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Also, it's going to be heavy on American films and closer to the present as these are the movies I am more likely to have seen.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
A dream for any male in his early twenties who grew up playing video games
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is FANTASTIC. I love the comics and could not be happier with how this turned out. Now, it must be said that when it comes to retelling the story as it is presented in the comic, it does not directly follow it. However, I had absolutely no issue with the things they changed. When it comes down to it, this movie does the best job staying true to the ATTITUDE and the FEEL of its source material out of every movie I have ever seen where I was also familiar with both the book/video game/graphic novel/comic. All the characters are spot on.. from Scott to Knives to Ramona and everyone else. Precisely how I would have envisioned them while reading the comics. The various video game reference are spectacular, and there are even some other great surprise references that I won't mention because it make it all that more exciting when they come up. If you think the idea of demon hipster chicks and vegan police sounds pretty funny to watch, or if the thought of an epic of epic epicness (great tagline that captures it perfectly) sounds pretty wicked, I would say you need to check this out.
Dinner for Schmucks (2010)
If you have any self-respect you will never see this movie
Paul Rudd and Steve Carell represent a new era in popular comedies to me. Movies they have starred in are on the whole intelligent, witty, and have plenty of heart. They gave me an alternative to dumb comedies... comedies starring Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, and Mike Myers (not that I mean to completely put down all the stuff these guys have done.. they've all had their share of moments). Of course, I should have realized that when I saw the movie was going to be directed by the same guy as Meet the Parents and Austin Powers, I was going to get a movie with the same kind of humor... the humor that I enjoyed when I was 10.
Steve Carrell plays an agonizingly dumb character. Unlike characters like Harry and Lloyd, however, there is nothing funny about Carrell's character. I'm a Steve Carrell fan, but he was the worst part of this movie. He delivers maybe two or three funny lines in the entire movie.
I also felt I was misled by the trailers as to what this would be about. I got the impression by the trailers I had seen that this would primarily take place at the dinner and that the characters played by Jemaine Clement and Lucy Punch were two of those schmucks. Not the case. 3/4 of the movie occurs in the two days leading up to the dinner, and Jemaine and Lucy were never a part of the dinner, despite easily being qualified to be.
The movie uses plenty of cheap, tired, unoriginal tricks throughout to either grab laughs or to advance the plot. There are two times when two characters are having conversations about another character, who unambiguously (yet the one talking still somehow has no clue) walks in in the middle of the conversation to hear something being said about themselves.
The one bright spot of this movie was Jemaine Clement. If it wasn't for him I would have walked out of the movie. He gave me the most laughs.
Let's put it this way: another movie came out last year with good actors starring in a movie that was panned by critics, Year One. This movie, while still somehow being way better with the critics, gave me about a quarter of the laughs as Year One did, and that is in no way a defense of Year One but a huge shot against Dinner for Schmucks.
The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
This is the Dawning of the Age of Carell
From the very beginning I was so excited to see this movie. The poster is possibly the funniest I've ever seen for a movie. I immediately bought one for my dorm this September.
Every element came together in this movie so beautifully. It's not often you see a movie with so many penis, gay, and racial jokes so praised by critics. Carell and the rest of the cast deliver each raunchy joke sensationally. Carell remains sweet throughout the entire movie where by the end of the movie you're rooting for him to succeed in his relationship more than you are for him to get laid. The supporting cast is brutal, each of them having some problems with the ladies themselves.
One of the things about this movie is the abundance of memorable scenes we're given. This is what makes a movie easy to remember fondly. This movie will often be brought up when the words "chest waxing" and "condoms" are mentioned in conversation.
Watching it in the theater I was surprised how many older people were there to watch it. I saw a group of four mid-60s women come in. Despite an older audience, this movie still filled the entire theater with laughter.
I think the type of people who will like this are the fans of the Office and Steve Carell. A lot of the jokes remind me of the type of jokes you'd see on Family Guy, too. The movie is shallow enough for adolescent boys and still sweet and clever enough for middle aged women.
I don't recommend going to this movie if you aren't a fan of profanity or if you are easily offended. However, when you are at the movie, just remember this movie is all in good humor. The jokes aren't "gay jokes," they're just jokes. And they're funny.
Empire Falls (2005)
High expectations were not met
When I found out there was going to be a movie made about a town just like mine, (there are about 3 towns in Maine like Empire Falls, mine might be the best example, even though it's not where it was filmed) I looked forward to it for months. Seeing that it had such a great cast brought my expectations even higher. Unfortunately... this movie did not meet my expectations.
The story was a little over the top and it's hard to stay interesting over the four hours. Also, like Stephen King's "Storm of the Century," they completely butchered the Maine accent. Most people in Maine don't have an accent, but the ones that do make it obvious and almost like to show off their accent. They tried to make it subtle, which completely screwed it up. Something like that bugs me throughout the whole movie... the worst was Helen Hunt.
There are some bright spots in the movie. I thought they did a decent job in the overall portrayal of the community, I especially like the job they did with the homecoming game.
The story with the kids was probably the most interesting part. If you ask me, the young actors showed up some of the older ones (some considered to be elite). There were some awful acting adults... most of them had the last name of Whiting.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Newman were the acting standouts. Without them I'd have been driven crazy by the poor performances.