Will Ferrell

Stranger Than Fiction

Year: 2006
Directed By: Marc Forster
Written By: Zach Helm

RYAN’S REVIEW

I don’t really know what to expect from this one. Sometimes I see a movie that leaves an impression on me and I add it to the collection immediately. Occasionally those movies go unwatched after hitting the shelf and that’s the case with this one. I saw it once at my brothers house because it was part of his collection. I think I was really caught off guard by the performance of Will Ferrell. I was not a fan and thought most of what he did was stupid. Seeing him in a serious movie for the first time left the impression that got it added to the collective. Now, I’m sitting down to watch it for the first time in maybe six or seven years, let’s see if that impression was correct or not.

I’m immediately sucked in with this story about Harold and his watch. It’s interesting and gets more so when Harold begins to hear the narration of his life. I was caught off guard by the idea of taking Will Ferrell seriously. I don’t dislike him, on the contrary I think he is quite talented, but some people don’t belong on the center stage. Some people are better as an addition but suffer when they’re the star. I think Ferrell was hilarious in films like Old School and Zoolander but when given the lead in movies like Talladega Nights or Step Brothers he resorts to a weak and ridiculous type of comedy. Here on the other hand he is playing a role where he isn’t trying too hard to be funny because he’s not supposed to be funny at all.

Emma Thompson has such a great reading voice. I can’t say I really see a lot of her work as she specializes in a different type of film but she really does have a great voice. She recently was the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. Don’t know if it was actually her singing the big numbers but if it was it only proves my point. Regardless, her voice makes her a perfect narrator for this film. Her imagination’s efforts to figure out death make for some scenes that really catch you off guard and keep the movie interesting.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is specifically cute in this movie. She plays the sassy tattooed girl that gets the attention and admiration of the uptight IRS agent. You kind of feel sorry for him because she is so mean to him but then you remember he’s an IRS auditor. Nobody is thrilled to see those guys, gotta be hard to find love on the job. I like when she finally comes around because it’s a sweet thing between her and Harold.

“Don’t move the plot and see if the plot moves you.” Dustin Hoffman’s words can serve as good advice to all of us now and again. We are all part of a story after all, the story of life. Sometimes in life you move the plot and sometimes the plot moves you. As Harold finds out to his apartment’s woe. He isn’t exactly sure it’s plot, but everything in life is isn’t it? This movie is about life, in a nutshell. I find that life is easier when you try to avoid the plot, but inevitably it will find you.

Harold tries to cling to life while the narrator tries to figure out how to kill  him. Such an interesting dynamic. He has found love and has a whole new reason to live. I love these scenes of Will Ferrell running as he tries desperately to reach the author of his life. He should run more often, he could give Tom Cruise a run for his money. It’s so wild and out of the box for them to speak on the phone. It only gets better when they meet in person.

I can’t say enough about the acting of Will Ferrell in this movie. This movie was over ten years ago and I don’t understand why he hasn’t exercised this talent more. In this movie he goes toe to toe with the acting legend Dustin Hoffman and he holds his own. When Hoffman tells him to accept his fate it’s a magnificent scene. He understands and he gets it. The fact that his character is willing to make the sacrifice makes him all the more lovable.

This is an amazing movie. I feel like I’d need to watch it five times at least to really write about it. It says so much about life and fate and creativity. I love so much about this movie and I love that Harold survives in the end.

The watch is what keeps him alive, that’s beautiful. That’s a fantastic ending and on par with the author’s usual death ending. This is a wonderful movie and I just love it. The love story that lives on with Harold’s life brings tears to my eyes. Didn’t see that coming but it makes me appreciate this movie that much more.

This is a wonderful movie that can hit you in the heart and make you appreciate the creativity of writers. It’s a thoughtfully crafted story that leaves an impression. Will Ferrell should do more movie like this because he really has a talent for it. I think this movie is not only worth your time but worth plenty of your time. This movie is worth multiple views.

NEXT MOVIE: Street Kings (2008)

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Old School

Year: 2003
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Written By: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstong, and Court Crandall

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, what a funny movie.  Is it even possible that more than 10 years have passed since it came out? Just yesterday I was a willful youth and this was the funniest thing I had ever seen. In 2003 I was young and living out my very own Benjamin Braddock scenario of youthful confusion about life and what comes next.  I didn’t care about much back then, but I lived for the movies.  When this movie came out I saw it in the theater at least five times and I laughed harder every time I saw it again. Oh the days when life was different and the hammer of responsibility hadn’t fallen with all its weight.  I love this movie because it takes me back to a time when things were different, and because after all this time it still makes me laugh.

This movie had a really rich cast of comedians and they all made a point to have their own moment or two.  At top billing the three headlining the movie all took this opportunity to seize the limelight.  For years after this movie Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell would make every attempt to recapture the magic they had him in this movie. In that scenario Vaughn was more successful than Ferrell despite how much money the latter has continued to make.  Luke Wilson wouldn’t achieve the same success as the others but this movie definitely made his star brighter.

If there was a problem with this movie it’s that I think it gave Will Ferrell too much notoriety.  I thought Ferrell was hilarious in this movie but his strength was in the type of role he played here.  A funny man among other funny men.  After this movie came out he ballooned as a top billed actor and I have never felt he was funny enough to carry a film by himself.  I have more often than not found his movies to simply be stupid and liked them less and less as they continued to come out.  Anchorman was wildly successful while I was in college but I just never got it.  I specifically remember thinking all my friends were just high and laughing at it because they thought it was supposed to be funny.  I didn’t get it, and little else he did in the years following resonated with me as a fan.  I am not discounting Will Ferrell’s talent, he is a funny man. Yet, I think he shined brightest in a movie like this where the story didn’t center around him and he was simply part of it.

What might be so surprising about this film is that it never landed a sequel.  It was talked about for years with all the other men of this budding group being involved in the next installment.  Rumors abound that there would be a rival fraternity in the next film featuring the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and maybe Jack Black I can’t remember.  Somewhere along the line it never happened though and to this day has managed to stay sequel free despite other such installments like Ron Burgandy or Dumb and DumberOf course never say never with a comedy though.  This was a really successful movie and I doubt the chance of making more money on it will be ignored forever.

This one doesn’t get old for me and I laugh as much now as I did when I saw it over a decade ago. If you haven’t seen it you have missed out on something funny. Specifically something far funnier than everything that came out in the aftermath of its success from some of its stars. If you are looking for something that will make you laugh then you can’t go wrong with this one.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh I love this movie. It is still so funny to me, even though I have watched it so many times. All of these funny people in one place in such a ridiculous scenario. A frat house for adult guys. It’s like their dream come true.

oldschool

This poster is pretty good. There is a blur effect in the background, which is pretty clever because they are pretty much drunk for the majority of the movie and isn’t everything kind of a blur after that much binge drinking? The typography is very collegiate with also helps push home the plot of this movie – the college fraternity. It’s nothing very special, but I think it works for a movie like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Orange County (2002)

Land of the Lost

Year: 2009
Directed By: Brad Silberling
Written By: Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas

RYAN’S REVIEW

Sometimes the greatest key to any joke or good comedy is to leave the audience laughing in the end.  When they walk away laughing they remember the humor on a high note and plenty of what came before is forgotten.  That, in a nutshell, is the whole reason we own this movie.  Yeah it’s a pretty stupid movie, but in the end when –Will Ferrell titles his book “Matt Lauer Can Suck It” I fell to the floor laughing.  I did not see this movie in the theater and didn’t get to see the 3D spectacle it was supposed to be.  I might have never seen the movie if not for the persistent and relentless encouragement of a cherished co-worker.  He talked about this movie for weeks and I found myself with nothing to watch one evening and this was available on HBO OnDemand.  I expected it to be stupid, and it was, but when you enter anything with such low expectations it can be really easy to be surprised if you still have an open mind about it.

When we first watched this movie I was generally unfamiliar with Danny McBride.  I had seen him here and there but hadn’t given him any attention yet.  It was McBride that really had me laughing through most of this movie and I have since become a very big fan.  The guy has a strange sense of humor that I just can’t get enough of.  Kenny Powers is one of the funniest characters I have ever seen.  He’s a bit too much at times but often the funniest of the funny are a bit too much from time to time.  McBride went to school near where I live which makes him more endeared to me.  As a graduate of the NC School of the Arts he has become a local alum that has hit it big. I think his film Your Highness was a bit too stupid and didn’t really like it, but when he takes his trophy from the Minotaur I laughed till it hurt.  McBride is a really funny guy who has a place in a really funny group of comedians that will keep him involved in plenty of great films to come down the road.  Obviously McBride is a friend of Will Ferrell and that gives him plenty of opportunity.  He is also part of the Seth Rogen and James Franco crowd which is really awesome.  Those guys have made a movie I am really looking forward to this summer.  I won’t waste time discussing it now because it’s too soon but I insist you check out this trailer, it looks to be one of the funniest movies ever made and I cannot wait for it to come out.

I think McBride is without doubt the funniest part of the movie but Will Ferrell isn’t without a few laughs.  His type of comedy tends to get on my nerves more often than not because it comes across as stupid instead of funny most of the time.  He is stupid in this movie as well but that is what he brings to the table as the lead star.  For all the stupid things he says and does in this movie I will forgive it all for the sake of the closing joke.  His character going back to the Today Show with his new book simply titled “Matt Lauer Can Suck It” was hilarious and worth sitting through any of Ferrell’s stupid crap for.

This movie was a complete and utter failure both critically and at the box office.  That is probably all well deserved.  Yet when I watched the movie expecting it to be the worst thing I had ever seen I finished the movie laughing my ass off.  Any time I am so surprised I tend to love the movie more and I find myself liking this ridiculous movie more every time I watch it.  I particularly love the part when they are all stoned on Land of the Lost drugs and that giant crab comes after them.  Right as they all start to wail in fear the crab falls into a boiling spring and explodes into cooked crab.  Something about that just makes me laugh my ass off.  When they are touching the monolith thing and singing the Cher song I laugh my ass off too, especially when Danny McBride tells the woman she should sit on that thing.  So yes this movie is really stupid movie, but I think it has plenty of funny stuff to offer.  I think this one is worth your time but be prepared to disagree with me and feel free to leave a comment and tell me how awful you think it is.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This movie is so great. I was so confused at first when Ryan suggested that we watch it. It looked incredibly stupid. And all in all it is a really stupid movie, but nevertheless really stupid. Will Ferrell and Danny McBride play off of each other so well. I think it’s always great when comedians team up. I think it really shows their talents and true innate humor.

landofthelost

I love this poster. I think it fits the movie well and it is really nicely designed.  I like the typography, the imagery, and everything. It includes all of the main characters in a pleasant way that makes sense. It’s a nice poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

The Campaign

Year: 2012
Directed By: Jay Roach
Written By: Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell (screenplay and story), Adam McKay (story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was not a movie I was interested in when it first started being advertised earlier this year.  It looked like just another stupid Will Ferrell movie to me and I didn’t have much faith in what he and Zach Galifianakis would do together.  I think both of these men are funny, but both of them tend to play roles of men more stupid than anything else and I always feel they were overacting a bit.  Well this movie was available On Demand during the heart of the political process with elections nearing, and I reluctantly agreed to watch it with Amber one night. I was very surprised when I found myself laughing through the whole thing.  This movie is exaggerated, as most Will Ferrell movies are, but this one has plenty of truth masked within all of the silliness. It says something bold and believable about our political process in this country and mocks the joke that it has all become.

Will Ferrell definitely has his moments and he also has the ability to be a serious actor from time to time and I like that about him.  I have always felt he was at his best as a supporting man like his role in Old School but it was that role that gave him all the power.  As Frank the Tank he was so funny that he became one of America’s favorite comedians.  His career exploded after that but I am usually hot and cold with what he produces.  For example, Step Brothers may be a funny movie but the part he plays is just so overdone with stupidity and immaturity.  I tend to find myself more annoyed than humored in movies like that.  That persona works in many movies though so I can’t argue with it.  I thought Land of the Lost was hilarious and I really liked his more serious roles in movies like Everything Must Go and Stranger than FictionHowever I have never been a fan of Ricky Bobby or plenty of his other work.  I thought things were falling apart for him when he was cast in The Office as the show was beginning to fall apart but I was wrong.  In this movie as the perfectly named politician “Cam Brady” I thought he was hilarious.  His stupid persona seems fitting for a politician ironically enough and he nailed it.  My favorite part is when he sees the new Marty Huggins ad that has his son in it.  I am never a fan of infidelity in a movie but for some reason when it happened in this one I couldn’t stop laughing about it.  When Ferrell says “you make my son call you daddy I fuck your wife, that’s the deal!” I fell to the floor.  When he showed up and Marty’s wife was watching Drew Carey on The Price is Right it was a done deal. Ferrell may be a bit too goofy for me at times but the guy is undeniably funny and I really enjoyed his role in this one.

I have written my thoughts on Galifianakis before in our reviews on The Hangover movies.  I think what I said specifically was that he would only get as far as that beard would take him.  So it was nice to see him diversify and go simply with the perv stache in this one.  I like Galifianakis quite a bit because after all he is from my home state and grew up only an hour from where I live now.  I don’t think his career will last long enough though if he can only play the one part though.  I have seen him before on Bored to Death and he is really good in that but if he can’t branch out with different roles in movies his career will only be a flash in the pan.  As Marty Huggins, Galifianakis played his typical role of the very weird guy but it worked in this one because it was so funny to see them try to transform him into a political candidate.  His accent is great in this one but it should come easy to him being he is from North Carolina.

I really liked seeing Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow as the big business brothers in this movie.  They fit the roles nicely and I like seeing Akroyd in anything these days because he isn’t doing too much anymore.  I have always been a big fan of Lithgow and think that he can only make any movie he is in better.  I am becoming a huge fan of Jason Sudeikis, everything I see him in seems funnier than the last. SNL has a great cast right now with really funny people like Bill Hader, Taran Killam, and Jay Pharoah but Sudeikis is funnier than all of them as far as I am concerned.  I really look forward to what is to come from his career as he continues to gain more popularity.  I also thought Dylan McDermott was really good as the ultra cool campaign manager that shows up to “make you not suck.” I don’t usually like McDermott but really enjoyed his performance in this one.

This movie says a lot about politics in this country.  About the big businesses behind the candidates running for office and how they use those candidates to achieve their own goals.  About how campaigns manipulate the public to get into office and will absolutely do whatever it takes.  It’s about how dirty politics can be in general and the cut throat world these people live in.   While the movie may cover all these things in humorous fashion there is one thing to keep in mind while watching this movie….a lot of truth is said in jest.  I think this movie not only does a great job mocking the whole thing but it isn’t really off base with the truth behind it all.

I always love a movie that catches me by surprise and this one did.  I did not expect to like it at all and ended up loving it.  I think that any time a movie can do that then it is worth your time to see it.  This movie may have seemed funnier to me when we watched it during the election season but I enjoyed it just as much watching it again after getting a copy for Christmas.  This movie is a bit vulgar so take the R rating seriously but if you get an opportunity to see it you should check it out, it is worth your time.