Tag Archives: Casey Affleck

The Set of 400: #231 – My Favorite Webcam

Today! Because we’ll just tell your mother that we ate it all –

American Pie (1999)

Directed by Paul Weitz

Starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nichols, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Mena Suvari, Alyson Hannigan, Tara Reid, Seann William Scott (x3), Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Chris Owen, John Cho, Molly Cheek, Casey Affleck (x2)

Going back-to-back on the well-represented year of 1999! Our eighth film from the last of the 19s, American Pie came along at just the right time for this guy. Figure, this movie gets made in one form or another every few years, with a few little twists, but this one came out squarely in the middle of my undergrad years, and so even though it’s an End of High School film, its chaotic drinking party sex comedy of the ’90s fit right in to my sensibilities.

’80s movies of the same basic structure – your Fast Times at Ridgemont Highs and the like – never really resonated with me, because they felt so unrelatable. The universal high school experience always has bits of similarity across the decades, but there’s something about it reflecting your own era. Thus, Dazed and Confused, Sixteen Candles, American Graffiti, The Breakfast Club – all good to great movies, none on this list, as they just weren’t mine. Not like American Pie.

Sorry, Long Duk Dong fans!

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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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