Tag Archives: Michael McKean

The Set of 400: #294 – My Favorite Rolling Ferris Wheel

Today! Because I fought your kind in the Great War, and we kicked the living shit out of you –

1941 (1979)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd (x3), Ned Beatty (x2), Christopher Lee (x4), Tim Matheson, Toshiro Mifune (x2), John Candy (x4), Nancy Allen, Lorraine Gary (x2), Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Murray Hamilton (x3), Elisha Cook Jr., Patti LuPone, Eddie Deezen, Perry Lang, Wendie Jo Sperber, Joe Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean (x3), Don Calfa, Susan Backlinie, Jerry Hardin, Audrey Landers, Dick Miller (x3), Mickey Rourke

For those of you unfamiliar with this movie – can you believe the above cast got together in ’79 and put on an epic war comedy? And under the direction of the king, Steven Spielberg, following his massive success with Jaws and Close Encounters? Doesn’t it make you want to run out and see what this movie could possibly be?? How have you avoided it all these years? Do it!

And for those of you already familiar with this movie, SHUT UP.

I’m not Titanic-level defensive about 1941, but that’s because most people either didn’t see it or don’t remember it enough to argue about it. And look, I know there is a lot wrong with this movie. It only sort of functions as a comedy – it’s like a less funny It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with explosions and extended choreographed fistfights – and sort of functions as a war movie. But the premise is solid enough and the cast is terrific that, even though it doesn’t totally deliver, it’s still a pretty entertaining movie. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #373 – My Favorite Car Rental Agency Smackdown

Today! Because those aren’t pillows –

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Directed by John Hughes

Starring Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean (x2), Dylan Baker, Kevin Bacon, Diana Douglas, Larry Hankin, Richard Herd, Edie McClurg, Matthew Lawrence, Martin Ferrero, Bill Erwin, Ben Stein

In the only movie that they share screen time, Martin and Candy are a terrifically funny team in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (They are both funny in Little Shop of Horrors, too, but not together!). It seems like they should’ve crossed over more, right? The old SNL/SCTV staples have overlapping credits in most of their ’80s films – with Rick Moranis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase – but this is their only co-starring flick. Shame! They are hilarious together in John Hughes excellent foray into R-rated comedy. Its got a standard mis-matched anti-buddy road trip plot, both trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving, thrown together out of convenience, but significantly enhanced by the interplay between Candy’s good-natured if irritating salesman Del and Martin’s alternately simmering/volcanic executive. And for all the set pieces along the way, and the consistently solid laughs, it also features one of the more heartbreaking endings of an ’80s comedy. I’m often a lump-throated mess by the time the credits get rolling on this one. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #389 – My Favorite Transparent Skiing

Today! Because I can see through my eyelids, I can see through the top of my head –

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Directed by John Carpenter

Starring Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Patricia Heaton, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ellen Albertini Dow

So if, like me, your exposure to this movie was brought about by its endless cable airings in the early-to-mid ’90s and never since, I can tell you, it’s not really holding up like you’d hope. Sure, the invisible man sequences are still pretty cool, and the effects aren’t bad, given the 1992-ness of it all, but that crusher combo of a Chevy Chase who has no business playing this part and Daryl Hannah, who has her typical rough time in any significant speaking role, drop this near the bottom of this list. Continue reading

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