Tony’s Retro Reviews – A Night at The Roxbury

Releas date: October 2, 1998 A Night at the Roxbury

SCORE!

Can anyone else show me where the late 90’s is better represented? No, no please don’t call Busta Rhymes. I was but a young lad of 10 years when A Night at the Roxbury came out. I think that’s where I developed my love for hair products throughout my teens.

A Night at the Roxbury is the 11th film based of off Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits. Following in the huge footsteps of such films like The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s WorldAs with all SNL based films, this one is produced by comedic producing genius Lorne Michaels. Written by Chris Kattan, Koren and Will Ferrell; A Night at the Roxbury stars, Kattan, Ferrell, Loni “McBoobskis” Anderson, Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon, Richard “Don’t mention Depp” Grieco and an uncredited Chazz Palminteri as Mr. Zadir.

This flick is straight up stupid. It really is. But it knows it’s failed grade two math and has decided to just have a friggin good time while getting closer in age to the teacher. A teacher with boobs I might add. A Night at The Roxbury follows “The Roxbury Guys” in an expanded universe as they try desperately to get into the hottest club in town, The Roxbury. Proving to be more difficult than getting their own club, the boys have miss adventures with ladies and they overbaring yet well intentioned father. Did I forget to mention there’s more 90’s goodness in this flick than you can squeeze into a pair of faded high-waisted jeans?

WHAT WORKED:

– The Comedy. Kattan, Koren and Ferrell knew they couldn’t pull off an 81 minute SNL sketch, so they slapped in a bunch of funnies. I’ll go on record in saying they didn’t always land, but hot damn I was still giggling like a school girl last time I watched this. I’m almost ashamed proud to I have probably seen this film over 80 times.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The plot. Many many many holes. My swiss cheese I had in my Subway sandwich didn’t have as many holes. This isn’t you’re most complex of films either. But were you really hoping for a brain teaser?

– The third act. All goes to shit in a handbasket and gets back together quite neatly without much cause and effect. Granted, this still does a much better job at having conflict and resolve than Napoleon Dynamite. (Editor’s Note: I REFUSE to link to the trailer for that piece of garbage. One and ONLY film I walked away from; more than once.)

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a stupid good time. Sit back and travel back to a day when people used cellular phones for calls. An era when you got a girls number on a piece of paper. A time when everyone, man, woman and even troglodite used four cans of hairspray a day. This isn’t a great film, but it’s a great time. Sit back an enjoy Will Ferrell when he was still moderated. A Night at the Roxbury is So Damn Stupid It’s Awesome!

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

rotsWhat a jam packed show do we have for you! Not very different from the jam-packed situations Tony and Matt find themselves in usually though.

This week The Guys continue their intergalactic cinematic journey to a galaxy far far away with Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith! Matt also talks the last of The Hunger Games movies: Mocking Jay Part 2 and Spotlight!

2 Guys, Movies & a Mic now has a Facebook Page AND a Twitter handle. Do us a solid and check ‘em out. If you like what you see, tickle those LIKE and Follow buttons!

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Matt’s Classic Film Reviews – Men in Black

Grade: B+

Released: 1997

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio

In retrospect, Men in Black is an important little slice of wacky sci-fi lunacy. Not only did it inspire Marvel, who owned its rights at the time, to pursue the idea of putting other comic book properties up on the big screen (they later collaborated with Columbia, the studio behind MIB, on the first-ever Spider-man title a few years later), but it also managed to insert some much-needed wit and charm into the summer blockbusters of its day, serving a nice counterpoint to mindless fare such as The Lost World and Batman and Robin that hit multiplexes in the same year.

The best moments in MIB come from the offbeat little side jokes that permeate the screenplay by Ed Solomon. It knows how bombastically irreverent the material is and revels in its lunacy. For instance, there’s a moment where the head of the organization, Zed (Rip Torn), shows J (Will Smith) a big board of all the alien lifeforms that are disguised as humans and living on Earth. Some faces in the crowd include Sylvester Stallone, Newt Gingrich and Dionne Warwick, and the result was a knowing chuckle emitted from my person – a chain of events that doesn’t always happen with a movie that centers around grown men chasing various extraterrestrials around New York. 

At the outset, Men in Black introduces us to K (Tommy Lee Jones), who subdues a potentially dangerous situation that involves an alien coming from Mexico – and by “alien”, I mean “not of this galaxy alien” – in hilarious deadpan fashion. Meanwhile, after an NYPD officer (Smith) has a run-in with a non-human perpetrator, he is recruited by K to join the eponymous group of suits who monitor extraterrestrial life on our planet, most of whom apparently live in Manhattan. Smith’s J has one hell of a first week at a new job, as the rest of the plot follow him and K on the trail of a sinister, scheming alien cockroach who takes on the appearance of a hick farmer (Vincent D’Onofrio).

The performances are another aspect of the film that lifts it above and beyond run-of-the-mill popcorn flick fare. Tommy Lee Jones is at his unsmiling, stoic best as K, a role that he gets some laughs with precisely because of his unflappably old-school demeanor. Will Smith provides a solid ying to Jones’ yang as J and is clearly having a lot of fun playing the wide-eyed, overconfident rookie along for the ride. It seems a shame that Smith doesn’t get back to roles like this, which he is better suited for, instead of focusing on heavy dramatic roles that sometimes have him in over his head. Elsewhere, Vincent D’Onofrio is suitably ghoulish as the alien in disguise and Linda Fiorentino snags an eye candy role as a sexy morgue employee (not a character description you see everyday).

Special mention should be given to Rick Baker, one of Hollywood’s foremost makeup gurus, for his work on making the many aliens that populate this movie wacky, colorful and intimidating – sometimes all at once. It makes for a far more textural viewing experience, and looking at Men in Black again made me pine for more films like this that meld CGI and man-made effects together with precision. Finally, speaking of precision, the score by the great Danny Elfman provides a solid undercurrent to the film that compliments the visuals nicely. It’s not perfect – the plot gets in the way of the droll banter between the two leads two or three times too many in the final act – but, as far as big, loud, adventure pictures go, MIB provides the kind of comedic allure that both its contemporaries and imitators find hard to equal.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

AOTCMatt and Tony are back! For week two of their countdown to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens with their review of Attack of the Clones! Tony also looks at the animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars which was a film pilot to the CGI show of the same name.

The guys also talk some news and movie facts!

2 Guys, Movies & a Mic now has a Facebook Page AND a Twitter handle. Do us a solid and check ‘em out. If you like what you see, tickle those LIKE and Follow buttons!

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Tony’s Retro Reviews – Red Tails

Release Date: January 20, 2012 redtails

I got the visual pleasure of sitting down for George Lucas’ latest production:Red Tails. He exec-produced this little slice of cinematic aviation cake. So you know it’s going to be grand and well developed. However, I’m still paranoid since the Jar-Jar Binks fiasco of ’99.

Red Tails follows the true story of a crew of African-American pilots in theTuskegee program stationed in Italy during WWII, as the deal with segregation and other problems of that era like pipes and funny sounding Italians.

This flick boasts a pretty wide cast rounded out by stars like: Cuba Gooding Jr. Terrence HowardNate ParkerTristan WildsElijah KelleyDavid Oyelowo, and my (well everyone’s) favorite meth selling science teacher Bryan Cranston.

At the directing helm of this war-piece is Anthony Hemingway. This may have been his first time at the top, but he’s been involved with some pretty hot and heavy stuff, like: many episodes of The Wireand he assisted for Ali and Changing Lanes.

What Worked:

– The slow and steady nature of this film. This thing is 121 minutes long. But you don’t really ever have a chance to notice it. It just keep chugging along. For an airplane fighter film, this movie doesn’t keep throwing stuff at you. Rather, you have the opportunity to sit back and take in all the beauty shots. There are many throw back to Lucas from Hemingway with interior cockpit shots.

– The look of this film. It’s just so beautiful.

– Terrence Howard. THIS GUY CAN ACT. His scenes with Bryan Cranston were showstoppers.

– The simple writing. This film is just well written. John Ridley and Aaron McGruder brought this film back to what I call, the simple 80’s. There weren’t any crazy plot twists. This flick went from point A to B and finally to C. We all could guess what was going to happen next, but you get to wrapped up in the characters that you don’t care and just enjoy the good times.

What Sucked:

– Cuba Gooding Jr’s pipe. His overall performance in the film is fantastic. BUT THE DAMN PIPE WAS TOO MUCH. His over-exaggerated use of it was just damn annoying because you know that any man who smokes that much pipe wouldn’t have such fucking white teeth! ESPECIALLY IN THE 1930/40’s!

The Lowdown:

Red Tails is definitely worth your bucks. Don’t be shy. Make a night of it. The story will entertain you, the occasional comedy bits will get you to chuckle and the tender sadness will have you weeping in your girlfriends arms.

PS: Fun Fact! Cuba Gooding Jr. actually starred in the 1995 HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen withLaurence Fishburne about the exact same crew of fly-boys.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star_Wars_Phantom_Menace_posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is coming out in 6 friggen weeks! And because Tony is the third biggest fanboy in the galaxy The Guys will review all 6 main Star Wars flicks until the big day!

This week we start with the worst of the worst! The Phantom Menace! Then Matt and Tony talk their overrated & underrated space operas!

2 Guys, Movies & a Mic now has a Facebook Page AND a Twitter handle. Do us a solid and check ‘em out. If you like what you see, tickle those LIKE and Follow buttons!

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Matt’s Classic Film Reviews – What Women Want

Grade: C

Released: 2000

Directed by: Nancy Meyers

Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Alan Alda

When considering What Women Want, there’s an ominous feeling that you’ve witnessed something that “almost was”. A truly original idea that tickles the funny bone just imagining the screenplay possibilities, a solid, likeable cast and a seemingly lush budget to help showcase its Midwestern setting in a vibrant light. Alas, as the end credits were rolling, I realized that the film I’d hoped to see wasn’t the one that had unfolded before me. It’s not that it’s a bad movie, but it doesn’t elevate itself to the level of its ingenious premise – someone looking for a sharp, edgy take on the eternal battles of the sexes need not halt their search here.

Maybe it’s too much to ask from a project coming from director Nancy Meyers. With credits that include The Parent Trap remake with the once-popular Ms. Lohan, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, Meyers has distinguished herself as a filmmaker who settles on making TV dinner-style comedies when she really has the means to feed us something a lot heartier. It’s the kind of vanilla, innocuous cinema that’s nothing more than fine, and based on her past box office success, it’s clear that there’s an audience for her work. Ultimately, as far as What Women Want has to offer on its own merits, I was hoping the experience would be far less toothless.

The set-up to this one is simple yet delectable: Chicago ad man Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) is a ball of chauvinistic energy who’s rapidly climbing the ranks at his firm. He’s the kind of unapologetic ladies’ man that women might hate yet somehow end up in bed with shortly thereafter. After his boss (adorably played by Alan Alda) passes him over for a promotion and instead hires (gasp!) Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt) instead, Nick has an appliance-in-the-bathtub accident that results in him gaining the ability to hear every inner thought from every woman he encounters. Naturally, he uses this newfound gift selfishly at first (such as improving his bedroom performance by hearing what his partner is inaudibly craving), but he also begins to do something none of the ladies in his life thought he’d be able to do beforehand: grow a conscience.

In terms of the humor this movie gets out of Nick’s capacity for bugging the female mind, it’s accurate without being too accurate. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, including a very funny back-and-forth between him and his former marriage counselor (Bette Midler). I guess what I may have found lacking in the writing was its inclination to go for the low-hanging fruit rather than try for something a little fresher. Some of the jokes can be seen from several miles away and it hurts the movie in spots because it makes certain payoffs rather predictable, which lead to some boredom on my part.

The acting is pleasant without ever doing anything to enhance the uneven script. Mel Gibson is suitably charming as Nick and, as with Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth, he does well playing against the cinematic persona he normally embodies. Helen Hunt does her best with a part that I feel she was miscast in – she’s sweet and elegant but I never bought the workaholic, my-way-or-the-highway aspect of her character. She and Gibson have the kind of on-screen chemistry that’s both appealing and instantly forgettable. There’s also an annoying subplot featuring Judy Greer as a suicidal office temp that could’ve been excised completely and no one would’ve noticed a difference.

What Women Want wraps up exactly the way you’d expect it to, although it does it with such little emotional build-up that it feels rushed. It’s very safe, much like the rest of the movie, and with this kind of premise that is rife with rich, satirical opportunities, its failure to follow through on that promise might ultimately be what this movie is remembered for. Just like an athlete with limitless potential who becomes a serviceable but never outstanding pro, What Women Want is a genre player that conjures up more than a small feeling of disappointment.