Day 170 – My Science Project – 1985

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Trying to jump on the popularity of Back to the Future and Alien with mixing the two together creates a big mess for high school students Michael, Ellie and Vince when they find a mysterious device that can control time and space. Directed by Jonathan R. Betuel (who also wrote The Last Starfighter) and starring John Stockwell, Danielle Von Zernack, Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper the film flopped at the cinemas with reviews from 1985 saying “far less clever ad less expensive Back to the future.”

Michale Harland (John Stockwell) is a student at the high school who’s only passion is fixing up muscle cars with his best friend Vince (Fisher Stevens). During a science lesson, his teacher Dr Roberts (Dennis Hopper) asks him to bring him something so he can pass the class. Clambering to locate something he takes Ellie the class bookworm and crush to a government airbase which contains all old vehicles. They find a device of which glows and reluctantly bring it to school the next day. They find out it is a device that can control time and space. They show it to Dr Roberts and turn it on to show him. He gets sucked into a random part of time and space so it is up to the trio so save him from pending doom.

The film tried to mix the nostalgia of Back to the Future with the mystery of Alien with the device turning the school into a trove of time travelling apparel. With mixed messages, the film ultimately fails on every wing with the main characters being stale and boring (minus Fisher Steven and the loopy Dennis Hopper). The entire film tries to bring a sense of mystery to the device the trio find, but the story throws the origin story behind the device in the back seat with comedy going up front. As I said before the humour is stale, but the special effects are pretty good. Considering the age of the film and budget of the film, they actually did a pretty decent job with certain sequences.

The actual characters are written in a tone that makes you like them and director Jonathan R. Betuel has creates an interesting story with them contained. The only problem is that the story is weak and there is no overall conclusion at the end. You can tell this film was rushed by the studio thanks to the lack of attention to the script.

It is a cheap knockoff that tried to hold its own but ultimately fell foul to copycat tactics that made it fail. At least the cast did successfully with John Stockwell becoming a Hollywood film director and Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper nominating and winning Oscars after the film.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 168 – Super Troopers – 2001

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Super Troopers comes from the mind of comedy group Broken Lizard who play a bunch of highway patrolmen creating chaos at their precinct and the inhabitants that they service. Starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemm, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske as the trooper and Brian Cox as their superior, the men go through a random adventure of which the viewer has no idea where it will end. Released in 2001 is was dubbed wackier than silly aiming more for the audience of their type of comedy.

The Vermont State Trooper are the first line of defence on the highway in the fictional town of Spurbury on the US-Canada border. They seem to play more pranks on the inhabitants of Spurbury than actual police work. They also have an ongoing rivalry with the Spurbury Police Department who say they are not real cops. One day the Super Troopers come to across a murder scene and fight the Police to who has jurisdiction on drugs bust. Essentially there is the little plot and a more comedic take on the world the film has made. The officers played by the comedic group are all insane and that what makes the film hilarious.

Shenanigans is the word used for the film, as the officers get up to some stupid stuff. An example would be becoming a robber and be chased by the Super Troopers across the country all whilst being drunk. It is stupidity at its finest, unfortunately, it doesn’t sit well with the rest of the film. The reason you watch a film is for the story, and this film barely has one. It delves into the world of sketch comedy because every scene is made up to become a joke. A prime example would be Kevin Heffernan’s Officer Rodney Farva. Every single scene he is mocked for being the joke of the station and the boy’s always pick on him. It’s funny only in the scenes where the joke is played on but in other scenes, it’s unexplained and the viewer is supposed to understand.

The film is essentially an extended version of a tv show where the cops are idiots. The joke is funny in the right context but unfortunately for Super Troopers is kind of gets wasted. I personally thought the film was funny, about 25 minutes of the 100-minute runtime but we can’t all be comedic geniuses.

Super Troopers can be watched when you are drunk and almost passed out on the sofa on a Saturday night. It is funny to a degree, but Broken Lizards newer films are way funnier. The Slammin Salmon is hilarious.

Should you watch it: YES

 

Day 167 – Employee of the Month – 2006

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Dane Cook vs Dax Shepard to win the employee of the month and win the love and affection of the new girl at work. It’s actually quite a funny film, considering it has both Dane and Dax in the title roles. Released in 2006 with fun reviews, it was quite successful and had a small cult following thanks to the jokes in the film.

Zack Bradley is the resident slacker at the local Super Club as a box packer. Vince Downey (Dax Shepard) is the store’s number one employee at the store thanks to his way with the woman and his skill on the checkout (him being the fastest). One day they both meet new girl Amy (Jessica Simpson) who’s both funny and beautiful. Zack learns she has high opinions of the employee of the month and makes it his mission to become just that with some hilarious consequences for the entire cast.

The film came out of nowhere back in 2006 and was a success across the cinematic world thanks to its down to earth approach on how a shop operates. The zany workers of the store and how they work against each other was a refreshing take on the supermarket comedy and also showcased the comedy delights of Dane Cook and Dax Shepard. Jessica Simpson also showed us she wasn’t just a singer and reality tv sucker with a fun self-comedy take on Amy and how she wasn’t just eye candy like her role in The Dukes of Hazzard.

Personally, this is Dane Cooks best work since he moved from comedy clubs to the big screen. I don’t count the cameo he had in the hilarious Waiting from 2005 starring Ryan Reynolds. The best thing about the entire film is how fluid the cast interact with each other. All three leads Cook, Shepard and Simpson work fantastically together and bring charm to their respective roles. The rest of the cast are also quite funny such as Tim Bageley as the store manager who is afraid of his older brother (dwarf Danny Woodburn) and Jorge (played by an unrecognisable Efren Ramirez who played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite).

Overall the film is full of laughs, with some great comedic performances from both Dane Cook and Dax Shepard who actually is funny in this film. The plot is quite unique, being the employee of the month wins you the girl.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 166 – Mr Deeds – 2002

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Another Adam Sandler film where he plays a man who is out of his depth thanks to coincidental life issues. Starring the main man, Winona Ryder and John Turturro the film was actually a remake of the 1936 film Mr Deeds goes to Town. Directed by Steven Brill (who actually has directed Adam Sandler in the Netflix Movies), it was released in 2002 to critics stating it was ‘stale and unoriginal’.

Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler) is a man who inherits his great uncles business after his passing. Being a simple natured man who earns his living by running the local pizza shop he is brought to NYC to see his new empire. At the same time the board of the company want him to sign the papers to sell the company and raise millions from it, and fire thousands of staff. Also he meets Babe Bennett a local girl who falls in love with deeds after making a deal with local media man Mac MacGrath (Jared Harris) to get in the inside scoop behind the business. Along for the ride is Deeds butler Emilio Lopez played by a charismatic and mysterious John Turturro.

The film is actually a remake, moving the timeline into our day and age. Unfortunately for Adam Sandler the execution and motives of Longfellow Deeds and why he does half the stuff in the film is not explained at thats where the film fumbles. Essentially Deeds gets 300 Million Dollars and good things with the money whilst the antagonists are trying to stop him with love and deception. Its a boring film which ultimately gets Deeds into some sticky situations but the filmmakers try to make it funny with gags and jokes that miss the punchline.

The film has a predicatble storyline, the cast are sidelined with a boring plot and the overall tone is missed thanks to poor generic acting from Adam Sandler. The film down righted sucked, just like Adam Sandlers other films such as Little Nicky, Big Daddys and his first film Going Overboard. He brought back the funny with Click, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Grown Ups, but unfortunately this film is a bad remake of what I think was a celebrated classic.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 154 – Get Shorty – 1995

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Get Shorty tells the tale of Chilli Palmer, a mobster from Miami Beach who has been tasked to retrieve money from a Hollywood producer. Fortunately for Chilli Palmer, he wants to get out of the mobster business and then pursues a life making motion pictures. Starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito and Delroy Lindo. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and adapted from the book written by Elmore Leonard.

Chilli Palmer (John Travolta) is a mob man who works in Miami. He is tasked by his newly appointed boss Bones (Dennis Farina) to collect a $200,000 debt from Hollywood producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). Along the way, he meets Zimm’s wife Karen Flores (Rene Russo) who he falls for. He learns that Zimm has a script that could be turned into a big motion picture earning a large amount for Chilli. He meets Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), big Hollywood star who is intrigued at starring in the flick thanks to his former girlfriend Karen Flores being involved. The only problem is that Chilli has to deal with Harry’s former associates who also want to be involved in the operation.

It is a great story that intertwines with every character on screen with depth and emotion. John Travolta brings the suave and sophistication to the screen playing Chilli as a laid back ladies man who always keeps his cool in any situation. Gene Hackman is the producer who always tries to look at the positive side of life, thanks to his gambling debts creating a stir in his professional life. He brings the happy go lucky attitude, but it doesn’t go his way. Hackman has been typecast as the evil, conniving Lex Luthor from the Superman films, so seeing him as the bumbling clown that always seems to get the short stick is refreshing. Shame Gene Hackman has retired from acting.

Rene Russo is a spectacle on screen. She oozes the sex appeal, considering her character never shows anything towards the camera. There was something about her throughout the film that kept me glued to the screen. Danny DeVito was also very good embodying the Hollywood actor spirit without being a dick. He was authentic. Dennis Farina brings the laughs as the unintentional Miami gangster set to retrieve his money from everyone, getting lost in the crossfire. Delroy Lindo is great as the slick LA gangster who is looking to get his money from Chilli.

The main story aside, the film is full of jokes and humour that were tasteful and didn’t distract from the main plot. It was paced as a good level, and I never lost where the plot was heading to. Every cast member word fluidly with each other which made the film great. Another hit from Barry Sonnenfeld, who also brought us Men in Black and The Addams Family.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 150 – Grimsby – 2016

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Grimsby is from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen who brought us classic characters such as Ali G, Borat and Bruno. He started to create these zany characters on television and then made one into a film. Ali G Indahouse, Borat: Cultural Learnings of American For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and The Dictator where he played a middle east dictator sent to New York to find himself. This time around he takes us to Grimsby, the town in the north east of England. Starring himself, Mark Strong and Isla Fisher it came out in 2016 to lacklustre reviews.

Nobby Butcher (Sacha Baron Cohen) lives in Grimsby with his girlfriend and 11 kids in harmony. He goes to the pub to celebrate Englands win and entry to the final against Germany in Chile. While at the pub he is informed by friends that they have found his long lost brother Coddy and will be attending the WorldCure event. Nobby agrees to visit him, not realising his brother is an undercover MI6 agent tasked with taking out bio-terrorists at the event. He, unfortunately, gets rumbled thanks to Nobby and they retreat to Grimsby. From there they have to escape the WorldCure goons who threaten the world’s AIDS crisis by planting a bomb at the World Cup Final in Chile. It is up to Nobby and Coddy to stop the WorldCure CEO Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz) before its too late.

Well, what can I say? Are you a fan of crude jokes, audacious escapades and desperate jokes. Then this is the film for you. Sacha Baron Cohen film, unfortunately, doesnt have the same magic that his former films or characters had. This time around he brings the laughs, but unfortunately, it comes across rude in most cases. The humour is aimed at the teenage audience, and luckily it reaches that market audience. Unfortunately for me, it was more a laborious in watch then in practice. It was funny but in the crude nature.

If you are a fan of stupid comedies, then this will abide your time. Don’t expect to overthink, just laugh. Its fun, but to a point where it becomes tame. Don’t waste your time on Sasha Baron Cohen taking the piss out of Liam Gallagher’s hair.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 147 – The Guilt Trip – 2012

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Seth Rogan was a breakout star in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin. From there he has starred in some great films such as Superbad, This is the End and The Green Hornet. They all have his signature style of comedy of which usually works in all scenarios, but this time around we are with him on a trip across America with his mother played by a Barbara Streisand. Comedy apparently ensues.

Seth Rogan plays Andy Brewster, a young go-getter who is trying to launch his cleaning liquid that is completely neutral to the environment. Unfortunately, it is not going very well for him, and he has to travel a lot. One day he goes home to visit his mother, and she tells him how being home on her own is fun. Feeling pity for his mother he invites her on his across the country road trip, which has him meeting different distributors for his new cleaner.

The film is funny act certain points, thanks to the gleeful execution from Rogan and Streisand. The comedic chemistry between them both pushes past the lacklustre plot that has them travel across the US. The only problem is that the in-between moments of comedy are dull and tiresome. Trying to capture some of the essence of previous Seth Rogan work did not help with a lot of it being slapstick comedy which is completely distasteful to the characters as a whole.

The great thing about this road trip movie is the chemistry between Rogan and Streisand. They both bring the family vibe to the screen, thanks to the story and you can truly feel the love that they share for each other. The title has no justification for the plot, as it is not really a guilt trip for both characters, more of a remembering of who they were thanks to the time they have spent apart. Whoever came up with the title needed to rethink their life choices in motion picture development. The mum and son thing works to a degree, but I think the film would have been better suited to be released on DVD rather than in cinemas. More a film you watch on a plane then in the theatres.

Overall the plot is weak, but the redeeming factor is the chemistry between Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand who really do feel like a real son and mother. The jokes are tame, but some do stand out. If the film was released 10 years ago, it would have been a sure hit thanks to the comedy, but thanks to the internet, the content falls flat.

Should you watch it: NO