comedy, movie, movie review, musical

November 1st, 2018 Movie – The Producers (2005)

the producers 2005

You know, I never saw the original version of this movie. That is kind of a shame as I love Mel Brooks films but then again, if it is a musical, I might not have enjoyed it as much. Anyways, the 2000’s brought a bunch of Hollywood remakes to the big screen. This movie was one of those remakes but I honestly had no interest in seeing it. Unfortunately, Vudu decided that I needed to own this movie so let’s see if The Producers (2005) is any good.

The plot: [Long and exhausting day at work really has me drained so I am just copying the plot summary from Wikipedia. My apologies for the laziness]
Following the flop of theater musical Funny Boy (based on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet) (“Opening Night”), the show’s washed-up producer, Max Bialystock, hires the neurotic Leo Bloom as his accountant. While studying Max’s books, Leo notes that as a flop is expected to lose money, the IRS will not investigate the finances of failed productions. Leo jests that by selling an excess of shares and embezzling the funds, a flop could generate up to $2 million. Max asks for Leo’s help with the scheme, only for the latter to refuse (“We Can Do It”). Returning to his old accounting firm, Leo starts fantasizing about being a Broadway producer (“I Wanna Be a Producer”). Leo quits his job and forms “Bialystock & Bloom” with Max. Searching for the worst play ever written, the duo finds Springtime for Hitler, a musical written by an ex-Nazi named Franz Liebkind. Max and Leo, in order to acquire Franz’s rights to the musical, perform Hitler’s favorite song and swear the sacred “Siegfried Oath” to him (“Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop”). In order to ensure the play’s failure, Max and Leo meet failing, flamboyant director Roger De Bris and his assistant Carmen Ghia. Roger is reluctant to direct, but when Max and Leo suggest he could win a Tony Award, he agrees on the condition that the play be more “gay” (“Keep It Gay”). Back at their office, a Swedish woman named Ulla appears to audition. Although Leo points out that they have not started casting, Max hires her as their secretary until they audition her later (“When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It”). To gain backers to fund the musical, Max has dalliances with several elderly women (“Along Came Bialy”), allowing him to raise the $2 million. Leo laments about the dangers of sex distracting him from his work, and shares a kiss with Ulla (“That Face”). At auditions for the role of Hitler, Franz, angered at a performer’s rendition of a German song, storms the stage and performs it himself (“Haben Sie gehört das Deutsche Band?”). Based on the performance, Max hires Franz to play Hitler. On opening night, as the cast and crew prepare to go on stage, Leo wishes everyone good luck, to which everyone warns it is bad luck to say “good luck” on opening night, and that the correct phrase is to say “break a leg” (“You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night”). Franz leaves to prepare and literally breaks his leg in a fall. Max enlists Roger to perform the role in his place, and Roger accepts. As the show opens, the audience is horrified at the first song (“Springtime for Hitler”), and people begin leaving out of disgust until Roger enters as Hitler. Roger, playing Hitler very flamboyantly, causes the audience to misinterpret the play as satire, resulting in the show becoming a smash. Terrified the IRS will learn of their crimes, a dispute breaks out between Max and Leo, but stops when Roger and Carmen come into the office to congratulate them. Furious at Roger for making the play successful, Max angrily confronts Roger for his actions, and even goes as far to physically torture Carmen when he tries to defend Roger. Franz then appears and attempts to shoot all four of them for breaking the Siegfried Oath by mocking Hitler, only to attract the police. As Max and Franz attempt to evade the police, Franz breaks his other leg. Arrested for his tax fraud, Max is imprisoned while Leo elopes with Ulla to Rio de Janeiro (“Betrayed”). About to be sentenced, Max is saved by Leo, who returns to defend him (“Til Him”). The judge, realizing Max and Leo are inseparable, sentences them both to five years at Sing Sing Prison with Franz. Writing and producing a new musical in prison (“Prisoners of Love”), Leo, Max, and Franz are pardoned by the governor for their work, allowing them to collaborate with Roger and Ulla and release Prisoners of Love. The play’s success means Max and Leo go on to become successful Broadway producers. In a post-credits scene, the cast sings “Goodbye!”, telling the audience to leave the theater.

The Producers (2005) met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Despite the rich source material, The Producers has a stale, stagy feel more suited to the theater than the big screen.” The phrase “It was shocking, outrageous, insulting… and I loved every minute of it!” from a supposed review of “Springtime for Hitler”, was a rewording of a review by Peter Sellers written about The Producers (1967).The movie was a box office flop, earning $38.1 million off of a $45 million budget.

Still not really a fan of musicals but I have to admit that this was pretty funny. The acting was good, with Nathan Lane (Max) and Matthew Broderick (Leo) had some fantastic chemistry together as well as some great comedic timing. Uma Thurman (Ulla), Will Ferrell (Franz), and Gary Beach (Roger) were also great in their roles. The story was interesting as it is basically an embezzlement scheme using theater as the way to earn the money. The singing and dancing numbers were well coordinated and I will admit that some of them were kind of catchy. I can’t say how it compares to the original but I do have more of a desire to watch it now. On it’s own, it is a funny movie but there are better musicals to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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adventure, comedy, movie, movie review

October 5th, 2018 Movie -Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery

austin powers

Ok folks. I am done playing catch up so it is back to reviewing all of the movies I bought or was gifted over the year. So let’s start with today’s movie, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I did not buy this movie, nor did any of my friends give it to me. So how is it that I own this movie and doing a review for it, you might ask? Well, the answer to that lies in the modern era of movies and digital/ultraviolet copies. See, several of the movies I have bought over the years have codes for ultraviolet or digital copies included with them. So I had signed up for a Vudu account, and a Movies Anywhere account, and inputted the codes onto the site to get the digital copies of the movies. However, what I honestly didn’t notice at the time is that I was given several movies for free when I opened these accounts. The only reason I noticed was when I listed my movies in alphabetical order and this movie came up towards the front. So there are going to be some movie reviews over the next few weeks for movies that I honestly would never have considered buying, but I will be fair with my reviews. Now, onto to today’s movie. I will admit that I did not see this movie in theaters but I saw it numerous times when it came out on video, as it seemed like everyone wanted to rent it or would buy their own copy. I have to admit that it has been a while since I watched it so let’s see if it still holds up.

The plot: In a secret lair outside of Las Vegas in 1967, Dr. Evil is holding a meeting with some of the world’s deadliest assassins, where he chastises them for failing to kill Austin Powers; promptly killing 4 of them and leaving Frau Farbissina and Mustafa still alive to deal with Austin. In London, Austin Powers and his partner, Mrs. Kensington, are contacted by Basil Exposition, head of British Intelligence, who warns them about a plot to kill Austin at the Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swingers Club. Austin and Mrs. Kensington head to the club and uncover one of the assassins posing as a woman but before the can question him, he is shot in the back with a harpoon by Dr. Evil. Austin and Mrs. Kensington give chase only to see Dr. Evil, and his cat Mrs. Bigglesworth get into a cryo-preservation pod and launch into space inside a rocket disguised as a Big Boy statue. 30 years later, a NORAD radar operator contacts Commander Gilmour to alert him about an object shaped like Big Boy entering Earth’s orbit before it disappears somewhere over Nevada. Realizing what this means, Gilmour heads to London and meets with Basil at the British Department of Defense. Basil explains that Austin had volunteered to be frozen in case Dr. Evil returns and they proceed to thaw him out. Once Austin is thawed out, he is introduced to his new partner, Mrs. Kensington’s daughter Vanessa, who tells him that she will be working on getting him acclimated to the 90’s, and after collecting his possessions, they head out to his private jet and take off for Nevada. Meanwhile, in Dr. Evil’s lair, Dr. Evil meets with his henchmen, having Mustafa killed for his failure with the cryo unit that resulted in Mrs. Bigglesworth’s hair falling out. Dr. Evil then introduces Frau Farbissina to Patty O’Brien, Random Task, and Numer 2, who runs the legitimate arm of Dr. Evil’s empire, Virtucon. Dr, Evil tells his henchmen that he has some ideas on holding the world for ransom but when he is told that his plans have already occurred, he decides that they should just steal a nuke and blackmail for $100 billion (after learning that $1 million is no longer as high a sum as it was in ’67). Later, Frau tells him that the used some of the semen he had frozen to create a son, and introduces him to Scott but Scott is resentful that Dr. Evil is just now showing up and tells him that he hates him. On Austin’s plane, Vanessa is trying to be serious about the mission but Austin keeps attempting to seduce her, only to be shot down. When they arrive in Las Vegas, Vanessa explains that they are undercover as a married couple and that Virtucon executives gamble at the casino they are staying in, then points out Number 2. Austin joins Number 2 at the black jack table and after losing his hand, tells Vanessa to keep an eye on his assistant, Alotta Fagina, while he follows Number 2. Austin follows Number 2 into the men’s room only to lose him but as he sits on one of the toilets, Patty O’Brien appears from a secret panel and attempts to strangle him but Austin is able to kill him by drowning him in the toilet. Back at his lair, Dr. Evil shows his cohorts that they have successfully grabbed the nuke before placing a call to the United Nations. Once he has them on the view screen, Dr. Evil tells them that they must pay him $100 billion if they want the nuke back, then ends the call when they tell him they don’t negotiate with terrorists. Back in Las Vegas, Austin and Vanessa are staking out Virtucon when Austin sees Random Task carrying Mrs. Bigglesworth out of the building and recognizes her. With nothing to do for the time being, Austin takes Vanessa for a night on the town and when they return to the hotel, a drunken Vanessa asks Austin to kiss her but he refuses, not wanting to take advantage of her. Vanessa then asks him to tell her about her mother when he knew her and Austin tells her that she loved her husband and if she wasn’t married, he might have tried being serious with her, as he loved her as well, but that ship sailed. Vanessa falls asleep and Austin receives a video call from Basil, telling him to sneak into Alotta Fagina’s penthouse and discover what she knows about something called Project Vulcan. Austin breaks into the penthouse and takes pictures of her files when Alotta Fagina returns to her penthouse, only to find Austin sitting there waiting for her. Austin speaks with her briefly before she changes into a kimono and invites Austin into the hot tub with her and they eventually end up having sex, but not before Alotta learns Austin’s real identity. The next day, Vanessa takes Austin to get some new equipment and Austin shows Basil the files he photographed from Alotta’s penthouse while Vanessa tells Basil that they plan on going as tourists on the tour of Virtucon and see if they can discover where Project Vulcan is and shut it down. Meanwhile, Dr. Evil is upset that Austin is getting close to their scheme but Frau shows him her new weapon to kill Austin; android women called Fembots, with guns hidden inside their breasts. Dr. Evil is pleased with the Fembots but is less than thrilled having to attend a father/son counseling session with Scott. Back in Las Vegas, Vanessa talks to Austin and voices her concerns and jealousy about Alotta Fagina and when Austin tells her she was right to be concerned, as he did sleep with her, Vanessa gets upset with him, telling him that this isn’t the 60’s anymore. Austin goes out and has a hard look at himself, realizing almost everyone he knew is dead and how much really happened while he was frozen. The next day, Austin and Vanessa head to Virtucon and sneak inside but after they make it past the guards, they are knocked unconscious by Random Task and transported to Dr. Evil’s lair. Inside his lair, Dr. Evil contacts the U.N. and tells them what Project Vulcan entails and the U.N. agrees to pay the ransom. Dr. Evil then has Austin and Vanessa join him for dinner, which confuses Scott as he feels they should just shoot them and be done with it. Dr. Evil tells Scott that he doesn’t get how things work, then orders Austin and Vanessa lowered into a pit containing sharks with lasers on their head but Number 2 says they couldn’t get the sharks and instead have mutated sea bass. Leaving Austin and Vanessa to their fate, Dr. Evil heads off to start the drill for Project Vulcan. Austin and Vanessa manage to escape the trap and Austin sends Vanessa to get some back up while he keeps an eye on Dr. Evil but he ends up being captured by the fembots. Trying to get away from the fembots, Austin decides to counter their charms with his own and ends up shorting them out and making their heads explode. Vanessa shows up at the aftermath and wonders why Austin is in his briefs and when he explains what happened, she tells him she believes him and to get dressed. Austin and Vanessa lead an attack on the drilling platform and Austin manages to abort the drill before it reaches the Earth’s core but Dr. Evil gets away. Austin chases after him and goes to capture him but Alotta Fagina appears, holding a gun to Vanessa’s head. Austin grabs Scott to hold hostage but when Dr. Evil tells Austin to go ahead and kill him, Scott runs out of the room. Number 2 shows up but instead of helping Dr. Evil, he tells Austin he wants to give him the evidence he needs to put Dr. Evil away, as Number 2 would prefer continuing to run Virtucon as a legit company. Dr. Evil kills Number 2 and Vanessa uses the distraction to knock out Alotta Fagina but Dr. Evil gets back into his cryo chamber and blasts off in the Big Boy Rocket, activating the self destruct before he leaves. Austin, Vanessa, and their team get away and three months later, Austin and Vanessa are shown to be married. As they are enjoying their honeymoon, Basil calls them to tell them that Dr. Evil has disappeared from their scopes. After hanging up on Basil, they hear a knock on the door and Austin thinks it is the room service he ordered but it turns out to be Random Task, who attempts to kill Austin. Austin and Vanessa manage to beat him and after getting rid of him, they go out on to their balcony to look at the stars and see the Big Boy rocket flying in space, where Dr. Evil vows revenge on Austin Powers.

Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.” The America Online on Austin’s computer is version 3.0. In the commentary on the DVD, Director Jay Roach states that he did the AOL product placement to get a free year of service from them. The movie was a box office hit, earning $67.7 million off of a $16.5 million budget and would become a cultural  icon of the late 90’s/early ’00’s, and would spawn 2 sequels, with a 3rd sequel supposedly in development since 2005 but has yet to progress any further.

Maybe my taste in comedy have changed some in the last 20 years but while I still find this movie to be funny, it is not to the same degree that I once thought it was. The acting was good, with Mike Meyers doing a good job in the dual roles of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. I also liked Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington and thought that Robert Wagner (Number 2), Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina), and Seth Green (Scott) made for some funny scenes. The story was pretty funny, mainly spoofing James Bond but also spoofing the 60’s spy genre in general. I also liked the idea of a man being thrown out of time and forced to adapt, as it brings the story of Rip Van Winkle to new life in a way. The comedy was pretty much one sexual innuendo joke after another for the most part, with a couple of slap stick elements and some bantering to kind of even things out. It might not be as funny to everyone now but it is still one of those movies that is good for a laugh.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review, romance

May 16th, 2018 Movie – Wedding Crashers

wedding crashers

You ever wonder why some mixed genre’s have their own nicknames and others don’t. For instance, movies that are both dramas and comedies are called “dramedies” or romance/comedy movies are called “rom-coms”. However, there isn’t a cute nickname for a horror/comedy or a sci-fi/horror movie. I don’t know why but that thought honestly just popped into my head for some reason and it wouldn’t leave. Anyways, today’s movie is a fun little rom-com that I remember watching years ago and happily bought it on DVD when it came out. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Wedding Crashers.

The plot: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey work as divorce mediators in Washington D.C. but during the height of wedding season, they crash weddings to hook up with women. As the wedding season comes to a close, Jeremy brings up the upcoming wedding of Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary’s daughter and convinces John to go with him. At the wedding, John and Jeremy both set their sites on Cleary’s other daughters; with John taking a liking to Claire while Jeremy is attracted to Gloria. During the reception, Jeremy hits it off with Gloria and they end up having sex on the nearby beach. Meanwhile, John dances with Claire’s mother Kathleen, who subtly suggests he hook up with her, and then talks with Cleary all in an attempt to get closer to Claire only to find out that she has a boyfriend, Sack Lodge. When Gloria says that she was a virgin and is in love with Jeremy, he quickly finds John and says they need to leave as he has a “Stage 5 Clinger” but John says that he needs more time to seal the deal with Claire and when Gloria invites them to the family compound for the weekend, John quickly accepts. At the Cleary family home, John continues to get closer to Claire during a football game, though Jeremy ends up being injured by Sack. Gloria tends to Jeremy’s injuries and attempts to sleep with him again but he gently rebukes her, saying that he wants to get to know her better. As they leave, they run into Cleary, who warns Jeremy not to make Gloria just another notch in his belt. As they sit for dinner, John secretly puts eye drops in Sack’s drink to make him sick. as he leaves, there is some drama with Todd, Cleary’s son, and Grandma Mary. Claire goes outside to get some air and John offers to join her but as he is getting changed, Kathleen comes in and takes off her shirt and makes John feel her tits. As he is leaving, Todd asks if he felt her tits and warns him not to say anything to his dad. John finally gets outside to talk with Claire but she is quickly called away to help tend to Sack, who is overly rude to her. That night, Gloria sneaks into Jeremy’s room and ties his arms and legs to the bed, then proceeds to have sex with him. After she leaves, Todd enters, and professes his love for Jeremy, having painted a picture of him. The next day, Jeremy is upset with John and calls him selfish but he agrees to stick it out for the rest of the weekend to help John out. Meanwhile, Sack is getting suspicious of John and Jeremy and calls a friend of his and asks him to hire a P.I. to look into them. John and Jeremy go on a sailing trip with the Clearys and afterwards, Sack shows up to go quail hunting and John and Jeremy reluctantly agree to go. During the hunt, Sack decides to try and scare off John and Jeremy and ends up shooting Jeremy in the butt with his shotgun. As Gloria works on pulling out the pellets, Claire and John go for a bike ride to the beach and as they continue talking, Claire ends up kissing him. At lunch that day, Sack tells everyone that he and Claire are getting married and everyone reacts happily for them but Claire, confused over her feelings, leaves the room. Jeremy gets ready to leave when he is confronted by Gloria and when she reveals that she wasn’t a virgin like she claimed, he realizes that he was played and might have feelings for her. Meanwhile, John goes to talk with Claire and tries to tell her not to marry Sack and starts to tell her the truth about him and Jeremy when Jeremy comes running out of the house, being chased by Grandma Mary with a shotgun. As John asks what is going on, Sack confronts him about the truth about what they are and punches him when he doesn’t answer right away. When Claire asks John if it’s true, he says it’s complicated, as he has fallen in love with her but she walks away from him. As month’s pass, John keeps trying to contact Claire but she refuses to respond. John comes up with a plan to crash Claire and Sack’s engagement party, disguised as waiters but when Jeremy says he can’t go with him, John questions where he has been the last few months, saying he has been a ghost. John shows up at the party, helped by the Cleary’s butler Randolph to get inside, but before he can talk to Claire, Sack spots him and has his friends take him outside so they can beat him up. John goes to Jeremy’s house to find out why he didn’t show up and discovers that Jeremy had continued to see Gloria. John storms out and as the weeks go by, he crashes weddings on his own but is more sullen and suicidal. Meanwhile, Jeremy decides to propose to Gloria and when he goes to tell John and ask him to be his best man, John tells him to leave. John then goes to see Chazz Reinhold, Jeremy’s friend and the one who taught Jeremy the skill of being a wedding crasher. John learns that Chazz has moved from crashing weddings to attending funerals to pick up women. Chazz invites John to go with him to a funeral that Saturday and as John is there he has an epiphany and leaves the funeral. He shows up at Jeremy and Gloria’s wedding and apologizes to Jeremy for being late, who is happy that John showed up. As the ceremony continues, John tries whispering to Claire, who is Gloria’s maid of honor and she starts to walk away but he stops her. He comes clean about himself and tells her she can’t marry Sack. When Claire agrees with him, Sack gets angry, even more so when Cleary says that he stands behind his daughter’s decision. Sack goes to attack John but Jeremy steps in and punches him, then Gloria kisses him. John kisses Claire and as the ceremony ends, the two couples end up leaving together and as they decide on where to go, Jeremy mentions another wedding happening and Claire starts coming up with a back story for them to use.

Wedding Crashers met with mostly positive reviews, holding a certified fresh rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Wedding Crashers is both raunchy and sweet, and features top-notch comic performances from Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.” The role of John Beckwith was originally offered to Will Ferrell but he turned it down for a smaller, and uncredited, role. The movie was a box office success, earning $285.2 million off of a $40 million budget and would become New Line Cinemas’ 6th highest grossing movie, 10th highest after New Line’s merger with Warner Bros.

This is one of those movies that is just fun to watch. The acting was good, with Owen Wilson (John) and Vince Vaughn (Jeremy) sharing great chemistry together, as their real life friendship as members of the “Frat Pack” really helped sell it. I also liked the chemistry they had with Rachel McAdams (Claire) and Isla Fisher (Gloria), as it made the pairings feel somewhat more natural. The story was honestly pretty ridiculous, playing on the stereotype that some women get “horny” at weddings, while playing up some of the usual rom-com tropes. The comedy was pretty good, with most of it being some witty banter and good writing and dialogue with a little bit of slap stick thrown in to keep things interesting. A lot of laughs that is definitely worth watching if you need some cheering up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, comedy, movie, movie review, sports

January 21st, 2018 Movie – Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

talladega nights

There are always going to be those movies that people will talk about or quote. Sometimes they are more dramatic or serious movies but usually, they tend to be comedies. That is definitely the case with today’s movie, as I know several people that like to quote various lines from this movie. My first introduction to this movie was not in theaters, but at a friends house after it came out on DVD, and was told to come watch it during a group movie night because it’s funnier with our friend Chris laughing at it (and I will admit his laugh is funny in it’s own right). Anyways, I enjoyed the movie and decided to pick up my own copy on DVD so let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby.

The plot: Years ago, Reese Bobby is speeding down the highway while his wife Lucy is going into labor. They pass the hospital because Reese is interested in driving faster and when he stops to turn around, Lucy ends up giving birth to their son, Ricky. 10 years later, Reese shows up at Ricky’s school for career day, making it the first time he has seen Ricky since he was born. After Reese is thrown out of the school, Ricky runs out after him and Reese tells Ricky, “If you aint first, you’re last.” before getting in his car and driving off. In the present day, Ricky Bobby and his best friend Cal Naughton Jr. are working on the pit crew for the Dennit Racing team. While racing in Talladega, the car’s driver leaves the car to use the restroom, claiming they are in last place so it doesn’t matter anyways. Realizing that they will lose their sponsor if they don’t get the car back on the track, the crew chief, Lucius Washington, asks if anyone there wants to drive fast and Ricky volunteers. After getting in the car and driving on the track, Ricky manages to finish in third place, prompting Larry Dennit Sr. to make Ricky Bobby the team’s new driver. With Ricky Bobby becoming Nascar’s hottest new star, the team gets a new sponsor and Ricky convinces Dennit to sponsor a second car, with his friend Cal as the driver. Ricky marries a fan named Carley after she shows him her boobs and they end up having two kids, Walker and Texas Ranger, and live in a large house with Carley’s father Chip. As time passes Larry Dennit Jr ends up taking control of the racing team and has issues with Ricky’s racing style, where he either wins or crashes trying. As Ricky and his friends celebrate their most recent win, they are interrupted by Jean Girard, a French Formula One racer who has just been signed onto the Dennit Racing Team. As Ricky and Girard get into a confrontation, Girard gets Ricky in an armbar and threatens to break his arm unless Ricky says that he loves crepes but even though Cal and his crew make an argument that would allow to save face, Ricky refuses and tells Girard to go ahead and break his arm. The next week at Lowes Motor Speedway, Girard breaks Ricky’s track record during the qualifying, prompting Ricky to tell Lucius to get his car ready to race, despite the fact that his arm is still in a cast. During the race, Ricky manages to catch up to Girard but is unable to pass him. Ricky calls on Cal to help him pass using a drifting/slingshot maneuver but Cal’s engine blows. Ricky eventually wrecks while trying to pass Girard, who wins the race, and as the paramedics tend to him, Ricky starts running around the track in his underwear, thinking he is on fire. At the hospital, Cal and Lucius go to check on Ricky and think he is paralyzed when they see him in a wheelchair but the doctors say he is fine and it is all in his head. As Cal and Lucius try to talks some sense into Ricky, Ricky stabs himself in the leg with a knife to prove he is paralyzed, then screams in pain when he realizes he isn’t. Cal and Lucius want Ricky to take things slow while getting ready to go back on the track but Ricky wan’t to go ahead and get started. However, on his first attempt at driving Ricky only goes 26 miles and hour, and when he gets out of the car, starts acting like he is on fire again and takes his uniform off, prompting Dennit to fire him and have Cal replace him. When Ricky returns home, he finds that Carley, desperate not to become poor, has decided to divorce Ricky and marry Cal, prompting Ricky to end his friendship with Cal. Ricky moves into his mom’s house with his two sons and ends up taking a job as a pizza delivery man but loses his license after hitting a woman’s shopping cart and a police officer so he is forced to use the bus or a bicycle for his deliveries. One day he delivers a pizza to a hotel only to find Reese there, who had ordered the pizza so he could talk to Ricky, but Ricky punches him then walks away. When he talks about the encounter with his mom, Lucy tells Ricky that she told Reese where Ricky was as she knew that he would be able to help Ricky get back into racing. Ricky reluctantly agrees to have Reese help him and Reese proceeds to try to get Ricky to overcome his fear of driving fast, one way involving putting a live cougar in the car and telling Ricky to get in there with it. Meanwhile, Lucy has had enough of Walker and Texas Ranger acting like hooligans and begins trying to reform them. As Reese’s lessons continue, one day he tells Ricky that he placed a kilo of cocaine underneath the car and called the cops, forcing Ricky to choose between driving fast or going to jail. Ricky starts driving with the cops chasing after him and when he realizes that he is going over 100 mph, he starts screaming out in joy as he works to avoid the cops. After getting away from the cops, Ricky goes to remove the cocaine from underneath the car only to learn that it was just Lucky Charms, with a note from Reese asking if it felt good to be going fast again. Ricky gets his license back and keeps the cougar, which he names Karen, and decides that they should have a nice family dinner but Reese causes a scene and gets thrown out of Applebees. When Ricky chases after him and says he started racing and won the races because of him, Reese tells him he was high when he said that and should have picked a better role model to follow. Feeling dejected, Ricky decides to give up racing when he runs into his old assistant Susan, who convinces him to get back into racing as he was meant to drive fast. After she is done talking, Ricky realizes he is attracted to Susan and they end up making out on the table. Ricky gets Lucius and his pit crew back together and shows them the car they have to work with and Lucius says he and the crew will work on getting the engine rebuilt so it can race. Ricky heads over to see Girard to tell him that he is coming for him and Girard wishes him luck, saying he only came to America to race Ricky in the hopes he would beat him so that he could go on to live out his dreams with his husband. The next day, Ricky is shown the new engine, with Lucius telling him that several teams donated some parts, and Susan explains the new paint job on the car, saying that Ricky doesn’t need corporate sponsors as he is out there racing for himself. Before the race starts, Ricky approaches Cal and Carley and apologizes to Cal for not valuing their friendship like he should have, causing Cal to start doubting what he has done. As the race commences, Ricky starts making his way up the pack until he catches up to Girard but he us unable to pass him. Dennit orders Cal to take out Ricky but Cal refuses and instead, gets ahead of Ricky so that he can use the slingshot maneuver to pass Girard. Angered by what Cal did, Dennit orders the driver of the Wonder Bread car to take out Cal, which causes a huge wreck that takes out every car on the field except for Ricky and Girard. Ricky and Girard keep racing and end up crashing into each other during the last lap. After their cars finally stop tumbling, Ricky and Girard get out of their cars and then start running towards the finish line, intent on finishing the race, with Ricky winning the race, but both drivers are disqualified for leaving their cars. Due to being in third place at the time of the crash, Cal is declared the winner and afterwards, he grabs Ricky and they repair their friendship. As Ricky is leaving, Carley approaches him and says she is willing to go back to him but Ricky refuses and says he would rather be with Susan. As Ricky, Susan, Lucy, and the boys leave, they find Reese sitting on his car and when he asks Ricky who he won the race for, Ricky says it wasn’t for him and that he just went out there to drive as he knew his family would love him no matter how he did. Ricky then suggests they go to Applebees so that Reese can get thrown out again and they all get into Reese’s car and head off together.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights’ mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner’s circle.” Wonder Bread, Old Spice, and Perrier were not charged for the product placement in the movie but Wonder Bread and Old Spice did promote the movie through back-end deals. The movie was a box office success, earning $163 million off of a $72.5 million budget.

Every time I watch this movie, I still hear Chris’ laugh, which makes me laugh even more. This is a very funny movie and definitely something that can make you laugh when you need it. The acting was really good, with Will Ferrell (Ricky) and John C. Reilly (Cal) making for a great comedic duo, but everyone was really good in this movie. The story was pretty good, with some serious moments added to the more ridiculous parts to balance out the movie. The humor was a mixture of various styles, with some more adult or risque than others, but I enjoyed the occasional slapstick that was thrown in. A great comedy and one that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, drama, fantasy, movie, movie review

November 30th, 2017 Movie – Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

stranger than fiction

It’s the last day of the month and it has already started off on an odd note. It started with what sound like someone screaming outside (which I actually had to pause the movie to try and figure out what I heard) and continued about an hour later with a pretty brief, but intense, sudden bout of rain. This has me wondering what else is in store for me today. Anyways, today’s movie was one that actually caught my interest when I saw the trailers for it. I didn’t get the chance to see it in theaters but rented it when it came out on video and liked it enough to buy a copy shortly afterwards. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Stranger Than Fiction (2006).

The plot: Harold Crick is a single man whose life is controlled by numbers; from the specific number of times he brushed his teeth, to the number of steps he took to the bus. Harold, a senior agent for the I.R.S., lives a rather lonely life, only taking a 45 minute lunch break and a 5 minute coffee break, which he times with his wristwatch, before going home, eating, and going to bed at the exact same time every day. One Wednesday, Harold hears a voice narrating his everyday life, which confuses him and causes some of his co-workers to become concerned about him. Harold is given the file for a banker named Ana Pascal, who has come under audit for not paying all of her taxes. As they talk, the voice continues narrating some of Harold’s thoughts, prompting Ana to comment on his staring at her. Harold denies it and leaves, telling Ana he will be back later to go over her past returns and heads outside, where he begins yelling at the voice to shut up. Meanwhile, novelist Karen Eiffel is standing on her desk wondering what it would be like to jump off a building when she is surprised by the arrival of her new assistant, Penny Escher. Karen is annoyed at Penny’s arrival, feeling like she is nothing more than a spy from the publishers as she is having a bout of writer’s block in finishing her book, but Penny tells her that she is there simply to help make sure that Karen finishes her latest book on time and will help her figure out how to kill Harold Crick. Back at the I.R.S., Harold is sent to HR, where the HR manager says some of his coworkers are getting concerned about him and suggests Harold take a vacation. As Harold leaves work that day, his watch suddenly starts acting up and Harold thinks it is just on the fritz, not realizing that it was trying to tell him that Ana was walking across the street. When his watch stops, Harold asks someone for the time so he can reset it and as he does, the voice tells him that his action will lead to his death. When Harold hears this, he starts questioning what is going on and tears apart his apartment, trying to get the voice to explain how or why he is going to die. Harold goes to see a psychiatrist, who believes he is suffering from schizophrenia, but when Harold swears he isn’t and says it feels like he is a character in a story, she suggest he speak to someone who knows literature. Harold goes to see Professor Jules Hilbert, a literary professor, and speaks to him about what is happening and Hilbert says he can’t help him but when Harold repeats verbatim what the voice said, Hilbert becomes intrigued at it’s usage of “Little did he know” and asks Harold to meet him the next day. As Harold is on the bus, the voice alerts him to Ana boarding and he attempts to talk to her, offering an apology for staring at her the other day. Ana accepts the apology and the two engage in some small talk but Harold, listening to the voice, decides to quit before he makes an ass of himself and gets off the bus, not realizing that he is 27 blocks from where he wanted to go. Harold meets up with Hilbert and Hilbert tries to figure out what kind of story Harold’s life is becoming, whether it is a comedy or a tragedy. Meanwhile, Karen and Penny are sitting in the rain, as Karen is trying to get an idea about a car crash during bad weather. Harold heads back to the bakery to begin Ana’s audit, and she shows him that she threw all her files and receipts into a box just to mess with him. After working through the day, Harold goes to leave but Ana convinces him to sit down and eat a cookie she just finished baking. As they sit and eat cookies, Harold asks her how she became a baker and she explains that she was in Harvard Law and would always bake things during her study sessions and at the end of the semester, she had a lot of great recipes and a D average so she decided to drop out and continue baking. As Harold goes to leave, she boxes up the rest of the cookies for him to take home but he refuses, saying that they could constitute a bribe. Ana gets offended and throws the cookies away and as he leaves, Harold apologizes, realizing that she had baked them for him to be nice and apologize for how she treated him during the day. At Hilbert’s suggestion, Harold decides to call out of work the next day and do absolutely nothing but as he is watching TV, his apartment is partially demolished due to a mixup from the construction crew, mistaking it for an abandoned building. Harold goes to see Hilbert, who tells Harold that he is not in control of his own destiny and he should just live his life. Harold goes to stay at his friend Dave’s place and asks him what he always wanted to do and Dave admits he wanted to go to space camp but never did. Harold, who always wanted to play the guitar, decides to go buy one and as the voice narrates the various choices, he finally picks one. As he goes to bed, his wristwatch highlights Ana’s name and he decides to go and apologize for his actions. Harold catches up to her as she closes her bakery, bring her some flours (the baking kind) as an apology, and says he knows he has been acting weird but admits that he wants her. Ana invites him back to her place and as the talk some, he notices her guitar and starts playing the song he learned, and after sitting next to him and listening for a bit, she promptly starts kissing him and they end up having sex. As he lies in bed with Ana, the voice tells him that she is falling love with him, prompting Harold to smile. Harold goes to see Hilbert and tells him he thinks he is in a comedy and Hilbert, who had been coming up with a list of authors who might be writing his story, says that that changes things. As Hilbert starts thinking of different authors, Harold hears the narrators voice coming from the TV and realizes that it is Karen Eiffel. When he tells Hilbert that she is the narrator, Hilbert apologizes, saying that she wasn’t on his list but also that all of her main characters die. Harold tries to get Karen’s contact information from the publisher and when that fails, he uses her tax records to find her phone number. As Harold tries calling her, Karen is writing that exact sequence, shocked when the phone rings each time she types it. After it occurs the third time, she answers the phone and is shocked to hear Harold talking to her. Harold goes to meet Karen, who is shocked that he looks exactly like she described him in her book. Harold pleads with her not to kill him and she admits that she already wrote the outline for her books ending but hasn’t typed it yet and when Harold argues with her about it, Penny suggests that she let him read it so Karen gives him her hand written copy of the book to read. Harold takes it to Hilbert and explains what happened and hands him the manuscript, saying he couldn’t bring himself to read it and asks that he do it. Hilbert reads it and tells Harold that he has to die, as this is probably Karen’s masterpiece. Meanwhile, Karen is wondering if all of the other characters in her books were actual people just like Harold before she killed them but Penny argues that they were not real. Harold takes the manuscript and reads it while riding on the bus and he goes to see Karen and tells her that he loved the book and she should finish it. Harold goes about his last day, spending the evening with Ana and the next morning, he wakes up and heads to work, not realizing that when he reset his watch, he had set it 3 minutes fast. As he waits for the bus, a little boy riding his bike falls in the street  right in front of the oncoming bus and Harold jumps out to push the boy to safety, getting struck by the bus himself while in her office, Karen cries out over what she had just written, knowing that she had just killed Harold. Harold comes too and finds that he had been severely injured but alive, as a piece of his watch had broken off and blocked an artery in his arm, keeping him from bleeding out. As Ana comes to visit him and he explains what happened, Karen goes to see Hilbert and shows him the finished work. Hilbert reads it and says that it is ok and asks why she changed it and she admits she couldn’t bring herself to kill Harold after having met her. When he tells her that the book felt weaker without Harold’s death, she tells him that the story was about a man unexpectedly dying and Harold sacrificing himself to save the boy would not have worked so she chose the wristwatch, which she had anthropomorphized throughout the book, was the one to die instead.

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A fun, whimsical tale about an office drone trying to save his life from his narrator, Stranger Than Fiction features a subdued performances from Will Ferrell that contributes mightily to its quirky, mind-bending affect.” During filming, Will Ferrell wore an earpiece that fed him Emma Thompson’s narrative lines, allowing the other actors to react more naturally to Will’s seemingly non-sequitur lines. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $53.7 million off of a $30 million budget.

This was a surprisingly good movie. The acting was good, with Will Ferrell (Harold) doing a surprisingly good job in a more dramatic role than people are used to seeing out of him. Emma Thompson also did a great job as Karen, especially during the scenes after she meets Harold as she really showcased the anguish she was feeling as she struggles with the choice of whether finishing her book is worth killing someone. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Ana) and Dustin Hoffman (Hilbert) were also really good in their performances. The story was very well written, which is fitting since the basis of the movie is about a book. I liked that good mix between drama and comedy that was in the movie, as well as the premise that sometimes you have no control over your life and it feels like you are simply a character in someone else’s story, a feeling that a lot of people have at one point or another. A good movie that is definitely worth watching if you get the chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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