The Goods

Jake and I went to see The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard last night at a screening thanks to Scene-Stealers. (Sidebar: if you are not following the Scene-Stealers feed, you are missing out.) You would be hard pressed to keep me away from a movie with Jeremy Piven as the star — I’ve loved The Pivs from way back in the day when he had a significantly bigger forehead.

In fact, his performance in this totally average comedy from Adam McKay and Will Ferrell was extremely reminiscent of his portrayal of James “Droz” Andrews in PCU, the completely underrated Animal House of the ’90s. I’d say that his character Don “The Goods” Ready is closer to Droz than it is to his more popular Ari Gold (of HBO’s Entourage, as if you didn’t know).

Piven carries this movie on his back (as he should, considering he’s the star) with little help from Ferrell/McKay/Apatow stalwarts like David Koechner and Ken Jeong. The movie itself, unfortunately, relies heavily on the mostly unfunny Ving Rhames and a lot of homoerotic jokes from James Brolin. There are some good parts with Kathryn Hahn and Rob Riggle, but they are better left unmentioned. It’s nice to see Hahn with a little bit bigger role. She’s always playing someone’s funny/quirky/sad friend/sister in romantic comedies and I’m glad to see her stretch her legs a little.

I laughed several times during the movie, but I can’t say that there were a lot of standout scenes (or even lines) for me. Just some random silliness about trashy used car mercenaries. When the credits rolled and I looked down at my watch, I realized that the movie came in at almost exactly 90 minutes, which is no small feat, considering that directors these days feel obligated to put at least 120 minutes up on the screen. Even with its short length, there were times where I thought to myself, I hope this gets moving a little quicker. This is particularly true for the obligatory Will-Ferrell-completely-ridiculous-sidebar that nearly ruined the movie for me because it didn’t fit into the story (along the lines of the animated Pleasuretown tangent in Anchorman).

I enjoyed it enough, but I can’t enthusiastically recommend it. If you’re a massive Jeremy Piven fan like me, I’d recommend it without question. But there are only so many of us out there.

Two Out of Three Aint Bad

In the last 48 hours, Alli and I have checked out 3 different movies:

  1. Casino Royale – The latest addition to the James Bond series starring Daniel Craig
  2. Stranger than Fiction – A quirky story starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson
  3. Art School Confidential – The newest in our Netflix trial…an independent flick with John Malkovich

#1 and #2 were great. #3…not so much. Not terrible, just weird.

Casino Royale

I went into this movie with a lot of apprehension. I didn’t know enough about Daniel “James Blond” Craig to know whether or not he could fill Pierce Brosnan’s shoes. In my opinion, up to this point, Brosnan was a very close second to Sean Connery as the best Bond ever. Even so, I grew up with James Bond. He was like my Superman growing up. My dad loved all the Bond movies, so I loved all the Bond movies.

This one was one of my favorites.

It’s different than others. The insane actions scenes are all still there (the first scene is UN-REAL), but gone is the cheekiness that Connery, Roger Moore, and even to some extent Pierce Brosnan brought to the table. Even so, you totally buy Craig as Bond. You can see how he could charm the pants off countless women around the globe.

Curiously missing from Casino Royale, however…

  • Moneypenny – the banter between Bond and Moneypenny while he waits for M was a large part of that cheekiness
  • Q – The gadgets were there, but the gadget guy was not. Perhaps he’ll make a comeback in the future. John Cleese was a good replacement Q in the last movie.
  • The aforementioned double-entendre and jokes, save one, but I won’t ruin it.

Stranger than Fiction

Awesome, smart, poignant, well-acted, good message.

There’s not much else I could say about this movie without ruining much of it. It was a great movie. Everyone should see it. Seriously.

Art School Confidential

Funny at some points, but just kind of bizarre. Probably could have been better if it were less rough around the edges. There were some funny jokes about art school students, but a lot were pretty cliched. Still, it could have been worse. It could have been better too.

Not a bad percentage. I would watch Art School Confidential again if I got to see the other two movies as well. They made the third totally worth it.