The Big Sick Review

It’s late but I wanted to quickly let you guys know about a delightful movie I just saw called The Big Sick. I’d heard good things about it but it honestly exceeded my expectations and is without a doubt one of my favorites of the year and one of the best comedies (not just romcoms) I’ve seen in a long time. It’s one of the few movies of recent memory that I have no negatives on.

Part of what makes The Big Sick work so well is it is based on a true story of lead actor and writer Kumail Nanjiani’s relationship with his wife Emily Gordon. This gives a warmth and heart to the movie that makes it feel very special. Zoe Kazan steps in to play Emily and the chemistry is effortless and easy to believe.

The script is a real star. There is a bit of profanity but it feels natural to the characters and how they would talk. Kumail is trying to be a stand up comic and at the same time deal with his strict Pakistani parents who are constantly trying to match him with a bride. The dialogue between all involved feels natural and hilarious while never being crass or vulgar.

I loved all the supporting performances but I honestly think Ray Ramano and Holly Hunter are nomination worthy as Emily’s parents. I wouldn’t mind seeing a whole movie just about their characters. There are so many ways they could have been cliches but they felt like actual unique human beings.

I also loved how it handled Kumail’s family and didn’t patronize them or turn them into caricatures as would have been easy to do. Coming from a strict religious family I related quite strongly to them and the situation Kumail was going through. It was handled just right! His stand up friends were also great. It was simply awesome!

There obviously is an illness involved but I will let you find that all out on your own. This movie made me laugh. It made me cry and it was a very late showing I was engrossed the entire time. I LOVED it!!

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Overall Grade – A+

GO SEE IT!!

Blind Spot 17: Duck Soup

Ah how great it is to see terrific comedy! It’s the best to sit back, relax and heartily laugh at a good movie. Unfortunately it’s an experience that doesn’t happen too often these days. Now most comedies are so raunchy that I either chose to not watch them or they aren’t my style of humor. So, you can imagine my enjoyment when I put on this month’s blind spot pick, Duck Soup, and laughed good and hard! Duck Soup is a classic comedy and with good cause. Especially if you like physical comedy it doesn’t get better than this.

Duck Soup stars the Marx Brothers- Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo and evidently this is their crowning achievement. I read dictator Benito Mussolini took the movie as a personal insult and banned it from Italy! You know you are doing something right if a dictator bans your movie!

The plot for Duck Soup is pretty basic. Groucho plays a man who is put in charge of a small country named Freedonia. They are a nation of great pomp and circumstance and much is made about their need for decorum. Meanwhile Chico and Harpo are sent as spies to look into the situation and see what Freedonia is up to. Zeppo plays Groucho’s secretary and kind of the straight man role in the story. Quickly all kinds of mayhem erupts involving war, love and politics.

You don’t see a movie like Duck Soup for the plot. It’s about the hilarious gags. What’s impressive here is they manage to be funny with both physical comedy and political commentary. I love how expressive each of the brothers are and how you can read so much through their eyes and facial expressions.

This scene with a lemonade vendor is hilarious:

I particularly like Harpo and how innocent and sweet he is. Don’t you just want to hug him? What he is able to do with a simple hat to get laughs is remarkable.

But Duck Soup can also be very funny in the political commentary especially if you think about its release date in the 1933 when trouble was brewing in Europe. The insanity of such political negotiations and the egos involved is skewered so well in scenes like this one-

It’s so funny when he goes in seconds from welcoming the idea of diplomacy to ‘who does he think he is? That he come here and make a sap out of me in front of my people’. I have a feeling it might not be that far off of actual diplomacy (I try to not think about that too hard these days! Politicians and the egos involved is a scary thought).

Duck Soup is only an 69 minutes so it’s not much of an investment of time but boy is it rewarding. I laughed from start to finish and it wasn’t the kind of mean spirited raunchy comedy you get today. It can be a little bawdy but all in good fun. I have seen one other Marx Brothers movie Monkey Business and I think Duck Soup is much funnier than that.

I know some children might be intimidated by black and white but comedies can often be good ways to introduce them. Duck Soup would be great for that. I think they will love it especially Chico and Harpo as the 2 spies. Hilarious.

I just loved this movie!  The only flaw I suppose is maybe 2 of the musical numbers go on a little long. Other than that one of the great comedies without question.

Overall Grade- A+


Table 19 Review

table-19You know that wedding you attend when you don’t know anyone but the couple and so you sit there in awkward boredom with nobody to talk too? Well, that is basically the experience of the new comedy Table 19. It tries to be a mash-up of Breakfast Club and My Best Friends Wedding but without the good writing or likable performances of those films. Certain story elements are super cliched and most of the jokes are ‘look how quirky we are’ and not funny. Mostly I was just super bored.

table-19-2The movie is about a woman named Eloise played by Anna Kendrick who is attending a wedding of a friend who’s brother she recently broke up with. As the recently broken up, she ends up at the table with 5 other outcasts that were invited more out of politeness than actually expecting them to come.

table-19-4We then get 87 minutes of their quirky adventures that aren’t funny or insightful and that feel much longer. The only characters I liked were a couple played by Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson. I wish the movie had been about them. Everyone else felt completely cliched and lame like right out of a bad sitcom.

table-19-3The script is also very lazy. Like Thomas Cocurquel is introduced as a love interest named Huck but then he kind of disappears. We also learn something about June Squibb’s character that is kind of forgotten about quickly after. Like I said, only Robinson and Kudrow have interesting characters or fleshed out stories.

This makes the resolution for all the characters feel trite and bland despite the best efforts of the actors.

There was honestly only one joke that made me laugh. It involves Lisa Kudrow’s jacket. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a comedy when the jacket joke is the only laugh.

This is a definite skip.

Overall Grade- D+ not worse just for Kudrow and Robinson.

As far as content there is a brief shot of a butt twice and some profanity and drug use but it’s pretty tame

Blind Spot 5: The Jerk

jerk3There are few films that leave me speechless- The Jerk is one of them.  I honestly don’t know what to say. I can’t decide whether it is brilliant or horrible. It certainly succeeds in being a comedy like no other.

jerkI guess you’d call The Jerk an absurdist comedy but it’s kind of making fun of the ‘down on his luck’ biographical narrative we often see in dramatic films.  For example, some of the best laughs come at the beginning when Steve Martin’s Navin finds out he is adopted in his black sharecropping family. These scenes are very non-PC and the film goes for it and it made me laugh. Lines like this I thought were funny:

Taj: “You wanna, wanna come in and sing some blues?” Navin: “No thanks Taj. There’s something about those songs. They depress me.”

Navin ends up hearing ‘crazy rhythm’ on the radio and goes to St Louis to find where the song was broadcast from. He gets a job working for Jackie Mason’s Harry Hartounian and is thrilled when his name is in the phone book.

the-jerk-snipe3Unfortunately a crazy sniper picks his name randomly out of that book to shoot but Navin evades. All of this is bizarre and mostly made me laugh.

He then ends up meeting a tough carnie woman named Patty who teaches him about his “special purpose” and then meets Bernadette Peters’ Marie who is a sweet yet shallow woman. A lot of this humor involving the women was more awkward than funny but maybe that is just my more traditional values when it comes to humor.

jerk5A lot of this movie in fact was more awkward than funny. It kind of reminded me of the first Meet the Parents where I was laughing but also cringing the entire time. I can’t decide whether I like that kind of comedy or hate it.

jerk4In a way The Jerk had the feel of a silent movie but raunchier. He starts out wide eyed and gullible and ends up a world- weary hobo. Some of the jokes really work but a lot fell flat for me. I don’t know. It’s a hard one to judge. It’s one I can see myself liking the more I see it.

Anyway, I can’t really recommend The Jerk because it is so uneven but if it sounds like something you’d like than you’ll probably like it. If it doesn’t than you might hate it. It’s just a strange little movie.

Overall Grade- C

Zoolander 2 Review

zoolander2 posterSince I will not be seeing the big release this weekend it left to me to see the other comedy, Zoolander 2.

I actually hadn’t seen the original Zoolander until last week and I wasn’t that impressed.  In my opinion it is a one joke movie.  Most of the gags involve subverting gender norms and men doing stuff that is typically done by women.  Even the famous blue steel from Zoolander is basically a joke on the pouty face done by female models.

That said, there are some laughs in Zoolander, and I thought there were some laughs in Zoolander 2. I know I am in the minority if you look at rotten tomatoes but comedy is subjective and I can’t deny when I laugh.

Here is my youtube review

If you don’t know Zoolander is about a male supermodel named Derek Zoolander played by Ben Stiller.  He comes up in the first one against a designer named Mugatu played by Will Ferrell and a fellow model Hansel played by Owen Wilson.

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So this time around Zoolander and Hansel have become exiled and get drawn back into the fashion world to find Derek’s son.  They end up meeting up with Valentina played by Penelope Cruz who is investigating the death of pop star like Justin Bieber.

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To say Zoolander 2 is stupid kind of goes without saying.  Of course it is stupid.  But the chemistry between Hansel and Zoolander made me laugh and I thought some of the gags worked.  Particularly the cameos which were bountiful I thought were often funny.  There was a cameo with Kiefer Sutherland that especially made me laugh.

In some ways I liked it a little bit better than the first one because the jokes were more all over the place and not just one-note like the first.  Neither are comic masterpieces but I can’t deny when something made me laugh.

Zoolander 2 made me laugh, so there you go.

Overall Grade- C

Hail Caesar Review

hail cesear5Tonight I got to see the new Coen Brothers film Hail, Caesar in an early screening.  It was in my most anticipated of 2016, and what’s the verdict…

It’s ok.

I’d be lying if I came on here and said this is an uproarious comedy from start to finish.  It’s not. (I realize comedy is incredibly subjective so I can only speak for myself). But when it does hit, it hits, and I did laugh.

When I laughed, I chuckled.  But there were other times when I could tell they were going for a laugh and it fell like a thud.

Hail, Caesar stars George Clooney and Josh Brolin with basically glorified cameos from Scarlet Johansson and Jonah Hill- despite what the poster might lead you to believe.  There are also a ton of other actors including Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Alden Ehrenreich, and Tilda Swinton.  (It does feel at times that the Coen Brothers called in a lot of favors for this because great actors get such small parts).

hail cesearThe film is an homage to the studio systems of the 50s where a studio called Capitol Studios is making an epic film called Hail, Caesar about ancient Rome and the crucifixion of Christ.  George Clooney’s Baird Whitlock is kidnapped by a bunch of communists who want to extort the studio for underpaying them for their scripts.  Clooney is fine in the part and there are a few funny moments with the communists and on the set of the film but nothing that had me in stitches.

hail cesear4Josh Brolin is good as Eddie Mannix an executive who manages the studio and seems to have his finger in a million different pies.

hail cesear7I also liked Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle a country western actor who is put in a posh period piece directed by Ralph Fiennes.  Every scene Hobie was in I laughed.

Tilda Swinton is hilarious as two sisters who both write for Hollywood gossip rags and Frances McDormand has one scene that made me laugh.

hail cesear2I also liked Channing Tatum’s song and dance number spoofing musicals like On the Town, South Pacific and White Christmas about singing navy men.  A later sequence with him and a submarine, however, fell flat.

So all that stuff worked.  The problem is there needed to be more jokes.  There were a lot of subplots that weren’t funny and since the story didn’t matter on its own I grew a bit restless.  For example, the plot with Scarlet Johansson is not funny and like I said Jonah Hill is in one scene and it isn’t funny.

Some of the communist stuff feels weird and more like reciting a text book than telling a joke.  A plotline involving Eddie getting courted by Lockheed Airplanes didn’t need to be there and  wasn’t funny (and actually is spent a fare amount of time on).  Also some of the antics of trying to find Baird and Eddie listing off tasks to his assistant didn’t really make me laugh.

Overall, I’d say Hail Caesar is worth a rental but I don’t know if I would pay the big bucks to see it in the theater.  I laughed.  In the end, it was a mixed bag attempt at satire, not the great spoof I was hoping for.  Still, some definite laughs, so not a total loss.

If you get to see Hail Caesar let me know what you think.

It’s pretty clean content wise.  There are some gay jokes but most of it is pretty subtle.  There are also some pokes at religion and politics but nothing too raunchy or offensive.

Overall Grade- C

My youtube review

Foolishness: My Favorite Comedies

Happy April Fools!  I’m honestly not a big fan of practical jokes but I do enjoy a good laugh.  I thought given the day I would share with all of you 10 of my favorite comedies.

For these 10 I tried to pick all out comedies, not romantic comedies, dark comedies or movies like the Apartment that have comedic elements.  These are roll on the ground, laugh out loud, make me laugh every time films.  Humor is completely subjective (all films are but especially comedies) so these are just what I find most funny.  You may not and that’s cool.  Instead of just critiquing my list (easy to do) share with me your favorites and what makes you laugh.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail- Almost everyone I know thinks this is funny. There are so many jokes and the script is so well written. Some highlights are the Sir Bevedere and King Arthur debating about the witch, the knights that say ni, the black knight with no arms and legs screaming ‘Come on ya pansy!’, The Castle of Aaaauuuggghhhh (he must have died while carving it), “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”…  So funny.

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2. Napoleon Dynamite- A somewhat polarizing movie that some either think is hilarious or it drives them nuts.  I’m in the hilarious camp.  Maybe partly because everyone involved is from my alma mater (for the most part) and I really relate to the rural Idaho setting?  Who knows?  It’s so likable and has one of the most endearing lead characters in modern movies so I love it.

If you haven’t read my character profile on Napoleon please do. When you really think about it he has a sad life.  They are obviously poor, his parents are nowhere to be seen, his brother and uncle are a mess,  his grandma has just been injured and he get’s rejected by the girl he asks out.  But you’d never know about it from watching Napoleon.  He’s walking around, looking at things and happy with his life.

There are so many great lines like “I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!”, “A liger…It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed”, “How was school? The worst day of my life, what do you think?”, “You know, there’s like a boat-load of gangs at this school. This one gang kept wanting me to join because I’m pretty good with a bo staff”, “No, but who would? I don’t even have any good skills…You know, like numchuk skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.”

When he dances and shows the ultimate confidence it is hilarious and such a great victory.

napoleon_dynamite

3.It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – The dream cast that will never be beat and the ultimate cat and mouse chase story that has every kind of humor. It’s a mad cap race to find the treasure and hilarious all the way through it. Jonathan Winters , Ethel Merman and Buddy Hackett are particular favorites. 

Madworldposter

It’s the kind of movie that could never be made today because the studios would be so lazy.  Movies like New Years Eve, Movie 43, and Grown Ups figure all we have to do is have a bunch of famous people and it will get folks in the theater.  They don’t have a good script or funny setups.  It’s just disgusting crass and vulgar and not funny! It’s a Mad Mad World did it right.

4.  What About Bob- What makes What About Bob one of the funniest movies ever made is it is a classic example of someone driving another human being nuts and being completely oblivious.  Bob is having a great time.  He’s happy as a clam, and he isn’t intentionally annoying, but just trying to be loving and his shrink’s biggest fan.  But the shrink played by Richard Dryfuss lets one thing get to him and then another and another until it is this huge volcano. So often in life do we allow someone to get under our skin and they are completely unaware.  That is funny and totally rings true.  Bill Murray is so likable in the role and has an innocence that makes you root for him all the while he is making Dryfuss crazy.

It is so well written with great scenes like the dinner ‘um, this corn is delicious.  Is this hand shucked?’  or “There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him”. “It reminds me of my favorite poem, which is, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic… and so am I!”

what about bob

5. Clueless- My favorite comedy for many years.  Based on Jane Austen’s Emma it tells the story of rich socialite Cher and her best friend Dion as they try to do a little matchmaking with their friends in high school.  I love scenes like the Haitians and the dinner party or Cher’s description of her diet- “I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M’s and like 3 pieces of licorice”.  Ha.

clueless

Almost every line of this movie makes me laugh and yes I think it is funnier than Mean Girls although that is also great.  Amy Heckerling does such a brilliant job making Cher and Dion, who would be the mean girls, into likable endearing characters.

My favorite scene by far is when Dion ends up on the highway for the first time.  I love his scene because I remember when a similar event actually happened to me in high school and I freaked out.

6. Better Off Dead- this is an admittedly stupid movie but it makes me laugh every time.  It’s about this kid named Lane Meyers played by John Cusack who obsesses over his girlfriend. When she dumps him he doesn’t think it is worth living until he challenges her boyfriend to ski the K12.

The plot is really just an excuse for a lot of hilarious gags like the newspaper boy who menaces Lane for his $2, the taxi drivers who learned English from Howard Cossell, Lane’s stoner best friend who says ‘this is pure snow.  Do you realize the street value of this stuff?’, his brother who collects coupons before the cereal is done, his neighbor who is teaching a foreign exchange student ‘the international language’, his mother who is such a bad cook it walks off the plate.  It’s hilarious and I love it.

better off dead

7. Bringing Up Baby-  This movie starring Kathrine Hepburn and Cary Grant taking care of a Leopard named Baby is hilarious from start to finish.  Grant is the uptight paleontoglist professor and Hepburn is a rich doner’s daughter who is a massive klutz.  They have to transport this leopard and all hell breaks loose and it has great dialogue, slapstick, hijinks,  and mistaken identities.  It’s one you could watch with the entire family and all have a hearty laugh.

 8.  The General-  A movie that has to be seen to be believed.  What Buster Keaton does with physical stunts is unbelievable.  Most of this movie is shot on a moving train and all to get the gags.  It’s an adventure and incredibly funny at the same time.  Very few title cards are needed because Buster Keaton is so expressive in his eyes and face.  It’s brilliant and hard to believe they could make a movie that holds up so well with action comedies of today, if not even slicker and more polished because it is actual people risking their lives instead of CGI.

Keaton can make picking up a log and putting it on the train hilarious  It’s without a doubt one of the best movies ever made and that’s not just nostalgia.  I’m telling you it still holds up today in every way. Trust me on this one.  If you think you will never like a silent movie give The General a shot.

9. Office Space- I love movies about work and that includes laughing about work.  I so related to this movie when I was stuck in the stupefying nothingness of cubicle life.  (Cubicle Hell as I like to call it). The useless company protocol like TPS reports, the cheap attempt to replicate family celebrations like birthdays, having 5 different bosses who have no idea what your actual job is, the worst boss in movie history, the ridiculous employee reviews,  and wanting to smash the tar out of the office copier.  All of that rings true.  I watch it and thank the Lord for a job I love.  Thank you, thank you. At least this movie made me laugh when it was rough.

office space

I love the ridiculousness of the plan they come up with ‘Isn’t that in Superman 4…” and when they get the magazine guy to tell them about money laundering or the flare at the chain restaurant ‘I want you to want to wear more flare’.  It’s hilarious but it is the only R rated movie on this list and it earns the R so be forewarned.

office space2

10. Best in Show- My favorite of the Christopher Guest troop films although they are all hilarious.  Using the mockumentary style to cover a dog show and their owners it is funny from start to finish.  The entire team is at the top of their game including Jennifer Coolidge, Eugene Levy (literally has 2 left feet), Catherine O’Hara from Home Alone (which I could have put on this list but I already profiled it), Jane Lynch and more.  I especially love Fred Williard as the commentator who has me in near tears laughing at his frequently improvised lines.

I have yet to show this movie to someone who didn’t laugh.  (I’m sure there will be a barrage of comments saying they didn’t laugh but in my real life everyone loves it).

BestInShow2000

Scrooge 22: Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

blackadder poster

And now we have a very unique offering for Scrooge Month, all the way from Great Britain- The Blackadders Christmas Carol.

This is a completely hilarious riff on the Christmas Carol story but unlike Scrooged it completely subverts the narrative of Christmas Carol which might annoy me in lesser-able hands, but the jokes are plentiful and they nail  it every time. I laughed my head off.  Seriously one of the funniest things I’ve seen in years.

The gist behind the special is the Blackadder played by Rowan Atkinson is constantly taken advantage of by people because ‘he’s the nicest man in town’.  Much to the chagrin of his assistant Baldrick, a parade of people come into his office and take money and items from him including his Christmas tree and chicken. Pauline Melville as Mrs Scratchit is particularly funny begging for her Tiny Tim son who is clearly not so tiny.

Blackadders_Christmas_Carol.0H06R57.432

Miriam Margolyes and Jim Broadbent are very funny as Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.  Robbie Coltrane from Harry Potter is Spirit of Christmas and the way he does his ‘magic’ is a riot.  Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, Tony Robinson, Pauline Melville all at the top of their comedic games.

blackadder

Coltrane takes Blackadder to the Past with a diva queen and then goes into the future with a sci-fi world and it’s so strange and hilarious.

It’s the writing that makes this so funny.  You get lines like “I want a present! Give me something nice and shiny! And if you don’t, I’ve got something nice and shiny for you and it’s called an axe”

or blackadder hugh laurie

“Baldrick, you wouldn’t see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing “Subtle plans are here again!” blackadder_1

or

“It’s a fist. It’s for hitting people with. (Punches Baldrick) And the great thing is, you can use it again and again! (hits Baldrick again)”blackadder future

or

“Yes! Unless I’m very much mistaken, you’re the winner of the ‘Round Britain Shortest Fattest Dumpiest Woman Competition. And for her to be accompanied by the winner of this year’s Stupidest Accent Award is really quite overwhelming” (said to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert!).

The whole point of the story is to show Blackadder that the mean people have all the fun.  What a clever and humorous subversion of the classic story.  At least I thought it was very funny.

That gives you an idea.  It’s kind of like Monty Python type humor, very dry and sardonic.

Here’s a clip from when they go into the future.  Ha!

If that looks like your style of humor you will love it.  If not than skip it.  I laughed my head off!

Oh and if you are a hulu plus member you can stream the entire Blackadder series.

Scrooge 16: Scrooged

Scrooged_film_posterI always say with comedies you either think something is funny and laugh or you don’t.  Comedy is so subjective and I’ve had too many experiences to count where I thought something was hilarious and shown it to a friend and get only an awkward courtesy laugh from them in response. You’d think what is humorous would be more universal but I have found that to be almost never the case.

So here we have the most comedic take on Christmas Carol, the anti-Carol, you might say- 1988’s Scrooged staring Bill Murray.   I think it is a very funny movie.  It lags in a few spots but it keeps me laughing consistently for a hearty recommendation. If you don’t find it funny there isn’t much else to recommend about the film.

Trailer:

Cast:

This movie has some of the most hilarious cameos of any movie I’ve seen.  Some of the best laughs are people not on the official cast list.

Bill Murray as Francis Xavier “Frank” Cross
Karen Allen as Claire Phillips
John Forsythe as Lew Hayward
John Glover as Brice Cummings
Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk
David Johansen as the Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum as Preston Rhinelander
Nicholas Phillips as Calvin Cooley
Michael J. Pollard as Herman
Alfre Woodard as Grace Cooley
Mabel King as Gramma
John Murray as James Cross
Wendie Malick as Wendie Cross
Brian Doyle-Murray as Mr. Cross, Frank and James’s father
Joel Murray as Guest

Scrooge:  Bill Murray plays Scrooge who goes by the name of Frank Cross in this and he is great as always.  He pulls off the grumpy corporate executive probably better than the more tender scenes but his deadpan delivery is very funny.

Differences- This is definitely a lose adaptation designed to get laughs but there is 3 spirits, a Marley figure, a grumpy Scrooge character and a beleaguered assistant, so some elements remain in the story.

scrooged2

John Forsythe is actually pretty creepy as Lew Hayward with some decent special effects.  They use the elevator very cleverly in the movie and Murray is filming a telecast of Christmas Carol while his own version is occurring, which brought some good laughs.  My personal favorite scene is when the censor objects to a wardrobe in the telecast. Then there is a running gag where she gets hit in the head by various items and as someone who finds Hollywood’s attempt to censor itself with the MPAA to be a total joke I found it very funny.

Scrooged-censorChristmas Past is a cab driver played by David Johansen and he is nuts but in a humorous way.

scrooged pastChristmas Present is my favorite played by Carol Kane and she finds ways of injuring Scrooge both on purpose and by accident.  Haven’t we all wanted to slap Scrooge in the face in one version or another? And it’s always funny when someone who sounds sweet and looks cute actually has a temper.  She talks all sweet and then slaps him as hard as she can and that’s just funny.

carol kane scroogedKaren Allen from Raiders of the Lost Arc plays the Belle character who wants to serve others while Frank only thinks of himself.  They had good chemistry together and I bought them as a couple.

karen allen scroogedChristmas Future isn’t an actor but a prop from the production going on that ends up in the elevator.  He has Ignorance and Want inside his belly in a creative way.

scrooged futureIn this version Fred is actually Frank’s Brother John and Alfre Woodard (who I always like) is the Cratchit character named Grace Cooley.  She has a son who is a mute and refuses to talk to anyone.

But my favorite performance is Bobcat Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk.  He is fired by Frank after offering some timid criticism of his rather grisly Scrooge promo.  He comes back to get vengeance on Frank and it is hilarious. It feels like a rif on Die Hard but that came out the same year so I guess it is just making fun of all the over-the-top action movies of the 80s.

scrooged-1988-bobcat-goldthwait

Strengths- As I said the interweaving stories of the production and Frank’s visitations are very clever. Most of the gags made me laugh so I guess that means it’s a successful comedy!

Eliot Loudermilk, Carol Kane, Alfre Woodard, David Johansen and John Forsythe are all great fun.

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Murray is a funny as always and it’s all directed competently by Richard Donner of Superman fame.

Weakness- I guess a weakness is it doesn’t really give much to enjoy if you don’t find it funny but not all movies can be everything.  It’s definitely non-traditional and a few of the jokes are more designed for an 80s audience and are perhaps a bit dated.

Other than that I really enjoyed it.  So bah humbug and have some good laughs!