Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Nevermind, Sep 29, 2011.
90 Mean Girls (2004)
Dir Mark Waters (Lindsay Lohan, Jonathan Bennett, Rachel McAdams)
?She?s fabulous but she?s evil.?
"Where does ethnography meet teen comedy? At North Shore High! Lindsay Lohan stars as Cady, the sensitive and naive heroine ? you could get away with such casting in 2004 ? who gets a rude awakening when she enters the school system after being home-taught by zoologist parents in Africa. She?s soon dealing with the complexities of adolescent social interaction, most of it underhanded and bitchy, while trying to keep her head. The script, by Tina Fey, is inspired by high-school ethnography 'Queen Bees and Wannabes' and offers genuine insight and empathy as well as a hefty dose of put-downs and comeuppances. BW"
89. The Great Dictator (1940)
Dir Charles Chaplin (Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard)
'The Great Dictator' was Chaplin?s first ?complete? talkie, but the transition to sound for the silent-cinema star was no simple matter. A satire on the rise of Hitler, this brave, heartfelt, moving film features scenes of its eponymous tyrant ? Chaplin?s Adenoid Hynkel ? speaking German-sounding gibberish. A serious point underlies the funny business. Stripped of his poisonous rhetoric, Hynkel/Hitler is exposed for what he really is: a ridiculous buffoon.'
The most memorable part for me was always the beginning: the super gun that will strike fear into the Allies (it blows up an outhouse), Chaplin getting lost in the smoke of No Mans Land and ending up advancing with the British, and finally 'defying the laws of physics' in the airplane.
Since Hitler grew his moustache to look like the world's most popular person, Charlie Chaplin,
the fact that Chaplin did a movie satirizing the man who copied his look, always struck me as
I see The Great Dictator as two films, really, the first is a slapstick comedy film very much a product of the silent era and the second is a rather touching commentary of the situation at the time in Europe. And this is no real surprise if you know about how it was made, to be honest.
Chaplin later said he had no idea of the real situation over there, and if he had he would not have made it.
Fun fact: Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler were born in the same week, of the same month of the same year.
Yikes! I didn't that.
88 Arthur (1981)
Dir Steve Gordon (Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud)
?I?m going to have another drink. Do you want another fish?'
"Russell Brand?s best efforts notwithstanding, Arthur is Dudley Moore: rich imp, broadly functional alcoholic and little boy lost in the high life of Manhattan. Steve Gordon?s script bursts with witty one-liners as well as conjuring genuine pathos from Arthur?s situation as he decides whether to marry a bore for the sake of his trust fund or embark on a romantic adventure with working-class Liza Minnelli, all under the precisely foul-mouthed eye of John Gielgud?s trusty butler. With its stress on character and dialogue, it has something of an old-school screwball feeling ? and that?s no bad thing. BW"
I have all sorts of trouble with this film--Minnelli is charmless, and the real affair is between Arthur and Hobbes. But Geilgud has peerless comedy timing, and shows it.
"I'll alert the media." Gielgud steals the show in Arthur, but it's also Dudley Moore's funniest performance. I actually think Minelli is pretty good in the film.
87 A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Dir Charles Crichton (John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin)
?You?re the vulgarian, you ****!?
"An astonishingly low placing for perhaps the best British comedy since the heyday of Python (seriously, ?Clockwise? is higher?) With ?Wanda?, John Cleese deliberately attempted to move away from the satirical silliness that made his name and back to a more inclusive, plot-driven, unmistakeably British brand of comic caper, even going so far as to rope in 78-year-old Ealing stalwart Charles Crichton to direct. The result is a barnstorming success: a film which, like its slippery American heroine, is madly in love with language, from tongue-teasingly delicious sarcasm to some truly outrageous swearing. Add to this four iconic performances (five if you count the inimitable Tom Georgeson as cockernee gangster George ?Unbe-fackin?-lieveable!? Thomason), and the result speaks for itself. Number 87? Unbe... etc. TH"
This placing is very strange; this is a very good comedy. I don't remember a low spot.
For a list this Anglophilic, it's weird that this is in the high eighties. When the American Film Institute did their list, it was in the low twenties, I think, if not the high teens.
Regardless, it's a consistently brilliant comedy. It just goes some incredibly silly places and the cast is committed to a degree you rarely see in comedy. Cleese is at the top of his game and I'll just go on record that this is far and away Kevin Kline's best performance; he's usually kind of minimalist, but the freedom he feels in playing this absurd character is palpable and exuberant. Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin are also great. It's a masterpiece.
86 Mr Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Dir Jacques Tati (Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla)
"Essentially a silent comedian plying his trade in the ?50s and ?60s, Jacques Tati is the iconic French Vaudeville stalwart who gifted the world with his bumbling, pipe-smoking everyman, Monsieur Hulot. Set in the mundane seaside town of Saint Marc Sur Mer, just west of Nantes, this is a simple chronicle of Hulot?s holidays that derives its humour from hundreds upon hundreds of micro-choreographed miniature moments. Though the content of Tati?s film presented him as an ardent admirer ? a keeper, almost ? of tradition and local custom, the bold, idiosyncratic style of his comedy showed him as a brilliant innovator of the cinematic form. The character of Hulot remained a blessing and a curse for Tati: in 1969?s ?Playtime?, Tati removed Hulot from the action wherever possible; in the film he was intending to make before he died in 1982 ? a TV station-set comedy called ?Confusion? co-starring Ron and Russell Mael from the band Sparks ? he even intended to kill his hero off. DJ"
I confess that I've tried this film twice and no go.
85 Caddyshack (1980)
Dir Harold Ramis (Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray)
?Did somebody step on a duck??
"The Bushwood Country Club is either one of Florida?s more exclusive and prestigious golf clubs or ?a crummy snobatorium?. The latter description is courtesy of Rodney Dangerfield, the wisecracking, cigar-chomping, ogling vulgarian who horrifies the patrician stiffs running the Bushwood club when he decides to join. For those unbelievers who maintain golf is boring, this exquisitely crass film offers as a riposte Chevy Chase?s womanizing zen golfer, Bill Murray?s incoherent, gopher-hating groundsman and Dangerfield?s endless one-liners. Plus, some valuable advice on how to clear a full swimming pool with an unwrapped chocolate bar. EL"
I'm not too enamored of this movie. It's way too broad, if you ask me; I know that's part of its charm for those who love it. Bill Murray has some nice bits, but he's the main thing that's any good about the movie. And the plot with the actual caddies? Dead in the water.
Maybe it's because some of the best parts had been spoiled long in advance (I didn't see the first movie until around 2001-2003) but it also didn't click with me too highly (however, I still enjoyed it more than, say, Animal House, which does absolutely nothing for me), outside of Bill Murray and maybe a couple lines by Dangerfield.
CaddyShack II, however, I still find quite funny- but then, I've been watching that on video or on cable since 1989. The whole arrow scene with Akroyd and Chase kills me every time. And even simple gags like the gun hairdryer are pretty great in an absurd way.
84 Galaxy Quest (1999)
Dir Dean Parisot (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman)
?By Grabthar's Hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!?
"There aren?t too many films that work so completely that you couldn?t ? if really pushed to do so ? pick out the odd tiny fault. ?Godfather II?? Bit long. ?Rear Window?? Enough already with the windows! But ?Trek?-spoof ?Galaxy Quest? is such an elegantly conceived and precision-tooled belter that it gets as close as a movie can to achieving all-round perfection. A big-hearted film that boasts some mighty action sequences and a perfectly drawn cast, it also displays the love and understanding for its original source material that?s necessary to sell any genre parody. Director Dean Parisot misfired next time with 2005 flop ?Fun With Dick and Jane? and has since been demoted to directing TV. A shame. ALD"
A very sustained comedy, with a surprisingly moving and good-hearted ending.
A terrific film. For me, what manages to keep the fun going right to the end was the inspired idea of having the heroes needing to rely on their geeky fans to win the day - a point several Trek stars noted when they saw the film (when they could have so easily just had the heroes save the day on their own).
Galaxy Quest is great, even if the bad guy is painfully obviously a guy in a suit, but that may have been intentional. Sam Rockwell's character is a nice subversion of the typical red-shirt character and Alan Rickman shines throughout. Too bad Tim Allen hasn't really done anything good since, except of course for his Jimmy Neutron appearance.
It's probably the one live action Tim Allen movie I recommend watching. Alan Rickman is, not surprisingly, awesome. But, yeah, it's a great, fun flick and I'm honestly not sure why it didn't get a sequel. Think of all the long shot sequels that get greenlit; but not this one? Way to screw up, Hollywood.
I disagree. Sarris was actually very advanced makeup- Rick baker managed to create some new technique that allowed more of the actor's expressions to translate through the mask. I think they used it later for Planet of the Apes as well. Wish they'd use that more often.
The only thing that stuck out to me was the mouth. IIRC you can see the actor's mouth behind Sarris' face, and it was pretty jarring to me.
I grew up at Trekker so for awhile I didn't like this film because I thought as a parody it was mocking us Trek fans. Then, about 1 1/2 years ago amid my Alan Rickman curiosity phase, I watched it. I *loved* the two main aliens. Great messages if delivered with stupid humor, at times. For once, I like Alan's char and I like the fact he was the only one stuck looking like his char the *whole* film even when he was *obviously* Dane, actor not Dr Lazarus, alien.
Kinda reminded me of Leonard Nimoy's story of his experience and (error) in attending a con as Spock (in appearance)and it's aftermath.
83 Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Dir Preston Sturges (Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake, Robert Warwick)
?There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cock-eyed caravan.?
"The appearance of Preston Sturges?s meaning-of-life masterpiece at a paltry 83 is a damning indictment of the state of film education in this country. Believe it or not, there was comedy before 'Monty Python' and 'Saturday Night Live', and some of it was pretty damn funny. ?Sullivan?s Travels? is perhaps best known today as being the movie that ?inspired? the Coens' ?O Brother, Where Art Thou??, but it deserves so much more. At once witty, wacky, wholesome, devious and devastatingly smart, it showcases a writer-director at the absolute pinnacle of his game, offering up not just a wildly entertaining Hollywood romp but a razor-sharp (and explosively political) examination of why comedy matters at all. A work of genius, plain and simple. And damn, Veronica Lake! TH"
The fourth best Sturges movie (after "The Lady Eve", "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" and "The Palm Beach Story"), it's funny, but I don't really understand the current love affair with it.
It's a good movie; I enjoy it and it has some laughs. But The Miracle at Morgan's Creek is Sturges' best movie; I'd place The Palm Beach Story above this one too.
The Pink Panther (1963)
Dir Blake Edwards (David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner)
'Simone, where is my SurÃ©tÃ© Scotland Yard-type mackintosh?'
"The first in a long-running series of five films featuring the clumsy antics of Peter Sellers's bungling pseudo-French detective Inspector Clouseau, 'The Pink Panther' is also the most measured, languorous and subtle of the set. Not wishing to sound patronising, but there's a nagging suspicion that one or two of our contributors for this poll may have mistakenly or forgetfully chosen this diamond-heist comedy as a generic title for one of the others in the series, possibly 'The Pink Panther Strikes Again' (at number 95). While often very funny, Sellers's incompetent character only came to the fore from the second film, 'A Shot in the Dark', onwards. Consequently, anyone seeing this expecting wall-to-wall Sellers may be a mite disappointed. But hey, it still knocks spots off the awful 2006 remake. DA"
I know no one agrees with this, but I like this film a lot. Yes, it's too slow. But there's lots of solid entertainment along the way.
81 Raising Arizona (1987)
Dirs Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, John Goodman)
?Would you shop at a store called Unpainted Huffheins??
"A wild and raucous world away from their laconic desert-noir debut ?Blood Simple?, the Coen brothers? second outing sees them showcase their genius for creating jabbering arias of breakneck cartoon anarchy that never, ever threaten to tip over into ?zaniness?. Baby-snatching may not strike you as the perfect trigger for comedy dynamite, but this is a film shot through with so much goofy charm and homespun warmth, and giddy with such an uncommon degree of cinematic zest that you just know that abducted blond munchkin Nathan Arizona Jr is in the safest of hands on his turbocharged odyssey through trailer-park Americana. A cracked and dusty gem that?s too often excluded from broadsheet rundowns of the Coens? very best work. ALD"
I love this movie. Fabulous cast, too.
The chase scene ("Son, you got a panty on your head!") is an absolute highlight.