Archive for the ‘Comedy/Laffs’ Category

Sleeping Dogs Lie

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

As we learned last week in this Comedy & Laffs Marathon, Bobcat Goldthwait directed SHAKES THE CLOWN in 1991, then sort of disappeared from the movie world. He was still doing shit, like touring as the opening act for Nirvana and getting in trouble for lighting Jay Leno’s set on fire (as most comedians were doing in the ’90s, if I remember right). But he stayed away from directing until he started doing TV shows in the 2000s.

SLEEPING DOGS LIE (2006) started out as a script he wrote but knew nobody else would ever make. So his wife convinced him to take the plunge into no budget independent filmmaking. He literally hired the crew on Craigslist. (That’s why he wasn’t making movies in the ’90s – he would’ve had to use AOL or Prodigy or something.) Luckily the movie got into Sundance, got him some respect and now this is what he does is write scripts nobody else would ever make and then make them.

Here’s why he knew nobody else would make it: it’s a deeply-felt relationship dramedy entirely revolving around the lead character (Melinda Page Hamilton) having once given her dog a blowjob. I know, but hear me out. It happens in the opening scene. She’s home alone, reading a book, probly had a couple glasses of wine, the dog is laying there, she gets a mischievous look on her face…

ah, shit. I can’t explain it. There is no rational justification. But she does it. (Off screen, thank the Lord.)
(read the rest of this shit…)

Windy City Heat

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

WINDY CITY HEAT is the story of Stone Fury, the Chicago sports private eye who all the legendary athletes come to when they’re the victim of a crime. For example one of the cases he investigates in this one is when William “The Refrigerator” Perry comes to him and says his refrigerator has been stolen. “How am I gonna chill my food?” he asks Fury. “How?

Well, that’s not the WINDY CITY HEAT you’ll sit down to watch, though. That’s the movie-within-the-movie. The movie that we can get on DVD is an elaborate practical joke played on “Scary” Perry Caravello, the weirdo Sam Kinison wannabe and accomplished film extra who plays Fury. Comedians Don Barris and Mole (who always pretends to be stoned and wears an obviously fake wig) have known him for years and like to fuck with him. With the help of producers Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla they convince him he’s auditioning for, then filming, the role of Stone Fury. He’s convinced he’s a great actor (you will disagree) and of course agrees to interviews and cameras following him around for the behind-the-scenes documentary.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Shakes the Clown

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

After his unorthodox standup comedy led to his screechy POLICE ACADEMY 2-4 character leading to other movies that aren’t remembered too well other than SCROOGED, Bobcat Goldthwait took the Clint Eastwood or Bruce Lee path: he went rogue to write and direct a vehicle that was more in tune with his voice and talents than what he was being offered. At the time it didn’t get him much more respect than the talking horse one, but this movie holds up and earns him a pass for those other ones in my opinion.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Police Academy 1-4: The Carey Mahoney Cycle

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Sometimes, in a man’s ongoing journey toward a fuller understanding of his world, he must watch the POLICE ACADEMY series of films. That’s all I really have to say as far as an explanation.

If you are not familiar with the POLICE ACADEMY saga, I know it must sound like a very scholarly law enforcement procedural, but don’t expect THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Or even POLICE STORY. In my opinion this is more of a “comedy” type of series than a serious analysis of law and order. I guess it’s trying to be a version of ANIMAL HOUSE but with cops instead of non-cops, and more of a “not good at all” type of approach than what John Landis chose to do.
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Moonrise Kingdom

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Now that GI JOE: RETALIATION has become GI JOE: PROCRASTINATION that means the big Bruce Willis movie of the summer to hold us off until EXPENDABLES 2 will have to be Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM. Bruce plays Captain Sharp, head of the Island Police, New Penzance Township, charged with the task of capturing a fugitive – Sam (Jared Gilman), a disturbed young orphan gone AWOL from the Khaki Scouts of North America, Troop 55, to run away with his also disturbed pen pal/girlfriend Suzy (Kara Hayward).
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Dark Shadows

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

tn_darkshadowsa.k.a. TIM BURTON’S WHITE BLACULA

I didn’t expect to write a review of this movie, but I think I liked it more than everybody else, so I figured I should stick up for it. I mean, I don’t necessarily plan to watch it again in my life, but it has an odd tone that I enjoyed and shows signs of life in ol’ Tim Burton. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Cabin in the Woods

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

tn_cabininthewoodsWARNING: This review contains major GRUMPINESS

I liked THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, but it’s the kind of movie that people who don’t like horror movies say is THE BEST HORROR MOVIE IN YEARS. Of course it seems that way to them because 1) they don’t have that much to compare it to, they just have a hunch about what those other ones are like, those bad ones, and 2) since they don’t like horror movies that much they prefer one that’s not really that much of a horror movie.

If you say that I hope you’ve seen THE WOMAN, MARTYRS, INSIDE, maybe THE LOVED ONES, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, HILLS HAVE EYES, HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Throw on FRONTIER(S) maybe for good measure. Maybe P2. Hell, HALLOWEEN II. Not saying you’ll like all of these better than CABIN, but you gotta have something more to compare it to than PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

Sorry to rant, but as a proud Fangorian-American I take this kinda shit personally. To me, CABIN IN THE WOODS isn’t a horror movie. It’s horror-once-removed, but an enjoyable example of that, like TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL. It has a clever way of playing with some of the more obvious horror cliches. It has a good cast, likable characters and alot of laughs. But I call bullshit on the idea that it also works as a legit horror movie. And you know how I am. I prefer the real deal.

Look, all I’m saying is that horror comedy is to real horror as smooth jazz is to actual jazz. That’s all. Nothing wrong with that. Real horror is an acquired taste, it isn’t for everybody. Alot of people prefer something gentle, like a songbird. I don’t look down on you for that. Freedom to, you know– pursuing liberty, or whatever.

Good, we all agree. Now, The Internet has decreed that the premise of this movie is a spoiler. If so I’m not gonna try to write a spoilerless review, because that would be a pointless review. So from here on out I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dolemite Explosion

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

tn_dolemiteexplosion“Ron, now you know, I’m a great low budget filmmaker now. So when we bring somethin it’s got to be devastatin. I don’t want no bullshit.” –DOLEMITE EXPLOSION director Ron Hall, recounting what Rudy Ray Moore would always say to him

About a year and a half ago Xenon Pictures released the Dolemite Total Experience box set. I thought it was the same as the old box set I already had, except with more compact packaging and a better cover. I didn’t realize that it included Rudy Ray Moore’s unreleased final film, THE DOLEMITE EXPLOSION.

When I put the DVD in my first thought was they didn’t make this shit anamorphic? This is 2012! But in retrospect even the shitty transfer fits the home-made, do-what-you-can, sell-it-out-of-your-trunk ghetto tradition of Rudy Ray’s entire career.

It was hard for the fringe icons of the ’70s to recapture the magic even in the ’80s or ’90s. There was that SUPERFLY RETURNS movie with a different actor playing Priest for the hip hop age. There was the last Curtis Mayfield album with beautiful songs interrupted by terrible rapping, there were pretty good George Clinton albums trying a little too hard to cram in guest appearances by Ice Cube, there were attempts to remake DOLEMITE as a studio movie starring LL Cool J. Always trying to use what’s popular at that moment to try to legitimize the O.G. shit for the kids. Sometimes it’s okay, but it’s never a home run. It’s never devastatin. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Ape

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

tn_theapeLast year it was in the news that James Franco wanted to direct an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Other– let’s say, more experienced directors like Ridley Scott had tried already, but the book defeated them. Now here’s this young actor, he’s got a couple Oscar nominations under his belt, but he’s often confused with his dumb stoner comedic persona and called pretentious for his goofball side projects like being on General Hospital and going to Yale. He apparently shot a 20-minute test film starring Mark Pelligrino, Scott Glenn, Luke Perry and his brother Dave to prove his directorial chops. Later he was moved over to a different McCarthy project, CHILD OF GOD.

But here’s the thing: he was already a director. In 2005 he directed, starred in and adapted (from his own play) THE APE, about a writer sharing a New York City apartment with a slobby gorilla. (He has other directing credits on IMDb too, but this looks like the earliest one available on video.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Young Adult

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

tn_youngadultYou know how sometimes you’re watching a movie and you feel like you don’t like the character as much as you’re supposed to? They’re meant to be relatable but you just think they’re an asshole? Well, YOUNG ADULT is the rare case where I felt like I liked the protagonist more than I was probly supposed to. Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) is a real selfish asshole, she’s trying to do something crazy and unethical that could ruin people’s lives. So I felt kinda guilty about how much I liked and related to her. (read the rest of this shit…)