Ben Stiller Weekend – Dodgeball (2004)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel David Moore, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole

 

Plot: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.


Tagline – Grab Life by the Balls 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Sports Comedies

 

Story: Dodgeball starts as we meet the two gym owners, White Goodman (Stiller) who is obsessed with perfection with bodies only accepting beautiful model like members, on the other side of the street we have Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owner of Average’s Joe a gym that is open to all, with the regulars and staff including Justin (Long), Gordon (Root), Owen (Moore), Dwight (Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Tudyk).

When Average Joe’s is facing a financial crisis with lawyer Kate Veatch (Taylor) preparing to close them in 30 days with White Goodman wanting to buy it and demolish it. The only plan is to train and enter a dodgeball competition where the prize is the money they require, only problem is, White has made his own team of super-athletes to stop Average Joe’s winning.  

 

Thoughts on Dodgeball

 

Characters – Peter La Fleur is a gym owner, he is laidback and willing to let anybody join at their own pace, this mentality has left him facing financial crisis and he reluctantly accepts entering a dodgeball tournament, he can bring the team together as he gives the whole team hope. White Goodman is the owner of Globo Gym he only accepts beautiful people in his gym even offering cosmetic surgery for his members. He is completely over the top believing he is God’s gift to women with his success coming from his family’s money, he will do anything to eliminate Average Joe’s. Kate Veatch is the lawyer that is assigned to study the finances of Average Joe’s, she becomes the love interest for both men even though she has no interest in White, she joins the team to help eliminate Globo Gym. Patches O’Houlihan is the dodgeball expert, he trains the Average Joe’s to help become competitive in the competition. The rest of the cast include the Average Joe’s members Justin, Gordon, Owen, Dwight and Steve the Pirate that each have their own stories behind their characters to help motivate them to compete.

PerformancesVince Vaughn is one of those actors whose comedy can go either way, it is a laidback style which work perfectly for his character here, because he brings us a real person compared to Ben Stiller. Stiller on the other hand nails his completely over the top character that you are meant to be laughing at with everything he does and says. Christine Taylor is good in her role which like the rest of the cast shine, we get a mix of different comedies from the supporting cast which blend together to show the different styles of real life people.

StoryThe story here follows to rival gyms going to compete for a dodgeball tournament to help keep the little gym with no money a chance to stay afloat before the global franchise closes them down. The story does botte down to a simple underdog story which is fine we can all enjoy a story about an underdog, we do get moments in the film from the Average Joe’s characters that help them learn to become more than they are which is the whole point of a gym, to improve yourself in your own way and everything Globo Gym shouldn’t be. If you want a simple fun sports comedy to watch, this is going to be the one for you without a question.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from many different levels, we get moments of slapstick with the dodgeball scenes, we get over the top characters in White Goodman and his team and finally each member of Joe’s team has their own quirky to make them funny.

SettingsThe look at the different gyms helps the settings because it shows how people can be intimidated by certain gyms over others, when we head to Vegas for the tournament the competition feels are authentic as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the dodgeball scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lance Armstrong scene is awkward now.

Final ThoughtsFor a sports comedy this has laughs, heart and quality performances from the whole cast, this is one that will stick with you for years to come and I hope to see everyone else enjoy it.

 

Overall: Sports comedy done to near perfection.

Rating

 

 

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016)

Director: Jake Szymanski

Writer: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien (Screenplay)

Starring: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy

 

Plot: Two hard-partying brothers place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Comedy

 

Story: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates starts as we meet brothers Dave (Efron) and Mike (Devine) who are full party animals but when their reputation puts them in a hard place when it comes to their sister’s wedding, the two told if they don’t bring dates to the wedding they can’t go to the wedding. On the other side of town, we meet the party animals in Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza) who recently lose their jobs.

Mike and Dave put an add up on craigslist looking for dates, this goes viral and they go through all the creeps, but when Tatiana and Alice learn about the ad, they go out of their way to get selected for the holiday to Hawaii for the wedding. Can the boys behave themselves for one weekend and keep the girls under control.

 

Thoughts on Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

 

Characters/PerformanceDave is the slightly more sensible of the two brothers’ but he has always followed his brother’s lead. Mike is the loud mouth brother who always finds himself talking into trouble but because of his better-looking brother his confidence remains high. Alice was once a nice girl but since she was left at the alter she has become depressed needing to turn to drink always getting both her friends together. Tatiana is the one that miss-leads Alice with her attitude believe she has the power to control any guy. These characters are a nice mix with Mike and Tatiana being the extra over the top supporting pairing. Dave you can see is a character with dreams he just needs someone to push him forward and Alice is a very confusing character because around Dave she is a broken woman but around Tatiana she is the a stoner character which seems too opposite.

Performance wise, Zac Efron is good in this role because he does end up going through a wider range of comedy through the film. Anna Kendrick does struggle with this role because she doesn’t have the look to come off as a stoner type of character, she is usually the sweet girl. Adam Devine and Aubrey Plaza both give us the performance we expect from them both where the jokes do most of the work.

StoryThe story should focus more on the brothers learning they need to grow up when their own sister is getting married but we focus too much on the party animals involved in the story. we struggle to focus on any side of the story enough and the strong ending doesn’t come off strong enough once we get there.

Adventure/Comedy/RomanceThe adventure is the holiday which I all what you expect, the comedy is a mix of raunchy sex comedy which sometimes hits and other times goes too far. The romance side is loose but doesn’t click for the characters enough.

SettingsHawaii will always be a beautiful setting for the film and gives us the sun, sea for the holiday around the wedding.

Final ThoughtsThis comedy is easily in the middle of the road when it comes to the raunchy side, it goes passed Wedding Crashers but doesn’t go full Rogen.

 

Overall: Raunchy comedy that isn’t going to be for everyone.

Rating

 

 

Trumbo (2015)

trumboDirector: Jay Roach

Writer: John McNamara (Screenplay) Bruce Cook (Book)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Maldonado, John Getz, Laura Flannery, David James Elliott, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alan Tudyk, John Goodman, Stephen Root, Roger Bart, Ellie Fanning

 

Plot: In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good History Lesson

 

Story: Trumbo starts with Dalton Trumbo (Cranston) a registered communist who classing with other people in Hollywood including heavyweights John Wayne (Elliott) on his beliefs that that the government shouldn’t be able to look into everything the American people do. Even with these beliefs Dalton gets one of the biggest deals any writers have ever been offered in Hollywood.

The government decides to take on the communists in Hollywood believing they are trying to use movies to pull in the audience to join them. Gossip writer Hedda Hopper (Mirren) wants to use her column to expose the communists while leaning on the head of studios to fire all the communists involved in the infamous Hollywood 10 as they look to defend themselves.

After being sent to prison for his beliefs he ends up having to rebuild his career and he turns to Frank King (Goodman) who can’t pay the writers the same level but he and the blacklist writers all work to get their screenplays around Hollywood.

Trumbo gives us a look at the Americans and how they treated the people involved. I never personally understood what all this communist un-America talk really was and still don’t know enough to true judge how well this film portrays it all. I did like the story being re-told in a good way showing how even when people bring people down they won’t stay down however hard it is on the family. This really just more on a history lesson but is important.

 

Actor Review

 

Bryan Cranston: Dalton Trumbo was one of the most respected writers in Hollywood who was a communist, he gets charged for his crimes ending up in prison. Once released he ends up leading the fellow blacklisted writers in a movement to get themselves recognized in Hollywood once more. Bryan is brilliant in this role fully becoming the character.charaacer

Diane Lane: Cleo Trumbo is the wife of Dalton she tries to keep the family together while Dalton stands up for his beliefs, she stands up to him when needed without coming off over demanding. Diane is good in the supporting role but doesn’t get too much screen time.

Helen Mirren: Hedda Hopper is the gossip writer who along with John Wayne tries to out all the communist employees in Hollywood, she goes out her away against Dalton even when he starts trying to make a comeback. Helen is good but we don’t see enough of her to learn enough about her character.

Support Cast: Trumbo has great supporting characters who are all names the fans of Hollywood would enjoy watching.

Director Review: Jay RoachJay gives us a good and important story that we would need to know to see the struggles of the people who were outed as communists.

 

Biographical: Trumbo gives us a great look at one of the most important screenwriters of all time.

Settings: Trumbo re-creates the settings to make everything look like we are part of the time period.

Suggestion: Trumbo is one to try, I do think some people will find it difficult to watch but it is a good lesson. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Cranston is brilliant.

Worst Part: We don’t learn enough about Hedde.

 

Believability: Based on the real story of Dalton and the communist time period.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for 2 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nominations

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: When they tried to silence him, he made the world listen.

 

Overall: Brilliant story even if we only see one side of it all

Ratingcard

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Red State (2011)

logoDirector: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Angarano, Nicolas Braun, Kyle Gallner, Ronnie Connell, Kaylee DeFer, Melissa Leo, Michael Parks, Stephen Root, John Goodman

 

Plot: The teenager Jarod invites his best friends Travis and Billy-Ray to have a foursome with a thirty-eight year-old woman. While driving to meet the woman, Travis hit a car parked on the road. When they meet the woman, she gives spiked beer to them and they pass out. When the three friends wake up, they find that they are trapped in the fundamentalist Five Points Trinity Church of the infamous Pastor Abin Cooper and that they will be killed. Meanwhile the church is under siege by ATF agents led by Agent Joseph Keenan that have been ordered to destroy the terrorist cell. Will the teenagers be saved by the agents of the law enforcement agency?

 

Verdict: What Happened?

 

Story: Let’s look at this, right we start off with three school friends going to get a foursome with an older lady, drugged and tricked they get taken to a compound to be eliminated from the world by a cult like family. Sounds like the horror side is working nicely here. We then have them try and escape bringing in a new side to the story with the law trying to stop the family. This is where things got confusing because I thought I was watching a horror film. The film suddenly turns into a near half film long shootout between the house and the law. That is basically all that happened from what I could tell.

Now this takes a lot away from the story, we lose the horror side completely and the action side seems to start from absolutely nowhere. Sometimes this works for a film, but in this case it really didn’t work, the only positive I found from the story is that we just didn’t know who would get killed off next with nearly all the deaths being shocks. I feel a couple of extra chapters would help this film to have had a completer feel but the genre bouncing really doesn’t help it out. (5/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Kyle Gallner: Jarod guy with the plan who sets up the road trip, also the one who has to be put through the most but in the end he has to team up with the younger generation of the family to escape with his life. Spends most of his time tied up and when free he is just an annoying kid who thinks swearing will get his point over. (5/10)

 jarod

Michael Angarano: Travis driver on their little road trip who ends up being captured like this friends and has to do everything to make sure he survives. When you look at teenage performance you have the standard here, against his family, learning and disrespectful. (6/10)

 

Nicolas Braun: Billy-Ray it would be say he is the butt of most of the jokes, he is the first to get free but in the end he panics and shows his real loyalty to his friends. Disposable supporting character who offers nothing to the film. (4/10)

 

Michael Parks: Pastor Abin Cooper leader of the family who constantly goes against gays believe their beliefs will give them a chance to get into a heaven of their dreams. He has brain washed everyone into believing his way is right and will not let any sinners get in his way. I think he was the highlight of the film with his excellent performance as the leader of the group, he always stays calm whichever situation is occurring and gives an incredible speech which draws you into what he is preaching. (8/10)

 parkes

John Goodman: Agent Joseph Keenan tasked with trying to stop the group but when things go wrong he is assigned to take everyone out, no questions. Good performance from Goodman who always shines when on screen. (7/10)

 goodman

Director Review: Kevin Smith – We all know Kevin Smith has the ability to push the boundaries and this tries to cross subgenres, the only thing is it doesn’t quite come off. You can see little bits that shows a Smith trademark but in all honesty the films feels almost unfinished. (4/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action during the shootout that last for a long time. (7/10)

Horror: Starts promising with the capture leading to the idea of torture and killing of the school kids but ends up disappearing in the second half. (3/10)

Settings: Most of the film is set at the church compound which works because we know the people involved are too far way to get any extra help. (8/10)
Special Effects
: Some good effects with certain well placed gun shots. (4/10)

Suggestion: I feel because of the genre cross this will be hard for either fans to really get into and I fail to find any type of fan to suggest this too. (Action or Horror Fans Try)

 

Best Part: Michael Parks is great

Worst Part: Genre change.

Believability: The cults like this are real but would it end like this, I think not. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $1 Million

Budget: $4 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: An unlikely film from that Kevin Smith

 

Overall: Messy Action Horror

Rating 45