Tag Archives: Sarah Silverman

The Set of 400: #42 – My Favorite Barbershop Quartet

Today! Because that’s nothing, I once waited a whole year for September –

The Muppets (2011)

Directed by James Bobin

Starring Jason Segel (x3), Amy Adams (x2), Steve Whitmire (x6), Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz (x6), Bill Barretta (x3), Matt Vogel, Peter Linz, David Rudman (x2), Chris Cooper (x3), Rashida Jones (x3), Jack Black (x6), Alan Arkin (x6), Zach Galifianakis (x2), Bill Cobbs (x2), Mickey Rooney, Ken Jeong (x3), Jim Parsons, Kristen Schaal (x2), Sarah Silverman (x3), Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, James Carville, Whoopi Goldberg (x6), Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris (x2), John Krasinski, Judd Hirsch (x2), Rico Rodriguez, Eddie Pepitone (x2)

Man, it is disconcerting seeing full-body Muppets with legs, right? Like, sitting is okay, but standing like that? Gah! Muppets on bicycles is such a cool trick that it was never visually an issue seeing their whole body, so why is the above picture so strange? And this was an actual poster for the movie – maybe not the most common one, but still!

It’s pretty ingenious puppeteering!

The 2011 Muppet film was the first big screen adventure for the gang in twelve years. They’d popped up in a bunch of TV specials, and started a pretty decent YouTube channel for music videos and song parodies and the like, but the days of major pop culture relevance were long behind them. Thus, when rumors started that there was this new, glossy Disney film with big stars attached and one-half of Flight of the Conchords doing the songs, I was excited but pretty skeptical. Would this actually see the light of day? Could a new Muppet film truly come to pass? There have been whispers of a Fraggle Rock movie for over a decade now, so it’s not like these things tend to materialize. And serious, the best Muppet product from the previous decade was a somewhat nausea-inducing Playstation game, Muppet Race Mania, so what kind of hope could I have?

Significant as being Frank Oz’s last full project with the Muppets, it was also a pretty fun game.

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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: #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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