Tag Archives: Bill Hader

The Set of 400: #29 – My Favorite TiVo Contract Clause

Today! Because the one man who made a difference five times before is about to make a difference again. Only this time, it’s different –

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Directed by Ben Stiller

Starring Ben Stiller (x2), Robert Downey Jr. (x10), Jack Black (x7), Jay Baruchel (x2), Brandon T. Jackson, Tom Cruise (x5), Nick Nolte (x4), Steve Coogan (x2), Matthew McConaughey (x2), Danny McBride, Bill Hader (x3), Brandon Soo Hoo, Reggie Lee, Maria Menounos, Christine Taylor, Tyra Banks, Tobey Maguire (x5), Yvette Nicole Brown, Jennifer Love Hewitt (x2), Jon Voight (x3), Lance Bass

Hang on a minute – a movie about movies and it was in the epic summer of 2008? There was no way Tropic Thunder wasn’t making this list, right? Maybe it seems a touch high to you? Are people still talking about this film a dozen years on? I think it’s safe to say that even though this movie isn’t all that old, it already feels like something that wouldn’t be made today. I mean, it’s got the universal comedic concept of egomaniac actors and how completely out of touch with reality they can be, but it also has legitimate black face throughout the movie, even if RDJ got nominated for an Oscar in the role. Could this get made right now, given the changes in the world over the past decade? I’d say maybe, but only a 50/50 chance.

Because the movie really does work hard to handle this issue as being actor ridiculousness, and not even remotely a cool thing to do. Brandon T. Jackson’s rapper-actor Alpa Chino is there half the time to keep Downey’s Kirk Lazarus in check, even as he effectively steals the movie. And while this character seems to popularly be the movie’s lasting cultural impact, it is stuffed with tremendous comedic turns – from Matthew McConaughey’s loopy agent Rick Peck to Danny McBride’s special effects expert Cody to Steve Coogan’s Brit director Damien Cockburn. Stiller’s work as over-the-top action hero Tugg Speedman is spot-on, but a touch thankless, as the nominal lead more or less swallowed in the plot, by being the de facto damsel in distress. Jack Black’s Jeff Portnoy gets largely overlooked, which I think is really unfair, as his typically hyper-invested work as this wacky, drug-addled Z-grade comedian delivers a bunch of great moments. And none of this is to ignore the literally amazing work of Tom Cruise, unrecognizably transformed into the vulgar uber-producer Les Grossman – by far the funniest role Cruise has ever played.

His end credits dance sequence is incredible

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The Set of 400: #143 – My Favorite Pseudo-Goldschlager Endorsement

Today! Because they literally stopped me from eating foods that were shaped like dicks…You know how many foods are shaped like dicks? The best kinds –

Superbad (2007)

Directed by Greg Mottola

Starring Michael Cera, Jonah Hill (x5), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (x3), Seth Rogen (x2), Bill Hader (x2), Emma Stone, Martha MacIsaac, Joe Lo Truglio (x4), Dave Franco, Kevin Corrigan, Carla Gallo, David Krumholtz (x2), Aviva Baumann

There is a lot more going on in this movie than I think people remember. Quick – what was Superbad about? Is this a film that is lingering in the memory as the years go by? Was this a sort of hyper-vulgar teen comedy flash-in-the-pan that really served as a big-screen jumping off point for a bunch of actors, but in itself doesn’t really capture the imagination? The real question I guess is – do you remember anything about this movie beyond McLovin?

“How old are you?”
“Old enough.”

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The Set of 400: #387 – My Favorite Animated Representation of My Life Goals

Today! Because we’ve got a diem to carpe –

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Starring Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt, Al Roker, Lauren Graham, Will Forte, Laraine Newman, Ariel Winter, Neil Flynn

They had a few writing and producing credits, mostly on TV, before this, but Cloudy would kick off the big screen careers of the great Lord and Miller, responsible for a number of solid comedies in the years since as directors/producers, including 21 and 22 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and Cloudy 2 as well as the entire run of FOX’s great The Last Man on Earth. They were also at the helm of the funniest Star Wars movie we’ll never see – Solo: A Star Wars Story – The First Two Weeks of Production, before Disney fired them, and the movie went on to be a colossal failure (I still liked Solo, but man, what might’ve been!). Continue reading

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