comedy

War on Everyone

In a love letter to the buddy cop films of the 60’s, War on Everyone takes the genre to the dark places Rush Hour doesn’t. (New to Netflix which is exciting yo).

Writer/ director John Michael McDonagh (brother of Martin McDonagh of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths) is an Irish movie thoroughbred making this his American film debut.  And boy, can you ever sense it.  This film spills over with Irish style humour you’ll recognize from your McDonagh brother favourites, which can be jarring in an American accent if I’m being really honest.

Honestly, Michael Peña to everyone else; do you even buddy cop?  In another film that turns buddy cop on its nose, End of Watch, this guy shines bright like a diamond.  This perfect pair up brings the comedy in this somewhat twisted flick.

Much like it’s buddy cop counter parts, War on Everyone isn’t winning any awards for ‘political correctness,’ but it approaches that style of humour through the right lens (in my humble opinion) and lets you laugh (this is a discussion for another time but I am happy to have it.  In a word, my thoughts are that there’s a difference between being in on the joke and the joke relying on an offensive premise).  There’s not much more to say than that if you wanted an Irish/ British approach to the buddy cop genre, by which I mean it’s grittier and more taboo, with a shockingly perfect cast, this is it, buddy.  It also includes easily my top 5 favourite one liner of all time and it’s killing me not to spoil it.

Great if you liked: End of Watch, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Layer Cake, Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon

 

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The Grand Seduction

It’s Thursday.  I treated myself to some banana cake because I deserve it.  You know what you deserve?  Something feel good.

I’ve said this over and over, so many hidden gems tend to be horror and sci fi, and while those are my favourite, so no complaints, it leaves little room for your nice warm and fuzzies.  Well this early Spring Thursday, I bring you a warm and fuzzy by way of The Grand Seduction.

I know what you’re thinking, “I see Taylor Kitsch as a doctor.  I am sold.  Say no more!”  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

In Eastern Canada (Newfoundland, specifically), there is a strange abundance of Irish accents and fishing towns.  This fishing village is in desperate need of jobs, jobs that would come with the building of a new factory.  In order to get the factory in their village, they’ll have to get the numbers, get the workers, get the space, and get a permanent doctor.  After getting into some trouble with the law, Dr. Paul Lewis is sent to the town to temporarily fill in as their full time medic.  The people of the village, desperate to get him to stay, plot to sell their charming village to the good doc by any means necessary.

Yep, it’s pretty creepy, and the villagers are nothing short of that.  But this incredibly cute story shows the will and determination of a village coming together to save what they have by any means necessary.  The cast is as charming as the town their trying to protect.  You might even be convinced to visit…. unless you like ethnic food and 40 hipster coffee joints on every corner (which I do, so… not for me).  Even Kitsch totally sells it as a caring and charming doc, made to blush when flattered by the ladies.

This departure from your average romantic comedy or slapstick laugh fest is a super cute and super unique feel good laugh.  I almost struggle to compare it to a mainstream you’re likely to have seen.  This is what “charm” looks like on screen, and you deserve that on a Thursday. (Fun fact, this appears to be a remake).  Learn more about the wonderful province of NL here.

Great if you liked: The Way Way Back, honestly, I have no idea, this is such a departure from anything I have seen…

Better Off Ted

If you haven’t yet submitted to the mania of Santa Clarita Diet, I suggest you get on it.  The Netflix comedy has me in stitches and I’ve watched it through more than once by now.  Which is why it came as no surprise to me that the show’s creator,  Victor Fresco, is also responsible for one of my favourite lesser known sitcoms, Better Off Ted.

I was introduced to this parody of office culture while nuts deep in a ridiculous office job selling “smart solutions to optimize efficiency.”  Buzz business words that business people don’t think are funny were my jam, so this show hit the sweet spot.

This quick witted comedy focuses on Ted, a VP at a parody of a multinational conglomerate in charge of research and development.  The single father narrates us through his attempts at managing his career, child and love life.  It’s as quick witted as you’ve come to expect from SC Diet, to the brim with quoteable one liners and back and forth.  The cast absolutely excels in their delivery of the ridiculous dialogue while all managing to be charming.  On top of that, it is absolutely silly and over the top and calls out all those weird office tropes that your colleagues seem to think are normal.  (We are all Linda).

This 2 season show is somehow still not on Netflix, so let’s start the campaign to get it there, considering SC Diet seems to be doing pretttty well.  Also, the fake company commercials are so good as a standalone mini series.

Great if you liked: Santa Clarita Diet, Arrested Development, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office, Community, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Archer

Southland Tales

Guys, I am still pretty sure the end of the world is imminent, and we’re way passed Idiocracy.

I give you a less comedic, and yet, completely insane telling of the world’s ultimate demise, Southland Tales. “Not with a whimper, with a bang.”

Set in an alternate LA just before July 4, 2008, this flick tells the interwoven stories of an amnesiac action star (The Rock), a police officer (Sean William Scott), a tripped out soldier (Justin Timberlake), a porn star (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and, I don’t know, half the cast of SNL and a gaggle of B list stars, teeing up to a 4th of July celebration that may or may not be the apocalypse.

From the mindhouse of the guy behind Donnie Darko, this bent timeline ensemble is an insanely fun star studded romp that, while pretty out there, rings a little bit true.  Made in 2007, the porn star trying to get a reality show story seemed somewhat far fetched.  Call in 2016, and the satirical alternate LA seems all too real.

Aside from it’s… story, this movie is also a lot of fun when treated like an anthology of scenes.  It has the futuristic campness of an acid trip Blade Runner, a soundtrack that dreams are made of, and scenes that could be standalone short films.  Timberlake has a music video like interlude that is his complete antithesis and, alone, is a great film. (See below if you need convincing)…. (Honestly, it could be a standalone short film about a veteran returning from war, turning to illegitimate work after being left behind by the government after a war injury, PTSD, valuing over masculinity, and vets turning to drugs.  And watch Justin do his best to hide his Justin-ness, and at 2:40, let his Justin-ness spill over into a casual dance move).

It’s campy.  It’s crazy.  It’s real.  It’s allegorical.  It’s biblical. It’s a TRIP. It’s full of space and future bullshit.  It’s sci fi.  It’s comedy. It’s star studded. Honestly, look at the cast.  Most are bona fide standalone characters, but it also gives it that “everyone in hollywood showed up to add a layer of cameo” vibe from bonkers flicks like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It’s also full of quotes that are completely unquotable and yet, you’ll want them on an inspirational poster.

It’s also pretty long and comes with a comic book prequel, so save it for a Sunday if you’re willing to dive right in.

Great if you liked: Blade Runner, Idiocracy, Donnie Darko, Dr. Strangelove

Idiocracy

When news of the fact that the writers of Idiocracy were making political ads starring Terry Crews, I knew it was high time I brought this one up.

It’s 2016 North America, and the unfortunate truth is that Idiocracy seems very real.

Luke Wilson stars as a literal average Joe.  Along with a “lady of the night,” (Maya Rudolph) he enlists in a military program to be cryogenically frozen, and wakes up 500 years later in a very different version of America.  The film posits that since those with lower intelligence tend to have more children, humans evolve to be, well, pretty dumb.

Suddenly, Joe is the smartest man on earth.

After a few mishaps, Joe is on the run from the government, but is also the only man alive smart enough to help the downward spiraling future.  Crops are dying, since they’ve only been fed Brawndo (it’s got electrolytes!), the world has become a messy Costco, and the doctors and lawyers? You’ll see. Also, Terry Crews plays the president.

This is a guilty pleasure flick that boarders on the offensive, and in doing so, paints a very real picture of the scary future.  I thought The Purge: Election Year was a pretty solid warning…. but this might be even more accurate. Along with the preview below, I post this opening scene…. enjoy.

Great if you liked: Futurama, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Galaxy Quest, Space Balls, Office Space

The Guest

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I have been on quite a classic horror binge as of late, which is a great way to remind myself of all of the amazing tropes parodied by my favourite genre: modern camp horror.

Few have done camp horror quite as well as Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the writer director duo behind The Guest.

Coming off the success of their sleeper hit, You’re Next, the duo took their new found big budget and turned it into the camp horror dreams were made of (and then sprinkled in a bunch of action).

Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) stars as “David,” a soldier returning from active duty and visiting the family of his fallen platoon member.  The Peterson family invites David to stay with them for a few days, where slowly his strange behaviour begins to show its face, mostly to the daughter, a teenage waitress forced to have David tag-a-long in her day to day life as a social high schooler.

This flick dives so far into awesome camp that it is mashing of two of my all time favourite films, Terminator 2 and Halloween, which is somehow also funny, and goes next level into some Jason Bourne, and German Sci Fi places.

Every detail makes this film fun, from the classic 80’s style euro synth music, to the long shots of solo characters.  You won’t know whether to love or hate David, but you’ll definitely want to recycle some of his lines to sound cool (re: ‘cash is easy to get’ and ‘awesome’).  It’s also a great spot for Maika Monroe who is quickly making her name as the Scream Queen of the Y generation.

Great if you liked: You’re Next, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, It Follows, The Final Girls, V/H/S, Rec, The Strangers, Terminator, Terminator 2

Goon

April 20th is #CanFilmDay (a bit late on the uptake here). So to celebrate, many a cinephile threw on a Canadian flick.
The lesser known hockey comedy, Goon, was my Canadian film of choice.

Based on the real life minor hockey player, Doug Smith, Goon tells the heart warming story of Doug Glatt, a bouncer turned enforcer with a heart of gold who goes on to have a career as a goon in minor hockey.

After thinking there weren’t enough “hockey comedies,” Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (you’ll know him from penning Seth Rogen flicks like Superbad and Pineapple Express) took to adapting Smith’s autobiography for the big screen.

Sean William Scott plays the sweeter than sugar, Glatt, paired up against his hero/ rival, Ross Rhea played by Liev Schreiber. Marc- Andre Grondin is in the part he was meant to play, a drugged out parody of Kris Letang. And, of course, Kim Coates as my mentor, Coach.

When you combine an unlikely hockey hero story with the comedy styling of this cast and crew, you’re left with a hilarious version of every pickup game you’ve ever played, and every bar you’ve ever been to with hockey players (not NHL players… something about the NHL takes away comedic hotheadedness and replaces it with cockiness).

On top of that, there is more than a light dusting of hilarious Canadian humour like references to Donair sauce and phrases like “yeerrr feckin alright, eh.”

Goon is absolutely hilarious no matter who you are, but especially if you are from the great white north or have ever been near a hockey team. (The “divorced guys” locker room pep talk is a staple in many a locker room I’ve seen).  Check this one out if you’re looking for a laugh.

Great if you liked:  Slapshot, The Mighty Ducks, Youngblood, American Pie, The Love Guru, Happy Gilmore, Wayne’s World, Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Funny People, The Green Hornet, 50/50, The Watch, This is the End, Neighbors, The Interview and The Night Before

The World’s End

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright never fail to make movie magic, and The Worlds End is no exception.

You might recognize this dream team from Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz (both of which will for sure pop up on here eventually).

Before he was stealing our hearts as Benji in the MI franchise or as Scotty aboard the Enterprise, Pegg was making comedy magic with a weird horror vibe with this dream team.

The World’s end is a beautiful story about five friends who fell out of touch after some real life turmoil.  Gary King (Pegg) wants to get the group together to take another attempt at their legendary pub crawl in the guys’ hometown.  After lots of begging, they agree, and set upon their mission to have a pint at The First Post, then on to The Old Familiar, The Famous Cock, The Cross Hands, The Good Companions, The Trusty Servant, The Two-Headed Dog, The Mermaid, The Beehive, The King’s Head, and The Hole in the Wall for a measure of the same, all before the last bittersweet pint in that most fateful terminus, The World’s End.

Along the way, they notice that their town has changed in a way they can’t quite put their finger on.  People seem ageless, strange, and… robotic.  The gang tries to solve the mystery, and survive it, but King never allows them to lose focus of making it to that last fateful pub.  Wright’s style really shines here in the doomsday at a pub niche he has created.  (His pint pouring quick cuts are a thing of beauty).

A hilarious romp about drunken friends that is more gifable than anything you’ve ever seen, non stop laughs, and a strange end of the world sub plot you don’t plan for, but on top of that, a really heart warming story about growing up, the troubles with our pasts, addictions, loss, and friendship.

I love this flick more than words, and could listen to Pegg fumble his way through the names of pubs non stop. And if you’re wondering, yes, he falls trying to climb a fence.

Great if you liked: Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, This is the End, Zombieland

What We Do in the Shadows

The brilliant mockumentary, What we Do in the Shadows, takes “dry humour” to the next level.

Vladislav, Viago, Deacon and Petyr are relic vampires living in a vampire nest… ehrrmmm… as modern day roommates.

The four deal with issues like, who’s responsibility is it to do the dishes? How will we pay rent? And where will we hide the bodies of these people we just sucked dry?

It’s an unreal dichotomy of “totally over the top” and “cracklingly dry” humour.

You’ll recognize Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Concords and MIB3.  He kills it as Vladislav, and over the top vamp stuck in his old horror ways.  Taika Waititi steals the show as Viago trying to mediate between roommates, and appease the ancient Petyr. (Jemaine and Taika also wrote and directed, in case you weren’t yet sold).

This flick is totally original and so much fun.

Loved it? Great news!! Recent rumour has it there is going to be a werewolf sequel.

Great if you liked: Flight of the Concords, This is Spinal Tap, The Office

Coffee Town

What happens when College Humor decides to produce a movie written by a guy who wrote Arrested Development and starring these 3 gems?  You get Coffee Town.

Will is a web designer who utilizes his local coffee shop’s tables and chairs, java and free wifi to make the ultimate free office space.  When he gets word that his beloved joint is getting a “bistro” makeover, Will and his friends decide to rob the joint to make the area seem unsafe so the makeover won’t happen.

If you’re not intrigued enough by the pictured all star cast, Josh Groban, potentially at the top of his career game, stars as a disgruntled barista.

This flick most certainly delivers the laughs, and the “liking women is gay” is one of the most excellent scenes ever and really utilizes Ben Shwartz’ signature surprised look.

This is a great one if you liked: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia