BQB here with a review of Netflix’s new improvised comedy series.
Maybe this one just flew over my head. I’m two episodes in and while it is mildly entertaining, it’s one of those shows I might put on while I’m vacuuming the house, just to occupy my brain so I don’t get bored by the housework but don’t get so intrigued by the show that I put the vac down and start watching. Ultimately, if you want background noise while you suck up dirt, this is the show for you.
Critics love it but maybe I’m just a bumpkin with bad taste.
The premise is that Will Arnett stars as broken down, stereotypical tough guy TV detective Terry Seattle. Every episode, he must solve a murder with the assistance of a celebrity trainee. Thus far, I’ve seen two episodes, the first with trainee/late night TV host Conan O’Brien and the second with football star Marshawn Lynch. Marshawn apparently loves guest starring on sitcoms ever since that episode of Brooklyn 99 where he was a terrible witness because when a prison bus flipped over and exploded behind him, he was too focused on the music in his earbuds and the burrito he was eating to notice or care.
Murderville’s hook is that it is semi-improvised. Will and all other cast members have been given scripts. The celebrity guest trainee goes in cold. They play themselves as a police trainee and must come up with their dialogue on the fly. I assume this means that the cast has to improvise on the spot if the trainee says something that doesn’t jive with the rehearsed lines of the script.
While fun to see the celebs act silly, I feel comedy as a general art form has been dead for many years, everyone so afraid to offend. This show is just one in a long line of wannabe comedies that straddle the lines of humor but never quite get there.
What’s the deal with episodes you forget? Even when you forget the whole thing, you remember a part or two of it.
BQB here with yet another Seinfeld review.
Quentin Tarantino started off the 1990s by writing all his movies backwards, starting at the ending and leading us to the beginning. Soon enough, every other movie and tv show was doing this, and this episode was Seinfeld’s experiment in starting at the end.
Here, the episode starts in India. The gang has traveled overseas to attend a friend’s wedding and somehow it starts out ruined. We then go backwards, to find out how did it and how and why with a sideplot back in New York where Kramer squares off against his frenemy Franklin Delano Romanowski. FDR(ski) is the only part of this episode I remember.
I’m not sure there’s a lesson here other than the gang acts like their usual d-bag selves, d-bagging on an international level this go around.
BQB here to talk about Curb Your Enthusiam and specifically, how is Fictional LD able to pull so much fictional trim?
For the uninitiated, Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO show starring comedian Larry David, who plays a fictional, semi-autobiographical version of himself as he clowns his way through life. He’s the creator and producer of Seinfeld and Seinfeld fans who watch the show instantly realize this is basically Seinfeld with more swearing and not safe for network TV plots.
I remember even as a kid having a hard time suspending disbelief at Seinfeld. Each week, Jerry and George, both big time schmucks, at least on the show, would date gorgeous, charming, sophisticated women who for whatever reason, adored these dum-dums. Yet, each week, these fools would find some slight, miniscule flaw and the relationship would be over. It just seemed so unlikely to me, that these nudniks would actually give up so many attractive, wonderful women over irrelevant folderol, but thus was the ongoing joke of the show. It was a show about nothing about idiots who got caught up by nothing and like a comedy set in Dante’s Inferno, they were forever doomed to a life of meaningless nothing because they couldn’t get past their own problems long enough to develop something, literally anything.
Larry David basically summed his entire career up in an SNL monologue a few years back. LD said his entire life, he’s basically Quasimodo – unattractive and creature like, he should be happy if any female pays attention. When a friend says, “Hey Quasi, I’ve got the perfect woman for you,” he’ll schlump over and say, “Has she got big juggs?”
And therein lies the raw material that LD has been mining and refining into comedy gold for many decades now. He is inherently flawed in so many ways, physically and mentally and yet, he won’t stand for anything less than perfection in his women. Deep down, he knows this is wrong but he can’t help it and his inability to compromise even a little causes him a lifetime of loneliness, as it did for George and Jerry…sometimes even for Elaine and Kramer.
But the older LD gets, I have to admit, the gag gets less and less believable. Curb has put out 11 seasons over 20 years and even when LD was in his 50s, it was hard for me to believe that younger women were attracted to him.
I guess…on some level it’s somewhat believable. There’s an old saying that men are attracted to beauty and women are attracted to security. That’s why a man will leapfrog over a 50 year old self-made wealthy woman to get the phone number of an attractive 20 something waitress. That’s why an attractive late 20 or early 30 something year old woman might look at the hunky studs in her orbit who just sit around and play video games all day and decide that the silver and/or balding hair of an older man can be overlooked if he has his shit together enough that he can pick up a check and pay a bill once in awhile.
To be fair, the show does nothing but insult Larry to great comedic effect. Without fail, literally everyone LD meets inevitably ends up hating him to the point that they call him an “old bald fuck.” If Larry isn’t called an old bald fuck at least 10 times a season, then the season isn’t over. And it’s sort of implied that if Larry wasn’t a hundred millionaire from his Seinfeld days, no woman would ever give him a second or third look.
So in that respect, I suppose it’s believable that a younger woman might look at Larry, shrug her shoulders and be like, “Meh. OK I have to touch old gross man balls but I get to live in a big house and he’ll buy me whatever I want. Deal.”
Then again, I don’t know. The older Larry gets, the harder it is to suspend disbelief. I thought it was very unlikely when the show had him date Lucy Lawless when he was in his 60s. This season, they had him date Lucy Liu for an episode and I just felt bad for Lucy Liu – how a mere 20 years ago she was kicking ass and taking names as a Charlie’s Angels hottie. She still looks good as ever but she’s 50 now so the best Hollywood will offer her is an old weirdo’s date. Sure, the whole crux of the episode is that Larry accidentally does a feeble thing in front of her and she dumps him, the joke being that one moment of looking in front of a hot woman with options is all it takes for it to be over, but still. It’s Lucy Liu. I know Larry has money but there are other dudes in Hollywood with money…hotter, younger and with hair.
Meanwhile, Larry had a date with Julie Bowen of Modern Family and Happy Gilmore fame last week and I just…I don’t know. It’s just getting harder and harder to believe that Larry could even get one date with such uber babes even with all his dough.
To be fair, the universal running joke of the show is that Larry keeps finding himself in too good to be true situations with these women but he’s such a dope that he inevitably finds a way to screw it up to hilarious results. If he could just tell his stupid, foible finding inner voice to shut up for five minutes, he might be happy for once in his godforsaken life.
What gets even more unlikely is Larry’s BFF/agent on the show, Jeff (Jeff Garland) is a fat, ugly (the running joke last season was that he looks so much like Harvey Weinstein that everywhere he goes, women shout at him, slap him, throw drinks in his face, etc.) yet somehow he’s constantly getting younger women. There was a whole episode about how he constantly gets to bang a hot younger real estate agent, that it’s the “perfect crime” in that he can cheat on his wife under the pretense that he’s with this woman so he can buy his wife a house and then they’re going on a date to a place where they can get it on. This season, Jeff has a fling with a dental hygienist, gets her pregnant, pays for the abortion and other expenses but fears he’s being fleeced, thus sending Larry the spy in to find out if the paramour really needs the money or if she’s taking advantage and I just…I don’t know.
I can sort of suspend disbelief for Larry. This version of Larry is at least trying to find a wife. Sure, he’s old, decrepit, rude and gross but all these women he dates, his end goal is to find someone to have and to hold, love and cherish and protect and make happy, albeit with his limited emotional ability to do so. He inevitably screws it up due to his insecurities but his goal isn’t to use them and loose them. He’s trying to find a wife. And though old and ugly and bald, he’s rich and connected and people in Hollywood know him, so it’s not entirely impossible that a younger woman might be able to get over the old man vibes to have financial security.
Meanwhile, Jeff is married…unhappily. His wife Susie is a comedic genius who mostly serves the need for someone to tell Larry that he’s a stupid old bald fuck at least 5 times a season. She is a caricature of a domineering shrew, so while it is understandable as to why Jeff would want to cheat…I mean he’s rich and powerful, perhaps not as rich and powerful as Larry but he’s still got it going on…but he’s not offering these women anything other than his gross old penis and flabby belly flopping around on top of them. It just seems unlikely that a real estate agent babe or a dental hygienist babe, both hot and half his age, would just want to be with him for the joy of being with him.
I doubt Larry will ever read this fine blog but I wonder if maybe a season where the script is flipped might not be in order. Larry, hire me and I’ll write you a new, fresh season. Picture it. For some crazy reason, Larry loses all of his cash. With it, he loses all his power and fame and glory and he no longer gets invited to hang out with all the cool kids. Instead, he moves to a retirement community and has to live the life most old people his age live – i.e. he has to go to bingo games and watch Matlock and eat dinner at 4 at the early bird special. Even worse, he has to date an age appropriate woman. Larry struggles with the desire for a younger, attractive woman and winces as his 70 something date has to put on a wig and put in her false teeth in the morning. On the other hand, this old broad gets all his jokes and references and likes doing all the old person stuff Larry does so…is this the one? Will he finally act his age and give up the chase for young tail now that he has found someone who finally gets him? No, he’ll screw it up somehow.
Maybe Jeff could lose his money too. Susie kicks him out of the house and he can only find women who have a similar look. Jeff dates a chubby woman and has an internal debate about whether or not he should stick with a woman who understands his struggle and accepts him as is, or if he should try to get all his money back so he can bang hot real estate agents. Still, it’s never explained what the real estate agent is getting out of this. Are women that attracted to money and success that they’ll just bang a dude and ask for nothing in return? It feels like comedy gold isn’t being mined in that one of these babes that Jeff bangs doesn’t come around demanding money lest they tell on him to Susie.
Either way, Leon will still be Larry’s forever house guest. Leon is getting up there in years too now, but somehow, given his style, he’s the only one whose non-stop train of booty is believable.
I’ve noticed that the show doesn’t really try to hide the fact that Larry is old. He’s constantly watching movies that only old people would be into. He does impressions of actors from 50 years ago. Every episode, he’s at the golf course. Even so, he’s always chasing the young babes and I just wonder if one season where Larry wrestles with an attraction to an age appropriate woman wouldn’t be hilarious.
It came. It went. I’m sad that it’s over but I’m glad that it happened….title of your sex tape.
BQB here with a review of Andy Samberg’s long running police comedy series.
It’s funny, I watched the first season of this show regularly when in the first season. I enjoyed it and a year later, I meant to stream the next season, then the next…and the next. I always considered myself a fan, but whoops, in the literal blink of an eye, 7 years flew by and finding myself devoid of new stuff to watch during this pandemic, I checked into it and discovered I had a lot of catching up to do.
Timely, because half way through my binge (I started this summer and just finished the last episode this week) I realized the show concluded this month. Amazing how time flies.
For those new to it, SNL alum and wacky funnyman Andy Samberg heads up the cast as Jake Peralta, a goofball detective in a Brooklyn police precinct. If you think too hard, its an odd show as in it takes place in a world where funny rarely happens. Jake and his colleagues solve crimes, catch crooks and murderers and yet somehow, wacky hijinx always transpire. In the real world, these types of shenanigans would probably get people killed and cases thrown out of court, but this is the comedy world, so you must suspend disbelief. To the show’s credit, they do manage to walk that fine line of providing goofball slapstick yet the bad guys are still always caught.
The other thing the show does well is character development. It’s a large ensemble cast, yet somehow each character gets their time in the sun. Jake’s crew includes Sgt. Terry Jeffords (uber strong ex-football player Terry Crews who wows us with his strength and pecs), Jake’s partner Charles Boyle (Jake’s partner, a loser who starts the series dating elderly women and living in his ex-wife’s basement, only to slowly but surely dig himself out of that hole over the course of the show), Amy Santiago (Jake’s love interest who worships organization and drools over file folders), Rosa Diaz (a tough, no nonsense detective with a permanent scowl and a deep voice, a far cry from actress Stephanie Beatriz’s real life bubbly, girlish voiced personality), civilian administrator Gina Linetti who ignores her duties to concentrate on social media and trash talking the rest of the gang, and of course, the glue that keeps the precinct together, Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher of Homicide: Life on the Street fame, a tough police captain, the running joke of the show being that Holt is often forced to say absurd, ridiculous things in his deep, authoritative voice. Somehow, IMO, that joke never gets old even after 8 seasons.)
Last, but not least, Scully and Hitchcock. Do you have an old, washed up person in your office? Someone who probably had a real zest for life when they were young but the years crushed their spirit and now they just loaf away at their desks, eating snacks while they count the days till retirement? Dirk Blocker (yes, the son of Dan Blocker aka Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza and Joel McKinnon Miller) plays these sometimes wastes of spaces and occasional fonts of wisdom whenever one of the younger cops dares to wade past their buckets of chicken wings to seek the rare tidbits of wisdom rolling around in their heads. One episode that gives us a flashback to the 1980s when these two were hunky studs, kicking mafia ass and taking names is equal parts funny and sad, a hilarious yet grim reminder that we all must make the best of our youthful primes, because it all goes downhill at a certain age.
Overall, I enjoyed the show very much, though the show got very real in the last season, reflecting a real world and a difficult time period in recent history that has more realness than a zany comedy can handle. Andy Samberg is great at what he does, but IMO, he is, perhaps, one of the last true funnymen, “true” in that his comedy is just that…comedy. If you watch his sketches or listen to his albums, his repertoire consists of silly voices, silly faces, silly premises, silly songs. He was in it for the laughs, never the type of comic who feels the need to impart political or special messages or take a serious turn. Alas, 2020, between the pandemic and the public outcry over police brutality forced the show to tackle serious issues, a challenge the show tried its best to do, and I’m not knocking it but a show such as this isn’t really equipped to do it. Asking Andy to be serious for a moment is like asking Andre Braugher to be serious for a moment. Somehow, when the very serious Braugher says uncharacteristically funny things, it comes off as funny, yet when the consummately goofy Andy says serious things, we just check our watches and wonder how much longer we have to wade through this attempt at drama until he acts silly again.
Unfortunately, in a climate that saw the cancellation of the Cops reality show where cameras follow the police and even the kids’ show Paw Patrol about police officer puppies, the powers that be behind Brooklyn 99 apparently felt a show about silly cops who bungle their way through saving the day wasn’t going to make it in a world that’s doing a lot of introspection about policing. I do think the show was one of the last of its kind, a silly comedy with a primary goal of making the viewer laugh. So many comedies and comedians now feel the need to make us think, give us a message, or to demand that we pick a political side and it’s just…sure, we live in a free country and comedians can do whatever they want but its unfortunate because the best comedians always realized we turned to them for escape and distraction, to get that laughter that makes us feel good…and truly adept comedians might even be able to sneak in a message or two that makes us laugh and think (not the political rallies that the late night talk shows have become.)
One last criticism of the final season, I get they had a tough challenge to be funny while tackling serious but, and spoiler alert…there were one or two moments that left me scratching my head. Turn away if you haven’t seen it, but for example, Jake has a long running friendship/enemyship? with renowned car thief Doug Judy (Craig Robinson) aka The Pontiac Bandit, constantly trying to bring him in yet he either eludes Jake or he and Jake have to team up to catch a bigger fish. In one of the last season episodes, it is implied that Jake helps him escape prison which…I mean I know its a comedy but the implication of a cop helping a crook escape? Holy shit. I always gave the show credit in that it managed to straddle the line between silly comedy and yet reminded us that cops have hard jobs and are expected to make tough calls…so as much as a cop might think a perp got a raw deal (Judy ends up going to jail over a dumb thing he did as a kid years ago), a cop can’t just assist the bad guy in getting away. They dont come right out and say Jake did it, but it is heavily implied.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Great show that unfortunately was a casualty of its time. From here on out, I guess sitcoms will just be a smorgasbord of millennial navel gazing and ennui.
BQB here with a review. (Yes, it’s on Pluto TV. I’m really getting my money’s worth out of this app, which is zero.)
I remember thinking this movie was funny as a kid but now as a geezer, I think it is more clever. I was able to guess the jokes as they were coming, partly because they are memorable and partly because 2019’s “The Hustle” starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in a modernized female version with basically the same plot kept the jokes fresh in my head.
Michael Caine, looking rather dapper at roughly 55 here and man what a life you can live if you eat your Wheaties, plays Lawrence Jamieson, a master con artist who lives a lavish lifestyle in a wealthy town in the south of France. He finances his mansion, servants, travel, wardrobe, extravagances, etc. by bilking rich women out of their money, often by telling them he is a prince living in exile, trying to coordinate a rebellion against the communists who have conquered his non-existent nation. The ladies think they are donating to the cause of freedom, while Jamieson simply pockets the dough and gives the women the heave-ho.
Freddy Benson is also a con man, but on a much less impressive scale. He is an American, conning his way through Europe with stories about his sick grandmother and how he can’t afford lunch because he’s saving up for her operation. Freddy bilks rich women out of free lunches and pocket money.
When they meet on a train, Freddy demands that Lawrence take him on as a student, that he become Darth Vader to Jamieson’s Emperor, which is funny because Palpatine himself is in this flick. Ian McDiarmid plays Jamieson’s trusty butler Arthur, who assists in the cons. I know McDiarmid has a long career but personally, I believe this is the first non-Emperor role I’ve seen him in (at least that I can remember.)
Lawrence and Freddy go out on the con together but soon butt heads, finding it difficult to work together as they rarely see eye to eye. They settle their differences with a bet. First one to con super sweet soap company heiress Janet Colgate out of $50,000 gets to stay in town, while the loser must leave.
From there on, it’s a mad cap romp as Lawrence and Freddy constantly one up each other, telling one lie after the next and apparently they have no fear of burning in hell for there’s nothing, literally nothing that they aren’t willing to do to defraud this poor woman.
To the film’s credit, I remember it being a common trope in many films where a character sets out to defraud another character (sometimes it’s a man defrauding a woman or vice versa) and then after they get to know one another, they fall in love. Here, love does bloom amidst this twisted triangle, but (SPOILER ALERT) the duo is not rewarded for their treachery. The ending is rather ingenious and if you’re watching it for the first time, unexpected. I thought it was better than the old “Oh OK I forgive you for being a fraudulent piece of crap and will reward you with my love and trust now” ending that so many other movies go with.
The late, great Glenn Headley plays Janet and this movie reminded me of how sad I was to hear of her passing. She also played Dick Tracy’s Tess Trueheart and I always thought that movie illustrates the dilemma many a man finds himself in. Dick wants Breathless Mahoney (Madonna) because she’s hot, but knows she’s trouble as she can have any dude she wants. Tess, on the other hand, is true blue and will be there for Dick through thick and thin. Ultimately, you bang Breathless and marry Tess…or maybe just skip breathless and marry Tess because Tess will dump you if you knock up Breathless. Whatever. God, my knowledge of film stretches back to some super old movies. No one even gets these references I wager.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I do remember repeating Steve Martin’s bathroom at the dinner table joke over and over as a kid.
Wasn’t it Thomas Wolfe who said you can’t come home again?
BQB here with a review of the sequel to Eddie Murphy’s classic film.
For the uninitiated, in 1988, Eddie Murphy, the hottest act in 1980s comedy, virtually guaranteed to leave you in stitches such that you’d be grabbing your sides and shouting, “No more, no more! Bah ha ha!” proved what was then thought to be impossible – that raunchy R-rated comedies can have a heart. “Coming to America” was the story of Akeem, the young prince of the fictional African kingdom of Zamunda, whose father, King Jaffe (James Earl Jones) demanded his son take a bride amongst the many dutiful royal babes available.
Alas, Akeem realizes these women are lacking in personality. They just want him for his money and position and are willing to do whatever he says (one of them literally barks like a dog on his command), uninterested in challenging him or being his intellectual equal, he and his trusty man-servant Semi (Arsenio Hall) flee to Queens, New York (where else would you look for a future Queen?) in search of a soul mate.
Disguising themselves as a poor immigrants from Zamunda, Akeem and Semi take jobs at McDowell’s (a ripoff of McDonald’s though owner Cleo swears it isn’t), Akeem falls for the owner’s daughter Lisa, but faces adversity in winning her heart, i.e. his father, like Jaffe, wants his daughter to marry rich (in the form of Soul Glo jerri curl dynasty heir (Eriq LaSalle.)
Ultimately, it’s a coming of age story, similar to the struggle every young person faces. Every young adult wrestles with their dreams vs. harsh realities, the desire to go forth and chase their hopes vs. the pressure to be practical – to do what they actually want to do vs. what their parents and family demand they do. It can be hard for a young person in that they have experienced little of the world, know little of its dangers, and when parents demand they give up X dream, they often do it from a place of good i.e. maybe they tried to do something fabulous when they were young and it backfired and they want their kids to do better, but yet, the parents might know little of what is in the kid’s heart, what the kid is and isn’t capable of, what will and will not make them happy.
I saw this movie as a little kid – in the movie theater. I probably shouldn’t have, what with the jokes about the royal bathers and what have you, but the 1980s were a weird time and parents were like, “Eh. Whatever. It’s just a movie.” Thus was the sentiment that allowed me to see Robocop in the movie theater too and I swear seeing that mutant guy being run over and smashed to bits didn’t warp my young brain at all. Hmm. Maybe I need to tell my shrink about this.
Moving on. Long story short, I’ve been a comedy fan my whole life, from a young age, ever since I figured out it was possible to sneak downstairs while the ‘rents were sleeping to watch Saturday Night Live. At that young age, I knew Eddie had made something special with this movie, something the world hadn’t seen before.
Since then, I became an adult and sold out big time. Yeah, sadly, I caved to what my own personal Jaffes wanted rather than go forth and sew my oats. What can I say? I didn’t have a trusty manservant Semi to back me up I guess. It didn’t work out…or maybe it did. I do have this sweet blog that is only read by 3.5 readers after all, so that’s something.
Alright, enough stalling. Let’s get to the review.
In short, Coming 2 America is a cute stroll down memory lane, but if you were expecting a raunchy festival of frivolity equal to the original, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Watching Eddie in this movie is like watching Da Vinci paint with one arm tied behind his back. It just feels like Amazon clipped his wings and had a whole list of woke hoops that Eddie had to jump through.
Now, mind you, it did dawn on me there might be an alternative argument. At some point, we all get old. We realize we’ve done all we can do in this life and times have changed and we have to move over and let the kids take a turn. Apparently, the kids really like all this highly sanitized, run through ten focus groups to make sure no one’s feelings are hurt drek, so who are we oldsters to deny it to them? Eddie’s older Akeem faces a similar challenge in this film, having to grapple with a desire to please Jaffe’s old adherence to tradition, or to say to hell with it and bring in modern reforms as he assumes the crown.
At times the film feels like Mom and Dad pulled out their old photo albums and gathered the kids around to tell them stories of the past. The kids begrudgingly roll their eyes and sit through it. Mom and Dad have to run the story through their internal brain censors, sharing the good and hiding the bad. Mom and Dad were once naughty kids when they were young, after all, but now as adults, they need the kids to do what they say and not what they, well, once did.
The plot? Remember that girl who barked like a dog in the first film? She and her brother are all grown up now. Wesley Snipes literally steals the show and appears to have had a really fun time playing General Izzi, the brutal dictator of Zamunda’s neighboring country (literally called Nextdoria). When he isn’t busy training his adult soldiers with shake weights or his child soldiers in the finer arts of deploying C4, he is demanding that Akeem join the ruling families of Zamunda and Nextdoria in marriage. Bottomline – Akeem already thumbed his nose at the Izzi family once by turning down Iman (the dog barker) and General Izzi won’t stand for it twice. If Akeem can’t produce a male heir to marry his daughter, the general will declare war, and as Jaffee humorously warns, Akeem is too weak to fend it off. (James Earl Jones rivals Snipes in stealing the show here.)
Ah, as luck would have it, Akeem does have a male heir in the form of Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) a ticket scalper from Queens trying hard to make an honest living, but kept down by a cold world that won’t give him a break. Apparently, one night, while Akeem and Semi were in America, Akeem was drugged and taken advantage of by Leslie Jones’ Mary, thus explaining where Lavelle came from. (Apparently we still have much woke progress left to make as jokes about men getting raped by women are still considered funny. Literally nothing else is considered funny but Leslie jumping Eddie’s bones while he is an intoxicated state is supposed to be a laugh riot.)
While there is plenty of time for us to get reacquainted with older characters – Akeem, Lisa, Semi and the gang, there are large swathes of the film where it feels like Saved by the Bell: The New Class, the New, New Class, how many new classes are we up to now? There are large parts of the film where the kids take over and work out their differences, i.e. Lavelle got the short end of the stick as he spent his life begging for scraps while he had an uber rich side of the family he never knew about vs. Meeka (Kiki Layne) Akeem’s eldest daughter who trained her entire life to rule as Queen one day, only to be ousted out of nowhere by Lavelle.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. As with all sequels and reboots of old, classic films, I do wonder who is this for? Is it for today’s young adults? I don’t know but I have a hard time thinking they enjoy stuff like this. Kids today probably just smile and nod politely when adults tell them about all their favorite 1980s movies like I smiled and nodded politely when my parents tried to tell me that cowboy movies and Frank Sinatra were the shit. Is it for adults? Maybe. Part of me enjoyed the nostalgia. Part of me felt old as fuck thinking it feels like just yesterday when I was wowed by the original and now so much time has gone by that they’ve already made the highly sanitized remake. Maybe it’s for Eddie, who deserves to cash in in his old age after spending his youth making us smile, but I do feel like Eddie is like this film’s caged lion. If a studio would remove the cage, he still has enough energy left inside to roar, and leave us roaring in hysterics, but alas, studios with cajones have gone the way of the dodo.
But still, it’s cute, and has its funny moments. Hell, Amazon got me to sign up for Prime for a month just to watch it. Oh Jeff Bezos, you devious mastermind, you did it again.
I loved this movie as a kid. If you’ve never seen or heard of it, you’re in for a treat. In fact, you should drop what you are doing and stop reading this and go watch it and then come back. If you read on then without seeing it, the surprise will be spoiled for you.
Ok, for those who stayed, Bill Murray stars as Grimm, a NYC city planner and ultimately, an average guy who, with the help of his girlfriend, Phyllis (Gina Davis) and longtime friend, Loomis (Randy Quaid) rob a bank.
The opening bank robbery scene is clever, hysterical and full of twists, so again, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it.
Ironically, while the bank robbery is a success, the trio have the worst time making a getaway. Loomis is jarringly stupid and that stupidity catches up with them, but on top of that, the city conspires against them at every turn. Their goal is to catch a flight to the Caribbean, but mobsters, gun wielding citizens, muggers, cab drivers who are terrible at their jobs, incompetent city workers who don’t know how to put up directional signs, bus drivers who demand exact change and convenience store owners who won’t give change unless they buy something are among the many challenges they must face as what should be a quick trip to the airport turns into a night long nightmare.
As if that isn’t enough, they are being chased by legendary police chief Walt Rotzinger (Jason Robards) a veteran lawman with reputation for always getting his man.
The cool thing about this movie is you end up rooting for both sides. While in reality, you should never root for someone to get away with a crime, it is hard not to, on a fictional level, root for Grimm and friends to make their escape because these are not hardened criminals but rather, just a trio of average schmoes who up and said screw it one day and decided to cheat a system that has long been cheating them.
On the other hand, retirement looms large on Rotzinger’s mind, and though he has successfully closed a number of historic, headline grabbing cases, he fears that if he does not nab this robber (a robber who dressed like a clown gets a lot of media attention), the press will have a field day and his career will have been for naught.
I’ve always thought this movie didn’t get as much credit as it deserved. Murray tends to be remembered for his franchises like Ghostbusters, or one and dones like Groundhog Day or What About Bob but if it hasn’t gotten it already, this one deserves your attention.
BQB here with a review of the Netflix comedy, “The Wrong Missy.”
Adam Sandler and friends, his coterie of 90s era comedians who usually do his Happy Madison production company movies, have had their share of hits and misses, and sadly, in recent years, its been more misses. Their style of comedy (silliness for the sake of silliness without much else thrown in) has by and large gone the way of the dodo, and we can have a debate over whether or not that’s a good thing another time.
This one is a hit. That’s my opinion, but its topping the charts of Netflix’s offerings today, it’s release day on the streaming service. I think eventually, people will agree.
It’s got two things that Sandler’s flicks have been lacking during their last few (eh, make that several) outings – heart, and actual laughs.
David Spade plays Tim, a brokenhearted bank executive who has given up on love, unable to get over a breakup with ex-fiance Julia (Sarah Chalke). One night, he goes on a blind date Melissa #1 – (Lauren Lupkus of Orange is the New Black Fame who I always confuse with comedienne Kristen Schaal, so much so that I wonder if Kristen and Lauren’s agents are in a perpetual war over who can race to get their client any and all roles that call for a crazy, wild eyed brunette.)
Anyway. That blind date doesn’t go well, for many wacky reasons but the chief one that comes to mind is that she carries a Crocodile Dundee sized knife in her purse and whips it out often, threatening to use it willy nilly.
Tim brushes Missy #1 off as a psycho, but while in an airport one day, he meets the woman of his dreams, also named Missy, or Melissa (Molly Simms) when he and she mix up their bags at the airport.
Long story short, Tim, urged by BFF Nick Swardson, texts his preferred Melissa with an invited to come on his company retreat to Hawaii. only to be aghast when “The Wrong Melissa” shows up on the flight instead.
Yadda, yadda, yadda. This Melissa is nuts. Tim’s job is at stake because his boss is basically using the retreat as a means to choose between Tim and another candidate for a promotion but Melissa can’t stop saying and doing crude, obscene things and the rest is history.
I think one of the better decisions made with this movie is that Spade cancelled his “I just like to rag on everyone even though deep down inside I wish I was them but I can’t because even though I’m awesome on the inside I’m short on the outside” routine.
Instead, Spade plays Tim as the straight man, the foil to Melissa’s absurdity.
Indeed, there’s plenty of room for criticism. Spade, God help me, is 55 now, and less well preserved, less famous and less wealthy men of his age generally grab hold onto whatever they can get, whereas in this film, Spade is juggling two Melissas as well as his ex who begins to wonder if she missed out on something good if all these Melissas are after her ex’s hanglow.
But Lupkus shoots a cannon in the name of this film’s self awareness at that age difference early in the movie, saying, “What are you? 65? I don’t care.”
I’ve checked some other reviews and the criticism is fairly standard. Spade should be playing opposite some age appropriate women and how dare Melissa #2 be presented as the end all be all just because she’s uber beautiful.
Part of me wants to point out that old rich men are able to land hot younger women because, all arguments about equality aside, men tend to be more attracted to beauty while women tend to be more attracted to security (the biggest cavemen thousands of years ago, or the man with the biggest wallet today.)
That of course, doesn’t apply universally and it probably doesn’t even apply here. Hollywood wants those hot babes on screen, whereas male actors can be schlubs (although ladies if you think you have it hard trying to live up to Hollywood standards of beauty, try competing with the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine if you’re a man and ok…I’ll be quiet now).
If this is a spoiler, then so be it, but what I did like about this movie is it didn’t go the road that rom coms usually go in when a main characters is forced to choose between two love interests. Inevitably, the writers always make the decision for the character, making one of the interests do something so awful and unforgivable that the choice becomes clear.
Technically, that doesn’t happen here. Spade has to make a choice between two women he loves and he makes it….though you do have to suspend your grip on reality to believe that a successful businessman is going to choose a woman who force feeds him dog tranquilizers and speaks in devilish tongues as part of a she’s so quirky routine would not just go for the demure Miss USA contestant.
Lauren Lupkus is great in this and hopefully Hollywood will take further notice.
Hulu has a nice collection of old movies, so I’ve been turning to it lately, only to find this oldie but goodie.
Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and Dave (Mark Addy) are a couple of friends and unemployed steelworkers. Their hometown, Sheffield, England, was once a great place to live, but when the steel mill upon which the local community depended went out of business, it wreaked havoc on the community.
Being out of worked has caused them to lose their mojo and for Gaz, it has wrecked his marriage. His wife has left him and his continued ability to see his son depends on his ability to pay child support.
One fateful night, they pass by the only business in town that is packed, a male strip club where the ladies converge upon, throwing away their hard earned cash just to see buff dudes.
Gaz realizes he and his pals are no studmuffins, but in doing the math, realizes that if some how, if he can pack the house, the cut that he and his pals will get will be enough to keep him on his feet and his support payments paid.
They recruit their old foreman, Gerald (Tom Wilkinson), who once barked orders at them but now that he is out of work, spends his time taking dance lessons with his wife, to be the team dance coach. Along the way, they recruit Horse (Paul Barber), Lomper (Steve Huison) and Guy (Hugo Speer) all locals with their own down on their luck stories thanks to the tanked economy.
Together, they will have to overcome their fears – that they’ll look like fools, that this was a stupid idea, that none of them are exactly Chippendale’s material, and in Dave’s case, that he feels bad that he’s fat.
If you set aside the ridiculousness of a bunch of average man setting out to become male strippers, there’s humor in drama in the lengths that long term unemployed people have to just to get a job. Be out of work long enough and society will write you off as a loser, and you’ll have to reinvent yourself, and perhaps event a job for yourself just to get back out there again.
Also, no one’s saying that women don’t have it rough, but this movie does meditate on some of the things that men have to go through. Its a myth that men don’t have their own body issues, and men tend to rest their self worth on their ability to be good providers, perhaps that just goes back to the caveman days.
“A few more years and men won’t exist,” is somewhat of a prophetic line in the movie. Is it true? I’m sure we can debate all day long about it. And no one can blame women for wanting the independence and security that education and good jobs can provide but somewhere along the way, men like the Full Monty dudes were left in the dust, no way to make a living and what does it matter, because nobody no longer needs them.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Worth a watch for no other reason that it is so hard to believe that Mark Addy, so young and insecure in this film, went on to play boorish prick King Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones and then in other ways, it isn’t hard to believe because Robert is almost a parody of a shitty king that only a comedian could really handle.
At the outset, this is a fun action comedy. It’s not something I’d want to watch over and over again, but it was worth the rental fee.
Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu, a down and out sporting goods store clerk who makes money on the side driving for Uber, thus earning him the undesired nickname, Stuber.
He pines for friend Becca (Betty Gilpin, and who doesn’t?) but despite his best efforts, including forking over his savings so she can start a spin class business, he’s permanently in the friend zone.
His life of boredom is interrupted for a night of action, adventure and sheer, out and out terror when Vic Manning (Dave Bautista), a bad ass cop on the hunt for his partner’s killer, who rather conveniently just had eye surgery and can’t drive (or in reality, do anything but you have to suspend disbelief) hires him to drive and forces him into service as his unwilling partner for the evening.
They become the ultimate odd couple, Vic helping Stu to man up, Stu helping Vic to tap into his softer side. Will Stu be able to save the day, get the girl, and maintain the highly coveted 5 star rating that all Uber drivers desire?