Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David

 

Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.


Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.

 

Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary

 

Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Buffalo ’66 (1998)

Director: Vincent Gallo

Writer: Vincent Gallo, Alison Bagnall (Screenplay)

Starring: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent, Anjelica Huston

 

Plot: After being released from prison, Billy is set to visit his parents with his wife, whom he does not actually have. This provokes Billy to act out, as he kidnaps a girl and forces her to act as his wife for the visit.


Tagline – Billy Brown just got out of jail. Now he’s going to serve some real time. He’s going home.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull

 

Story: Buffalo 66 starts when Billy Brown (Gallo) is released from prison, his parents never know that he has been to prison, he heads to town where he ends up kidnapping Layla (Ricci) forcing her to pretend to be his wife when he visits his parents.

As the two are spending more time together, we learn why Billy is acting this way, why he was in prison and just what his plan is now he is out of jail.

 

Thoughts on Buffalo 66

 

Characters – Billy Brown has just been released from prison, he has had his own problems which led to him being in prison and it isn’t long before he goes to the extremes to impress his family. He is painted as an aggressive man that believes that woman are just objects and has built his world in lies. Layla is the tap dancer that gets kidnapped, she starts to play along with what Billy wants and even enjoy his company the more time they spend together. Jimmy and Jan are his parents that have both been either distracted or strict in raising Billy, as he wants to impress them now. The Bookie is the man that put Billy in jail as a result of the debts he owed him, he gave him a choice with jail being the only one that didn’t hurt anyone.

PerformancesVincent Gallo doesn’t bring us a very interesting character, it isn’t written well or directed to make us interested in him, he just can’t make this character work. Christina Ricci was trying to break out of the child star roles by now, this is different to what we had seen before, though she does look bored through the film. the rest of the cast struggle too, it is just poorly written to give the actors a chance.

StoryThe story follows a gambler that had paid the price for his addiction and now is free, he wants revenge only he spends the time with his kidnap victim as we get to see the difficult life he has had which led him to the life of crime. Well I think that is what we are meant to be seeing, the story does drag along at an awfully slow pace with nothing much happening, trying to make us believe the two could be falling in love, though he is abusive with his actions and spends more time running around looking for a toilet than showing any sort of emotion.

Comedy/Crime/RomanceIf this is meant to be a comedy, the jokes miss big time as you will struggle to get a laugh out of this film, while the crime only seems to focus on the kidnapping, which she could have escaped from with ease plenty of times, so that never feels like a threat, the romance just feels awkward for the most part of the film because there is zero chemistry between the two.

SettingsThe film is set in the Buffalo area, which is meant to be about the passion of the locals, it could easily be any town with a big American football team.


Scene of the Movie –
The first look at the dinner table makes it a clever shot, until it gets boring.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We spend more time looking for a toilet.

Final ThoughtsThis is just a dreadfully dull movie that has no direction in anyway, it fails to capture any attention from the audience with a truly unlikeable main character.

 

Overall: Dreadfully boring.

Rating

 

 

Meet the Deedles (1998)

Director: Steve Boyum

Writer: Jim Herzfeld (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Van Wormer, Paul Walker, A.J. Langer, John Ashton, Dennis Hopper, Eric Braeden, Robert Englund

 

Plot: Two surfers end up as Yellowstone park rangers and have to stop a former ranger who is out for revenge.


Tagline – To protect and surf.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasteless Comedy

 

Story: Meet the Deedles starts as we meet the two surfer school slackers Stew (Van Wormer) and Phil (Walker) Deedle whose father has given them everything in life which leads them to expelled from school, as punishment the boys are set to camp to learn responsibility and end up being recruited as rangers in Yellowstone after a misunderstanding.

While learning the ropes from LT Jesse Ryan (Langer) the boys must try to eliminate the prairie dog problem, which does have a connection to disgraced park ranger Frank Slater (Hopper) who is out for revenge.

 

Thoughts on Meet the Deedles

 

Characters – Stew is the brains of the two brothers, he always comes up with the plans to keep their cover while in rangers in Yellowstone. He is the one that is doing the work the pair should be doing. Phil is the dumb brother who does feel like he is a surfer who does take a shine toward the Lt Ryan, he does get the funniest lines and is easily the one that is too honest to lie. LT Jesse Ryan is the rescue chopper pilot, she has been raised to be part of the park and following in her step-father’s footsteps. Frank Slater is the villainous former ranger that plans to ruin the big celebration with his goons doing his dirty work.

PerformancesPaul Walker is the only reason I even considered watching this movie, he does show us that he has the most talent in this role because the playing dumb needs commitment and he hit them on every turn. Steve Van Wormer is solid enough as the other brother either though while watching he isn’t the one we came to see. AJ Langer is good enough as the love interest without getting much to do other than being that. Dennis Hopper was doing a strange number of villainous roles which he always liked to milk.

StoryThe story follows two slacker surfers that end up going into the park ranger training program to help ride Yellowstone to prairie dogs being controlled by a vengeful former ranger hell bent on revenge. This is designed for a younger audience with how most of the jokes unfold and to say this is a 90s movie is the perfect example to describe the story. we get the message of trying to seek parental approval after a string of failures, which mixes nicely with the endless plans to get away with their own mistakes to be a success, we get a villain that gets his goons to do most of his plans which all play into the comedy of the film, overall this is easily one of those films that uses the story to tell the story that everyone will have their day just let them show their potential.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is a mix of slapstick which usually sees someone flying through the air or jokes between the two brothers that only they will understand.

SettingsThe film is set in Yellowstone national park, we know this has place of beauty, legacy for its tourist attraction which all play into the reasons for the villain to have his own plan.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain climbing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The jokes miss too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a 90s comedy that showed us the potential of Paul Walker, it does use basic comedy and by the end of the film you will feel like it has dated.

 

Overall: Simple family comedy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Mask of Zorro (1998)

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: John Eskow, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (Screenplay) Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Randall Jahnson, Johnston McCuulley (Story)

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Matt Letscher, Stuart Wilson, Tony Amendola

 

Plot: A young thief, seeking revenge for the death of his brother, is trained by the once great, but aged Zorro, who also pursues vengeance of his own.


Tagline – No one has seen his face….but everyone….knows this mark.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Adventure Film

 

Story: The Mask of Zorro starts when the Spanish are trying to control Mexico, Don Diego (Hopkins) has created an alter ego Zorro who has become the hero in the eyes of the Mexicans, when he is finally tracked down by Don Rafael (Wilson) who locks up Diego and raises his baby as his own.

Twenty years later Diego escapes from prison to extract his revenge, only to learn the Elena (Jones) has remained by Rafael’s side and instead of getting revenge himself, he trains Alejandro (Banderas) to become the new Zorro and icon for a nation.

 

Thoughts on The Mask of Zorro

 

Characters – Alejandro grew up idolising the great Zorro that helped free Mexico, though he turned into a lowlife thief who sees his brother killed and turning to the bottle he is saved by Diego who offers him a chance to use his skills to become the new Zorro as Mexico needs a new hero. He does lack the calm that Diego had in his time as the masked icon. Don Diego helped free a nation before seeing his wife killed and child raised by another man while he is locked in prison, once freed he sets out to train a new Zorro to help get his revenge. Don Rafael was once the closest friend of to Diego until the night he wants to stop him being Zorro and take his wife, he has continued his greedy lifestyle which makes the people he controls his latest victims. Elena is the grown up daughter Diego didn’t know he had, raised by Rafael as his own, she is knows the better life until Alejandro shows her something different.

PerformancesAntonio Banderas in the leading role is good run to watch, we know he has the authentic background for the role too. Anthony Hopkins is solid enough in this role, even if we are not sure if she is meant to be British of Mexican. Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand is poor throughout, her accent is all over the place throughout the film. Stuart Wilson is fine without being anything memorable in the villainous role.

StoryThe story here follows the legendary figure of Zorro that helped Mexico become free from Spain, only it takes a twist on a revenge when an older version of Zorro must train a new icon to help him get the revenge and lift the hopes of a nation again. This won’t bring anything new to the adventure genre and can be fun for the story, the problem with the story is the length of the film which does drag after a while. If we can be serious this does feel like Zorro is the Mexican version of Robin Hood which does entertain and show us how another country has an icon of hope.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Romance/WesternWe have a lot of genres that get touched on through this film, first the action the best part of the film because once we get into the sword fighting we get the best moments of the film. the adventure takes our heroes on the revenge mission, we do get a touch of comedy through the film with Alejandro getting the best parts of comedy. The romance does fall slightly short because we just don’t believe everything going on, with the western side of the film being fine and never the most believable.

SettingsThe film doesn’t use the settings to the best because you never truly believe we are at any of these locations.


Scene of the Movie –
Final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Zeta Jones’s accent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple, but fun adventure film that you can enjoy without needing to remember it by the end.

 

Overall: Simple and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Urban Legend (1998)

Director: Jamie Blanks

Writer: Silvio Horta (Screenplay)

Starring: Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Loretta Devine, Joshua Jackson, Tara Reid, Robert Englund

 

Plot: A college student suspects a series of bizarre deaths are connected to certain urban legends.


Tagline – Never Talk To Strangers, Never Answer The Phone, Never Flash Your Lights, Never Leave The Car, And Always Believe, What You’re Told

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun Slasher

 

Story: Urban Legend starts as we meet our college students Natalie (Witt) Paul (Leto), Brenda (Gayheart), Parker (Rosenbaum), Damon (Jackson) and Sasha (Reid) who are all studying in a class where Professor William Wexler (Englund) teaches them about the origins of urban legends.

When Natalie sees Damon killed in the myth of an urban legend she starts to believe there is a serial killer on campus and it is up to campus security officer Reese Wilson (Devine) to keep everyone safe, while Natalie tries to get to the bottom of everything.

 

Thoughts on Urban Legend

 

Characters – Natalie is our leading student, it is her old friend that is the first victim with the next couple of killings are people close to her, she is determined to learn the truth believing there is an Urban Legend serial killer taking advantage of the anniversary of a tragedy on campus. Paul works for the campus newspaper and with the murders starting on campus he gets big stories even if the Dean is trying to spin them into nothing, he helps Natalie investigate the truth even though he knows each murder could have an answer. Brenda is the best friend of Natalie’s who helps her through her time of need being the most frightened about the Urban Legends. Reese is the head of security that idolises Pam Grier and wants to keep the student safe no matter what.

PerformancesThis cast is filled with young actors that only went onto bigger projects, Alicia Witt in the leading role is good throughout, the innocent slasher style final girl figure. Jared Leto shows us that he is mostly likely the best performer of the students, Rebecca Gayheart is good at the typical best friend figure which again helps fill the generic roles the film painfully uses. Loretta Devine is the potential show stealer here with her character getting the best lines while trying to solve the crime. As I was saying most of the characters are generic with each performer getting their parts done very well.

StoryThe story here brings us to a slasher horror movie which makes the killer select different Urban Legends to kill their victims. This does bring an original twist to how the kills are being completed, until things just turn into a slasher generic movie for the later kills, lets all be honest, we know slasher movies don’t need the most intense stories and you generally will follow the traits of the genre. One big plus point for this movie is that we get plenty of suspects, just when you think it is one person, things take a twist a throw another suspect in the prime position, this happens plenty of times which is a huge plus for any movie.

Horror/MysteryFor a horror movie this gives us the generic characters, mistakes that we know too, the kills start being unique with the urban legend style behind them and the mystery comes from just who is behind the murders with plenty of different characters with motivations.

SettingsThe film takes place on a college campus, this give our characters reason to not be able to just run with the Dead believing things are pranks and good reasons behind other deaths. The one negative about this location is that these kids are all stupid enough to believe urban legends are real in the first place.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the kills which are simple and never needing to be over the top either.


Scene of the Movie –
Urban Legends kills.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Understanding American laws, partial spoiler, but how did the girls not get prison time?

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most enjoyable and original slasher movies, it has a unique idea that makes it standout with a wonderfully talent young cast.

 

Overall: Slasher that stands out.

Rating