Posts Tagged ‘Superbad’

Aught Lang Syne: The Ten Funniest Movies of the Decade

Yesterday we gave you the definitive list of the funniest comedians of the decade. Today, NPI continues its look at the comedy of the Aughts by looking at the ten funniest films of the decade. Evaluating comedies can be tricky. Is the sheer number of laughs more important than the overall quality of the movie? This list aims to balance those concerns: It is a list of the funniest films, and not the best comedies, but at the same time, the best comedy often comes out of a good story. So what is the funniest film of the Aughts? Well, here’s the list:

10. Meet the Parents (2000)

Time has been a little unkind to Meet the Parents. An unfortunate sequel, the overexposure of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, and a rather disappointing decade from Robert De Niro all conspired to reflect poorly on this film. These considerations, however, are generally unfair; they ignore the fact that Meet the Parents was one of the Aughts’ first great comedies and that Stiller was one of the best comic actors of the first part of the decade. Meet the Parents showcased his ability to play the understated, slightly belligerent everyman that he would later tone down to a bland, traditional romantic comedy lead. This, combined with De Niro’s excellent and persistent deadpan, led to some truly great comic scenes, like the discussion of “Puff the Magic Dragon” in the car and the lie-detector scene. Continue reading

Aught Lang Syne: Quotes of the Decade

To accurately and sufficiently summarize the Aughts, we at NPI have compiled and organized what we believe to be the defining list of quotes from this decade. Some of these were soundbytes, some were entire news cycles, some were quoted ad nauseam, some are poignant, some are sad, and most are hilarious.

“Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

–President George W. Bush, September 20th, 2001

 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says: Fool me once, shame on… shame on you… You fool me we can’t get fooled again.”

–President Bush, 2002

“Our enemies never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

–President Bush, August 2004

 

“I actually did vote for the $87 million before I voted against it.”

–Senator John Kerry, 2004

 

“Yes We Can!”

–Senator Barack Obama, Repeated Continue reading

Expectations and Genre

Josh claims that we shouldn’t let genre classifications affect our judgments of films, and Josh, I agree with you, in theory. In theory, we should evaluate movies based on content…in theory.

In fact, though, this is an unattainable ideal, since expectations are impossible to avoid in movies.

Take an example that comes outside of the genre dilemma Josh outlines: spoilers. I try very hard to avoid any and all spoilers for a movie/TV show/book, to an almost excessive degree. I don’t just try and shelter myself from twist endings and dramatic reveals, but from everything about the plot. I don’t even like fake spoilers (“Man, the ending of Rocky was great, when he and Apollo Creed team up to defeat the evil aliens”), because they eliminate potential (granted, highly unlikely) possibilities. Ideally, I don’t want to know the protagonist’s name before seeing a film.

The logic behind this is the same logic that Josh uses in regard to genre: Knowing things about a story before the narrative reveals them is going to predispose me to have certain expectations for the film, and I don’t want my judgments to be based on my personal expectations. If I expect, for example, Mufasa to die halfway through The Lion King, then it’s going to detract from the emotional impact of the death when it happens, just like expecting humor is going to make me disappointed if I don’t laugh. Continue reading

What Happens to Funny People?: A Review

“You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who makes people happy, but inside he’s real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.” —Jack Handey

 This Deep Thought—if you replace the word “diarrhea” with “leukemia”— kind of sums up the conceit of Judd Apatow’s new film (technically only his third as director, but his influence as a producer/writer has been felt everywhere in comedies recently, from Pineapple Express to Superbad), Funny People: Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a beloved but lonely comic on the verge of death, who befriends/employs an upstart comedian, Ira Wright (Seth Rogen).

Simmons is in some ways an analog of Sandler himself (an important difference, however, is that Sandler, unlike Simmons, is married with two children): A stand-up comedian turned star of popular, critically panned films—Re-Do, about a man-baby, Sayonara Davey!, about a white man living with a Japanese family, My Best Friend is a Robot, about, well, you can probably figure it out— that bear a certain resemblance to Sandler’s own filmography.

While these films bring Simmons fame, fortune and success with women, they don’t bring fulfillment, and when Simmons gets sick, the only person he tells is his new assistant, Wright; Simmons has no close friends or family he feels comfortable confiding in. The movie, then, presents Simmons as the proverbial “sad clown”: He makes other people happy, but not himself.

Continue reading