved he had proved me wrong and even as a hater I couldn’t deny what he had done.  One of my best friends and I had argued relentlessly over the man for years and when I walked out of the theater I called him on the spot and told him he was right and I was wrong.

This is without doubt one of the best movies I have ever seen and it is more than worth your time to see it.  If you feel differently about it please leave a comment and give us a piece of your mind.  I would be very interested to hear alternative opinions on the movie.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a damn near perfect movie in my book. I loved it. And I don’t even like Quentin Tarantino that much. So to call one of his films damn near perfect is a huge compliment. I love the actors and the humor and the nasty gritty details of every scene. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out.

inglourious-basterds-1510

This is the poster, which I really like. I usually HATE, actually loathe his design choices in most of his films. Not all, but most. This poster, however, is one of my absolute favorites of his. It alludes to the brutality in the film without actually showing anything brutal. The logo is nicely designed and became recognizable when the movie was being introduced. Overall, I give this movie and the poster the utmost kudos.

NEXT MOVIE: Innerspace (1987)

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Austin Powers in Goldmember

Year: 2002
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: Mike Myers

RYAN’S REVIEW

Anybody who forgets how big of a hit The Spy That Shagged Me was they need only to see the opening of this movie to remember.  You don’t get this many fantastic cameos in a second sequel unless you had a lot of success the last time around.  Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears (before she went crazy), Danny Devito, and Kevin Spacey (right after winning the academy award for American Beauty mind you) all making appearances in an excellent intro. However, despite the great opening I remember walking away from this movie very disappointed.  Looking back I don’t know if I had outgrown it, I was 18 when it came out, or if Austin Powers was a Twentieth century star that just couldn’t cut it in the Twenty First. I think there are certain parts of this film that work well, like the beginning, but overall I find it disappointing. The storyline where the main characters went to prep school as children is stupid, it’s kind of a funny scene because that kid playing Dr. Evil is great, but this is a stupid storyline nevertheless. Beyonce and Mike Myers don’t have great chemistry, not to mention Beyonce is awful, and her character went a little too heavy on the clichés.  She is a beautiful woman and I will not deny her talent as an entertainer, but she didn’t impress me with her first acting performance.  I also think making Austin Powers and Dr. Evil brothers was a horrible idea. In the last film Dr. Evil was claiming to be Austin’s father and Austin seemed to want to believe it, for them to be twins later is stupid.  Not even the great Michael Caine could save this film as the father of Austin and Dr. Evil.

We didn’t own this movie before starting this blog, I thought we should cover it though and I’m proud to admit buying a new copy for .79 cents on Amazon.com.  With shipping it ended up being 3 dollars and something but I still consider that a steal.  While I may not like this movie I can admit that it is funny. There are several things I like about it.  Dr. Evil is still an awesome character and for most of the movie he is very funny, Josh Zuckerman who plays the young Dr. Evil was great. While he couldn’t save the movie from disappointment Michael Caine was still very funny nonetheless. I liked that Fred Savage was in this movie but I don’t really get the mole thing.  Did Mike Myers just have a cache of mole jokes he needed a platform for? I wasn’t thrilled with Mini-Me switching sides and becoming a Mini-Austin but Verne Troyer is great in the role.  I’ve never been a big Seth Green fan but he does have his moment in this film.

This movie is worth your time for many reasons, but it is the weakest of the trilogy.  Despite that, at .79 cents a pop on Amazon I’d say it was worth your money as well but I’ll leave that up to you. It may have flaws but it’s still funny, and if you enjoyed the first two you should definitely see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

“Moley, moley, moley, moley.”

NEXT MOVIE: Avatar (2009)

Austin Powers: The Spy That Shagged Me

Year: 1999
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: Mike Myers

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was 15 when this Austin Powers hit the theaters and to this day I don’t know if I have ever laughed so hard at the theater.  At the time this was the funniest movie I had ever seen and I still rank it fairly high on the list today.  From beginning to end the laughter is non-stop.  One of my favorite comedy scenes of all time is  Dr. Evil and Scott Evil on the Jerry Springer Show, one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  Mini-Me…need I say more?  Dr. Evil was already such a funny character to begin with, adding a tiny nearly identical version made him an icon. Mini-Me was one of the best ideas Mike Myers ever came up with and Verne Troyer really was a find. It’s unfortunate that he really wasn’t suited well for success.  He has shamed himself many times over the past several years, and when that guy dies they will write Mini-Me on his tombstone. It’s been a while since I have heard anything about him but the last thing I heard involved a sex video made public. Before that it was the footage of him completely wasted riding a little bike around the Playboy Mansion fully nude while people laughed at him.

I think this film far outshines its predecessor, much like Terminator 2 or The Dark Knight.  That’s not to say that those predecessors are bad movies, they are great movies, but their sequels were better.  This movie does follow several of the stereotypical comedy sequel aspects that I mentioned in my American Pie 2 post, but it brought enough fresh and new material to make it a funnier movie. I think Heather Graham is fantastic in this movie, she is super hot and not in enough movies really.  Rob Lowe was well cast as a young Number 2.  Verne Troyer was hilarious, and Seth Green was funny as Scott Evil.

This movie came out during the same summer as the much-anticipated and incredibly disappointing Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace.  Despite the amount of money it made, the general consensus was that Star Wars Episode I sucked, and it did.  In many ways I think Austin Powers saved us from the disappointment Star Wars left with us, it reminded us that great movies and great sequels were still being made. There is a point when you wonder if this movie can get any funnier and then Dr. Evil starts singing “Just the Two of Us.” This was one of the best movies at the end of a century, if you haven’t seen it you need to check it out.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This one is my favorite. I saw this in the theater when it came out and I thought it was one of the funniest movies that I had ever seen. I also continued to watch it for years. I am sure that you all know how great this movie is because you too have watched it a million times…right?

I am just going to go over a few of my favorite lines…what are yours?

“Get in my belly!”
“You’re semi-evil. You’re quasi-evil. You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.”
“Riiiiiiiight.”
“I will never love another man.” “That’s true.”
“You know what’s remarkable? Is how much England looks in no way like Southern California.”
“Ow! You shot me, you A-Hole.”

NEXT MOVIE: Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Year: 1997
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: Mike Myers

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was 13 when this movie came out, needless to say I thought it was hilarious.  The movie has a certain immature quality that really speaks to the young teenager.  I still think this movie is funny today though, it gives me a real nostalgic feeling and it makes me laugh.  Dr. Evil is one of the greatest characters of all time, Mike Myers at his best.  I think Mike Myers was great in his time, but I think he has a style of comedy that hasn’t really changed and adapted with the times. I may love the Austin Powers movies but I’m not even certain that they would be considered great if they were released today. This movie is so centered on time as being in the 90s that I’m afraid its style and spirit will stay there at the end of the century.  I think this was a great movie but it was overshadowed by its sequel.

It took time for Austin Powers to develop into a cult phenomenon, but once it did it left its mark on society. It all started with this one, which looking back now seems smaller than the sequels. Mike Myers is at his best, Elizabeth Hurley is super hot, and the laughs just keep on coming.  Austin Powers with his over confidence and sex drive and Dr. Evil with his outdated ideas and struggles with sudden fatherhood are both hilarious.  If you haven’t seen this movie make a special point to see it, it’s the beginning of a great franchise.

AMBER’S REVIEW

My father and my brother still use this movie for the basis of a lot of their jokes. If you were a fan of Michael Myers way back when this came out, then you loved this movie. And the following one as well. He is really funny as this character and I remember repeating the lines at school after having watching it. If you haven’t seen this movie, where have you been all this time?

NEXT MOVIE: Austin Powers: The Spy That Shagged Me (1999)