The Hangover

interstellar-anne-hathaway-and-david-gyasi

One of the many criticisms I’ve seen of Interstellar, mostly on social media, is that its depiction of the future is too white, racially. Never mind the Africa-American school principal or the African-American scientist among the four-person mission through space, I guess. What would be the right number of non-white characters for a movie like this? I will admit that it’s strange how absent David Gyasi is from the trailers, but we don’t really see much of fellow crew member Wes Bentley either. There will always be someone to complain about something, of course, and while representation of minorities continues to be an issue in Hollywood, it’s difficult to imagine a solution that will please everyone all time time. Take, for instance, the Bechdel Test, which has become a pretty big deal for an idea originating in an indie LGBT comic strip almost 30 years ago. Debates are frequent about whether or not the test is a proper measure of a movie’s representation of women. We took the test to task a while back with our list of 10 Famous Films That Surprisingly Failed the Bechdel Test, the top title being the female-character-driven Run Lola Run. And besides the argument that there are empowering movies for women that fail the test, further discussion in response to the test showed in our comments section. What about Asian-American representation? Or Latinos?

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Teen Witch Logo

When I saw that The Other Woman made more money over the weekend then Captain America: The Winter Soldier, my first thought was that now Hollywood’s going to want to make the guys’ version, because presumably that’ll do even better at the box office. As it turns out, there is a 2008 movie called The Other Man, and like The Other Woman it involves a friendship between a character’s spouse and lover, but other than that the two movies are quite different, in plot, characters, genre and success — both critically and financially. While The Other Woman received mostly negative reviews, The Other Man was even more panned, and while the former opened to almost $25M, the latter grossed only $150K in total in the U.S. So, Hollywood is very likely thinking of how to do “The Other Dude,” which will be a crude comedy that winds up dealing more in misogyny and slut shaming. The cast will consist of Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Levine and Jennifer Aniston as the four-timing wife, and it’ll unfortunately be huge. Movies that are basically remakes of other movies but as “the male version” are called “spear counterparts,” according to the website TV Tropes (it has to do with the gender symbols, not a phallic connotation). Understandably, there aren’t a lot of movies that fit this category, however. You’ve got The Covenant (aka the male take on The Craft), the Jerry Lewis comedy Cinderfella and the 1996 TV movie The Stepford Husbands, and nothing else comes to mind. On the other hand, there are plenty […]

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tyler-perry-as-madea

  Another week bites the dust, and here we are to digest what we’ve swallowed over the last seven-day stretch. It hasn’t been a very monumental week. Mostly we complained about Hollywood stretching its previewing potential to death with something now termed a “tweaser.” And we prepared the world for another release date crowded with unbearable crap (unless you’re lucky to see some of the indies, foreigns and docs we consider worth seeing). Not that we don’t have the usual contrarian or defensive perspectives going to bat for all that junk. These cases of labeling mostly panned productions as underrated or simply “not that bad” or at least “having some good ideas” was also interesting following a huge response at the beginning of the week to the latest Criticwire Survey asking writers, “What movie widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece do you dislike (or maybe even hate)?” That turned into a discussion of the difference between something being bad or just disliked and some semantics about the term “overrated.” Surely there’s something to be said about the term “underrated,” as well. Anyway, once again the Reject Recap features ten significant stories — news, features, lists, opinions, etc. — that people were talking about this past week. As usual there’s a mix of FSR content and outside links. And we’ve additionally found some videos worth sharing, too, both this week being recut trailers playing with genre (this meme will never get old). Start your weekend right after the jump.

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IntroMacGuffins

First popularized by Hitchcock, Merriam-Webster defines a ‘MacGuffin’ as “an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance.” Basically it’s the thing that makes the movie go. For example, R2-D2 is considered by George Lucas to be the MacGuffin of the Star Wars films. But what of human MacGuffins? Anyone can be a hostage or damsel in distress, so lets look at some of the less than conventional living beings that have propelled a plot.

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hr_The_Hangover_Part_III_3

Perhaps it was optimistic to think that the fair city of Las Vegas could possibly survive the third Hangover film, but the latest poster for The Hangover Part III promises that the entire joint will go up in flames, it will “all end” (a la Harry Potter), and either Zach Galifianakis or Ken Jeong won’t survive the outing. Don’t drink, kids, just…don’t. The Hangover Part III drunkenly stumbles into theaters on May 24th. [Warner Bros., via ComingSoon]

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21 & Over Trailer

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore hit a goldmine when they wrote the script for The Hangover. It turns out young people like to watch movies where the characters on screen are partying so much that they’ll even buy tickets to retreads like The Hangover Part II, or movies that barely even qualify as being movies, like Project X. It’s gotten to the point where party-gone-out-of-control is pretty much a genre onto itself. Enter Lucas and Moore’s new film, which they’ve both written and directed, 21 & Over. Jeff Chang is newly turned 21, and despite the fact that he has an important interview tomorrow morning, a couple of his crazy friends have decided to take it upon themselves to take him out drinking and give him the night of his life. The results are a derivative mix of those aforementioned party films, a little bit of the journey aspect of the Harold & Kumar films, and a sprinkling of the way they kept repeating the name McLovin in Superbad (though here it’s repetition of the protagonist, Jeff Chang’s, name, Jeff Chang).

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If you were one of the many people who complained that The Hangover Part II was nothing more than a tired retread of everything that had already been run into the ground about the original (and why wouldn’t you have been?), then it might come as good news that the makers of The Hangover Part III seem to already be taking steps to differentiate it from the first two films in the franchise. Then again, you might not end up thinking it’s good news at all. According to THR, perennial Hangover supporting actor Ken Jeong has officially signed on to once again appear in this third film, but unlike in the first two installments, where his character’s role in the story consisted of little more than popping in and out of the action to show us his penis, this time around Jeong will see his presence greatly expanded. While details of the plot are still safely guarded, it’s known that the latest set of party fouls will send the boys to Tijuana, and this new news indicates that Jeong’s Mr. Chow will presumably be along for the ride. Could this mean that he’s in line to be officially inducted into the Wolfpack?

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Breaking Bad Walter White

Over at Badass Digest, the astute Meredith Borders is raising an important question about unlikable lead characters and the impact they have on audiences liking the movie they’re in. After all, negating the use of unlikable characters is creatively limiting, but some movie fans simply don’t care for those movies which glorify the dastardly and dickish. In her well-intentioned pursuit, Borders brings up the crew from It’s Always Sunny, Walter White from Breaking Bad and the various man-children and woman-children that have hit theaters in the past few years. The problem is, in trying to defend unlikable characters, all the characters she mentions are perfectly likable. They’re just assholes. The difference is an important distinction – one that plays toward how an audience responds to storytelling at a raw level.

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Given the lukewarm critical response for Todd Phillips’ The Hangover Part II, there might not be many of you out there interested in seeing a third installment of his hard-partying series. But, the fact remains that the second film made enough money during its opening days to make an additional sequel pretty much an obligation, so a release date for The Hangover Part III has been set. This second sequel will hit theaters on May 4, 2013, with the whole gang back on board. For those keeping track, that’s a Memorial Day release, the same scheme that led to Part II raking in $581.5m worldwide. Those that fear a third film might as be as much of a retread as the second should keep in mind that we’ve been given indication this won’t be the case. There’s already been some comments made that point to the fact that this third film will deviate from the rigid plot structure of the first two; and a new quote from Phillips released by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures seems to back that up. “We’re going to surprise a lot of people with the final chapter we have planned,” Phillips claims. “It will be a fitting conclusion to our three-part opera of mayhem, despair and bad decisions.”

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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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Despite opening to generally poor reviews due to its been there, done that approach to joke crafting and storytelling, The Hangover Part II still got a ton of people out to the theaters and pulled in record amounts of money. You know what that means: The Hangover Part III is now as inevitable as death and taxes. And, sure enough, THR has a report that the principal cast are negotiating as a team to get a deal for a third film in the books. Because of Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Bradley Cooper’s all-for-one attitude when it comes to negotiating, getting this deal together has taken longer than usual. Their united front is allowing them to demand quite a bit of money to get a third Hangover movie made, and of course the studio has been doing whatever they can to drive that number down. They’re not really in any position of power, however, as a third Hangover is pretty much guaranteed to bring in truckloads of greenbacks, so the actors’ demands that each of them bank $15m a piece to come back and get drunk again are looking like they’re going to be met. Comparatively, each only made $1m for doing the modest budgeted original film.

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Alec Baldwin: Coffee is for Closers

Monologues are to actors what analogies are to bullshit writers who have no idea how to start their list article about monologues. What I mean is that every actor should have a really good understanding on how to perform a monologue – at least I assume so considering that they are the most common tools for auditioning for a part. To someone like myself, who couldn’t act even if Hitler’s death depended on it, I really have no idea what goes into a monologue – however I do know what comes out of a good one. So when I judge the talent of these I’m really just judging how effective they seemed to be, not necessarily the amount of artistic effort that was put into it. Simply put, these are some terrific monologues.

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Drinking Games

One of the biggest hits of 2011 was The Hangover: Part II, raking in tons of money this summer and giving fans a chance to watch the same shenanigans from the first movie played out again. With recent news that The Hangover: Part III will start shooting next year, this trend doesn’t look like it will stop. Whether you liked the first movie, the second movie or both – or if you hated them – this choice for a drinking game is a no-brainer. Toast the Wolf Pack and get started on your own hangover.

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There’s not a single mean-spirited bone in Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids. This is a rare comedy, in the sense of how sweet and clearly in love the director and cast are with its characters. This is a film about genuinely good people who make terrible, but understandable, mistakes. Whenever the tone skirts towards taking a mean turn, Feig reverts back to honesty and realism. The writer-director is no stranger to that type of grounded comedy; just look at his cult classic show Freaks and Geeks. The only character that many will find despicable is one: Ted (played by Jon Hamm). Ted is that moronic jock who thinks he can take and have whatever he wants. Nearly every other line he says reeks of an idiot, and yet he’s still oddly likable. Someone so narcissistic should never be this charming. Here’s what the friendly and talkative Paul Feig had to say about mean-spirited comedy, shooting comedic sex, and having characters talk like real people:

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Boiling Point

Many people will come to the defense of outrageous events in movies and otherwise unbelievable activities by claiming movies are all about the “suspension of disbelief.” That’s why cars can turn into robots, animals can talk, heroes can surf anything to safety, and all the Jewish people rode unicorns to Israel at the end of Schindler’s List. See, that last one is a joke about how not all movies are about the suspension of disbelief. Sometimes movies make a greater impact by maintaining a thread of realism throughout. No, Die Hard isn’t the most realistic film in the world, but when a shoeless McClane has to run over broken glass, you can relate to “that must fucking hurt” because you can see it affects him for the next ten minutes of the movie. In movie time that’s like 8 years, so it’s no wonder he’s back to running and jumping by the end of the film. While I’m the first to admit I enjoy action films where a commando can jump from a plane flying 150mph and fall 300 feet into a swamp and be fine, there are a few minor movie injuries that bug the shit out of me.

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Seeing as comedian/actor Zach Galifianakis is pretty much the closest modern equivalent we have to a mythical trickster, the things that he says should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Especially things he says in interviews, which he seems to hate doing. So, grain of salt firmly in place, in a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine Galifianakis has said that the plot of Hangover Part III would be about his character, Alan, getting locked up in a mental institution and the rest of the crew having to come together and break him out. Personally, I think that this sounds like a whole lot of nonsense that Galifianakis is pulling out of nowhere, but there is one quote in the article that rings very true. When initially talking about the possibility of a third Hangover, Galifianakis said, “They want to do a Hangover III. I’m getting fricking phone calls already.” The film already has a plot, and one of the leads is leaking it before the second one is even out of theaters? That’s not so believable. Execs are champing at the bit to get all of the main actors signed on to do a third film already? That’s something I very much believe. Despite the fact that The Hangover Part II debuted to a lukewarm critical reception, fans of the first film still came out in droves to get some more drunken obscenity. There is no way that the people in charge of writing and cashing the […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr follows Jamie Chung to Thailand, hoping to get married. Unfortunately, someone slips him roofies, which made him black out and spend a drunken night in Bangkok. Once he got out of that city, he headed over to China to become the new pot-bellied dragon warrior. After all, if a cartoon panda can do it, why can’t he? That didn’t stop him from spending another night in the hospital, and maybe a little time in a Bangkok jail. And then the real horror happened… Kevin saw The Tree of Life.

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Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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All throughout the development of Paul Feig’s upcoming comedy Bridesmaids we’ve heard it be described as “the female Hangover”. Well, it hasn’t even hit theaters and already we’re being given news of another “female Hangover”. This one is going to be called Desperados, and it tells the story of three female friends who go to Mexico to try and deal with a scathing message one of them left a guy she likes (presumably before he can hear it?). Sounds like an episode of Three’s Company or something. The screenplay was written by Ellen Rapoport, who wrote a bunch of episodes of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, and it is being directed by Betty Thomas, who last made Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, so obviously I have enormous faith in this project already. The good news is that the first actress signed to fill out the trio is Isla Fisher. She impressed me with her comedic chops in Wedding Crashers and recently did a phenomenal job voice acting in Rango, so I’m interested to see what other tricks she has up her sleeve. I just hope this movie doesn’t end up being a load that she has to carry.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Another week gone by, another round of Blu-ray buying and trying, avoiding and really avoiding here at Reject HQ. The release slate is slim and for the most part, it would appear as if home video distributors are afraid of the direct to video level junk they are throwing out there this week, as many a title didn’t arrive at our doorstep. Stuff like Jonah Hex and The Lost Boys: The Thirst are probably best left unreviewed by yours truly. Similar to the way a 30-year old man dominates a toddler tee-ball league, I was looking forward to busting some heads. Sadly, we’ll stick with a more intimate collection of releases this week, including a few nice surprises as we go through This Week in Blu-ray.

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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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published: 11.19.2014
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