Tag Archives: John C. Reilly

The Set of 400: #23 – My Favorite Indoor Fireworks Display

Today! Because I think you have the job, but why don’t I make sure of something –

Boogie Nights (1997)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x5)

Starring Mark Wahlberg (x2), Burt Reynolds (x2), Julianne Moore (x4), John C. Reilly (x7), Don Cheadle (x4), Heather Graham (x4), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x8), William H. Macy (x3), Ricky Jay (x2), Melora Walters (x3), Nina Hartley, Nicole Ari Parker, Thomas Jane (x4), Alfred Molina (x4), Luis Guzman (x5), Philip Baker Hall (x7), Robert Ridgely (x6), Joanna Gleason (x2), Jack Wallace, Michael Jace (x2), Jack Riley (x5), Robert Downey Sr.

My favorite movie from one of my favorite years, Boogie Nights kicked off my multi-decade love affair with Paul Thomas Anderson films, nearly all of which landed on this list. Sarah, who is not exactly a PTA fan, has proclaimed that his most recent film (as of this writing) Phantom Thread is the “only real movie I’ve ever seen.” Dissect that statement as you will! But it all began with what I would categorize as his most accessible, mainstream film, even if it is a period epic set in the porn industry.

The unceasing greatness of Rollergirl cannot be overstated

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The Set of 400: #167 – My Favorite Glass Eye

Today! Because the appearance of law must be upheld, especially while it’s being broken –

Gangs of New York (2002)

Directed by Martin Scorsese (x3)

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis (x2), Leonardo DiCaprio (x3), Cameron Diaz (x3), Brendan Gleeson, John C. Reilly (x6), Jim Broadbent (x2), Henry Thomas, Liam Neeson (x2), Eddie Marsan (x3), Stephen Graham, Gary Lewis, Lawrence Gillard Jr., Cara Seymour (x2), Tim Pigott-Smith (x2)

This movie was so close to being an unmitigated masterpiece that we as a people can only lament the missteps made in dragging it to completion. You have a terrific cast, a marvelous adaptation of a book without a real narrative, and Scorsese hell bent on winning an Oscar, in a year that wasn’t super competitive. Daniel Day-Lewis, not one to slum it, gives 110% percent and dominates the film as Bill the Butcher – a film, again, loaded with talent. He’s a colossus, an unholy terror, and while the film purports to be about the Vallons – father Priest and son Amsterdam – it ends up totally the story of the vicious Five Points ganglord. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #191 – My Favorite Homeless Q*bert

Today! Because I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad –

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Directed by Rich Moore

Starring John C. Reilly (x5), Sarah Silverman (x2), Jane Lynch (x4), Jack McBrayer (x2), Alan Tudyk (x2), Joe Lo Truglio (x3), Mindy Kaling, Ed O’Neill (x2), Dennis Haysbert, Edie McClurg (x2), Rachael Harris, Adam Carolla, Horatio Sanz (x2), Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio (x2)

The shining example of a kid’s movie made for adults, Wreck-It Ralph includes loads of old video game characters and cameos, from Q*bert to Doctor Robotnik, voiced by a terrific group of comedians milking the arcade gags for all their worth. Even the central games of the story – Fix-It Felix Jr. and Sugar Rush – are thinly disguised versions of Rampage and Super Mario Kart. And being a kid who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, obsessed with Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo, this movie obviously was geared toward me and mine, not the Xbox children of today.

But while the first half hour does feel a tad gimmicky – these large scale Avengers style combinations of characters can’t help but suffer a little in design – it is still driven by a terrific little story, as Fix-It Felix Jr. villain Ralph is disgruntled with being the perennial bad guy and looks for a way to improve his standing with his game’s other characters. This leads his adventure through the arcade, winning a medal in the Halo-esque Hero’s Duty, and subsequently losing it in the candy-heavy racing game. There are plenty of fun twists and turns, but the emotional heart of the film separates it from other similar animated fare, as Ralph is tasked with helping Sugar Rush’s glitched racer Vanellope against the wishes of literally every character in her game. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #217 – My Favorite Adult Braces

Today! Because it’s not going to stop/’Til you wise up –

Magnolia (1999)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (x4)

Starring Tom Cruise (x3), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x4), Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly (x4), William H. Macy, Jason Robards (x2), Melora Walters, Ricky Jay, Alfred Molina (x3), Felicity Huffman, Melinda Dillon (x2), Luis Guzman (x3), Philip Baker Hall (x3), Thomas Jane (x2), Michael Murphy (x3), Henry Gibson (x3), Neil Flynn (x2), Patton Oswalt, Jim Meskimen (x2), Jeremy Blackman, Michael Bowen, Cleo King, Clark Gregg (x3)

Like many people, my initial reaction to Magnolia was that I had a problem with the ending. For everything else going on in this movie – and there is a ton going on here – the natural takeaway, as it is the climax of the movie, is “What the hell is all this with the frogs now?” But, come on, how else was it going to end? Isn’t it obvious that the solution to all the crazy pent up drama is for the sky to open up and drench the city in biblically apocalyptic frogs? No?

I mean, this kid seemed to dig it

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The Set of 400: #290 – My Favorite Insurance Convention

Today! Because I do a pretty convincing Omar from the HBO program, The Wire – 

Cedar Rapids (2011)

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Starring Ed Helms (x2), John C. Reilly (x3), Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver (x3), Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root (x2), Alia Shawkat, Kurtwood Smith, Thomas Lennon (x3), Rob Corddry, Mike O’Malley, Mike Birbiglia

A movie that snuck in and out of theaters with little fanfare, Cedar Rapids is a terrific character-driven comedy about a rollicking business trip to Iowa as the backdrop to personal and professional crossroads. Director Arteta (of Chuck & Buck fame) compiled a fantastic cast of comedy greats, working from a script by Phil Johnston, who would go on to write a pair of tremendous animated films – Wreck it Ralph and Zootopia. 

But yeah, this little indie – filmed through some tax breaks, I assume, not in Cedar Rapids, but the equally uncinematic Ann Arbor, Michigan (sorry, Wolverines fans) – didn’t crack $7 million total at the box office, and doesn’t seem to have a second life on cable, yet, so far as I can tell. Maybe there is a little too much adult melancholy surrounding the wilder sequences in the film – massive drug parties, semi-nude hotel shenanigans – so that it crossed up the marketers and the audiences alike. It’s hard to say the demographic this is aimed at, exactly, but probably not the age group who would really enjoy this type of movie – high-brow-ish masquerading as low-brow-ish. Medium brow? Is that a filmic delineation?

Maeby Funke straddles this line particularly well herein

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The Set of 400: #368 – My Favorite My Fair Lady Appropriation

Today! Because without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating I don’t see how that’s possible –

Anger Management (2003)

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Lynne Thigpen (x2), Kurt Fuller, Krista Allen, Woody Harrelson, January Jones, Kevin Nealon, Alan Covert, Jonathan Loughran, Nancy Walls, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly (x2), Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Knight, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens

And we’ve wandered into the guiltiest of my pleasures (which sounds awfully gross in that phrasing) – Adam Sandler movies. While I enjoy the vast majority of them, you won’t see a ton of them in the days to come, because they’re largely an interchangeable group of films starring the same people, behaving in the same ways, so it’s tough to differentiate. But this one has Jack the Actor.

I remember having a very late night argument about who was the greatest actor in film history about a dozen years back, with them taking DeNiro and me backing Nicholson and I still feel I’m right in that comparison, even if, come on, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest, let’s face it. Not to rag on DeNiro – that guy used to be great – but he hasn’t given an even halfway decent performance in anything in about twenty years. Sure, Jack is more or less retired, but I can’t think of an occasion where he totally phoned in a film. Plus, I once heard the argument that if you were casting an Odd Couple movie today, you could easily stick Jack in either main role, and that just resonated as defining truth to me. No? It should be more complicated than that? Probably. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #372 – My Favorite Temptations

Today! Because I done a bad thing/cut my brother in half –

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Starring John C. Reilly, Kristen Wiig, Jenna Fischer, Craig Robinson, Harold Ramis, Ed Helms, Jack White, Raymond J. Barry, Margo Martindale, Tim Meadows, Honeyboy Edwards, Jack Black, Jonah Hill (x2), Justin Long, Paul Rudd (x2), Jason Schwartzman, Martin Starr, Rance Howard, Chris Parnell, Matt Besser, Jack McBrayer, Frankie Muniz, Ian Roberts, David Krumholtz, Jane Lynch, Simon Helberg, Jackson Browne, Jewel, Lyle Lovett, Ghostface Killah, Eddie Vedder

This totally wacky send-up of mid ’00s musical biopics really hit the spot for me in ’07. It borders on Airplane! style lunacy at times, hurling jokes as fast as it can, and many manage to stick thanks to the all-in performance the great John C. Reilly gives at all ages of Dewey’s life from 14 onward. He’s supported by an utterly astounding number of comedians willing to throw a few minutes into the film. Sure, it rambles all over the place in search of jokes – while I enjoy the Jack White Elvis and the Black/Rudd/Long/Schwartzman Beatles, they do feel a bit like overkill. I particularly love Tim Meadows bits as Dewey’s drummer, continually trying to dissuade him from whatever vice currently being enjoyed. But I think the thief of the film is X-Files great Raymond J. Barry as Dewey’s father, constantly bemoaning “Wrong kid died!” It’s silly madness, replete with equally goofy original songs, and was still almost completely ignored in its day at the box office. Totally deserving of an audience! Continue reading

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