Tag Archives: Zach Grenier

The Set of 400: #84 – My Favorite Oklahoma Sing-a-Long

Today! Because Billy is the Extreme –

Twister (1996)

Directed by Jan de Bont

Starring Bill Paxton (x5), Helen Hunt (x2), Philip Seymour Hoffman (x7), Cary Elwes (x6), Alan Ruck, Lois Smith, Jami Gertz, Sean Whalen, Joey Slotnick (x2), Scott Thomson, Todd Field, Zach Grenier (x4), Jeremy Davies, Wendle Josepher, Anthony Rapp (x2)

Oh what, are you too good to admit how much you enjoy the rip-roaring popcorn spectacle that is Twister? Not this guy! I know this movie is chock full of utter ridiculousness, from the hyper campy dialogue – “The finger of God”, “The cone is silent”, “The suck zone” – to the flying cows to the most peculiarly reinforced house in human history, that is able to roll into the roadway for their truck to drive straight through. I know! There’s tons of goofy nonsense in this movie! But here is a list of reasons why this movie works:

“I think that was the same one”

1) The flying cows – It was a great gag in the trailer and it’s a great gag in the movie. It is indicative of the overall tone – despite it being a full-on disaster movie, with many lives at peril and some deaths, it knows how silly it is, and embraces it. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #103 – My Favorite Smirking Revenge

Today! Because you’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis –

Fight Club (1999)

Directed by David Fincher (x3)

Starring Edward Norton (x3), Brad Pitt (x2), Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, Meat Loaf (x2), Zach Grenier (x3), Bob Stephenson, Holt McCallany, Eion Bailey, Peter Iacangelo, Rachel Singer

My second favorite movie from one of my favorite years – 1999! – and my second favorite David Fincher film, Fight Club wasn’t anything when it first came out. Sure, ’99 was a pretty robust year, but considering what this would become, it’s amazing how virtually overlooked it was that fall. It’s hard to even say this is a cult classic – this is a mainstream classic that just got ground up in the marketing and lost in theaters. Hell, when I first saw it I didn’t know what to make of it. The reviews were good, but the trailers didn’t make a ton of sense. Also, because they had a ton of shirtless Brad Pitt moments, I felt like the initial aim was to get women in the theaters, even though it is decidedly a guy movie, and so the commercials didn’t much convey what the hell was going on in this film either. It grossed all of $37 million – sandwiched between My Favorite Martian and 10 Things I Hate About You in the ’99 ranking, at 54th – got one Oscar nomination for Sound Effects Editing and four nominations from The Stinkers, including Worst Supporting Actress for Carter and Worst Hairstyles Male and Female, because that’s what the Stinkers was.

The Stinkers clearly can’t appreciated funky ‘doos

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The Set of 400: #278 – My Favorite Dirty Harry Inspiration

Today! Because I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn’t tell you –

Zodiac (2007)

Directed by David Fincher

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. (x3), Brian Cox (x2), John Carroll Lynch (x2), Anthony Edwards, Chloe Sevigny, Elias Koteas, Dermot Mulroney, Donal Logue (x2), Philip Baker Hall, Zach Grenier (x2), Adam Goldberg, Charles Fleischer (x2), Paul Schulze, John Getz, June Diane Raphael, Candy Clark, Jimmi Simpson, Clea DuVall

Not so much concerned with unearthing who the killer was (even though it does present a theory), Zodiac primarily follows the lives of San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith and S.F. detective Dave Toschi, and their respective obsessions with the case as it unfolds and in the subsequent years, as the trail runs maddeningly cold. It’s an expansive ’60s/’70s epic in the hands of the premiere murder mystery director of our time (Se7en, Gone Girl) – and one of the sure thing, must-run-out-and-see-whatever-he-does filmmakers – David Fincher.

And it is exhaustive. Covering the source material in great detail, and trying to encapsulate well over a decade in these characters’ lives, the movie naturally was going to be lengthy, but it manages to clip right along, even feeling a bit rushed in parts, pouring out details and recounting theories at a steady clip. But keeping the engine running solidly are the terrific performances of Gyllenhaal and Ruffalo as Graysmith and Toschi, plus a just pre-Iron Man Downey as self-destructive reporter Paul Avery. The Downey comeback was well underway by ’07 – what with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Good Night and Good Luck, and A Scanner Darkly in the preceding years – but Zodiac seemed to cement the fact that he was solidly reliable, and a little over a year later he was superheroing it up at Marvel.

’70s Banner and Stark!

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The Set of 400: #326 – My Favorite Blindfolded Driving

Today! Because it’s not deer! Beer! It’s a typo! Use your head, for Christ’s sake!

Delirious (1991)

Directed by Tom Mankiewicz

Starring John Candy (x3), Mariel Hemingway, Raymond Burr, Emma Samms, Dylan Baker (x2), Charles Rocket, David Rasche, Zach Grenier, Jerry Orbach, Renee Taylor, Mark Boone Junior (x2), Patrick Bristow, Robert Wagner

The third film on the list so far to feature a one-word adjective as the title (counting both versions of Notorious, Hitchcock’s #370 and Biggie’s #329), Delirious is a pretty minor comedy, in all honesty, but I really enjoy the plot’s hook – soap opera writer Jack magically entering his own script and assuming leading man status in his own fictional life, and then watching it progressively go to hell. Populated with TV staples such as Perry Mason himself Raymond Burr, General Hospital‘s Emma Samms, Sledge Hammer David Rasche, and Falcon Crest‘s Andrea Thompson, it manages to toe the interesting line between soapy authenticity and decidedly absurdist film comedy, thanks largely to Candy’s terrific work straddling both ends of the story. Continue reading

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