Random Reviews

(my SPN review will have to wait as I was interrupted during the finale and will have to rewatch some parts of it)

Some thoughts from my journey through Netflix.

Talladega Nights – Of the great 2nd generation of SNL actors, I was not a big fan of Will Ferrell.  To me he always seemed to be a “1 joke” comedian.  But now and then, putting him in the right context could really bring the laughs (especially some of his impersonations).

This movie… was not the right context.

Now and then it made me laugh but over all… it was worse that there was no real “straight man” for the movie’s outlandish characters to play off of.  With that, we have a situation of “blue doesn’t stand out from blue” and thus a lot of the humor kind of falls flat.

But it does have Amy Adams which is always a plus.

And I’ve been curious about why so many mediocre comedies lately have clever, cliche-busting endings.  Talladega Nights is the 2nd film I can think of where I say “well it wasn’t great, but I enjoyed how they broke the mold with the ending.”

Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy – Now this was a bit more on the nose for a good context for Will Ferrell’s humor.  It wasn’t flawless, but a step in the right direction.  The part I enjoyed most was the “turf war” between the news agencies and wish the movie had a bit more with that.  (Say… Ron’s teleprompter mishap having been caused by a rival station rather than just a rival [girl] newsanchor.)

Still, this movie was a delight to watch just for which cameo would pop up next and Fred Willard (who’s got to be the hardest working guy in Hollywood) always gets a laugh from me.

Wedding Crashers – I swear I didn’t intend this order, but here was the best context for Will Ferrell (his handful of scenes made me laugh more than any of his scenes in the previous two movies).

Other than the unbearably hot and adorable Isla Fisher, this movie got a big “meh” from me.  I remember hearing that this was a big hit comedy at the time but beyond Will’s scene, I wasn’t laughing that much.

the Hangover – The second, recent, “big hit” comedy that I had missed also left me feeling cold.  The only scene I really laughed at here was the one that made me laugh most in Talladega Nights: big cats in cars.

I’m starting to wonder if something’s wrong with me.  Have I just watched too much British humor lately (having acquired the full Monty Python series) for American humor to appeal to me any more?  Am I alone in not seeing these as funny as others say they are?

the NeverEnding Story – This movie came out when I was 3.  I watched it on video when I was 5.  I always had some recollection of scenes and stuff from the movie but was always foggy on many of the details.  So with the Nostalgia Critic having touched on it recently (or was it the sequels?), I thought I’d look at it again and see how much has changed over the years.

When I was 5 I thought it was pretty good.

Six times that, I realize it was great.

It’s still so beautiful to look at, a movie that reminds you of the wonder that movies used to inspire.  And yes I’m still a little scared of Gmork (he was definitely one of the contributing factors to my phobia of wolves).  Sometimes people throw around the term classic, I was impressed with how well this film earned that title.  I especially liked how the film used unexplained things (at least, things it couldn’t take the time to explain) to its advantage to enrich the story.  Why can’t Hollywood learn how to do movies from greats like this?

Family Guy, Something… Something Dark Side – Oh Family Guy… you’re still not as funny as Robot Chicken.

Family Guy, it’s a Trap! – This one they even admit how tired and burnt out they were and yet I thought it was a bit funnier than the previous effort.  But then, my favorite part of the previous 2 FG:SW efforts were the meta jokes of the two Seth’s arguing over their respective pet projects through the characters they voice.  This one did even more with that train of thought so that probably helped my appreciation.

To tell the truth, I think they could have had more comedy had they gone with the prequels instead of the originals.  At least then this wouldn’t all feel like a giant selzterberg effort.

Legend of the Seeker (season 2) – Now I finished up the series and… wow I am impressed.  The first season was acceptable, but by no means outstanding.  The second season proved that the writers were willing and able to go new directions and try new things.  There were great continuity call-backs, fascinating takes on the pre-established rules of magic, I just found myself loving it in new ways with each episode.  Had this trend continued and the show been given more time, I think season 4 or 5 would have been great enough to be worthy of Smithsonian storage.

But season 2 wasn’t perfect.  For one thing, I got angry that they didn’t bother actually addressing some of the good points.  The idea that your enemy is the “keeper of the dead” and that each person you kill helps him out is a great concept.  Why couldn’t we see Richard & Company work with this and constantly struggle to find ways to settle the disputes without death.  No, I don’t think the show should have abandoned their action sequences, but some effort to avoid drawing the sword.

Everyone repeat after me: If you’re going to come up with interesting concepts, take the time to explore them and don’t just leave them by the wayside.

(coming soon: Thor, Pirates 4, SPN)

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