In the 1970s came the most controversial and accessible comedy ever seen. The National Lampoon was a magazine featuring some of the most socially terrifying taboos and became a groundbreaking publication in the world of American humour. Unafraid were the editors to approach subjects regarding politics, war, sex, drugs and culture, and nothing was allowed to stay censored; it was, indeed, best known for the highly outrageous cover art that ranged from parodic images of Van Gogh and Hitler to a gun threat against a dog. From pages full of laughs came a multimedia comedic world with radio shows, music and television all spawning from that one paper. The most memorable incarnations of the Lampoon were the 'Animal House', 'Class Reunion' and 'Vacation' movies which took the whole franchise to a new level of fame.
The movie is a lazier, stupider version of Tommy Boy. Al Donnelly (Tim Matheson) is running for governor in Washington state, but his chances are hurt by his well-intentioned but reckless younger brother Mike (Farley), who is a newspaper editor's wet dream. Enter Steve Dodds (Spade), an eager Donnelly volunteer who offers to supervise Mike until the election ends. The pairing is disastrous from the start, and things really get out of hand when Mike gets framed for arson. The two escape to a remote cabin, where they encounter redneck kids, a runaway boulder, and Gary Busey, before uncovering an election scandal.
Continue reading: Black Sheep (1996) Review
On first viewing (the movie's opening weekend), I admit I didn't get all of Fletch's jokes, but found myself pleasantly amused. Twenty-two years later, I get all the jokes, but I remain only pleasantly amused, nothing more, nothing less. This is a comfort movie -- smart and sassy enough to make good company, but a notch short of brilliant.
Continue reading: Fletch Review
When creator Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing abruptly in 2003, many people wrote the show off. Sorkin imbued the show with his naïve left-liberal bias and scripted much of its glib dialogue, and his leaving seemed to guarantee an identity crisis. In fact, The West Wing was really nothing more than Sorkin's personal wish fulfillment: What if we elected a strongly moral liberal Democrat as president? Or to put it a different way, what if President Clinton (who was still president when the show started, in 1999) had been even more liberal, and not horny all the time? Sorkin's answer was Jed Bartlet, the imaginary president played by Martin Sheen. Bartlet is sort of a Ted Kennedy with gravitas -- a sententious, northeastern liberal Catholic who, because this is TV, is always right. (With John Kerry we actually had a chance to elect someone like Bartlet, minus the intellectual rigor, and not too surprisingly, the electorate didn't go nuts over him. Of course, Kerry was not as telegenic as Martin Sheen.)
Continue reading: The West Wing: Season Six Review
Perhaps in a sick, twisted way, the concept of a person unknowingly consuming animal semen could be somewhat amusing. But actually watching a character manually stimulate a canine with oversized testicles is not funny. The scene continues with the character filling donuts with the ejaculation and then feeding the pastries to his peers. The sequence concludes as characters squirt the contents of the food into their mouths. This is a point when gross-out humor simply becomes too gross to qualify as humor.
Continue reading: National Lampoon's Van Wilder Review
The Brady Sequel gets a lot raunchier, too, with a major subplot about Greg and Marcia's seemingly inappropriate budding love affair, and plenty of innuendo outside of that. The primary plot concerns a stolen artifact, which just so happens to be residing in the Brady residence. When Carol's first husband Roy (Tim Matheson), presumed dead, shows up looking for it, havoc breaks loose. Turns out he's a thief and will do anything to get it; along the way he fiddles with that old-fashioned Brady do-gooder spirit, telling Peter he has to "lie, cheat, steal, or kill" in order to make it in "the big house."
Continue reading: A Very Brady Sequel Review
Have campus comedies really reached the point where fashionable, ante-upping gross-out gags are obligatory? I mean, do we really need a movie in which bulldog semen is served in pastries to unsuspecting frat jerks?
I ask only because "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" has such hilariously droll dialogue and such a witty, charismatic lead in Ryan Reynolds (of TV's "Two Guys and a Girl") that it's just bursting with untapped crafty comic energy that has been redirected toward the lowest of the lowbrow.
Reynolds emits an aura of smarmy charm in the title role of consummate collegiate slacker Van Wilder who, after seven years as Big Man On Campus and $40,000 in tuition, has been cut off by his fed-up father (played by Tim Matheson in one of the flick's many nods to "Animal House").
Continue reading: National Lampoon's Van Wilder Review
Any delusions Miramax may have been harboring that it was still an arthouse studio have been permanently put to rest with the release of "She'sAll That," a completely common and utterly excruciating high schoolugly duckling romance so grossly out of touch with the times that eventhe title is passe.
Part "Sixteen Candles," part "Pygmalion,""She's All That" tries to hitch a low-rent ride on the coattailsof the "Scream""Dawson'sCreek" teen profit phenomenon by casting a bunch of C-list teenageactors (who, if they had any integrity, would have passed on this movieand kept their fingers crossed for a douche commercial) in roles that NeveCampbell and even James VanDerBeek (late of "Varsity Blues")wouldn't touch with asbestos gloves.
The personality-less Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("Scream,""I Know What You Did Last Summer") stars as Zach, Harrison HighSchool's king of the popular, dreamy jocks. Unceremoniously thrown overby the snobby head cheerleader from central casting (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe),Zach accepts a bet from his cold-blooded posse of in-crowd cronies thathe can turn any girl in school into the prom queen in six weeks.
Being that Harrison High is a Hollywood school, where thefat chicks are a size 10 and a stray eye brow hair signals radical feminism,the worst they can do is Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook), a brainy (she can quoteCNN!), mousy, anti-social art chick who is one removed bobby pin and apair of contact lenses away from ultra-babedom.
The movie takes place in one of those fictional worldswhere although jocks are all bastards, geeks secretly aspire to be jocksand everyone, regardless of clique, goes to the same parties.
Following an inevitable course with no twists or surprises,Zach falls for Laney (despite her queer interest in performance art andcurrent events) and becomes a nice guy in the process, and Laney learnsthat the key to happiness is wearing lip gloss and dating guys with two-digitIQs.
Written by somebody named Lee Fleming, who 1) saw too manyJohn Hughes movies as a teenager and 2) is clearly at least five yearsbehind the times, "She's All That" features badly out-dated slang,clean-cut token minorities who perform spontaneous rap ditties in the schoolquad, and gratuitous references to long-forgotten characters from MTV's"The Real World." In an desperate attempt to look hip, he madeZach the school's star soccer player (football is so 1998!).
Directed by TV veteran Robert Iscove, the pic sleepwalksthrough Laney's requisite confrontations with 1) the cheerleader ("Toanyone here that matters, you're vapor!"), and 2) Zach ("Am Ia bet?!?," turn heel, stomp off dramatically). Iscove failsto avoid a couple dozen other obligatory scenes before wrapping up witha prom climax that includes an ill-advised synchronized dance number.
Forgettable in almost every other regard, "She's AllThat" will be remembered, by those who keep track of such things,only as the movie that knocked Miramax off its pedestal once and for allby demonstrating that several years under Disney's wing has turned chairmenBob and Harvey Weinstein into clones of Larry Levy, the cynical producerfrom "The Player" who reasoned that a good story is immaterialto making a movie for the unwashed masses.
He unveils the 2015 video for his Danger Mouse collaboration.
Hardy and his pet dog Woodstock will read 'You Must Bring a Hat' on CBeebies on New Year's Eve.
If you like your poetry dubstep-free and styled by old, dead geezers wearing cravats, look away now.
It's their first release in almost two decades.
One of this year's rising superstars.
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