Funny People

tn_funnypeopleAs a producer and an influence, Judd Apatow dominates the current comedy movie scene. His movies re-popularized the R-rated, filthy-mouthed comedy, they started a much-imitated improvised approach to comedy scenes, his TV shows and movies started or kickstarted the careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Siegel, Jonah Hill and others. In a few years he’s completely changed comedy movies, started a few cliches, and gained the inexplicable antagonism of talkbackers.

But just a couple years ago he was a hard-working, mostly ignored writer and producer whose name you’d see on stuff like The Larry Sanders Show, ZERO EFFECT and ANCHORMAN. He was a behind-the-scenes guy for Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey. He rewrote THE CABLE GUY from Chris Farley vehicle to the weird stalker comedy it became. Apparently he wrote Jim Carrey some jokes for the AFI Salute to Clint Eastwood. Nobody hated him back then. He was just another joke writer who had been roommates with Adam Sandler.

mp_funnypeopleAs a director FUNNY PEOPLE is only his third, and it shows kind of a progression. THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN was lots of laughs with just the right amount of sincerity to make it more touching than you expected. KNOCKED UP dedicated a little more screentime to the serious aspects, so it was a little less laughs but more emotionally effective. The shift continues with FUNNY PEOPLE so now we’re almost at the point of a drama that happens to have some laughs because it takes place in the world of comedians. But this time it’s less sweet and more depressing.

Seth Rogen plays Ira, a struggling do-it-for-free-when-they-have-an-opening standup comedian. He lives with the star of a successful but terrible sitcom (Jason Schwarzman) and a slightly-more-successful-than-him standup (Jonah Hill) and hates working a real job at a fake version of Noah’s Bagels, even though he gets to work with the RZA.

Then one day by accident he happens to be performing when depressed movie star comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler) decides to come in and do an impromptu set, and from that chance meeting ends up becoming his assistant and joke writer. It turns out Simmons has a rare blood disease that will most likely kill him and he’s realizing that all his money and groupies have not made him happy. To Ira this celebrity world is exciting so he struggles between his greedy impulses to take advantage of the situation and his more ethical side that wants to be a good friend to George and help him do the right thing.

It’s even less high concept than it sounds, it’s about 2 and a half hours long, and most of the funniest lines were already in the trailer. So even with Sandler in the starring role I don’t think it’s gonna be as popular as the other two. But I do think it’s a good movie. I like that the characters are flawed. Ira does a horrible thing right at the beginning (not telling Hill’s character that Simmons wants him as a writer) so I thought he would be too weak for hanging around with the super rich and famous and would be completely corrupted, but he ends up making some of the more ethical moves in the movie. Meanwhile Simmons’ joking around makes him seem like a nice guy who just happens to be a little sleazy because of his situation in life, but as he tries to improve himself he just behaves worse and worse, without seeming to even realize it.

Eric Bana is in a supporting role that finally takes advantage of his sense of humor, even if he’s mostly a straight man. He’s not a psychopath or anything but there’s a scene where he’s watching Australian football on satellite TV that’s the first time I’ve seen a flash of Chopper Read in a post-CHOPPER Eric Bana performance. He plays the husband of George’s old flame. You expect him to be an irredeemable asshole like, say, the equivalent character in THE WEDDING SINGER who Adam Sandler has to steal Drew Barrymore away from. But he’s not.

I’m not anti-Sandler. His first couple movies made me laugh and I love PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. I saw YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN and I thought it was kind of funny and even daring in that it seriously was a lowbrow comedy taking a shot at ending the Israel-Palestine conflict. For the most part though I’m not interested in the movies he makes these days and don’t usually watch them. But from the ones I’ve seen, this is his most subtle performance and possibly his best. He does a good job of playing sad and hopless without going overboard, selfishness and downright meanness without becoming a villain. He’s still a fairly likable character even as all his flaws come to the surface. It’s also nice to see him playing a character that’s not supposed to be any more naive or dumb than Sandler is in real life. So he’s more like the Sandler you see on talk shows than the one you see in movies.

I usually avoid writing reviews of comedies because I hate trying to argue why something is funny. So it helps that this one isn’t that funny. The aspect that I thought made it interesting enough I wanted to write about it is the way the movie seems to subvert and question the romantic gestures that take place in movies. I’ve seen many movies where somebody had to rush to the airport to tell somebody they love them, but this is the first I’ve seen where a character is rushing to the airport to tell her husband she wants a divorce. In the minds of George and his old flame they’re making things right, reuniting with the loves of their lives, doing what’s meant to be. But in the view of the movie they’re breaking up a family. Earlier, George argues that Ira’s generation doesn’t have as much pain to deal with as his, they just have divorce. This explains why Ira is the one who wants the family to stay together. With a little different context their rekindled love could be the happy ending to a romantic comedy with Sandler or any number of other actors, but in this more realistic world it’s the disaster you want to avoid.

I don’t know how autobiographical any of this is. They use old videos of Sandler standup and prank phone calls to establish his past, and the lame comedies that George is supposed to have starred in don’t seem that far removed from some of Sandler’s actual movies. But I always got the impression Sandler was kind of a family man, and I doubt he’s as lonely as this character considering how many of his old buddies he has repeatedly directing and co-starring in his movies. Apatow includes his real wife and kids in the movie, with footage of some of his wife’s real movies, but obviously Eric Bana is not playing Apatow, and I don’t think Ira’s based on him. So I don’t think this is based on any specific people. But it obviously is a world these guys are familiar with, it feels very accurate.

So I think this is the most personal of Apatow’s movies, but also the least universal. Sandler, Rogen and Apatow have been on all the late night talk shows the last week or two. All the hosts have seen the movie and loved it. But that’s because they come from that standup world. To me Hollywood shit is interesting, but not that interesting. At least they don’t show them making a fake movie. It’s a worthwhile story for Apatow to tell, but to be honest I enjoyed the other two more.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 3rd, 2009 at 1:31 pm and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

59 Responses to “Funny People”

  1. I gotta say, I’m pretty done with Movies about Hollywood culture, but it kind of sounds like this one has more to do with the comedy and stand up subculture, which only kind of brushes up against Hollywood where the big money is. Ever since I saw “Comedian” I thought this might be fresh terrain to explore; just the world of a particular kind of odd cat, the stand-up comic.

    Is it like that, or more of the same Hollywood movie-world rigamorole?

    Also, am I first? Cuz that would be awesome.

  2. yeah you’re first. Yeah party time! *balloons drop all over on Mr. Subtlety*

    I want to see FUNNY PEOPLE. Not not as goddamn great as the Geek Internet (AICN/CHUD) hype it up I’m sure, but the material is there to be quality watching beyond the jokes.

  3. I don’t wanna start the “is Apatow funny” discussion, because humor IS subjective, but count me to these people who don’t get the hype about him or his movies. The only movies that had his name somehow attached and made me laugh, where the ones with/by people who already managed to make me laugh on their own. (Sandler, Ferrell…) Maybe something gets lost in translation and Americans find swearing funny, because it’s still a big deal over there. I always here from people how much they enjoy that he is making R-Rated comedies, but most of his movies got a “12 years” rating here in Germany, because swearing and dialogue about sex is nothing special or censorship worthy over here.*
    I also think that he lacks timing and self editing as director. “Knocked Up” and “40 Year Old Virgin” missed a lot of good punchlines and were already in their theatrical versions 20-30 minutes too long.
    I might give “Funny People” a shot when it’s on TV, because of Sandler, who I enjoy as comedic and dramatic actor, and despite of Rogen, who is just annoying the shit out of me.

    *But don’t get me started on violence. A strong cut version of “Inside” just got into danger of getting banned in Germany!

  4. Chopper Sullivan

    August 3rd, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I thought it was pretty great, but most of the funny stuff came in the usual Apatow form with the young guys telling dick jokes. I ended up wishing that he cut the Sandler stuff in half and focused more on the three guys and the world of struggling standups. Still, as long as it was, none of it was boring and the idea that *SPOILER* Sandler’s character learns nothing much from his near death experience was interesting.

  5. CJ Holden – What American comedies have actually done well over there? Not in context of the nationality genre, but in general gangbusters popular? I mean perhaps in the league of action or horror. You know?

    Now some people want to like include PIXAR or SHREK or such designed broad inclusive pictures, but they aren’t what i’m asking. For what I’m talking about, I researched Box-office Mojo, and you know GHOSTBUSTERS was a monster back in the day…but only did $53 million overseas. Pretty good for a “comedy”, but quite a big leap compared to itself in the U.S.

    Or for that matter, foreign comedies in America. The only exceptions off the top of my head that (relatively in context) did well were like Monty Python’s LIFE OF BRIAN and that HOT FUZZ. But otherwise, they’re at best cult. or Remade by Hollywood.

    I mean shit TRUE LIES and that shitty Disney picture JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE, both with supposed laughs and came out around the same time in the mid 1990s, were remakes of French movies.

  6. CJ Holden– I think for a major percentage of Apatow fans in the US, “Freaks And Geeks” is the reason everybody is so excited that the dude is enjoying the booming type of career that allows him to make a FUNNY PEOPLE for every couple of dudish comedies he is better known for. If you haven’t seen F&G in Germany, you owe it to yourself, as an apparent enthusiast of visual entertainment, to give it a try. Both in my opinion and the opinion of seemingly everyone who’s seen it, it is the most accurate and emotionally complex depiction of high school outsiderness that has been committed to video. Call it “The Wire” of high school dramedies. (It should be noted that the show’s heartfelt, ‘been-there’ quality is in very large part due to Paul Feig’s major creative input, but without Apatow to wrangle it all together I’m guessing it never would have even seen the light of day.)

    It was familiarity with F&G that made me excited for THE 40 YR OLD VIRGIN, it was that movie that made me extremely excited for KNOCKED UP, and my absolute love for that movie that lets me enjoy pretty much all of FUNNY PEOPLE even though I found it kind of self-aggrandizing and in dire need of a more judicious editor. F&G is just that rare kind of truly excellent series that will make you excited for pretty much any future project one of its principal creative players gets involved with. I hope you check it out.

  7. I remember being quite happy that Sam Raimi, that weirdo who did those cult movies with a sleeper hit (DARKMAN) and an Oscar-nominated picture (A SIMPLE LIE)……..then suddenly he has SPIDER-MAN. I also liked THE GIFT, but nobody seems to give a shit about that. Unfortunate.

    7 years later, what did we get after Spider-Man? Well #1, 2, and of course #3.

    Otherwise, the other made he made with that supposed box-office clout was DRAG ME TO HELL. So I guess we got in dividends. Made alot forgive #3 especially.

    Not bashing Raimi at all, just a thought.

  8. I love Freaks and Geeks. Also try Undeclared another Apatow one- season wonder.

  9. The thing that attracted me to Apatow’s movies was the sincerity, something that had been missing from comedies for a long time. The kinds of popular comedies that were around when 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN came out (eg MEET THE FOCKERS, WEDDING CRASHERS) seem so soulless and formulaic in comparison. Any emotional component (when it appeared at all) was just stupid bullshit that you weren’t supposed to take seriously. I never saw FREAKS AND GEEKS until after Apatow made it big, but the strengths of that show (relatable situations, sincere emotion) can be seen in his movies too.

    Of course Apatow’s name started appearing on everything and people got sick of seeing the same faces in every movie, so there was the inevitable backlash. I still consider 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, SUPERBAD and KNOCKED UP to be some of the best comedies of the past five years.

  10. Hey RRA – I loved The Gift. Really slow and atmospheric for a Raimi flick. It doesn’t have the signature Raimi look, and I don’t even think Bruce Campbell or Ted Raimi are even in it, but it’s an effective, subtle story. Plus there’s that crazy Danny Elfman flash frame cameo (I’m almost positive I’m not making that up).

  11. Christian Brimo

    August 3rd, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    yeah i haven’t seen many of these movies but i loved loved loved loved Freaks & Geeks
    i had a friend in university who turned down a part in that ’cause he hated the script. how dumb must he feel?
    but i dig on the sincerity. i didn’t want to watch 40 Year Old Virgin ’cause i thought it would be mean but nah, it was respectful

  12. I just saw this today and I think it is far and away Apatow’s best film in terms of acting, filmmaking, character and what not. Will I rewatch it the way I do Virgin and Knocked Up? Probably not, but I think that has more to do with length and the unpleasantness of some of the characters then disliking anything.

  13. I also don’t want to get into a conversation about what is funny and what is not, because like you guys say, it is totally subjective.

    But I think we can evaluate Apatow on his strength as a filmmaker: his abilities to build stories and characters in a logical and compelling way. The same criteria apply to any genre and he may be a good joke writer but I don’t think Apatow is a good filmmaker. Like some of you have already pointed out, his movies end up being way too long because he loses track of what he’s doing.

    As a guy who likes dick and fart jokes, I can also say that I have a limited appetite for them. I’ve got about 90 minutes in me and then I start getting overstuffed with dick. If you’re delivering a movie about something more substantial, I’ve got all the time in the world. I love lots of movies that go past 2.5 hours. But movies like There Will Be Blood and Lawrence of Arabia justify their lengths.

    Apatow just gets into pointless subplots and too much time on supporting characters and wacky moments that are funny on their own but don’t completely fit in the movie (usually because they’re some improv joke). I like Apatow’s humour a bit. Like I said, I like dick and fart jokes. But his movies just drag on and go off all over the place and even though I laugh at many points, at the end I just feel like I’ve wasted my time in viewing his films and so I avoid them now.

  14. I like Apatow’s stuff, but “story” isn’t one of the reasons why.

    Maybe its because of the method his people cut their movies: Test screen, keep jokes/scenes that get a laugh, and chop out shit that don’t…even if they might wobble the supposed narrative. And it apparently works, so I’m not complaining about their method of madness. why piss in the secret sauce?

    That said, CrustaceanHate is right. All that fratpack shit of Ferrell/Vaughn/Stiller/that Wilson brother who slit his wrists/Black in this decade and before was….rather by the nose and rather quickly forgettable.

    I mean does OLD SCHOOL have the staying power of 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN? Nope. Those MEET pictures? No. STARSKY & HUTCH? Oh hell no. NACHO LIBRE? Did anyone like that one? So yes everyone is right….Apatow is effectively Hollywood comedy right now, or the trend-setting mother fuckers riding the Mercedes with the coke in back, and hoes up front. Good for them.

  15. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever really cared for Apatow. Didn’t really like “Freaks & Geeks” or “Undeclared.” Thought 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN was funny, but never had the desire to watch it again. KNOCKED UP was good for one viewing. Never have to see that again either. I think the only movie I truly liked that he was involved in was WALK HARD. And ANCHORMAN.

    Anyway, yeah, the guy could use a fucking editor.

    Also, Vern, all talk show hosts love everything their guests do. It’s a requirement of the job.

  16. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2009 at 9:05 pm


    I am the one person who likes NACHO LIBRE.

  17. Oh ok. Sorry.

  18. Caruso, come on bud, you know I’m not stupid. You can tell when the talk show hosts are being sincere in their praise, and this is one of those cases.

  19. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    I guess I’ll have to rent the goddamn thing some day. For the talk show hosts.

  20. Yeah, do it for Fallon! :)

  21. caruso_stalker217

    August 3rd, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    How’s Jimmy these days? Is the show funny yet?

  22. RRA: I think “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was a huge recent success over here. But that was predictable, because “King Of Queens” is running in an endless loop on German TV for years and still get good ratings. I remember that “Knocked Up” was a mild success. It started on #1 but didn’t break any records. Can’t remember about “Virgin”, but “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express” bombed here at the Box Office. (I think they were more successful on DVD, but I’m not 100% sure. I don’t really follow the DVD charts for any reasons.) Right now the #1 movie here is as far as I know “The Proposal” and before Harry Potter started, it was “The Hangover”.

    psychic_hits: I’m not sure if I saw “Freaks & Geeks”. There was an older show on TV last year, which was produced by Apatow, played on a Campus and Seth Rogen was in it. Don’t know if it was “Freaks & Geeks” (The German title was something different), but it was just mildly amusing to me. People are telling me for years about “Freaks & Geeks” and I really try to keep an eye out for it.

    And BTW: “The Gift” rules! (And I liked “Nacho Libre”. Didn’t love it, only watched it once so far, but I enjoyed it.)

  23. Apatow has definately been successful at branding himself as the new king of comedy. Aside from his sloppy story-building, I think another reason he kinda leaves me cold is that he wants it both ways. We wants to talk the dirty talk and walk the indie rom-com walk. I realize that helps him appeal to a broader audience, but I prefer a comedy movie that commits in one direction.

    If I want pure vulgarity I’ll watch Bruno or Crank 2. Actually, I watched both those movies and enjoyed them a lot. If I want indie comedy I’ll go for anything Tamara Jenkins or Diablo Cody put out. (yeah, that’s right, I’ll back Diablo Cody, you can start lynching me now). I get that Apatow is trying to at least be a poor man’s Woody Allen and he does a lot better at it than Kevin Smith, but even 40+ films into his career Allen is still making movies that are more funny and touching to me than Apatow’s output.

  24. Gotta love The RZA. I still say they should do a 70’s cop movie with his char. from American Gangster.

  25. I don’t know why a movie has to be either vulgar or sincere. Why can’t one guy out there in the world do both at once? I have no interest in the stylized cutsiness of Cody and Crank is pretty stupid. I’ll take Apatow.

  26. Jones beat me to it, but I want Wolfgang to elaborate on why vulgar and sweet have to be separate. I don’t see how that works and I think the unusual combination is part of what makes Apatow’s movies original.

  27. Didn’t Kevin Smith do vulgar and sincere back in 1996 with “Chasing Amy”?

  28. So, If I absolutely hated knocked up (both the drama and the comedy, which only made me smile once when someone was doing a DeNiro impression) – Will I like this?
    The review kind of makes me want to see this one, but I can’t understate how much I, well, hated knocked up.
    I did like Freaks and Geeks and loved Pineapple Express (warts and all.)

  29. CJ, the Apatow TV show set on campus is “Undeclared,” not “Freaks and Geeks.” I thought that one was pretty good but it seemed like it was trying a little too hard for mainstream success. “Freaks and Geeks” is an incredible show, certainly one of the best ever made. Calling it “The Wire of high school dramadies” is, believe it or not, understating just how good it was.

  30. I think one of the Apatow innovations, more than his mix of vulgar comedy and drama (which, someone above mentioned, was probably old even when Kevin Smith got there) but rather bringing the American comedy back to the real world. Around the time “40-year Old Virgin” came out, it seemed like every comedy on the block was of the wacky, sit-comish “Road Trip/Euro Trip etc” variety. The actors were pretty, mid-20s archetypes,
    and the sets were polished and unnatural. Apatow brought it all back to the real world, casting schlubby, go-nowhere goofballs and putting them into a world which felt very much like our own (where they work boring day jobs and bullshit all day long to stay sane). The comedies are mostly shot on location, in dirty, unglamourous locations which are loaded with enough stuff that it looks like people actually live there. I think the drama aspect isn’t so much a function of his wanting to mix comedy and drama, but a more natural function of making movies about characters who inhabit the real world, which is alway by turns funny and dramatic. Now, obviously, Apatow didn’t invent doing this, but he did swing American comedy back in that direction, which I think is a very good one — and, he’s also flexible enough to go abstract when its going to be funny, ie, “Anchorman” or the end of “40 Year Old Virgin”. In fact, I think a part of the genius is mixing the crazy stuff with characters and places which feel very firmly grounded in the real world (ie, Pinapple Express). I guess its not a direction everyone was happy with, but I for one think that its a style which is still working very nicely.

  31. Request granted.

    For me it’s the same thing you were talking about in your analysis of Michael Bay’s work: how he wants to make lame crass jokes that only serve to humiliate his characters but then he also wants you to care about those characters’ peril and conflicts when an action sequence breaks out.

    You can’t spend most of a film’s energy convincing me a character is an obnoxious vulgar boar and then expect me to switch gears and care about their feelings. Was I really supposed to root for Seth Rogen in Knocked Up? Because I didn’t. I’m not sure what Apatow’s exact involvement was with Superbad, but it had his style all over it and it was more of the same stuff where I’m supposed to laugh at how obnoxious and embarrassing these kids are and then the movie drags on at the end trying to bring up all this tedious drama about their friendship.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to make a movie with raunchy humour that is also kinda sweet and touching. I’m just saying it takes a more talented filmmaker than Apatow and a more talented performer than Seth Rogen to do it. It’s a fine line you have to walk. You can have obnoxious vulgar characters and you can have likeable characters in raunchy situations, but you can’t make me root for characters after you’ve convinced me they’re disgusting.

    I think Apatow was on the right track with 40 Year Old Virgin, because I actually did like the lead the character in that one and would root for him up to a certain extent. But there were also portions of that movie where I felt they were trying to wring more emotion out of me for these characters than they’d earned. And that movie also had all the same problems of all his other movies such as leaving the deleted scenes and gag reel in the film.

    Anyway, I think the things most people remember from Apatow’s movies seems to be the raunchy situations and shock value statements the characters make. I think that stuff is his strong suit and I laugh at a fair portion of his jokes but I don’t feel he has the drama chops to really make these movies the compelling dramedies he thinks they are. But obviously I’m wrong. Audiences and critics love him. And I’ll agree with you that his films have a distinct flavour.

  32. I don’t know but if a DeNiro impression is the only thing that made you laugh in Knocked Up, you probably shouldn’t watch an Apatow movie ever again.

  33. Yeah. More praise for Freaks & Geeks, easily one of my favorite 5 shows ever. I know other people who were put off by Rogen’s stoner lifestyle in Knocked Up, but I don’t understand why anyone would find the character hateful. The movie is about him maturing, finding his way. I think Rogen is a pretty good actor, and I’m glad he’s having some success. I don’t know if Linda Cardellini will ever have a role as good as Lindsay Weir, which is too bad, because she killed it.

    I understand the criticism that Apatow’s films are sloppy. They’re not visually concise or tightly edited. There’s an emotional and cinematic messiness to his work that I appreciate. It seems heartfelt to me. I’ve never longed for one of his films to draw to a close, the way I did with, say, The Hangover and Wedding Crashers.

  34. wouldn’t mind a Vern review of The Hangover.

  35. Christian Brimo

    August 4th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    why do you have to work to make Rogan likeable? he just is likable

  36. Seth Rogan usually plays a lovable stoner loser stumbling his way to maturity, and I guess if you can’t identify with that character/scenario then the whole film is going to go down in flames. For me a bigger problem in KNOCKED UP was Katherine Heigl’s character. Was I supposed to identify with her because I just found her to be a shrill, crazy bitch.

    I thought SUPERBAD was a fairly realistic portrayal of how teenagers actually speak and behave. These kids are terrified of drifting apart but of course they aren’t going to talk about their feelings, they are going to do what teenage boys normally do when they are upset, which is call each other names and act like assholes. This made the drama at the end really resonate with me, it didn’t feel forced or unnatural at all. I also like the way it subverted the sex-comedy by making the act itself (with the sloppy drunk girl) be kind of gross and uncomfortable rather than fantasy wish fulfillment.

  37. I thought they were making Rogen’s character obnoxious and crude by having him brag about being an illegal immigrant who lives off of law suit money with a dream of making a smut web site on his breakfast date with Heigel.

    I get that he’s a man child. I know plenty of man childs / men children (?). But who actually behaves like that? On a date with a woman he wants to impress? Like I said, it’s funny if the point of the movie is that we laugh at a guy who is naive to what an asshole he is, but don’t ask me to really think this is a soul who really deserves to find love and be a father.

    I also had the problem that I thought we were dealing with older characters. This might be my shortcoming. I thought the movie was about people in their early 30s and was judging the characters based on what I thought people in that age group should act like until one point where they say something about rogen and Heigel being just 23 year old kids or something.

    Even so. This guy lives in a whole house full of people who get pink eye from farting on each other. I mean, that’s funny, but like I said, it doesn’t make me like them.

  38. Really well written review, Vern. Thanks for your approach to this one.

    Also, not sure if anyone has mentioned, but I found that having Janusz Kaminski as DP made this a bit different in tone as well, especially the beginning third of the movie. Had his cold blues and a lot of the soft bloom lighting, but it eased up a bit during the third act (which I thought meandered a bit). It sort of threw me off, but I like that Apatow is trying new things and hope he continues too. A little worried that he might feel some pressure the next time out.

    I liked and appreciated what Apatow did with this one, but it certainly won’t be as popular. In some ways it remained me of OBSERVE & REPORT with what it wanted to do and I think that is just being what it wanted and not catering to anyone.

    Thanks for the review Vern.

  39. Steven Seagal is now officially cast in Machete!!! Seagalogists rejoice.

  40. Have you got a link? It’s not because I don’t believe you, I do, but I don’t want to just believe; I want to know!

  41. This is like the OLEG thread in the ZONE!
    Everybody is here…
    and CJ Holden.

  42. Here’s the link confirming seagal and other cast members:


  43. A quick shout out to John Hughes, the Judd Apatow of his day, who died today of a heart attack.

    You did good John. hell you gave Ben Stein a visual career.

  44. Really? How old was he? That sucks. I mean, it’s not like he made a movie for people more mature than 18 months old in about 20 years, but still. Weird Science is eternal.

  45. Mr. M – Michael Jackson hadn’t been relevant since what, 1991 at the latest? And I’m being generous.

    Both guys still did some great shit in the 1980s, material that still have staying power.

    And Hughes was 59. The wires claim he was “retired” but apparently he uncredited script doctored here and there. The last one I remember he supposedly worked was that Georgia something with Lohan.

  46. “it’s not cynicism. I just don’t get caring about the death of someone I don’t know who hasn’t produced anything good in yrs” – Devin Faraci, CHUD writer

    Poor Devin, he only seems to get attention in this way. Remember him bashing BATMAN BEGINS, but digging FANTASTIC FOUR?

  47. I actually thought Fantastic Four was better than…

    Nah, I’m just fucking with you. FF sucked a lot. Again, what the hell was Alba doing in that movie? Was there a blonde shortage in Hollywood at the time?

    And RRA, I’m not knocking Hughes at all. He earned the right to retire if that’s what he wanted to do. Like MJ, I can’t say I’ll miss him because it’s not like he’s really been around for the last decade or two anyway, but his body of work is worth memorializing.

    Here’s where we totally lose Vern, who wouldn’t be caught dead watching any of that teenybopper shit.

  48. Alba was stuck with that FF stuff because she it was a vehicle for her, as star/producer.

    Ever heard that alleged story of her and the sequel? The goes like this: She is contracted script approval power. She gets a draft of RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER some months before production starts, but she doesn’t bother to read it. She’s too busy….being blandly pretty.

    Anyway, she then reads it and demands immediate massive rewritting changes. Two Weeks before production. Budget escalates, and mostly because she wouldn’t read something that she probably thought was the next WAR & PEACE.

    Whether that anecdote is true or not, its humorous none the less.

    “Here’s where we totally lose Vern, who wouldn’t be caught dead watching any of that teenybopper shit.”

    Yeah because he wouldn’t review anything like SUPERBAD…

    Oh wait.

  49. Yeah because he wouldn’t review anything like SUPERBAD…

    Or, uh, that certain show about a short-haired girl going to NYU by JJ Abrams…

  50. Well, I realize most people aren’t like this but I still thought about Michael Jackson alot up to the day he died, I was always fascinated with what he was doing and dreaming of new albums and videos and what not. So to me he absolutely was still relevant. Whoever the fuck is considered “relevant” in modern music I’m pretty sure doesn’t have an effect on me.

    And I missed the boat on John Hughes, most of those movies passed me by, but I know he meant a huge deal to many people. They quote his movies constantly and they helped them get through their teenage years so they still relate to them. I get being upset about it even if he had been retired. Too damn young to die, too.

    By the way, that movie DRILLBIT TAYLOR was based on an old John Hughes treatment or something, there’s your Judd Apatow connection.

  51. Sandler’s new movie looks damn good.

  52. I will definitely be seeing that. The last movie these guys made – GOOD TIME – was fucking great.

  53. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, as I also thought GOOD TIME was great. Happy to see the reviews out of TIFF have been very positive.

  54. Adam in this kind of urban thriller is kind of wish fulfillment for me, eternally wondering how he would have been in Jamie Foxx’s role in COLLATERAL as he was attached to it for a long time before he dropped out to do something else. I heard a review comparing his performance to Harvey Keitel in BAD LIEUTENANT, more custom-tailored to his talents.

    I haven’t seen GOOD TIME yet (want to though). The Safdie’s have a 48 HRS. remake set up at Paramount (I’d honestly think a third movie would be better, but another subject), and this has Scorsese’s stamp of approval. So needless to say they are kind of a hot commodity right now and I can see this putting them over the top, especially if the Oscar talk for Sandler comes to fruition.

  55. I really wonder sometimes if Sandler does so few dramatic roles because he doesn’t want to do them all the time or because he gets so few offers. Pretty much every time he does something slightly more serious, he gets rave reviews (and even deserved, not just because “OMG, silly guy play drama mind blown y’all!”), but I can imagine the kind of indie filmmakers that could easily revitalize his career in a brand new way, are hesistant to hire him, because they are scared of turning their movie into another Sandler gang hangout joint.

  56. I sort of feel like the bit in the trailer where he says “just give me another chance” is the advertises subtly getting across “don’t worry this isn’t GROWN UPS 3”

  57. My guess is dramatic roles are neither as lucrative nor as fun for him, so he does them sparingly.

  58. Maybe he’s getting to a point where he is getting too old to be as excited about doing those kinds of movies so consecutively that he’ll change it up a bit more. The brilliance in something like PUNCH DRUNK LOVE is how Paul Thomas Anderson so embraced Sandler’s work, yet put through his vision the performance had deeper layers without denying the things that made him funny and likable in the first place. And that might be in effect what the Safdies did here, I hope.

  59. GOOD TIME convinced me the new Batman has more in him than just playing sparkly vampires. Definitely watching that new joint.

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