Superbad

Superbad

It’s that time of year. School is mere weeks away from starting up again, the biggest blockbusters have had their bows, and the studio releases are transitioning to the distribution equivalent of tossing an old couch on the curb to make room for the new one. May, June and July (and let’s be honest, now April) bring the big crowd pleasers. The last two weeks of summer herald the arrival of the “Everything Must Go” Sales before fall sends us into Oscar bait prestige pictures. Don’t believe me? The slate for the next two weeks includes Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, a sequel that’s arriving at least five years too late; Are You Here, the directorial debut of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner that garnered early reviews in the exact opposite tone of his acclaimed show; Jessabelle, a release from the Blumhouse factory that’s not getting a plum horror spot, so you know it’s good; and The November Man, an entry in the very neglected genre of CIA agents dragged back into the game because “this time it’s personal!” It’s generally an accepted fact that if a movie is set for the dog days of August, the studio has less confidence in it than Taylor Swift’s latest beau does of being the one guy she dates who doesn’t end up inspiring a song. But every now and then, conventions are made to be broken. Going back through the last fifteen years of releases, I have come up with […]

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When Harry Met Sally Chinese Couple

The story of Harry and Sally is fine and all, but there are better couples in Rob Reiner‘s 1989 rom-com classic. And I’m not talking about Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher, either. For the 25th anniversary of When Harry Met Sally, I’d like to shine a light on the characters only credited as “documentary couples.” These seven pairs of adorable elderly folk are based on true stories, each one said to have been plucked from real people by screenwriter Nora Ephron. But we don’t know anything more about any of them. The actual couples don’t appear in the film but instead are portrayed by actors. Wonderful, old actors. Some of whom are still alive! Before we get to know each of these actors, let’s watch their appearances in WHMS and once again enjoy the tales of fated spouses.

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The 40 Year Old Virgin

“How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, ‘It’s not fair’?” — Ann Hornaday “You know what? I respect women! I love women! I respect them so much that I completely stay away from them!” — Andy Stitzer, The 40-Year-Old Virgin 2005 wasn’t a terrible year to have a comedy in theaters. Wedding Crashers, Hitch and The 40-Year-Old Virgin all finished the year with record numbers, regardless of genre. Of the three, Virgin was the most shocking surprise. For Universal Studios. For Hollywood. At the time, Steve Carell (The Office had only been out for half a year to underwhelming ratings), Catherine Keener and the rest of the cast were seen as character actors and indie drama mainstays, not movie star leads. At the center of the low-budget film was Judd Apatow. A co-creator and producer of Freaks and Geeks, Apatow’s personal voice and vision in the world of cinema was not just unique, but refreshing to audiences and talent alike. Unlike Hitch or Wedding Crashers, Virgin didn’t attempt to hand in the classic story of Misogynistic Handsome Man Turns Reformed Gentleman. Instead it spun the comedic formula that studios had profited on since Some Like It Hot. Apatow focused on a man who was anything but misogynistic. A spinster who felt more at home with his still-in-the-box toy collection, Carrel’s Andy Stitzer was pure in a world where […]

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In the new movie Pitch Perfect, a boy (Skylar Astin) introduces a girl (Anna Kendrick) to The Breakfast Club. It’s a believable scene, on it’s own. Even if I don’t necessarily think the 27-year-old John Hughes film, classic status notwithstanding, is a hugely important thing to the generation currently heading into college, I can accept that the guy is a movie soundtrack dork who seemingly loves only titles from before his birth and that she genuinely has never seen it. But it is a bit much that the signature Brat Pack film’s ending, with its iconic Simple Minds tune and Judd Nelson freeze-framed fist thrust, is played over and over, and the film figures so prominently into the romantic plot throughout. It all just feels like something from out of the mind of a thirty-something screenwriter rather than that of these modern-day teen characters. And the movie’s writer, Kay Cannon, is indeed a child of the ’80s and admits that The Breakfast Club is something she loves from her youth. Apparently, though, Say Anything was originally the teen movie of that era to be honored and made fun of in the new a-cappella-based comedy. She also is a big fan of Hughes’s Weird Science but couldn’t make it work. But for kids born around 1995, which is the target audience as well as the roles on screen, aren’t there more relevant films to reference? Maybe Mean Girls, Bring It On, Twilight, Rushmore, Juno, High School Musical, Superbad or — going […]

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So I was watching the film The Descendants, and I couldn’t help but to laugh my ass off when the grandfather points to Nick Krause’s dumb-ass character and says “I’m going to hit you.” – Then, without any room for discussion he proves to be a man of his word. It got me thinking about some of the other great comedic punches out there, and soon enough I was assigning my wonder into list form. Violence and comedy together at last!

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As movie-goers, we are all familiar with that excruciating moment when you are watching a movie and the action is so horribly uncomfortable that you actually feel the need to cover your own face. It’s this nonsensically powerful moment when you actually feel embarrassed for a fictional character because of some terribly awkward scenario that you’d rather watch a murder than bare witness to. It’s like a horror movie almost – it’s that same turtle reaction where you just want to shrink away. And like horror, it’s either done really well or it’s abused, which is why I want to share with you the films I think did it the very best. Oh, and if you are wondering why I only picked 9 – it’s the most awkward number I could think of.

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Criterion Files

When I write this column, I typically don’t get the opportunity to write about movies from my teen years. I, like many, came into a cinephilic love for art and foreign cinema during college, and in that process grew to appreciate The Criterion Collection. Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993), however, is a movie that’s followed me through various changes in my life for (I’m just now realizing as I write this) about half of my time thus far spent on Earth.

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Studio logos are an iconography all their own, but nothing puts a grin on my face like a spiffy send-up of a traditional company emblem tailored made to gel with the film I’m about to watch. Don’t get me wrong — nothing’s going to top classics like Alfred Newman’s Fox fanfare, Jerry Goldsmith’s Universal tune or the countless other openings ingrained in our cinematic memories. But when someone takes the recognizable logo and makes it their own…well, that’s when I get giddy. For decades, movie studios have been allowing filmmakers to tinker slightly with the prestigious logos that preface every film they release. Nothing too crazy — maybe a color shift or a throwback to a retired bumper — but nothing that would tarnish their reputations. These days, most movies are free to run wild. Many stick to the time-honored traditions of their studios, but the ones that don’t feel that much more special. Regardless of a film’s quality, a great logo is like the cherry on top for most movie buffs. Here are fourteen modern variants that bring a little extra magic to the pictures they kick off:

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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Here’s a little Daily Diversion, Sundance style. Since I’m kickin’ it old school — 1987 style — in my Ghostbusters backpack around our Park City condo, I thought I would share a trailer and two clips for the Sundance premiere Adventureland.

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Adventureland

Remember that other film that Kristen Stewart is in? You don’t? Then it’s a good thing we’re looking past Twilight to catch a glimpse of Greg Mottola’s Adventureland.

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Seth Rogen

Actor/Screenwriter Seth Rogen may have found his calling in the world of porn — and who can blame him.

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Officially Cool

Why not take two of 2007′s best films and infuse them together to make one great super-badass trailer?

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The Cast of Pineapple Express

I sat and watched Pineapple Express at a special screening last night. First off, it was just as funny as you might expect. Secondly, the film was followed by a Q&A with the film’s stars, director and producer.

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Nick and Norah

There’s no funnier young actor in Hollywood than Cera and it looks like he is going to continue his rise to stardom in the highly buzzed Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Here’s a look at the film’s first poster. Very Juno-esque.

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Actor Seth Rogen

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Seth Rogen. In fact, his upcoming collaboration with Kevin Smith in Zack and Miri Make a Porno is certainly toward the top of my must-see Fall movies list. But I will be damned if Seth doesn’t do a lot of talking about his upcoming projects.

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Officially Cool

Are you the type of person who loves to share movie quotes and one-liners with friends. Who doesn’t love the funny or iconic dialog from their favorite films. Well I found something sure to brighten up your day.

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2008 MTV Movie Awards

For a culture inundated with awards shows and general bouts of celebrities patting themselves on the back, it’s nice to see that the MTV Movie Awards is still relevant.

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As you can probably gather from the title of this article above, I am about to spew some pessimism all over the upcoming comedy College. But before I get to that, please at least watch this trailer.

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Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in Superbad

Directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans) are back at it again, already planning their next parody. So which movies will feel the wrath? Superbad along with this summer’s Hancock, Sex and the City, and The Love Guru are among the unfortunate victims, but will you be among the unfortunate viewers.

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