Richard Benjamin and Mel Brooks - Richard Benjamin, Lesley Ann Warren, Mel Brooks, Leonard Maltin, Teri Garr, Sid Ganis, Tracey Ullman California, USA - The Academy pays tribute to Academy Award-winning comic legend Mel Brooks held at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills Friday 24th July 2009
You see, Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) is dying. He has an unnamed disease which his doctor (Richard Benjamin) swears will "steamroll" through him. Hoping to reconnect with his past, Henry moves back to his home town. When he can't purchase his old house, he settles for a dilapidated number down the street. After he moves in, his nosy neighbor Esperanza (Adrianna Barraza) notices a watermark on his wall. To Henry, it's the sign of a bad stucco job. For her, it's the face of Christ. It's not long before the genial Father Salazar (George Lopez) arrives to conduct a Church-sponsored investigation. Even without confirmation, the smudge cures a little mute girl, much to her mother's (Radha Mitchell) amazement and helps a nearly blind girl named Patience (Rachel Seiferth) see. But the big questions remains: Will it help Henry? Or can anything?
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The planning and celebration of a bar mitzvah has wonderful comic potential. Family dysfunctions. Awkward pre-teen kids. All the meshuga ethnic eccentricities. What a shame to miss the mark on nearly all of it. The younger Marshall goes keeps it saccharine-light, and ends up with a stiff would-be comedy filled with talented stars and very few laughs.
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Spawned by the evil pen of Paul Rudnick, Marci X is about Marci (Lisa Kudrow), the rich daughter of a billionaire media tycoon who has to rescue the family empire from a boycott against rapper Dr. S (Damon Wayans, frighteningly unfunny), who's on a Death Row-esque record label owned by Marci's daddy. It all starts with Marci's dad getting a heart attack after receiving word of the boycott - led by Christine Baranski in yet another of her humorless harridan roles - and having to convalesce for a couple weeks. Marci then goes, with her three debutante friends, of course, to a Dr. S concert in order to plead with him to apologize for his profane lyrics, end the controversy, and end daddy's stress.
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Based on Philip Roth's acclaimed novella, Columbus stars Richard Benjamin as Neal Klugman, a young Jewish slacker from the Bronx who is no particular hurry to become an adult. He appears headed toward a summer of idling his hours at his library job, until he meets pretty, patrician Brenda Potemkin (Ali MacGraw) at a posh upstate New York swim club. Almost on a whim, he asks her out. She accepts. What begins out of sociological curiosity quickly becomes a relationship, much to her parents' (Jack Klugman and Nan Martin) silver spoon chagrin.
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Pretty much taking pot-shots at everyone he's ever known, every establishment he can think of, every vice there is, and--mostly--himself... that's your basic summary of Deconstructing Harry. Allen is vulgar and crass, wholly unlikeable... but hysterical. Maybe the funniest part of the film is the cast of stars he's lined up, all of whom do nothing but get spit upon the whole time! Suckers! (The movie is told half in reality, half as visualizations of writer Harry Block's (Allen) stories, thus, the large cast.)
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And so it did to Mike Nichols and Buck Henry, collaborators on The Graduate who conspired once again to make one of the greats of cinema. While Catch-22 has none of the cachet of other war movies (and we'll get to that...), it's by far one of the best out there, ranking with Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Apocalypse Now as one of the greats.
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