Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top 10 Comedies of the Past 10 Years Part Two

5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
“You can't be so casual about this! This isn't Europe, okay? There are rules here!”

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is easily one of the most re-watchable movies of 2008. It helps that Jason Segel is incredible at playing the heartbroken man-child (a skill he honed in Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, though he was more a psychopath in the latter). Round out the film with great comic actors playing great characters, and you got yourself a winner. And unlike most of these kinds of comedies, the women are given a chance to be funny (the showdowns between Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are pretty awesome). Topping it off with a musical, Dracula, puppet finale is pure genius. I can’t wait for Segel and director Nicholas Stoller’s Muppet movie.

4. The Brothers Solomon (2007)
“That-the-fuck is the baby crib.”

I cannot believe that The Brothers Solomon has not caught on as a cult sensation judging by the popularity of Dumb and Dumber (the closest movie in tone and leads I can think of). Just look at the Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores (16% and 32, respectively) and it seems to cry out for discovery. Will Forte and Will Arnett are irrepressively cheerful and optimistic which is a joy to watch. Everything about the movie is ridiculous and stupid and that’s what makes it wonderful. It is my mission in life to spread the word of The Brothers Solomon to all. A classic of the lowbrow.

3. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
“Three oinkers wearing pants, plate of hot air, basket of Grandma's breakfast and change the bull to a gill, got it.”

I’ve already covered New Groove in my Top Film series, so I won’t dwell on it. If you didn’t check this out based on my recommendation then, consider this a reminder to watch it. It’s really quite excellent.

2. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
‘You taste like a burger. I don't like you anymore.”

Another David Wain movie and this one is perfection. Every character and every line is memorable, but what makes Wet Hot so great is there is so much care put into getting the details right that it’s not clear that it’s a parody of camp movies until you are well into it. It helps to have many of the best comic actors currently working filling out the entire cast. And Christopher Meloni, who, if you are familiar with his Law and Order work, will shock you here. Wet Hot is all about turning conventions on their heads. I’d say it’s closest in spirit to Monty Python. The point is to be absurd and silly.

1. Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz (2004/2007)
“Haven't you ever taken a short-cut before?"


OK… so I’m cheating a little, but since these are part of the “Cornetto Trilogy,” I can justify my selection. Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost perfected the parody. They are making hilarious movies with both subtle and not-so-subtle references to other films, but you don’t need that knowledge to enjoy their movies. It’s like The Simpsons at their best. I only wish that these three would work solely with each other, but then, if the time between films yields great entertainment like these, then it’s worth the wait. And while you’re watching these films, you may as well check out Spaced. These films are made by fans for fans. You can feel the love pouring off of the screen. Bliss.

Video of the Day

Oh, Homer... you're such a good drunk.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Video of the Day

More animals. Who knew penguins reacted the same way to farts that humans do?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Top 10 Comedies of the Past 10 Years Part One

I believe that I have a pretty good barometer for what is funny and what is not. That said, I’m also far pickier (read: narrow-minded) when it comes to what I like. There are several beloved comedies that are not on the list, not because I don’t like them, but because I flat out hate them and I seem to be the only one that feels this way about the films. These include Meet the Parents, Office Space, and especially Supertroopers.

Now, many are probably ready to write off my opinion based on that alone. Fortunately, there have been some amazing comedies in the past ten years and even if I liked those films, they may not have made the final cut. I had to put some restrictions on what I chose as comedies because, as with any genre, there tends to be a lot of bleed over. I ignored all of Pixar because those films always seem more like funny dramas to me, if that makes sense. Also, if I included those films, the list would have been much harder to make and Pixar dominated. I tried to extend that rule beyond Pixar, but admittedly, some of the films on the list border on dramatic. In those cases, I felt that I laughed harder and more often than not.

I encourage you to question and nitpick my selections. Most of all, I want to hear if anyone has any to add that I may have missed.

10. Role Models (2008)
“This is a classic case of ‘guy on the ground.’”

I was surprised by how much I loved this movie when I first saw it. I’ve never been particularly fond of Seann William Scott or Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but damned if they weren’t both perfect for their roles. In fact, I re-evaluated Scott in other films and am now an unashamed fan of him (it’s kind of like coming to terms with the fact that Ashton Kutcher is, in fact, hilarious as Kelso on That 70s Show). And let no one deny the awesomeness, and I’ll say it, dreaminess of Paul Rudd. Role Models is essentially a raunchy family film that has one of the most gleeful climaxes of any film I saw last year. David Wain knocked it out of the park and I’ve never felt happier leaving the theater.

9. The Royal Tenanbaums (2001)
“Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?”

One of those films that borders on drama, but there is just too much hilarity. Gene Hackman was absolutely born to play Royal. People often right Wes Anderson off for being overly quirky and stylistic, but to me it always feels like he’s creating an alternate reality, kind of like a fantasy. What makes The Royal Tenanbaums so great for me is that the comedy is layered under a completely dry fa├žade. It sneaks up on you and rewards you for paying attention. And it gave me one of my most prolonged laughs ever in a theater when Danny Glover falls into the ditch while talking to Anjelica Huston. Classic.



8. Being John Malkovich (1999)
“Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate.”

Another of those melancholy sort of comedies. Trust me, it’s the last one. Being John Malkovich blows me away with its inventiveness. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live as John Malkovich for any period of time? There are few celebrities who would work nearly as well (though Being Christopher Walken would be amazing). Much like in The Royal Tenanbaums, the writing is what gets it on the list. Most of the characters are down on their luck or depressed, but the situations and dialogue are ridiculously clever. I love how balls-out crazy it gets when Malkovich enters his own head. And any world where Charlie Sheen and John Malkovich are best friends is a world I want to live in.

7. Superbad (2007)
Seth: I just wanna go to the rooftops and scream, "I love my best friend, Evan."
Evan: Let's... go on my roof.

I love movies about friends and Superbad captures the back and forth between best friends better than almost any movie I can think of. People complain that Michael Cera can only play the awkward, dorky kid, but who cares when he plays it so well? No one ever complained that Arnold Schwarzenegger only played the same character-types in action movies. The only thing that bugs me about Superbad is the character of McLovin. I like the way characters react to him, but the movie wouldn’t lose anything if McLovin wasn’t in it. For as silly as the movie gets, it’s great to watch the characters come to terms with the fact that they won’t always be together.

6. High Fidelity (2000)
“Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.”

I’m pretty certain that High Fidelity is responsible for my love of lists. I was predestined to love this film. Jack Black has a huge rant about how awesome Evil Dead II is, source material by Nick Hornby (who’s only written on book I don’t like, Slam), and it’s all about music. It was practically written to appeal to me. Not even the horrible performance by Iben Hjejle can bring it down (seriously, why would Rob want to stay with her?). Parts of me wish the entire film was a day in the life at the record store because Cusack, Louiso, and Black are so good together.
PS -- This trailer is incredibly misleading.

Video of the Day

This automatically makes crows one of the coolest birds in the world. I no longer believe scarecrows work.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Video of the Day: Redux

I hate when videos get taken down. However, I have a great backup. Ladies and Gentlemen... ANDY KAUFMAN!!!

Video of the Day

This man is crazy, but I be this is fun as hell. Also, painful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Video of the Day

Who doesn't love hot-air balloons in time-lapse??? I can't think of anyone.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Umbrellas

For some reason, I can't get myself to write before bed like I used to. The thinking juices in my brain have moved to a day shift. Unfortunately for you, my dear readers, most of my ideas require a decent amount of thought and preparation. I'll adjust accordingly. For now, though, I offer a mini-rant on umbrellas to celebrate the glorious, cooling rain we had today in Boston.
I completely understand the usefulness and practicality of umbrellas, in theory.

Person 1: Oh my God! There is water falling from the sky! I’m getting soaked!
Person 2: Here. Shield yourself with this large, portable dome.
Person 1: It worked! Look how the water drips around me instead of on me. Thank you so much mysterious strange-… where’d he go?

Sure, it works just dandy when you’re walking alone on an empty sidewalk or down a deserted road, but what about when the walkways are jammed with people, many with umbrellas? It turns into a fight for position in the sky. Umbrellas bob and weave above our heads willy-nilly. Those of us who happen to be tall have to duck and dodge this ballet of attempted protection. As one would expect, the carrier of the umbrella is largely unaware of this interference into the lives of others.

And to further antagonize those around them, the bearer of the umbrella remains ignorant to the fact that their rain protection is redirecting the water onto those that surround them. Many a shoulder has been drenched by umbrella run-off. And seriously, how long do umbrellas really last? How many have been made to look ridiculous hiding under a floppy fabric because the wind knocked the umbrella around a bit?
Let’s not forget how umbrellas block spectator views at sporting events, concerts, fairs, and other such entertainment enterprises. It’s difficult to conceive of another product that creates so many hurdles for those not using it. I say it’s time to take a stand against umbrellas! Buy a raincoat. At the very least, you’re about ten times less likely to leave it at a restaurant. And there is little as refreshing as a walk in the rain on a hot summer day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Video of the Day

I don't know what family of animal this belongs to, but it's awesome. It reminds me of those toys that you press down on the top and it does a backflip when you release.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Video of the Day

Who said funerals have to be all sadness??? It helps when you have members of Monty Python speaking on your behalf.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Video of the Day

A new, real post will be coming soon, but for now, Todd Barry on Sesame Street.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Video of the Day

I don't know why someone would learn to do this, but I'm very happy she did.