Lost in America – The Criterion Collection

Lost In America



1985 / 1:85 / Street Date July 25, 2017

Starring: Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty

Cinematography: Eric Saarinen

Film Editor: David Finfer

Written by Albert Brooks, Monica Johnson

Produced by Marty Katz and Herb Nanas

Music: Arthur B. Rubinstein

Directed by Albert Brooks

According to a Newsweek cover story published that same year, 1984 was “The Year of the Yuppie”, referring to those ferociously materialistic young professionals whose numbers blossomed during the Reagan administration. The following year director Albert Brooks and his co-writer Monica Johnson delivered Lost In America, an acerbic road movie detailing what happens when one of those upwardly mobile hot-shots decides to get back to nature and “touch Indians”.

The result is one of the great American comedies, a mile-a-minute talk fest worthy of writer-directors like Billy Wilder, Woody Allen and in particular Preston Sturges, whose The Palm Beach Story told a similar tale about two young-marrieds who find
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Editors Guild Selects 75 Best Edited Films of All Time

Now this is a list that could result in a lot of fascinating dissection and thanks to HitFix it comes to our attention almost three years after it was originally released back in 2012, celebrating the Motion Picture Editors Guild's 75th anniversary. Over at HitFix, Kris Tapley asks, "Is this news to anyone elsec" Um, yes, I find it immensely interesting and a perfect starting point for anyone looking to further explore the art of film editing. In an accompanying article we get the particulars concerning what films were eligible and how films were to be considered: In our Jan-feb 12 issue, we asked Guild members to vote on what they consider to be the Best Edited Films of all time. Any feature-length film from any country in the world was eligible. And by "Best Edited," we explained, we didn't just mean picture; sound, music and mixing were to be considered as well.
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What is the best-edited film of all time according to those who do the job?

  • Hitfix
A random bit of researching on a Tuesday night led me to something I didn't know existed: The Motion Picture Editors Guild's list of the 75 best-edited films of all time. It was a feature in part celebrating the Guild's 75th anniversary in 2012. Is this news to anyone else? I confess to having missed it entirely. Naturally, I had to dig in. What was immediately striking to me about the list — which was decided upon by the Guild membership and, per instruction, was considered in terms of picture and sound editorial as opposed to just the former — was the most popular decade ranking. Naturally, the 1970s led with 17 mentions, but right on its heels was the 1990s. I wouldn't have expected that but I happen to agree with the assessment. Thelma Schoonmaker's work on "Raging Bull" came out on top, an objectively difficult choice to dispute, really. It was so transformative,
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Waiting ...

Waiting ...
Consider the ellipsis in the title a warning. Between a couple of funny scenes and a bunch of unfunny gags, there's not much going on in "Waiting ... ". The comedy uses gross-out "humor" with little inventiveness to ply the familiar territory of twentysomething limbo and workplace hell. Despite a solid ensemble, this would-be "Kitchen Confidential" for the chain-steakhouse set, which boasts as many producers as cast members, doesn't serve up enough laughs to build a theatrical following but could find life on video as a takeout item.

There comes a moment for many thinking people when job security takes on life-threatening proportions: a clear-eyed look at unhappy co-workers and the inept boss signals something's gotta give. For 22-year-old Dean (Justin Long), that moment of truth occurs four years into his job waiting tables at ShenaniganZ. Obsessed with the apparent success of a former classmate -- helpfully brought to his attention by his mother -- Dean feels himself languishing at work and at the community college where he and best friend Monty (Ryan Reynolds) are on-again, off-again students.

Dangling benies and "power" before him, clueless manager Dan (David Koechner), who conducts dispiriting staff meetings by the Dumpster, offers the hard-working but directionless Dean a promotion to assistant manager. He is shocked when Dean asks for time to think it over. Where this is headed is as predictable as the dinner-hour rush.

The ShenaniganZ staff spend most nights partying together after long days slinging baked potatoes, and co-worker couplings are inevitable. Dean avoids commitment to earnest waitress Amy (Kaitlin Doubleday), while Dan and Monty eye the underage hostess (Vanessa Lengies). Monty, whose snarkiness is his identity (a cameo by Wendie Malick as his mother makes clear where he gets it), also spends time being humiliated by his feisty ex, waitress Serena (Anna Faris), and showing the ropes to wide-eyed new guy Mitch (John Francis Daley).

Mainly the ropes consist of learning how to play a behind-the-scenes time-waster that Serena rightly calls "an exercise in retarded homophobia." Sleazeball cook Raddimus (Luis Guzman), the mastermind of the Penis-Showing Game, provides demos for Mitch using raw chicken parts. Besides workplace dystopia, this exhibitionist stupidity is the script's central thread.

First-time writer-director Rob McKittrick demonstrates a feel for the systematic hysteria of restaurant dynamics, but his observations lack the absurdist edge of "Clerks" and the truly idiosyncratic detail that would make his characters three-dimensional. Within limited roles, the cast does what it can. Chi McBride, an actor capable of sublime understatement, plays the sage philosopher-king dishwasher, dispensing wisdom to a crew that includes two gangsta-wannabe pothead busboys (Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch), the angriest waitress in the world (Alanna Ubach) and a spineless virgin Robert Patrick Benedict). Is it any wonder that -- in the film's funniest gag -- their birthday serenade to a young boy makes him cry?

Filmed in New Orleans but with no sense of the place, "Waiting ..". unfolds mainly within appropriately generic restaurant interiors. Refreshingly, McKittrick doesn't lean on canned pop tracks as mortar, but neither does he craft enough of a story to hold together the shtick.


Lions Gate Films

An Element Films and Eden Rock Media production in association with Wisenheimer Films


Director-screenwriter: Rob McKittrick

Producers: Adam Rosenfelt, Stavros Merjos, Jay Rifkin, Jeff Balis, Rob Green

Executive producers: Chris Moore, Jon Shestack, Sam Nazarian, Malcolm Petal, Marc Schaberg, Thomas Augsberger, Paul Fiore

Director of photography: Matthew Irving

Production designer: Devorah Herbert

Music: Adam Gorgoni

Co-producers: Chris Fenton, Dean Shull, Randy Winograd

Costume designer: Jillian Kreiner

Editors: David Finfer, Andy Blumenthal


Monty: Ryan Reynolds

Serena: Anna Faris

Dean: Justin Long

Dan: David Koechner

Mitch: John Francis Daley

Tyla: Emmanuelle Chriqui

Amy: Kaitlin Doubleday

Nick: Andy Milonakis

T-Dog: Max Kasch

Naomi: Alanna Ubach

Calvin: Robert Patrick Benedict

Natasha: Vanessa Lengies

Bishop: Chi McBride

Raddimus: Luis Guzman

Monty's Mom: Wendie Malick

MPAA rating: R

Running time -- 93 minutes

Film Review - 'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' By KIRK HONEYCUTTBogus is right. ''Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey'' feels like a 16-year-old's idea of what a 12-year-old will find funny.

Film Review - 'Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey' By KIRK HONEYCUTTBogus is right. ''Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey'' feels like a 16-year-old's idea of what a 12-year-old will find funny.
Lest we forget though, Bill and Ted's previous adventure -- while on the dark side of excellent -- enjoyed bodacious boxoffice returns. No doubt a large audience is waiting for this sequel to Orion's 1989 surprise hit.

Yet if excellence in stupid humor can be measured at all, this journey seems the weaker of the two. Even the plotline lacks coherence.

''The Terminator'' meets ''Back to the Future'' here as bogus Bill and Ted robots from the 27th century journey back to present-day San Dimas, Calif., in an attempt to kill the duo and alter their positive influence on the future.

(This is special pleading, but is it possible to make this the last time-travel movie for awhile? The idea is starting to get real old.)

The bogus Bill and Ted do, in fact, kill the real pair, who wind up in hell, which resembles a labyrinth of childhood horrors, such as having to kiss your grandmother who has bad teeth on the mouth.

To escape hell, Bill and Ted must beat the Grim Reaper in a series of kids' games. This spoof of Ingmar Bergman's ''The Seventh Seal'' is easily the movie's brightest comic idea.

When the Grim Reaper loses badly, he is obliged to accompany Bill and Ted for the rest of their journey back to life. And thank goodness he does.

William Sadler's Grim Reaper is the life of this otherwise grim party. His dead-pan comments and dead-earnest efforts to serve his new masters provide the film's only inspired clowning.

The rest of the movie is a messy melange of Halloween costumes, special effects and unspecial jokes.

The basic problem lies in Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon's screenplay. It strains for every joke, which brings a peculiar tension, if not desperation, to the humor.

In anxiously shuffling between various levels of reality, they never firmly plant their comedy in any one. ''Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey'' is more a free association of tired comic ideas than a comedy that unravels from a central spring.

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves again play Bill and Ted, respectively, not to mention the Bill and Ted robots and the Bill and Ted ghosts. The two still manage to play these airhead, would-be rock 'n' rollers with conviction.

George Carlin also returns from the original film. But he disappears for most of the journey. only to reveal he has been present all along in Pam Grier's body. We don't even want to think about what that implies.

Director Pete Hewitt and editor David Finfer keep the scenes flowing as fast as possible. But when a film's basic rhythm is overdrive, it exhausts rather than amuses an audience.

Cinematographer Oliver Wood expertly blends the various dimensions created by designer David L. Snyder. Rock songs layered over the action exist more to promote Inter-

Cinematographer Oliver Wood expertly blends the various dimensions created by designer David L. Snyder. Rock songs layered over the action exist more to promote Inter-scope Records' soundtrack album than to help the movie's journey along.


Orion Pictures

Director Pete Hewitt

Producer Scott Kroopf

Executive producers Ted Field, Robert W. Cort

Writers Chris Matheson, Ed Solomon

Director of photography Oliver Wood

Production designer David L. Synder

Music David Newman

Editor David Finfer

Costume designer Marie France



Bill Alex Winter

Ted Keanu Reeves

Grim Reaper William Sadler

De Nomolos Joss Ackland

Rufus George Carlin

Miss Wardroe Pam Grier

Missy Amy Stock-Poyton

Elizabeth Annette Azcuy

Joanna Sarah Trigger

Running time -- 98 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

(c) The Hollywood Reporter

See also

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