Tag Archives: Stephen Root

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: #398 – My Favorite Peter Noone Torture Device

Today! Because Molly, you in danger, girl –

Ghost (1990)

Directed by Jerry Zucker

Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn, Vincent Schiavelli, Stephen Root

After two blood-and-guts knuckle fests, we’re going with Ghost?? Okay, come with me on this for a minute – I think a definite case can be made that Ghost is the most deceptively marketed film in history. Yes, it’s a romance, kind of, but that pottery scene is all anyone seems to remember about this movie, along with that floating penny, and those account for nearly all the lovey-dovey moments of the film. The backbone of the movie is this drug dealer reimbursing murder, masterminded by a wily Tony Goldwyn, countered by the ethereal Swayze, who has all these fish-out-of-water ghost mishaps, ghost skills training, and body possession sequences that vary from hilarious to just plain cool. The Sam/Molly relationship barely takes up any time, and yet Ghost became a sappy romance in the collective memory as time wore on. How funny is Whoopi in this movie? What about those evil spirits that snatch bad guys off to Hell? Come on! This is an action/horror comedy, soundtracked by the Righteous Brothers! Continue reading

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