Les Diaboliques

1955 thriller

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Michel runs the boarding school owned by his wife Christina, a teacher at the school. Michel's also sleeping with Nicole, another teacher in the school. Since he's kind of a jerk, Christina and Nicole conspire to get rid of him by drugging him and drowning him in a bathtub. Huzzah! They get back to school and dispose of the body in a rather filthy swimming pool, but soon realize their troubles are not over when the pool is emptied and Michel is nowhere to be found. Oh, snap!

I was really digging this artfully tense little thriller until the final fifteen minutes or so when I was blown away. To be completely honest, the ending is a little predictable, even the ending that takes place after the ending, but the way director Clouzot builds the tension and constructs the story is nothing short of masterful. The direction is deceptively simple. I loved the camera work in this one, all those slight movements that led to big revelations. It's all deliberately paced, but it's perfectly deliberately paced. The story gets some room to breathe which, despite some implausibility, somehow keeps everything plausible. I liked Paul Meurisse (Army of Shadows) as the jerky Michel. Actually, Simone Signoret who plays the mistress was in Army of Shadows, too. I would have given this movie an extra point if she looked less manish and wore her sunglasses less. Still, this is excellent stuff.

Alice in Wonderland

2010 movie

Rating: 13/20 (Jen: 16/20; Abbey: 15/20)

Plot: Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Alice, now a young woman who isn't too happy about the pressures she's feeling to marry a goofy redheaded guy, returns to Wonderland and is told that she's the chosen one and will have to slay something called a Jabberwocky with a vorpal blade that goes snicker-snack. She gets help from an assortment of odd characters (a disappearing kitty, a mad hatter, a dormouse, tubby twins, a stoned caterpillar) who she should remember but doesn't. Meanwhile, Wonderland's completely gone to hell with the Red Queen making everybody's life miserable. As the frabjous day approaches, Alice is needed more and more, but she first needs to be convinced that she's the right Alice and get back to her normal size.

Maybe I should have seen this in 3-D. Maybe I should just see everything in 3-D actually. I did really like the look of Tim Burton's Wonderland, as artificial and computer-generated as it was. Even without 3-D, there was a depth to the setting with endless swirling grays in the sky, gnarled trees, cartoonish mushrooms. The computer-animated creatures--the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, et. al--were very well done, even when being ridden on. In fact, the special effects were great all around, working to keep things visually interesting even if they weren't anywhere near realistic. Unfortunately, I don't think Tim Burton adds anything of real value to the Wonderland canon. The dialogue, the characters, and the goings-on seem a bit rehashed, and the story never feels fully realized to me, just an excuse to throw some trippy visuals and nifty special effects on the screen. I really wish there would have been more playfulness in the dialogue. A lot of the whimsy and fun of the Disney cartoon and Lewis Carroll's novels is from the wordplay, and that's pushed aside to focus on a bunch of jerky action sequences and the aforementioned imagery. From the halfway point on, I lost interest more and more. I didn't like Alice very much, not even enough to look up the name of the gal who played her, but Johnny Depp does his usual fine job and Crispin Glover's also got a major part. There's a lot to like in Burton's Wonderland, but it suffers from the same problems as most of his movies, especially the remakes--it's just too much and almost disrespects the originals.

I can't believe I missed the opportunity to see Crispin Glover in 3-D, by the way.

The Taming of the Shrew

1967 Shakespeare comedy

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Katharina is a shrew, and she needs tamed. Enter brazen Petruchio, money hungry and chauvinistic. He's also a snazzy dresser. He essentially bullies her into a marriage and a life as a homemaker in a shabby castle. Then, he's real mean to her and unfortunately, as far as I could tell, never gets to see her naked.

My only issue with this comedy is that I didn't buy or maybe even understand the transition from shrew to obedient wife, but I blame Shakespeare, universally known as a lousy playwright. The dialogue's juicy and randy, and both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton know how to bounce lines off each other. I really liked the ever-changing settings and their abundance of colors. More than likely this has essentially ruined any future stage production of this that I might accidentally see, and I can't imagine these characters confined to a stage . There's some nifty period details, too, like the guy in a cage with the drunkard sign. This is lighthearted, as fluffy as one of Kate's dresses. I don't recall whether this is one of the bard's most acclaimed comedies, but I enjoyed its characters, its outdated and politically correct ideals, and all the dirty puns. A lively and delightful way to pass an afternoon.

Cory, obsessed with all things delightful, recommended this one. He's got a thing for Elizabeth Taylor, presently.


1985 horror-comedy

Rating: 14/20

Plot: Medical student Dan's new roommate seems a little strange, and after a few weeks, he confirms that he's strange when he kills and re-animates a cat. You know, because he's the titular re-animator. Herbert West ropes Dan and his girlfriend into his devilish experiments, and then things get really bloody. Really really bloody.

This one doesn't completely succeed (like an Evil Dead or Dawn of the Dead) because it's much, much gorier than it is funny. Don't get me wrong. The superfluous blood and guts (second film in a row that involves some form of intestine strangulation, talking severed heads, limbs a-go-go) is enough to make you giggle. The makers of this had to have a bottomless bucket of fake blood, and they weren't afraid to use it. But the jokes are either dated or were just never funny, too often reaching for the sick and raunchy instead of the clever. H.P. Lovecraft's story is fine, and at times, it's thrown on the screen in some very creative ways with some cutesy camera work and gruesome special effects that makes this worth seeing, especially if you've ever wondered what the inside of a person looks like. But I just wish it had that little extra something. Special note: Whoever was in charge of sound effects for this movie sure must have had a good time. Lots of amplified squishing and crunching in this one.


1990 romantically-comedic fever dream of a war movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: It's World War I, and Lt. John Boles finds himself in the arctic Russian town of Archangel where he meets a woman named Veronkha who he mistakes for his dead former lover Iris. Veronkha's married to cowardly Philbin who can't seem to remember that he has a wife. Meanwhile, Veronkha starts to believe that John is her husband. All this while a war is going on! Maybe. I think the narrator said at one point that the war was over. I'm not sure because I was almost almost as confused as the characters in the movie.

And the likable thing about shane-movies favorite Guy Maddin movies, to me anyway, is that it all doesn't matter a whole lot. His characters follow their own logic, a fuzzy dream logic that I suppose would make perfect sense if you were able to use a different part of your brain to watch it. Idiosyncratic (read: downright weird) to say the least. At the same, Maddin's got a message very similar to Tarantino's in Basterds about how film or, more specifically, propaganda film can shape people's opinions on war. Archangel features some nifty photography and creative expressionistic set design, and like most of Maddin's movies, offers a generous helping of dry, ultra-askew humor. If you're into old-timey melodramatic and surreal oddballery, I can't recommend this guy's (pun intended) movies enough. And if all that isn't enough to sell this to you, I'll add two more words: intestine strangulation! Hooyah!

One Million Years B.C.

1966 caveman movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: Tumak can't find any friends, probably because he acts like a caveman, spending all his time grunting and fighting over food. He's thrown out of his tribe of cavemen (the rock people) and finds refuge with another group of cavemen (the cave people) who happen to include a scantily-clad Raquel Welch. The cave people end up not liking him very much either and boot him out of their home. Tumak's forced to buy a book--How to Win Friends and Influence Cavemen--and try to survive with Raquel Welch as giant turtles try to devour them.

I don't want to sound like a pervert or anything, but Harryhausen's dinosaurs are really sexy in this thing. After some embarrassing stock footage of volcano spewing, the effects do pick up with big lizards and big spiders and some stop-motion turtle action. The dinosaurs are really well done, and I was especially impressed with the human-creature interaction. Smooth. These may be Harryhausen's most realistic dinosaurs, and as always, it's fun to watch him play with his toys. The real stars of the show are probably Raquel Welch's parts though. There's one scene where she's stabbing at a fish right before Tumak falls into a lake. I'm not an expert on psychology or anything, but I'm pretty sure I know what Freud would have say about that. In a way, it reminds me of every single dream I had as a middle schooler. As a movie, this is a lot more boring than good. It's an hour and a half of dirty fur-dressed people grunting in a desert, and if I wanted to see that, I would have gone to my family reunion.

Stop Making Sense

1984 concert video

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Jonathan Demme films The Talking Heads. David Byrne winds up in a big suit.

David Byrne's stage presence reminded me of Andy Kaufman at times, especially during "Psychokiller," the track that begins the show. After stepping onto a stage sans fixin's, decorated only with backstage clutter, he presses play on a boombox to start a drum-machine-manufactured stuttering beat, plays his acoustic guitar, sings his little song, and does this Kaufman-esque leg kick thing that instantly made me glad I was watching this. He finishes with a flourish of inept dance moves. The second song starts, and you figure out where this is heading. Stop Making Sense is half about an energetic and enthusiastic performance of a popular band at the peak of their powers and half about the evolution of a performance. With each song, another band member is dragged out to accompany Byrne until all the Heads are present. Then, the special effects are gradually added--backdrops, lights, props. Finally, you've got a ton of instruments, a huge sound, and David Byrne jerking around in that ridiculous big suit of his. The show ends, and you imagine just how difficult it's going to be for somebody to clean all that sweat off the stage. David Byrne is an insanely creative (and possibly insane) individual, and it's a lot of fun watching his vision come alive here. It's also a lot of fun watching how much energy Byrne and company have. I felt physically exhausted after watching the singer dance, hop around, woo a lamp, and sprint around the stage for an hour and a half. And those dance moves! They spoke to the groin, dear readers. They spoke to the groin. There's directing going on here with more than its share of gimmicks, but the band is having way too much fun to not be at the center of things. I'm not completely sure a non-Talking Heads fan would love this (I'm only a marginal fan), but I think it would be impossible not to appreciate what is going on in this terrific concert film.

Big Fan

2009 sports movie

Rating: 12/20

Plot: Paul's sort of a loser. He lives with mom who wishes he could be more like his seemingly better-adjusted brother and sister. He's content with a dead-end job at a parking garage. He lives for one thing and one thing only--his New York Giants and their potentially bright future with star quarterback Quantrell Bishop. With pal Sal, he tailgates every Sunday before watching the game on a television in the parking lot of the stadium. On weeknights, he carefully pens some words for a local sports talk radio show, trading trash talk with an Eagles fan called Philadelphia Phil. But a violent encounter with the star quarterback threatens to disrupt his routine and ruin the team's chances of winning the division, and Paul is left to sort it all out.

I certainly wanted to like this movie more than I did. I almost laughed once--at a 50 Cent birthday cake with a "7" candle--but found the majority of what was supposed to be a dark comedy fairly discomforting. Writer/director Robert Siegel and Patton Oswalt take this character to some dark places, crush his bones, spit on him when he's down, and expect us to laugh, but there's not nearly enough of a payoff. Big Fan gets some things right. You could hear a lot of talk show callers (I'm looking at you, Clones) in Paul's scripted phone calls, and I thought Oswalt was excellent in portraying this guy. But too much of this was just difficult to watch--the interactions between Paul and his mother, the building tension as Paul sat watching his idol live it up with his entourage at a club, pretty much every conversation Paul had with anybody not named Sal. Pitiful characters can be funny, I guess, when it feels like they're somehow in on the joke, but with Big Fan, it just didn't feel right to laugh at this guy's pain. Or maybe it just wasn't funny enough. I would have liked some evolution with the character, something to make me think that it was all going to be all right eventually, some glimmer of light that would make it OK to crack a smile. I didn't get it.

This movie also loses a point because of Michael Rapaport. I don't like that guy.

Manon of the Spring

1986 sequel

Rating: 18/20

Plot: Picks up ten years after the sad denouement of Jean de Florette with the hunchback's daughter, now a shepherdess who hunts and sells birds, getting her revenge on everybody who had a hand in her father's breakdown and ultimate demise.

Whereas Florette was all about breathtaking beauty, character, and tone, this one's more about the story and character. I wasn't as impressed with the cinematography here, but I was enamored with Emmanuelle Beart. She's lovely and replaces the beautiful images of the lush countryside. Or maybe the imagery was the same, and I was just distracted by Emmanuelle Beart. She gives her character this innocent rage that is just perfect. And I know I dug that harmonica solo. Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil, are terrific in both of these movies, the latter despite having too many vowels in his name. I loved them as despicable villains in the first movie, and I loved them as villains you almost feel sorry for while they get what they deserve in this one. I really liked what happened with the characters here, and there are some twists that I just didn't see coming. In fact, I thought the movie was over and started to go into my winding down process (putting my pants back on, bracing myself to help stop the internal vibration, a few deep-knee bends) before realizing that there were a few more surprises left. This isn't quite as good as Jean de Florette, but it's a great completion of that film's story. And together, they make a wonderful and moving experience.

Cory, a delightful guy, tried recommending this during my "man" streak, the most impressive achievement in human history, but that would have been cheating.

The Purple Rose of Cairo

1985 romantic comedy

Rating: 17/20

Plot: It's the happy 1930s, but Cecilia the waitress doesn't have much to be happy about. She has job troubles, a loaf of an abusive husband, and not much hope. Her only escape is the theater, especially in the movie-within-the-movie, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and one of its characters, Tom Baxter. After her fifth or so trip to see the movie, Tom Baxter notices her and decides to leave the film. This bothers the other characters in the movie, the titular film's producers, and Gil Shepherd who plays Tom Baxter.

It starts slowly and realistically, but once the moment arrives, a great magically-realistic Woody Allen moment, this is relentlessly fun for anybody wanting to sit down and watch an entertaining rom-com and delicately layered for anybody who likes to think when they watch movies. I couldn't help thinking of Buster's Sherlock Jr. during the fantastical meta-moments, and like that classic silent comedy, this one has this creative fervor, taking a tired genre (romantic comedy) and injecting an infectious liveliness into it. I really liked Mia Farrow and I really really liked Jeff Daniels in dual-roles. Baxter and Shepherd are similar, but it's the subtle differences in the two that make his performance so impressive. Rose is very well written with Allen managing to create a fantasy with characters believable enough to make me completely buy the premise, kind of an anti-The Invention of Lying. It's also really funny. But I like to pretend that I'm a thinking man, and it's the questions this movie raises (not necessarily answers) about fantasy and reality, the role of cinema, and Hollywood ideals that makes this special. Woodyheads, of course, would love it, maybe more than anything else he directed in the 80s, but there's enough here for any cinemaphile to love. It's delightful!

Bucket of Blood

1959 delightful beatnik black comedy

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Walter Paisley, an awkward loser, longs to be artsy-fartsy like the beatnik clientele of the Yellow Door Cafe where he works as a busboy. He buys himself some clay, sculpts a gray blob, and stabs his cat. When he's able to turn that feline tragedy into his first artistic masterpiece, he becomes a sensation around the Yellow Door, and the patrons begin to demand more.

More twisted fun from Roger Corman, this one, with its accidental kittycide and grotesque sculptures, also works as a biting satire of the art world. The production's cheap and, I'm guessing, quick, but they made the most of their limited time and monies. The beatnik stuff really dates this, but almost in a good way. I really liked the cool beatnik poet character Maxwell Brock (played by Julian Burton who was in The Masque of Red Death with Vincent Price), over-the-top and every bit of pretentious as he reads poems about ringing rubber bells and beating cotton gongs or saying profound things like "Life is an obscure hobo, bumming a ride on the omnibus of art." Paisley's sculptures, any which would look great in my living room, are really cool. I'd describe them, but it'd spoil things. Bucket of Blood is well-paced thriller and purposely funny, some of the darkest funny you might ever see. And the fact that it accidentally has something to say about creation and the art world along the way makes it even more worth the time. Oh, and ironically, I'm not sure there's any blood in this movie at all. And I don't remember seeing a bucket either.

Santo and Blue Demon against the Monsters

1970 masterpiece

Rating: 20/20 (Kairow: 20/20)

Plot/Review: See guest reviewer Kairow's thoughts here: Kairow's Blog

I don't have much to add to what he had to say. The other Santo movies I've seen have had him up against one or two monsters. This one has a ridiculous amount of monsters, making it even wackier than the others. Which likely makes this the wackiest movie I've ever seen. Any Santo movie gets an automatic 20/20. See "Santo Rule" described in the entry for Santo vs. Frankenstein's Daughter).

Other Santo movies on the blog:

Santo in the Vengeance of the Mummy
Santo vs. the Vampire Women

Twilight of the Ice Nymphs

1997 acid-washed fantasy

Rating: 10/20

Plot: I don't know. I think it's got something to do with people who can only have sex outdoors with an audience of ostriches.

How can I not like this? It's a Guy Maddin joint, in fact the first Guy Maddin joint that I don't love. It's got the enchanting Shelley Duvall and the even-more-enchanting Frank Gorshin in it. It's a visual feast. It's colorful, although it's got this gauzy thing that, I guess, gives it a weird fairy tale vibe. It's got ostriches. It's got a little of Maddin's typically dry humor. Despite all that, it just never clicks. The acting is about as bad as acting gets. I think Maddin generally goes for awkward and overly-emotive, the latter as an homage to silent cinema, but it just doesn't work in this one. Actually, it works to make the whole thing seem pretentious. The actors just look like they've been drugged, probably loaded with painkillers to endure the lines they're forced to deliver. After watching all the virtually silent Guy Maddin movies, this one's talkiness was bothersome. At one point, a character delivers the line "With a tongue that cuts like yours, Doctor, you hardly need a scalpel to operate" and then looks directly into the camera.
Icky. This is a triumph in set design, beautiful when it's not nauseating, but it's not nearly enough to make this worth anybody's time.

Apologies to Anonymous who I believe watched this one after I recommended Guy Maddin to him and then told me, "I don't like Guy Maddin."

Jean de Florette

1986 moving painting

Rating: 18/20

Plot: The Soubeyran family once prospered, but times are tough in the French hills where Cesar and his nephew Ugolin struggle to keep their heads above water. Speaking of water, that's exactly what they really need. Ugolin's got an idea to grow roses and make a fortune, and the pair come up with an idea to buy the land adjacent to theirs and take advantage of a spring. A lot of things happen that will be more interesting to you if I don't tell you about them before a hunchback moves onto the adjacent land with his wife and daughter and ambitious dreams about raising bunnies and crops on soil that everybody else assumes is cursed. Cesar and Ugolin stop up the spring and work with nature against the titular hunchback.

I love that this movie gave me the chance to type the words titular hunchback. And I really loved every minute of this movie, the type of movie that has the ability to make a person breath better. Not to sound too pretentious, but most movies you get to see and hear. I'd almost swear my other senses were involved with Jean de Florette somehow. It's a film that absorbs the viewer from the opening shot and doesn't spit him back out until the closing credits. I doubt I'll ever see a movie where every single shot is perfect, but Jean de Florette comes awfully close. The lush French hills provide a setting where it might have been impossible to position a camera and not capture something gorgeous, a shot where it almost looks like my television oozes colorful foliage. But the cinematography is stunning from an opening shot with a moving car that has a weird orange glow to a whole bunch of "How the hell did they get this on film?" shots. Pause this movie at any point, and you've got a shot that was obviously meticulously constructed, artistic enough to almost get in the way of the storytelling. And there's a focus on the minute that really helps you connect to every fine detail of the story. Narratively and visually, It reminded me a lot of Days of Heaven, except in Jean de Florette, there's a lot more dialogue. The dialogue's good, too ("I don't shave anyone who is horizontal."), and the characters could almost be mistaken for comic ones if what was going on with them wasn't so dark or tragic. Take an early murder scene, for example. There's a goofy argument and an ensuing fight scene that is almost cartoonish. Jean de Florette definitely explores the lighter side of evil greed and tragic circumstance. Breathtakingly beautiful (one of my favorite scenes: a duet with harmonica and vocals) and overwhelmingly sad, this one is movie poetry and one of the best movies I've seen all year. That's despite an embarrassing hunchback.

Cory recommended this one, probably because parts of it could be described as delightful.

The Importance of Being Earnest

1952 movie

Rating: 17/20 (Jen: dozed off)

Plot: Two rakish pals, Jack and Algernon, decide to both be Earnest instead in attempts to win the hearts of their beloved. Things get wild, and that pun, ladies and gentlemen, is intended.

When folks discuss using CGI to adapt or update older films or make brand new films with computer-generated John Waynes and Humphrey Bogarts, I always get really excited. I think that sounds like a terrific idea! I mean, they inserted John Wayne into a Coors beer commercial years ago. That was a turning point in my life actually, the exact moment when I decided I was going to start drinking. And I've never looked back. Technology could do wonders with this movie. For example, there are characters I'd really enjoy seeing naked in this movie, most obviously Edith Evans, and I think we're at a technologically-enlightened time when computer graphics geniuses should be able to handle something like that. And speaking of Edith Evans, her delivery of the line "A handbag?" is probably the most perfectly-delivered line I've ever heard, and all 17 rating points (I debated giving it a 17 1/2, but we don't do fractions here at shane-movies) are because of that line. No, that's not true. I liked the performances, almost universally, even though they reminded me of the staginess of movies from the 1930s. I was surprised at how funny this movie actually was, mostly that sophisticated kind of comedy where you don't want to laugh as much as you want to golf clap or chuckle inwardly or say, "I say, that certainly was witty," and then cough delicately into a napkin but not delicately enough to keep your monocle from falling off. The writing is clever and randy. I find it impossible to believe anybody ever talked like these characters do which really makes this, in my mind, the 1950s equivalent of the second Matrix movie except with much less kicking and punching. Maybe the CGI gurus could add some kicking and punching when they update this. This movie benefits from its simplicity. The Victorian setting is a colorful one, and my television screen was stuffed with lots of pretty things to look at, but theres' nothing really flashy or frilly with the direction so that we're focused on what we should be focused upon--these pretty ridiculous characters and their ridiculous dialogue. Satirical , still fresh, shaded with irony, and as expected with something that Oscar Wilde penned, intelligently funny, like verbal slapstick for stuffy squares.

Reportedly, this is Ass Masterson's third favorite movie. I wonder if this really is a link between the dastardly villain and Cory, who recommended it to me, or if I'm just being paranoid again.

Mystery Train

1989 Jarmusch joint

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Japanese rockaphilic tourists, a newly-widowed woman stalked by a ghost-story-telling weirdo, and an inebriated Brit hanging with his pal and brother-in-law converge on a dilapidated hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis haunts the street. There's a gun shot, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins eats a plum.

Jarmusch is a director who understands, maybe better than any other director, that human beings are really pitiful creatures but that that is the exact quality that make us entertaining. Misery, loneliness, heartbreak, generally not what a comedic writer would focus on, but Jarmusch manages, weaving the stories of these wandering souls as they feel their way around the purgatory of Memphis. I've never been to Memphis and I definitely don't want to offend Mephisites, but I wonder if the city looks nearly as crappy as Jarmusch makes it look. In fact, his Memphis has a lot in common with the settings in his pal Aki Kaurismaki's movies. His camera moves a lot more than it normally does, following the characters through those streets, and there's also a special effect that seems incongruous. But Jarmusch's other trademarks are at play here. He toys with language barriers, tells half-completed stories, focuses on the gaps, showcases microscopic dialogue details. I love the structure of this thing, the trio of stories barely nudging up against each other with the thinnest of reference points. And the movie is very very funny, funny in that Jarmuschian way where you laugh and then wonder what the heck you're even laughing at. The aforementioned Screamin' Jay and Cinque Lee as desk clerk and bell boy respectively exchange funny banter, and Roberto Benigni's wife has a good character to work with. I also liked the Japanese couple lost in this dry and shabby Wonderland. My favorite scene might be when they visit Sun Records and stare blankly at their fast-talking tour guide while rhythmically shuffling to the right. As with all of this cat's flicks, this isn't exactly for everybody. I may have given bonus points for a cameo appearance by Tom Waits' voice and Tom Noonan (The Man with One Red Shoe and Manhunter).

"At the time of his death, if he were on Jupiter, Elvis would have weighed six hundred and forty-eight pounds."

The Invention of Lying

2009 comedy

Rating: 9/20 (Jen: 12/20)

Plot: In an alternate reality where lying doesn't exist, a guy stumbles upon the invention of untruthfulness. He tries to use it for financial gain, to advance his career, and to get a girlfriend; instead, he accidentally becomes a prophet and founds a religion.

If you're going to ask me to buy a preposterous premise like this, you at least need to keep things consistent. But the execution is frustratingly half-assed. You get something that feels half written with half-constructed characters and a half-realized theme. I could forgive all that if there was a single laugh to be had in this mess, but there isn't. By the time it gets to the parts that would make Bill Maher giggle like a tickled old man, actually the cleverest bits of the movie, I was more aggravated than anything else. Not much, if anything, succeeds in this glossy Hollywood comedy. I probably should have just watched the above poster instead. What's going on there? It looks like they photoshopped him to make his legs disproportional, but why would they do that to Ricky Gervais?

A sports talk radio guy told me that I should see this.

The Big Lebowski

37 Reasons Why I Love The Big Lebowski:

1) Jeff Bridges with the best performance of his life in the best role he's ever been given
2) The expression (almost the only expression) Buscemi's Donny wears the entire movie
3) "Hell, I can get you a toe by three o'clock this afternoon. . .with nail polish."
4) Philip Hoffman's fake giggle and even faker serious expression when the Dude reads the ransom note
5) Watching the Donny and Walter eat burgers in a windshieldless car
6) Autobahn, a Kraftwerk reference. . .and Whipped Cream and Other Delights being the very next album in Maude's record collection
7) The perverse sketch on Treehorn's notepad
8) The intimidating purple hip thrust of Jesus
9) The intimidating pink tongue of Jesus
10) The coolest use of Kenny Rogers in the history of Kenny Rogers
11) Vocabulary lesson--micturate, verb
12) From the "You learn something new every day" files: Nihilist enjoy pigs in the blanket.
13) "He's got health problems."
14) The fact that a buddy at school comes into my room at least twice a week to quote the movie
15) A seventy-something cent check
16) The landlord's shadow dance
17) I also hate the fucking Eagles
18) It's got a marmot in it
19) Sam Elliot can read my death sentence, and I'd probably enjoy hearing it
20) David Thewlis's cameo as the video artist Knox Harrington
21) Topless women on trampolines
22) Townes singing "Dead Flowers" over the final scene
23) This was the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Fargo
24) "Fucking dipshit with a nine-toed woman!"
25) All the music in the film is diegetic
26) Bridges says "man" one hundred and forty-seven times in the movie
27) The nihilist has a freakin' cricket bat
28) It's absurdist neo-noir. What's not to love?
29) Walter is never wrong in the movie although he often sounds like there's no way he can possibly be right
30) Julianne Moore's ridiculous accent
31) The Dude's choice in shampoo
32) It's one of the most accurate depictions of Vikings in film history
33) The way the cop says "fragrance"
34) The stylized but extremely goofy dream sequences
35) It's the best comedy ever made about bowling
36) The ultimate Coen brothers movie. Nobody else could make it.
37) "I am the walrus."