‘I love Billy Crystal, I want him to host the Oscars,’ so you say but when I hear his name I think, snarkily, like I do with my best friend’s ex-boyfriends. ‘Like really, him?’ National treasure statuses go in waves and I got introduced to him and his work during a hiatus of said status. Others have experienced him during When Harry Met Sally… or now when he upstaged whoever was hosting the Oscars – I have an interesting story of how I missed that glorious moment, by the way. I, however, lump him within middle-aged comedians dominating HBO with dated comedies of the late 1990’s. Tim Allen. Tom Arnold. It’s sad, I know, but he did star as Dr. Ben Sobel in the Harold Ramis directed movie Analyze This.
Oh, I get it, America and Canada loves him because he looks like a human Muppet, with smizing beady eyes and the way he opens his thin lips. It’s funny listening to his muffled voice when he gets high-pitched and irritated with Paul’s demanding ways. He also reaps as much as he can pose as a gangster in Paul Vitti’s (Robert de Niro) place.
With a cast including Lisa Kudrow, Chazz Palminteri as a gangster rival and half of the people who have appeared in “The Sopranos,” Crystal gets sidelined, having to play the normal guy as he normally does. He doesn’t always hit a home run with some punch lines neither. However, I find myself surprised when I chuckle to some of the jokes that I didn’t catch the first or the second time I have seen this. He’s funny when he’s underplaying a punch line about himself as a psychiatrist. His brand of physical comedy more introverted than limb-y.
This movie also came out the same year when the aformentioned “The Sopranos” did, both coincidentally have plots about aging gangster types who deal with their emotional and psychiatric issues. Ben plays a psychiatrist who deals with the sexual ennui of the middle-aged until he lands on a goldmine by getting Paul as a patient. Wackiness and whacking – not off – ensues, chaos being an essential part of every generic comedy. Ben sees Paul merely as a patient but like every other comedy, the latter has boundary issues. Vitti has daddy issues but unearthing those psychological knots also mean that he can convince Ben to talk about his father too. In a way, they’re perfect for each other.
Crystal also gets upstaged and rightfully so by de Niro, who’s on his post-post-Scorsese era. The latter probably did this movie in the tail end of gangster revisionism or genre mash-ups that began a decade before. He gives the character exactly what it needs for a comedy – a childlike nature that makes him think that he beyond scrutiny. Unlike Crystal, de Niro barely if ever plays it down. In some of his scenes he’s angry. In one, he almost seems like he wants to give out a full-on Christopher Walken impersonation. He also uses his signature scrunchy frown in the greatest ways, in one scene transitioning to that to full histrionic crying about his daddy issues that he can’t function during a gangster gun fight.
And since we already brought up the ‘national treasure’ thing. He’s probably the only unscathed survivor of the great actors and actresses of the 1970’s, getting constant work that are equally hit and miss. But we’re also living in a world where Jack Nicholson stipulated in his contract that he can’t work with Lindsay Lohan in any circumstances yet de Niro is in a movie with Katherine Heigl, Jon Bon Jovi and Ashton Kutcher. I don’t like saying this phrase but how the mighty have fallen.
- Inspired by: Robert De Niro (dandizettecharm.wordpress.com)
About time, eh? It’s been a month since Shawn Hitchins‘ Singin in the Dark, 80’s edition and it’s taking me just this time to write about the memory lane – or lack thereof – and the associations I remembered while watching his art piece.
Andrew McCarthy‘s face is so comically expressive that if was born sixty years earlier than he did, he would have given Chaplin a run for his money.
Did I have a chance to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the big screen when I still had money to see and decided to skip it to argue with a good friend? Twice. Did I buy the DVD only to pop it in my laptop to get screen caps and never watch the whole thing? Yup.
We Asians are very visual. I caught more jokes from This is Spinal Tap than my mom while watching this on the big screen, but this ‘Big Bottom’ song flew right on top of our heads. Took some closed captioning to find it funny.
This song’s tune is really catchy but I didn’t realize the staccato lyrics were so hard to keep track of. Also haha, Lake Titicaca. And Appolonia. Purple Rain did not help my confused adolescent sexual identity at all.
Eh, close enough. Thoughts on Back to the Future here.
Remember that scene when he just eats a TV dinner without microwave-ing it? Yeah, me neither. We all know the scene but have never watched all or Risky Business, which is on tonight at 9 at the BLB. This movie is SLU-tty, like a straight man’s wet dream.
I love how I know none of the lyrics to any song in this series but when a Madonna clip comes on I don’t even have to look at the screen to sing the words. Anyway, the point she’s making in W.E. is that she wants to be that girl in this picture again. It’s up to you to decide if she can turn back the clock.
Beaches! It has the best post funeral scene ever which involves a fucking horse. Fucking rich people.
Thoughts on Flashdance here which I saw AFTER Dogtooth.
Andrew McCarthy again! Thoughts on Pretty in Pink here.
This song sucks without context.
I thought he was Robert Downey Jr. instead of Alan Cumming. Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion was my favourite movie when I was ten, playing the soundtrack incessantly on tape. I don’t know if it’s my third world view but nobody in the late 90’s dressed like that. Also if Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow made a movie together this year, it would be indie and awesome.
Lisa Kudrow is doing her Emmy press tour for her show “Web Therapy” that she produces and stars, sounding like the time Phoebe visited Paul Rudd’s parents in Friends. The only thing that reeled me in is her visit to Chelsea Lately of all places, where she reveals that the surprisingly divisive Meryl Streep was in the show. Gotta watch that.
This first one is the least funny of Streep’s three episodes but it starts the story out between Fiona (Kurdow) and Streep’s character. Seriously, I think the Friends alums are funnier after the show went on permanent hiatus. Her and Cox anyway.
When you double click on the video below, leading you to YouTube’s website, there are Iron Lady trailers on the right hand side. I refuse to watch that shit.
Welcome to family friendly Ojai, California, where the sun always shines on the auburn hair of a snarky girl named Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) who everyone suddenly thinks is a trollope. Director Will Gluck and screenwriter Bert V. Royal know that Easy A is telling a story told before, and with sharper scripts. The film is full of references of cellphone culture and slightly grainy webcams and grainier clips of John Hughes films and a homosexual rendering of Huckleberry Finn’s interracial friendship. Speaking of old, hallowed American narratives, Olive is our Hester Prynne, a fictional character whose archaic treatment disgusts her English teacher (Thomas Haden Church) but we and the teenagers know that a woman’s purity – or appearance of purity – is still placed on high regard.
This film has the best gags I’ve seen in a while, like one involving a Natasha Bedingfield song and another one about Olive adopted brother. However, it’s crueller than your average teen flick. Stone’s husky voice still sounds more mature, which slightly takes off the willing suspension of disbelief. And I spent the first act of the film wishing I saw her with her parents (Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci) simply because her comic chemistry with them is that good. Stone also has believable rapport with supporting characters like her enemy Marianne (Amanda Bynes) who surprises us with her vulnerability, Brandon (Dan Byrd) who’s confused about his sexuality, a guidance counselor who doesn’t listen to her (Lisa Kudrow) and Woodchuck Todd (Penn Badgely) who balances good looks with wearing goofy costumes. A silver lining on being ostracized is an assumed altruism that she adapts like Hester and that the other characters secretly relate to her when they’re down.
Despite a few hurdles, Stone owns this movie. Her world is one with bullying, obsession on teenage sexuality and where teenagers can frighteningly perform that sexuality as Olive does because of peer pressure. Olive tells her webcam viewers that books and movies can’t put across ‘how shitty it feels to be an outcast.’ Yet she makes us know how it feels. The film doesn’t judge her. Yes, I can’t help but feel slightly old while watching the movie, but for the first time in a while, I watched a teen movie that has enough spark and humour and didn’t make me feel like a parent.
- Marshall Fine: HuffPost Review: Easy A (huffingtonpost.com)