Howdy Inter-Webbers, I’m Matt Cohen and I dig seeing movies in theaters.
I was fortunate enough to grow up about a half a mile from one of the best and oldest theatres on Long Island, a grand affair with one screen and a balcony. From the age of 4 until it closed when I was 16, I spent every possible free moment seeing movies in that beast (a glorious beast) of a place. And from that, I think I developed a real affinity for viewing films with audiences, in the dark, on larger then life screens. Of course, some genres translate better to the big screen - horror/action/scifi/fantasy type deals - but all movies can be enhanced by seeing them as they were meant to be seen, and comedies are no exception to this rule. So, I thought i’d share my summer comedy movie going experience with you guys. You’re good people. Read on.
Ghosts of X-Mas Past:
Forgetting Sarah Marshall: The top comedy of the summer so far. I love this movie. It’s got such a surprising heart to it that I can’t help but smile like a kid when I think about it. In an age of gross out humor and sophomore hijinks, FSM stands out as a smart, extremely hilarious comedy that actually means well. Now, I’m the last person to usually enjoy romantic comedies, and though this film doesn’t follow the traditional rom-com route it still very much is a piece of that genre. And, for the first time since Love Actually, I actually enjoyed a movie that imposed (not in a constrictive way) heart on the viewer, something I usually cringe from, but in FSM it’s organic and realistic and honestly makes you feel kinda good about life. Awesome film by the cat poised to take over Hollywood, Jason Segal, who is also the man responsible for the next cinematic adventure of my beloved Muppets. And I really couldn’t think of a person out there who I would rather see get the job.
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan: The surprise of the summer. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big Sandler fan. His last two or three films though have been down right awful in my opinion (Especially Click. wtf?) and it has made me more hesitant to see a Sand-man movie. I’m glad I didn’t hesitate with this one. Zohan is, in my opinion, his funniest film since Big Daddy (a long time ago) and one of the nuttier, funnier comedies I’ve seen in a while. The plot and characters are so damn ridiculous that you are sort of forced to just go with it, and the rewards are great. It’s so random and weird and akward and wrong - basically all the things that classic Sandler stood for - and it’s a definite return to top shape. I may have identified with the whole Jewish thing a bit more then some audiences, but even if you haven’t met a Jew in your life (some of you are from the Midwest, after all) I really think you’ll have a great time with the movie. Oh, by the way, best John Turturo role since The Big Lebowski.
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: I love the first film but I I like the second. I don’t know exactly what it was about the sequel that didn’t do it for me. Most of the elements had returned. John Cho and Kal Pen are funny dudes, and Neil Patrick Harris is now a comedy Icon. The movie was almost exactly similar in plot and structure as well. And that may be what went wrong with the film - Too much of the same. Sequels should heighten - even comedies - and I felt like I was watching Harold and Kumar 1.2 as opposed to Harold and Kumar 2.
Get Smart: The most “meh” flick I’ve seen in a while. Not good, not bad, but so middle of the road it’s painful. Surprisingly adept direction of the action scenes from director Peter Segal, though, which I guess is a nice surprise, but not really in a movie I wanted to laugh at. All in all, about three laughs in two hours. That’s not a great ratio, friends. Carrell is Carell, so it’s not without some redemptive qualities, though.
Ghosts of X-Mas Future:
Pineapple Express: The film I am most excited about this summer (besides Dark Knight and Hellboy II… C’mon, it’s me). Finally, FINALLY, someone had the brilliant idea to combine to of my personal loves - stoner comedies and shoot’em up action flicks. From the second I first saw the trailer I was absolutely sold. Rogen is as gold as it gets in my books, and James Franco, though not someone I usually pay much mind to, appears to have turned in one of the stoner performances of the ages. Add in an amazing supporting cast - with the likes of Craig Robinson, Danny Mcbride and Gary Cole - and throw in indie superstar director (and quite an accomplished filmmaker, in my opinion) David Gordon Green, and you’ve got one of the most intriguing films to come out in a very long time. I’m there.
Tropic Thunder: The movie that snuck up on me. Somehow, even with my obsessive daily combing of the web, I missed the announcement that this film existed. In fact, the first time I heard of it was the first time I saw the trailer, something that rarely, if ever, happens to me. I hope to remedy this situation as soon as possible. This movie looks like a blast. Very infrequently has someone managed to assemble such a great comedic cast as the filmmakers behind Tropic Thunder. Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr. star in a film chock full of big cameos (Thomas Cruise anyone ?) By now you’ve all seen the trailers, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this movie will be hilarious. The red band was especially funny (Red Band: My favorite new trend in filmmaking) and the Downey character looks to be an instant classic. Soon kiddos, soon…
The Stepbrothers: The wild card. I am an unashamed fan of Will Ferrell and everything he touches. The man is a genius, and Anchorman and Talladega Nights are to modern audiences what Duck Soup and Day at the Races was to our great-grandparents. I stand by that statement whole-heartedly, as I think they are two of the best comedies of all time. So I’m sold on Ferrell for life. But even I can admit that sometimes he misses a bit more then he hits, as seen in the pretty “just okay” Semi-Pro. So there’s that factor - Will coming off a sub par film. John C. Reily, another man I’m a huge fan of, is in a similar situation, where he is coming off Walk Hard, which really didn’t do anything for me. So in a way, Stepbrothers could set the tone for the next year or two in these gentlemen’s careers. And, from all early indications and the trailer, the fold has been returned to (I butchered that, didn’t I?). I personally think this may wind up being the funniest film of the summer. I guess time will tell.
So kids, that’s it for now. I’m going on sabbatical for a few days. I deserve it. But fear not - same Matt place, same Matt channel, next week yo. Check, check, check, check it out… And, as always,
“Keep em’ bagged and boarded”
Matt Cohen is currently living underwater. It’s wet.
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