Archives for category: Comedy

One of the many guilty pleasures of my childhood is “Mrs Doubtfire”. I would come home from school and watch this perhaps two or three times before dinner and find it equally enticing each time.

Remember those days? The days when you didn’t have to wait for years to hope that your favourite movie perhaps could feel like the first time again.

Although Mrs Doubtfire is silly and at times implausible, I will still fight for it with all I’ve got, because I do believe it harbours a cut of genius.

Mrs Doubtfire Poster

The Oscar winning make-over Mrs Doubtfire

***MINOR SPOILERS***

What is this film?

“Mrs Dountfire” (1993) is the blockbuster hit from the nineties that made Robin Williams a house-hold name.

The film is based upon the book called “Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine and was directed by a young Chris Columbus who has also made us such family favourites as “Home Alone 1 and 2” (1990, 1992) and “Harry Potter 1 and 2” (2001, 2002).

The movie tells us the story of Daniel Hillard, an out-of-work voice actor who in the midst of a nasty divorce with his wife (Sally Field, that woman who pops up in everything). He is in danger of loosing custody of his children, and in a desperate attempt to see them more often, he lands a job as their nanny and dresses up as an old, English woman.

Hilarity and drama ensues.

 

Why did I watch this 100 times as a kid?

Mrs. Doubtfire was one of the few movies we owned on VHS. And as any of the handful of VHS’ I owned can tell you, they were watched to death religiously.

But then again what is there not to love about this film? The different voices done by Robin Williams, the montage of the different make-up versions of a nanny, the montage of Mrs Doubtfire rocking the air-guitar with her broom, the passive aggressiveness of Daniel towards his wife’s new chaperone Stu (played by a smirky and too-good-to-be-true Pierce Brosnan).

I could go on and on and on.

Notice that most of what I remember loving comes from Robin Williams, most notably the scenes where he did the most improv.

 

The Award-winning Make-Up

One of the best scenes is when Daniel has a meeting with his councillor and has to both represent himself and Mrs Doubtfire alternately as he tries to hide the fact that he has dressed like a woman (difficult to explain I guess).

We have just seen him magically appear in his Mrs. Doubtfire-do-up at his children’s doorstep. We now get the chance to see him undress piece by piece and it is revealed that it is in fact Daniel under there.

No cinematic trick. It is just priceless.

The added pressure of the presence of the councillor adds to the fun. Damn why does that woman want a cup of tea?

Fun fact: The actual prosthetic face of Mrs Doubtfire that we see in this sequence (which is driven over by a truck as Daniel drops it onto the street) is actually only a prop. To become the proper Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams had to sit for four and a half hours each day and the make-up was done with as many as eight different pieces.

 

The issue of Divorce

One of the reasons this movie got to me is the divorce theme. I don’t think I knew this at the time, but thinking back I believe the movie helped me understand that parents don’t get back together after a divorce. So it is useless to hope for that.

And they really shouldn’t be together. So you shouldn’t want them to.

And, probably more importantly, their divorce wasn’t my fault!

According to the author of the book, Anne Fine, I am not alone. She has often been told by fans that this movie was one they watched over and over again for comfort, especially children of divorce.

 

Is it any good?

Who doesn’t love a bit of quality drag? Especially when the man realises what a fascist invention high-heels are. That comment is golden.

The movie is silly and at times you wonder why no one notices that this is Daniel. Thankfully the movie has enough of little plot points, like the older children figuring out it is their dad, to make it not so implausible that we disregard it.

Then again, would you really suspect an old woman to be your ex-husband?

You can tell that the people in the movie had good fun making it. From articles I have read about the production, a lot of the acting was improvised. Especially from Robin Williams.

I would have given a lot of blood to be a fly on the wall during this production and experience true comedy greatness. And hopefully be calmed by the fact that when you try a line in 1000 different ways, at least one of them must be genius, and loads of them were probably crap, but that doesn’t matter. It’s between the crew and the cutting floor.

 

The not-so-family-movie Ending

Another fun fact about this movie:

The original writer wrote the “unhappy” ending where the parents don’t get back together. The producers didn’t like it, they wanted a happy ending, so they fired her and tried with other writers. None of the rewritten endings where any good though, so they ended up going back to the first writer’s version and re-hired her.

That is a huge win for the screenwriter I might add.

In any case I do not thing it is an unhappy ending. It is the only ending there could ever be.

 

What mood should you be in?

For something childishly funny. You have to be in a mindset where you believe that a person could get away with such a ploy. Or else you will just scoff at the entire film.

The director, Chris Columbus, let Robin Williams have free reign during the takes and there where loads and loads of takes where Robin would try loads of different stuff. He has stated that there was so much footage that they could’ve made an edit for every rating category that exists.

I don’t know about you, but an adult version of Mrs. Doubtfire, in lieu of the sequel that was in the early stages before Robin Williams’ death, is something that I would love to see.

 

Further watching

As we now have to come to terms with the fact that Robin Williams is gone and there is nothing we can do about it, I find myself wanting to watch all of his movies over again. Among my favourites are “The Fisher King” (1991), “Dead Poets Society” (1989), “Hook” (1991) and “Good Will Hunting” (1997).

I will also be checking out some of his work that I haven’t seen yet. Especially “World’s Greatest Dad” (2009) is one that I am looking forward too.

In the mood for some more drag? Check out the Australian “The Adventures of Priscilla – Queen of the Desert” (1994), the British “Kinky Boots” (2005) or the American “The Birdcage” (1996) which stars Robin Williams as well, although not in women’s clothing.

If nothing else, you can do some set-jetting in San Francisco and go find the Hillards’ family house on the east side of the 2600 block of Steiner Street at the corner of Broadway.

 

You can read an article from the author Anne Fine about Robin Williams in the Guardian here!

Every month I will be revealing another Guilty Pleasure and try to discover why it has become one (at least for me). Follow my blog and don’t miss out on the next post 😉

 

Scott Capurro, Robin Williams and Harvey Fierstein in Mrs Doubtfire

Scott Capurro, Robin Williams and Harvey Fierstein making Mrs Doubtfire

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. Sometimes I will even like “the bad movies”, the ones the critiques scoff at and the snooty film students will refuse to watch because it’s all so commercial. Those are some of the best movies. They are guilty pleasures, and they will save you on a rainy day when you just don’t want to think.

In these Guilty Pleasure blog posts, I will explore the movies I find myself turning back to again and again for comfort.

Want more Guilty Pleasures? Check out last months Guilty Pleasure – “Shakespeare in Love”!

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

You should have this, own it and cherish it! You should force your kids to watch it over and over again until they know the lines by heart.

So just buy it!

 

If you like what I write you can follow my blog and always know what movies to go for and what movies to avoid 😉

Next week, we will again take a look at the ImdB top 250 and review number 4, “The Dark Knight”. Check out number 3 on top 250, “The Godfather, Part II” here!

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With “22 Jump Street” hitting the cinemas, and actually collecting some rather respectable reviews, it is time to reveal that its predecessor “21 Jump Street” has long been waiting for you in the vast cache of Netflix.

I was doubtful. How can two boy-police fumbling around a high school pretending to be students be anything less than pathetic?

Somehow they managed to avoid it!

The non-fit fit of a couple

The non-fit fit of a couple; Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum

***NO SPOILERS*** 

What is this film?

Originaly, “21 Jump Street” was a TV-series from the 80s, with the young, heart-throb Johnny Depp and not-quite-so-famous Peter DeLuise. Watch out for their fleeting appearance towards the end of this reboot.

The concept is the same. We follow a part of the police, who headquarter at 21 jump street, and specialise in youth crime. The officers of this division are picked out for their youthful looks which can help them go undercover and infiltrate high schools.

Excellent set-up.

In this movie though, the two officers, Schmidt (Jonah Hill, that guy who loves Russell Brand in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall“, 2008) and Jenko (Channing Tatum, that torso in “Step Up“, 2006), are punished (for being inadequate police officers) by being transferred to 21 Jump Street. And the two of them don’t really get along either.

It’s all set up for loads of quality comedy action.

 

Why is this film any good?

“21 Jump Street” takes a fresh, new look at the high school we have all loved and stereotyped to death in teen-movies since forever. It is not the sports jocks nor the cheerleaders who rule the high school in question. It is the vegan-loving, hard-studying hipsters, some of them dealing drugs on campus to their fellow students.

This, somehow, fits real life in a satisfying way. Indeed the world is ruled by the intelligent and merely repopulated or entertained by the jocks and the cheerleaders. The power should lie with the smart. Doesn’t mean they aren’t teenagers and behave like utter douchebags. Power will do that to spoiled and self-centred youth.

There is something about the chemistry between goofy Jonah and hottie Channing together that actually works really well. They fullfill each other comically and continuously ruin each others efforts to do some good work and get back into the good graces of the “proper” police.

Their visual- and character differences are given an excellent obstacle by accidentally swapping fake identities at high school, giving Jonah the chance to be the popular jock and Channing the challenge of surviving as the nerd. This is handled gracefully by the writers who never resort to the cheap ways out of difficult situations, rather choosing the weird and wonderful directions to lead the plot.

 

What mood should you be in?

If you want a brain teaser, this is not the crime fighter series for you.

But if you want something brain dead, that is destined to make you laugh and which will leave you feeling good about yourself and your own job, then this is the movie for you.

I have not seen the sequel, “22 Jump Street” (2014), yet. But if it is anything like its predecessor, I know I am going to laugh. And that is all I would want from a movie like this.

 

Further watching

Quality, crime-fighting, police partners are found in abundance and you should have enough to choose from in any kind of genre.

For some more films to tickle your funny-bones, try the UK comedy, Pegg/Frost flick “Hot Fuzz” (2007).

For a more action-filled classic, go for “Bad Boys” (1995) with a young Will Smith and a loud mouthed Matthew Lawrence. That was probably the first R-rated movie I ever saw.

Good times.

If you are out to watch some real quality. Rest easy and pick up the ultimate police partners in crime movie, “Lethal Weapon” (1987). It has as many as four sequels with varying quality, but once you get into the lovely and interesting relationship between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, the quality of the story really doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like Jack Sparrow in the Pirates movies. You just want to see more of that thing they do!

 

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill sitting on the boot of a car with disheveled white suits. Jonah Hill leans on Channing Tatum's shoulder like a girlfriend does. It is late night and there are city lights.

Don’t they make a lovely couple?

 

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. I watch Netflix a lot and sometimes there is a long way between the really good movies, whether entertaining or meaningful.

So that you can avoid watching all the crap I have had to endure, I will give you some hidden gems or best movies of Netflix right here every month. Want another good Netflix movie? Check out the documentary “Blackfish” here!

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

All movies in this Netflix-series can be found in the Norwegian Netflix Catalogue, which is the one I have access to. If you can’t find it on your local Netflix? File a complaint, they really should have it 😉

 

If you like what I write, please give me your favourite movie in the comments or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉

Next week, we will do another Guilty Pleasure movie. Do you have a movie that you watch over and over again, and you know it’s not the best quality, but for some inexplicable reason, you still watch it again? You do? Tell me which one! I will tell you another one of mine next week.

 

Americans hated this movie. Europeans got it a little bit more. Will you fall in love with this unloved movie and it’s unlikable characters? Will you get the movie that ironically lost a lot of friends and alienated people?

I did.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Poster

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Poster

 

What is this film?

“How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” (2008) is based on a book by the same name, written by Toby Young.

The book is rooted in Toby’s own experiences working in the US, and his reputation is somewhat ugly, even worse than how Simon Pegg portrays Sydney Young in the film.

Toby Young actually did send a strip-o-gram to the office on Bring-Your-Daughter-To-Work-Day when he worked at Vanity Fair magazine, and managed to get shunned by most people in publishing by the end of his employment.

The director, Robert B. Weide, is known for “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and if you have watched “Curb Your Enthusiasm” you know that this guy should know a thing or two about making an unlikable character relatable and identifiable.

Producers really pulled out the big guns for this one.

 

Who says it is bad?

Americans say it’s bad. Why do I say that? Just check out the box office return on the movie:

Domestic:  $2,778,752    14.5%
+ Foreign:  $16,373,045    85.5%

Worldwide:  $19,151,797  

The production budget was around $28 million, so even though Europeans kind of got the movie, it didn’t even recuperate its losses.

I’m not judging. Most movies never do.

(I know the rest of the world is in there too, but I am presuming that the movie didn’t go much further than a British release and some selected Brit-loving countries (like Norway) due to it’s lack of hold in the US).

It is blatantly obvious to my eyes that Americans simply didn’t get Sydney Young and his predicament. Why, he is an unprofessional, ill-dressed smart arse who constantly eats fatty foods with his mouth open (not even kidding, he does this a lot).

Why in heavens name should they actually like him?

 

Why I say it’s good

The difference between me and the Americans (I love generalising this broadly) is that I actually identified with Sydney Young through all his horrible character flaws listed above. And the fact that I could identify with such a person is why I say it’s damn good.

The likability of Sydney Young’s character is that he offers some sort of integrity. He is not prepared to grovel and snivel at the feet of the shiny celebrities and their hard-ass agents. Don’t get me wrong, he adores actors and says he wants to be a part of their world. Only everything he does gets him further and further away from it.

He is, however, a dying breed, the investigative journalist who doesn’t “take orders from Flaks”.

The scene that wins Sydney Young as a character for me, is when he recognises an old actress at a party where everyone else is ignoring her or simply doesn’t know who she is. This scene confirms to me that Sydney Young is by heart a film lover and connoisseur. Obviously I can relate to that 😉

 

Other good thing apart from Simon Pegg

Another good thing about the movie is that although it gives you a sneak peek into the glamour of celebrity life, it doesn’t make you want to join them, as so many other films do.

The break of that illusion is perhaps something the Americans can’t handle. I for one embrace it.

The humour is decidedly british, a humour which he is constantly criticised for in the film by the lofty and snooty Americans, but which I find funny. I’ve lived in London for three years. I get sarky and ironic humour.

I guess it isn’t hard to understand why the US didn’t warm up to a film where you are supposed to sympathise with the snarky Brit, and the only American who turns out to be decent, is a rather cold and bitchy Kirsten Dunst.

 

Kirsten Dunst – the love interest

Although Kirsten Dunst plays the love-interest Alison with a razor sharp bitchiness, she does have several “Save-The-Cat” moments where she throws Sydney a bone. Underneath the icy cold surface lies a snarky, ironic bitch. And she slowly cracks her way out.

The best moment with Alison is when she goes all fucking mental (relatively speaking) and tells off two stick-thin women in a truly sarky British fashion. This is the perfect moment for Sydney to understand that Alison likes him, the moment when she acts like him.

She does obviously spill it literally right afterwards when she defends Sydney Young outright, but then again subtlety has never been the strong suit of the run of the mill romantic comedy. And especially not this movie.

 

Megan Fox actually has comedic value

Credits go to Megan Fox, who is usually stuffed into some skinny jeans and told to stare with a slightly open mouth to the left of the camera. She does the same in this movie, but with a perfect overstatement that illuminates her intelligence as an actress.

In the part as up-and-coming actress Sophie Maes, Sydney Young’s sex interest for a large part of the film, Megan Fox is literally making fun of her own role in society as the pretty-girl actress who gets far by being beautiful and playing stupid.

Fun fact: She wasn’t even a star yet when this was shot. It was shot before “Transformers”. Which makes the comment on celebrity even more hilarious.

Her role in this film proves to me that there is more to Megan Fox than tits and ass, and I for one would quite like to see if she has any more comedic bones in her.

 

What mood should you be in?

It’s an easy, no fuzz comedy. Perfect for those days when your brain is tired and you just want to think about something else apart from work or life in general. It will divert and entertain you sufficiently without changing your life.

Don’t watch it if you hate Simon Pegg. He doesn’t play the most lovable character in this film, as you might have guessed by now, so you will have to watch something else and fall in love with him first.

 

Further Watching

Anything with Simon Pegg. I would especially recommend his work together with Nick Frost. These are usually british spoof comedies that really hit the mark on commenting and making fun of genre conventions and tropes.

This includes, but is not exclusive to:

They are all hilarious! Watch’em!

If you want a classical reference, have a go at “The Apartment” (1960). The love story between Alison and Sydney, not present in the book, is based on the storyline from this film. This is one of the black-and-white movies I can truly recommend.

Set-up: A guy rents out his apartment to his adulterous bosses to get ahead in his job. But what happens when he falls in love and needs the apartment himself?

 

Now tell me, what is your favourite Guilty Pleasure movie?

 

Next week we will unearth another gem in the Netflix catalogue. Don’t miss out! Sign up!

 

Megan Fox kind of making fun of her own status as a sexy actress

Megan Fox kind of making fun of her own status as a sexy actress.

 

Who am I?

I a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. Sometimes I will even like “the bad movies”, the ones the critiques scoff at and the snooty film students will refuse to watch because it’s all so commercial. Those are some of the best movies. They are guilty pleasures, and they will save you on a rainy day when you just don’t want to think.

In these Guilty Pleasure blog posts, I will explore the movies I find myself turning back to again and again for comfort.

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

I found this one easily on Netflix.

Don’t feel like giving them your money since they raised the monthly cost? You know what to do 😉

 

If you like what I write, please give me a shout in the comments or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉

Next week, we will again take a dip into the vast array of movies on Netflix and unearth another “Best movie on Netflix“.

Ever wonder what to watch on Netflix? Every month I will give you a new movie recommendation that won’t be a waste of your time. Add my blog to your e-mail list and you will never spend hours deciding what to watch again!

This month’s best movie on Netflix is: Carnage (2011)

Carnage Poster

Carnage Poster

 

What?

“Carnage” is a comedy drama (a dramedy as I have seen some people call it) made by the infamous Roman Polanski. It sports a limited cast of four, but with an impressive line-up.

Kate Winslet (if you need a movie to know who she is, then shame on you) and Christop Waltz ( you know, the nazi from “Inglorious Basterds”) play the career couple invited to the Longstreet family apartment to talk about their son. Jodie Foster (the woman mind-fucked by Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”) and John C. Reilly (he is the go-to supporting actor, he is in everything, too much to mention), want them all to come to some sort of agreement about what they should do after their son was hit in the face by the other son, “armed” with a stick. He broke some teeth. It’s all very serious.

And on the surface it is all very polite and civilized. But of course this is going to change.

 

Why?

Any film that takes place in one location (the whole film is set in one apartment), with quality actors AND a good director is always worth a watch. If you need more proof that there is something magical going on, then look at the Golden Globes nominations both women received for their efforts.

Not convinced? Christoph Waltz will deliver increasing level of snarky lines, Kate Winslet will get drunk, John C. Reilly will snap from good guy to bad guy and Jodie Foster will on the surface be the image of a perfect humble housewife, but curse them all under her breath when they aren’t in the room.

When both me AND my boyfriend pay rapt attention from start till end of a film that is set in only one location, that means something has been done right. And it’s all in the story. No distracting visual effects or dazzling cinematography to lure you to keep watching here.

You should be in the mood for some comedy. In one way it is a serious movie, but the true value (or identification aspect) and humor of it is that you will see yourself in these characters, either as you know you would react, or as you imagine you would if you had kids. It is not a “laugh-out-loud” movie, it is a “snigger-to-yourself” movie (and I love those).

 

Who?

This movie is perfect for anyone who is in a couple, because you will have the most to identify with. Any parents, I can imagine, will also find themselves remembering similar situations with parents who are totally different to themselves, and how they try to deal with them.

It reminds me of an old movie “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” from the sixties, although that one has a completely different theme, only the form of one location, four characters, is somewhat similar.

I would also recommend “Carnage” to anyone who is working in the film industry or aspiring to be. This film was shot in real time,with no breaks, and in one location. To do this and make a successful 80 min movie is extremely difficult, so watch and learn. Why doesn’t it get boring? On paper it should!

Also look out for a Roman Polanski cameo (without him being on screen) as the nosy neighbour.

 

Further Watching:

‘Did you like this movie and want to watch more?

Apart from “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966) which unfortunately can’t be found on Netflix, I would recommend delving into Roman Polanski. He has a distinct opinion and style that is captivating.

From the movies on Netflix, I would recommend giving the documentary “Polanski: Wanted and Desired” (2008) a go. It focuses on the incident in Polanski’s life when he was guilty of statutory rape and how that evolved into fleeing the USA and never being able to return, not even to receive his Oscar for “The Pianist” (2002). This man has survived the Holocaust and has had his pregnant wife murdered. It is interesting to say the least.

If you are not in the mood for a documentary, watch his political thriller “The Ghost” (201) with Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, where a freshly hired ghostwriter for the former prime minister of the UK, starts unraveling things he shouldn’t.  (“Polanskis Skyggen” is the title in the Norwegian Netflix)

 

Next week, I will be starting my new project where I look at the ImDb top 250 list and judge whether these films deserve to be there. Are they there because they actually are good in the modern viewer’s eyes, or are they there because people believe them to be of great quality because they were significant when they were released.

We will find out whether the movies can be stomached by 2014 eyes or should be left as a note in a film history book (or remade for that matter). We will start with number one (which has significantly fewer changes than number 250) and work our way up the list each month.

 

Don’t want to miss a review? Add yourself to my e-mail list and get an update as soon as I post. I will be posting every Friday 😉

So, I want to know? Which is your favourite movie that takes place in one location?

 

Two very different pair of parents.

Two very different pair of parents.

 

Who am I?

I do not work for Netflix. My boyfriend and I spend an awful lot of time trying to choose movies to watch on Netflix. Sometimes we stumble upon gems and those are the ones I would like to share with you. If you wonder about a movie, ask me, I will tell you if I have watched it or watch it for you (I’m a nerd, I want to watch everything).

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as a 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Why Netflix?

It’s not only Netflix. Once a month I will unearth the best movies on Netflix. Other Fridays of the month, I will look at “Imdb Top 250 – Do they really deserve to be there“, “New Releases“, and “Guilty Pleasures“.

I do take requests and love a challenge, so don’t be shy.

 

Sign up your email and get updates so that you will never spend hours deciding what to watch again!

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