Tag Archives: Jonah Hill

The Set of 400: #212 – My Favorite Tom from MySpace Cameo

Today! Because you’re my best friend, and I don’t even like you –

Funny People (2009)

Directed by Judd Apatow

Starring Adam Sandler (x3), Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill (x4), Eric Bana (x2), Aziz Ansari (x2), Jason Schwartzman (x3), Aubrey Plaza, RZA, Torsten Voges, Eminem, George Coe, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Wayne Federman, James Taylor, Andy Dick (x3), Nicole Parker, Nydia McFadden, Charles Fleischer (x3), Carol Leifer (x2), Paul Reiser (x2), George Wallace, Norm MacDonald, Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Ray Romano, Justin Long (x3), Maggie Siff

This is forever my go-to example of a one-half amazing movie. There are certainly others – American Beauty jumps to mind, swerving into awesomeness halfway through, after that turgid opening hour – but this movie is an anomaly in that it appears separate film concepts were slammed together into a single piece, producing a movie that is at the same time insanely too long and way too brief in either of its disparate parts.

I guess this was supposed to be Judd Apatow’s masterpiece, and he almost got there. With 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up both terrific all-out comedies, he opted to laden this ostensible laugher with a grim, awards-baiting terminal illness subplot. That’s not so bad – all of that happens in the wonderful first half of the movie, which deals primarily with the world of stand-up comedy, and does it better than any other film in history. But then it goes really far afield into a locked-in family dramedy, losing most of the goodwill and momentum built up in the opening half.

The great Sandu

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The Set of 400: #297 – My Favorite Artificial Tail Fin

Today! Because any food that grows here is tough and tasteless. The people that grow here are even more so –

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Directed by Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Starring Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill (x3), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (x2), T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig (x2), David Tennant

A surprisingly great animated offering from Dreamworks, How to Train Your Dragon took a lot of standard big screen cartoon elements – Kid heroes! Cute big-eyed animals! Parents who just don’t understand! – and mixed them with a stirring story of acceptance and striving to fit in. In retrospect, it strikes me as a movie that’s really better than it needs to be – the critical expectations of animated movies released in March aren’t terribly high. Hell, The Boss Baby came out in a March and made a ton of money, so did The Croods, so did Monsters vs. Aliens – all Dreamworks movies, by the way. But outside of the Shreks, nothing grossed more for the studio than HTTYD, still (I believe) the best reviewed animated movie from SKG (according to Rotten Tomatoes, anyway, at 98%).

Also, has this movie ever gotten the true credit it deserves for paving the way for Game of Thrones? Sure, GoT would probably have been a massive hit regardless, but it’s not like dragon-based films and shows have done particularly well over the years. With the exception – I guess – of the second Hobbit movie, there isn’t even really another successful dragon movie – Dragonheart, anyone? EragonReign of Fire? Sure, Dragonslayer is sorta cute, and Pete’s Dragon has a little staying power I guess, but really, it’s Smaug, Toothless, that one scene in Harry Potter 4, and that zombie dragon knocking down The Wall – that’s dragon screen history. You’ve gotta go back to like Sleeping Beauty to find anything else sorta popular that has the scaly beasts in aa major film role. I could totally be forgetting something, I suppose.

Not that Peter MacNicol doesn’t give it his all

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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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The Set of 400: #388 – My Favorite Paper Cut Riddled Sex Scene

Today! Because it was like mainlining adrenaline –

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Shea Wiggam, Christine Ebersole, Cristin Milioti, Joanna Lumley, Ethan Suplee, Thomas Middleditch, Kenneth Choi, Katarina Cas, P.J. Byrne, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski

My third favorite Scorsese/DiCaprio outing felt like a glorious return to vulgar form for Marty, following the excellent kid-centric Hugo in 2011. He never stopped making good-to-great movies, but Wolf so revels in the obscene decadence of unabashed douchebag Jordan Belfort’s life that it is more reminiscent of Goodfellas than anything Scorsese has made since. It is also by far his funniest movie, whether that was the original intention when rights were purchased or not. The excellent, epic screenplay by Sopranos/Boardwalk Empire helmer Terence Winter turns what could’ve been a harrowing, drug-fueled Wall Street knock-off into a hilarious Scarface/Bachelor Party hybrid. DiCaprio was never better, and was roundly robbed of the Oscar by co-star McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, thus enabling him to later win for the lesser work in The Revenant (I know this the second post already where I take swipes at Revenant, which isn’t a movie I realized I didn’t care for until this month). Also, if Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie don’t win Oscars in the next decade, I’ll be surprised – put me on record saying it! Continue reading

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