|Ocean = Dramatic; it's practically a rule.|
|Ocean = Dramatic; it's practically a rule.|
Staring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes
Directed by Adam McKay
"The Other Guys" is a pretty funny movie. It reunites Will Ferrell with director Adam McKay, and Mark Wahlberg is also along for the ride to deliver some laughs. Granted, there are some problems with it, but overall it is a good flick.
It starts off with Samuel L. Jackson proving that he is one of the greatest people who ever lived. He is in high-speed pursuit of a bunch of bad guys along with Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, who I guess would be also awesome if he had not just stared in "The Tooth Fairy". Anyway, Jackson's car gets stuck in a bus, he frees it and he goes flying at the bad guys, shouting a bunch of stuff I could not understand, blows up a bunch of stuff, and somehow survives. YEAH! Unfortunately, both of them are killed in a separate incident shortly afterward (the poster above is a bit deceiving; they have a total of about five minutes of screen time). This occurs when, in order to stop another bunch of bad guys, they jump off of a building that is about 10-20 stories high in order to land in a bunch of bushes that were not there, and even if they were, they would not have prevented them from dying or at least critically injured them.
Anyway, with both of them out of the picture, who will take their place as the big shot of the department? That's right, the Other Guys! We have Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), who plays a jerk cop who is haunted by a tragedy from his past: he shot Derek Jeter in the leg during the 2003 World Series, costing the Yankees the championship. This a bit ironic since in real life Wahlberg is from Boston, so I suspect a Red Sox conspiracy. Anyway, he gets stuck with Allen Gamble (Ferrell) who is basically Bob Saget's character Danny Tanner from "Full House". He is just incredibly bland and lame, though in this instance the character is actually funny (yes, we all loved “Full House” when we were 5, but it’s time to move on). The two of them come across a suspected financial cover-up involving a famous investor named David Ershon (Steve Coogan), which leads them on a wild goose chase that leads them to meet some interesting characters, and includes a number of gags such as Allen having some unfortunate things happen to his Prius, and both of them having their shoes stolen...twice. There are a number of good quotes involving peacocks and other things throughout the feature. Oh yeah, and Michael Keaton plays their boss who, among other things, keeps quoting TLC songs, though he insists that he is not... Well, its not "Batman", but at least Keaton is still working, right?
I guess he biggest problem that this film has is that it gets extremely distracted. True, when Ferrell and McKay did "Anchorman" and "Talladega Nights" each had random scenes that did not really progress the story but were still funny. In this movie, the same thing happens, but they take way too many detours, and it gets to the point where its 1 hour, 47 minute running time feels like 2 and a half hours. Do not get me wrong, the stuff they put in there was usually funny, but they could have condensed the material a little more so that it felt more it had a more cohesive story arch.
There is also this weird part during the closing credits that shows the differences in the income between American employees and their super-rich bosses, as well as making references to TARP and other aspects of the recent financial meltdown. Admittedly, some of the stuff they mention is kind of interesting, but they play off of a part of the plot which is ultimately insignificant; the information would feel better served if it were shown at the end of the upcoming "Wall Street" sequel. If Ferrell and McKay want to get political, they can save it for their "Funny or Die" website, not try to shove it into a film where it does not belong.
Despite its flaws, "The Other Guys" is a feature that made me laugh more often than not. While it is not as funny as "Anchorman" or "Talladega", it is the best movie Will Ferrell has done in years, which is good news for him given the sub-par quality of his recent work. Either way, it is worthwhile, and I recommend it.
P.S. If you stay until the end of the closing credits (and the populist rant), as Ferrell/McKay fans may expect, there is an extra scene with Ferrell and Wahlberg. It is nothing much, but you can check it out if you want.
Starring: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall
Directed by Sidney Lumet
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!!”
-Howard Beale (Peter Finch)
“Network” is an excellent movie. Pardon the cliché, but this is one of those films that get better with age. This is good news for itself, not so good news for our society. The great Sidney Lumet’s satire on the modern media predicted what was eventually going to come: a world dominated by a media that produces cheaply produced garbage where people can say or do anything they want with it having any sort of factual, artistic, or in anyway meaningful value. Many of the elements of the film have eerie similarities to “contemporary” cable-news programs and reality shows; this can also be extended to the content on the radio and Internet as well. In other words, it is so relevant that it is scary.
The film starts out with a brief to the struggling United Television Network, which is taken over by a major corporation. When the evening news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) is fired, he announces that he will kill himself on his final broadcast, causing a sensation around the country. As events unfold, Beale not only finds himself keeping his job, but also becomes the centerpiece of a new programming schedule set up by Diana Christenson (Faye Dunaway), a new producer at the network. These new developments worry the UTN News president Max Schumacher (William Holden), who not only thinks that his friend is being taken advantage of, but that the fate of his entire profession is at sake.
Terrific acting and writing hold the intriguing plot of the film together. Holden and Dunaway play excellent as their respective contrasting characters, the old guard who wants to keep the dignity of broadcast news and the new up-and-comer who is only concerned with making a profit. At the same time, both of them admit to having flaws, which brings a certain human element to their roles. However, the best character of this whole thing is Beale himself, in what would be Finch’s last role in a feature film (he died not long after it was released in theaters and became the first posthumous Oscar winner for Best Actor, which he rightfully deserved). As he descends more and more into his own madness (he has a mental disorder which is never disclosed, though if I had to guess I would say he has schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) as well as the madness created by those around him, he makes the transition from anchorman, to prophesier, to corporate hack all within relatively short period of time. This is mostly thanks to a number of “well-crafted” rants, brought to the screen by Paddy Chayefsky (who also won a rightfully-deserved Oscar for his work on this movie, in his case for Best Screenplay). As a matter of fact, all of the dialogue that comes out of everyone’s mouths in this film is memorizing and really takes the picture to a whole new level of sophistication. Some of the speeches go on a long time, but it is all worth it.
So there you have it. “Network” is a film that remains vivid reminder of the dangerous path that a society can take when it starts to lose track of its ideals and humanity, a path that we may be lead down right now. In today’s hostile environment, it is a little hard not to watch Beale’s now-famous (or rather infamous) “Mad As Hell” speech without being a little disturbed by the idea that feelings held by those in the film are still being echoed almost thirty-five years later by many of us in real life who feel that we are losing control over our own lives and our whole world in general…and that we do not want to take it anymore. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorite movies of all time and I strongly recommend it.
|Yes, you can tell these guys are the BEST water skiers Dennis Hopper could find. Such articulation, such balance, such TALENT!|
|Oh, god, it's like a Hallmark card by a rejected PR guy from the lost city of Atlantis.|