Happy Friday, fellow film freaks! Open wide, because it’s time for another round of piercing movie commentary courtesy of the AE Movie Club.
The Oscars are over, and you know what? Good. I was sick of them by the time Sacha Baron Cohen dumped Bisquik on Ryan Seacrest (and can we all agree that it’s not the first time that’s happened, hmm?). I for one am ready to sally forth out of this late-winter wasteland and on to some great, buzz-worthy movies.
But first, there’s a little thing called My Birthday to deal with. So in honor of myself, I’m dedicating this week’s Fast Five to the best birthday flicks. They truly are the gifts that keep on giving.
Elsewhere, It Came From Instant Queue yanks a skeleton out of George Clooney’s closet, our Movie Confessional raises the topic of irresistible cinematic crack, and I make an appeal to have The Help’s humpy director, Tate Taylor, jump out of my cake.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …START!
Reviewlet: Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
At this point, you are probably either already excited to see Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie or you have no idea what the hell it is. If you fall in the latter category, you should probably skip this, because it might hurt your brain a little.
If you are in the former, I’m sorry to say that while the cable TV comedy duo’s first film (which opens in limited release today and is also available on demand) serves up a few unforgettable moments, for the most part it’s pretty dull stuff. The basic setup – which is actually more structure than most of their fifty or so episodes of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! ever had – has Tim (Heidecker) and Eric (Wareheim) running from a mobster (an even-more-terrifying-than-usual Robbert Loggia) after blowing a billion of his dollars on a 3-minute movie starring a Johnny Depp impersonator.
After seeing a promising ad at a urinal, they journey to an abandoned mall in S’Wallow Valley that is run by a paranoid Will Ferrell and try to turn it around in order to earn a billion dollars. This involves getting rid of the squatters that have taken over the mall, trying to improve the quality of the remaining stores (a used toiled paper emporium, a religious cult called “Shrim”, an adult toy store, and an all-bread restaurant, to name a few), and dealing with the wild wolf that has taken over the food court.
Eric Wareheim and Ray Wise
Highlights: There’s a prolonged sequence where Eric gets drowned in the diarrhea of a bunch of cult children as Ray Wise cackles in the background while Tim is anally penetrated by a middle-aged balloon saleswoman across the hall. There’s also a close-up of a prosthetic penis being pierced and a scene where the friends bathe and shave one another. And of course there’s all the modulated yelling, scary close-ups of mentally ill extras, and stunningly recreated corporate training videos from the ’80s that fans of their show have come to love.
If any of this sounds funny to you, you might want to go ahead and check it out. I did laugh at least four or five times, which is more than I would have had I gone to see Project X – the Red-Bull-and-roofie-fueled hetero nightmare also opening today – instead. John C. Reilly is very funny as chronically sick homeless man-child Taquito, and any Jeff Goldblum – sorry, that would be “Chef” Goldblum here – is good Jeff Goldblum. But if you don’t get any of it, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
Here’s the trailer, in case you want to know more:
Fast Five: You Say It’s Yer Birthday
The Boys know how to party
As I mentioned earlier, my birthday is next week. I’m not even celebrating it this year because I honestly keep forgetting how old I am (and we’re still busy hunting for a new place, which is hogging all my energies), but I thought it would be the perfect time to honor some of moviedom’s best birthday presents. Oh – I also want to send a berfday shout-out to my online pal and fellow Movie Clubber Carlos. Feliz Cumpleaños! Here’s my Fast Five Birthday Movies:
5. Boys in the Band (1970)
Now THIS is how you throw a party: Secure one fabu West Village apartment, invite an assemblage of pithy and short-fused queens, toss in a beefcake hustler, add an unexpected thunderstorm, and let simmer until someone has a breakdown. Happy birthday, Harold!
4. Bloody Birthday (1981)
This extremely trashy early ’80s gem was in frequent rotation at sleepovers when I was a kid, for several reasons. First, you’ve got three apple-cheeked tweens (all born during an eclipse) running around murdering people. Second, you’ve got a healthy dose of T&A and some pretty shocking deaths. And third, you’ve got the incomparable Julie Brown of Earth Girls are Easy and Just Say Julie dancing topless in her bedroom while her murderous brat of a kid sis charges boys a quarter to watch her through a peephole. I actually met Julie after a comedy show a few years back and she was gracious enough to sign my Bloody Birthday video box, mortified/delighted that someone knew about the flick. Hey – she looked great and she’ll always have that record of her prior perkiness. What’s not to love?
3. Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Another horror flick – this one starring Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie and boasting some of “the most bizarre murders you’ll ever see”. I don’t know about that, but it’s a fun, twisty, and memorable fright flick about someone targeting the cool kids of a prestigious school. Oh – and the poster art, which I stole for this week’s banner, was brilliantly unsettling and turned me off of kebabs for about a decade.
2. The Game (1997)
I still think that this puzzler is David Fincher’s best movie to date – not just because it’s gorgeous and creepy and wonderfully tricky, but because it packs more of an emotional punch than all of his other films combined. This thriller about a scrappy loser (Sean Penn) who gives his stressed-out, super-successful older brother (Michael Douglas) the most dangerous birthday present ever is the gift that keeps on giving.
Molly Ringwald and Michael Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles
1. Sixteen Candles (1984)
The all-time greatest birthday movie ever, period. I’d let it borrow my underwear any day.
So those are the birthday flicks I’ll be celebrating this year. What are your faves?
Trailer Park: Neighborhood Watch
Today we have an example of how NOT to make a teaser trailer. Let’s watch and discuss:
Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn driving in slo-mo to gangster rap? HILARIOUS. For 1992. I bet they’re saving the foul-mouthed granny for the full trailer. Seriously, they’re still making this crap?
Also, this trailer gives absolutely zero indication of what the movie is about, which is an alien invasion. As it is, it looks like what you would get if they made a spinoff of Desperate Housewives called Even Desperater Househusbands where you follow a bunch of middle-aged guys as they drive around in a shiny car trying to impress twelve-year-old girls, or something. I have no idea.
And the thing is, I’m actually SUPPOSED TO BE IN THE TARGET DEMO for this crap. What do people OUTSIDE of the target demo think of this? Is it like what those poor people in 1902 or whatever saw when someone showed them footage of a train coming at them and they ran screaming from the theater because they’d never seen a motion picture before and they thought A MOTHEREFFING TRAIN WAS COMING AT THEM? Maybe they don’t see anything. Maybe all four guys have John Malkovich’s head. I dunno. All I do know is that I love Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd and screw these filmmakers for putting him in this so that I might actually have to go see it now. I hate you. [Update: Actually, as of next week I may be clear of this effing demo FOREVER. Thank Godric.]
Oh, and I originally had the trailer for Frankenweenie in here but I had to switch it out because snicks ran it yesterday after I TOTALLY called dibsies on it, I swear. My cat heard me.
It Came from Instant Queue: Return to Horror High
This past weekend I was skimming through the online bargain basement bin that is Netflix Instant Queue when I came across a musty old fave from the late ’80s called Return to Horror High. I have very vivid memories of first seeing the ad for Horror High on television and almost losing my Cap’n Crunch. See if you can guess the second where the milk came out of my nose:
Eventually, I actually saw the movie and my twelve-year-old self was disappointed. But from a 2012 vantage point the film has much more to offer, for several reasons. First, it’s about the interplay between documentary and scripted horror, which today is a very popular genre (Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch, The Last Exorcism, The River, etc.). Second, it stars The Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormack as a rookie cop – it’s probably the only thing I’ve ever seen her done aside from Marsha.
But most importantly, the film marks one of the earliest big screen appearances of current King of Hollywood George Clooney. It’s adorable to see George all young and rubbery, strutting around and oozing false bravado on the upholstery, his lanky frame draped with the biggest police uniform imaginable. Ironically, he plays a struggling actor doing crappy horror movies who gets his Big Break … if only he can survive the shoot. I’ll say he survived.
Vintage Beefcake! Rick Gianasi from Mutant Hunt
Today’s beefcake is something special: It’s from a lengthy fight scene conducted entirely in tidy whities by Rick Gianasi, a direct-to-video himbo mainstay that you might recognize from such films as Bad Girls Dormitory, Robot Holocaust (which I own, no joke), Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD, and an episode of Caroline in the City.
Here’s the really fun bit: This sci-fi cheapie, Mutant Hunt, was directed by Tim Kincaid, who might be more familiar to some of you as Joe Gage, the prolific gay porn director behind classics like Kansas City Trucking Co. (He also directed Robot Holocaust.) So in that light, the fact that Gianasi does this scene in nuthuggers actually means that he is MORE clothed than most actors on Kincaid’s sets.
Oh, and apropos of nothing, check out what Netflix likes to recommend when you search for the film:
Finally, someone else who hated Mad About You as much as I did!
Confessional: What’s Your Favorite Guilty Pleasure Movie?
Since we kicked things off in a celebratory mood, I thought it might be fun to share some of the flicks that do the best job of lifting our spirits, even though they might not actually be very good. You know the kind of movies I mean – those flicks that seem to be on an unending loop on TNT, TBS, USA, BET, and other 3-lettered minor cable networks. Without them, these networks would probably only have a few episodes of Charles in Charge and a Life Alert ad from 1989 to hold them together. In fact, there’s a good chance that one of these guilty pleasure usual suspects is on one of these networks RIGHT NOW – and yet, despite their delicate balance of ubiquity and mediocrity, you somehow can’t ever manage to turn them off when you stumble by them hungover on a Sunday morning. They’re like basic cable flypaper. So I need to know:
What’s Your Favorite Guilty Pleasure Movie?
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
There’s not a dark cloud to be seen in this ridiculously entertaining Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell romp – despite the fact that the subject matter is actually extremely dark (Amnesia? Coersion into slavery? Falsetto Children?). Thanks to the unwavering good spirits of its two leads and the adorably filthy children that bring them together (remember when kids cussed in PG movies and everyone loved it?), Overboard is always good for a pick-me-up. I have friends who can recite the “poison oak” speech that Goldie gives the schoolteacher, and I still use “Tofutti” as a term of endearment – but it’s the moments when Hawn tries to reconcile her rich bitch instincts with her hellish backwoods domestic reality (“I handled and prepared raw food?”) that are truly life-affirming. Not even repeated use of “Jim Dandy to the Rescue” can dampen my good time when watching this one, and if I happen upon it while channel surfing I will watch it to the end, every time.
This Week’s Poster Child…
Here’s a nice international poster for Batsh*t – sorry, Battleship – featuring local fave Alexander Skarsgard.
Okay, I’m in.
And Now: Seven Pictures of Tate Taylor
Seriously – did you get an eyeful of The Help director and bona fide Southern-fried beefcake Tate Taylor at the Oscars on Sunday? I was happy for Octavia Spencer for winning the little gold guy, but I think she deserves another award for her impeccable taste in arm candy. Can’t a girlfriend spread it around a little?
Anyway, I’ll shut up and present these without further comment:
Quote of the Week
First off, terms of our endearment to agent99 for correctly identifying last week’s quote as coming from Baby’s Day Out. Sorry – I meant Terms of Endearment. (I always get those two confused!) Can you name the movie from which this line was taken?
“That’s why her hair is so big – it’s full of secrets.”
Check our next installment for the answer, or hop on over to our Facebook page and enter the AE Clubhouse to get the answer now!
And that’s all for this week! Next week I’ll be a year closer to rocking-chair retirement and ready to dish on the new real-time horror flick Silent House and maybe more. Otherwise: Suggestions? Feedback? Complaints? Sound off in the comments!