Tag Archives: Bernie Mac

The Set of 400: #194 – My Favorite Pink Elephant

Today! Because your soul is dog shit. Every single fucking thing about you is ugly –

Bad Santa (2003)

Directed by Terry Zwigoff

Starring Billy Bob Thornton (x2), Tony Cox (x2), Lauren Graham (x2), Bernie Mac (x2), John Ritter, Cloris Leachman (x2), Brett Kelly, Ajay Naidu, Alex Borstein, Billy Gardell, Bryan Callen (x2), Tom McGowan, Octavia Spencer (x3), Matt Walsh (x6)

A bit of the shimmering, yuletide luster of Bad Santa has worn off over the years, I’ll admit. While Billy Bob Thornton was always a fair bet to effectively embody a comic asshole prior to this, he made it his stock in trade for some years to come afterward, knocking the novelty off this film ever so much. Bad News Bears, School for Scoundrels, Mr. Woodcock – it would take a bit for Thornton to get back to portraying wise, snide hillbillies again. And I’ll admit – I’ve never seen Bad Santa 2. I know! The original is in the top 200, and I just never got around to the sequel. How the hell does he team back up with Marcus, after what happened in the first movie? That idea alone put me off bothering to watch it. But hey, someday. Maybe by the time you’re reading this, who knows?

Seriously, just how does this happen?

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The Set of 400: #249 – My Favorite Prison Tuxedo

Today! Because you can’t have six cards in a five card game –

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring George Clooney (x2), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia (x2), Elliott Gould (x2), Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner (x3), Bernie Mac, Shaobo Qin, Eddie Jemison, Don Cheadle (x2), Topher Grace, Joshua Jackson (x2)

A remake so much better than the original that it’s almost unfair to mention its existence, 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven was the movie that I think everyone assumed Steven Soderbergh could make, but never would. Sure, Out of Sight hits largely the same tone, and with Clooney, too, but it isn’t quite the bustling movie star popcorn extravaganza that this film is. But while in some cases I’ve advocated that a filmmaker winning an Oscar was detrimental to society as a whole – Spielberg’s four year hiatus after Schindler’s List, James Cameron’s everything after Titanic, etc. – Soderbergh’s win for Traffic may have actually freed him up to make something more purely fun, purely Hollywood than we would’ve expected.

And boy did it deliver. Yes, the sequels were underwhelming and unnecessary, straight through to last year’s okay-if-beating-a-dead-mare Ocean’s 8, but the first movie is a dazzling gem of subterfuge and sleight of hand. From Danny Ocean’s first appearance, getting out of jail in a full on tuxedo, this movie is chocked full of style, attitude, and more than a little winking-at-itself humor that totally works. Sure, with a cast this large and accomplished, it’s bound to feel like some folks got a little wasted through lack of use, but they do manage to give everybody just enough character bits and snappy lines to satisfy – for the most part. Continue reading

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