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Baby Driver (2017)
Edgar Wright's Best Movie Yet
Edgar Wright can really do no wrong. Hot Fuzz was a hit. The World's End was a hit. Shaun Of The Dead was a hit. But Baby Driver is a grand slam home run. Really, this movie is amazing and there's so much good about it that there's not much to say about anything bad in this movie.
First, Edgar Wright has managed to create an awesome original movie that is not a sequel, remake, or reboot. And he has also managed to create a movie that is 100x cooler than anything Quentin Tarantino has made in the last 10 years. Really, this movie is cool on multiple levels. Baby is an intriguing character in his own right. As is his love interest, Debora the waitress. But when you add such veteran actors as Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm to the mix along with an eccentric cast of newcomers and veterans to the mix (like Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea), the film becomes something much more than a simple action flick.
Second, the soundtrack. This is a movie set in modern times so it needs a modern soundtrack. Edgar Wright could have gone the 70's nostalgia route like so many before him. But this one is way different. It's like visiting your vintage record store. There's 30 songs on the soundtrack, all from various decades of music from the 1950s to the present modern era of music. Each track was meticulously chosen, and is more than just mere background noise. The songs often take on a life of their own and during the scenes, you can actually see the songs become a part of the scene. While most movies put the soundtrack in the background and try to burn as much music as they can, Baby Driver actually weaves the music into each scene and it becomes almost organic. Like the soundtrack is a secondary character in the movie.
The songs in the movie are as brilliant as the movie itself. This isn't just some collection of nostalgia tunes slapped together for background effect, this is the real deal. You have such diverse and eccentric music as Queen, Beck, The Damned, Sam & Dave, Blur, Simon & Garfunkel, Barry White, Dave Brubeck, Focus, and more. After watching the movie, go buy the soundtrack. Preferably on vinyl, really, any other format kind of defeats the purpose. Although Baby himself prefers an iPod. So you can buy it on iTunes.
Third, the action sequences. While it's best to go into the movie spoiler-free, the action sequences aren't just mere action sequences. They really make you want to go rent a Mustang or a Camaro and burn some serious rubber. This movie has some of the best action and driving sequences that have not been seen in a movie for a very long time. This is more in tune with some of the all time classic action films like Goldfinger or Bullit. Amazing action sequences combined with serious character development makes Baby Driver a really intriguing film.
So in short go see this movie. Then crank up the tunes and burn some rubber. Then go watch all of Edgar Wright's other movies. Support originality in Hollywood.
Bad Grandpa (2013)
Funniest Film This Decade (So Far)
Every decade has a defining moment of comedy. The 70's had John Belushi and the rowdy Delta Tau Kai fraternity throw an epic toga party. The 80's had Ferris Bueller serenading all of downtown Chicago to the tune of the Beatles' Twist & Shout while convincing the rest of the city that he's suffering from a rare form of cancer and is at death's door. The 90's had Jim Carrey pouring half a bottle of ultra strength laxative medication into an unsuspecting Jeff Daniels' cup of coffee. The 00's had Borat and his morbidly obese sidekick Azamat naked wrestling through an executive convention at a Dallas hotel.
Enter this decade and what may be the defining comedy moment of this decade. Johnny Knoxville takes his hilarious old man alter ego Irving Zissman that he created for the Jackass movies and unleashes him on the unsuspecting public. When Irving's wife Gloria passes away, he's reunited with his crack-addicted daughter and her son Billy. His daughter got arrested yet again, and Billy is forced to take a road trip with his grandpa through the south, ending in Raleigh, North Carolina. The duo engage in plenty of bad behavior throughout the journey whether it's petty theft, destruction of inanimate objects, exploding diarrhea, crashing weddings, or just annoying the hell out of unsuspecting strangers.
The cultivating moment of this movie is Knoxville dressing up Billy as a pageant model. They dupe the whole beauty pageant into thinking that Billy is just another contestant. Then what starts out as an innocent rendition of "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" breaks out into a strip tease complete with Knoxville on the side of the show throwing a pile of $1s at the "dancer". Then just as Billy's wig falls off and the hoax is revealed, they cheese it like Bender from Futurama.
Johnny Knoxville has always admitted that he has been inspired by the classic stunt-based cartoons like Wiley Coyote, and Tom & Jerry. In fact the children's rocket crashing through the department store window is drawn straight from Wiley Coyote. And if you're asking for a script, don't bother - just like the Jackass films, Bad Grandpa's script is literally drawn out as to what they want to accomplish in each scene. And for this type of movie that's all you need.
What makes "Bad Grandpa" brilliant is that it takes the hidden camera comedy concept to a whole new level. Sure, the Jackass style pranks (Knoxville sitting on a children's rocket ride which then launches him through a plate glass window), are definitely staged, but the reactions are not. And Jackson Nicoll is completely fearless in the way he approaches complete strangers, a truly excellent child actor find. Sure, you have Knoxville attempting to mail Billy to his dad, and the UPS store's crew is surprised by the contents of his package, but the way that Bad Grandpa sells it is just genius. It's low brow taken to a whole new level.
Breaking Bad: Felina (2013)
Remember My Name
"Chemistry is the study of transformation." - Walter H. White
How doyou best remember a series, that from its' very first moments in the pilot episode, fired on all four cylinders? And for 62 episodes later, refused to let go? 62 episodes and over 100 nominations and awards later, what is there left to be said that hasn't already? What Vince Gilligan created was something truly amazing and so completely ground breaking that won't be topped for decades to come.
The finale ended just as it began - firing on all fours. Rather than leave plot lines blatantly open like some finales, Breaking Bad tied up every loose end possible before we see the true fate of the Heisenberg empire.
If you have followed Breaking Bad from the beginning, you will see every loose end from the show tied up. If you haven't, Breaking Bad is a show where you must watch every single episode.
On Breaking Bad, we saw an ordinary man transform into one of the most brutal, violent drug lords not seen since Al Pacino's Tony Montana. Nobody who crossed paths with Walter White would ever turn out to be the same - even his own family, friends, and enemies. Breaking Bad ended as it began - with a bang.
Thank you to AMC, Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, and the rest of the cast and crew for giving us one of the best TV shows of a generation. Breaking Bad isn't a mere show, it's an obsession, one that will last for decades to come. Remember the name: Heisenberg.
It's Jackass for the Internet Crowd
A lot of people compare Tosh.0 to the E! Network's Talk Soup. Sure, it's just some guy standing in front of a blue screen commenting on stupid people hurting themselves on Youtube for a half an hour. You could also say the same thing about America's Funniest Home Videos.
But what makes Daniel Tosh's show different is that his one-liners are often spot-on, his audience interaction is great (like when he asked his audience which celebrities he could beat up), and the web redemptions/remixes/reunions/retreats are hilarious. Now that the show went from having a budget of zero to actually having one, expect them to get even crazier.
And unlike the other shows, Daniel Tosh's is almost interactive, whether it's pasting together stories from random Twitter feeds, wrecking havoc on Wikipedia (they actually had to close the page to prevent Tosh fans from editing it due to "vulgar, rampant profanity"), or seeing how many funny comments he can make in 20 seconds.
I'd actually go so far as to compare this show to MTV's Jackass. Sure it lacks the camaraderie of Johnny Knoxville and his crazy crew - but the gags are there. The brand of toilet humor and random nonsense is exactly the same. And where's the puke? There's plenty of it!
Jackass 3D (2010)
More of the same random nonsense you know and love
The main argument against Jackass is that it's stupid, juvenile and lowbrow. I love it because it's stupid, juvenile and lowbrow. Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Wee Man, Steve-O, Preston, and the rest of the gang are back, channeling their inner Wiley Coyote on more of the same random nonsense you know and love. But the question begs to differ: On the third installment, how are these guys still alive? Of course it's not for everybody. And that fact needs to be stated. Sure, Johnny Knoxville is a hilarious master of ceremonies for the crew, and Bam returns still playing elaborate pranks on his unsuspecting parents April and Phil - but this time around Phil actually gets in on the action, evidenced in the "Super Mighty Glue" bit. The rest of the crew goes for stunts ranging from the hilarious (Preston and Wee Man playing a visual gag on an unsuspecting dog watcher) to the insane (Bam barreling through a hallway of live stun guns) to the gross-out (the appearance of Knoxville's old man alter ego Irving Zissman) to the really gross-out (Dave England's infamous poo volcano). Sure, the guys are starting to show their age (and Preston and Wee Man, their waistlines) but that doesn't mean the insanity doesn't stop. Just don't take anything they do or say seriously in the movie and you'll enjoy it. Like the last two, there's no plot whatsoever. Like the last two, they constantly one-up the random insanity. It's a turn your brain off for 90 minutes and enjoy it flick. If you start asking questions like "how are these guys still alive?", you're watching the wrong movie.
As a fan of the parody movie genre, who has seen it dwindle down from the greats like Naked Gun and Spaceballs to total horse crap like Epic Movie, it's great to see movies like Walk Hard. But that's just it - you HAVE to realize that Walk Hard is a parody. You could even go so far as to say it's our generation's "This Is Spinal Tap" in that a lot of people who originally saw it didn't get the joke at first.
It's not just of the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line", which it does parody heavily, but every biopic ever made. And not only does it follow the formula to a T, even right down to the part where the musician enters rehab and sobers up, but portraying the fictional Dewey Cox instead of a real-life musician is not an easy task. Especially when the Apatow gang really does convince you that Dewey Cox exists.
The Cox saga starts off when Dewey accidentally decapitates his brother with a machete. He then overcomes his tragedy by discovering the blues. Then we cut to ten years later when we see a fully-grown Cox as a 14 year old playing in a high school band. From there, Dewey gets married, goes out on tour, leaves his wife for his backup singer Darlene, then goes to India to hang out with a really convincing version of the Beatles and gets involved with every pill and drug known to man, thanks to his drummer (Tim Meadows). But Meadows practically steals the show in that his character introduces Dewey to all the drugs.
Overall, this is a great parody, and the Apatow gang pulled it off nearly flawlessly. John C. Reilly is an insanely funny actor, and the movie contains a killer soundtrack, which is more than worth seeking out, with all the tunes being performed by Reilly himself. It's too bad that other Apatow movies, like "Superbad" and the forthcoming "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" stole the thunder from Dewey Cox, but it's worth checking out now that it is on DVD.