July 13, 2009

Weekend In Reviews

The Hangover - You know how sometimes people say so much good stuff about a movie that by the time you watch it you're expectations can't possibly be met and no matter how good it is, it's still a let-down? I've experienced this many times and part of me thought that The Hangover was going to be another one of these. Everyone raved about how funny it was and comedy is a really tough one for me because I tend to want people to work for a laugh and a lot of today's comedy relies pretty heavily on easy, lazy "jokes" (Wild Hogs anyone?), so I felt like if it wasn't pee-your-pants funny then it was going to be a total fail for me.

It was pee-your-pants funny. I'm not going to lie, some of the jokes fall flat. Others that are unbelievably hilarious are so off-the-cuff or small in the moment that you can miss them easily. The movie is raunchy and so full of dick jokes (and actual dicks) that it isn't for the prude, the easily skeeved or the faint of heart. But it was easily the funniest movie I've seen in a couple of years.

Given that the premise is the aftermath of a bachelor party in Las Vegas, you'd expect the setup to be mostly bachelor party shenanigans which would set the bar for the laughs, but instead the setup is entirely the groom and his three friends meeting up, hitting the road, checking in to their hotel, bitching about their lives, and toasting each other on the roof. It's got a laugh or two but mostly it's a slow burn. Cut to the next scene where the hotel room is trashed and the groomsmen are passed out in various stages of dress all over the floor. When they awake, not a single one can remember what happened last night or where the groom is - 90 minutes of insane hilarity ensues.

The movie was especially genius because of the lead actors - Ed Helms, Zach Gilifianakis and Bradley Cooper. They have terrific chemistry, excellent timing and the one essential thing for any good comedic actor - a willingness to make a complete ass of themselves for a laugh. I would watch this again in a second.

Pineapple Express - I can't put my finger on exactly why this movie was so boring, but I think it might have to do with the fact that it plays very much as if it was made by stoned people, for stoned people and fuck the rest of the world. It had funny bits here and there but nearly everything went on too long and gave very little payoff.

The premise is this: Seth Rogen is a process server/pothead, James Franco is his pot dealer. When Seth witnesses a murder while serving a subpoena, he freaks out and leaves a roach behind that will lead the murderer (Franco's supplier) right to him, so he and Franco go on the run together. And then one crazy, stupid thing after another happens for nearly 2 hours.

I have nothing against movies about stoners, but I guess I just don't really like stoner movies. I think perhaps the only way to enjoy them is to be stoned and that's not my bag.

Friday the 13th - At some point during the production of this movie, I suspect moments AFTER casting, the decision was made to target this exclusively toward a male audience. How do I know? Well, the "lead" actor is Jared Padalecki who is a hundred feet tall with the broadest shoulders and biggest muscles ever, yet he remains fully covered (by at least one layer of clothing and often TWO) the entirety of the movie. Ditto with almost every other attractive male in the cast. Meanwhile I saw more breasts for no damn reason than I would have expected had I'd watched a movie about strippers.

Anyway, this movie is not a new chapter in the Jason Voorhees story but rather a retelling of the original story. The movie starts in 1980 when Mrs. Voorhees, in an absolute TIZZY over the near-drowning-related disfigurement (?) of her son at Camp Crystal Lake, decides the only thing to do is to kill all of the teenage counselors at the camp who neglected to prevent said near-drowning. But before she can off the last girl, she stops to talk her to death (that's the downfall of every incompetent bad guy in the movies) and the girl manages to decapitate Mom with one swift swing of her machete.

Fast forward to the present day when a group of horny, pot-seeking kids head out on a camping trip in search of a field of marijuana they've heard about and some sex in the woods. Unfortunately Mom's little boy has decided to avenge his mother's death (which occurred while she was avenging his disfiguring, so in a way, he's just pissed that he's ugly), doesn't much care for young people comin' around Crystal lake. So he murders 4 of the 5 kids in truly gruesome fashion and then, just as he's fixing to drive his machete deep into the skull of the last girl, we cut away to the title card and zoom forward another 6 weeks. That's when Jared Padalecki shows up in a local convenience store with a flier for his missing sister (last girl standing from before the credits) and has a minor altercation with the biggest Jackhole ever seen in a movie.

Jackhole is a rich prick taking this opportunity to flaunt his wealth to the only 5 people from his college who'll put up with his extreme bullshit. Anyway, Jason knocks them all off one by one until all that are left (SPOILER!) are the brother and sister who manage to kill Jason by driving him through with his own machete, strangling him with a chain, and wood-chipping part of his head. Then they dump him in the lake (though really, I'd have cut his head off just for good measure) and sit on the dock to contemplate life just long enough for Jason to BURST through the dock and grab the sister before the credits roll.

There were exactly two scary moments in this movie - the first was when Travis Van Winkle showed up on screen and started trying to "act" and the second was nearly 2/3 of the way in when Padalecki and Dannielle Pannabaker were checking out Jason's creepy childhood home and her foot fell through the floor. That was only scary because of the horrific noise it made that broke the silence of the scene.

What it lacks in genuine scary horror, it more than makes up for in gore, atrocious acting, boobs and sex.

Oh my WORD, this movie was awful.

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