Tag Archives: Stephen Tobolowsky

The Set of 400: #198 – My Favorite Plaid Light Show

Today! Because that’s the same combination I have on my luggage!

Spaceballs (1987)

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

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The Set of 400: #347 – My Favorite Tattoo Clues

Today! Because we all lie to ourselves to be happy –

Memento (2000)

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

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The Set of 400: #378 – My Favorite Loopy Conspiracy Theories

Today! Because Ike said, “Hey look, give us your technology, we’ll give you all the cow lips you want” –

Sneakers (1992)

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

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The Set of 400: #389 – My Favorite Transparent Skiing

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

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