Steve Carell

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Year: 2011
Directed By: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Written By: Dan Fogelman


This is a movie I never wanted to watch but simply couldn’t deny that it was good. It covers a topic that I usually steer clear from because it hits too close to home. In this case however I actually think the content is conveyed in an incredibly lighthearted and funny way. When a movie about something I don’t like to watch with actors I don’t particularly care for somehow overcomes all odds and impresses me I feel like I owe it a place in the collection. So one night I found myself up late and allowed Amazon Prime to wear me down with several recommendations and this was one of them.

There are some movies I steer clear of specifically because of content. I can’t stand movies about junkies, I don’t like movies about or involving rape, and I don’t like movies about divorce and affairs. The first two are just things I just don’t care to see because they only make ugly and awful stories. When it comes to divorce and affair it’s just something I, like so many others in my generation, had to suffer through in a time when kids got forgotten and parents simply didn’t know what to do. That’s not how it looks in this movie though as the kids are strong minded and the cuckolded father finds a new energy in life. It’s inspiring and endearing all at the same time. I can’t stand Ryan Gosling, but he is pretty damn cool in this movie and how he coaches the old dog to learn new tricks is awesome.

I typically feel like Steve Carell is too typical and simply redoing his 40 Year Old Virgin/Michael Scott character but that’s not the case in this film. It’s probably time to evaluate that opinion again as he has now undoubtedly moved on from those roles. In this movie he plays such a down to earth guy in an honest situation like any typical guy might find himself in. It is awesome to see him make his transition from middle aged dad to confident ladies man with the help of an unreasonably cool new friend. To see him become cool again gives hope to any person who finds himself in a similarly unfortunate situation in life.

Emma Stone is such a delightful actress and she makes everything she is in better. She brings the greatest element of surprise to this movie and her role comes together in a great and hilarious scene.  As the adult daughter of Steve Carell and Julianne Moore she brings the movie full circle by connecting all the characters. Stone is an actress that shocks me each and every time I see her on screen by being so much better than I expect her to be. She is very funny and very talented as an actress. She has the privilege of working alongside another great in this movie. I have never been the biggest fan of Julianne Moore either but for the life of me I don’t know why. She is a fantastic actress whose star continues to shine brighter with every new performance.

For me, this movie captures love as it actually is. Crazy and stupid. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but the heart wants what the hearts wants. Love can cause more pain than anyone can imagine but can also inspire forgiveness and understanding in a way that we can’t anticipate. Love can confuse and frustrate us, but that is the nature of it. It is an emotion with a mind of it’s own. Some people will never figure that out and are doomed to a lifetime of befuddlement when it comes to dealing with personal relationships. I appreciate and respect love because I recognize it as something that is beyond our understanding. With love the why never matters but all that needs be considered is what “is.” The only hope you can have is that the love is mutual and not one sided. There is no reasoning with love and no denying it. It is an emotion that can build or destroy us. It is a mystery that brings intrigue or disaster to lives all across the world. It has an energy all on its own and it is different for all of us. I can say with true honesty that the only reason I understand love is because I was lucky enough to find it with Amber. It can be crazy and it can be stupid, but it is what it is and my love for her is what makes my life whole.

When it comes to people I don’t think you should ever expect much. In my experience people will follow their own mindset regardless how reasonably you try to persuade them to a more practical mindset. I don’t think you should ever expect any one person to change but be wise enough to recognize it if it actually happens. People can change, but it isn’t something that happens easily. It’s far easier for a bad person to weasel themselves back into a relationship on the pretext of change that is only temporary. That isn’t real love. Real love is the crazy, stupid madness that engulfs a person and makes them capable of doing what they were never able to do before. It’s a sad reality that in plenty of relationships only one person feels true love and that person is doomed to suffer in wanting for something that they can never hope to actually have. Real love does happen though, and it does exist. I hate to admit it but I love this movie about people who are truly in love.

Amber and I watched this today simply as a means to checking it off the to do list and getting another review in the bank. What I didn’t expect was how much the movie would actually get to me. I didn’t expect when we started it that I would love it when we were finished. I had my same stubborn preconceived ideas about this movie before we watched it again but it won me over again despite that. To me that makes it a great film. I think this movie does an excellent job of really capturing what love is and it does it in a fun and funny way. That makes this movie worth your time and I hope you give it a chance.

Final notes on this film. I think John Carroll Lynch is awesome in everything he is in. In a supporting role he brings a lot to this movie. I don’t like the part that Kevin Bacon plays but this movie offers another great chance at getting through a game of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Also, Marisa Tomei is always delightful and beautiful despite age. My father met her once during a premier of Only You at the Uptown Theater in Washington D.C. when he was manager there. She came out of the theater at one point during the viewing and shared a cigarette with him in the lobby. He said she was a really nice person and easy to talk to.

Little Miss Sunshine

Year: 2006
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written By: Michael Arndt


This is a movie I haven’t looked forward to reaching in the collection.  It’s Amber’s movie, and I went along with it because I liked it well enough to concede to it having a place on our movie rack.  It’s been years since I have seen the movie and what’s funny is that as soon as we started the movie I found myself immediately sucked in.  That’s how it usually tends to be as we make this journey through the collection and that’s the point really.  We are making this journey through the DVD rack specifically to reconnect with these movies and remind ourselves of why we bought them in the first place.  This is a perfect example because while I have dreaded watching it, I immediately found myself enthralled and couldn’t look away.

I had started a second paragraph of this review discussing my reluctance to watch the movie on the pretense that it is just too depressing and bleak.  After re-watching the entire film I have gone back and deleted the paragraph because I couldn’t be more wrong.  This movie isn’t depressing, and in fact it is quite the contrary.  It’s uplifting and it’s a beautiful thing to see this family come together to overcome adversity.  Olive is the glue that holds them all together and it’s the love and respect they have for her that motivates them to overcome their own personal issues.  They are all depressed people faced with issues that are out of their hands but try to maintain hope despite that.  Whether they are broken-hearted and suicidal, past their prime and ready for the end, angry at the world and determined toward a dream that ultimately can’t be achieved, broke and unable to achieve the success desired, or just the mother that does whatever she can to hold them together.  They all have serious problems laid before them and it is the little sweet and innocent Olive that forces them all together and makes them a real family again.

The strength of this movie is in the story and in the cast.  At the center of that cast was the 10-year old Abigail Breslin who played her part flawlessly.  Dressed in a fat suit she took a lot of weight on her young shoulders and carried the film to a level it might not have reached with another young actress.  That scream of excitement when she gets the news from the Little Miss Sunshine pageant gets me every time. It’s the shrill excitement and reaction that can only come from a girl her age and she did a great job with it.  Another scene that always gets me in this movie is when she is the only one capable of consoling her half brother who has just realized all his dreams are out of reach.  She doesn’t even have to say anything to him; she just does the sweetest thing in the world and simply hugs him.  Of course there is also her dance at the end which comes out of nowhere and really caps off the movie in an awesome way.  Breslin has continued to work and is developing into a very good actress.  I look forward to what she has to offer in the future and will always remember this role fondly as the one who made her a player in the making.

The best role in this movie aside from Olive is the one turned in by Alan Arkin.  In fact he was awarded the Academy Award for the part in 07 for Best Supporting Actor.  Arkin is a fantastic actor who always does his job so effortlessly in so many films.  He delivered one of my favorite lines ever in this movie when talking about drug use.  He tells Dwayne that it’s stupid to do drugs when you are young but stupid not to do them at his age.  I think he has a hell of a point there and I really liked that mindset of his character. He is a crude and uncouth man but is still a great grandfather to Olive.  He does use drugs but he is just trying to get the most out of life before it is over and I think that’s pretty cool.

I’m not really a fan of Steve Carrell’s career in film; although I think he was great on TV. In most of the movies he makes he is just altogether too stupid or silly for me, but occasionally he shows us that he is better than that.  This is a film where he did just that and I thought he gave an excellent performance. I love the scene when they finally arrive late to the pageant and he runs ahead of everyone in an effort to get Olive signed up in time.  Here he is this man who is so disheartened and depressed he tried to take his own life and he is forced into this situation that oddly enough gives him something to live for.  Something he cares so much about he does everything within his power to make it happen, running all that way without stopping to get Olive’s name in before registration closed.

I really hate to do this a second time but……“Holy shit there is Dean Norris!” I am again baffled to see him when I never knew him before. Of course he is again playing a cop, go figure.  It seems to be his go-to thing but none of that matters at all anymore.  At this point I have only seen the first of the last eight episodes of Breaking Bad and all I can say is that Hank was pretty damn awesome in that episode. In this movie he is only on screen for a matter of minutes but still manages to be really funny.  I love hen he finds the porno mags and is completely distracted from the body in the trunk.  He flips through them with so much excitement until getting to the homosexual issue and doing a complete 180.

Greg Kinnear plays such a loathsome character in this movie that it made me start to dislike him as an actor.  As the dad he is doing the best he can but he is such a misguided and pretentious man.  The kind of guy that doesn’t have a problem throwing his own douche bag opinion on the table no matter what the issue.  The kind of man who has an unreasonable sense of self worth and the overbearing arrogance that goes with such. Despite his redeeming efforts later in the film I still can’t get on board with a guy who tells his daughter ice cream will make her fat in front of everyone. Later in the movie he really comes alive to make his daughter’s dream come true and that is really awesome.  It took a lot of balls to steal his father’s body out of the hospital, and then again to get up on stage and join his daughter’s dance.

One of my favorite things about this movie is how they have to push their car to get it started after it breaks down on the road.  In order to move forward they must work together as a family pushing it; I think the symbolism there is really clever. I like that the movie ends with one final scene of them doing this together to make the trip back home.  There is no telling what lies before them on the road but they are heading into it together, stronger as a family than they ever have been before.

I can’t even say enough about how surprised I am now and how foolish I feel to have dreaded watching this movie.  I don’t know what made me remember it so poorly but I have thoroughly enjoyed watching it again and will probably not wait as long before seeing it next time.  This is a wonderful movie and it stole the hearts of many of us in 2006.  If you haven’t seen it then you have been missing out.  This is a great movie with incredible performances that are worth your time to see.


Me, I bought this movie for Ryan. He was dreading this movie and I kept saying you must be remembering it wrong, this movie is amazing. It hits to every true part of the family paradigm. He, of course, got sucked in again. This movie is one of my favorites. It speaks volumes on the true nature of people. All families are really effed up in their own ways, but ultimately in the end, all you have is each other. Nobody loves you like your family loves you. They accept every messed up flaw. That is what this movie excelled at showing. It is more than worth your time.


This is one of my favorite posters of all time. I have really been looking forward to it. It is like a breath of fresh air. It looks like it was created in Illustrator and not Photoshop for once. Not that Photoshop sucks or anything, but there are just way too many filters that are relied upon when it comes to movie poster designers. In any case, this poster is the epitome of what negative space importance is. It’s really ok to leave some breathing room around a big space like this. It almost leaves you more intrigued to read the rest of the poster. Anyway. I love this poster and this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

The Office Series Finale

I was watching old episodes of this show recently and it reminded me how good it used to be.  Seasons 1-3 are solid gold and still have me laughing years later and after multiple viewings.  Since then I wouldn’t say it all went downhill because there were many great episodes afterwards and many that were just good enough to keep us going.  I always thought the show got a bit too silly in the later years as Steve Carell prepared to exit the show.  Once he was gone I was surprised to find that the show seemed to get a bit better for a while before dragging again.  I did not like the James Spader episodes and thought enough was enough for Dunder Mifflin.  However this past season has been a pleasant surprise.  I think Clark Duke has been an excellent addition to the cast and Ellie Kemper just keeps getting better and better.  The show is winding down now and will be over for good in merely a couple of weeks.  This show may not be as great now as it once was but I will still miss it.  I have been an avid viewer for over eight years now and it’s always hard to say goodbye to something after that long.

I have read only a little about the series finale but I know it will involve a wedding.  There are many guest appearances in the episode including Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak so I am making what I would call a safe assumption in that the episode will involve a wedding between Ryan and Kelly.  I suppose the finale wouldn’t be fitting without some closure to that long standing relationship.  I do not know this but simply feel safe in assuming that is what will happen.  The big question as to the final episode is of course “Will we see Michael Scott again?” I have read conflicting reports in regards to this.  Steve Carell was not on the list of guest appearance I read and his people have said more than once that he is not returning.  Recently there has been speculation though that he is making some sort of small guest cameo during the last episode.  I hope it is not like the cameo we saw of him in Life’s too Short in which he simply appeared through FaceTime on Ricky Gervais’s computer.  That would be horribly disappointing, nearly as disappointing as an ending to this show without an appearance from one of its best characters.

I thought Michael Scott got way too over the top long before his exit from the show and I did not miss him when he was gone.  However having seen so much without him I have found that I do miss the character and the presence of Steve Carell on the show.  I was actually watching season 3 the other day just to kick back and enjoy the good old days of the show when I decided to write this. I hope the finale episode of The Office is one that makes us all laugh like we did in season 3 when the show was the best of the best.  I also hope we do see Steve Carell, because the show wouldn’t be closed right without him.

While I’m on the subject I would like to go over something that’s been on my mind about Jim and Pam.  The show got everything it could out of this relationship years ago and everything sense has been monotonous.  To be perfectly honest I don’t really think John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer even have good chemistry with one another.  As two lovers divided by circumstance I think they were great.  They loved each other from a distance and seemed to be perfect for one another but once they actually got together I thought the fire was burned out.  I don’t think they came off as a real couple or two people who actually loved each other even before this season threw a wrench in their relationship.  All the teasing of infidelity and divorce was awful too.  I always have a problem with the show I watch to laugh getting awkward or dramatic.  This show has always done far too much of that but I felt they really went too far with the Jim and Pam thing.


Let me kindly revoke a few things I said earlier today about Pam and Jim.  The episode that has aired this evening has been nothing short of incredible and I particularly admire how the writers brought something from the past back into the backbone relationship of the show. The letter from the tea kettle was particularly brilliant and I really thought it was awesome.

Also, it appears I am mistaken about the wedding in the season finale.  I assumed too soon that it would be Ryan and Kelly getting married but I am happy to be wrong when it means something better is in order. I had always hoped for a reuniting of Dwight and Angel but eventually felt they went too far to make it happen.  In truth I still feel they have gone too far to make this a happy ending for either Dwight or Angela.  We are meant to overlook several things in order to see the love the show ultimately built up to but I don’t buy it.  The show got too weird with Angela’s character over the years to make this a seriously happy ending.  Since it is in the final end of the show though I will excuse it and simply laugh at what is to come. I was really impressed by tonight’s episode and I realize I underestimated the writers.  I shouldn’t make any assumptions now and should trust in the potential ahead of us.

Dinner For Schmucks

Year: 2010
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: David Guion, Michael Handelman, & Francis Veber


Sometimes a movie is only as good as the mood you are in when you see it.  I remember watching this movie and laughing the whole time. I thought it was funny enough to buy at some point over the past year and having watched it last night I can’t figure out what I was thinking.  This movie has its moments but overall I am finding it stupid this time around.

This movie is out of the norm for me because I am not fond of either Steve Carell or Paul Rudd.  While Rudd does have a presence in many good comedies I don’t think these comedies are good because of him.  He tends to play the exact same part in all of them but maintains a good level of success despite that. He always has a girlfriend that he has some sort of issue with and he is paired with a funnier actor that carries the movie for him.  The main examples that come to mind besides this movie are I Love You Man and Roles Models. I think those two films are both much funnier than this one though.  I was a big fan of The Office but came to loathe Steve Carell’s Michael Scott character long before his departure from the show.  I think he was only funny because he was regurgitating a Ricky Gervais character and I haven’t really enjoyed many of his ventures into films. While the 40-Year Old Virgin may have been awesome, I think its biggest downfall was that it launched a career for Steve Carell. Zach Galifianakis is a funny guy but I don’t think his star is going to shine for very long.  He is simply letting that beard get him as far as it can and that can only go so long.  He was great in The Hangover but I am already getting bored with seeing that character continually popping up in movies like this one.  Being from North Carolina I want to mention that he is a local, born and raised in North Wilkesboro which is not too far from where we live.  There is literally nothing there; I am shocked this current megastar came from the place.

Half way through this movie I found myself bored and began questioning whether it belonged in our collection or not.  By the end of it I had decided to take it out of our collection.  I love comedies, but really good comedies get better each time you watch them no matter what kind of mood you are in.  This has proved to be a premature purchase for us and it doesn’t belong among the rest of our films. I’m sure many of you out there might enjoy this film; I did the first time at least.  I can’t recommend this movie though, and I intend to take it out of the collection.


This movie is alright, it’s not completely horrible. It isn’t the funniest movie that I have ever watched or anything. I really enjoy Steve Carell in this film. I like him in almost everything I have seen him in aside from Evan Almighty. I love that he almost resembles the mice that he sets up in notable scenes from history.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this film, except that I don’t mind that Ryan is removing it from the collection. (Although, he has only had it since December because he added it to his DVD Christmas list for whatever reason.) I still love him; hey we all make movie mistakes. I would just catch this on FX sometime. Don’t make an extra effort to buy it or anything.

NEXT MOVIE: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Year: 2005
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Written By: Judd Apatow and Steve Carell


Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and even Jonah Hill with his small role.  These guys started a journey together with this movie that has produced many great comedies over the years.  I have faith they will continue to be successful for some time.  However this is very much Steve Carell’s film, and he owns it.  I think he is hilarious as the 40 year old virgin, I also think he was successful in continuing to play that exact same character for 7 seasons of The Office.  I do like Steve Carell but I am not a fan.  I think he has his moments but by and large he overacts and takes things too far.  His leaving The Office has been categorized as a tragedy by some but I disagree.  I don’t know if the show will survive without him or not, but I know that far too often the character Michael Scott makes me feel uncomfortable. His character becomes not funny but ridiculous and awkward at those moments.  I do not like to feel uncomfortable and awkward while watching a comedy, it should be funny not stupid.  Neverthless, Steve Carell does have his moments of greatness and I can understand why people love him so much.

This film was a sure thing going in wasn’t it? When you decide to go there, when you decide to make a film about a 40 year old virgin the possibilities are just unlimited.  Those jokes go in a hundred different directions and they write themselves.  The Judd Apatow crew doesn’t disappoint with this either. The cast is fantastic, Seth Rogen and Jane Lynch both make the most of their opportunities with their roles. Everyone is funny and the laughs don’t stop.  The only problem is that there may have actually been too many jokes and funny scenarios crammed into the film.  It’s long, but the movie maintains it’s humor and in the end it was all worth it.  This is a great movie, but six years later I happen to think that it was the lesser film of some of the funnier people in the film.  Specifically the aforementioned Apatow crew of Apatow, Rogen, and Hill. This is the best it gets for Steve Carell and he deserves special recognition.


I would like to start by saying, I love this movie.

I distinctly remember watching the trailer for this movie and literally asking myself, “what the hell, is this for real?” Well, yes they were for real and they succeeded. This is one of my favorite comedies. If I am remembering correctly, this is one of the first films I watched that starred Steve Carell. This movie keeps you entertained throughout with amazingly funny people including Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd and Apatow’s own wife, Leslie Mann. An interesting fact about this movie is that a lot of it was ad libbed. The scene where Steve Carell’s character had his chest waxed is a great example. I’m not sure what it was about the pain that made him scream out “Ahhh Kelly Clarkson” but I loved it and laughed my ass off. This movie also started a game that is still played by college guys everywhere…”You know how I know you’re gay?”

I also want to take a second to mention Leslie Mann. Her role was short in this film, but her scene is one of my favorites. To this day, I randomly say “I’m starvin’. Let’s get some fuckin’ french toast.” Timeless.