The Hangover

hangoverI saw The Hangover a couple weeks ago, but only now can bring myself to type “Zach Galifianakis in a jock strap”.

The Hangover is FUNNY! It has the same ratio of raunch to funny as 40yr Old Virgin. It’s got to be the funniest situation-type comedy of the year.  Not Huxtable SitCom, mind you. The end credits sequence is insane, but I’m not sure Bill Cosby would approve:)

The 3 groomsmen who lose the groom in Las Vegas are played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms & the aforementioned Zach Galifianakis. All three of these guys turned in their most memorable movie roles yet in this one. You would likely recognize Ed Helms from The Office and Bradley Cooper from Alias and other films. I am most pleased to see Zach Glifianakis finally hit it big. He’s been doing funny comedy shows and stand up for along time.

My bachelor party experience consists mostly of prayer, sports, farting and food. Not necessarily in that order. So, while I can’t claim to have any direct experience with accidental stripper-marrying, I can relate to intense regret and panic. I think we all can. Anyone remember Milli Vanilli?

Actually, there’s a stripper in the movie with my wife’s name. I know what you’re thinking, but I can’t install a pole in my room. We rent.

OK, now I’m realizing that I might have offended my wife by suggesting that the only thing keeping me from installing such a thing is the fact that we rent. I was NOT assuming that she would be in any way supportive of the idea even if we owned our home. I’m not sure I would even like it that much, especially after the third or fourth time I ran into it in the middle of the night. Also, houses are expensive where we live. So please forgive me, Jade? Come on, I’ll do a naughty little dance for you!

I did not hate The Hangover!


UP I was so looking forward to seeing Pixar’s UP! That is mostly due to the fact that I HEART PIXAR MOVIES!

UP is about an old guy called Carl. But, it’s also about living life, fulfilling your dreams and starting over.

I don’t have a ton of experience with senior citizens. I once asked my Grandad what it was like to be in the twilight of his life. I expected something deep & introspective back from him. He said it was terrible and that he wasn’t much for introspection. Fair enough. His generation isn’t as touchy feely as mine:) I miss him, he was awesome.  I know it’s unusual for me to get all nostalgic while reviewing an animated movie, but that’s the magic of great storytelling. It takes you to a place & makes you think about your life. I think one of the big themes of this film is that life is an adventure.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get anybody to go with me on this adventure. So, I was on my own up there floating around the theater alone. Turns out, it was apropos since the main character, Carl, is alone. At least for a while.

Carl, voiced wonderfully by Ed Asner, meets up with Russel, voiced equally well by Jordan Nagai and they find in each other a friend, unlooked for. All the characters in the film are so fully realized by the animators, voice actors and storytellers that I really related to them.

I didn’t really cry watching the movie, but I did when I was telling my wife about it. Weird, huh?

I did NOT hate it UP there!

Land of the Lost

Land of the LostThe La-a-a-and of the Lost!

Kevin Grose and I went on our own routine expedition to check out the film adaptation of the unintentionally comical TV show from Syd & Marty Kroft (1974).
I think it was smart to go the comedy route with Land of the Lost because we remember it funny.

I was babysat by a steady stream of Kroft Superstars programs. My favorite: Bigfoot and Wildboy! I also enjoyed Sigmond and the Sea Monsters, Dr. Shrinker & HR Puffnstuf.

In this movie version, Will Ferrell has his way with the LOTL world. If you like his style (and me likely) you will enjoy his Dr. Rick Marshall. Jorma Taccone, 1/3 of The Lonely Island troupe, played Cha-ka. Jorma played Cha-ka like the original only more expressive and hornier.

Kevin and I laughed much. Sometimes like Jr. High boys. (Click the poster to see the bigger version with our mugs on there.)

OK, so it may not rank in the top 10 Sci-Fi comedies, but Land of the Lost is a funny take on the original. Honestly, if they tried to make a serious adaptation it would have been a tremendous T-Rex turd. Can you imagine Sean Penn trying to have a conversation with Cha-ka? OK, fine. Who would you have cast in the serious remake? Bear Grylls would be a good technical adviser. He just had Will Ferrell on his show. It was great!

I did not hate it!  The movie or the Man vs Wild episode.

Star Trek

Star TrekA long time ago, to boldly in a galaxy no man has far, far before!

I better tread lightly here as I don’t need to offend the Trekker mafia. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow with a Jawa head in my bed. You know what I’m sayin’?

Star Date: May 2009
Fellow Starfleet Academy slackers, Jeff “Tribble-lover” Hatfield, Scott “Anderson” Anderson & I set out on an impossible mission – to explore well charted down town Santa Barbara and find a really good Star Trek movie.

If 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture was any indicator, I’d say our chances were slim because that movie sucked Klingon Gagh and not in the maj way. Seriously, after seeing Han Solo yell at Chewbacca while blasting Storm Troopers, it was too much to ask that 8yr old version of me to focus on Stephen Collins falling in love with a creepy bald android lady person. “I’m giving it all she’s got Craptain!!” Incidentally, Mr. Collins went on to star in an equally action packed project called 7th Heaven on the W.B. He was terrific in that ( I heard er, no, read. OK, fine, I watched a few).

Lucky for us geeks, Star Trek isn’t just one thing. It changes. For instance, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn was awesome! And then it changed back to forgettable (at least for my tweeny attention span). And then TV shows of varied levels of cool and suckitude. Something for everyone. So, the big question that remained was “Where do you go from here?” The well seemed dry. J.J. Abrams answered with “We go BACK, TO THE FUTURE!” and then he let his hand trail off like Doc Brown. And then Michael J. Fox squeeked, “Whoa, this is heavy!” Wait. I just got lost in my own lame illustration. Ooooo! Speaking of LOST, what do you get when you throw a couple of the main dudes behind LOST at the Star Trek franchise? You get that really good Star Trek movie we were looking for!!

What an adventure! This Star Trek kicks you right in the knee and never looks back! The effects are sweet, the acting is great, the story moves and we get to relish in all those memorable characters. I was most skeptical about Zach Quinto as Spock, but he did a swell job! Another pleasant surprise was Karl Urban as Bones McCoy! He has a free ride to every sci-fi/fantasy convention after playing McCoy and Éomer Éadig, Third Marshal of Riddermark, son of Éomund of Eastfold and Théodwyn, the sister of King Théoden in The Lord of the Rings. What? So I like the Lord of the Rings a little. Don’t judge me!

I did NOT hate Star Trek!


wolverineArt professor, Scott Anderson wanted to assemble a crack team of mutant assassins to go catch X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman, my 2nd favorite Australian*.

The best he could do was Chris Molkoy and me, Chris Mundell. What mutant powers do Chris and I bring to the table? Well, it’s usually not polite to ask, in Mutant culture, but I’ll oblige you since you are likely just ignorant non-mutant humans and don’t know any better. I have developed the ability to throw a Frisbee with my ridiculously long toes and Chris Molkoy can breakdance real good. I know, freakshow.

In the interest of full geek disclosure, I actually own some Wolverine comic books. I dig this character and Hugh Jackman has done a terrific job playing him in the previous 3 X-Men films. I was looking forward to this film as it seemed we’d finally have a dedicated story of Wolverine without all the other mutants getting in the way! Maybe even the story arc in Japan from the comics I have. Unfortunately, where I expected much slashing, there was much rehashing (Man, that line sucked. Too lazy to remove it). I will say that the opening credit sequence was pretty sweet! Wolverine and his brother fighting through the wars of history together (Civil War to Vietnam). Essentially indestructible. What would that do to a guy? Very compelling. The bummer is that the film pretty quickly gets into the whole good mutants vs bad mutants territory we’ve seen for 3 movies already.

Wolverine’s mutation is that he heals almost instantaneously and he has these  gnarly claws that stick out of his hands when he’s pissed off or has a really annoying itch, like, right in the middle of his back. You know, right where you can’t reach? Some overzealous government peoples plated his bones in some space metal to make him even more indestructibler! I wish I had those powers. If I did, I would stop wearing my seat belt, you know, immediately. Also, I would start entering lumberjack competitions cuz I could climb trees like the dickens!

This isn’t a bad movie, I just had high in the sky, apple pie hopes. I got a pretty well made apple fritter. Also, way at the end of the credit roll, we catch Wolverine in a Japanese bar (some theaters show a lame bad guy clip). This gives me geek goosebumps for the next one!

I don’t know about “Professor A” or “Electric Boogaloo”, but I, “The Toe”, did NOT hate it!

*1st favorite Australian: Kynan Brookes of Adelaide. Everyone should know Kynan. Cooler than Dundee and The Wiggles combined. Unless you measure cool in dollars, in which case, The Wiggles are the coolest by an order of magnitude. They are swimming in the Vegemite.


Who Watches The Watchmen?
This ain’t The Superfriends, people! But I do have my own Wonder Twins:
Local contractor/surf buddy, Ben Ewart (Shape of a Skil Saw!!) and
Illustrator/Comic Book Uber-Geek pal, Scott Anderson (Form of a Wacom Tablet!!).
We teamed up for a night of nihilistic vigilantism and boy did we get it!

Watchmen has long been considered one of the best comic books/graphic novels by people that consider such things. Most of those people also consider it unfilmable. It’s too dense and too detailed to adequately capture on film.  Scott loaned me his super collector edition of Watchmen (nerd) so I could see what all the hubbub was about. It was hard bound and lovely.  Almost as nice as my 50th Anniversary Edition of The Lord of the Rings!

Watchmen is a tale of costumed vigilantes in New York circa 50’s to 80’s. None have super powers, all are humans.  Flawed humans.

An accident causes a scientist to disintegrate but he’s eventually able to manifest himself as a hairless, glowing, blue, naked version of himself.  He’s labeled Dr. Manhattan.  He’s fairly omnipotent and can teleport and disintegrate whatever he wants.  He can also multiply himself.  Which begs the deeper question: Did they show his Navy Nards or his Periwinkle Privates or his Turquoise Tater-Tots and how many times? Let’s just say that it reminded me of that “Smurf Themed” movie I happened upon while channel surfing the other night. Actually, all Azure Assets aside, the story did pose some deep questions about how the world would respond to a being who was that powerful.  The film didn’t paint it with sunshine and roses like most American movies, but that’s OK. I guess I won’t get my kids the Watchmen lunch box.

So, did it live up to the book?  I think it did, visually.  There were many moments that felt like they were right out of the book. Scott, who knows way more about this stuff, said it failed to live up to the book since it was only 2.5 hours long.  His sense was that 12 hours would maybe get closer. I think it turned out about as good as it could have considering the context of the medium and the film business.

I did NOT hate it! But you might.

PS – Click on the poster and see if you can find Scott, Ben and me:)