Tag Archives: Kristen Wiig

The Set of 400: #204 – My Favorite Free Corn Dogs Promotion

Today! Because there’s a bear loose in the coliseum! There will be no refunds! Your refund will be escaping this deathtrap with your life!

Semi-Pro (2008)

Directed by Kent Alterman

Starring Will Ferrell (x3), Woody Harrelson (x5), Andre Benjamin, Maura Tierney (x2), Will Arnett, Andrew Daly, David Koechner, Rob Corddry (x3), Andy Richter, Matt Walsh (x5), DeRay Davis, Josh Braaten, Jay Phillips, Peter Cornell, Jackie Earle Haley (x3), Tim Meadows (x2), Patti LaBelle, Ian Roberts (x2), Ed Helms (x3), Jerry Minor, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig (x3)

The most underrated sports comedy in recent memory, Semi-Pro is basically a beat-for-beat basketball-based remake of #213 Slap Shot. I’ll admit that. Instead of the team on the verge of folding because of hometown financial distress, here it’s that the very real ABA is being acquired by the NBA, bringing the top four of its teams into the big league. Trying to fight their way into this select group is Jackie Moon’s Flint Tropics (the only fictional franchise in the movie), which needs to get their attendance number up to even compete, and that requires some gimmicks.

So, okay, is it the 70% knock-off of Slap Shot that bothers people? Because this is still a really funny movie. Sure, it does have the feeling of two different scripts slammed together into one movie – the wacky, Will Ferrell Jackie plot, along with Woody Harrelson’s over-the-hill former NBA player trying to get his old love life sorted out story. And they don’t mesh together terrible well, but neither is particularly bad. Plus it has that fun ’70s setting and a ton of great comedians filling out the cast – highlights including Will Arnett and Andrew Daly’s broadcast team of Lou Redwood and Dick Pepperfield, Matt Walsh’s ref and source of major abuse Father Pat, Jackie Earle Haley’s burnout winner of the halftime shooting contest Dukes, and Kristen Wiig as the bear handler. Continue reading

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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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