Tag Archives: Elizabeth Banks

The Set of 400: #289 – My Favorite Cornucopia

Today! Because….uh, I believe we have a volunteer –

The Hunger Games (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring Jennifer Lawrence (x2), Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson (x3), Elizabeth Banks (x3), Donald Sutherland (x3), Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Paula Malcomson (x2), Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Willow Shields, Alexander Ludwig

The rare YA novel that completely succeeds in the transfer to the big screen, The Hunger Games is a blatant rip-off of the Japanese movie Battle Royale from 2000, yes. However, that movie has sat on my Netflix queue unwatched for years, so I don’t have anything to go on besides the internet howling of Japanese film fans. But does Battle Royale have a drunken, bewigged Woody Harrelson cavorting through it though? Then shush.

It’s such an instantly iconic movie, and the capital is so cartoonish, that glancingly people might forget how gritty an action movie this film is. The murder! There are only a handful of movies I can think of where more than one or two kids die – this one slaughters loads of children. That’s a tough sell! And yet, Hunger Games works through the fairly tasteful framing of scenes in the arena, and the totally committed performances of the leads. Jennifer Lawrence had done X-Men: First Class at this point, and really broke onto everyone’s radar with 2010’s Winter’s Bone, but her balls-to-the-wall, 100% Katniss Everdeen will obviously go down as her forever role – no matter how many times she Mystiques it up. Hell, she won an Oscar for a different movie this same year and you don’t hear it talked about much anymore (Silver Linings Playbook is perfectly fine).

She does kick a metric ton of ass in this movie, though

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The Set of 400: #322 – My Favorite Mythological Creature Based Energy Drink

Today! Because if you white, then you Ben Affleck –

Role Models (2008)

Directed by David Wain

Starring Paul Rudd (x3), Seann William Scott (x2), Bobb’e J. Thompson (x2), Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elizabeth Banks (x2), Jane Lynch (x2), Ken Jeong, Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney, Joe Lo Truglio (x2), Matt Walsh (x3), Jorma Taccone, David Wain (x2), Louis C.K., Keegan-Michael Key, Alexandra Stamler, Nicole Randall Johnson

Another film from what I in my infinite late ’00s hubris referred to as the Golden Age of Comedy (okay, if it’s not ’07 to ’11, when the hell is it? Weigh-in!), Role Models is vulgar hilarity at its finest. It’s a stacked group of world-class comedians raucously trading insults and awkwardness with at-risk youths. A dynamite comedy premise if ever I heard one!

Not as random and esoteric as this group’s The State or Wet Hot American Summer, Wain and company got the best out of Rudd and Scott playing the worst versions of their comedic personas. Okay, Scott’s Wheeler might just be a slightly older Stifler, and Rudd’s Danny is a more realistic WHAS Andy, but combined and bouncing off the terrific line deliveries of Bobb’e J. Thompson and the infinite McLovin-ness of Mintz-Plasse, you end up with a movie with as many laughs as any from this glittering golden age (Seriously, when else? Okay, 1934-38, I’ll grant you, was terrific, but none of those movies – none! – feature a gag like Jane Lynch and that hot dog).

“What does that look like?”

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The Set of 400: #381 – My Favorite “Macho Man” Randy Savage Cameo

Today! Because the story of my life is not for the faint of heart –

Spider-Man (2002)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, Joe Manganiello, Bill Nunn, Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Campbell, Macho Man Randy Savage, Octavia Spencer, Macy Gray, Lucy Lawless, Jim Norton, Stan Lee

And we’ve arrived at the first comic book superhero film to make the list! And this was really the patient zero for the film world we live in today. Sure, there were the ’70s/’80s Superman movies, and the ’80s/’90s Batman movies, and 2000’s X-Men, but in reality it wasn’t until Spidey came on the scene in ’02 that the modern era began. After this point, superhero movies would become omnipresent gigantic moneymaking super franchises, released at all times of the year. Do you remember the days when the top five grossing films of a year weren’t dominated by masked avengers and caped crusaders? Well you’re probably thinking of 2001 and before. Continue reading

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