Tag Archives: Sigourney Weaver

The Set of 400: #19 – My Favorite Mass Hysteria

Today! Because that was the whole plan, “Get her!” –

Ghostbusters (1984)

Directed by Ivan Reitman (x2)

Starring Bill Murray (x12), Dan Aykroyd (x7), Sigourney Weaver (x7), Harold Ramis (x3), Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis (x4), Annie Potts (x3), William Atherton (x2), David Margulies (x2), Alice Drummond, Larry King (x2), Slavitza Jovan, Jordan Charney (x3), Jennifer Runyon, Casey Kasem, Joe Franklin (x2), Jean Kasem, Reginald VelJohnson (x2)

Show of hands – who hasn’t seen Ghostbusters a thousand times? Even if you didn’t grow up with it, that movie airs on television what, every week? Every few days? I solidly feel like this was the gateway to film comedy for virtually everyone around my age. I don’t distinctly remember when it first came out – as I was just pushing five at the time – but once it was on video, it was a solid household staple from that point forward. I can’t even guess how many times I watched Ghostbusters, but I’d say it’s probably among my top five or six films, along with the Star Wars movies, Indiana Jones, Young Frankenstein, and Monday’s film. Stay tuned!

Because what is there not to like about Ghostbusters? It’s just scary enough, just cool enough, and just funny enough to appeal to a wide variety of audience members. You don’t like horror? The scary ghost stuff is pretty fleeting. You don’t like ’80s action flicks? This doesn’t have all that much derring do! You don’t like comedies? What are you, a monster? Everybody likes comedies! Plus, while this movie is funny, has a lot of funny lines, has a lot of funny characters, it isn’t swinging for home run laughs on every beat. It is the quintessential action comedy from an era loaded with them, and the added bonus is that there happen to be ghosts. Fun!

And some of those ghosts are only around for prurient thrills!

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The Set of 400: #33 – My Favorite Lightning Umbrella

Today! Because rather than try to fix this problem, it’ll just be easier if everyone remains in space –

WALL·E (2008)

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin (x2), Fred Willard (x2), John Ratzenberger (x8), Kathy Najimy (x3), Sigourney Weaver (x6), Donald Fullilove (x4), Laraine Newman (x3)

The glorious summer of 2008 returns with the greatest animated film of all time. That’s right, the top dog in the entire game. You might be sputtering and muttering about all the wonders of Dumbo right now, but stuff it! You might want to rage about how Spirited Away is criminally underseen and deserves more recognition, but save that snobby tripe for someone else! You might want to go on about how Inside Out is clearly Pixar’s masterpiece, and…you might have a point. It wasn’t eligible for this list. But as far as the vast history of animated cinema up to the end of 2013 is concerned, it’s WALL·E at the mountaintop.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt that it is my favorite animated film – #33 is as high as the genre managed – but this wasn’t one that needed to grow on me. I’ve been saying almost since the first time I saw it that WALL·E was the best I’d ever seen, and that hasn’t really changed since (again, except for maybe Inside Out, and maybe the Into the Spider-Verse movie). But anyone who tells you that the golden age of animation was the old world Disney classics (e.g. Bambi, Cinderella, Song of the South) or the ’90s revival (Aladdin, Lion King, er, Hercules) is too stuck in the past to argue with. The Pixar run from 2003 to 2010, which included Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL·E, Up, Ratatouille, and Toy Story 3 (and Cars) is the golden age of cartoon films.

But (just to emphasize) not because of Cars

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The Set of 400: #222 – My Favorite Game Over, Man

Today! Because mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are –

Aliens (1986)

Directed by James Cameron (x2)

Starring Sigourney Weaver (x5), Michael Biehn (x2), Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton (x4), Paul Reiser, Carrie Henn, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston

Oof, look at that poster! I already regret picking that. It doesn’t look like anything! It certainly doesn’t look like something we associate with Aliens. Even if they couldn’t cram a xenomorph on there somewhere, or a Paxton, or a goddamn Newt, you’re telling me that blue globe thing with Sigourney’s rocking ’80s hairdo wouldn’t have sold some tickets? Come on!

The only film in the series to make the list (sorry, Ridley Scott fans!), Aliens is such a huge jump up from the original that it almost verges on that much-talked-about mental disorder I seem to have – where a superior sequel relegates a chronological predecessor to prequel status. This isn’t quite that – Alien, while not on this list, is still a pretty great movie. But it also has completely different aims. Where that film is a relatively slow creeping space horror flick, the James Cameron follow-up is a slam bang bullets and muscles action movie, replete with unlikable, expendable Paul Reisers, more human than human androids, and Paxton delivering great, funny lines with his indelible Paxtonness. And instead of just having a pet cat tagging along for the adventure this time, there’s a grubby human child now! Fun!

And man, is that kid grubby!

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The Set of 400: #232 – My Favorite Comic Book Convention

Today! Because that was a hell of a thing –

Galaxy Quest (1999)

Directed by Dean Parisot

Starring Tim Allen (x2), Sigourney Weaver (x4), Alan Rickman (x2), Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub (x2), Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, Justin Long (x2), Patrick Breen, Robin Sachs, Jeremy Howard, Rainn Wilson, Heidi Swedberg (x2), Kevin McDonald

I’m a pretty casual Star Trek fan, and even that might be overstating it. I’ve seen most of the movies – I’m probably missing one or two from the original cast and from the later Next Generation films, and there is no one version of the TV show I’ve seen in its entirety. My sister was the big ST:TNG fan, and so I watched a lot of it during its initial syndicated airing (not exactly an unpopular opinion – I was a Q episodes first/Holodeck episodes second kind of fan). But while this movie is clearly aimed at the Star Trek base, it really applies to almost any obsessive fandom, and I am chocked full of those, man.

I’m gonna marathon Q episodes soon, and when the wife is least expecting it

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The Set of 400: #290 – My Favorite Insurance Convention

Today! Because I do a pretty convincing Omar from the HBO program, The Wire – 

Cedar Rapids (2011)

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Starring Ed Helms (x2), John C. Reilly (x3), Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver (x3), Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root (x2), Alia Shawkat, Kurtwood Smith, Thomas Lennon (x3), Rob Corddry, Mike O’Malley, Mike Birbiglia

A movie that snuck in and out of theaters with little fanfare, Cedar Rapids is a terrific character-driven comedy about a rollicking business trip to Iowa as the backdrop to personal and professional crossroads. Director Arteta (of Chuck & Buck fame) compiled a fantastic cast of comedy greats, working from a script by Phil Johnston, who would go on to write a pair of tremendous animated films – Wreck it Ralph and Zootopia. 

But yeah, this little indie – filmed through some tax breaks, I assume, not in Cedar Rapids, but the equally uncinematic Ann Arbor, Michigan (sorry, Wolverines fans) – didn’t crack $7 million total at the box office, and doesn’t seem to have a second life on cable, yet, so far as I can tell. Maybe there is a little too much adult melancholy surrounding the wilder sequences in the film – massive drug parties, semi-nude hotel shenanigans – so that it crossed up the marketers and the audiences alike. It’s hard to say the demographic this is aimed at, exactly, but probably not the age group who would really enjoy this type of movie – high-brow-ish masquerading as low-brow-ish. Medium brow? Is that a filmic delineation?

Maeby Funke straddles this line particularly well herein

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The Set of 400: #292 – My Favorite Merman

Today! Because this is Zombie Redneck Torture Family, see? They’re entirely separate species. Like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal –

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Directed by Drew Goddard

Starring Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Anna Hutchison, Sigourney Weaver, Brian White

Not really being a horror guy myself, it’s probably fitting that this not-really-a-horror-movie is my favorite horror movie of recent years. I mean, it has a lot of basic horror elements – kids partying at the desolate cabin in the woods, maniacal killers, spooky atmosphere. But right from the beginning, right from the opening credits, something is obviously wrong in this film. What follows is a frankly amazing subverting of the entire genre, a parody inside of a science fiction/fantasy/mythology that is as funny as any horror movie ever made, which I know is a pretty weird endorsement. I saw this based almost entirely on reviews – the studio clearly had no idea how to market it without giving the entire film away – and audiences were clearly conflicted. While it did okay at the box office, it got savaged by Cinemascore (if you give any credit to that outfit). Rotten Tomatoes places the movie at a robust 91% with critics, yet Cinemascore gave it a C, with female audience goers (usually a very supportive demographic to horror) handing out a D+! Clearly, few were prepared for the non-horror horror movie from Goddard and co-screenwriting god Joss Whedon. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #352 – My Favorite Driving Miss Daisy Remake

Today! Because I know robot karate –

Be Kind Rewind (2008)

Directed by Michel Gondry

Starring Mos Def, Jack Black (x2), Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Sigourney Weaver, Melonie Diaz, Jon Glaser, Kid Creole, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones

Whenever I watch this movie, I spend half of it imagining how I could create ultra low budget remakes of movies. Like, sure, I’d still need a job – this movie emphasizes you can’t make money from this idea very strongly – but as a pastime? There aren’t a ton of movies covering this concept – this and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl are all that come to mind – but as the acclaimed director of such notable shorts as Antigone: the Musical, Senor Sweeney Gomez, and Russian Bikini Hookers II: Hurricane Ho, I can tell that this movie gets a lot of things right about backyard filmmaking.

I mean, okay, the rest of the plot doesn’t manage to go anywhere of note, but what, were they just going to have Mos Def and Jack Black act out twisted, truncated versions of Rush Hour and Ghostbusters for two hours? Hmm…yeah, they should have, I’d totally watch that (of all the quick remakes they show, Men in Black and 2001 are my favorites). The middle sequences of the film where they are just renting out their videos (the video store’s collection got erased by a magnetized Black – don’t worry about it) and creating new ones couldn’t have been the whole movie without a much different framing plot, but man, if only! Continue reading

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