Tag Archives: Woody Harrelson

The Set of 400: #269 – My Favorite Non-Scranton Scranton Cameo

Today! Because sometimes a bowler just has to face the music –

 

Kingpin (1996)

Directed by the Farrelly Brothers (x3)

Starring Woody Harrelson (x4), Randy Quaid (x2), Bill Murray (x4), Vanessa Angel, Chris Elliott, Willie Garson (x3), Googy Gress (x2), Lin Shaye, William Jordan, Prudence Wright Holmes, Richard Tyson, Zen Gesner

The Farrellys direct precursor to There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin is cut from very much the same cloth, with slightly lesser results. However! While I recognize it seems borderline insane that the four current Two-Timer directors are Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Farrelly Brothers, rest assured, this is their last appearance on the list. Dumb comedies are only gonna rise so high! Or are they?

No, I recognize Mary as the superior film, to be sure – I guess I just got a little tired of it, as it became this giant, omnipresent comedy two years later, endlessly referenced and pointed back to for years to come. And this largely swallowed Kingpin, a movie I much prefer for two big reasons – 1) the fact that Woody Harrelson’s broken bowler Roy Munson is so defeated by life that he ends up in Scranton, PA to start the film (Shoutout, hometown!) and 2) Bill Murray is beyond words amazing as the villain “Big Ern” Ernie McCracken. Like a lot of ’90s comedies, it’s pretty mean-spirited in retrospect – not just Big Ern being a complete asshole, but the movie’s general take on everybody – but I think it works better than some because there is a genuine relationship that forms between Munson and Randy Quaid’s backwards Amish bowler Ishmael, so that the overarching takeaway feeling from the film is positive, as opposed to pitiable.

Bowling pals!

But yes, Big Ern is the greatest

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The Set of 400: #289 – My Favorite Cornucopia

Today! Because….uh, I believe we have a volunteer –

The Hunger Games (2012)

Directed by Gary Ross

Starring Jennifer Lawrence (x2), Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson (x3), Elizabeth Banks (x3), Donald Sutherland (x3), Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Paula Malcomson (x2), Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Willow Shields, Alexander Ludwig

The rare YA novel that completely succeeds in the transfer to the big screen, The Hunger Games is a blatant rip-off of the Japanese movie Battle Royale from 2000, yes. However, that movie has sat on my Netflix queue unwatched for years, so I don’t have anything to go on besides the internet howling of Japanese film fans. But does Battle Royale have a drunken, bewigged Woody Harrelson cavorting through it though? Then shush.

It’s such an instantly iconic movie, and the capital is so cartoonish, that glancingly people might forget how gritty an action movie this film is. The murder! There are only a handful of movies I can think of where more than one or two kids die – this one slaughters loads of children. That’s a tough sell! And yet, Hunger Games works through the fairly tasteful framing of scenes in the arena, and the totally committed performances of the leads. Jennifer Lawrence had done X-Men: First Class at this point, and really broke onto everyone’s radar with 2010’s Winter’s Bone, but her balls-to-the-wall, 100% Katniss Everdeen will obviously go down as her forever role – no matter how many times she Mystiques it up. Hell, she won an Oscar for a different movie this same year and you don’t hear it talked about much anymore (Silver Linings Playbook is perfectly fine).

She does kick a metric ton of ass in this movie, though

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The Set of 400: #343 – My Favorite Sizzler Endorsement

Today! Because this is Ghana. You, my friend, are shooting for the Sudan –

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Directed by Ron Shelton

Starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson (x2), Rosie Perez, Kadeem Hardison, Tyra Ferrell, John Marshall Jones, Ernest Harden Jr., Alex Trebek, Donald Fullilove (x2)

The king of Costner-based sports comedy (Bull Durham, Tin Cup) Ron Shelton delivered one of the funniest basketball movies ever – nothing else immediately comes to mind…Space Jam? I’m not sure how popular this movie was in its day, but it was on HBO all the time, and at just the right time for this guy. There’s a reason 1992 is the most represented year on this list – so far, and in total – and that’s my exposure to it. Also, it was a legitimately great movie year, but a lot of middling movies are still finding their way onto this list in the early going.

Woody and Wesley are terrific together, and was there ever another great comedic performance from Rosie Perez? Sure, she’s solid in Do the Right Thing, and got nominated for an Oscar for Fearless (which I’ll go ahead and admit I’ve never seen), but this is her perfect all-time role here, as Billy’s trivia maven girlfriend, bound for Jeopardy and critical of his increasingly stupid choices. She knows six foods that start with the letter Q! Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #368 – My Favorite My Fair Lady Appropriation

Today! Because without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating I don’t see how that’s possible –

Anger Management (2003)

Directed by Peter Segal

Starring Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler, Marisa Tomei, Luis Guzman, John Turturro, Lynne Thigpen (x2), Kurt Fuller, Krista Allen, Woody Harrelson, January Jones, Kevin Nealon, Alan Covert, Jonathan Loughran, Nancy Walls, Heather Graham, John C. Reilly (x2), Harry Dean Stanton, Bobby Knight, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens

And we’ve wandered into the guiltiest of my pleasures (which sounds awfully gross in that phrasing) – Adam Sandler movies. While I enjoy the vast majority of them, you won’t see a ton of them in the days to come, because they’re largely an interchangeable group of films starring the same people, behaving in the same ways, so it’s tough to differentiate. But this one has Jack the Actor.

I remember having a very late night argument about who was the greatest actor in film history about a dozen years back, with them taking DeNiro and me backing Nicholson and I still feel I’m right in that comparison, even if, come on, Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest, let’s face it. Not to rag on DeNiro – that guy used to be great – but he hasn’t given an even halfway decent performance in anything in about twenty years. Sure, Jack is more or less retired, but I can’t think of an occasion where he totally phoned in a film. Plus, I once heard the argument that if you were casting an Odd Couple movie today, you could easily stick Jack in either main role, and that just resonated as defining truth to me. No? It should be more complicated than that? Probably. Continue reading

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