Away We Go

Judd: Every once in a while Tom and I get treated to an indie-flick that the studios think may be a crossover hit. These are my favorite films, and I love to drag Tom along with me because it gives him a taste of what I have to go through 20 times a year with mainstream pieces of shit like “The Proposal”. This summer’s potential crossover is called Away We Go and it’s about a pregnant couple (SNL’s Maya Rudolph and The Office’s John Krasinski) who are trying to find a place to settle down and raise a family.

Swanner: Treated? This was no treat and I can’t believe you have the nerve to slap down The Proposal over 97 minutes of quirky indie crap. I’m glad that Sam Mendes is making more movies but he’s not putting the same effort into this one that he has in the past. When you’re making a road movie don’t tell us at the beginning where they are going ‘cause I was counting down the cities every time it got boring…which it did a lot. The actors are really good but the script, as good as it is, is poorly constructed. The movie starts off hilarious and by the end I was considering suicide.

Judd: That’s how I feel about every romcom – except there’s nothing hilarious about them and I’m considering suicide by the end of the opening credits. Now I will grant you that Away We Go was a little maudlin by the end, and the movie would have done better to disperse the depressing stuff throughout the story. I will also agree that there were some scenes that were pointlessly “quirky” for quirkiness’ sake. Pointlessly quirky is kind of like the gratuitous pillow fights in those chick flicks you like so much. It’s something we both have to stomach as best as we can.

Swanner: I just kept envying all those people walking out of the movie last night. How did you like the “indie” title cards they kept slapping up on screen to tell you where there next location was. I’m sure they got some 5 years olds with sharpie’s to make them. I don’t want to totally dog the movie. As I said the cast was good. I thought Catherine O’Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Allison Janney were outstanding in supporting roles and the two leads do a fine job. My big problem still seems to be the positioning of the script and the pacing that are my stumbling blocks.

Judd: I didn’t mind the indie title cards. They were very Wes Anderson, though they weren’t done in the Futura typeface that he likes to use. The movie is basically a set of vignettes as Rudolph and Krasinski try to find a place to settle and each family they visit has their quirks. Gyllenhaal and her husband are a horrible hippie couple. I thought they were hysterical because I dated (yes, I’ve had relationships) someone just like her and he was an equally pretentious hippie. But Janney was by far the best character in the film. What a hysterically awful mother!

Swanner: Let’s not forget I sat in front of Darth Vader. At first I thought he was asleep…that I could understand but then the person he was with asked him a question I realized that it was the sound of him breathing. The theatre was like a Cambodian sweat shop, and I hate the chairs ‘cause they’re like some child’s ride as they wiggle from side to side. All this added up to a night in hell. I’d rather be dragged behind a car than sit through that again.

Judd: Aww, you poor thing. I have to suffer through walks on the beach, shopping sequences, pillow fights, women falling off their shoes, bridesmaids fighting, the “hysterical” results of miscommunication, Stanley Tucci being a eunuch, Diane Keaton being “goofy”, Kate Hudson being Kate Hudson, and full grown women lip-syncing with hairbrushes to 70s pop songs in their underwear and then falling down laughing and exhausted. And I suffer through this crap at a rate of twice a month. Twice a month! Women don’t even get their periods that often! So fuck you! The next romcom we go to I’ll gladly drag you behind a car.

Swanner: 2 Stars (for the performances)
Judd: 4 Stars

The Proposal

Swanner: A pushy boss (Sandra Bullock) forces her hot young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. Did you notice I added hot to Ryan’s description? Wasn’t he dreamy in the movie? I had such a good time, I don’t want to hear you spread your hate about this wonderful film

Judd: Look, people know that I can’t stand romantic comedies. They’re all the same, recycled insipid stories, banal jokes, and saccharine romance. The Proposal is insipid, banal and saccharine, and while I won’t go so far as to say it was tolerable, it wasn’t as nauseating as I expected.

Swanner: That’s like a four start review from Brian for a Romcom. I knew you’d love it. Wasn’t the supporting cast good? Betty White and Craig T Nelson were so good. I love the way they used Alaska as the back drop. It was so beautiful. Ryan Reynolds, all the clean clear air and Betty White…I think I need a cigarette. Did you notice I was giggling through the whole movie? It’s always a good barometer if I giggle during romantic comedies.

Judd: The scenery was beautiful. White and Nelson were very good as father and grandmother, but the movie still falls back on a lot of routine romcom shenanigans and too many scenes were set up just to showcase Bullock’s “Isn’t she quirky?” comedy style. I will say that I enjoyed the first hour, the last 40 minutes is when it got to be intolerably “cute”.

Swanner: Is that why you kept checking your watch? So you could check when the movie goes too cute? That was scene one for me. It was adorable. Did I mention the chemistry of the two leads? You could cut the sexual tension with a knife. How about the naked scenes? It was very sexy…even when Bullock is naked it was sexy. I’ll admit there were a few “isn’t she quirky” scenes but the film is so loveable that it’s forgivable and the audience really loved “those” scenes.

Judd: Yes, the first time I looked at my watch it was to mark the time of death. Seeing Ryan Reynolds almost fully naked was a nice treat. Watching a naked Sandra Bullock being cornered by a “cute” Pekinese puppy, or whatever the hell it is, wasn’t so cute. I recognized absolutely no chemistry between the leads. I related mostly with Craig T Nelson’s character at the end of the film. When all the women were telling him that Bullock really loved Reynolds, his reaction was “She does? Who can tell?”

Swanner: You don’t get romantic comedies the way I do. The is definitely 27 Dresses for me…which I loved as well. I thought the script was good and as I mentioned, the supporting actors were as good as the leads. It’s nice when two of my favorites work well together on screen. It was a big win/win for me. Having a Barry Manilow song hovering in the background is the only thing that might have made this movie better. I hope this comes out on Blu-ray soon or I might have to travel back to the theatres to see it. I loved it.

Judd: It didn’t make me ill or angry. Does that count?

Swanner: 4 Stars
Judd: 2 ½ Stars

The Hangover

Judd: I have a love/hate relationship with Summertime releases. Summer is when all the big action fluff that I usually hate comes out. It’s also the time that a slew of forgettable PG-13 comedies are released. But it’s also the time when one or two R rated, adult oriented comedies come out and that what gets me excited. The Hangover is the first of this summer’s Rated R contenders, and while it’s not a grand slam, it’s a pretty good opener for the season.

Swanner: I agree with you completely on this R rated comedy issue. It’s even gotten to the point where some big actors are catering to even younger audiences. Eddie Murphy, William H Macy and Adam Sandler are now making movie that are really geared but young kids and I think it’s kind of dangerous. I don’t want to see theatrical movies catering to a preteen crowd. I don’t want to see those movies. I want to see movies I can relate to that are funny and original. I really liked The Hangover. I liked the humor and I thought the script was new and fresh considering we’ve seen this storyline before.

Judd: The story is as old as the hills. A bunch of guys go to Vegas for a buddy’s last fling as a bachelor. They wake up in the morning and there’s a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, the groom-to-be is missing, and no one can remember what happened the night before. I was a little worried during the first 20 minutes because the movie gets off to a slow start, but after the characters are introduced and we get to the meat of the story, the movie moves at a fairly decent pace.

Swanner: It’s also very smart and I think that goes to the fact that they are appealing to adults. There is no dumbing down the story. These guys are in Vegas so there are strippers, drugs, gangsters, gambling and yes…even Mike Tyson. The story becomes a comedy mystery where they spend most of the movie trying to remember what happen to the Groom and where is he? They go from one insane situation to another and as crazy as it gets I never felt like the film looses it’s focus. Two years ago it was Knocked Up and last year it was Pineapple Express. All are adult comedies with strong scripts and acting.

Judd: I used to work with someone that didn’t understand why studios made rated R films. He said that R films relied on potty humor and foul language. I think that the situation is actually reversed. It’s the PG-13 films that rely on cheap fart jokes and their single allowed F-bomb. R rated movies speak to adults because they intended for adults. I loved all the insults slung at chubby bearded actor Zach Galifianakis. It’s funny because he’s fat.

Swanner: The movie does have a really good cast. They didn’t rely on big stars and I think that helped the movie. Since there really wasn’t a star, the focus was on the story…that’s smart. The cast does includes the very cute Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms (who actually had a tooth removed for the movie), Justin Bartha and the before mentioned fat guy Galifianakis. There is also a really good supporting cast as well. As Brian mentioned, it is rated R and that’s because it is a movie meant for adults. I think the movie will appeal mostly to guys but I think the women who get dragged along will have a good time cause it’s really a funny film.

Judd: I disagree that it’s a guy film. I know plenty of chicks that are looking forward to seeing The Hangover. They can’t stand the Massengill scented crap the studios try to target women with. They want to see real comedies with honestly funny scenes and great writing and no one falling down in glee/exhaustion after a pillow fight.

Swanner: Hey, I always fall back in glee and exhaustion after a big event has happened…how do you know about the pillow fight?

Judd: I haven’t said it in awhile, but you are a big fat girl. Anyway, I don’t think this a movie that girls will have to be “dragged to” and even if they are they’re going to enjoy it. The ability to take a familiar story and turn it into something fresh and new is quite a talent. And while Scott Moore and Jon Lucas also wrote Tom’s favorite, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, I won’t hold that against them and say that they are a writing duo to keep your eye on.

Swanner: That’s what I said. Girls will like this movie…it might not have an immediate appeal to women but they will come Ray … they will come.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: 4 Stars

Land of The Lost

Swanner: I’m thinking the title refers to where your money goes when you see this film. Land of the Lost is the latest movie from star Will Ferrell and if there is a god then it should be his last. Ferrell plays Dr. Rick Marshall, a scientist who has found a way to travel to other dimensions. I can’t believe that someone green lighted this rumored $100 million dollar mess.

Judd: I liked it! No, I didn’t. I will say it was better than I expected. Of course, I expected to want to throw circular saw blades at the screen or gouge my own eyes out with a grapefruit spoon. I didn’t want to do either, so I was delightfully surprised.

Swanner: Delightfully surprised? You disgust me. If Will Ferrell hadn’t mentioned a Mama’s Family marathon you would have hated the movie. $100 million dollars for that thing? Really? You’re okay with that? Mediocre special effects and a horrible script with Will Ferrell doing anything he wants to and for as long as he wants .

Judd: I said it was better than expected. Like the difference between expecting to die tomorrow from nut cancer and being told I’m going to live, but they’re going to have to replace them with marbles. In that case, a person would be delightfully surprised to have glass balls. I would ask the have them replaced with shooter marbles, or better yet paper weights. Big ol’ clackers.

Swanner: That is your argument?? What I didn’t like about the movie was that it was much more adult then the original series. What about the children who think it’s like the series? It was a horrible script and the director or the editor let Ferrell ramble…not being funny. The storyline was dumb and the acting was surprisingly not good. I did like that when Ferrell gets bitten by the mosquito, his face starts to go gray as the blood is drained from his body. That was good and the scenes with Matt Lauer so I liked about 5 minutes of the film.

Judd: Since you’re forcing me to talk about the movie, I didn’t think it was good. I was actually surprised at how adult oriented the humor was. The original show was a Saturday morning show for kids, and this version included sex jokes, drug jokes, and the language was about as course as a PG-13 movie can be. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go to the theatre to see this movie – however, I can think of select few that I would recommend to give the movie a rent, to watch at home and under the influence.

Swanner: Well hip hip hooray. I thought you had lost your mind. I’m not saying that the movie is unwatchable, there is an audience for this film. I think stoners are the target audience for the film not children. I still can’t figure how they spent $100 million dollars filming a movie in the desert. One good thing about all this is I have another movie to add to my worst picture list…so there is a silver lining.

Judd: I’m totally indifferent about the movie. I didn’t think it was good, but I’ve seen worse movies that have affected me more. A colleague of our left the theatre fuming mad she had to sit through such a steaming pile. I’m blasé about it. I don’t think it even comes close to the crap we’re going to see in August and September.

Swanner: 1 ½ Stars (for Matt Lauer)
Judd: 1 ¾ Stars