Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I would not want to be responsible for writing the screen story for the title Hot Tub Time Machine. There are certain ideas which are so awesomely stupid-amazing that no matter what, the execution cannot possibly match the film that the viewer will dream up just upon learning of the project. Recall Snakes on a […]

It is a fact undeniable that raunchy comedy works, as humiliating as it can be to admit this sometimes. Chaucer knew this; Shakespeare knew this. A great many contemporary filmmakers also know this, though it hardly needs to be mentioned that very few of them are working at a level comparable to Chaucer or Shakespeare. […]

Taken on straightforward terms, Fired Up! is disposable teen comedy at its most perfunctory: fitfully amusing if we’re being generous, cursed with two unusually unlikable lead actors, needlessly contrived, completely predictable, aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator. I do not choose to take the film on straightforward terms. When I watch this film, what […]

We nonbelievers have a noted tendency to attack each other for any number of things: being too vocal, being too timid, being vocal in the wrong way, the “No True Atheist” fallacy et cetera (my notion has always been that a group of people united only in the philosophical belief that you should not blithely […]

From Scary Movie to, well, Scary Movie 4, you’d have to look long and hard to find a talented comedienne with a spottier resume than Anna Faris’s. This is a truly horrible shame, since even in the trashiest trash, the actress herself is never less than completely charming and endearing, and in those few cases […]

The one thing Step Brothers does not want for is a good solid high concept: 39-year-old Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and 40-year-old Dale Doback (John C. Reilly), two men with crippling cases of arrested development, are forced to live together when their parents marry; the two man-children have to do a whole lot of growing […]

Do you like dick jokes? Do you really like dick jokes? Then boy, does Mike Myers have a movie for you. I don’t mean to say that there’s anything wrong with dick jokes. Fact is, I’ve enjoyed a dick joke in my day. But there are dick jokes and then there are good dick jokes, […]

Comedy being an intensely subjective thing, it doesn’t really do for me to declare that You Don’t Mess with the Zohan isn’t a funny movie and leave for greener pastures. At the very least, the girl sitting in the theater behind me and to the left clearly thought it was extremely funny, and I’d be […]

The traps awaiting the sequel to an unexpectedly successful comedy are easy to pinpoint, because virtually every such film stumbles into them. Everyone who has seen the increasingly desperate films in the Austin Powers trilogy knows this: the likeliest path for a comedy sequel to take is to recreate the gags from the original movie […]

For an actor famous for making essentially the same movie over and over again, the career of Will Ferrell has been marked by a rather violent fluctuation in the relative quality of his projects. None of them are original; some are still very good, and some kind of suck. I bring this up because somehow […]

For all that it is a supremely disposable bit of stoner anti-comedy, Strange Wilderness – the newest film from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions – manages to make cinematic history, in a very limited sort of way: it is to my best knowledge the first film ever to feature both Ernest Borgnine and Joe Don […]

Seriously. I mean, it’s not like anybody is going to mistake The Ten for Kieślowski’s similarly-themed miniseries, but the parallels are more than skin deep: both treat upon the ten commandments in ten short stories that don’t really illustrate their nominal subject all that much, each set of ten takes place in an interconnected universe […]