Chris M wrote a few articles recently of films he likes that the critics don’t seem to and in the hopes of cashing in on his idea I thought I would unveil a few choice cuts of my own that I love that perhaps other people don’t like (or that at the very least aren’t considered classics). The following is a list of films that remind me of mornings after the night before; those perfect hangover movies that allow me to forget it’s past midday and I’m still in my dressing gown!
I’ll start off with a double bill because these two films come hand in hand for me; most times I watch one the other won’t be far behind. I love Daddy Day Care, and I am man enough to admit that at least 80% of the reason for that is because the kids are just awesome. Classic lines such as ‘Can you hear me now?’ ‘I missed’ and ‘I can change it’ (taken out of context those lines are meaningless- tough, you’ll just have to watch it to find out why they’re ace) are made that much funnier by a preschooler uttering them- one of which is Dakota Fanning’s younger sister! Fact.
The other reason I like it is because for probably the only time this decade Eddie Murphy is also watchable and for the most part this is because he doesn’t try to be funny. He simply drives the story, letting Steve Zahn and Jeff Garlin do the slapstick stuff and the kids be kids.
And speaking of old hats being watchable there’s Steve Martin in Cheaper By The Dozen, who this time earns points with me by doing his whole sarcastic, pratfall dad thing. Plot wise I don’t know; stuff happens, the teenage kids go through some problems, the nerdy kid gets accepted, but mostly the film is an excuse to see just how bad it might be to be a father with 12 kids whose wife then goes away for a month. Worth watching just for Martin and Bonnie Hunt’s opening montage/voiceover explaining exactly how they made it to the magic twelve- and a hilarious sequence involving a bouncy castle.
I can appreciate people ragging on JP3 because it is nothing compared to Steven Spielberg’s original but Joe Johnston’s 2001 follow up (let’s forget The Lost World) light’s my candle because it is probably the closest we have had to a decent B-movie style flick from Hollywood in the last 20 years- with the exception of Eight Legged Freaks; another classic! Forget the plot, forget the characterisation, this is 90 minutes (and its short too by action movie standards) of people being chased by dinosaurs ALL THE FRIGGING TIME.
It takes 10 minutes for Sam Neill and his gang to wind up marooned on island #2 (the island Allan Grant HADN’T visited the first time around) and from then on in it is one thing after another as the troupe make their way through the jungle to safety. Pretty much everything anyone ever wanted from the concept of dinosaurs-meet-humans if you ask me. Bit of a ridiculous ending, but I’m willing to forgive it that based solely on the T-Rex/Megasaurus fight about 20minutes in.
Everyone knows that I have a special place in my heart reserved for Ben Affleck (and if you don’t know that then where have you been?) and so it makes sense that when I am at my most fragile I might turn to a film that showcases his capabilities and charm. Surviving Christmas is B-Fleck on top form. Ben plays a selfish marketing executive who in an attempt to find Christmas pays a family that includes James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara and Christina Applegate to accept him as one of their own and create for him the perfect holiday season.
Here at Casta La Vista we love a good Christmas movie and Surviving Christmas is to me what Jingle all the Way is to Chris M. I have watched this film in May and still been into it. Critically the film was trashed and people added it to their list of films that prove Affleck is a waste of space. But like any good fanatic I just don’t listen to reason and factual evidence and instead enjoy a group of actor’s clearly only in it for the pay-cheque create a film that perfectly imagines the cynicism and turmoil of the holiday season, before wrapping everything up in a perfect-love-story finale. Perhaps the lack of effort by the cast actually aids the story as their disinterest in the film works well with their character’s disinterest in the holidays. At least two classic B-Fleck deliveries mean that this is always a go-to movie for me. And his smile makes my heart skip a beat.
The thing I love about Wes Anderson’s early work in particular is that every time I watch Rushmore, Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic (not really as much with Bottle Rocket) it is that particular film that instantly becomes my favourite Anderson pic. I’m choosing Tenenbaums for this though because more often than not it is the Anderson film I’ll go to first.
The Royal Tenenbaums isn’t a particularly short film but for me it rockets by as I spend the duration anticipating what is about to happen next and trying to decide if the next scene is one of my many “favourite scenes of the movie”. Critics can argue that Anderson’s work has a tendency to be over stylised, but for me Tenenbaums is the movie that backs it up with top class performances and a wonderful story. Forget about praising the ensemble as a whole; this film is all about Gene Hackman and he gives one of his best performances in years. He IS Royal Tenenbaum; every loathsome, selfish and manipulative ounce of him. I love a good movie bastard, they’re so much more fun to watch.
I love this film because every time I watch it I find it more hilarious and I always notice something new. It’s a perfect hangover cure because it forces me to pay attention and rewards that attention with a new laugh each and every time.
I end proceedings with probably the ultimate hangover film in many respects; my generation’s Animal House. The film that created the monster that is Will Ferrell. The film that turned Vince Vaughn back into a comedian. The film that people forget has Luke Wilson in it. The film that introduced us all…to THE DAN BAND.
Old School has it all for my hangover cure; belly laughs a plenty; good quality slapstick; top swearing; great villainy (Dean Pritchard is a brilliant character); boobies; great music; ridiculous cameos and homages; even a whiff of social comment on what it is to be a white-collar male.
Show me a man who doesn’t like Old School and I’ll show you a prick- it’s that simple. This film kept me alive during my first term at University and to see people only now showing Todd Phillips kudos on the basis of The Hangover is to forget that 7 years before he showed us the beauty of Zach Galifanakis he had found a way to tap into the potential energy of Will Ferrell and deliver us Frank the Tank. A movie so crass and shameless it has the balls to save it’s romantic ending for the last 20 seconds of screen time, and even then make it look like an excuse for a quickie. Brilliant.
So there you have it folks. 6 films that make me smile with unadulterated enthusiasm and wonderment. For me these films are entertainment-cinema at its best. Everyone has a list like this in them, why not tell me yours by leaving feedback in the comments section below?