…on the 7th day of Castmas the Chrazzas gave to me…
As I’m sure you no doubt know, I’ve been battling my way through three hundred and sixty five movies this year. One of the conditions I set myself was that all of the movies had to be ones that I hadn’t seen before and as such I’ve resisted watching movies I’ve seen before wherever possible to fully maximise my chances of achieving this monumental feat. There have however been a few occasions throughout the year where someone has suggested we watch a movie that I’ve already seen and I’ve happily obliged. These five are the best of the bunch and needless to say if I was prepared to rewatch them whilst trying to catch as many new movies as possible, they all come come highly recommended.
1. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Speculatively written off before its release as a complete waste of time, South Park The Movie showed that the duo of Parker and Stone aren’t just potty mouthed idiots out to cause offense and earn a quick buck, whilst also demonstrating an expert use of satire that has gone on to influence all the pair’s subsequent work, as well as the course of the TV show itself. Perhaps one of the most reflexive movies ever written, South Park feeds off its own notoriety and masterfully prods the finger back at critics who used the TV series as a scapegoat for “the collapse of society” and every misdemeanour carried out by a viewer of the show. All that would be for naught though if it wasn’t such fun to watch, and as long as your on board with its comic stylings you’re on for ninety minutes of pure hilarity. Even years later I still don’t think this movie is given the kudos it deserves; it’s so much more than just another lazy TV to big screen cash in and contains such great music that it baffles me why it isn’t more widely regarded as a great modern musical. With the advancement of the animation, writing and technology behind current episodes of the TV series, I’d love nothing more than to see a sequel.
2. I Love You, Man
Undoubtedly one of my highlights of 2009 and a film I know I’m going to keep watching over and over as time goes on. Peter Klavin (Rudd) has recently got engaged but has a problem, he doesn’t have any guy friends to be his best man. Klavin eventually meets Sydney Fife (Segel) and what follows isn’t quite what you’d expect… I Love You Man sneakily takes the classic rom-com formula and stands it on its head; delivering a movie that is not only hilarious but is also genuinely touching. I like Paul Rudd a lot but have never really seen him as a strong leading character, but his well worn straight man routine gets its strongest outing here thanks largely to how straight Jason “how have I not been in more movies yet?!” Segel plays it right back at him; that’s not to say that it isn’t funny though, as this movie contains some of the best awkward humour of any film in recent memory and is perhaps the most quotable movie since Anchorman.
You got it Jobin!
3. Team America
Another entry for Parker and Stone? Sure enough they once again take a potentially volatile subject and point fun at it in such a way that makes viewers ask “hey what’s the fuss all about?!” Team America focuses on the eponymous band of do gooders who travel the world doing whatever they must to eliminate the terrorists that threaten world peace, whilst inadvertently proving themselves more effective than the terrorists themselves. From the moment the film opens and we’re greeted by puppets controlling puppets, we’re treated to ninety minutes split evenly between the best puppetry we’re ever likely to see on the big screen, and jokes made at the limitations faced when using marionettes. As explosive as it is skilful and as stupid as it is well observed, Team America proves that Parker and Stone have got a lot more in them than just South Park – even if it does run the names of Casta favourites Clooney and Damon through the mud whilst it does so.
AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!
4. 17 Again
My initial resistance to this film last year proved to be hugely unfounded. Knowing little more of Zac Efron than that he was the smiley singing punchworthy guy from the High School Musical trilogy, this film correctly changed my opinion of him to potentially being one of the most watchable new performers on the big screen, and (if he plays his cards right in the future) surely one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The classic “one more chance at youth” narrative is given a run over once again but, for potentially one of the only times for movies of this genre with the same target audience, isn’t given the heavy handed sanitising that usually comes with the standard *cough Disney cough* big studio backing. Efron proves himself a joy to watch throughout and events on screen prove to be just as funny and awkward as you imagine they will be. A great addition to the ranks of the teen comedy.
5. Back to the Future
I wrestled long and hard with whether or not to include this in my count of 365 being as its cinematic rerelease gave me the first opportunity I’ve ever had to watch it on the silver screen. However after much deliberating I decided that this (along with Toy Story 2) couldn’t really count, as the digitally remastered audio and visuals (and indeed the 3D in TS2’s case) didn’t constitute enough for me to count it as a “new movie experience”. Lucky then that I have this opportunity to talk a little more about it.
Cast your mind back and you may well remember that Chris and I went nuts for this back in Episode 24 – Cast Boot and for jolly good reason. Twenty five years on and it’s still every bit as funny, clever and charming as it was upon its release and I don’t think another twenty five are going to do it any harm either. If you didn’t catch this on the big screen for its rerelease then you missed out on one of the best cinematic experiences of the year.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for day eight of the Twelve Days of Castmas, a festive treat with some very special guests!