ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – L – Loser (2000)

Director: Amy Heckerling

Writer: Amy Heckerling (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Zak Orth, Thomas Sadoski, Jimmi Simpson, Greg Kinnear

 

Plot: A college student, branded a loser by his roommates and booted from the dorm, falls in love with a coed who has eyes for their condescending professor.


Tagline – Dare to be different

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Loser starts as small-town boy Paul Tannek (Biggs) gets a full scholarship to college in New York City, he struggles to fit in with his roommate and his friends Adam (Orth), Chris (Saboski) and Noah (Simpson) not liking him. The only student that gives him any time is Dora (Suvari) who is involved with their professor Edward Alcott (Kinnear).

When Paul gets moved out of his dorm, his roommates she it as an off-campus party place as they continue to use his kind nature, while he learns about Dora and her secret. We get to see how Paul must learn to deal with college life.

 

Thoughts on Loser

 

Characters – Paul is from a small town, he is over trusting of people which gets him in trouble when his roommates take advantage of him, Dora isn’t the most honest with him and must learn about the busy college life. Dora is the love interest for Paul, but she is dating her professor, she plays into the idea that she is being controlled by her authority figure that is clearly using her. Professor Alcott is the teacher for both Paul and Dora’s subject, he is using her knowing he would get fired if it ever became public. We do meet the roommates that mostly just use Paul to have parties while they try to drug women at the parties.

PerformancesJason Biggs was the king of teen comedies in the 2000s this might well be his least known role, but it sure was just what he was great at. Mena Suvari also came from the American Pie and while I hated her character in this film she showed she was a great go to girl for teenage comedies. Greg Kinnear gives us a good douchebag professor and one we could all hate.

StoryThe story follows one small-town college student that must get used to big city, people with different attitudes that will abuse his good nature while he falls in love with a girl that doesn’t notice him. This does have a thin story if we are being honest, as it does show the balance between college romance, and the shallow party lifestyle and not much else. If you want a simple romantic comedy you will enjoy this one even if the supporting characters can frustrate at times.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy isn’t on the same level as the other college films of the time and the romance story is here but it is frustrating to see how Dora doesn’t notice Paul that way for most of the film.

SettingsNew York makes for a great setting for any movie as I always say, this time it works because of the new busy location that isn’t filled with honest people that Paul must get used.


Scene of the Movie –
Music.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Dora is a dumb girl.

Final ThoughtsThis is a teen comedy I did enjoy back in the day, it does deserve more praise even though it feels like I have just moaned about it, I love the music, I like that we see our main character Paul learn about his mistakes through the film and become tougher for the next stage of his life.

 

Overall: Good Old Teen Comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Abigail Breslin Weekend – Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Writer: Michael Arndt (Screenplay)

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

 

Plot: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.


Tagline – A family on the verge of a breakdown

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Amazingly Charming Movie

 

Story: Little Miss Sunshine starts as we meet our family, motivational speaker Richard (Kinnear), hardworking mother Sheryl (Collette), depressed teenage son Dwayne (Dano) who has taken a vow of silence, hyperactive young daughter Olive (Breslin), veteran grandfather Edwin (Arkin) and Uncle Frank (Carell) who is fresh out of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

The six go on a road trip across America to enter Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine competition and along the way the family must deal with their own ups and downs to help their youngster member fulfil her dream.

 

Thoughts on Little Miss Sunshine

 

Characters – Olive is the youngest member of the family, cute but never going to be able to truly compete in the beauty contests, but this is her dream and the family will come together to help her achieve her dream. Richard is the father of the family, a motivational speaker who believes he has the next big catch for a book, he always encourages his family to believe they will succeed over just trying. Dwayne is the eldest son in the family, taking a vow of silence until he can become a jet pilot, he hates everyone with the only one he will help is Olive. Grandpa Edwin has been kicked out of a retirement home and living with the family, he swears and enjoys a drug or two. Sheryl is the mother of the family who will do anything for her kids which involves taking Olive across country for the contest. Frank is the suicidal genius brother of Sheryl, released under her care in case he tries it again, he sees the family for their flaws and even takes Dwayne under his wing on the journey.

PerformancesWe have six fantastic performances here, we had the established stars, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Alan Arkin shining and the star making performances from Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carell who was the it star of 2006.

StoryThe story follows a dysfunctional family that must travel across America to enter their youngest member to a beauty contest. We get the characters with their flaws that can be worked on through the film which gives us a natural feeling about the family. It does have the idea that family will need to come together no matter what gets in their way. This is a fun enjoyable story that can be enjoyed by everyone.

ComedyThe comedy here is delightful it hits on every level and does mostly come from real life moments.

SettingsThe road trip moments give us the idea of how far the family will go and we see this in the settings.


Scene of the Movie –
The dance routine.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The colour-blind test is fake because I am colour blind and I could see the test, when normally I haven’t been able to.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest comedies of all time, it is just delightful on every account with wonderful performance from the whole cast.

 

Overall: Wonderful throughout.

Rating

 

 

 

Elizabeth Banks Weekend – Invincible (2006)

Director: Ericson Core

Writer: Brad Gann (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Conway, Michael Rispoli

 

Plot: Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Sports Movie

 

Story: Invincible starts as substitute teach Vince Papale (Wahlberg) is struggling to make ends meet in Philadelphia in 1976, the American football team is considered the worst in the league. When Vince losses his teaching job he only has the bar work to fall back on, but when coach Dick Vermeil (Kinnear) has an open day Vince takes a chance even at the edge of 30.

Vince gets called into the final pool of potential new signings but he struggles to make a name for himself and starts to even question if it is worth it, but coach Vermeil doesn’t want to give up on him yet and this soon becomes a success story for the Eagles.

 

Thoughts on Invincible

 

Characters/PerformanceVince Papale is the struggling man in Philadelphia, he struggles to make ends meet and enjoys a drink with his friends watching the football team, he gets a chance to play for his team becoming a media sensation. Coach Dick Vermeil has been struggling to keep his team together after another terrible season, he takes a chance on Vince one that goes against his whole coaching staffs. Janet is a new bartender that works with Vince that does become a love interest after certain things in their lives work out.

Performance wise, Mark Wahlberg is solid in the leading role, he doesn’t turn to his trademarks we know he is can turn to. Greg Kinnear is good in his role while Elizabeth Banks proves to be a good love interest through the film.

StoryThe story here does down as one of the great success stories in sport, it shows us that if you were to dream you could get a chance even at a later age but it is all about the effort you put into achieving your dreams. This is a slow moving story and unless you care about American Football you might not enjoy this on the levels you would if it was a sport you understand.

Biography/SportsSeeing how the people involved in this season shows us just how sport can inspire people, create legends and most importantly bring hope to the people struggling through life, the football scenes are shot nicely but as I don’t watch I am not sure how accurate they are.

SettingsThe film looks like it is set in the 70’s and the settings help us feel like we are part of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a slow sports drama that doesn’t click if you don’t follow American Football.

 

Overall: Simple sports drama.

Rating

 

 

Brigsby Bear (2017)

Director: Dave McCary

Writer: Kevin Costello, Kyle Mooney (Screenplay)

Starring: Kyle Mooney, Claire Danes, Mark Hamill, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh, Micheala Watkins, Jane Adams

 

Plot: Brigsby Bear Adventures is a children’s TV show produced for an audience of one: James. When the show abruptly ends, James’s life changes forever, and he sets out to finish the story himself.


Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Charming

 

Story: Brigsby Bear starts as we meet James (Mooney) a young man living in an underground bunker with his parents Ted (Hamill) & April (Adams), he is learning advance maths with his only entertainment coming from a children’s show Brigsby Bear.

This world comes crashing down when the police invade the compound rescuing James who doesn’t even know the truth about his life, Detective Vogel (Kinnear) had been leading the investigation, but he must let James’s real parents Greg (Walsh) & Louise (Watkins) guide him in the real world. In the real world Brigsby Bear doesn’t exist though, making James the only person to have ever seen the show.

James decides to try and continue the story of Brigsby Bear by introducing him to the world as he searches for his place in the world that he has never experienced before.

 

Thoughts on Brigsby Bear

 

Characters – James was raised in an underground bunker away from the world with only one show to keep him occupied. James learns the world for the first time as a young adult, he only wants to continue the show which gains a cult following on the internet, learning to be part of the world is the hardest part for James. Greg and Louise are the parents that spent 25-years looking for James and must adapt to the fact he has only known one life growing up. Ted is the man that kept James in the bunker, he and his wife kidnapped a baby of James raising him for themselves. Emily is the doctor that is trying to help James through his problems, she tries to push him to escape his illusion of that world. Detective Vogel is the lead investigator on the case and is open to accepting the problems in James’ views of the world.

PerformancesKyle Mooney is fantastic in this leading role, he has the innocence about his character with the idea of not knowing where he should be in the world too. Greg Kinnear is good as the detective with a heart and no backstory too. The rest of the cast are good as they never take the spotlight of Mooney’s performance.

StoryThe story follows one young man thrown into the world after years of being kept captive by a couple learning everything he did know was in fact fake. The only way James can continue in this new world would be to continue the Brigsby story because he simply isn’t prepared for what the world has to offer. This shows how people can focus on one thing in life to make sure they can get through times of need and just how important the creative process is.

ComedyThe comedy in this movie is charming and entertaining throughout working with the dramatic side of the story.

SettingsThe film doesn’t have any iconic settings but the places we find the story unfolding are hugely entertaining and important to James learning the world.


Scene of the Movie –
The Movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The help James gets seems almost non-existent.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightfully charming movie that entertains throughout. We have a story that does keep us happy throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch delight.

Rating

 

 

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

youveDirector: Nora Ephron

Writer: Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron (Screenplay) Miklos Laszlo (Play)

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Steve Zahn, Heather Burns

 

Plot: Two business rivals who despise each other in real life unwittingly fall in love over the Internet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Romantic Comedy

 

Story: You’ve Got Mail starts as we see two complete strangers Joe Fox (Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Ryan) who chat online every night even though they are both involved in relationships with Patricia (Posey) and Frank (Kinnear). The two set up the rule of not knowing anything about the personal lives of each other and remain friends in New York City.

Kathleen owns a small book shop that is going to have a giant book shop open around the corner from it, Fox Books which just so happens to be run by Joe. When the two business rivals meet the tension between begins but when the two mail each other they still think they are talking to just any stranger.

When the truth comes out the love they feel towards each other online must go against the hatred they have for each other in real life.

 

Thoughts on You’ve Got Mail

 

StoryThe old story of falling in love with someone you have never met through conversation. The idea of not knowing who you are chatting to makes this story have this extra spark. We do get a smaller story about business how small family businesses can be closed by dominating force. I will say this story has now become outdated because of the next level of technology but the fantasy idea still works wonders for this film.

Comedy/RomanceThe romantic side of this story is all good showing how you could fall in love with someone you least expect. We do get small laughs throughout the film without them overshadowing the romantic story.

Characters/PerformanceJoe was the new age business man, he does care about people outside of work but is happy to squash them when it comes to business. Kathleen was one of the dying breed of shopkeepers who cares about their customers offering them the best service in New York. We do have supporting characters who are mostly all involved to advise our Joe and Kathleen.

This film has two brilliant performance from Hanks and Ryan who showed they have excellent chemistry together and you can see that in the romantic or the arguing scenes. I do think everyone else does everything they need to do working with the leads.actors

SettingsLooking in the settings we are have New York which is perfect choice because we get to see how small business would suffer next to the big store, it also plays into the effects of meeting someone even in the busy streets.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies you will have seen, it is accessible for all and will bring a smile to your face.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy this sweet charming love story.

Ratingcard