(Once Again Belated) Weekend Update – August 17, 2011

17 08 2011

“What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.”

– Steve Martin

“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”

– Woody Allen

There’s a MASSIVE analysis of comedy down at the bottom.  Please read and comment or I’ll feel like all my hard work was for nothing.

In case you missed it…

I gave two stellar reviews this week for summer closers “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “The Help” as well as major kudos to Dominic Cooper’s performance in “The Devil’s Double.”  Things were not so rosy for “Final Destination 5,” “Another Earth,” or “30 Minutes or Less.”  Speaking of the latter, this week’s “F.I.L.M.” was “Roger Dodger,” the film debut of Jesse Eisenberg.

Recommended Reading

Here’s some of the good stuff I was reading.  If you don’t like to read, then why are you on my site?

Sunday Funnies

The New York Latino Film Festival’s ad campaign revolved around movie clichés and implausibilities, and they nail some of the stuff we just accept spot on.  (via /Film)

The Inadvertent Activist

On Monday, I noticed a humongous uptick in traffic.  Naturally, I got a little skeptical, especially when a lot of the hits were coming from Facebook.  Then I started getting a lot of redirects from a site called R-Word.org.  I had heard of this site before, but in case you haven’t, here’s a video that succinctly states their mission:

They saw that I had called out the filmmakers of “The Change-Up” in my review for senselessly using these people as the butt of a joke.  Some people are calling for radical action, and they have done a good job of making their voices heard.  But as offensive as it is, the writers have the right to free speech and can say it if they want.  The joke falls flat in the movie, and if you do for some reason decide to see it after my D+ review, use it as a reminder to eradicate the word from your casual vernacular. If you want more information on this campaign, click the picture below.

An R-Rated Renaissance?

In The Los Angeles Times back in July, Steven Zeitchik asked this question, “How deep will the R-rated renaissance run?”  He cites the statistic that 2011 is “the first year ever that at least four R-rated comedies have topped [$75 million].

I’d like to respond back with this question: is this what a Renaissance supposed to look like?  Because all I see is one comedic gem shining amidst a surplus of lackluster and forgettable others.  Just because there has been a great quantity hardly means there has been great quality.  Before I jump into my own analysis, I’d like to review my reviews of the seven R-rated comedies of summer 2011.

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REVIEW: Bad Teacher

10 07 2011

High concept comedies like “The Hangover” and “Horrible Bosses” work because they maintain a level of implausibility and ridiculousness throughout.  In the end, no one is going to get so drunk that they forget marrying a stripper or pulling out a tooth, just like no one is going to get so worked up at work that they execute a plan to murder their boss. Because their humor borders on fantasy, we can laugh despite the incorrectness of it all.

Bad Teacher,” on the other hand, walks on some dangerous ground by presenting its central character with an unflinching realism.  Cameron Diaz’s teacher is a pot-smoking, whiskey-gulping, foul-mouthed, shallow mess that could care less about the kids that she’s getting paid to educate.  Instead, she would rather focus on getting a nice new pair of breasts and a rich man to fondle them.  When she needs money, rather than work hard like a respectable person, she embezzles, cheats, steals, and bribes.

Sadly, this actually happens in the real world; it’s not some cock-and-bull story concocted by some bored screenwriters.  In just the past five years going through private secondary school, I have seen two teachers lose their jobs from accusations of sexual impropriety with a minor and possession of child pornography.  These people are very much real.  Same goes for negligent teachers, which are very prevalent in poorer school districts.  My cousin works in junior high public education (not unlike Diaz’s character) in one of the most at-risk neighborhoods in the country, and I’ve heard too many horror stories from her about the people who work there that don’t even deserve to be called an educator.

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