Ep. 131 – Good Boys, The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, and the death throes of MoviePass

August 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

The CineSnob Podcast returns from a short summer break with reviews of “Good Boys” and “The Amazing Johnathan Documentary.”

Jerrod also grills Cody on what its like being one of the last few subscribers to disgraced all-you-can-watch subscription service MoviePass.

Click here to download the episode!

Nebraska

December 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb
Directed by: Alexander Payne (“The Descendents”)
Written by: Bob Nelson (debut)

Director and two-time Oscar-winning writer Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) takes audiences back on the road in the touching and subtly comical father/son film “Nebraska.” From a narrative perspective, it might not have the same stability like Payne’s other road-trip movies “Sideways” and “About Schmidt,” but Payne has made one of his most well-refined  and charming films to date, which should be enough to get his followers into art-house theater seats any day of the week.

In “Nebraska,” Payne and first-time screenwriter Bob Nelson follow Woody Grant (Bruce Dern in an Oscar-worthy performance), a stubborn, ornery old man living in Montana who is convinced he has hit the jackpot when a Publisher’s Clearing House-type letter comes in the mail for him letting him know he has won a million dollars. Of course, it’s all a marketing ploy to get recipients to buy magazine subscriptions, but Woody is certain his luck is real and decides he will walk to Nebraska to claim his prize even if it’s the last thing he does.

Worried about his father’s safety and health, Woody’s son David (Will Forte in a strong breakout role) reluctantly agrees to drive him to the Cornhusker State much to the chagrin of his mother, Woody’s scene-stealing wife Kate (June Squibb), who’s at her wit’s end with her irrational hubby. Along the way, Woody and David meet up with family members who find out about Woody’s good fortune and want a slice of the imaginary pie.

It all makes for some tender and intimate dynamics between well-written characters pulled straight out of the American Midwest. This is especially true with the delicate relationship between Woody and David. Payne paints a picture of a father and son with so many unspoken issues keeping them from truly knowing one another, so when that door is open for David to genuinely ask his father questions about his life, it’s extremely poignant and heartbreaking.

So much of “Nebraska” is about lost dreams and the desire to leave something substantial behind when your time in this world is over. It’s about simple pleasures and knowing you have done your best despite the forks in the road that lead you astray. Payne has captured something special in Woody and David that very few films do when it comes to portraying real family situations. There is a sadness in “Nebraska” that lingers even in the most hopeful scenes. But with Payne behind the wheel, we can all feel confident he’s pointing us in the right direction.

MacGruber

May 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe
Directed by: Jorma Taccone (debut)
Written by: Will Forte (“Extreme Movie”), Jorma Taccone (“Extreme Movie”), John Solomon (“Extreme Movie”)

It’s no secret that for the last 18 years film adaptations of “Saturday Night Live” skits have been as embarrassing for the long-running TV show as an Ashlee Simpson hoedown. From the pathetically unfunny gender-bending of “It’s Pat” to the irksomeness of Catholic school girl Mary Katherine Gallagher in “Superstar,” not much of anything has worked since the original “Wayne’s World” hit theaters in 1992.

That might be the reason it’s taken “SNL” a whole decade to try again. The show’s last attempt was transferring the Courvoisier-drinking radio show host Leon Phelps to the big screen in 2000’s dreadful “The Ladies Man.” Ten years, however, seems to have made a world of difference. While it doesn’t mean much to call “MacGruber” one of the best “SNL” movies ever made (for obvious reasons), it’s still rather funny even on its own merit.

In “MacGruber,” comedian Will Forte stars as the title character, an American war hero whose impressive military resume is second to none (it includes 16 purple hearts, three Congressional Medals of Honor and seven presidential medals of bravery!). Laying low in Ecuador after the murder of his fiancée by his archenemy Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer), MacGruber is called back to action when Von Cunth (the name loses its luster after the third or fourth joke kind of like Alotta Fagina and Felicity Shagwell in the “Austin Powers” franchise) steals a nuclear warhead with plans to blow up Washington D.C.

After a major mishap with his first team of renegade soldiers, MacGruber enlists Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and his wife’s best friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) to help him avenge his fiancée’s death.

Based loosely on the 1980s TV show “MacGyver,” which followed the adventures of a resourceful secret agent working for the government, MacGruber doesn’t sport as many miscellaneous objects one would imagine him to have at all times. Instead, most of the gags in “MacGruber” come in hard rated-R form from multiple crass sex scenes to the occasional Ramboesque ripping out of a throat.

What makes “MacGruber” the most enjoyable, however, is how aware it is of its own stupidity, which often times makes for the best parody. While the movie might feel like a dragged out “SNL” skit at times, in this instance it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Jokes might hit more often than not in first half and veer off in the second, but you can count on MacGruber to always have a few tricks up his plaid-patterned sleeves.