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Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

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God, this thing wears thin fast.

Just My Luck involves Ashley (Lindsay Lohan), a fashionable Manhattan career girl who has everything go her way and Jake, a guy who does something involving music and who seems to be perenially cursed with awful luck.   When the two inadvertently cross paths at a masquerade party and kiss, they switch luck .  This leads Ashley to take up a desperate hunt for Jake as she gets fired, goes to prison, and  nearly electrocutes herself in the few short hours after they switch luck.

The concept of “luck-switching” is boring enough, but to stretch it out for hours is maddening.   I swear that the word “luck” has to be repeated enough time for it to be drilled into your brain with a Pavlovian response indicating pain.   Not only is it boring and tedious, but the general overall feel of the film doesn’t even feel romantic – and it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, for goodness sakes.

Lindsay Lohan does not do her best here.   She’s mechanical and robotic at times, something which is odd considering the fact that she ought to be holding her own and then some.   Given the subject matter, this is Lohan’s previous bread-and-butter; a family-friendly comedy with a bit of romance and quirk.  In some regards, this is charted, simple territory for her. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and Freaky Friday were similar roles in Lohan’s repertoire.   The performance she gave in Mean Girls indicates she’s far better than what she gives here, which is supposed to be a lucky but unappreciative career girl who learns the true meaning of being grateful for what you have.   Lohan, however, can’t even sell you that Ashley is appreciative for her luck, let alone capable of giving it all up for twoo-wuv.

Let’s hope Chris Pine isn’t as instantly forgettable in Star Trek as he is here.

There are some “what-if” premises that just can’t be stretched into a feature length movie without being exhausting and full of mediocrity and tedium for the viewer.   Just My Luck started out as one of those premises.

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My mother, by and large, hates the movies I review.   By hates, I mean, she tells me all the time that she just wishes that I would review something that didn’t involve massive explosions, decapitations and blood splatters.

Okay, fair enough.

So I made a deal with her that we’d do one movie a month that she got to pick where I would even sit down and watch it with her.   This month, Mom picked The Thin Man with Myrna Loy.

I have a fondness for mystery flicks in the first place.   The Thin Man is about wealthy socialite Nora Charles and her husband Nick.   Nick’s a famous private detective who’s retired to the easy life, helping Nora manage her family’s multitude of businesses.  When they return to New York City after a few years away, Nick finds himself the target of a young woman whose inventor father has disappeared and is now implicated in a series of murders.   She begs and pleads Nick to take the case, but to no avail.  Nick winds up intertwined in the case and has no alternative but to solve it.   The basic premise and plot development is pretty standard but The Thin Man’s witty back and forth sparring matches between Nick and Nora is what’s made it so memorable.

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Nick: (after sending Nora off to a tourist attraction without her approval)  How’d you like Grant’s tomb?

Nora: It’s lovely.   I’m having a copy made for you.

My mother watched this a lot as a child and claimed she wanted to live just like that when she grew up, only when she grew up she came to the sudden realization that Nick and Nora lived in the ’30’s.   My poor mother.

You can see the appeal of Nick and Nora as my mother pointed out – during the midst of the Great Depression, Nick and Nora were fabulous, glamorous and living the high life without a care in the world.   Snappy dialogue and characters soaked in booze, as my mother pointed out, let audiences live vicariously through the Charles’s while most folks were struggling to make ends meet.  Nora wore wonderful, expensive outfits and Nick is, well, to put it kindly – eccentric.   He spends his Christmas morning shooting balloons off the Christmas tree with a BB gun in their Manhattan hotel room.

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Speaking of being soaked in booze, one of the many things I find amusing about The Thin Man is how much the characters drink.   If Nick and Nora were representative of even one tenth of Manhattan island, I’m shocked that the fumes of gin and vermouth didn’t float across the pond and choke the residents in London or Paris.   There’s one point in the movie where Nora realizes Nick’s had six martinis already, so she instructs the waiter to bring her five martinis in addition to the one in her hand…. SO SHE CAN CATCH UP.  Hot damn.

It’s a miracle these people weren’t stumbling down the street drooling on themselves.   I take it back – in some parts of the film they really are stumbling and drooling, but that’s neither here nor there.  They’re charming cinematic drunks but my god – Nick and Nora must have consumed 85% of their daily categories in Manhattans and martinis.

My mother loves the costumes in The Thin Man.   I’m not a huge costume person yet I can see the appeal of this classy number.

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Note the drink in Nora’s hand.  Alcohol clearly solves everything.

I really like The Thin Man.  I don’t like it nearly as much as my mother does, but hey, that’s life.   I love the Nick and Nora dynamic, though, and it’s nice to see that it holds up many years later and eventually, it will be a welcome addition to the DVD collection.

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Uuunnngggh.

leonard_part_six_ver2How to describe Leonard Part 6? It’s a comedy depicting Bill Cosby as a retired spy who’s goaded back into the game after a vegetarian hell bent on freeing the world’s animals begins to plot to “free” the animals and begins killing people by training animals to kill.   That is the surface area to it, but it doesn’t begin to do it the severe atrocious justice it deserves.

Daniel Tosh once said that there’s no real way to describe a scary dream to your friend without making it sound completely stupid and that’s how I feel about Leonard Part 6.   Bill Cosby dresses up in some stupid outfits, followed behind by a loyal and predictable uptight butler, wherein Cosby gets to have a litany of stupid weapons (electric hair clippers!) and exotic footwear (ballet shoes!).    Frogs can band together to hop a 1970’s land yacht off a pier and into the ocean and fearsome vegetarian sect leaders can totally dress like Gloria Gaynor.

The whole point of the movie is to be ridiculous but Bill Cosby clearly didn’t learn that there’s a big line between fun-ridiculous and ARE YOU ON DRUGS, MAN?    The movie has a beginning, middle and end and some semblance of a story but the rest of the movie – you know, most of it – is just like the kind of dreams you get when you drink too much and pass out in your living room floor.

The farther I got, the more I wondered:   Who told good old Bill that this was a good idea?   What were the test screenings like?   Did anyone pause during the making of this and say, “Bill, you’re wearing ballet shoes, that woman looks like a human disco ball and this script makes no sense; what’s going on here?”

I have to say after the grind of what feels like a million awful movies, I’m running out of things to say about them.   I mean, you would think someone would take a step back and say, “Perhaps this is ill-advised” or “Maybe we should do better”.   Therefore, I’m running out of sympathy for movies like these – movies that make no sense and get worse with age.   But I’m nothing if not slightly positive and there’s a healthy way to use your copy of Leonard Part 6 effectively if you own it:

  • Batting practice;
  • Kindling;
  • Your kid’s science fair project in which Junior wants to see how long it takes a DVD to melt;
  • Skeet shooting/target practice;
  • Coaster;
  • Frisbee;
  • Stress therapy with a hammer and brute force;
  • Testing the strength of your kitchen disposal;
  • A gift to your annoying neighbor or coworker;
  • A cat toy, as long as you know, you tie some thread to it;
  • Using the disc as a prop in a demonstration on how not to handle a DVD.

So, you know, some good could come out of it, theoretically.

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There is not much to say about the horribly unfunny mish-mash of parody jokes that make up Meet The Spartans, except that if this is what my fellow average moviegoers consider fine comedic entertainment, then we are all doomed.   There is no hope left for humanity and we should all give up now, flailing in our own muck and mire of stupidity and crassness.

It is a painful, horrible waste of time that is evoked by the first fifteen seconds of the movie (a new record), in which a baby Shrek projectile vomits green goo all over a Spartan.   There is no better way to sum up the movie than to say, “It’s like that, y’all”.

(Shortest review ever?  Maybe, but there’s not much more to say about it.)

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Endings Blog-a-Thon: Clue

Oh, that sneaky little dude we all love named J.D. He nearly snuck his Endings Blog-a-Thon by me but he wasn’t quick enough!

When I think of endings, I think of the only movie that has multiple endings.  Actually, it has multiple justified endings (Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King, I shan’t say anything at all.  Much) that make sense within the story, which is essentially a variant on playing the actual board game.

Given the fact that the premise of Clue is, as above, based on a board game, there was a lot for the writers to create.

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Just as you played the board game with different endings, so ends Clue.    Each ending retains certain similarities; the quote “Communism was just a red herring” is used in each, as is the chandelier crashing to the floor of the foyer.

That’s what could have happened, right?   But here’s what really happened…

The final ending is just the icing on the cake.  Instead of leaving anyone out, every character is guilty of something.

Mr. Green: “They all did it!  But if you want to know who killed Mr. Boddy, I did.  In the Hall, with the revolver.   Take ’em away, chief…I’m going to go home and sleep with my wife.”

For a movie based on a board game, Clue is sharply written even withstanding that fact.    Such wittiness is reflected right there in the distinct endings portrayed, with the final being a well-intentioned wink and a nod to the game.   Every character commits a crime with every weapon in every room.   No viewer is left out, not even the lame guy in the back who was picked last for dodgeball and could never figure out that it was Professor Plum in the conservatory with the candlestick.    Clue manages some incisively snarky humor throughout the film, directed more at ’50’s Americana than the game itself, but it returns to its humble roots in the end and that…that is where it really shines.

In this age of the forgettable adaptation of everything (I am looking at you, whoever is making Monopoly into a movie), you have to wonder…why don’t people look back as a guidepost to Clue?   It’s a solid movie with a stunner series of endings – endings that can only work because of its pedestrian but unique inspiration.

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It’s really cold outside tonight for Texas (25 degrees, brrrrr) and with no Worst Movies Ever to do, I was looking forward to coming home and getting under the covers. This was mostly due to the fact that I spent an hour gridlocked in traffic, watching ambulance after ambulance come to rescue Texas drivers who freak at the mere thought of inclement weather.

My natural instinct was to come home, have peppermint hot chocolate, and cross stitch. Yes, I know. I’m two caftans and a lanai short of being a Golden Girl, but I do enjoy the needlework. On nights when I’m out of movies to review, I flick on TCM or pop in a movie for background noise while I put stitches in whatever I may be working on at the moment.

In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to put on Ghostbusters tonight. I should have known my attention would be drawn so much to the movie that I would keep stabbing myself in the thumb and index finger with a needle. Luckily for me, tapestry needles are extremely dull or my pricked fingers would be singing a far different tune. I really should have known much better and not been shocked at all when I looked down at my work and saw that I had miscounted everything I had done from paying too MUCH attention to Ghostbusters, thus leaving me the only option of ripping out everything I had just sat there and stitched. If you’ve never ripped out stitches before, and I am assuming quite a few of you have not, it is about as much fun as a root canal.

So here’s all those parts that I adore so much, even if they cause me bodily injury and/or cause me to swear a blue streak because they drive me to distraction…

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“My uncle thought he was Saint Jerome.”

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There is a problem with your movie if the title translates to “Hands:  Hands of Fate”.

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Confession:  I had to cheat just a little bit on this one.   Netflix doesn’t offer the regular version of Manos:  The Hands of Fate, so I had to “settle” for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version.   All in all, I’m sure it saved me a lot more grief than normal, but even with the MST3K overlay, Manos:  The Hands of Fate is just a wretched, lumbering monstrosity.

It’s widely believed to be one of the worst movies of all time, a fact which I cannot repudiate.   It is one of the worst of the worst.  In fact, the only movie that I’ve seen that edges out Manos is Ax ‘Em, but that’s mainly because of the technical screw-ups (like no sound, for example) in Ax ‘Em.   They’re both equally sophisticated in their storytelling.

HANDS:  The Hands of Fate begins with a family traveling to some vacation spot.   Before they really can kick the movie into gear, you’re treated to fifteen minutes of repetitive scenery.

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Fascinating.

It’s strikingly clear from the first minute of the movie that the person who directed this had no idea what in God’s name they were doing and refused any sort of help, psychiatric or otherwise.   It should be noted, friends, that this is essentially the best part of the movie.

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#1484: Twilight

There’s not much more I can say about Twilight.   The best part of the movie for me personally was people-watching.   Twilight fandom is about as fan-wanky as you can get, and our audience clearly aimed to please.

The girl next to me in line, for example, uttered this finery right before entering the theater:  “And then I made my boyfriend put on body glitter so he would be JUST. LIKE. EDWARD.  EEEE!”

If that’s not terrifying, I don’t know what is.    Look, if you like the books, you’ll like the movie.   And if you don’t like the books or don’t care, guess what?   You won’t like it, probably.   I’ll just put it this way.

Twilight is the best comedy I’ve seen all year!    No…seriously.   It’s laugh out loud hilarious.   I have not laughed that hard in a theater since I saw Team America.

Honestly!

The lady next to me got all peeved and everything!   But I couldn’t help it.  You know how you laugh so hard you start to shake?

That’s what I did for 75% of this movie.

(Wait for it on DVD, trust me.   You’ll love it!  In an awesomely bad sort of fashion.)

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I don’t care what it takes to see this movie.

I WILL SEE IT.

Who’s with me?

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So, today was a blissfully serene day. I got some good sleep in; I lounged around for a while and did some nerdy things while I let my back rest a bit, since I apparently did something not nice to it this weekend. And after a while, I came to a startling realization: my day just would not be complete without a viewing of Lethal Weapon.

I love Lethal Weapon like some people love family members, you guys. Over the years, I have a steady stream of movies that I watch at Christmas and Lethal Weapon has become one of them. This year, I’m early on my viewing, but hey, whatever.

Two cops are partnered together with sometimes disastrous results, given the fact that Riggs (Gibson) is suicidal and Murtaugh (Glover) is a tightly-wound family man who’s just looking forward to retirement. They stumble upon an apparent suicide that turns out to be much more than that, and hey! Gary Busey is in this movie!

Ladies (and some gentlemen), do you remember a time when Mel Gibson was smoking hot? Ah, the days of old when Mel was cute as hell before the anti-Semitic comments and before drinking enough to classify his liver as a hazmat area and long before he looked like he was dragged over ten miles of bad road and then beat with an ugly stick.  It was a time when we could all watch Clueless and silently agree with Cher when she said, “Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn’t say that. That Polonius guy did”.  The good old days, you know. You remember, right?

I do. Lethal Weapon is like…the pinnacle of Mel hotness.

Even with that skanky hair, he was still cute.

Shallowness aside, Shane Black writes a killer movie, I’ll give him that. Not that I normally pay attention to such things, but the man’s dialogue is snappy as all get out, and you gotta love the buddy-cop aspect between Riggs and Murtaugh. Witness:

Murtaugh: See how easy that was? Boom, still alive. Now we question him. You know why we question him? Because I got him in the leg. I didn’t shoot him full of holes or try to jump off a building with him.
Riggs: Hey, that’s no fair. The building guy lived.

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