Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Month of Movies - November Comedy Edition

You know, it's odd how few holiday plans we had this year and yet November and December flew by at an alarming pace!  I'm still trying to grasp that it's February ...

So here's a double post on what's been in our DVD queue lately.  

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (VHS)

I adore goofball comedies. I always loved watching parodies with my dad, like any of Mel Brooks films, Hot Shots: Part Deux, The Naked Gun, and Airplane. Austin Powers is no different. The slapstick, groan-worthy puns, clever references, outlandish characters, nonsensical plot - I'm sold.

Hadn't seen this movie in ages and Mike and I were still busting up a gut. So many quotable lines! It's crazy to think that this was released in 1999 though ... oh high school ...

Catching Fire (Movie Theater)

While we watch a fair number of movies, it takes special motivation to actually go to the theater. I'm just not willing to spend $20 for both of us to be disappointed. So I try to be selective about which movies we see.

I saw the first Hunger Games movie when Mike was deployed and immediately went out, bought the book, and sat down to read it in one sitting. My mom even sent him the books in his care packages.  

While I know some don't agree, I think the first movie is really good and a strong adaption. Catching Fire, however, takes the series to a whole new level. I loved every minute and even cried 10 minutes into it. Everything was on point, and yes, some stuff was left out, but that happens with every book-to-film translation. 

The key is that they got the essence and feel of Book 2. This will not be a trilogy where the second movie is only a weak bridge between the first and second! 

Father of the Bride (VHS) 

Such an adorable movie! Steve Martin is hands-down my favorite movie comedian. He's so personable and warm and he's got the best "you've got to be kidding me" face. 

The movie's look is definitely dated (so 1991), but it comes off in a nostalgic way. A friend and I remarked that they just don't make family movies like this anymore. I mean, when was the last time you saw a film that celebrated the father-daughter relationship in this way? 

Bill Engvall stand-up comedy (Netflix)

Confession - I've never watched the Blue Comedy Tour, I definitely cannot stand Larry The Cable Guy, and Jeff Foxworthy can be ok in small doses.

I can't remember why we choose Bill Engvall one night, probably because I don't like super raunchy humor and Mike loves his catch phrase "here's your sign." I immediately appreciated his stage presence, observations on life (particularly marriage and family), and storytelling. 

We've now watched Here's Your Sign, 15 Degrees Off Cool, and Aged and Confused. I even started watching the latest season of Dancing with the Stars because he was on there!  I'm kind of curious to watch his TV show, particularly as I love all things Jennifer Lawrence too ...

Peter Russell: Notorious (Netflix)

When we had cable, we loved catching Friday night stand-up on Comedy Central. It's how we got into Gabriel Iglesias and Maria Bamford. It's such an awesome way to end a dismal week at work. Laughter really is the best medicine.

After we'd exhausted our Bill Engvall options, we elected for a random pick based on the description. I like comedians who can do a lot of voices or impressions and Peter Russell is pretty decent. Not too offense and a few funny stories about growing up in an immigrant family. Not amazing, not off putting, relatively amusing. Not particularly motivated to seek out any of his other specials though.

101 Dalmatians (Netflix)

Oh yes, we watched the 1996 live version of this Disney classic. Didn't I tell you we had varied tastes?! All I can say is that we'd both had a bad day, it was available on instant streaming, and puppies. Lots of puppies.

Oddly enough, this movie is pretty funny and Glen Close is simply marvelous as Cruella de Vil. So over the top, so sublime, so perfectly committed to the role.

The Switch (2010)

Haters gonna hate, but I really do like Jennifer Aniston. I never even watched Friends in its heyday, but I loved her in We're the Millers, Horrible Bosses, Just Go with It (even more surprising, an Adam Sandler movie I like!), Bruce Almighty, Rumor Has It, and Office Space.  

Sure, there have been some perfectly awful movies she's been in. I couldn't get through more than 20 minutes of Friends with Money, Along Came Polly is just a weird movie and she and Ben Stiller don't have the best chemistry, The Bounty Hunter is pretty ridiculous, I haven't seen The Break-up nor do I want to, and Wanderlust is just obnoxious. I'm not even sure where to classify Marley & Me (there's that puppy thing again).

She and Jason Bateman were so funny in Horrible Bosses that I thought The Switch would be gold too. It's not. It's not awful, but it's just not a comedy in my mind. It's more of a drama between two long-time friends with one or two chuckle-worthy moments. Even Wikipedia classifies it as an American romantic comedy-drama. And you know Wikipedia is never wrong.

This is the End

I bravely stepped outside of my comfort zone for this movie.  I'm not overly fond of the cast, I hate stupid comedies, there aren't any female characters (aside from a pretty awesome Emma Watson but she has a small role), and the premise is pretty redonkulous. But Mike was in need of a brainless comedy that night so I obliged.

Surprisingly, this film works. Every actor plays a version of themselves for the ultimate form of parody and the obvious references to other post-apocalyptic movies are done with a loving hand. It's definitely rated R though and its humor will appeal to a 13-year-old boy (as well as the adult version), so you are duly warned.

The Heat (Redbox)

I grew up on a bunch of buddy cop movies, like Lethal Weapon, Men in Black, Rush Hour, even Turner & Hooch and K-9. Having been a cop in the military, Mike also loves Hot Fuzz and The Other Guys

The minute I heard about The Heat, I was all for it. Finally, a buddy cop movie with women! And two of the best female comedians out there - Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. I really wanted to see this in the theater to support it but just never had the time. 

The Heat absolutely delivers! There's slapstick, hilarious exchanges between Bullock and McCarthy, and real friendship and growth between the characters. 

There's a scene where McCarthy's character can't get out of car because of close parking and once she does, she starts slamming the door in rage and muffled curses. Because I have never done anything like that before (ahem), I was in stitches. There's also a moment where Bullock gives a double bird to a room full of male supervisors that was unexpected and epic.

More importantly, The Heat shows women as competent professions despite their flaws. Or maybe because of their flaws. Either way, we need more characterizations that show women just like men - as humans first.

Check out what we watched in December

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