September 16th, 2006
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryWilly Wonka: But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.
Charlie Bucket: What happened?
Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

Beerfest

September 14th, 2006

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0486551/

Beerfest is the latest project to hit the theaters from the Broken Lizard team who has been responsible for the rip-roaring comedy Super Troopers and the lesser-known, though still funny (to me), Club Dread and Puddle Cruiser.

My expectations were left at the door and all that I sat down with was the hope that it would be better than Club Dread. As the movie started, I had my reservations. I am never one to shy away from gratuitous nudity, but I have often considered it a last-ditch effort to wrench a laugh from the audience. If they were resorting to that in the first few minutes of the movie, things did not look good. Little did I know at the time that there was a necessary set up for the storyline. There had to be some actual time spent on explaining a thing or two before things could progress. The nudity, reminiscent of comedies from nearly a generation ago, was only something to hold your attention while they warmed the engine. It was as if Broken Lizard said, "We apologize that our plot line is a little far-fetched. We have to jump through a few hoops and clear up some red tape before we can get going. Oh, here are some topless girls to help pass the time and make up for any inconvenience we may have caused." And then the movie took off...

This is such a stupid idea -- getting five guys together to compete in a secret beer-drinking competition in Germany -- that the strength had to be in the writing. And it was. The dialogue was great, the sight gags were great.

Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske are Jan and Todd Wolfhouse, brothers and the descendents of the Germans which lead them to Beerfest. Jay Chandrasekhar plays Barry, a character who was the best at all drinking games in college. Jan and Todd find him a bit down on his luck when they ask him to join the team. Aside from directing the movie, I have to say that Jay is the most talented of the Broken Lizard team. Kevin Heffernan who is most beloved as "Farva" (Super Troopers) plays "Landfill," the team's former competitive eater. (According to the credits, he also painted the portraits of Stolhanske and Soter that appear in the Beerfest arena.) Steve Lemme is single handedly (pun only slightly intended) responsible for the beginning of the hilarity in the movie.

This is the perfect movie for me to want to say, "Hey, remember the part when..." and when you do, we share a laugh. I would love to recite the movie for you quote by quote, but obviously that would ruin it.

The movie was very funny and I loved it. I'm not ashamed to admit when a movie makes me cry. During Beerfest I had tears streaming from my eyes. I have not laughed that hard in a long time. Beerfest had my face contorted in laughter until my cheeks hurt. My hat is off, once again, to the Broken Lizard team. I may have laughed more frequently during Super Troopers, but I laughed harder at Beerfest.

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September 9th, 2006
Big FishYoung Ed Bloom: There's a time when a man needs to fight and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny's lost, the ship has sailed and that only a fool will continue. The truth is I've always been a fool.

Top 5 Movies: From Your Childhood

September 7th, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

September 6th, 2006

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0449059/

For months I waited in anxious anticipation for Little Miss Sunshine. I all but counted down the days until I would be able to see this cast come together and lend its collective hand to a simple story. The movie has been receiving very favorable reviews from movie lovers and casual viewers alike. Somehow, however, I managed to miss the boat on this one. I may have to reserve judgment somewhat until I can see it again, but who knows when that will be. For now, I will give you my first-impression thoughts.

Some of the things I have read about the movie have praised the character development. I must have been asleep during the part where they added depth to any of the characters. I won't go into too much detail to save the spoilers for a separate conversation, but I only liked what they did with two characters and one of them received about half of the screen time he deserved. The only development given to any character was how he or she contributed to the problem(s) that threatened to pull the family apart.

I was excited for this cast to see how its members would interact on screen. I wanted to see how well they would banter together. The focus of the movie, however, was the story rather than the writing/dialogue. The story did not deserve all of this attention. Each character provided maybe one scene of comedy and that was it.

So many scenes and ideas were run into the ground. Something would be suggested in dialogue and the theater audience would laugh. Those who laughed would see the suggestion play out in their minds and that, in most movies, would be the end of it. Little Miss Sunshine then took it a step further to then act out that suggestion after the laughs had already been received. Too many scenes dragged on with almost no purpose. I think Little Miss Sunshine could have been a short film if only the length of the movie weren't necessary to build the suspense leading to the actual beauty pageant (and even that scene ran too long).

I like the idea of a movie geared towards the importance of family; one that shows us that usually no one understands or accepts our quirks better than our family. We all have problems, and together we can work them out. Each member of the family was different. They thought they were all on their own, isolated island. It was from a last-minute road trip, which forced them into each other's lives, that they began to see that they were there to support each other. I like the message, I just did not care much for the vehicle with which they pushed the message.

Abigail Breslin was adorable. I cannot, and I need not, elaborate much further. She was the bright shining star in this picture that played the young girl, Olive, and she was figuratively the glue that held this movie together. Credit is due, also, to the costume team who dressed her in the most freakishly bizarre yet amazingly precious outfits.

Alan Arkin was the other highlight for me in Little Miss Sunshine. It was his on-screen time that I mentioned above was not what it should have been. He deserved more, alas the part was not written to allow it. He has always been the Police Captain from So I Married An Axe Murderer to me, and now he's Grandpa from Little Miss Sunshine. This was a great part, and I cannot articulate how fantastic he was.

On their contributions alone I wish I were able to suggest you go see this movie. Maybe upon a second viewing I would find the magic everyone else sees in this movie. For whatever reason, I did not really enjoy Little Miss Sunshine.

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September 2nd, 2006
The Adventures of Baron MunchausenBaron Munchausen: Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.

Top 5 Movies: Best Professional Athlete Cameos

August 24th, 2006

1. Alex Karras in Blazing Saddles

2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane!

3. Andre the Giant in Princess Bride

4. Cam Neely in Dumb & Dumber

5. Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

(Honorable Mention: Brett Favre in There's Something About Mary)

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Movie of the Month - September, 2006

August 20th, 2006

The Squid and the Whale

The Squid and the WhaleIn his third feature, director Noah Baumbach scores a triumph with an autobiographical coming-of-age story about a teenager whose writer-parents are divorcing. The father (Jeff Daniels) and mother (Laura Linney) duke it out in half-civilized, half-savage fashion, while their two sons adapt in different ways, shifting allegiances between parents. The film is squirmy-funny and nakedly honest about the rationalizations and compensatory snobbisms of artistic failure as well as the conflicted desires of adolescents for sex and status. In detailing bohemian-bourgeois life in brownstone Brooklyn, Baumbach is spot on. Everyone proceeds from good intentions and acts rather badly, in spite or because of their manifest intelligence. Fulfilling the best traditions of the American independent film, this quirky, wisely written feature explores the gulf between sexes, generations, art and commerce, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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August 16th, 2006
Billy MadisonBilly Madison: Sometimes I feel like an idiot. But I am an idiot, so it kinda works out.

Me and You and Everyone We Know

August 14th, 2006

Link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0415978/

Me and You and Everyone We KnowJohn Hawkes is Richard Swersey, a recently separated shoe salesman and father of two boys, in this story of just a few of life's most basic, yet complicated relationships. Richard struggles with the separation from his wife until he meets Christine, an eccentric artist who doesn't starve only because she chauffeurs the elderly. Richard's sons find love, one conversationally on the internet, and the other physically from the neighborhood girls who want to experiment with him. The movie was written and directed by Miranda July who also starred in the film as Christine.

I thought it was good, but not great. I loved the incorporation of the name of the movie into the theme of the story. I thought that was great. I enjoyed the well-written dialogue. It was certainly an interesting film, just not the most entertaining. Some parts of the movie seemed to move too slowly, though I can appreciate that, to an extent, it was done on purpose (see also: artistically). The movie received some pretty harsh reviews from family and friends, but I am happy I still took the time to see it. I had hoped to catch it in the theater, but was glad to finally see it once and for all on DVD.

More available at meandyoumovie.com and mirandajuly.com.

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