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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 34202 times)
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madupont
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« Reply #3540 on: February 13, 2008, 03:30:32 AM »

I think Didion and Dunne would have agreed with the writers' strike. They started out as young people having to make a living at screen-writing.  Besides it is much over rated "that Didion was a product of and lived among people of privilege,"( "not the kind of writer that would have been on the recent picket lines").  Julia Child also had the same background of California pioneers and I think that is essentially what Didion wrote about in her reflections about her origins and what kind of people made that trek;exagerating their aura would eventually have to deal with the uncomfortable reality that the people who died at Donner Pass came from the same origins,underwent the trials of Nature and their own misestimation of reality and did not survive without their legend leaving a bad taste in the mouth.

Joan Didion merely reached that reflective age that intelligent women arrive at when they consider something larger than their ego, that there was more before her that went into her formation that made her what she became; its a recognition of the strands that are identifiable, when you become adult enough to learn more pertinent connections about your forebears that you seem to carry forward.  Her critical writing then became culturally significant in political awareness that few other women had, certainly hardly any other women in the same age group who shared that era.

I'm just hoping that the settlement in time for all hoopla festivities necessary to the industry, will satisfactorily cover the cost of living in the region of the La Brea tar pit.
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barton
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« Reply #3541 on: February 13, 2008, 11:02:30 AM »

Mr. Woodcock

A pretty decent "stop the wedding, he's no good" farce, with BBT turning in his usual fine prickly bastard (somewhat reminiscent of his school-for-studs instructor a couple yrs. back --- title escapes me...) as a sadistic gym teacher in cornbelt Nebraska who woos a former student's mother (Susan Sarandon).   Predictable but a fun ride...and a bonus M.C. Gainey sighting (wielding dangerous hair clippers), what more could one ask?
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #3542 on: February 13, 2008, 11:15:47 AM »

...and a bonus M.C. Gainey sighting...

See "Beerfest" for a funny and against-type (albeit short) MC Gainey performance.
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barton
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« Reply #3543 on: February 13, 2008, 11:26:01 AM »

It's in my queue, but way down there.  I'm kind of eccentric in a state with so much nordic/german ancestry, in that I don't much like beer. 

School for Scoundrels is the previous BBT lead I was trying to remember above.  Mr. Woodcock seemed to me better, in being more plausible and maybe more universal in its appeal.  Who hasn't suffered at the hands of a PE teacher?

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jbottle
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« Reply #3544 on: February 13, 2008, 01:19:31 PM »

Had to look up M.C. Gainey and in the process saw that there was a Super Troopers 2 set for 2010 and that Kevin Heffernan was making his directoral debut in a Broken Lizard comedy entitled "Slammin' Salmon," where Chandrashekar is co-writer.

"Beerfest" is a very funny movie regardless of whether you like beer or not; it's just another good-natured send-up by BL of the "party movie" with a ridiculous macguffin where American bros. find out that their mother was a German whore and that their father ran a famous brewery and that they are the lawful inheritors of the secret beer reciepe, hilarity (I promise) ensues with the often crude humor being buoyed by frequent jokes and a general feeling that nobody cares what movie they are in sorta and are just riffing along from ridiculous plot point to ridiculous plot point.  The fun that they are clearly having is infectious, and not the way Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon presume theirs to be.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #3545 on: February 13, 2008, 01:34:47 PM »

"Beerfest" is a very funny movie...

Well put (all of it, not just the first few words I quoted above) on "Beerfest", which was a nice surprise after "Club Dread", which felt like it was phoned-in, notwithstanding Paxton's interesting interpretation of the would-be Jimmy Buffet rival, "Coconut Pete".

"Beerfest" features at least 50 good jokes, of which 4 or 5 were great, and a couple were of the "if you listen carefully you'll hear a half-hidden joke" variety.  One great one was early in the movie, when the 3 main members of the German drinking team (played skillfully and hilariously by Nat Faxon, Will Forte and Eric Christian Olsen) are getting in the faces of the two American brothers.

The Americans start to get agitated and look as if they might want to start throwing punches, and the Germans mock them.  It's one of those three-people-talking-at-once things, with all 3 Germans mocking ("oh, tough guy, wants to fight, oh, he's going to punch me, etc.") the Americans for being typical Americans, quick to resort to violence, etc., and you can hear Nat Faxon saying, "Dooo it!  Kill me!! Wot ahh you waiting foh-wuh?? Dooo it!!"

If you've seen "Predator" (great movie) 50 times like I have, you know that Faxon was doing an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie, when Arnold is using himself as bait to try to get the Predator to step into a trap.

It's not a big deal or anything, and they don't make a big deal out of it (the camera isn't even on Faxon's face when he starts the line), but it was a nice touch.  It's nice to think, yeah, I thought that was a funny sounding line in "Predator", and I guess these guys thought so too.

Oh, and I always love it when you're watching a comedy and one particular performance makes you say, yeah, that guy/girl was a good sport to do this movie.  I can't think of any other examples right now (there are many), but Jurgen Prochnow in "Beerfest" is a prime one.  You can just hear the guys saying, "I can't believe Jurgen Prochnow said yes, this is great, etc."

I find it easy to root for the Broken Lizard troupe, and to anyone who hasn't seen it, I recommend giving "Beerfest" a prominent queue slot.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2008, 01:59:51 PM by oilcanboyd23 » Logged
oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #3546 on: February 13, 2008, 01:48:33 PM »

Oh, and definitely DO watch the thing on the DVD extras where they have a home-video of the drinking contest at the wrap party.

It's a 5-man relay chug, with Heffernan as the anchor for the Broken Lizard team, and the big huge weightlifter German guy as the anchor for the team of actors who played the Germans in the movie.  It looks like it's in a crowded restaurant with a hundred people milling around, and the footage is shot poorly, so you can barely see the action.

But you can clearly see that the Germans built up a big lead (because Paul Soter was by far the slowest drinker) and the big German weightlifter guy had like a 3-second head start on Heffernan.  Further, after one second of drinking, you could see that the big German wasn't the anchor just because of his size - he was drinking way faster than anyone else on either team.

But as fast as the big German was, Heffernan was faster, overcoming the 3-second head start and winning by a half-second.  The whole place erupted and the big German guy couldn't help but laugh and give props to Heffernan's drinking ability.   Again, not a big deal, but still, consistent with the "infectuous fun" thing to which Jonas alluded.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3547 on: February 13, 2008, 02:44:28 PM »

Speaking of my "real name," the Weezer song "My Name is Jonas" could be used in a comedy pretty easily, it was already kind of a corny not so indie song at the time (I like the song), where it's kind of easy to make fun of Weezer for being caught making a song emblematic of alternative pop of the early-1990's, even if they were aware of it being outsized and ridic at the time (I imagie they did and that the rock bombast was more than a little tongue in cheek), but that doesn't mean it shouldn't accompany or punchline something on screen effectively...

...will look for the extras...and Jurgen was a "good sport," and like you, I know there are many other examples of this...who is the guy from "The Prince of Tides," the violinist who plays "Dixie" to make fun of Tom Wingo, it seems like he did something, anyway...
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jbottle
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« Reply #3548 on: February 13, 2008, 04:19:44 PM »

It's also awesome that Heffernan slammed the "Germans" IRL in a remarkable come-from-behind victory.  I'll bet that guy is f-ing hilarious to be around.....oh, and yeah, Bill Paxton was sort of a "good sport" to do "Coconut Pete" because I guess he's more of a big deal than be in something where they couldn't really pay him I'm sure, but not the same in the sense of "I wonder if that guy has a sense of humor...," after doing "The Dark Backward," "Weird Science" and other goofball characters, but more like, it might've been a waste of his time (his got some significant minutes) if he chose to view it in $$ which I guess he didn't), anyhow, his Buffett riff whose main claim to fame is "Pinacoladisburg" the song, was good and "Judge Dredd" was still worth it just because of how sloppy and uncaring the production--but "Beerfest" is more tight in that it punches along better Jay-C is clearly learning how to make better movies, while retaining that easygoing feel.  Good things ahead I imagine for BL.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3549 on: February 13, 2008, 04:30:28 PM »

One more quick thing:  I think I also respond so well to "Beerfest" because the worst part of some ensemble comedies is the need for a big "ending" where the music ramps up and detracts from all the fun with a bunch of clanging or plot-closing, think "Ghostbusters" or "Strange Brew" or "Spies Like Us" or any number where the filmmaker is almost asking  you to care what happens, which is ridiculous, they want to be a funny comedy but then there is a turn toward a big demonstation of something at the end where there is some kind of misfit justice, anyway, Broken Lizard is able to do this without taking you out of the comic tone of the movie so that the ending doesn't have a change in comic tone that often dooms films that try to make you care "what happened" if that makes any sense.  The ending of "Beerfest" is just another well-executed series of jokes instead of forgetting what got us there and got us to like the people in the first place.  And you end up at the same place but there's not the (for lack of a better phrase) "cognitive dissonance" where the movie tries to be a movie at the end instead of continuing to not care what happens and nothing really at stake.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #3550 on: February 13, 2008, 04:40:04 PM »

Broken Lizard is able to do this without taking you out of the comic tone of the movie so that the ending doesn't have a change in comic tone that often dooms films that try to make you care "what happened" if that makes any sense. 

It does make sense and word re: "Spies Like Us" et al...

"Beerfest" avoided that fate with a nice-and-short epilogue and nice Willie cameo, but that all followed a good ending which even gave Prochnow a pretty cool send-off, throwing the key to the brewery and raising his stein, etc.

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jbottle
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« Reply #3551 on: February 13, 2008, 05:48:17 PM »

I took "Weedfest" or "Potfest" as a throwaway joke, because I don't see the angle...anyway "Supertroopers II" looks to be a major effort in '09 for a 2010 release that should consume most of Jay-C's time, I mean that has big money potential, the interesting question is how do you throw in some bigger names for a mainstream draw without ruining the vibe.  You don't want it to turn into "Cannonball Run," or maybe you do...
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harrie
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« Reply #3552 on: February 13, 2008, 05:57:15 PM »

...and a bonus M.C. Gainey sighting...

See "Beerfest" for a funny and against-type (albeit short) MC Gainey performance.

Oh, man! I had to decide between Beerfest and Borat today, and I took Borat.  I knew I should have gone for Beerfest.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3553 on: February 13, 2008, 06:00:59 PM »

No, "Borat" is also very funny though the University of South Carolina frat boys don't fare too well (but that's cool, I'm a Clemson fan).  You'll enjoy "Borat" if you liked "Ali-G" the HBO show (not the movie). 
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harrie
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« Reply #3554 on: February 13, 2008, 06:40:44 PM »

Borat was okay, but I thought it got a little tired (for lack of a better word) at times. I think I missed the SC frat boys; had to check some weather and didn't go back for a bit, and actually left Borat altogether later on.

Also saw Infamous, the other Capote-centric flick, today.  It seemed to be an easier watch than Capote, at least it was for me.  More action -- no car chases, but less staring at PSH's face -- and background information than Capote, and I liked it that way.  Though I was floored by the guy who played Perry Smith; then I looked it up, and was even more floored to find it was Daniel Craig. I thought he was awesome.  Kudos also to Sandra Bullock and Jeff Daniels, though in my book Daniels can do just about no wrong.  I think maybe ideally, if Philip Seymour Hoffman could have been transplanted into Infamous, I might like both movies better.  At the beginning Toby Jones' portrayal of Capote seemed like a talk-show imitation, so it took a while for me to get over that and just start watching the Capote character.

I also liked -- maybe I should say appreciated -- the hanging scene, just because everyone thinks a person's neck breaks instantly, and that isn't always the case.  Maybe these guys didn't deserve a quick death, maybe they deserved to suffer -- that's an individual call -- but I liked the reality thrown in there that sometimes it takes upward of 30 minutes to expire from hanging; and it points out (if you want to see it) that death isn't pretty, clean, or necessarily quick, whether at the hand of the law or a cold-blooded murderer.  Geez, I spent a lot of time on the hanging scene, eh?

Also watched Friends of God, a documentary.  I'm a heathen bordering on atheist -- even they're too organized for my liking -- so it was interesting.  I'm no judge of whether it was balanced, but the director (Speaker of the Houe Pelosi's daughter, just putting that out there in case anyone wants to say "Aha! I knew it was a hatchet job") pretty much asked open-ended questions and let the people, evangelical church members, speak for themselves; she also  showed activities and events presented and attended by members of various churches.

Oh, yeah - also watched The Big Bang, which interviews about 20 famous and/or distinguished people about life. The subjects range from Darryl Dawkins to Elaine Kaufman (of Elaine's NYC club in the days of disco) to Don Simpson (the hooker-beating, drug-taking movie producer) to Tony Sirico.  It was just interesting to listen to these people's points of view on different topics, some meaty and some sort of fluffy; and with frequent cutaways and topic changes, I never got the "okay, okay - let's move on" feeling. Didn't like the outro, though; it felt pretentious. 

I think I'm done.
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