Tag Archives: George Wyner

The Set of 400: #198 – My Favorite Plaid Light Show

Today! Because that’s the same combination I have on my luggage!

Spaceballs (1987)

Directed by Mel Brooks (x2)

Starring Bill Pullman (x2), Daphne Zuniga, John Candy (x6), Rick Moranis (x2), Mel Brooks (x2), George Wyner (x3), Dick Van Patten (x3), Joan Rivers, Michael Winslow, Jim J. Bullock (x2), Dom DeLuise (x4), John Hurt (x2), Leslie Bevis, Stephen Tobolowsky (x4), Jack Riley, Rudy De Luca, Rick Ducommun (x3)

No higher than the fourth best Mel Brooks movie (no higher, I tell you!), Spaceballs is the one that landed squarely on my generation, and functioned as a decent balm for the end of the Star Wars trilogy. I doubt that was the intention – was Young Frankenstein supposed to be the missing eleventh Mary Shelley adaptation that never was? – but when I was a kid, I was starved for more Jedis and Wookies and droids, plus I liked comedy, so Spaceballs fit nicely. Realize, I was like three and a half when Return of the Jedi came out, so I don’t remember a world before that – new Star Wars movies seemed like an impossible dream, even by the time I was eight, so what if a couple of ex-SCTVers and the governor from Blazing Saddles were in it – this was essentially another, albeit twisted, chapter.

It takes things in an arguably better direction than Attack of the Clones, anyway

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The Set of 400: #367 – My Favorite Chalkboard Headbutt

Today! Because the rabbi didn’t look busy!

A Serious Man (2009)

Directed by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Starring Michael Stuhlbarg, Fred Melamed, Richard Kind, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolff, Jessica McManus, George Wyner, Fyvush Finkel, Simon Helberg (x2), Adam Arkin, Michael Lerner, Amy Landecker

The quality of Coen brothers’ films may have gotten more than a little uneven as the years have gone on, but they’ve never been uninteresting. They’ll pop up a bunch over the next year – they squarely fit my earlier definition of directors whose films I will run out and see no matter what – but their first is this darkly comic family struggle that gave us the fantastic Michael Stuhlbarg as the long suffering Larry Gopnik. His marriage falls apart, his kid is a bit of a mess, and the rabbis are no practical assistance, while Larry continually melts down. It’s a tremendous performance in a largely enjoyable film, mostly ignored on its initial release.

It did manage a Best Picture nomination – they’d just expanded the number of nominees up to ten for the 2009 awards, and a small, mostly overlooked film like this was a main beneficiary – in a year I clearly like more than I thought. This is already the fourth ’09 film, joining #377’s I Love You, Man, #383’s Sherlock Holmes, and #387’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. At a quick glance, it looks like the next film doesn’t come until #329, so if you’ve only come here for 2009 movies, see you again on May 31st! Continue reading

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