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Welcome to Eltingville (2002)
Lame Adult Swim Pablum
This cartoon is about four sociopathic nerds who seem to spend all their time consumed in stereotypical nerd interests like comic books, movies and role playing games. It intends to be a humorous look at fanboys but is poorly written, with all the jokes falling flat and having unrelatable social misfits. It's almost a cautionary tale as this show highlighted the lives of four nerds several years before Big Bang Theory. You see exactly where Big Bang Theory could have gone wrong with poor writing and obnoxious unlikeable people. The show even stops dead in the middle for a trivia contest, not a humorous one but literally reciting trivia toward each other for several minutes! Adult Swim is known for its mostly low quality shock humor shows and it still wouldn't touch this turd, shows you it was to infantile for even them.
Stupid but Amusing 80's Comedy
Hamburger: The Motion Picture is a formulaic but somewhat strange 80's comedy about a young man who gets kicked out of several colleges for public sex so he must attend a hamburger chain management school to get a college degree and gain access to his trust fund. The film has some T&A and a few funny sex scenes along with some great set pieces related to the almost cult-like Busterburger University (an obvious takeoff of McDonald's U). They have some inventive gags with the university's over the top obsession with making everything hamburger related.
The main drawbacks are the inanely stupid nonsensical plot and side plot. The drill sergeant-like student adviser Droogin (played by a wonderfully scene chewing Dick Butkus) seems to be setting all the students up for failure for no particular reason with no motivation for him to do so. There are tons of plot holes and the ending is idiotic.
This is definitely for the hardcore corny 80's sex comedy fans although the opening theme song is unintentionally amazing, like Bruce Springsteen doing a ridiculous tribute to hamburgers.
An Ambitious Dismal Failure
JCVD attempts to deconstruct the action genre and contrast the life of a washed up action star and his cheesy movies but fails in its ambition. The plot is extremely convoluted: Jean Claude plays a fictionalized version of himself and is caught in a hostage situation at a post office/bank in his hometown in Belgium. The non-chronological order muddles the movie further, presenting key scenes after the fact; we aren't even made aware whether or not Jean Claude is the hostage taker or himself a hostage until the middle of the movie. Great movies like Memento can make mixed chronology an asset but director Mabrouk El Mechri is no Christopher Nolan.
There are some parts of this movie that work. Jean Claude is very effective playing himself as a washed up actor with deep financial and personal problems. Watching him deal with cynical directors, his sleazy manager and his seemingly downhill custody battle for his daughter is entertaining but this is unfortunately the subplot to the awful clichéd hostage situation that drags on and has no dramatic tension.
A much better movie could have been made just about Van Damme visiting his hometown as he does in this movie while dealing with his personal and career problems. The whole hostage situation cuts into a good premise like a chainsaw and destroys it. I can only imagine some sort of interference either from distributors or Van Damme himself shoehorned this ridiculous plot into the story. This is definitely a sub par movie but it at least shows Van Damme and El Mechri do have potential for an excellent film in them.
Brand X with Russell Brand (2012)
Very humorous basic show
It's funny how such a simple show can be so entertaining. Russell just gives a standup performance in what looks like a small college lecture room with Power Point presentations and kind of a bland professor sidekick who seems to do nothing other than be someone Russell can make fun of. You can see the subtle catering to the college crowd as almost everyone there appears to be young and it's much like seeing a college lecture. He really knows how to work the audience, taking audience participation a step further, rather than maybe send an intern into the audience to put a mic up to them, he goes in and sits on their lap, male or female. One of the best shows on FX and barely costs anything to make, it's a good part of the guy show lineup on the network.
So Bad It's Awesome!
This is intended to be sort of a martial arts drama for kids, but it is in fact one of the best unintentional comedies ever. Most really bad movies are just bad and will bore you and make you not want to watch anymore, but Sidekicks is entertaining throughout. Mako, the martial arts instructor, and Joe Piscopo, the evil rival dojo owner, are clearly in on the joke and really ham it up. Brandis and Norris generally play it straight, although I'd have to honestly wonder if Chuck knows how cheesy the stuff is, I'd imagine not, having made Walker Texas Ranger.
I will not spoil the ending, but it fits perfectly with the movie. Watch this one with a group of friends and/or on an intoxicating substance for best effect. Chuck fans and children will also love this, but don't expect a good movie or a plot and dialogue that make sense.
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
Horrible, Don't Watch!
The Simpsons in its prime was perhaps the best show on TV with incisive satire on American life and humor that didn't rely solely on slapstick and stupidity. Around season 9, the show went precipitously downhill and never recovered. The show, although always a cartoon, is now as infantile and ridiculous as cartoons are perceived to be.
The Simpsons Movie is like an 18th season episode stretched out 3x as long. There are a few funny jokes, but it becomes painful and tiresome to sit thru dozens of missed jokes to get to a funny one. The plot is inane, concerning a giant dome put on Springfield to hold in the pollution and the government wants to blow up the city to get rid of it. What made the Simpsons great was its more subtle satire and it at least tried to stay grounded within reality. The show is like a parody of itself, the same kind of stupid sitcom it once made fun of. Replacing Alf Clausen's usual score with Hans Zimmer is also a terrible misfire. The straightforward orchestral treatment for the show is very distracting.
It's a shame this movie and this show continue to make a fortune, no one ever went broke catering to the lowest common denominator. This movie will appeal to the same demographic that loves Ace Ventura and the Ernest movies and will undoubtedly spawn a sequel. It just angers me that Troy McClure wasn't joking in an old episode when he said the Simpsons will continue to be around until they are unprofitable.
The Larry Sanders Show (1992)
Television's Great Masterpiece
The Larry Sanders show may be the finest American television show. The comedy always has the perfect precision and they take such great care to small details. In one episode, Larry visits Hank's office, which he rarely does, and Hank puts his jacket on to try to look his best, that's the level of detail you don't see in most crap sitcoms. No American show since has held no punches and has been so bitterly cynical yet hilarious.
The three main actors really make the show. Garry Shandling as the good natured but selfish and cowardly Larry Sanders really plays the perfect vain talk show host. Jeffrey Tambor as Hank Kingsley really fleshes out the talentless asshole sidekick who you still root for, similar to George Costanza. Rip Torn masterfully portrays the over the top obsequious producer with a dark streak. The simple pleasure of seeing these three men interact is entertaining enough on its own.
The show is actually based on talk shows, you see all the politics and show biz phoniness unvarnished. The ugliness and hypocrisy in Hollywood will really surprise the uninitiated viewer. One wonders how much of Larry was in Johnny Carson and how much of Hank was in Ed McMahon.
This show is a true gem that is not nearly as popular as it should be since it doesn't pander. Any fan of intelligent programming owes it to himself to watch this.
Heil Honey I'm Home! (1990)
This may be the worst show I've ever seen. Aside from the tastelessness of having a sitcom about Hitler, it just isn't funny or entertaining in any way. It is very similar to a 1950's sitcom in its cornball humor and contrived situations, but while it can be well done like in I Love Lucy, it's just not funny here. I think the show was based around the novelty "look, it's Hitler as a bumbling sitcom figure" but it just fell flat in every regard. The guy playing Hitler is so hammy that its hard to sit through that alone. I wonder what could have possibly made the network think this was a good idea to air. I thought America had some tasteless show, but the Brits had us beat this time. America would never air a sitcom about Hitler, although we did have that show about Lincoln's slave, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer. Chances are you'll probably never see this show, since it only aired one episode and will probably never be released on DVD.