Tag Archives: jack black

Movie Review: The Cable Guy

To start off on a good note and get back to good movies, I got stuck going to Netflix again.

I didn’t want to because->see last few posts on my blog->but I was with friends and they wanted to watch a comedy and none of the films I have in my room waiting for me are comedies. So we’re scrolling through films and I’m cringing as the titles continue to cross from right to left until this swooped in to save the day.

I’d seen the second half of The Cable Guy multiple times on TV but I’d never seen the whole thing in one sitting. I’d always catch it half way through.

Steven Kovacs’ (Matthew Broderick) life is in a downward spiral after a marriage proposal gets him kicked out of his love’s apartment. Now in a new residence, he can’t get the cable to work. Just a bad day overall. Then the cable guy shows up.

To call cable guy Chip Douglas (Jim Carrey) goofy would be true but only a page into the literature laid before us. Chip is so much more than that, as Steven will find out in the next few days. Chip’s pushy, invasive personality proves to be exactly what laid-back, passive Steven needs and a friendship ensues.

Chip’s eccentricity and brashness, as well as a prevalent lisp, are his defining traits but there’s also his sometimes odd sense of humor, his awkwardly fluid body movements and hand gestures and let’s not forget those terrible comebacks.

Yet with all that said, I’ll go ahead and say it: Chip is a likable guy. He’s weird and you’d probably be embarrassed to be seen in public with the guy sometimes, but you’d still be by his side at the end of the day, or at least I would. Some parallels to Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield came to mind although I doubt that was done on purpose. Either way, Chip is a pitiful character who tries too hard to fit in. Not a role model for children.

However, Steven sticks with the guy and even has fun with Chip once in a while. Eventually that routine becomes monotonous and things turn for the worse when Chip oversteps his bounds, but Ben Stiller, this time in a directorial capacity, demonstrates that such a person has the ability to co-exist in this world.

Chip may be clingy and mentally unhealthy, but that is due to child neglect, not his personality.

All of this has nothing to do with the plot whatsoever, but it mattered to me because it clarified that a character like this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Rarely do comedies bother with that. Billy Madison is a perfect example.

A comedy that is willing to step away from the material and create a sidebar of true narrative form and meaning will get a lot of bonus points from me. Remember, takeaways are what make films live on. What makes The Cable Guy memorable? Stuff like this.

Chip does all in his power to make Steven’s life a good time and never forgoes that objective. Selfless dedication that borders obsessive stalking, Chip always means well but people don’t always take what’s gifted to them with open arms and a brimming grin.

When Steven tries to ex-communicate Chip from his life, it doesn’t work out the way he hoped. Chip doesn’t just give up. He pushes further.

With the vengeance of a child, but the cunning of an adult, Chip finds his way into the fiance’s good graces and into a family get-together that brings a whole new sense of awkward into Steven’s life. While the dinner and festivities afterward prove a brilliant laugh factory, they also convince me that a character like Chip isn’t out of the realm of possibility, only making the character writing look all that more impressive because very often comedy writers seek to acquire the most absurd person they can think of rather than mimic a character off of real life experience. Chip carries enough fiction and real-life interaction to make him one-of-a-kind and man, is he fun to watch.

However, I doubt it would be half as fun without Jim Carrey in some of his finest work. This film reminds me how much I miss funny people and how much I’m sure they miss us. With Robin Williams passing and Jim Carrey’s apparent disappearance from the silver screen, it hastens me to say we’re entering a new generation of actors for the genre. My only hope is that the industry can do better than James Franco and Seth Rogen or else comedies might not be a thing in twenty years.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (ErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly Madison)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for The Cable Guy: 86.

If there’s one thing I appreciate in my comedy’s, it’s distinguished characters. The Cable Guy gives us that with a limitless Jim Carrey in one of his best roles and while Matthew Broderick is a sideshow and Jack Black seems thrown in for the hell of it, this is Jim Carrey’s show from start to finish, so it’s hard to not have fun with this.

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Movie Review: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

During a majority of my high school years, a movie discussed continuously among my peers was Anchorman. Easily one of the most talked about comedies of all-time, Anchorman‘s plot is a new take on the newsroom, one many can get a laugh out of because we all at one point or another hated the media, right? A lot of things happen behind the camera that would make all of us question our own morality and ethics. The media has the capability to twist things sometimes to give the public a falser sense of the truth.

Thankfully, Anchorman isn’t looking at the darker ripples of news organizations. It’s giving us a more optimistic, humorous angle, one that you would expect from a light-hearted comedy. A solid cast with Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner compile a brotherhood within a news team and it’s not hard to slip into the seams and hang with these guys, do what they do, work hard during the day but not too hard, and party all night long. At the same time, you get the sense that Ron Burgundy (Ferrell), the head honcho of the news team, might be looking for something else in his life. He’s still hungry for life and who knows? Maybe he’s ready to settle down? Maybe I’m taking this film a little more seriously than it needs to be taken at points, but everyone says this film is full of so much substance so I spent the majority of the film looking for that said substance. I’m not sure what they were talking about.

While the plot is a new take and idea, its plot devices linger longer than they need. An overly cheesy romance between Burgundy and Christina Applegate’s Veronica Corningstone drags far more than it needs to and creates angst and aggravation after a while. The chemistry is there for a little but soon dissipates, not that it mattered all that much because the subplot is tossed to the wayside midway.

I think the real mishap is that director Adam McKay couldn’t decide how he wanted his film to resonate with audiences.The film has a firm platform to leap off of and the rise is a pleasure but the fall that gravity enforces is too predictable and visually noticeable to pass off. When you watch a film and you can narrow down to the specific scene where this film started to head in the wrong direction, you know the transition wasn’t even held together with duct tape. They just left it tied with a thread and called it a day. McKay and Ferrell have worked together on many films, this the first coordinated effort they did, but it’s just very blah. For the majority of its 95 minute running-time, the tone is inconsistent and scattered like teenage hormones, flinching on the floor like a man tortured with back spasms. Only occasionally is the man able to stand up and do his routine that we’ve paid to see before the hazards return to ruin the fun.

The film is full of cameos that in my mind took away from the characters we’re supposed to be engaging with and distracting us from what we should be paying attention to. Some cameos are funny and others are just there for recognition purposes and those are the ones that should have been taken out. This isn’t a comedy festival where we parade anyone who’s ever said a funny line in their life through the front-and-center spotlight. This is a movie, a short movie at that, that felt long despite it being vertically challenged, partly because we’re engaged and then not engaged and then engaged again. It’s kinda like when you’re trying to have a conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time at a loud and overcrowded party and people keep coming over to interrupt your conversation about stupid, unimportant things like, “Dude, Josh did a cannonball in the pool” or “Where’s the beer, dude?” or “Hey, when’s Billy getting here?” I’m trying to have an important conversation and your constant distractions are pushing my buttons and ticking me off. McKay keeps sending friends to interrupt the story conversation I’m trying to have with Burgundy and the crew with cameos that hold no relevance whatsoever to the story.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing of all is that while the title of the film holds Burgundy’s name, the best lines of the film are not going through him. Steve Carell is owning the spotlight as weatherman Brick Tamland and every line is to be taken seriously and also not seriously at the same time. I understand that last sentence makes zero sense but Brick would probably figure it out. He’s easily the best written character and I can only ponder as to what a film this might have been if Brick was our lead runner.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Dawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla, Secretariat)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los AngelesSkyfall)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998)The Incredible HulkDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Vantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’re NextThorFull Metal Jacket)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Billy MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and AliensSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Clash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3Dark Fury)

My score for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: 63.

Ron Burgundy is one of the more memorable characters of the last decade but Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy doesn’t do the character justice nor any of his counterparts as this film could have been far more precise in its comedic timing and far more sturdy in its plot anchors. Notwithstanding, this film is still a cult classic that will be given far more credit than it deserves time and time again.

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