The Internship

Silicon Valley

Mike Judge’s fresh out of the box HBO series, Silicon Valley, has only aired a single episode on the premium channel, but the comedy show has already surpassed last year’s star-studded feature outing, The Internship, in nearly every way possible. If you’ve forgotten the 2013 summer comedy, well, good for you, but the first episode of Silicon Valley will likely jog some memories loose for you – especially when main characters Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and Big Head (Josh Brener) head off to work at a sparkly, cultish campus that looks a whole hell of a lot like Google. Shawn Levy’s film centered on a pair of recently laid off old school sale dudes – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a reunion that basically served as the film’s only real attraction – who snag internships at Google (and, yes, actual Google, which feels like it just bankrolled the entire production) and attempt to reinvent themselves at the hip company. It’s like a big commercial for Google – a huge commercial – and that proves to be a major problem as the film winds on.

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2013.moviedoppelgangers

Every year, there seem to be unintended themes emerging from movie releases. It’s almost as if the studios called each other to coordinate projects like friends in high school planning to wear matching outfits on a Friday. Sometimes this effect is unintentional, like when an emerging movie star manages to have multiple films comes out the same year (see Melissa McCarthy below); other times, it’s a result of executives switching studios and developing similar projects (like the infamous Disney and DreamWorks 1998 double-header grudge match of A Bug’s Life vs. Antz and Armageddon vs. Deep Impact). This year is no different, producing a slew of movie doppelgangers. For the sake of creativity, I left the painfully obvious off. Still, who can forget offerings like Olympus Has Fallen up against White House Down as well as This Is the End paired with The World’s End? And, if you really hate yourself, you can watch a terrible trippleganger of A Haunted House, Scary Movie 5 and 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Whether it’s similar themes, the same actor in noticeably similar roles, or parallel stand-out moments in two films, this list of 13 movie pairings can provide a nice selection of companion pieces for your viewing pleasure.

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discs abominable dr phibes

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Vincent Price Collection Six of Vincent Price‘s horror pictures for AIP are collected here in HD including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit & the Pendulum, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, Witchfinder General, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Scream Factory hits another one out of the park with this fantastically produced and packaged collection of films featuring Price in all his glory. All but the final film bear some connection to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, a couple of them being very tenuous connections at best, and three were directed by Roger Corman. The movies run the gamut from good (Palace) to great (Masque) to WTF (Phibes), and they all look better than they ever have thanks to new HD restorations and a bevy of extras. Price was always an interesting and underrated actor, and this set offers a glimpse at a fun and fascinating variety of performances. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Introductions, commentaries, interviews, trailers, featurettes]

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vaughn_bestof

In honor of the release of The Internship being the largest release upon the masses this weekend, we’ve got it in our heads that we should talk about the film’s biggest star, arguably Vince Vaughn, and try to settle the question of his best performance. Known mostly for more recent comedic work in things like Dodgeball, Wedding Crashers, Old School and the like, the Minneapolis, MN native has had a fairly long and interesting career. From his early work in television (he once had a guest roles on Doogie Howser, M.D. and 21 Jump Street) to his breakout performance in Swingers, he’s been around for a while and he’s done more than just speak jokes written by Adam McKay. With that in mind, we put the entirety of our career to our panel of writers, asking simply: what is Vince Vaughn’s best performance to date. Their answers (and a place for your own) can be found below.

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The Internship

It starts promisingly enough. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are in a convertible, cruising to a highly important business dinner, chattering away incessantly, and alternating between their brand of fast-talking bullshit and slightly outdated cultural references. It feels familiar (because it is), but it also feels funny and zippy and like a very fine start to the long-desired follow-up to the duo’s wildly popular Wedding Crashers. It goes downhill quite quickly. The boys may be back at their old confidence game – but whereas they spent the vast majority of Wedding Crashers pulling off gags they were well suited for, Shawn Levy’s The Internship is about what happens when your confidence doesn’t match your skill set (in the least). Of course, the highly important business dinner doesn’t pan out – Vaughn’s Billy and Wilson’s Nick are a working team who have long squeezed direct sales for John Goodman’s old school joint, and such organizations just aren’t cutting it anymore – and the two are tossed out on their collective asses. Jobless, penniless, and skill-less, the two come up with a harebrained scheme to enter the modern market in a big way – by lying about their qualifications to land a pair of highly competitive internships at Google. Unbelievably enough, they get the gigs and soon ship out for sunny California and the veritable paradise that is Google (sick of hearing about Google yet? Imagine how you’ll feel after two hours of Google chatter).

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Shawn Levy

The Internship is kind of a bizarre comedy. It removes the potential for mean-spirited humor by not featuring two leads consistently bust each other’s balls. Director Shawn Levy‘s film is somewhat of an anti-ironic comedy, to the point where that type of self-impressed smirking is literally put down in the movie itself. That makes sense when you consider Levy’s body of work. His movies are as innocent and audience-friendly as one can imagine. From The Night at the Museum movies to, a personal favorite, Big Fat Liar, there’s zero cynicism in their content. For his reunion film between Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, Levy explores potentially depressing material: two friends whose lives fall out from under them and, once they start interning at Google, the possibility of failure is always high. In spite of their low chances of obtaining a full-time position at Google, the two characters, and Levy, remain optimistic. This comedy represents another new direction for Levy, who doesn’t want to remained branded as “the family comedy” guy. With Real Steel, The Internship, This is Where I Leave You, and a slew of future projects on his plate, Levy says he’s “just getting warmed up” as a filmmaker. I briefly encountered Levy a few years ago at the premiere for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian where his enthusiasm level was high, and now four years later, speaking with him at 5 a.m. his time, that enthusiasm was still somehow intact. Here’s what came out of our early morning discussion:

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B33E1988.CR2

One of the main criticisms I’m hearing about The Internship is that it’s all one big advertisement for Google with little else of substance. This isn’t surprising, but it is very disappointing. When you have a movie with such prominent brand-integration it should go beyond the idea of product placement. The Internship shouldn’t be set at Google because they worked a deal with that company, whether financially beneficial to either side or not.  The Internship ought to be set at Google only because its story couldn’t be about or set at any another company than Google any more than The Social Network could have changed the name of Facebook in its script or a Steve Jobs biopic could rename the company he started. Of course, those two examples are true stories. But either would still be stronger for their relevance to the era and to what their stories are ultimately about even if they weren’t based on real events. It helps that Facebook is more than a brand now. And so is Apple. And so is Google. The fact that people groan when they see Peter Parker use Bing, an obvious product placement, rather than the more widely accepted Google search engine proves that we don’t think of the company the same way we think of Reese’s Pieces or whatever random car manufacturer is willing to spend the money for a close-up. I haven’t seen The Internship yet, so I can’t speak to how much the story is dependent on that […]

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now you see me 05

This weekend’s two major openers had something in common: each deceived us as far as being relevant to current hot-button issues. It’s a strange thing to fake, I know. Marketing mainstream Hollywood fare as having political messages would seem to be misguided. And the fact that both were sort of a misdirection anyway, that probably annoyed anyone who would go to see After Earth or Now You See Me because of the promise of substantial contemporary context. I can’t be the only person who is more interested in studio pictures when they at least address if not also deal with real world problems. I even went to see the Fright Night remake specifically because it incorporated some commentary on the housing crisis and its significance in Las Vegas. Now You See Me sold me similarly on its consideration of the Great Recession and banking crisis. I thought this could be the most timely heist/con-artist film since Nine Queens, which is brilliantly set on the eve of a catastrophic bank collapse (interestingly, while filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky was merely dealing with fears of the times in Argentina, an actual national bank run did occur in a year after it debuted). In the trailer for the new movie, after we see a trick involving a bank robbery we hear the magician characters played by Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson mention their audience has experienced hard times, losing their homes and cars. It appears as though the movie is about Robin Hood-like illusionists stealing […]

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The odds don’t seem so great that The Internship is going to end up being a funny movie. First off, it’s being directed by Shawn Levy, a man who’s known for putting together safe, boring studio stuff like Cheaper by the Dozen and Night and the Museum, and who even managed to disappoint when working with hilarious comedic leads Steve Carell and Tina Fey on Date Night. Secondly, it’s coming from a script that was penned by Vince Vaughn, and when Vince Vaughn is the one doing the writing, he gives us films like The Break-Up and Couples Retreat – not exactly titles that would make anyone’s top ten list of recent comedies. That’s not to say that the upcoming film is doomed to failure, however. It’s got a premise that’s relatable to modern times and an impressive-on-paper cast working in its favor, and that may be enough to help it beat the odds. The Internship stars Vaughn and Owen Wilson as a couple of old school salespeople who find that their jobs are being made obsolete due to the rise of online marketing and shopping. Not taking their newfound lack of employment lying down, the duo decide to reinvent themselves and become the two most aged interns at a major tech company. Bumbling presumably ensues.

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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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