Tag Archives: Patrick Stewart

The Set of 400: #277 – My Favorite Statue of Liberty Showdown

Today! Because the war is still coming, Charles, and I intend to fight it by any means necessary –

X-Men (2000)

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring Hugh Jackman (x2), Patrick Stewart (x2), Ian McKellen (x2), Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Ray Park (x2), Rebecca Romijn (x2), Tyler Mane, Bruce Davison, Shawn Ashmore

For everyone who bemoans the epic length of today’s superhero movies, realize, large cast comic adaptations can come in under two hours, but they’re going to look a lot like 2000’s X-Men. Sure, it didn’t have a lot to compare itself to back then – it’s preceded by little more than the ’90s Batmans, the ’80s Supermans, and…Blade, I guess? So how would they know to give equal time to the characters and not have it just be, like, Wolverine and his costumed bubs? Halle Berry’s Storm has like fifteen lines in the whole movie! She would win an Oscar within a handful of years of this film, and she’s got slightly more lines than the random wrestler who plays Sabretooth!

And yeah, it has aged terribly in comparison to the films that followed – not only the Spider-Mans, the Marvel Universe, and the Nolan Bat films, but in the X-Men franchise itself. Hey, it’s still better than every stab at the Fantastic Four, anyway! And it is a pretty fun movie, if you can overlook the completely lousy non-Magneto villains, and some of that dialogue. Oh, man, that dialogue. But this was the film that pulled Jackman from the stage and made him a huge star, after the original Wolverine had to drop out, thanks to Mission: Impossible 2 running over filming – thanks, Dougray Scott! Ah, what could’ve been! Would these movies have worked without Jackman? Would we have nine of them??

He’s worked steadily since, but off the top of your head, what’s the last Dougray Scott film you saw?

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The Set of 400: #395 – My Favorite Medieval Malcolm X

Today! Because we didn’t land on Sherwood Forest, Sherwood Forest landed on us –

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

Directed by Mel Brooks

Starring Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Dave Chappelle, Roger Rees, Tracey Ullman, Amy Yasbeck, Mark Blankfield, Patrick Stewart, Mel Brooks, Isaac Hayes, Dom DeLuise, Dick Van Patten, Robert Ridgely, Eric Allan Kramer, Megan Cavanagh, Matthew Porretta, Avery Schreiber, Clive Revill

While far from the best Mel Brooks outing, it is the last good movie he’d direct (in fairness, this was only followed by the thoroughly meh Dracula: Dead and Loving It), and it was on TV constantly in the early/mid nineties. But I’m not trying to make excuses for its inclusion here – there is a lot to like about Men in Tights. Cary Elwes was perfect for this sort of comedy – only really on display here and in Hot Shots! – and effortlessly carries the mayhem along. I also can never keep straight whether he appeared in Mel’s Dracula or Coppola’s Dracula that inspired it, so solid is he at both types of movies. Sure, it revels in the dated, Catskills-style jokes Mel would lean more and more into as the years wore on, but between Chappelle’s great early work here as Ahchoo, Tracey Ullman uglying it up as the witch Latrine, and Richard Lewis doing his best Richard Lewis impersonation as Prince Johnthere is plenty to enjoy. Does it have the laugh-out-loud highs of Mel’s early films? Not really, but it also pushes harder on parody, and really dials up the number of jokes per minute. So what if the success rate is 50/50? I still really enjoy Men in Tights. Continue reading

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