August 12, 2020 · 1:12 pm
Today! Because we’d better get going if we’re going to stay ahead of the weather –
Groundhog Day (1993)
Directed by Harold Ramis (x3)
Starring Bill Murray (x13), Andie MacDowell (x4), Chris Elliott (x2), Stephen Tobolowsky (x5), Brian Doyle-Murray (x6), Robin Duke (x2), David Pasquesi, Rick Ducommun (x5), Marita Geraghty, Michael Shannon, Harold Ramis (x4), Rick Overton (x2), Willie Garson (x6), Angela Paton, Ken Hudson Campbell (x2)
The greatest pure comedy screenplay ever written, Groundhog Day is an unabashed masterpiece, forever imitated across genres and styles but never topped. I like Happy Death Day and Edge of Tomorrow as much as anybody, but the sheer brilliance of Ramis’s handling of this material (and extensive rewriting of the original script) coupled with Murray’s best performance will always give this movie the nod over the knock-offs.
Tough luck, weird baby mask killer!
What has certainly helped this movie stick around – besides its obvious greatness – is that it finally gave the rest of the country something to do on February 2nd. Punxsutawney is in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania, and appears wholly incapable of supporting any manner of major celebration. Once upon a time we happened to be driving across PA on 2/2, and would’ve needed to stay over somewhere in the western portion of the state anyway, and hotels were jammed literally everywhere around Punxsutawney. Who the hell actually goes to Gobbler’s Knob anyway? Lots of folks, apparently! Is this due to Groundhog Day? It wasn’t even filmed there, probably for the same reason you can’t just pop in on the holiday! Continue reading →
December 2, 2019 · 2:22 pm
Today! Because that’s the same combination I have on my luggage!
Directed by Mel Brooks (x2)
Starring Bill Pullman (x2), Daphne Zuniga, John Candy (x6), Rick Moranis (x2), Mel Brooks (x2), George Wyner (x3), Dick Van Patten (x3), Joan Rivers, Michael Winslow, Jim J. Bullock (x2), Dom DeLuise (x4), John Hurt (x2), Leslie Bevis, Stephen Tobolowsky (x4), Jack Riley, Rudy De Luca, Rick Ducommun (x3)
No higher than the fourth best Mel Brooks movie (no higher, I tell you!), Spaceballs is the one that landed squarely on my generation, and functioned as a decent balm for the end of the Star Wars trilogy. I doubt that was the intention – was Young Frankenstein supposed to be the missing eleventh Mary Shelley adaptation that never was? – but when I was a kid, I was starved for more Jedis and Wookies and droids, plus I liked comedy, so Spaceballs fit nicely. Realize, I was like three and a half when Return of the Jedi came out, so I don’t remember a world before that – new Star Wars movies seemed like an impossible dream, even by the time I was eight, so what if a couple of ex-SCTVers and the governor from Blazing Saddles were in it – this was essentially another, albeit twisted, chapter.
It takes things in an arguably better direction than Attack of the Clones, anyway
Continue reading →
Filed under Movies
Tagged as Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, Dom DeLuise, Favorite Movies Ever, George Wyner, Jim J. Bullock, Joan Rivers, John Candy, John Hurt, Mel Brooks, Michael Winslow, Rick Moranis, Spaceballs, Stephen Tobolowsky
May 7, 2019 · 1:10 pm
Today! Because we all lie to ourselves to be happy –
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Stephen Tobolowsky (x3), Thomas Lennon (x2), Mark Boone Junior, Callum Keith Rennie, Jorja Fox
A singularly great film, Memento bestowed on the world the inestimable gift of Christopher Nolan – the closest thing to Spielberg since Spielberg, but operating with a decidedly adult bent in his giant feature films. From its twisty, complex screenplay to the wildly inventive, imaginative direction, to the whole story unfolding with increased tension suspense backwards through the plot – there really has never been anything else quite like it. As much as I might enjoy some other Nolan films more, and think one or two to be legitimately better, he is unlikely to make anything more technically impressive than Memento. Okay, Dunkirk is pretty stunning as well. Nolan is a master of the first order, is what I’m saying.
Saving Private Ryan wishes it was Dunkirk
Continue reading →
March 25, 2019 · 1:21 pm
Today! Because Ike said, “Hey look, give us your technology, we’ll give you all the cow lips you want” –
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Starring Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Timothy Busfield, Donal Logue, George Hearn, Stephen Tobolowsky, James Earl Jones
All the cast in the world came together for this relatively light heist flick in the early ’90s, with pretty fun results. It’s not a movie you hear bandied about much these days – but judging by its gross, it was fairly popular in the fall of ’92. Redford and Kingsley play friends-turned-rivals battling over this MacGuffin that will decode and hack into everything on the remedial early ’90s internet. Redford’s team of good guys includes very funny turns by Aykroyd, Phoenix, and particuarly Strathairn as the blind sound expert Whistler. To my knowledge, this is also the only big screen pairing of film legends Redford and Poitier, so that’s cool! Is it a bit dated, given that the high-tech wizardry on display in this movie looks like a cheap Nintendo game? Sure. But even at the time this seemed more an excuse to gather up a ton of great actors and go on a good, old fashioned caper than to try to wow the audience with gadgets. The movie doesn’t quite match up to the heavy hitters involved, but it is definitely enhanced by their collective presence. Continue reading →
Filed under Movies
Tagged as Ben Kingsley, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, Donal Logue, Favorite Movies Ever, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Sneakers, Stephen Tobolowsky, Timothy Busfield
March 8, 2019 · 2:26 pm
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 →