Comedy

Review of Withnail and I

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Withnail and I posterRating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Review

Withnail and I is sort of like “Of Mice and Men,” except less American countryside and more British slums. Also more cooperation and less “I carry you entirely,” between the two main protagonist. In Actuality, it’s nothing like  “Of Mice and Men,” but it does have two charming leads that fail miserably at everything they do, so in that regard, we can see the comparisons with a British humor slant. If you find yourself enemployed, struggling, British, or just intensely stupid, you may be able to relate to the adventures of the film. it’s a comical odyssey, except with more coffee houses and less mythical Medusa woman. The film is quite an adventure, and though we may be only slightly able to relate to the misfortunes of the two leads, we find the charm and humor memorable and engrossing none the less.

Reason to Watch

There are many allusions to classic Shakespearean text, so that is absolutely a reason to watch. Or…

Context

The film is essentially a character study of two struggling men, surrounded in a palette of dry humor and British flair. For those interested in that idea, Withnail and I is about as good as it gets.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Withnail: Free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that can’t. 
  • Withnail: We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now! 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

Money, because without it, you may find eerie illusions to your own life to these two failing individuals, and you may climb and dive off the nearest bridge.

Trivia
  • Richard E. grant played the over the top drunk, Withnail. grant is a well known non-drinker, rarely having gotten intoxicated.
  • It was this film that prompted the family of Jimi Hendrix to take back full control over the use of his songs. They had grown dismayed by the association of Hendrix with drug culture in general.
Educational Content

They call bars pubs in Britian

Cops are dicks even in the U.K.

Justification for Rating

Withnail and I doesn’t have much to say, but watching this train wreck of a set of lead characters in Withnail and “unnamed” is unadultered entertainment, if you’re successful and awesome. if not, you may be who Withnail and I is based on and I am sincerely sorry about that, as you read this in your local library because you can not afford Internet.

Clip

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5EmCKbWS6c

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Comedy

Review of Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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Monty Python and the Holy GrailRating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Review

The legend of King Arthur gets the irreverent Python treatment. The film contains a seemingly endless stream of “quote worthy” one-liners, and slapstick set pieces. The Knights of the Round Table go off in search of the Holy Grail and the first port of call is a plague-ridden community, ringing with the cry of “bring out your dead”. Subsequently our brave knights encounter a wedding of convenience which is attacked by Arthur’s men while the groom continually attempts to burst into song. The Knights are nearly thwarted by the dreaded, tree-shaped “Knights Who Say Ni!” and then the feisty Black Knight, who brushes off the loss his arms and legs in combat and threatens to bite off his opponent’s legs. A French military officer taunts them with classics such as “I fart in your general direction”. Rabbits feature heavily, God knows why, ranging from the huge “Trojan” rabbit to the killer bunny that decapitates one of the knights. I really needn’t go on other than to say the film is basically a relentless barrage of the bizarre and has a somewhat surreal ending, but it is a Python movie so nothing should really surprise you.

The story is absurd in the extreme but for Python-lovers it is a work of genius. To others it probably just seems pretty silly.

Reason to Watch

Arthurs fight with the Black Knight alone makes the film worth watching.

Context

Made at a time when the popularity of Monty Python was at a peak on both sides of the Atlantic.

Most Memorable Quotes

“Come back here and I’ll bite your legs off!”

“Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries.”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

It is essential to ensure that you do NOT watch with either someone who “just doesn’t get it” or, conversely, a “Python bore” who endlessly quotes or analyzes. Both categories will completely ruin your enjoyment of the film so it is best to keep a large blunt object handy to deal with offenders.

Trivia

In the scene where the mob is weighing the ‘witch’ there are two quick shots of the crowd just as she is being put on the scales. In the second of the shots, one of the men is ex-Beatle and co-producer George Harrison.

Educational Content
  1. Do not rely on Monty Python films for your knowledge of history.
  2. English humor can be really weird.
  3. If you really don’t “get it” just pretend you do, believe me it will be better for everyone.
  4. The French and English have never really got on too well.
  5. In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second.
  6. You never know when useless facts may come in handy.
Justification for Rating

The high rating is either due to;

Me believing that the film is an English comedic masterpiece

or

I really just don’t get it but don’t want people to think I am a dumbass.

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Comedy

Review of The Big Lebowski

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The Big LebowskiRating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Review

Set in 1991 this Coen Brothers comedy crime caper begins with a simple case of mistaken identity and a peed on rug. The principle character Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, a laid-back, unemployed, bowling loving, slacker, seeks recompense for his rug from the “Big” Lebowski, his wealthy namesake. The Dude acquires his rug but also stumbles into a hilarious web of extortion, kidnapping, deception and sex.

His bowling buddies, the slightly unhinged Vietnam vet Walter and the mild-mannered Donnie, become embroiled in the constantly thickening plot. When the Dude is called upon to deliver a million dollar ransom for the return of the Big Lebowskis kidnapped wife things begin to go wrong. As the story proceeds, the Dude gets caught up in the schemes of Lebowski’s daughter, encounters an evil porn mogul, a bad cop, an Eagles loving cab driver and a group of European Nihilists.

The film is wonderfully crafted and acted. Jeff Bridges appears to have been born for this role and turns in a stellar comedic performance.

Initially largely under-appreciated by critics, which just proves that they generally know fuck all, but has become a “must watch” cult classic.

Reason to Watch

When a film has inspired the creation of a religion – The Church of the Latter-Day Dude – then not watching would be positively sacrilegious.

Context

Released in 1998 but set in 1991, the era of the first Gulf War. Only the Dude can steal a quote from George Bush Senior and still remain cool – “this aggression will not stand, man”.  Comedy gold.

Most Memorable Quotes

“Nobody calls me Lebowski. You got the wrong guy. I’m the Dude, man.”

“No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“The Dude abides”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

To truly immerse yourself in the movie White Russians (Vodka/Kahlua/Cream over ice) and some organic Glaucoma medication are a must.

Trivia

Donnie’s bowling shirts say names like C.K., Roy and Austin, never Donnie.

Educational Content
  1. Shomer Shabbos is the Jewish day of rest.
  2. If you are laid-back and lazy enough things will work out. If not, what the hey pour yourself a White Russian and smoke a J.
  3. Nihilists believe in nothing.
  4. Always check wind direction prior to scattering ashes.
Justification for Rating

This is a very clever and funny, funny film. If you don’t agree then all I can say is “Come on, you’re being very un-Dude”.

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Horror

Review of Bad Taste

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Peter Jacksons Bad TasteRating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Review

When four members of the New Zealand Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS – well the movie is called bad taste) visit a small town in order to investigate a UFO siting they make some grisly discoveries and unveil a dastardly alien plot. The townsfolk have been murdered by aliens who, it turns out, are from the intergalactic fast food chain Crumb’s Crunchy Delights and human flesh is the delicacy they are seeking. A gore-fest ensues as Derek and his team do battle with the evil aliens. Lots of blood with a large dose of tongue-in cheek humor.

At times the movie has a somewhat amateurish feel but, for me, that just adds to its charm. Given that Peter Jackson made the film largely in his spare time, with the cast made up of friends and a budget tighter than a ducks ass I think a little slack should be cut.

Reason to Watch

Lots of gore, plenty of humor, man-eating aliens and an exploding sheep, what more could you ask for?

Context

Made over a four year period and funded by himself initially and completed with a grant from the New Zealand Film Commission. Peter Jacksons’ first foray into film – enough said really, a birth of a movie great.

Most Memorable Quotes

“I’m a Derek and Dereks don’t run!”

“Why can’t aliens be friendly?”

What You Need To Get Through This Movie

A real late-night beer and friends movie and it is preferable to have already had a few prior to starting the film. A love of gore certainly helps and also those from the US need an understanding that a “mate” has a different meaning outside of the USA. Possibly also a visit to Christians of Facebook to really feel terrible.

Trivia

The film contains the only known cinematic depiction of a sheep being blown up with an anti-tank missile.

Educational Content
  1. People carrying axes are rarely friendly.
  2. Having a bayonet hammered into your heel hurts.
  3. Blood is very slippery so make sure to mop it up before someone gets hurt.
  4. Throwing pine cones at someone who has a chainsaw is likely to be an ineffective form of defence.
  5. Kicking a decapitated torso in the balls accomplishes very little.
Justification for Rating

The film has plenty of gore and enough humorous moments to make-up for some of its’ shortfalls.

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