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Posts tagged ‘The Dark Knight’

22
Dec

The Top Ten Movies of 2009 (and the decade)

I thought this year was a really good year for movies, despite the garbage that was listed on this site yesterday.  Before getting to the top 10 movies of 2009 (and the decade) here are some special (mostly positive) awards for movies in 2009.

SPECIAL AWARDS

Most Surprisingly Good Movies (in no particular order)

1) This Is it– Thoroughly enjoyed the concert (rehearsal) documentary about Michael Jackson.  Great music and a worthy tribute to the fallen icon and aficionado of play dates with tweens.

2) Taken– The Liam Neeson film is a perfect example of how a movie that has no ambition, only one star and a simple plot can still deliver if it just tries to do the simple things well.  And the scene where he shoots his friend’s wife to show that he means business was one of the best this year.

3) Crank 2– Either the most ingenious quasi-spoof of action movies ever or just a ridiculously entertaining goof.  Either way I had no idea that I would enjoy this movie as much as I did.  It now validates Jason Statham’s work visa to me, though his films have only grossed slightly more than my YouTube videos.

4) Drag Me To Hell – This Movie almost made the top 10.  Funny, creepy, gross, and all on purpose.  A good, but not great movie.  However, there were very few movies I enjoyed more than this one.

Take My Wife, please. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1374)

Take My Wife, please.

The Any Given Sunday Award For Most Disappointing Movie Based On Awesome Trailer

Watchmen.  Blue genitals and a waste of time is all I remember from this movie.  The trailer, however, was perfection.

The Two Towers Award For Great Trailer That Delivered Great Movie

Nothing.  But The Men Who Stare At Goats was my favorite trailer of the year and the movie was solid, but still did not meet expectations. 

2009 Honorable Mention (A/K/A The Unpaid Guestspot of Movie Awards)

Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Two Lovers, Food Inc., State of Play

2009 Top Ten Movies

10) (tie) Sugar, The Messenger

Sugar is the story of a Dominican immigrant seeking to become a baseball star.  Came out early this year to rave reviews, but has long been forgotten.  Anyone who is a baseball fan or interested in the immigrant experience should see this.  Or just hang out by Yankee Stadium.

The Messenger is the best war movie this year.  It is about two soldiers who report to next of kin of the loss of loved ones.  The things people do for work in this economy.  Really strong and simple movie.

9)Capitalism: A Love Story. 

This movie is a reminder that America used to be a place where a middle class person could thrive (middle class meaning one blue collar job with could salary and benefits, not $5 million dollars or less like John McCain seemed to think).  Now thanks to a selfish, never too rich mindset the wealth is more concentrated at the top than ever before.  Sadly for working Americans and Michael Moore, America is one big casino and the house always wins.

Michael Moore was right America - these guys are stealing your pensions, your country and your daughters - actually if you live In NYC you know that the daughters are mostly willing participants in the, "profiting off the misery of most Americans is such a turn on" industry, like less forthright versions of Ashley Dupre (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1375)

Michael Moore was right America - these guys are stealing your pensions, your country and your daughters - actually if you live In NYC you know that the daughters are mostly willing participants in the, "profiting off the misery of most Americans is such a turn on" industry, like less forthright versions of Ashley Dupre

8) 500 Days of Summer

The fact that Music and Lyrics was my favorite romantic comedy before this movie came out (yes I have seen Love Actually, but have not seen When Harry Met Sally yet – gasp!) may diminish my credibility in this genre,  but I am probably not the only person telling you how great this movie is.  Funny, heartfelt and thoroughly enjoyable.  And the lesson of the film couldn’t be more optimistic: if you find yourself in a relationship with a cu-t, don’t worry because eventually you may go out with Derek Jeter’s girlfriend.

7) Bruno

The selection most likely to anger people.  First, yes I thought it was funnier than Borat.  Second, the best opening of any film since The Dark Knight.  As the techno music began blaring and the words “black guys” and “taint” flashed on screen I could not stop laughing.  For many the film was too crude.  Other complaints I heard was that Borat had a point in showing some ignorance in funny ways, whereas this just went for cheap laughs.  Probably true.  Perhaps it was easier to embrace a character who was exposing racism and sexism and, most flagrantly, anti-Semitism in Borat and feel good about laughing than in Bruno, where you are just laughing at the absurdity of a gay character’s libido on steroids.  My advice to the self-righteous – take the champagne bottle out of your ass and watch Bruno pour some champagne out of his boyfriend’s.

"Throw your shoulders back, this is a fashion show, not a slave auction!" (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1376)

"Throw your shoulders back, this is a fashion show, not a slave auction!"

6) Precious Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire

Fat, pregnant by her father (again – fool me once shame on him, fool you twice… shame on him again in this rare exception to that saying), illiterate and Mariah Carey as your social worker.  And I thought being a comedian was tough.  This movie is a powerhouse and Mo’nique’s performance is one of my three favorite this year (Christopher Waltz in Inglorious Basterds and Paul Rudd in I Love You Man being the other two).  And I would like this movie to win Best Adapted Screenplay so that Sapphire, who probably negotiated the self-indulgent title has to hear the dumbest phrase ever uttered at an awards show: The winner is Precious Based on The Novel Push By Sapphire Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire.

You look like my career. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1381)

You look like my career.

5) Up

The opening to this movie may be the most touching sequence in movies this year.  It is just another great movie from Pixar.  Normally stories of old men hanging out with young fat kids is awkward (think Herbert the Pervert and Chris Griffin from Family Guy as one such pairing), but this movie is nothing of the sort.  Plus it has a talking golden retriever, which will always get support from me.

This is not the plot of Up, but I bet even Pixar could make it work.  MMMMMMMMMM (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1377)

This is not the plot of Up, but I bet even Pixar could make it work. MMMMMMMMMM

4) Inglorious Basterds

Christopher Waltz was amazing, but surprising to me was how good Brad Pitt was.  A funny, intense, enjoyable movie about Nazis and the Jews that hunted them.  It was also a welcome relief from the usual parade of mediocre, maudlin films about the Holocaust that are raised to critical praise because of the subject matter.  After Schindler’s List I think Hollywood could have just waited for this one .  After all slavery has had what, Roots and Amistad?  I think 6 Holocaust movies come out last year alone.  But I digress.  Basterds is awesome (and my favorite Tarantino film – that is what I think, but I am also writing it because I want to anger those who worship at the altar of Pulp Fiction).

3) Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs

Even more than Bruno, this choice is likely to bring on some WTFs.  I did not even want to see this movie, but then reviews kept talking about how much fun it was.  The biggest shock of the year for me was this movie.  It was hysterical from start to finish.  It was like the humor of Family Guy, but not as crude or easy.  I flirted with putting this #1, but the last two choices, upon reflection, were the two best movies of the year.

2) Up In The Air

 I am tired of the “this is the movie that defines our times” type quotes, but besides that this is a great movie.  George Clooney’s best (unlike his win for Syriana, no complaints if he gets Best Actor) and a movie that is so good that I cannot exactly explain why it is so good.  Perhaps it is because it is a movie that defines our times… oops.

1) District 9

The most original movie I have seen in a long time.  The biggest crime of the Oscars could be if Avatar gets a best picture nomination and this does not (if they only feel like honoring once sci-fi-ish film).  Since it is #1 I don’t think it needs any explaining, other than the fact that it comes out on DVD today so you should rent it if you have not seen it.

After thinking again about the 4,558 movies I saw this year, District 9 is #1. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1378)

After thinking again about the 4,558 movies I saw this year, District 9 is #1.

TOP TEN MOVIES OF THE DECADE

10) School Of Rock – Along with The Wrestler, no movie has matched an actor better this decade than Jack Black and SOR.

9) The Departed – I hate the Boston accent, but that was the only thing I hated about this movie.

8) Eastern Promises– Russian mob in London and the best fight scene in any movie ever.  Sorry Bourne Ultimatum.  You were second.

7) Million Dollar Baby – The only movie that made me cry this decade (joining E.T., Glory and Dead Poets’ Society on the career list).  Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank all at their best.

6) Traffic – A decade later the violence in Mexico is worse and the liberal pot smokers who abhor the violence of war or the treatment of chickens that are not free-range, but still help fund the cartels that propagate massive bloodshed in and around the border.  This movie would go under the category of wake up calls unheeded.  Great movie.

5) Finding Nemo– My favorite movie from the most consistently great movie studio.

4) 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days – I am not a big foreign film guy, but this was so intense and so good I regretted not speaking (Romanian if my recollection is correct) the language because even checking the subtitles was too much attention away from the acting.

3) The Dark Knight – I have never seen a movie in the theaters more than this one.  And it’s not even close.  Die Hard, The Matrix and The Dark Knight are the three films that changed and elevated action movies higher than any others in the last 20 years.  To me, it was even more impressive to take action, the way Christopher Nolan and Heath Ledger did, and turn it into art.

2) The Lord Of The Rings – Because of The Godfather III’s mediocrity this is the greatest trilogy of all time.  Shut up Star Wars people. (and if I had to pick just one – The Two Towers).

1) United 93 – I have only seen two perfect movies in my lifetime.  One was Amadeus, my favorite movie of all time.  The other was United 93.  I am not saying it is my favorite movie of all time; it would be hard to make that claim about a film focused on 9/11.  But the realism, the intensity, the respectful rendering of an incredibly sensitive subject and the overall product was second to none this decade for me.  In a sad way I guess it is fitting that the decade’s defining event yielded the decade’s best movie. Besides, a movie about our collective self-indulgence and self absorption called Twitter v. 3.05 would not be nearly as riveting.

21
Dec

The Ten Worst Movies of 2009

People often ask to start with the bad news when given a good news/bads news option and this blog will be no different.   Besides, the worst movies will provide more humor than the best movies of the year.  For me it as also easier to come up with the list of 10 worst movies than the ten best.  Here they are,

10) Year One.  Jack Black, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd and Harold Ramis, to name a few, decided to take off from being successful and funny and make this terrible movie, which, like many liberal comics in New York, showed that making fun of the Bible does not necessarily make you as funny as George Carlin.

9) Friday The 13th.  It came out early this year, but was strong enough it in its shi*tiness to stick around.  This was actually the first horror film I have ever seen where the acting was actually better than the film.  That is like watching a WNBA game and saying, “Man these girls are awesome, if only they had better coaching to take advantage of their skills and athleticism.”

Friday the 13th made me think of the WNBA it was so bad. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1365)

Friday the 13th made me think of the WNBA it was so bad.

8) Funny People.  This film is here, not so much because it was a terrible movie (it was not), but because I have not been misled by a marketing campaign for a movie this much since I thought I was going to a sports movie called Jerry Maguire.  Late night show hosts and bloggers seemed to all be in on the scam – this was a movie that would show what being a comic is really like.  Instead it showed the audience what the lives of chubby, unfunny, overpaid Jewish guys is like.  It could have probably been called Goldman Nut Sachs (as a tribute to the genital humor that also abounds in this movie).

False Advertising (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1366)

False Advertising

7) Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. Needless to say this was the #1 movie of 2009 in terms of financial success.  Racist robots were apparently the cure for the summertime blues of Obama fatigue.  This was also the worst movie experience of the year for me since I sat next to a guy who talked so much during the movie that I think he was conjured up in a stereotype machine invented by the Wayans Brothers a la Weird Science’s creation of Kelly LeBrock.

6) 2012.  The biggest disaster film of the year not starring Tiger Woods (I am almost done making Tiger jokes).  The effects were weak and at 2 1/2 hours long, the film was about 2 hours and 27 minutes too long.

5) The Proposal.  In a year where 500 Days of Summer showed how good a romantic comedy could be, this film showed how bad they could still be (and people ate it up).  Puritan sexual mores and too much religious fervor are some of the things that people point to to show how unenlightened America is compared to some of its less powerful, but equally Disney and McDonald’s craving European allies.  I think looking at the collective grosses of Sandra Bullock’s movies make the case much more strongly.  (I have not seen The Blind Side yet, but am looking to get a free ticket, which will allow me not to financially support a great white hope story that looks terrible).

2009: The Year of Sandra Bullock.  God help us. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1367)

2009: The Year of Sandra Bullock. God help us.

4) X Men Origins: Wolverine.  My hopes ran high a year ago when I saw The Dark Knight for the 432nd time.  Perhaps people would demand higher quality action films.  And the trailers for this film looked promising.  What was delivered was the worst thing from Australia since Yahoo Serious.  

Let’s take a breath here and recognize that the next three films are even dangerous to say out loud they are so bad.

3) Antichrist.  Here is the review I posted on Facebook after seeing this film:

I wanted to see this movie based on the preview, despite mostly bad reviews. Upon seeing the movie, here is who should see this movie:
1) Want to see a montage in which Willem Defoe sexually penetrates (shown) an actress while his character’s son (approx 4 yrs old) falls out a window to his death.
2) Want to see a fox eat its own wounds (take that Fantastic Mr Fox)
3) Want to see Willem Defoe receive a handjob and then ejaculate blood.
4) Want to see a woman self-circumcise herself.

If you have answered yes to more than one of these questions (I appreciate morbid curiosity in small doses) then please de-friend me. 🙂

2) Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  One of the surprise hits of the year and that is what made me watch it.  However whenever something that I am initially skeptical about generates popular success (Mamma Mia! the musical, The Fast and The Furious to name two) my initial skepticism is always correct.  This may be the greatest example of this in pop culture history.  It seemed to have the quality of a student film, but with far less quality work on the part of the actors.  A movie of truly devastating crappiness.  To paraphrase the Dude from The Big Lebowski: “Well, you finally did it America, you’ve killed fu-king comedy.”

drum roll please

1) Amelia.  Perhaps Amelia Earhart knew this movie was coming, because I would disappear too if this bag of sh*t were attached to my name.  Hilary Swank and Richard Gere both producing the worst film of their careers (yes I am counting The Next Karate Kid).  And here is the worst thing I can say about a movie.  This was not only worse than Paul Blart, but was worse than last year’s worst film – Twilight.  ‘Nuff said.

Amelia makes you wish for better Hilary Swank films, like The Next Karate Kid. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1368)

Amelia makes you wish for better Hilary Swank films, like The Next Karate Kid.

20
Aug

The Top Ten Of The Summer

Summer Movies, Had Me a Blast

The Summer film season kick off was Wolverine, which was the worst thing not named Swine Flu, Paul Blart or Blue Dog Democrats to emerge this year.  Fortunately, the rest of the Summer with a few exceptions, turned out to be pretty damn good.  Although I was pleased with last Summer’s movies, especially The Dark Knight, I think this year’s were overall stronger.  Here’s my top 10 if you want any recommendations before heading back to school, work or prison:

1. Up – Amazing and touching Pixar film about an old man who is too busy having an adventure to complain about Obama’s death panels.

The Summer's winner by a nose. (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1095)

The Summer's winner by a nose.

2. District 9 – The most creative movie of the year and probably going to get a Best Picture nomination now that the Academy can nominate ten movies.  In short it is about an alien who lands in Africa who is harassed by locals when they begin claiming he was born in Hawaii.

3. Bruno – People were mixed on this – whether they liked it or hated it.  I thought it was brilliant and more daring that Borat.  So what if the only redeeming message was that the only thing more gross/funny to watch than gay male sex is angry, homophobic rednecks and disgustingly ambitious L.A. parents; it was all absurdly hilarious.

4. Drag Me To Hell – This film was gross, creepy and hilarious.  And like Joan Rivers – it was all intentional (have soem Comedy Central Roast people).  I probably enjoyed this movie more than any others this Summer.

5. The Hurt Locker – Interesting and tense movie about a guy who diffuses IEDs in Iraq and seems to like it.  They are talking Oscar potential for this one, but my guess is because it is not political enough and because Sean Penn is not blowing anybody, its chances are not that high that it will be remembered in February 2010.

6. The Hangover – This will be remembered as the comedy of the year and the film that finally made Las Vegas a destination for young men to go party.

7. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – I thought this was the best adaptation from the books and Alan Rickman does more with little dialogue than anyone I’ve ever seen.  But I wish one of Potter’s classmate’s name’s was Joseph Takagi.

Harry......Pot..........ter.....Haaaaaaave   ......you seeeeeen.... Jozef....Takaaaaagi? (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1097)

Harry......Pot..........ter.....Haaaaaaave ......you seeeeeen.... Jozef....Takaaaaagi?

8. Public Enemies – I was disappointed by this film, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.  Oddly enough I thought Johnny Depp was the weakest part of the film – stick to playing weirdos and heartthrobs.

9. Star Trek – This movie surprised me in that it did not suck.  In fact it was pretty good.  Of course I found it strange that the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage was still relevant centuries later (I do not equate Mike D as the Mozart of the 2300s), but it was well done by JJ Abrams and company.

Welcome to JJ Abrams Future: Lincoln Center is Proud To Announce Its Mostly Beastie Festival (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1098)

Welcome to JJ Abrams Future: Lincoln Center is Proud To Announce Its Mostly Beastie Festival

10. Terminator Salvation – Fu-k you, I enjoyed it.  The second half of the film made the first half make a lot more sense and seem relevant and I actually hope they make a fifth and final one.

The only thing left for me to see this Summer will be Inglourious Basterds.  If it is amazing I will make note of it, but more than likely it will just annoy me.

14
Jul

The Return Of The Cave Man

Whenever people talk with fear about radical Islam in the Middle East they speak about how it is a fringe element of the faith that wants to bring modern society back to the 9th century.  We fear this because it comes with repression of women, suicide bombs, etc.  But the more I look at American pop culture it seems we are hell bent on doing the same, but with our own American style.

The fastest growing sport in America is Mixed Martial Arts. I know defenders of this sport will call  the guys great athletes, but that doesn’t cover up the fact that it is basically just brawling for the enjoyment of a mob.    It reminds me of the scene in Gladiator when Derek Jacobi’s character is discussing how Rome is the mob and Caesar will be applauded by the mob for giving them bloody games.  Well, I guess we’ve come full circle.  Watching highlights of these MMA events convinces me that we are less than a century away form Gladiators coming back. 

UFC Champ and future Aryan leader in a prison movie or prison: Brock Lesnar (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=998)

UFC Champ and future Aryan leader in a prison movie or prison: Brock Lesnar

Twenty years ago, prescient film pioneer Jean Claude-Van Damme did a movie called Lionheart about underground fighting clubs for big money.  20 years later the clubs are out in the open and cleaning up on pay-per-view.   Are we 20 years from the number of movies that showcase races or fights to the death (usually involving prisoners) becoming reality? 

A man ahead of his time (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1000)

A man ahead of his time

Frenemy, ginormous and staycation are now in the dictionary, so this is not just a testosterone fueled movement.  Idiots of all classes, races and genders seem to growing exponentially and continue to win.  The movie Idiocracy, by Mike Judge, shows, through two accidental time travelers over the next 500 years, society getting dumber and dumber to the point that a porn star is elected US President, popular shows on television simply involve people getting hit in the nuts and people can barely speak properly.  Judge may have overshot with 500 years.

The head of Merriam-Webster's new word committee (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1001)

The head of Merriam-Webster's new word committee

Twitter has shown us the way to communicate with each other in short bursts.  So in 50 years perhaps we will simply communicate with emoticons or high-tech equivalents of grunts, believing technology automatically means better, but not realizing social skills have eroded to the point that we are more at ease instant messaging each other than actually communicating in person.

This is what we will all eventually look like on the inside (and some of us outside as well) (http://www NULL.JLCauvin NULL.com/wordpress/?attachment_id=1002)

This is what we will all eventually look like on the inside (and some of us outside as well)

Last year I thought there was hope when The Dark Knight elevated a traditionally mindless genre, the action/comic movie to something artistic and elegant.  But this year’s #1 movie is Transformers 2 which appeals to the basic attraction to visual and aural stimuli with base humor and nothing else.   So after a year that gave us Obama and The Dark Knight (my two favorite things from 2008) it appears that tales of the idiot’s demise were greatly exaggerated.  Time to go tweet.

1
Apr

Sell Out

Bon Scott said “It’s A Long Way To The Top” – Then he died and his band made it to the top with another singer.

Last night I lost in the Final Four of Caroline’s March Madness to the incredibly sharp and very deserving champ Myq Kaplan.  I think what gave me trouble sleeping last night was not the fact that I lost, but the fact that I felt like a complete nervous fu-king hack in my performance.  I wish I could give a more upbeat recap (Rich Vos crushed some idiot woman in the front who started talking during my set and did not shut up until Vos verbally undressed her for 15 minutes, Ryan Reiss had strong sets and Myq Kaplan beat him with a very strong set in the finals), but I am preoccupied.

See the jokes I did last night are some of my tried and true and they always work.  But last night they did not work as well for several reasons.  One is that I was nervous.  Give me a mic and some strangers and I can do very well.  Give me a mic, some strangers and add the word competition or contest and I freeze.  

Probably for many comics, including myself, these competitions present the same opportunity that the lottery presents – an unrealistic hope that success will change, or accelerate a change in, one’s life, when all it amounts to is lost time and money for all but the winner.  I have been on television twice and it has yielded jack sh*t.  So when there is a chance to get paid work from a club and some modicum of exposure/respect it ramps up the importance, even if it is something you have done a thousand times.  But the desire to “make it” or “get a break”, no matter how small the break may be just adds a layer of nervousness for me – like how Tommy in the film Tommy Boy describes how he fu-ks up a potential deal. 

Sort of what I do when comedy becomes a competition.

Sort of what I do when comedy becomes a competition.

Competitions are like the good cop to the bringer show’s bad cop.  See clubs will tell you it’s a business, etc., but there are comics getting work and comics not getting work that could easily switch places.  The problem for these places is once you are in, you understandably won’t go back to being out – so bumping an established regular will only lose the club a comic.  However, if you string along young comics, without telling them that years of bringers will not yield anything that years in the backs or basements of pubs won’t (more a lie of omission than commission), they will keep coming back (case in point – me).  So if you make the mistake of bumping up too many of these comics all you get is more comics who will refuse to fund “new talent nights.”  So I now reconcile my lack of courage by saying that I need to do them because I need a good tape of some new jokes – which can be true, but does not really justify whoring myself out.

But worse than choking last night was the fact that my tougher, more personal jokes I saved for the finals (in the event that I made it) because I needed the crowd to like me first (gentler jokes in the first set) before I could get into that.    This is what I am most ashamed of from last night.  I tried to be Jay Leno and tell jokes that everyone would like instead of telling the jokes that mean the most to me and can evoke the best performance from me, for fear that I would not get everyone chuckling.  

I was reminded after the show last night of a show that I did last Friday.  The crowd was about 150 and the median age was about 48.  A comic named Sean Patton got up last on the show.  He did a set that was very funny, but what I appreciated even more was that his set had a very subtle “this is what I do, so fu-k you if it’s not your cup of tea”  kind of vibe because his topics and style were surely not going to make everyone in the stuffy room happy.  But his performance had no change from what it was at Rodeo Bar two days earlier in front of younger, drunker people.   He was not trying to be a different product for different audiences.  He knows what kind of comic he is (at least he certainly appears to) and did not abandon it.

 My best stuff is the stuff that 75% of the room likes and 25% of the room is slightly offended by (those stats are provided by my imagination) – and I am not talking about some sort of Lisa Lampanelli parade of racial slurs – I am talking about the calling of people on their bullsh*t sort of humor or exposing horrible things from my past to get a laugh.  But instead of being me as a comic, something that has taken me a few years to figure out (and still am figuring out) I told my safe set.  So I lost and could not even leave with my pride.  It is as if the comedy gods tell me to develop my own style and be true to it, but all the opportunities that come up with a hint of potential success tempt me to go lite in the hopes of getting a leg up in the business.  Here is what I would have done differently last night if I could have it over again:

  • Told the woman in the front row to shut the fu-k up.  Not as clever as Vos’ stuff, but would have felt good.
  • Told my Kobe (“Great Comedic Timing”), Diamond Maker and My Private 9/11 jokes (first 2 available on iTunes, third available on rooftop comedy). 

Simple changes, but would have made a huge difference – not in the result, but in my pride in my performance.  But this is a moot point because I sh*t the bed in competition.  I’m surprised I didn’t revert back to calling myself the love child of The Rock and Adam Sandler while having a conversation between Robert DeNiro and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sorry if this seems too much like a mope fest.  The chance to perform comedy at a great venue and not be required to bring people is an opportunity I am thankful for.  And special thanks to my friends who showed up last night.  The comedy system as it is set up puts as much a strain on the friends of relatives of comics as it does the comics (the ones who show up regularly at least).  There is a balance between supporting your friends and risk hearing the same jokes over and over again versus the comic’s dilemma of trying to perfect the jokes they have while trying to perform new ones so your friends do not get bored and stop coming to the show.   One thing the bringers have shown me is who amongst my friends really supports my dream and comedy and who doesn’t.   As Batman said at the end of The Dark Knight – “sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.” Well, if there is a silver lining to taking comedy bait for all of these years it is that I can see and appreciate who amongst my people who have shown some faith in my comedy.

I think I just wish comedy was just about comedy.  Like some sort of warped John Lennon song imagine there was no YouTube, No Bringers, No Contests – just comedy.  Or maybe I just have to be more disciplined and principled with my comedy.   Checking my next few shows on my calendar are a bringer, another competition (serious reconsideration) and a couple of auditions – to quote Lloyd Bridges from Airplane, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to find principles.”

Looks like I picked the wrong week to find cajones.

3
Jan

My Favorite Movies of 2008

I saw fewer films than last year.  I still saw a lot of them.

If comedy were not my favorite thing in the world, goingto movies would probably be it. Before giving you my Top 10 of the year I have some other awards I would like to give out:

Worst Movies of 2008

1) The Happening

2) Twilight

3) Indiana Jones 4

I curtailed the amount of pure crap I saw this year (which may explain the reduction in total number of films seen).  The Happening was just dreadful.  Marky Mark should have his name stricken from the books as havign ever been nominated for an Oscar.  The only thing worse than his performance was the movie itself.  The only hope for M. Night Shamalamadingdong is to direct and star in a biopic about Bobby Jindal.  My reason for seeing Twilight was that I wanted to see what the buzz was about.  Lesson learned – when girls/women between the age of 15 and 30 create “buzz” you can almost guarantee that it is something really fu-king stupid.  I have always liked Indiana Jones, but South Park really nailed it when they portrayed the film as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg raping Indiana Jones – it was truly awful.

 

Best Holocaust Movie of the Year

I saw Defiance, The Reader, Valkyrie so I have not seen all of them, but The Reader was the best, but more by default.  The other two were just ok.  Hopefully Hollywood can learn from its mistakes and pump out more Holocaust movies next year.  And speakingof tragedies I think Hollywood is planning its second slavery movie ever now that we have a black president.

 

Best Surprise Decent Movie

JCVD – this humorous, but somewhat touchingmovie starring Jean Claude Van Damme was actually a pretty clever movie and shows that Van Damme, rather than juicing up like Stallone or running for office like Ahnuld, has embraced who he is and made easily the most quality movie of his career (though it was not tough beating out his performance as Chance Boudreaux in Hard Target).

 

Most Overrated Independent Film that People Had to Say They liked

Rachel Getting Married – this movie was a B/B+ that critics swooned for.  It has all the classic trappings of a great independent film – a story that is not very interesting, a sad back story and a good set of performances.  Anne Hathaway is fine (and uglified which is always good for Oscars), but I thought whoever played her sister (Rachel – I did not care enough to look up her real name) was better.

 

Best Animated Movie of the Year

I love Pixar and I really like Wall-E, but I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda more.  It might just be the star power of Jack Black, but the fat panda made me laugh more than the cuter version of Short Circuit.

 

Most Arrogant Move by a Filmmaker

The movie Che is 4 hours and twenty minutes long.  If I was not crippled by a movie addiction I would have never seen it.

 

Best Performances of 2008

Heath Ledger  (The Dark Knight) + everyone in the Dark Knight except for Bale’s voice as Batman

Robert Downey Jr  (Tropic Thunder) – so obviously funny, but incredibly subtle at the same time.  Maybe the best performance of the year, but Ledger’s work +  tragedy will be honored

Meryl Streep (Doubt) – I don’t care if she has been nominated 47 times and has won multiple times – this was definitely the best performance by an actress this year

Micky Rourke (The Wrestler) – excellent work

Paul Rudd (Role Models) – sarcastic, bitter, unhappy – what’s not to love/identify with in Paul Rudd’s performance

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio (Revolutionary Road) – best duo on screen this year.  Anyone who has never had the balls to go full out in an argument with a girlfriend or spouse – this movie will give you a liberated feeling and it is their performances that make it so intense.

Benicio Del Toro (Che) – 4 hours and 20 minutes in a performance that’s so good you forget it’s an actor (maybe just because it is so f-ing long)

Justin Long (Zach and Miri Make a Porno) – one scene as a gay porn star at a high school reunion – fantastic.

TOP TEN OF 2008

  1. The Dark Knight – I truly believe this has changed the way action movies can and will be made
  2. The Wrestler – Not since Million Dollar Baby have I seen a movie that captures the absolute sadness of ordinary, everyday life.
  3. Revolutionary Road – I could have written this movie myself, but it might not have had the happy ending that this one has.
  4. Role Models – Funniest movie I have seen since 22003’s Old School.
  5. Doubt – a really good movie that is even better because of Meryl Streep
  6. Flash of Genius – underrated Greg Kinnear in the most under appreciated movie of the year
  7. Milk – standard biopic, but really well done
  8. Slumdog Millionaire – slightly overhyped indie-film, but it is a great story
  9. Cadillac Records – great acting, including Beyonce and from box office receipts proof that people do not want to see a story about black people being fleeced by white people
  10. Kung Fu Panda – Jack Black’s best work since School of Rock

Honorable mention : Che, Wall-E,  W, Miracle at St. Anna

And yes, I have probably seen any movie you think should be on this list.