Hot Rod (2007)

Hot Rod (2007) – IMDB

Hot Rod. The humor is more deadpan than Audrey Plaza’s face. It has more expressions than any Adam Sandler flick. More chaos than being married to Satan. If Napolean Dynamite rode a pedaled motorbike instead of a horse and cranked everything to eleven, you got yourself a ticket to Hot Rod. With a heart for the 80s and a mind as random as a nonsensical totem fox on crack, Hot Rod delivers on multiple ultimate punches.

One day I was in a middle of a conversation with a friend and his girl. She was foreign and had seen Hot Rod and expressed she did not like it, stated it was too American. I wondered if perhaps some people don’t understand the humor. Or maybe they do and don’t care. It’s all cool beans.

On my latest viewing of Hot Rod I got the idea it was an 80s flick trying to break out. But was trapped in it’s own confines by being too similar to any other 80s nostalgia becoming it’s own classic by trying too hard. The result being utterly hilarious. A hormone disordered man trying to win respect of his step father. A simple thought turned to a riotous time of random, off-beat banter and slapstick humor too painfully funny for it’s own good. In a way, it’s a love letter and parody of some flick from the 80s.

I wonder how many takes it took to complete a single scene. Sometimes the idea is so off the wall I don’t have any idea how they kept a straight face. The story is just a ploy for Andy Samberg and crew to go off on their incoherent madness. From mimicking a bell by the pool to pronouncing the “h” in whords that start with “w.” It’s hard to keep up with the absurd jokes and antics through the first watch, they’re too legit to quit.

And by the end, Hot Rod delivers the ultimate blow to the digestive system. Cool Beans.

Midnight In Paris (2011)

Midnight In Paris – IMDB

Prime Video: Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson is fitting as the lost writer wondering the lit streets of Paris as Gil. There is a feeling of connectedness with and a sense of longing as he walks among the wet bricked roads stumbling upon artists of our memory. In a way, Midnight In Paris is Woody Allen having a conversation with himself and the audience. Allen writes about Gil who finds his passion expressing himself through the arts. Not for Hollywood and their scripts but for himself and the love of the arts of a past time. And that’s what Midnight In Paris is ultimately about, the love of the arts.

I am no way educated in all the historical names portrayed in the movie however with what I was given I understood enough of each character/figure that was represented. Whether it was about the Fitzgeralds or the bride-to-be. Gil in short, is a simple man who is simply not fitting in his current era. His era belongs to a simpler time. A golden age of various art forms bursting on the scene in the 1920s. Gil does not feel fit in his engagement with beautiful Inez (Rachel McAdams) or his present time period. He finds solace in his nightly walks, slowly falling in love with a dreamlike memory of what used to be.

It can be difficult to cope with the present so dreaming of the past presents a simpler time. Gil is a dreamer. Midnight In Paris has a magical quality to it but without the wands and is light hearted fun with the mention of rhinoceroses. It has a rather trotting pace of storytelling which perhaps could have benefitted more from a pause or two to help sink in the dream. Like the opening, still shots of beautiful Paris sets the mood and setting. Again, some shots at night of the city glowing among the glossed bricks from recent rains and old buildings filled with stories to pause the moment would help slip into the dreamy city more.

I love how Gil comes to terms with his marriage to truly find himself. Sometimes you must lose yourself to find what you are looking for. And here, he finds interest for another woman, but one who personifies the city, Paris, where he is in love. If she is Paris then Inez is Hollywood.

All the performances are wonderful. And I love movies about writing generally because the writing itself is well done. I find calm enjoyment in watching Midnight In Paris and I hope you do too.

Little Nicky (2000)

Little Nicky (2000) – IMDB

Little Nicky on Apple TV

Eh, not the worst Adam Sandler movie, I liked it, but tries a little too hard. Little Nicky has all your favorite pals here from Sandler’s cinematic family we’ve come accustomed to, even some unforgettable cameos. Devilish gags poking it’s harmless fork at heaven and hell. Not all jokes land however, they run a little too long like Little Nicky’s shoveled face and voice for the entire flick or just some jokes that sizzles out and is just not that funny. With that said, the premise of Satan’s son being sent to capture in a flask two of his brothers and bring them back to hell is fun enough to watch along with the metal-head, masochistic duo, the roommate, and the dog. In addition, some pleasant surprise of cameos.

The romance subplot is nearly forgettable between our repressed, devil spawn and an earthling. It’s uninteresting and kind of distracts from the story, however it shows Lil’ Nicky’s more sensible side (if he didn’t seem sensitive enough already). Still, Sandler shares screen time with yet another beauty and makes for a casual date night flick even if it is underused. It’s pretty much just “there”.

Seeing this was a box office failure, I can tell they put a lot of money into the music, special effects, sets, and including cameos. The special effects shows it’s time for sure, but most money was wasted on the music. They may use nearly five seconds of a song before they cut it for various reasons. For example one scene starts with Foo Fighter’s The Pretender, cuts away to something funny, then begins Pardon Me by Incubus, which quickly burns out. No song here is played along enough to create a feeling, a jam, or entertaining quality to enjoy. I wish they chose a few songs opposed to many and hear them play out respectively.

For fans of Adam Sandler and co, Little Nicky is still an entertaining movie that isn’t the best but is unique in it’s premise compared to Sandler’s other creations. Some gags are better than others like when Nicky is forced against his will and gives a lady the finger and says remorsefully “I’m Sorry”. Or when the Gatekeeper has a bit of naughty time with his hairy friend is wierdly funny. Also, there’s a beloved Chris Farley reference at the end which is funny on multiple levels that made my tummy tickle (God rest his lively soul). I’d likely rewatch flicks like Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore compared to this but still, not bad for casual viewing.

One Cut of the Dead (2017)

One Cut of the Dead (2017) – IMDB

One Cut of the Dead - PosterSpy

A very fresh take on a tried and heavily explored genre. One Cut of the Dead doesn’t just impress but enlightens us there is more to offer in this addition to the ever-hungry zombie filmography.

The plot is a simple one: a director wants to shoot a low budget zombie movie when real zombies appear on the scene. All fashionably done in one cheesy cut. I’m a modest man who begs you to stay past the thirty minute mark and endure the shabby introduction. One Cut of the Dead is one of the most rewarding movie experiences I’ve had. Sitting there with a slight grin on my face as the absurdity unfolded. The movie is funny, self aware, heartwarming, and creative. You can tell it was handled with care and from people who loves not only the genre, but movies in general. I can only imagine the crew having an enjoyable time off screen.

One-Cut-of-the-Dead | The Kim Newman Web Site

This one took me by surprise. Not at all what I was expecting and very glad I watched it. One of those movies you’d be hard pressed to search for. The last act is so humorous it gives a whole new meaning on a second viewing. I’m saying this with the little knowledge I had before going in, knowing only the straight forward synopsis. Take what you will from my words but have your own expectations. It’s a good time. One Cut of the Dead is a fresh and original take away from the mouth watering limpers that crowd our screen. POM!

Special note: It took 2 days and 6 takes to get the perfect cut and the film took $25,000 to be made!