The Set of 400: #368 – My Favorite My Fair Lady Appropriation

Today! Because without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating I don’t see how that’s possible –

Anger Management (2003)

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Lynne Thigpen (x2), Kurt Fuller, Krista Allen, Woody Harrelson, January Jones, Kevin Nealon, Alan Covert, Jonathan Loughran, Nancy Walls, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly (x2), Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Knight, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens

And we’ve wandered into the guiltiest of my pleasures (which sounds awfully gross in that phrasing) – Adam Sandler movies. While I enjoy the vast majority of them, you won’t see a ton of them in the days to come, because they’re largely an interchangeable group of films starring the same people, behaving in the same ways, so it’s tough to differentiate. But this one has Jack the Actor.

I remember having a very late night argument about who was the greatest actor in film history about a dozen years back, with them taking DeNiro and me backing Nicholson and I still feel I’m right in that comparison, even if, come on, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest, let’s face it. Not to rag on DeNiro – that guy used to be great – but he hasn’t given an even halfway decent performance in anything in about twenty years. Sure, Jack is more or less retired, but I can’t think of an occasion where he totally phoned in a film. Plus, I once heard the argument that if you were casting an Odd Couple movie today, you could easily stick Jack in either main role, and that just resonated as defining truth to me. No? It should be more complicated than that? Probably.

But Anger Management (despite being responsible as the inspiration for that bullshit Charlie Sheen show) is terrific, clearly the highlight of the purely comic Sandler oeuvre. Their doctor/patient interplay drives the film, and provides lots of gags, even if some of them are of the lazy, grossout, stereotyping variety. The other members of the help group are hilarious, lead by terrific turns from Guzman, Turturro, and Sandler regular Jonathan Loughran, and the movie is packed with funny (to funny-ish) cameos. Sandler movies are sort of an acquired taste, but even if you by and large don’t love the Billy Madison/Big Daddy/Grown Ups films, you still might enjoy Anger Management. Jack is just so committed.

Like the majority of Sandler movies, this one is an awardless dog, but just to counter all the Yankee touting this movie does, is it okay if I hand over Best Boston Red Sox Bikini, for Heather Graham’s uncredited turn?

Carl Yastrzemski would approve!

With all the cameos and guest shots in this one, it should be no surprise that two more folks are joining that big Two-Timers club – #372’s Walk Hard’s John C. Reilly and #386’s Godspell’s Lynne Thigpen! Good work, gumshoes!

Coming tomorrow! There’s some mistake, I’m not a member of the Columbia Record Club –

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