Tag Archives: Jack Black
2011. 104 minutes. Rated PG-13.
“There are people in town, honey, that woulda shot her for five dollars”.
In 1996, a well-liked undertaker named Bernie Tiede shot his wealthy 81-year old companion, Marjorie Nugent, to death with a rifle. After hiding her body in a freezer, he proceeded to convince the residents of their home town of Carthage, Texas that Marjorie was alive and well in seclusion. Her reputation was so bad and Bernie was so popular that nobody questioned her absence for nine months.
Fifteen years later, they made a movie about it.
2011. 100 Minutes. Rated PG.
“I just wanna do something big, you know?”
Except for the seagull or everyday garden variety that leaves its mark on my car, I never gave birds too much thought. Many of my friends enjoy birding, and bring binoculars with them while hiking or kayaking. Occasionally, I will take a look and relate a bird’s beauty to another friend or family member. Birds, like many things in nature, can be breathtakingly beautiful and pleasurable to examine and chase. For the most part, I would not be among the characters in The Big Year who set out on a competitive year-long journey to spot as many different types of birds in the United States as possible.
The first Kung Fu Panda movie was entertaining. It was funny, it had a lot of action, it had very typical training montages, it had the hopeless good guy figuring out what he needed to at the right moment. But I think Kung Fu Panda 2 is actually a better film. It has an emotional resonance that the first did not. Po’s preoccupation with discovering his origins feels real, and his ability to accept who he is and what is important is a great lesson. The concept of what creates a family and how it can hurt or help you is the central theme to this film. It also concentrates on the concept of inner peace. Now, I don’t know how many movies you’ve seen lately, never mind ones for kids, that deal with finding inner peace. Let’s just say I don’t find it that common a theme.
2011. 103 Minutes. Rated PG.
“If I’m a Muppet, then I’m a very manly Muppet.”
I don’t know about you, but I grew up watching The Muppet Show on Sunday nights. Pretty much everyone who was anyone guest-starred on the program, from Bob Hope and Carol Burnett to Debbie Harry and Steve Martin (side note: no guest star was ever on the show twice, although John Denver made it into more than one “special”). Everyone had a favorite character, be it Kermit or Rowlf or Janice or Scooter or Miss Piggy or Animal or the Swedish Chef. There was always music and silly comedy sketches, like the infamous “Mahna Mahna” song, and the unforgettable commentary from Statler and Waldorf.
It doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test. There are gratuitous explosions. It toes the line with stereotypes. But Tropic Thunder was one of my favorite movies of 2008.
It’s a movie about making a movie, which is a fantastic frame; unbeknownest to the actors who have been dropped on location in Vietnam for authenticity, when the director steps on a land mine, the only shooting that continues is by drug-runners, at our heroes, who still think they are within a construct they will emerge from safely.