Happy Gilmore

Tom Cruise in Goldmember

There was a time when the comedic cameo was a special, timeless treat. It would blend fiction and reality in an irresistible way, one that that might accentuate the rant of a neurotic New Yorker, like Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall, elaborate on the subtext of comic books like Stan Lee in Mallrats, set the scene of the narrative like the many grunge cameos in Singles, or embody the dream of every struggling college student when paper-subject Kurt Vonnegut pops up to give Rodney Dangerfield some help in Back to School. The above are all contextual, rare and so particular that they’re still remembered all these years later. They were both a viewer treat and an addition that added legitimacy to the film’s message. But what about today? Cameos have shifted from the exception to the norm – I Love You Man, This is the End, Veronica Mars, Zombieland and The Hangover are some of the many modern comedies that throw in a cameo just to have one (some good, others not so much). There are films that get away with it – one can’t blame the 21 Jump Street folks for wanting some source material cameos, for instance – but generally, it’s about a wacky pop culture fun. Ten years ago it was already wearing thin. In a piece at Slate, Adam Sternbergh wrote of the rising ironic cameo culture during the release of Dodgeball, and concluded: “the satire fizzled. So many people were in on the joke that it […]

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Sometimes you just have to punch a wall, or perhaps a car door, or a ceramic cat – really, it’s whatever is closest. Whether it is rage, retribution, or legitimate hatred, sometimes an inanimate object just has to go down. In the moving pictures this is especially fun to watch. Much like a movie death is often more dramatic than reality, a little inanimate destruction goes a long way.

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If Jesus or Tupac ever finally return like we’ve all been saying they will, they should probably do it in a Judd Apatow film or something like that. We love cameos, don’t we? It’s especially delightful when it’s extremely unexpected, and of course extra points if they are playing themselves – or better yet some kind of silly version of themselves. It’s all about recognizing the kind of person you are perceived to be, and then playing off that in a way that makes the audience realize that you are in on the joke. If a celebrity is able to do that, it’s instant coolness.

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Boiling Point

Sadly, this article arrives far, far too late. I come to bury Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey, not to praise them. But they’re not dead. No, they are both very much alive and making movies, which is a little unfortunate. Not that they’re alive. That they’re making movies. Or at least that they’re making the movies they do. Yes, this article is years behind, but after revisiting some comedy classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detecitve and Billy Madison, I just can’t look at another fucking Jack and Jill billboard without saying something. What happened to these guys? Money, success, power, time. Yes, all of those things happened to them and generally that leads to a downslide in movie quality. Or at least a downslide to a different type of comedy. Maybe there is an age where even the most immature of us suddenly grows up and doesn’t want to talk out of his asshole or argue the finer points of shampoo versus conditioner. Fear not, dear readers, for I have not yet reached that age.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Welcome back to This Week in Blu-ray, a column that usually runs on Tuesday. Due to a fantastic and relentlessly voluminous assortment of Blu-ray releases this week, it’s a little late. So we’ll dispense with all of the apologies and long-winded lead-ins, as we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Beginning with the best storytelling the small-screen has to offer… Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season Lets just lay it out there: the final two episodes of Breaking Bad‘s third season could be two of the greatest, most intensely dramatic and incredibly well-written episodes in the era of color. But it’s the build to those two episodes, one that you don’t even notice as it’s happening, that is brilliant. What Vince Gilligan and team have created in the story of Walter White (Emmy winner Bryan Cranston) is one of the fascinating good guy gone bad, but for (sometimes) good reasons stories of all-time. Season three brings in the Mexican cartel, sends Walter’s partner (Emmy winner Aaron Paul) off the deep end and delivers its big guy punch in the end. For those who are experiencing it fresh now on Blu-ray (something you should do, if it’s not clear just yet), count yourselves among the lucky ones. Those who watched it live have been waiting for more than a year to see what happens next. As for the Blu presentation, it’s loaded with more than 10 hours of add-ons, a reward for those who have patiently awaited the release. Three […]

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Boiling Point: Big Guys

This article references Sherlock Holmes, The Princess Bride, and The Punisher. How can you not be curious to see what the connection is?

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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