Sunday, June 12, 2011

I'm back!

Just graduated from UCLA this weekend. Now I'll finally have time to get back to posting all sorts of good stuff. Stay tuned. More to come soon. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I can't believe I forgot!

Here's one more comedy that fits right into the list below. Definitely helped kick off the golden years of the stoner buddy genre. It's probably on netflix watch instantly so get on it. This one is for David Guatelli for being on this shit when it first came out back in the day.



Monday, May 16, 2011

75 comedies everyone should see

and by everyone, I mean those who like crass, low-brow humor.

So I always read top ten lists, top 25 lists, top 50 lists, and top 100 lists, but when was the last time you saw a top 75?
Well you guys are in luck.

It amazes me how many of the people I know who are younger than me have missed out on so many of my favorite comedies, and even if they saw them, I’m not too sure they would even find them funny.  I’ve slowly realized, and also come to appreciate, that I’m at the tail end of a generation who was the first to truly embrace (and be greatly influenced by) the sub-genre of comedy that has dominated for the last few decades, which started with the Farrely Brothers’ Dumb and Dumber masterpiece and has evolved and meandered and transformed into the R-rated “bromedy’s” of the last few years.  At the heart of all these movies are typically irredeemable or immature male characters that get into ridiculous situations filled with low-brow humor but somehow instill us with some sentimental value by the end of the film. There were plenty of these movies that fall into that category made before my time, some of which are included, but for the most part they were the exception rather than the norm.

So if you are between the ages of 18-30,  or just want to understand most of the movie references I make, which go unnoticed way too often, the following list should be mandatory viewing (this is just as much for my selfish benefit so that I don’t look like a fool when my random quotes aren’t recognized).

I have somehow sorted out the hundreds upon hundreds of hilarious theatrical movies I’ve seen in my life and have picked out the best 75. And by best 75 I mean my favorite 75. This is a favorites list, not a film criticism list. There are some classics that I probably missed, so please excuse their absence. I also mostly left out animation, ‘cuz that opens a whole new bag of worms, mainly called Pixar, which would greatly complicate things. I’ve also left out a lot of older comedies (with a few exceptions), mainly because this is a list for my generation.

Now without further adieu, and with zero authority on the matter, I pronounce the 75 classic comedies of my time (give or take). 

The Top Ten

1.       Superbad

People Don't Forget

Life-changing is an understatement

2. Dumb and Dumber

Where the beer flows like wine, and the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano

3.       Old School

Frank the Tank is my hero

4.       South Park: Bigger, Longer, and uncut

That movie has warped my fragile little mind

5.       Role Models

I'm sorta into politics

6.       Road Trip

Are you here for the feeding?

7.       Harold and Kumar (1 and 2)

Extreme Cheddar!

8.       The 40 Year Old Virgin

Like Bags of Sand

9.       Happy Gilmore

Well now your back is gonna hurt, 'cuz you just pulled landscaping duty. 

10.   American Pie(s)

I can taste the bubbles...

I just realized Sean William Scott is in four of these movies. So what if I'm a little biased? Stifler is the greatest character of all time.


  • The Hangover
  • Caddy Shack
  • Dogma
  • Knocked Up
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Mallrats
  • Billy Madison
  • Dude Where’s my Car
  • Saving Silverman
  • Waiting
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Clerks
  • Ace Ventura (Both of them)
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Anchorman
  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Grandmas Boy
  • The Rundown
  • Rushmore
  • How High
  • Hot Fuzz
  • The Big Lebowski
  • 10 Things I hate about you
  • The Princess Bride
  • Office Space
  • Next Friday
  • Jackass
  • Van Wilder
  • Animal House
  • Beavis and Butthead Do America
  • There’s Something About Mary
  • Wayne’s World 2
  • Blues Brothers
  • EuroTrip
  • Spaceballs
  • Rush Hour
  • Meet the Parents
  • The Girl Next Door
  • Bad Santa
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Blue Streak
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • I love you man
  • Scary movie
  • Dead Man on Campus
  • GroundHog’s Day
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day off
  • Ghostbusters
  • Tommy Boy
  • Pineapple Express
  • Half Baked
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Zack and Miri make a Porno
  • Beerfest
  • Super Troopers
  • Waterboy
  • Liar Liar
  • The Naked Gun
  • Airplane
  • Tropic thunder
  • Step Brothers
  • Austin Powers
  • Zoolander
  • Dodgeball
  • Mystery Team

Obviously the dominance of the R-rated comedy reflects my taste for slapstick and stoner humor. Yeah Dr. Strangelove is funny as hell, but I’ll laugh way harder watching Dude Where’s my Car (This would be the appropriate time to call me an idiot. Followed by me saying suck on my Summa Cum Laude balls).

My pruning memory probably forgot some awesome ones, so add them to the comments! Let me know what else should be in there and we can make a top 100!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jon Stewart embarrasses Fox News...again

Thank you Jon Stewart for continually pointing out how frustratingly far Fox News will take things out of context to create controversy. And for just being plain hilarious.
Besides the segment just being another expose of the blatant hypocrisy of Fox News, it kinda just makes everyone at FOX look like complete fear-mongering racists...did I say look like? Oops. I'm being too nice.
To be fair, this rant applies to most major news networks.

It's sad that so many people take these personalities seriously. 
News personalities = Personalities. Entertainment. Putting their own opinions on news, be it logical or illogical (mostly illogical).

"Protect Jon Stewart. He's our most important Jew!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Escape from Limbo

Really well-edited Inception clip of Cobbs and Saito using each other to get out of Limbo.

Damn that musical score still gives me chills. Check it out

And no, the end isn't Cobbs still in Limbo.

And no, the whole thing isn't a dream.

It's exactly what you think and want the end to be. [SPOILER ALERT] He get's back to reality. Just ask Christopher Nolan.

Thanks Wong

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Five reasons why Fast Five is better than you

I went to see Fast Five on opening night, and let me tell you, I had some pretty high expectations. The trailer was one of the most bad-ass things I'd ever seen. But obviously that's never a sure sign of a good movie (ie Sucker Punch).  But somehow, Fast Five surpassed even my wildest expectations.
Maybe it was the tequila shots I took before. Maybe it was the half-whiskey-half-monster mixture I brought into the theatre with me. Or MAYBE it was because the movie just straight up kicked ass.
I'm going with the latter.


Before I begin, let me just throw this out there. This is a review of action entertainment. So to my hater friends out there, this post probably isn't for you. This blog probably isn't for you. And anything mildly entertaining in life probably isn't for you. So stop reading this and go watch your TiVo'd Bravo and that low-budget Indie film that you think is good because no one else has seen it even though the real reason no one else has seen it is because, well, it's just not that good. 
Good stories get seen. It doesn't matter if it's a blockbuster or The King's Speech. Do you think Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Faust, and the Greek Tragedies were "discovered" after their time? Do you think only a small, counter-culture population supported them? No. They were the most popular pieces of story of their time. That's why they lasted 'till today. Now I'm not trying to say Fast Five is brilliant art that should be cherished for hundreds of years. But I am saying that an 80 million dollar opening weekend, an A Cinescore by critics and an A+ score by viewers, and an 80% on rottentomatoes supports my point more than it supports yours. 

Sorry to everyone else, hopefully that rant weeded the negative energy out. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, how fucking sweet Fast Five was. 

1.  It fully utilized the benefits that can come with a franchise: We know who these characters are. We've seen them fight and grow and win our support across multiple films. Now why is this so important? For both the Fast part and the Furious part. A franchise film can move much, much faster and pack way more action into a smaller amount of time because backstory, exposition, and all those potentially boring yet necessary things in original stories are already taken care of. It's the same reason why pulp fiction is the public's favorite type of reading. The film can rely on the action to drive the story forward without having to sacrifice time to the building of character depth. And boy does Fast five takes full advantage of this. The entire first act is practically one non-stop action sequence.   

That's a whole lot of history. 

2. True Grit: Or at least that's what I like to refer to it as. What I mean by True Grit is that the action was raw. It felt real. The reason Fast Five was so entertaining was the same reason Sucker Punch, for lack of a better word, just sucked. Action for action's sake doesn't work. It needs to be close to the characters. Not three levels of fantasy world away or whatever the fuck that was. The action doesn't have to be realistic (and is far from it in most action movies today), BUT the audience MUST believe in the danger and the stakes.   Fast Five utilized this best by avoiding CGI as much as possible. We could feel the stunts. The cars. The explosions. The gunfire. The punches. It was up-close and personal, the in-your-face kind of action that I miss about the 80's and  90's action era. CGI has proven the death of many an action film (The A-team, Sucker Punch, and a thousand others come to mind). 
And it's not just me that holds this opinion. Straight from the mouth of a Universal Exec at the head of the making of Fast Five: 
Our strategy behind one of the biggest bets we've ever made is that the business has gone so far towards CG action every weekend, that we really believe creating a movie with real action and real cars will be amazing stuff to people excited by seeing something real.

3. Personal Stakes: Let me take a minute to name some of the conflicts that we will be seeing during this Summer Blockbuster season. Alien Demi-God vs. crazy metal thing but on Earth (Thor). Mutants vs. Fidel Castro (X-Men First Class). Scrawny guy turned superhuman vs. Nazi Zombies (Captain America). Pirates vs. Walking Dead or Mermaids or whatever the hell that movie will be about (Pirates of the Caribbean). Kids vs. crazy alien mutant mystery thing (Super 8). Cowboys vs. Aliens (No, seriously, that's actually the title). 

If my point hasn't gotten through to you yet, it's that in a season where every action flick available to go see is some high-concept out-of-this-world fantasy or graphic novel based film, it's refreshing to see a movie where the stakes are smaller. People vs. other people. A couple characters who are just trying to get some money and get out before it's too late. There's no saving the world. No aliens. No zombies. No superpowers. It ties in to the last point. Fast Five, despite it's ridiculousness, can stay grounded because of the simplicity and closeness of the stakes. 
Not gonna lie: Cowboys vs. Aliens has me stoked

4: Keeping it fresh: Fast Five gives us something fresh from the franchise. Unlike The Hangover II, which literally looks like the exact same movie as the first except in Bangkok (Check the middle section to see for yourself), Fast Five completely changes gears (ha, get it?) and gives us a different type of story than we are used to with the franchise. This movie is not about street racing. Even though the first FATF was about a cop trying to solve a series of heists, it was the street-racing world that came first. As great as it was, the franchise has played it out. Fast Five puts us somewhere new and dangerous and turns itself into an action-heist movie where the characters are trying to stay one step ahead. It's Cat vs. Mouse vs. some other crazy fucking animals. The movie found a balance between new and old. The core feel of their world still feels legit since there's a shit-ton of awesome car scenes relying on the characters' driving skills, but it drives a different type of story. 
And it wasn't just the story that was fresh. It had some of the best action sequences, car chases, foot chases, and straight up full-fledged street warfare scenes I've seen in a while. 
Oh, and did I mention Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson?!?! I mean c'mon. The movie was failsafe from the start. I think the only thing that could have made this movie any sicker was a rock-bottom to Vin Diesel through one of those Favela rooftops. 

Did I mention it was awesome?

5. Fast Five knows what it is: If you saw the movie, or just watched the above clip, it's pretty self-explanatory. We know this film isn't trying to break new cinematic ground or change your life or make you cry or shatter your world-view. This film knows it isn't trying to do that. It knows what we are expecting. We know what we are expecting. And that's why I can sit through the cheesy one-liners and ridiculous stunts and still love this movie. This film knows we are familiar with its diegesis and knows the type of entertainment it provides and thus can almost mock itself and push the limits and give us a truly fun theatre experience, which is really really rare these days. I loved the explosions of applause and hooting during certain scenes of the flick. Everyone in that theatre embraced the unbelievable chaos. 
Before beginning to try my hand at an action spec a few months ago, I asked my close friend Will what makes an awesome action movie. His answer was something along the lines of: Fast cars, Fast girls, Fast fights, and a lotta shit blowing up. It might sound mindless, but man does he know what he's talking about. The last section of another post, despite trying to figure out whether this makes the movie good or bad, nails what I'm trying to say. As the author, Daniel O'Brien puts it: 
So here we are. The big movie that kicks off the summer blockbuster season is just cars, punches, jump-punches, butts, one-liners, jumping, butt-jumps, leaping-quips, butt-carring and punch-punches. That's why I can't tell if this is an action movie or a parody of action movies or what. I ask people who want to see this movie if they're going ironically or because it genuinely looks good, and no one knows. It feels like there's a joke somewhere, but no one can find it. Meanwhile it's getting great reviews.
Daniel misses the point even though he's standing right on top of it. Because it's the fifth in a franchise, it can push itself and make fun of itself while still being an action movie.

But my favorite quote from his piece, while breaking the trailer into five categories: Cars, One liners, Girls, Punching, and People recklessly jumping off of things.
Jumping is the solution when punching isn't an option, which it always is, which is why the trailer also features a sequence where The Rock jump-punches someone.
 See, now he's onto something.  

Damn I loved this movie. I could try and analyze it with 5 more reasons (easily), but it really just comes down to that intrinsic infatuation for ridiculous action. I'm a true product of the 90's. Now go see it!

Need I say more? 


All in all, Fast Five is what we in the business like to call the MOTY (coined by William Rippetoe). Before you throw me to the wolves, allow me to explain what that means so you realize it's about as serious as this movie. The MOTY, without getting to in detail on the intricate complexities of the term (and yes it has been discussed way too extensively), started as being a phrase mocking itself by referring to guilty pleasure, critically-bad-but-still-good movies, but has essentially evolved into meaning the best non-serious Movie Of The Year (MOTY). The most entertaining. The coolest. The movie you walk out of being like "Yes that was fucking awesome". If the MOTY was a Counterstrike 1.6 scrim sequence, it would be a five-shot AWP-Deagle combo for the win. And that's what Fast Five is. A straight headshot.
Nuff Said.