Tag Archives: J.K. Simmons

The Set of 400: #235 – My Favorite Science Squid

Today! Because you’ve stuck your webs into my business for the last time –

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Directed by Sam Raimi (x2)

Starring Tobey Maguire (x3), Kirsten Dunst (x2), Alfred Molina (x2), Rosemary Harris (x2), James Franco (x2), J.K. Simmons (x4), Dylan Baker (x3), Bill Nunn (x3), Willem Dafoe (x3), Cliff Robertson (x2), Ted Raimi, Donna Murphy, Daniel Gillies, Bruce Campbell (x3), Elizabeth Banks (x4), Joel McHale, Elya Baskin, Daniel Dae Kim, Hal Sparks, Emily Deschanel, Louis Lombardi (x2), Joey Coco Diaz, Mageina Tovah

If you cast your mind back to the early ’00s, when there wasn’t a new superhero movie released every three months, the medium – while popular – still wasn’t regarded as one reliable for great storytelling. Everybody likes fun action movies, right? Especially the relatively bloodless superhero kind. And that’s what we’d been getting, for quite a while, somewhat infrequently.

Then in a one-two punch, we got the first sequels to X-Men and Spider-Man in ’03 and ’04, and all of a sudden you could see fully what was possible in this genre on the big screen. Epic, complicated stories with conflicted villains bent on more than just world domination or chaotic jokery. These films were the dawn of the modern tights-and-capes era we live in, and the pinnacles of their respective franchises.

Let’s not forget the debt of honor we all owe to Blade

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The Set of 400: #295 – My Favorite Touch of Grey

Today! Because I know I’m the last guy in the world you’d peg as a Deadhead –

The Music Never Stopped (2011)

Directed by Jim Kohlberg

Starring J.K. Simmons (x3), Lou Taylor Pucci, Cara Seymour, Scott Adsit, Julia Ormond, Mia Maestro, Tammy Blanchard

How do we possibly follow the biggest movie of all-time on this list? Are all my favorite films just populist studio marketed tentpoles (don’t judge me!)? Well, in 2011 the Music Box Theatre in Chicago participated in the Sundance Across America project, stemming from the film festival, where they ship an indie to different cities that otherwise might not get nationwide play. And so I caught The Music Never Stopped, a movie that went on to gross $258,223 according to Box Office Mojo, 1/2,326th the total Titanic pulled down in its initial release.

And it’s hard to say why this movie has stuck with me – it’s a pretty sentimental, sorta-true story (based loosely on brain disorder king Oliver Sacks’ essay The Last Hippie) about an estranged father and son who reunite only after both come down with severe medical issues – heart disease and brain tumor, respectively. Son Gabriel’s tumor prevents him from making new memories, but through his favorite music – lots of Grateful Dead, Beatles, Bob Dylan on the soundtrack – the fog in his brain manages to lift somewhat temporarily.

Plus, dope threads

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The Set of 400: #377 – My Favorite Real Estate Ads

Today! Because I’m slappa da bass, mon!

I Love You, Man (2009)

Directed by John Hamburg

Starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Jane Curtin, J.K. Simmons, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg, Rob Huebel, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Jay Chandrasekhar, Joe Lo Truglio, Thomas Lennon, Ping Wu, Matt Walsh, Lou Ferrigno, Melissa Rauch, David Wain

There was a stretch in the late ’00s that I in my infinite Epinions hubris referred to as The Golden Age of Comedy (Epinions.com, gone but not forgotten!). And while in retrospect this may be overselling the half dozen bro-centric chucklefests that were released between ’07 and ’10, some are proving to give the test of time a go. Thus, the eminently quotable I Love You, Man, featuring just a ton of TV comedians supporting the ageless Paul Rudd in his search to find a male friend as an adult. The random smattering of glorified cameos include cast members of SNL (Curtin, Samberg), The State (Lo Truglio, Lennon, Wain), Human Giant (Huebel, Ansari), Broken Lizard (Chandrasekhar), and UCB (Walsh, Kroll), and I’m certainly overlooking some folks who belong in those groups. Rudd and Segel make a terrific combo, finally sharing a lot of screen time in the third of five films they appeared in from ’07 to ’13 (and the only one on this list). Also, Lou Ferrigno! And Rush! The holy trinity! Continue reading

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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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