November 24, 2009

One of my favorite films of the year comes to DVD this week!

Now, I'd have said it was one of the best in general, but fearing another unleashing of fury against me, I decided to hedge my bet. That being said, I do consider my PICK OF THE WEEK to be undoubtedly one of the 10 best flicks of the year (so far). It's:
Funny People
I thought that Judd Apatow hit an absolute home-run with his third film behind the camera, a dramatic comedy about just how damaged comedians are. With a plot that takes its cues from The Great Gatsby and in many cases career best performances from his cast, this is a fantastic film, one that I think will be more highly regarded by the masses in time, when expectations for the film have changed.
-The only other movie out this week worth mentioning in any good way is Gomorrah, which is one of the better mafia movies of late. If you have no issue with subtitles, this is a flick that you might enjoy quite a bit.
-The other releases this week do nothing for me. From Tom Hanks pretending to care about religion in Angels & Demons to Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon suffering through Four Christmases to Robert Rodriguez trying to entertain kids again in Shorts, none of these movies are any good, so you have no real reason to be concerned about them, unless somehow you're a fan, in which case, enjoy...
-My Vintage pick is, in honor of the release this week of Me and Orson Welles, a trio of other movies with Claire Danes that you might actually like (give or take Me and Orson Welles). Anything from the following list will do: Shopgirl, The Rainmaker, and The Family Stone. She's good in all of them, so enjoy!
-What will you be watching on DVD this week?


  1. I rarely mention Blu Ray, but if you like Apatow's special features on his other DVD's, the Blu Ray version is the way to go, it's absolutely loaded...better option than Angels & Demons, trust me there...

  2. I'm sorry but Funny People was one of the worst movies of the year. It was worse to me, than say, Spanglish. There was not a single redeemable character in the film, I genuinely did not care about a single character. Sandler was an ass, his ex-wife a cheat and liar, her husband was a jerk, and even Seth Rogan screwed his friend over out of jealousy.

    The film also dragged on in parts, trying to add more humor to the film. Example: The scene with the doctor where they make fun of his accent. How long did this need to be, and how many jokes do we need to hear??

    It was a complete mess of a film, without a good story structure, and I could only name a few movies released this year that are worse.

  3. No need to apologize, nothing wrong with having a difference of opinion...

  4. Though I will say this...I don't have anything against a movie with characters that aren't exactly likeable...that's life, and especially in the world of comedians (two people I know are in the business of show, as it were), this is particularly true. They're often damaged, so it's an accurate portrayal. Hey, I liked Spanglish too, so long comedies work for me.

  5. I picked up the criterion release of Gomorrah today, which was a film that was in my top ten of last year, and further proves my point that foreign films are the best films being produced in recent years, especially when you have films like Gomorrah, Pan's Labyrinth, City of God, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Waltz with Bashir, Let the Right One In, etc. being made.

    I felt that Funny People would have been better had it been about 45 minutes shorter. Not that I don't like long comedies, but I just felt that Apatow didn't have enough story to make a 2 1/2 hour film, it was a 1 hour and 45 minute film that completely lost its focus around the two hour mark. That being said, I'm not a huge Apatow fan, and not a big comedy fan overall. For me, all the massive hype that surrounded Funny People and its "laughing through the tears" pathos it was marketing and trying to evoke, the movie was really underwhelming.

    Angels and Demons was an improvement over The Da Vinci Code for me, as it played out like a much tighter and straight forward thriller, and didn't have theological pretensions going on. It was decently entertaining enough for me to check out, but I won't be buying it, maybe a Netflix rental though.

  6. Oh and quick sidenote. The best part of Funny People for me was Eric Bana's performance. I'm a fan of Eric Bana and I really enjoyed seeing him take on two drastically different roles this summer, both of which he did very well in. If anyone needs proof of why he is awesome, watch Munich, that film is incredible, and Bana's performance was amazing IMO.

  7. I understand your positioning, even if I disagree. I think the film was more just about following the characters as opposed to straight plot, but I freely admit that my opinion was helped by having read and loved the script, and enjoying both screenings I saw of the flick...

  8. And yes, Bana was fantastic in Funny People, and better than I expected in Star Trek

  9. I would like to address the complaints against Funny People. The movie is not for everyone. It is not Knocked Up or the 40 Year Old Virgin, which both have funny stories, likable characters, and a lot of heart and meaning to them (I love both by the way). In Funny People Apatow heads in a new direction. Funny People is a film that is actually very real most of the jokes are "everyday jokes" or stand-up acts. It's a real life kind of story. In real life people aren't perfect and things aren't wrapped up perfectly. I understand if you were looking for a good time comedy why you were disappointed. I challenge you to watch it again with a different set of mind. It is a really great movie whether you appreciate it or not. It is currently at the top of my Best of 2009 list.

    Sorry that was really long

  10. I see where Joey and Matt are coming from, and I have to say that it wasn't the plot or the dislikable characters that dampened the movie for me. It all really cam down to an excessive run time. I just didn't feel like there was a need for it to be 2 1/2 hours long when it felt like everything that needed to be said had been said 1 horu and 45 minutes into it. I get it, comedians are normal people and often damaged people. But again, I got that before the two hour mark hit. I rarely ever check the time or find myself mentally clocking the movie, but with Funny People I think I checked my watch like 4 times. That's not a good sign. Even in really awful movies like Wolverine I never checked the time because it was over and eon with in a timely fashion (100 minutes).

    As far as giving it a second chance, I'll probably end up seeing it again at some point, but not of my own chosing. More than likely my friends or roommates will want to watch it and I will oblige, but like I said, there's not really anything that will change my mind because it's not that anything about the movie rubbed me the wrong way, it was just too damn long for me (this coming form the person who loves Pirates of the Caribbean, LOTR, TDK, Lawrence of Arabia, Seven Samurai, etc)

    Bottom line, I understand that you feel its more of a character study, but if I'm going to watch a 2.5 hour or longer character study, it better be something like There Will Be Blood or a Martin Scorsese film.

  11. It's a perfectly valid point...movies effect everyone differently. Plenty of people find There Will Be Blood or Scorsese flicks too long, so it's all a matter of perspective.