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Quint dances along with Steve Coogan's Sexy Jesus in HAMLET 2 at Sundance!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here finally catching up on my Sundance coverage. In the last month I’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 films theatrically and another half dozen screeners to add onto that pile. Of all those movies only about a fifth were damn good and of those only a handful that are what I’d call fuckin’ good or better. HAMLET 2 made the cut. Steve Coogan. If that name puts a smile on your face, then get in line now. This is Coogan at his finest. If his name got a “Huh?” response, then that’s okay, too. You’ll be a new fan of his once Hamlet 2 hits and then, I’m sure, you’ll dive into the hilarious world of Alan Partridge. While Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost broke over here Mr. Coogan was biding his time. In HAMLET 2, Coogan plays an Arizona drama teacher. In his mind he’s a great actor and in the opening moments of the movie we’re treated to his highlight reel, which consists of bit parts on infomercials and speaking roles in STD treatment commercials. He gets paid next to nothing, his wife (played by Catherine Keener) is always bitchy to him (she married him and waited for his bit acting career that never came), he’s got a live-in hanger-on (played almost silently by David Arquette) and he’s struggling in a school system that doesn’t value the arts. His classroom has been moved into the cafeteria where his lectures have to compete with the lunch ladies noisily cooking. In short, his life’s a mess, but he still has a hopeful smile on his face, an almost childlike optimism. In his new year of teaching he is given a class of delinquents. The irony is not lost on him or the movie as he studies films like DANGEROUS MINDS in order to learn how to make the transition from his pure white-bread theater snob class to a multi-cultural class just trying to get an easy A. This same year, he finds out that the school has finally cancelled theater and that situation brings the class together to achieve Coogan’s game plan: He’s going to put on a play that is so popular, so good, that the school board will be forced to reinstate the class. In the past, Coogan’s plays all consisted of stage remakes of popular movies. We’re treated to a glimpse at one of his previous works, a stage version of ERIN BROKOVICH. He has a heated conversation with his biggest critic, the high school newspaper’s entertainment reviewer (a child no older than 12). He asks this kid why he always gets a negative review. The kid simply states that his shows suck. Of course, Coogan breaks down and the kid has to console him and gives him a piece of advice. Do your own thing, don’t just copy everybody else. With that in mind, Coogan is inspired to create his masterpiece… HAMLET 2. But… everybody dies at the end of Hamlet, right? Aha! Well, that’s where the time machine comes in. Seriously, the final version that ends up onstage is something they should tour with. You have time travel, historical figures coming in to change the events of the first HAMLET and a dance number involving Christ called SEXY JESUS. And yes, his main inspiration to sequelize HAMLET is that he thought Shakespeare’s original was too much of a bummer and he wanted a chance to make it happier. He takes the tragedy out of HAMLET, essentially. I can’t write this up without mentioning a particular actress. One of the secondary stories is the difficulty Keener and Coogan are having conceiving a child. So they go to a sperm bank and while they’re waiting, Coogan bumps into a cute nurse, played by Elisabeth Shue. His mouth hangs open and he says, “Excuse… but you look exactly like my favorite actress Elisabeth Shue.” She smiles and says, “I am Elisabeth Shue.” And so it goes. She quit acting and became a sperm bank nurse in Arizona… and she’s not a throwaway joke. She is a real character in the movie, playing herself, and boy does she still have it. I’ve had a crush on her since my childhood viewings of ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING and KARATE KID. She’s looking great and is as charming as she’s ever been. The script was whip-smart, as should be expected from Pam Brady. She works with Trey Parker and Matt Stone a lot on South Park, the South Park movie as well as TEAM AMERICA. She doesn’t disappoint here. The flick just finished filming in November, so the cut we saw in January I’m sure is still rough. There was a little drag in the middle, but I’m sure they’ll tighten the film a bit before release. Even if they don’t, it’s already hilarious. It was the biggest pick-up at Sundance, with Focus Features dishing a reported $10 million for it, so you know you'll see a big release. This'll be one Sundance movie I"m sure will be at a theater near you no matter where near you is. Anyway, that’s it for HAMLET 2. Still more Sundance/Santa Barbara flicks to go through before I’m done. Keep an eye peeled, squirts! -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:31 a.m. CST

    Hamlet will return in....THUNDERBALL!

    by I Dunno

    That was a pretty good MST3K. Only version I ever saw or read.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Biding his time?

    by henrydalton

    What about the cinematic masterpiece that was Around The World In 80 Days??

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Sorry, this might be completely rumor, but...

    by Canada's King

    Didn't Steve Coogan have a part to play in Owen Wilson's suicide attempt? That's the information I've heard, can anyone dispute this?

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:55 a.m. CST

    Knowing me, knowing you... aha

    by TomHooligan

    Can't wait to see this film! I'm a long time Steve Coogan fan. I loved Coogan's Appearance on Curbs and "24 Hour Party People" is immense. If you like Steve Coogan you should check out "Saxondale", it's easily as funny as Alan Partridge. Classic.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Back of the net!

    by FILMFUNK

    Sounds a bit shit really! but When Steve Coogan's good he's very fucking good! - 24hour Party People, Hotfuzz.<P>He should do an Alan Partridge movie because that character is Jurassic Park! i was watching some the other night and it's like a comedy stun gun! the fact he can fluctuate from mildly amusing characters/films to utterly genius ones like Alan is very frustrating and I'm dubious as to whether to see this at the cinema after being burned by shit like the Parole Officer and Around the World in 80 days but if he does an Alan Partridge movie I'm there!<P>Anyone not familiar with I'm Alan Partridge should buy it! 'Cashback!'

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7 a.m. CST

    I heard there was going to a SEXY MOHAMMED bit

    by classyfredblassy

    But then the produce told him not to loose his head.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:06 a.m. CST

    I bumped into Coogan a few days ago

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Very quietly amusing fellow. I think I might have said some ridiculously embarrasing thing like, "Knowing me, knowing you!" to him in a really squeaky voice. But seeing as how it hurts to bring it up, I'll just make believe that nencounter ever happened.<p> </p>The first season of I'm Alan Partridge! is one of the few sitcoms to have me in tears (of course, it's only JUST a sitcom, so that might be one of the reasons why). Not too sure that his movie career can be called a raging success, though:- The Parole Officer? Around the World With Jackie Chan? Glad to see it that it LOOKS like that's turning around.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:10 a.m. CST

    people who say WOOT WOOT

    by christophermoltosante

    are faggots.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Coogan > Gervais

    by Sakurai

    I love the office as much as the next guy (i have seen every episode at least 3 times) but Coogan is the true comic genius of the UK. Its a shame he was in such crap US movies. Now where is that Roger Moore-Steve Coogan buddy flick I have been asking for?

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:18 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Judgement Day

    by messi

    1

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Tokyo Drift

    by messi

    2

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: The Redemption

    by messi

    that is always the best subtitle of any movie sequel, usually DTV.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: The Blackest Night

    by messi

    2009!!!!

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Infinite Final Hamlet Crisis

    by messi

    by Grant Morrison and J.H Williams III

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 7:34 a.m. CST

    I'm there

    by RedwingsHoolihan

    Sounds fun. Plus Elisabeth Shue. I'm sold.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 8:09 a.m. CST

    If you're going to do sequel names, do them correctly!

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    Hamlet 2: Electric Boogaloo; Hamlet 3: Die Hamlet Die; Hamlet 4: In Space! (or if you so desire: Citizens on Patrol); Hamlet 5: In the Hood

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 8:27 a.m. CST

    you needed reminding that Elizabeth Shue is still hot??

    by Gabba-UK

    Wake up Quint and never doubt the Shue again!!!

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Sounds hilarious

    by Bobo_Vision

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 8:42 a.m. CST

    what are the odds that Coogan....

    by Gabba-UK

    nailed or attempted to do so at least the Shue? To say he has a reputation in that regard is like saying Hitler was merely right of centre...

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 8:48 a.m. CST

    love Saxondale

    by Cedar_Room

    and have no idea why it hasn't got as much love as Partridge. Coogan is brilliant, if anything Gervais stole from him to create David Brent and now hopefully he is earning the respect he deserves. Also, check out Partridge on The Day Today - "that...was liquid football" "TWAT!"

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST

    This sounds like a hit, a very palpable hit

    by BenBraddock

    Where's the trailer at?

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST

    The Ad..

    by HOTDOGVNDR

    on the right side is not joke right Harry? A day or so after "HD-DVD is dead", there is an Ad for Toshiba HD-DVD players. So. Yeah. Just throwing that out there.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 10:42 a.m. CST

    A-Ha! Coogan is amazing

    by wilsonfisk89

    Dude is serious comic gold. Please rent any Alan Partridge series from Netflix and you will be a fan in an hour if not already.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Coogan hasn't translated well to the big screen...

    by loafroaster

    ...as we found out by shit such as Around the World in 80 Days and The Parole Officer. I hope this does well, as Alan Partridge, The Day Today and Saxondale are fecking genius...

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Wasn't this a throwaway gag in 'Rushmore'?

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Sounds like an idea better suited for 90 seconds instead of 90 minutes.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Kind of reminds me of Waiting for Guffman.

    by rbatty024

    The danger with these kinds of films, making fun of people secretly seeking fame even when it's obvious it will never happen, is that they're made by people who have succeeded. You have to be extremely careful or it ends up feeling as if the filmmakers are saying, "leave this to the professionals you plebes." <p> That part about Hamlet being too much of a "bummer" reminds me of someone who claimed that Toni Morrison shouldn't have won the Pulitzer because her novels are too depressing. Yes, because slavery and racism are really cheerful topics to write about. Not everyone can write about lollipops and rainbows.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    gervais is NOT funny

    by FamousEccles

    .. please .. stop him ..!!!

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 1:55 p.m. CST

    "I've been raped...In the face!!"- Coogan

    by SkinJob69

    Loved this film, and this recurring line of dialogue. The first time he says it is right after having one of his productions trashed by the kid-reviewer. Laughed my ass off.<p> This premiere was definitely the most charged/fun showing I attended at the fest (with the possible exception of Tarantino's "Hell Ride"). Tons of industry folks there, too- you knew it was going to sell big time.<p> Coogan is great in it, perfectly carries off the eternally optimistic teacher. Shue is also great as herself- just a great, random bit of casting. There's a scene where she comes to class to speak about acting- but the questions asked are about anything but (e.g. "The casting couch, real or made up?") Her answer is great, BTW!<p> Suprised Quint didn't mention Amy Poehler as the ethically-challenged ACLU lawyer (redundant there?) who helps Coogan release his play in the face of public protest. She has some great lines as well.<p> At the end I wish we could see the whole production of the play Hamlet 2. What we do see is hysterical, and the musical numbers are catchy and really funny. "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus" had me LMAO; and the use of local gay-mens' choir group to sing Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" is really effective (and moving, actually).<p> Just a fun time- good review, Quint.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Um...

    by Tourist

    ...Coogan is fucking giant. His performance in 24 Hour Party People was one of those really great performances of the last ten years sorta thing. And this sounds good...But didn't Pam Brady write Hot Rod?

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Don't knock HOT ROD

    by caruso_stalker217

    And anyway, Andy Samberg and co. re-wrote a lot of the script. <p>I still think it came out better than if fucking Will Ferrell had been in it.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 2:58 p.m. CST

    How smart exactly is a whip?

    by Son of Hades

    Just asking.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    "EAT MY GOAL!!"

    by ian216a

    nuff said

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Actually there is more to be said -

    by ian216a

    I did watch a bunch of I'm Alan Patridge and The Day Today episodes a couple of weekends ago. I still fell out of my chair laughing after all these years at that bit of soccer commentary where someone actually scores from the half-way line and Alan Partidge's professional reaction as a sports commentator is "SHIT!!! - DID YOU SEE THAT???". There is just throw-away stuff like that all over The Day Today. Such a shame they didn't do more than 6 episodes. But then it did give us all the Alan Patridge spin-offs and Brasseye.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Don't all those movies start to look the same

    by skywalkerfamily

    after awhile? I couldn't sit through 60 movies a week.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Saxondale

    by Jarek

    I'm midway through season 2 of Saxondale and it's quite good. Coogan fans need to check it out.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Cock and Bull

    by tom_joad

    What about Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, I thought he was great in it and so was Kelly Macdonald. Pretty funny movie too. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Sexy Jesus better not get cut from the film

    by MontyPigeon

    This sounds hilarious and knowing the Christian extremists they might start doing a Danish mohammad on this.<p>Coogan has always been the best out of those comedians you mentioned Quint. It's a tie between Chris Morris's Brass Eye and Alan Partridge for Best Comedy from Britain in the last 20 years, screw the overrated The Office. When they work together it's immaculate comedy.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:45 p.m. CST

    My girlfriend is 34, Im 48, that means she's 14 years younger th

    by ryandowneyjr

    Back of the net!

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Felloe Geeks, Cinephiles- Read this (if you care) OFF TOPIC

    by wilsonfisk89

    Im currently in 2 fantastic film classes at Temple University. One is on the Modern Political Thriller, the other on Film Noir. My class is half populated by asshole kids who talk incessently through all of the films. I've been an American Culture and Media Arts Major for thee years now, and have found this to be a trend. People shit on films that arnt like, Micheal Bay, or Fight Club. So I wrote a sort of response, manifesto to the class just know. I wonder if I might get some feedback support, or even flames from you guy, the fellow geek/cinephile community to which I'd like to think Im a small, small part of. Any response would be cool, even flames I guess- -------------------------------------- It's ridiculous that I even need to write this.  People are talking in class, a lot.  From the minute Dan begins speaking, to the end of the film, there is a constant din of conversation, comments, and noise, coming from throughout the room.  Why, I wonder?  Would people be so disrespectful in a smaller classroom, when there would be less anonymity, and therefore a better chance of "getting caught."  Doubtful.  I realize some may read this as dickish, and I could not care less.  I will be that guy.  This is a class in cinema appreciation and understanding. We look at cinema as an art form, as well as a socio-cultural artifact. Certain of us love this shit. Film, media and the like, is a field that I will hopefully dedicate my life to. I take it seriously. Therefore, I want to hear, see, and experience every second of class uninterrupted. I pay a shit-ton of money to go to College. I would hope that it is my right to try to get everything out of class that I possibly can. However, certain people piss on that right nightly. For some, maybe this is just a class where we watch "mooovies", and where we can talk, cynically put down what we see on screen, and sleep, generally, a class that is not important. For those of you, I would ask that you either drop the class, or shut up. People even talk while Dan is talking, something I find so stunningly childish and disrespectful that I question whether or not they know that we are in a University setting. The things Dan has to say are important to me. I want to hear it all. I think that a lot of us do. Again, the few are ruining it for the many. This class is not for everyone. In fact, I am constantly surprised at some of the things people talk about. Before "Daybreak" a group of people complained, "Man, subtitles!" Yes, people, subtitles. A foreign film. As in, a film from another nation, not in English. Get over it, or leave. Serious fans and students of cinema don't discern between, foreign films or domestic, color or black and white, old or new, when it comes to appreciation and enjoyment. If you do, maybe this class isn't for you. You can drop it, and go home and rent Old School, or the Notebook, or buy a ticket to Step Up 2 The Streets at your local cineplex and have a great time. I also notice people talk through the quite moments of films, where "nothing is happening", a gross misconception. These people think that unless a gun is being fired, or an oil tanker is blowing up, or perhaps a sex scene is taking place, "nothing is happening," so it's ok to talk. Wrong, just as childish and annoying. Or there are also people who feel the need to impress their buddies with put-downs and quips in response to the film as it is happening. Boy are you guys funny. Your cynicism is brilliant and you're so hip, but I think your skills are better suited to VH1's Best Week Ever, and not this class. So, maybe you can drop out, and apply to VH1, where your cool, detached put-downs will be better appreciated than this class. Part of the approach of this class, as stated by Dan early on, is to explore the collectivist way of viewing film, as a group. I'm all for that. It's a great feeling to watch a great film with fellow cinephiles. I recently went to the midnight sneak preview of There Will Be Blood, and everyone in every seat was elated to be there, and it showed. Im not asking for feverish devotion to the films we are screening, but I am asking for respect. People need to shut up and respect Dan and the magnificent class he has built, as well as respecting the films, and fellow students rights to enjoy the class uninterrupted. That is not a lot to ask, and it should go without saying. Please be quiet.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:46 p.m. CST

    I meant "fellow" above, sorry! Its been a long day!

    by wilsonfisk89

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2 - the search for more Hamlet!

    by skywalkerfamily

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Resurrection

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Jedi Outcast

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Hamlet: 2Fast2Furious

    by SkinJob69

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Baby Hamlets

    by SkinJob69

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Son of Hamlet: The Vengeance

    by SkinJob69

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: European Gigolo

    by SkinJob69

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: The Quickening

    by SkinJob69

    There can be only one!

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Hamlet 2: Green Eggs and Hamlet!

    by SkinJob69

  • Feb. 18, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Odd timing...

    by JackNF

    this. Just re-watched season one of Slings & Arrows the past few nights...