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The Big Lebowski (1998)
Another Brilliant, Twisted Film from the Coen Brothers
The Coen brothers are known for a bizarre sense of humor as are their fans and once again they hit the nail on the head with this film.
Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, a burned out ex-hippie who hates the Eagles (70s rock group), who's biggest joys in life are bowling with his buddies, played by John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, driving around, and the occasional acid flashback. He is mistaken for the millionaire Jeff Lebowksi, who owes a lot of debt, by two angry mobsters and they.....well ruin his favorite rug shall we say. He goes to the paralyzed millionaire for retribution for his rug only to become even tangled up in a kidnapping plot, which involves a severed pinky toe, threats of castration, and the death of a car (as the Dude puts it). He enlists the help of his crazy, paranoid, Vietnam veteran, Walter (played by Goodman), who converted to Judiasm also, to help him out figure out all the chaos going on.
The film is for people with a weird sense of humor. This is not your typical Hollywood comedy by any sense of the imagination. And this does have some pretty rough language in it, with the f-word being said 251 times. Recommended for fans of Monty Python and definitely a must see for fans of the Coens brothers as well as Jeff Bridges.
Chasing Amy (1997)
Beautiful Interwoven Film
Love stories are difficult to do and to make it a comedy even takes it into more risky territory. Very few films can successfully interweave a love story and a comedy without getting something like a Sandra Bullock movie or a Ben Stiller movie. But Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and Joey Lauren Adams have done it successfully.
This is not a film for teenyboppers or anything like that. It is a film that deals with unrequited love. Ben Affleck, in his best role, finds himself in love with a woman that he knows that he can never have and amazingly enough doesn't come off as whiny or anything like that. Kevin Smith, who is known for his dialogue and films like Clerks and Dogma, has written his best script. He walks a tightrope as he stays true to his sense of humor but also presents a beautiful, sad lovesick story.
This is not a movie for everybody and that should be understood. While having it's moments of immaturity like other Kevin Smith comedies, it is still a very mature film and serious. But if you are looking for a good, original, and yet beautifully sad story, this is a film for you.
The Last Waltz (1978)
"The End of An Era"
Robbie Robertson remembers calling this film back in 1976 a document of an end of an era and how ridiculous it was to call it that when all the performers in it were still so young. The film is truly a magnum opus for these performers as it celebrates the end for the Band, a band who legendarily made music with greats such as Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and more. The majority of these performers, and more, came out to pay their respect to the Band and celebrate the music.
Whilst backstage it was reportedly a cocaine frenzy, on stage some beautiful music was being made at the concert. Performers diverse as Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison, etc. played with the Band and poets such as Michael McClure came on stage and gave readings.
Another gem of this film is the interviews that Scorsese conducted with different members of the Band and them as a whole as well as the music that was made off the stage (they said that the concert was too long as it was and that they would perform with other artists for the film)with such legends as the Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris. And also the actual waltz that Robbie Robertson composed is brilliant and haunting. Definitely recommended for someone looking to enjoy a great night of musical history and the thoughts and opinions of legends on music.
Escape from New York (1981)
One of the Greatest Cult Films Ever
This is one of the greatest cult films ever from one of the greatest cult film directors ever. While the story might seem like it's been done before it, like Pulp Fiction, is presented to us in a new and original way.
The basic story is that in the year 1997 a disgraced war hero, Snake Plissken, is sent to New York City which is now a maximum security prison for the criminals of the country where they are forced to survive for themselves. Terrorists hijack the President's plane and crash land it into the heart of New York. The President makes it in an escape pod but is now a prisoner of "the duke of New York". Snake is given the option to go in and get the President and be pardoned or serve his sentence. He goes for the first and of course complications arise and he's not told about the fine print of the deal. Still the action scenes are great and there are some real great memorable performances in here.
Kurt Russell is great as a futuristic "man with no name" (Clint Eastwood in the Dollar's trilogy) and John Carpenter has co-written and directed yet another masterpiece with this film. Recommended for anybody looking for a good action movie, a cult film, or just some good entertainment of Russell doing an Eastwood imitation.
Stealing Harvard (2002)
While no this movie is not as great as some of it's other counterparts, it does hold it's own. Jason Lee is brilliant in his role as an uncle who has promised both his niece the money for her college education at Harvard and his girlfriend money for a house together. Of course he enlists his friend, Tom Green, to help him get the money anyway he can. Including robbery and breaking and entering. There are some truly funny moments in this film (especially the ones with the widower) and it is quite amusing for a good laugh. Jason Lee and Tom Green do make quite an...interesting comedy team. Not one of the greats, I'm sure, but funny enough to keep the film going. Dennis Farrina as Lee's boss and soon to be father in law gives a great performance in this as he tries to catch Lee at anything and everything.Definitely recommended for a night when you need a laugh and nothing good is on.
The First and Ultimate Black Comedy (Definition of a Magnu Opus)
I think that I first saw this movie when I was about thirteen and back then I just got it. A lot of people don't get this movie and still don't but the people that get it really get it. The film is about this: At the height of the Cold War and a nuclear attack is launched by a psychotic bomb group commander and at the helm of the B-52 is the gun-ho, Major T.J. "King" Kong. Upon learning this the president meets with his generals in the war room. He then calls the Russian president to warn him of the nuclear attack and tells him to "shoot down the American bombers". After a series of angry calls, back and forth and discussions of how the inevitable will occur with Dr. Strangelove, it occurs and the world ends.
Stanley Kubrick is the most brilliant filmmaker ever ,in my opinion, for this film alone. He was able to tackle on world leaders and show them how ridiculous they were. This is satire at it's best. Some people might not find this film funny but satire isn't always supposed to be funny. It's supposed to show the ridiculousness of what's going on. I completely recommend this movie to anyone. Anyone looking for a laugh or some entertainment. Classic, brilliant, hilarious, Kubrick created an entire genre with this movie and did so brilliantly.
I waited for this film to come out ever since I had heard about it. I've been a Dylan fan for quite some time and I've always admired Martin Scorsese. This film is terrific. Looking back at all the old footage and looking at music now you see how much Bob Dylan has influenced so many people. The film starts off with his childhood and then ends with him in concert with The Band and a scream of Judas comes from the audience, followed by an almost apocalyptic version of "Like a Rolling Stone". It chronicles his career from a folk singer to rock star. He's called a genius now for the music that he made during this time, though then he was constantly being booed and critiziced as well as have fans turn their backs on him. If you're a Dylan fan or a Scorsese fan you'll definitely want to see this film.