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Moriarty Tokes Up With PINEAPPLE EXPRESS And Goes To War With TROPIC THUNDER!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. I’ll say this much about the past weekend on the site... I hate when people get hung up on things like what date something is published, when all that really matters is the content. If you have something to say about a film, something of substance, then what you have to say should be equally effective before or after the release of the film. That’s a difficult thing to do, especially over time, and only the reader can ever judge if something’s worthwhile. I feel that there are many, many, many, many fine and substantial writers about film on the internet who (A) don’t play any studio politics at all because they simply aren’t part of the advance screening/interview/preview/news side of things and (B) don’t remotely give a shit. I think those guys are the happiest guys writing about film online. I truly do. Because what most of the real, important, substantial writing about film online consists of is in-depth conversation and analysis where people follow their personal whims, and the guys who are good, who are consistently worthwhile as a read... those guys are freaks in all the right ways. Obsessed. Brilliant because of the dedication they show to their particular experience with movies. There is no way for me to deny that what I write today is substantially different than what I wrote when AICN began. I’ve been reading that stuff lately because I’ve been slowly but surely trying to build an archive of my articles that anyone can check out. I think when you look at the body of work that I’ve created for AICN, I can safely make the case that I have done more good than bad with this bully pulpit that I stumbled into. That’s not to say I’m not a loudmouth moron occasionally; aren’t we all? It’s hard to please everyone, though. For example, I got yelled at by a few of you for putting my DARK KNIGHT and HELLBOY 2 reviews together, but it made perfect thematic sense, and seeing them back-to-back like that, it was impossible to talk about one without the other. If that bothered you, prepare to be bothered again, because there’s no way to discuss PINEAPPLE without August’s other big comedy, TROPIC THUNDER. The most obvious thing they have in common is cast members. Bill Hader and Danny McBride are both guys who are still building their film resumes, playing solid roles in big films, scoring points with each appearance. Hader’s work in SUPERBAD and KNOCKED UP and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL has established how grounded and real his onscreen persona is, while McBride’s been out on the edge with the sort of extreme character work that defines him in HOT ROD and DRILLBIT TAYLOR and THE FOOT FIST WAY, which finally got a small release this summer. This month is McBride’s real coming out party for the general public, though, with a memorable supporting turn in TROPIC THUNDER and an absolutely stellar appearance in PINEAPPLE. And for Hader, who makes the most of his SNL showcase during the regular TV season, his scene in PINEAPPLE opens the film on just the right note, and his work in THUNDER involves the co-star that steals that movie, so people are going to remember him. If that shared sort of supporting star lightning-in-a-bottle thing was all the two movies had in common, it would still be worth noting. They’re united in another way, though, a larger way: I can’t imagine either one of them existing at any other moment in screen comedy. Taken together, they are absolutely a defining moment in terms of what we think is funny right now, and what we think of movie stars. It’s a fascinating meta-moment, and the fact that both films are really, really good is just sort of the added bonus. TROPIC THUNDER is by far the more self-aware of the two films. When it begins, you’ll think you’re watching pre-show entertainment. There’s a commercial. A trio of trailers. And some of the audience might not catch on at first that they’re actually already watching the film. They didn’t at my screening. It wasn’t until about halfway through the second trailer that they shut up completely and sort of tuned in. That’s how solid the parody is. And that’s something I want to underscore: Ben Stiller is the single best live-action parody filmmaker working right now. Everybody making all those shitty, miserable, agonizing, insufferable DATE/SCARY/SUPERHERO/DISASTER MOVIE things... you are making disposable, forgettable, regrettable junk. High-school talent show skits that serve as pop culture yearbooks. You are the enemies of entertainment. “Remember when THE SIXTH SENSE came out? Remember when IRON MAN came out? Remember how gay 300 was? Remember when Britney Spears shaved her head? Remember the “Trapped In The Closet” video?” Yes. Yes. Yes. YES. YES. FUCKING YES. And so what? That’s not funny. What Stiller does, and what he did so well on THE BEN STILLER SHOW, is he recreates something and perverts it wildly. He uses the recreation to not only comment on the original, but also to launch his own absurd reality, which he then takes very seriously. Mel Brooks did it best with the one-two punch of BLAZING SADDLES and YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, film parody so perfect and ferocious that no one’s ever really topped them. AIRPLANE! and TOP SECRET! were both remarkable because they were “real” movies. They were specific in the parody, but even if you’d never seen the things they were mocking, you’d still think they were funny because they managed to create an absurd reality that you bought into. Ben Stiller’s show, at its best and its funniest, did the same sort of thing, that same sort of laser-sharp parody that managed to work above and beyond. I’ve always been surprised that he didn’t really make that sort of film as a director. Even ZOOLANDER doesn’t really qualify because it’s not specific parody... it’s just sort of a general riff on the idea of modern fashion. With TROPIC THUNDER, it feels like Stiller’s finally made the movie he’s been revving up to all this time. Starting with those trailers, as accurate in their way as the GRINDHOUSE trailers were, and then launching directly into the fake Vietnam film, TROPIC THUNDER, Stiller sets a tone. He lets you know just how broad he’s willing to go with gore and ludicrous behavior and grotesquerie. He lets you know how extreme the characters are going to be, and only then, he pulls back to show you the movie-within-the-movie gag of the whole thing. TROPIC THUNDER is a big, big Hollywood movie. And TROPIC THUNDER sort of makes fun of big, big Hollywood movies, but not in any sort of truly savage way. What really takes the lancing here is the ego of The Actor. This is a movie that calls out Hollywood’s most privileged players as wackos and drug addicts and narcissistic jerkoffs. This movie points a shotgun into a barrel of fish, and laughs and laughs as it pulls that easy trigger. There is something extra-brilliant about the way Tom Cruise turns up, unrecognizable, and steals the movie from the guys who are making fun of... well... him. I’m not saying I think Stiller is directly playing Cruise, because I don’t. But I certainly think Cruise is emblematic of the system that the film lampoons the hardest, and as a result, I think if anyone in this movie could be said to be “brave,” it’s him. And it’s no coincidence that his appearance in the film will most likely save his career. All the couch jumping in the world sort of fades into distant memory when he starts barking expletives and hip-hop dancing with that overstuffed potato body and his giant sausage fingers. Anyone who is able to roast themselves so thoroughly deserves some respect, and the way he plays it with such abandon is just plain hilarious. Bill Hader basically serves as a sounding board for Cruise in his craziest moments, and I would imagine that the closing credits, a crowd-pleaser when I saw the film, were probably decided on only after the shooting of the big McConaughey/Cruise scene in the middle of the film, when Stiller realized just how far Cruise was willing to take things. I’ve heard from friends who love the credits and friends who hate them. It felt like a signature Stiller flourish to me, reminiscent of his own work at the end of DODGEBALL. I think he likes the idea of sort of assaulting the audience on their way towards the door. The cast of the film all seems to be working their asses off to make the material live and breathe, and there are some real stand-out moments for almost everyone in the cast. But after I read talkbacker Jon Quixote in the responses to Massawyrm’s THUNDER review, I have to agree with what he says: Stiller and McConaughey should have traded roles. McConaughey is an action guy. The studios have tried to sell us that for years now, to varying degrees of success. And I think his version of SIMPLE JACK would have been much much much less controversial, and quite possibly funnier. Tugg Speedman’s so borderline retarded himself that his SIMPLE JACK work has to be exaggerated to the point of grotesquerie, and I think that’s Stiller, a very smart guy, playing a certain kind of “dumb guy” who is just painfully unaware of his own absurdity. It’s damn near Derek Zoolander at times. McConaughey’s stoner drawl sort of dim bulb would have gone down a lot smoother, I think, and besides... Stiller as a pathologically slimy agent? Sold. Robert Downey Jr. is the prom king this year, and for those of us who have been fans from the early days and through the lean years, it is enormously powerful to see him have this sort of victory lap around the bases, firing on all cylinders in everything he does these days. I think KISS KISS BANG BANG was the moment where I realized just how serious he was about rebuilding his career into something of real weight and merit. ZODIAC. A SCANNER DARKLY. These are good choices. Smart choices. Tasteful, interesting work in each of the films he’s been doing. And then... IRON MAN. Which finally convinces the broadest possible mainstream audience that (A) he’s not fucked up these days and (B) there is a reason everyone in this town keeps giving him a chance, and it’s that chemical charisma of his, that laconic way he has of massaging even the lamest comic line on the page into spun gold. And if he gets his hands on a good script? Fireworks. Every time. As Kirk Lazarus as Osiris, he is a one-man band. If you find you’re not engaging with something going on in a scene and you just want an easy laugh, starting paying attention to Downey. Even when he’s not “doing” anything in a scene, he is acting his ass off, and he’s hilarious. Downey is a smart and serious actor, and there’s a great deal of method to what he does, but I love the way he roasts the sort of crazy extremes of “Method” that I’m sure every actor working in the industry has heard, tales of various stars whose dedication and devotion goes from “above and beyond” to “over the top” more often than not. And when Downey does finally turn from parody to confessional, he does it so well and he has already got you so invested in this guy’s tics and mannerisms that it’s actually almost affecting. Of course, the movie isn’t about sentiment, and they never really go for that, but RDJ’s work is so grounded in a reality, despite the outrageous nature of pulling off something so dangerously close to pure “blackface,” that he stops being a cartoon. Quite a feat in a film this broad. Brandon T. Jackson and Jack Black and Jay Baruchel are definitely supporting players here compared with Downey and Stiller, who basically represent the two authority figures on the team. When loyalty eventually splits, those are the lines that are chosen. For the most part, Baruchel supports RDJ, Jackson would support him if he wasn’t so irritated by the fake black thing, and Black’s only interested in where he can score some more “vitamins.” Of the three, I think Baruchel does the best work. He’s the one sane human being in the entire film, pretty much, a decent kid who caught a break and is playing this sizeable role in a giant studio movie. Baruchel’s one of those guys who was good when he first showed up in UNDECLARED, with a natural sense of timing and a unique presence, and then over time, he’s gotten much better, that wicked timing evolving into something more, something more honest but just as precise. He reminds me of Topher Grace in that respect. Jackson plays Alpa Chino, and he was obviously written to serve as the audience’s skepticism and horror regarding Downey’s “black” character. He does what he can with the role, and he scores some good laughs, but it’s sort of thin. The same is oddly true of Black’s role. It’s pretty much “he’s a secret heroin addict who is a big pampered baby.” He’s got his handful of funny scenes as well, but nothing that really stands out. There’s so much funny, and all of it turned up so loud in the movie, that even someone as funny as Black might have trouble making an impression. Nick Nolte’s suitably grizzled, and I think he’s game for anything Stiller asked him to do. I just don’t like the choices they make with his character in the second half. I liked him better as a fucking nutcase taskmaster. Danny McBride’s work is, as noted earlier, rock solid, and I love the little touches, like his fucked-up ear or the resume of movies he’s worked on. Aside from Cruise and Downey, Steve Coogan (who’s having a big fall of his own in the US cinema) probably makes the biggest bang here if you consider the ratio of huge laughs to screen time. You can’t discuss the film without giving proper credit to the work John Toll does. This is the same guy who shot THE THIN RED LINE, and there’s a proper epic sweep to the Big Movie touches on the film. When you look at the opening scenes of the film, they’re as large-scale as anything in any “real” war movie. That’s the expert parodist’s touch that Stiller brings to the table. When Mel Brooks got Gerald Hirschfield [corrected from John Bailey - "M"] to photograph YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN in beautiful black and white, it wasn’t just because he liked the look of it... he was trying to guarantee that you could set his film next to the original Universal horror films and you wouldn’t be able to immediately tell the difference. Hiring Toll was a wise move, and it pays off in a big way, allowing the most absurd moments in the film to still feel like they belong in that studio action-movie world. The controversy over the film is unsurprising, and it would be ridiculous to tell someone that they can’t be offended or they shouldn’t be upset. I think for some people, self-righteous outrage is a way of life, their natural condition, and they seem to need to be upset about something all the time. The now-infamous “full retard” speech in the film is clearly meant to highlight just how callous and cold Hollywood’s attitude toward the mentally handicapped really is. Only in this town is a mental handicap seen as a shortcut to Oscar gold. And when we hear stories about Daniel Day Lewis sleeping in a cell in an abandoned prison every night for six weeks leading up to IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, it’s not much of an exaggeration to imagine someone doing what Kirk Lazarus does in terms of permanently darkening his skin. And yes... it’s insane. And yes... it’s racially insensitive. But I don’t think the film is. If anything, it’s like Stiller and his co-screenwriters Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen set up these insanely ripe targets, and they consistently go for the easy surface laugh instead of anything deeper. That’s fine, of course, but in the end, what you’ll remember most about TROPIC THUNDER is the brash gleeful offensiveness of much of the humor and the way they glance across the surface of the satire like a stone on water. It’s a very funny film... I’m just not sure it’s an enduring one. It may be too crude to truly matter. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call PINEAPPLE EXPRESS crude, but I might describe it as “shaggy.” I don’t understand how everyone says all the Apatow produced films are exactly the same. I think SUPERBAD and PINEAPPLE are of a piece, and I think they’re very evidently from a sensibility of two friends writing together. They’re “two dude” adventures. That’s not 40YOV, and that’s not KNOCKED UP, and it’s not SARAH MARSHALL, and it’s certainly not WALK HARD. But SUPERBAD and PINEAPPLE both showcase the very particular, very specific sensibilities of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg as a creative team. And I really like their voice. I think these guys and their longtime friendship are crystal clear in the Seth/Evan relationship in SUPERBAD, and I think they’re crystal clear again in PINEAPPLE. And, yeah, I love the buddy movie violence and the almost reverential love of pot in the film, but what really makes it work is the central friendship. I’m fairly sure it’s no big secret that I enjoy the herb. Harry’s outed me repeatedly over the years here on the site, and I’m sure I’ve dropped references to it here or there. I’m a workaholic and a homebody, so I don’t think I’d call myself a “partier,” but it would be fair to say that over the years, I’ve found myself smack dab in the midst of stereotypical stoner culture many times. Even so, I find most pot comedies to be fairly wretched affairs. I love the first Cheech & Chong film, UP IN SMOKE, and I'm quite fond of NICE DREAMS as well, but the rest of their film work is hard to sit through. DAZED & CONFUSED is great, as is FRIDAY, but they're great films that happen to have lots of pot-smoking in them, not great BECAUSE of the pot-smoking. I think there's got to be more to one of these films for them to be worthwhile at all. With PINEAPPLE, that's certainly the case. I found it particularly rich in coincidental meaning that the AICN-sponsored LA screening of PINEAPPLE was held at what used to be the Sherman Oaks Galleria, about four minutes walk from where my first pot dealer in LA used to live. And honestly... he was Saul. A really nice guy who didn’t just want you to swing through and buy weed, but who would instead put on new albums or a movie, who would want you to hang out for the afternoon. Eventually, that guy really was a friend, even after I’d long since stopped buying weed from him, but watching the first act of PINEAPPLE, I was laughing at the absolute accuracy of it. I’ve heard a few people call the pot the “McGuffin” of the film, but I disagree. The entire movie is about the way that urge to buy weed sometimes lands you in the most unlikely circumstances, and there’s something really right about the way simply wanting to smoke a joint somehow leads in a (not particularly) straight line to a machine-gun battle and an exploding barn. What I enjoyed most about PINEAPPLE is the way it feels like a natural fit in the filmography of David Gordon Green, something I wouldn’t have guessed. When I visited the set, he certainly seemed comfortable with what he was doing, even though it looked like a radical reinvention of himself as a director. Since then, I’ve spoken with Danny McBride a few times, and he insists that the films Green made in college were bizarre comedy shorts, and that this was actually much closer to what he started doing. Now that I’ve seen it, I believe it. Green’s completely at home making this sort of loose, silly character-based comedy, and the way he and cinematographer Tim Orr shoot allows for all sorts of happy accidents along the way. You get the feeling this is all something that just sort of happened, rather than feeling like a rigorously scripted big Hollywood film. There’s a scene where Saul (James Franco) and Dale (Seth Rogen) are in the woods, just walking, and it’s as quiet and lovely as anything in GEORGE WASHINGTON or ALL THE REAL GIRLS. There’s not a lot of story or subtext to PINEAPPLE. It all comes down to the cast, and I think the casting here sort of underlines the point I was making about Stiller and McConaughey up above. The obvious casting for PINEAPPLE would have been Franco as the straight-laced guy and Rogen as the slacker stoner pot dealer. I’ve heard Franco was the one who pushed for the reversal, and it’s a stroke of genius. Saul is the most approachable, likeable character that Franco’s ever played, and it’s the mix of the childlike way Saul views the world, his awesome malapropisms (“the monkey’s out of the bottle, man!”), and his unwavering friendship once given that make him such a great addition to the Apatow oeuvre. Dale Denton, Rogen’s character, is far less immediately likeable, and that’s part of what I like about the film. Dale’s kind of... well... a creep. He’s a process server, for one thing, and watching the montage of him using his 20-something anonymous shlub identity to issue subpoenas is funny, but hardly endearing. Same with the whole “dating a high school girl” thing. Yes, she looks like Amber Heard, and that makes it somewhat understandable, but she’s still a high school girl. And the way he treats Saul for much of the film is kind of shitty. Saul’s offers of friendship are so open and genuine, and Dale’s rejection of those offers is almost reflexive. The entire film really boils down to whether you tune into the chemistry between Rogen and Franco or not, and as a fan of FREAKS & GEEKS, it feels like this movie is a validation, a promise fulfilled. That show had such an abbreviated life, and it was so frustrating to see a cast do work on that level and go unrecognized at the time. Now, seeing these guys make such a great contribution to a genre (the buddy movie) that I love so much, maybe more people will go back and check out FREAKS & GEEKS. Danny McBride’s work as the indestructible Red is the sort of thing that really sticks with an audience. He’s not the star of the film, and ultimately, he’s not in much of it, but every single second of screen time yields comic gems. His fight scene with Franco and Rogen is great because it doesn’t feel choreographed, and it doesn’t look like stuntmen. It’s just a bunch of guys who don’t really know how to fight trying to beat the shit out of each other. It’s alternately hilarious and punishing. Also great are his scenes with Craig Robinson (best known for his role as “the fucking doorman” in KNOCKED UP or on THE OFFICE) and indie god Kevin Corrigan, a team of hitmen working for scumbag drug lord Gary Cole and his partner in crime, the very funny Rosie Perez. As the “bad guys” of the film, they represent one of the most dysfunctional and ridiculous criminal organizations I’ve seen on film. They’re never really a threat because they’re so addled by paranoia and incompetence. And, yeah, the film gets a little wild in terms of violence (another thing it has in common with TROPIC THUNDER), but there’s something human-scale about it all. With the exception of Red, when these characters get hurt, it’s recognizable. It looks like it really hurts, something that’s uncommon in the age of the CGI action film. We’ve lost that, the notion that people get knocked around and fucked up by the end of an action picture, but when you see the guys at the end of the film, sitting around a table in a diner in one of the best last scenes of any film this year, they look like absolute ass. And it’s charming. It’s a great way to send you out the door, and if the rumors do eventually pan out and we see a movie where Seth and Evan from SUPERBAD cross paths with Dale and Saul from PINEAPPLE, it’s going to feel like a reunion with old friends. And by the way... a special thank you to the guy who brought me the cookies at the PINEAPPLE screening. It was sort of a clusterfuck thanks to traffic and the theater, but the crowd was great. One guy who runs a company called Freshly-Baked.com brought me a bag of a half-dozen cookies called the "Nutty Bavarian Love Biscuit." No pot involved, but who cares? It was a huge chocolate and peanut-butter cookie with a chocolate-covered pretzel backed into the center and a splash of kosher salt on top. Crazy good movie food, and I handed them out to my friends sitting around me. If you find yourself with a wicked case of the munchies, or planning for one in the near-future, you should check that guy's site out. He does mail orders. It's f'ing worth it. So I guess next up, I should probably review that cartoon coming out tomorrow, eh? I should have that ready right around midnight LA time, just... by... coincidence...


Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:02 p.m. CST

    still thinkit was stupid to combine

    by ranma627

    ...film reviews.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:05 p.m. CST

    two more piles of horseshit

    by DANNYGLOVERS_DlCKBLOOD

    to go along with the trash that was step brothers.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Fifth!!!

    by Clarence Bodiker

    Now to read the article.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:05 p.m. CST

    darn

    by Clarence Bodiker

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Fuck Pineapple express

    by OBSD

    and fuck Danny McBride. Fucking dumpy Jim Belushi with a Soul Glow mullet and a ever so slightly gay southern accent. Fuck that guy. I want to shoot that movie in the face.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST

    still not getting a great vibe from pineapple

    by Mr_X

    tropic yes pineapple no. sounds like a fruity drink.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Mmmmm...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... THE IN-LAWS. "SERPENTINE! SERPENTINE!"

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:18 p.m. CST

    I haven't hated a character

    by OBSD

    as much as I hated Red since watching Martin Short in Clifford. And the ending? Two fucking hours of "remember the time when we did that thing that happened TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES AGO?!?" HATED, HATED HATED Pineapple express. Worst movie this year.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Mori- Stiller doesn't pull a White Goodman, does he?

    by Heckles

    Or whatever the hell his character was named in Dodgeball? You know that over-the-top character, like he did with Zoolander?

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:20 p.m. CST

    Cheers Mori.

    by gringostar

    Always good work, always first class.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:21 p.m. CST

    It looks like Paul Newman...

    by Banzai Rootskibango

    ...may be on his way out soon. Just heard he's not doing to well on the news. Too bad.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Mori, great reviews, but spoiler alert, brother!

    by BadMrWonka

    giving away even a glimpse of the last scene of a movie deserves a warning, or at least a spoiler box!<p>even if you can argue it doesn't make a huge difference to know it, it should be up to people to decide to skip it, right?

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST

    It was NOT IMPOSSIBLE<p>to separate your Dark Knight and Hellboy

    by YouAreAllMyBastardChildren

    Have you not seen the Adidas commercials? "Nothing is impossible."<p>Or perhaps the Good Book? "All things are possible."<p>How 'bout you do us all a favor and copy and paste your Dark Knight review into a NEW POST (it does deserve it, after all). I, for one, will read it again. I anxiously await it.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Saw Pineapple and heard Ted's Voicemail

    by hoorayforeric

    Pineapple was okay..but the pot/high jokes got old and sometimes I felt like yelling, "Get responsible and quit getting high! You're being chased by gangsters, dammit!" Everytime they toked up was just a weird time for me. What made me laugh the most were the subtle things. Ted's voicemail cracked me up. When the henchmen were calling, Ted and you could hear the phone go, "You've reached the voicemail of: (in Ted's voice) "Ted". That cracked me up...especially with Ted being the Drug Lord, himself. I also chuckled at the picture of the dead asian gang brother on the mantle. Black and White and smiley. Decent movie...but not gonna go down in history for anything, really.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Moriarty should care about combining reviews:

    by Dolph

    I didn't read his Hellboy 2 review to avoid Dark Knight spoilers, and, by the time I had seen The Dark Knight, Moriarty's review was lost in the ether, so I read neither.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Finally...

    by DrFritz

    ...some decent comedies. Thanks for the good reviews.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:24 p.m. CST

    They're not only the happiest reviewers online, dude...

    by PotSmokinAlien

    They're also the only ones whose opinions have not been eroded into meaninglessness by years of gradual kowtowing to the business side of things.<P>Thanks for the reply the other day, btw, but I've been reading AICN too long to believe you. Maybe after the next zillion 'scoops' from behind the scenes of Judd Apatow's latest, I'll see the light.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:32 p.m. CST

    personally

    by BadMrWonka

    I don't think AICN is banning enough of you sniveling, thankless, self-important jerks.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Ever eat pot brownies and watch the Fountain?

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:34 p.m. CST

    MORI

    by The InSneider

    You're a God. We've had our differences of opinion but that may be the best criticism I've read all year. I wish there were more of you but then you wouldn't be one of a fucking kind. Let's blaze one out one night after you put Toshi to bed.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:34 p.m. CST

    Hey Moriarty

    by Broseph

    that's awesome you did a reveiw on both these movies being that i saw both of these yesterday.i rewally didn't like pineapple express that much.which to me was suprising since i love superbad,knocked up,and 40 year old virgin.i just didn't think it was that funny and the plot seemed kinda stupid.i really tot.i thought it was by far the funnier film.RDJ was fucking awesome in this.that's funny you drew comparison to ddl as that's exactly who i thought of when i saw his character.i'll tell you the difference in my feelings toward both movies tropic of thunder i will buy on dvd first day of release pineapple express i might buy in a 4 for $20 sale at hollywood video. good reveiws

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:36 p.m. CST

    Fuck Pineapple express. Again.

    by OBSD

    From the overly long black & white opening (we get it. Pot makes you act "wacky" and therefore must be deemed illegal, drag it out for an hour why don't you?)to the painful ending (exactly how long are you guys going to spend telling us exactly, detail by detail EVERYTHING that just happened in this movie, which I JUST FUCKING WATCHED?!) I haven't sat through a movie that was this unfunny and boring since Shoah. When the funniest things about a movie are Ed Bagley JR, and a 30 second improv scene between Gary Cole and Rosie Perez, you're fucked. I know it's a "stoner" movie, but that movie was dropping plot threads left and right ( so what happened with the girlfriend? Ah fuck it, nobody will notice if she just disappears from the plot.) and replacing them with Danny McBride. Something about his stupid fucking face makes me want to put a bullet in it. Everything about this movie pissed me off, even that jock kid who apparently could do a Jeff Goldblum imitation. Why didn't they show his impression? Was the whole joke that he really couldn't do a good Jeff Goldblum impression and Seth's girlfriend was just wet for him and said that it was great to compliment him? Did the filmmakers just hire the biggest meathead they could find and it didn't matter if he could do a Jeff Goldblum impression? And have I been out of high school so long and things have changed so much that it's socially acceptable for jocks to be taking theater classes these days? I understand the point of that scene but it was so badly written and had no follow through that it was just another reason why that movie pissed me the fuck off.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:44 p.m. CST

    That was the point of the final scene, to recap...

    by Finding Forrestal

    ...all the crazy shit that happened. Their acknowledgement was EXACTLY what made it hilarious. It adds to the whole "ordinary guys in extraordinary situations" idea. If I went through all the shit they did, you better believe I'd be talking about it the next morning, marveling at the ridiculousness of it all.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Superbad/Pineapple crossover rumor???

    by Film_Junky

    Where did you hear that rumor from? In theory that makes me smile, but I got a feeling if I were to actually see that it'd just leave a bad taste in my mouth. Though those two films have small similarities you pointed out they're still two very different kinds of comedy. Yes they are both raunchy, but Superbad has more heart and focuses on two friends who are soon to part ways and have known each other for years. Pineapple Express is more of an action/comedy where the two (or three if you count Danny McBrides character) action heroes don't know shit about fighting and are constantly baked. Still I liked both those movies very much, and I can't wait to see Tropic Thunder tomorrow!

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Valid Point, Pot Smoking Alien

    by mrbeaks

    I was probably thinking most clearly about movies when I was a twentysomething punk running around NYC trying to see everything at the Film Forum, MOMA, AMMI, etc. Now, I'm a thirtysomething punk who feels like he's seeing everything out of obligation. Makes "the wonder" harder to come by.<br><br>Re Mori's lovely article: how the fuck did I forget to give John Toll props in my review? He's as much the MVP of TT as Downey Jr.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:46 p.m. CST

    You Nerds Are Hilarious...

    by SantiagoAndDunbar

    Great reviews. Both movies are worth checking out, really enjoyed PE. I find it hilarious that you nerds start to hate something once it becomes popular. Oh no, the kids who used to beat me up now like something that I liked, better head to the nearest forum and badmouth it. I feel bad for you guys. Your hatred towards Apatow's crew is great, keep on entertaining me.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:47 p.m. CST

    OBSD, you're perception of time is totally fucked.

    by Finding Forrestal

    That opening scene was like 4-5 minutes, tops.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Corssover's a bad idea

    by Magma Suit

    They won't mesh at all. That being said, I think Kevin Corrgian played the same character in both Superbad and Express. Thoughts?

  • Great shades of CURLY'S GOLD!

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:48 p.m. CST

    I'm pretty sure. . .

    by SeymourGrant

    John Bailey wasn't the DP on Young Frankenstein. It was Jerry Hirschfeld. I only mention cause I took a class he taught once. Real old school. That guy was alright.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    HOLY OVERRATED MOVIE BATMAN!

    by jedimast3r

    Yeah. Saw it tonight and OH MY GOD ITS BEN STILLERS FIRST DIRECTORIAL PROJECT THAT - guess what - STILL ISN'T GREAT. I think I chuckled maybe twice at things that had nothing to do with the satirism and were just plain slapstick comedy, like the kid being thrown from the bridge at the end. Don't believe the hype folks. Downey is brilliant as usual but this movie is just another Stiller shit pile. And I think Tom Cruise is in it because he knows just how much ridicule this movie makes of his career.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    I still remember Skank the sock puppet

    by ButtfuckZydeco

    seared in my brain, kinda like the outline of McWeeny's panniculus is burned into his shirt in that photo w Doug Jones.<p> Crop that fuckin pic, no-talent!

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Enjoyed Tropic Thunder, bored by Pineapple Express

    by waggy

    I am a total Apatow devotee and haven't found Ben Stiller funny since There's Something About Mary but having watched the 2 movies within a 24 hour period, it was the Stiller vehicle that made me laugh more. Downey totally makes the film though. Without him, I probably wouldn't recommend dropping 12 bucks on it. And much as I generally agree with Mori's reviews I just can't figure out what he finds so hilarious about Danny McBride. I suppose individual tastes are just too particular when it comes to comedy.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:53 p.m. CST

    SeymourGrant...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... I'm going to bet you're right. I had that in my head so firmly I didn't even double-check, so let me head to IMDb now like I should have in the first place...

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:54 p.m. CST

    finding forestal

    by OBSD

    your perception of exaggeration is totally fucked. While I know that the scene wasn't literally 2 hours long, it did seem to go on forever.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:55 p.m. CST

    You Are...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... correct, and it's been fixed. Thanks for the catch, man.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Yack

    by BadMrWonka

    I love quiet. more than hearing the endless blabbering of conspiracy peddling nerds.<p>in my book, if a site pissed me off as much as it CLEARLY pisses off so many people here (including regulars whose comments are baffling to me, but they shall remain nameless) I would just STOP GOING TO IT!!<p>sticking around to inject your half-assed repetitive opinions as much as possible is seriously sad. it's the online equivalent of driving back and forth past your ex-girlfriend's house.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 10:59 p.m. CST

    first!

    by hulkbuster

    Not really but i can dream

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 11 p.m. CST

    Hader in Pineapple

    by Merkin Muffley

    Best part of the movie. It was a good movie, but that scene was still the best part.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Yack...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... I might agree with you on LEBOWSKI being the best of the very small best of list.

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 11:02 p.m. CST

    whoa, hold on a sec mr beaks...

    by waggy

    you're a new yorker??? howsabout hosting some aicn events in this fine city? (hint hint wink nudge)

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 11:05 p.m. CST

    eh, I love Lebowski to DEATH, but...

    by BadMrWonka

    calling it a stoner comedy is kind of like saying Jaws is a beach party movie...

  • Aug. 14, 2008, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Yack, that's true

    by BadMrWonka

    but still, Titanic wasn't about the water, even though if you take it out, it changes it quite a bit.<p>I just think the pot smoking was incidental to his character. I thought of more it as part of a larger joke as to how out of date Bridges' character was. that he was obviously wearing, eating, drinking, smoking everything he was 20 years earlier.<p>in fact, nothing important ever happens to him as a result of him smoking pot. all that ever happens is that he gets interrupted, like in the bathtub, or when Marge announces her plan.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Stiller can try all he wants. He can take all the steroids

    by GQtaste

    and work out like a crazy person but he's know tough guy. Mori's right about Matthew and Stiller should have switched roles but something tells me Ben wouldn't have any of that. And of course what a shocker, the team once again loved a Jude Apatow production. OH, and sponsored it to boot and had a visit to the set. How can someone be objectionable when shit like this happens? They can't.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 12:42 a.m. CST

    GQtaste

    by BadMrWonka

    see my comments in the Date Night talkback for yet another dismissal of your taste...here, I'm just going to quote you to make you look like an idiot...<p>"[...] work out like a crazy person but he's know tough guy."<p>you're an idiot. I haven't seen the film yet, and it may well be true that Stiller's role might have been better with a bona fide action star (he wanted Keanu, by the bye), but that doesn't change the fact that I'm pretty sure Stiller at least knows the difference between "no" and "know".<p>that, and he's probably fucking his hot actress wife on a pile of money tonight. whereas you're (presumably) drunk and posting on AICN...it's close, but he wins...

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Ok i'll say it then, Tropic Thunder is a bad film and bad parody

    by IndustryKiller!

    The overarching problem with the film is how broad it is. It's fucking sledgehammer broad, never taking anything (outside of RDJ, but mroe on that in a minute) even resembling an honest moment. Downey is the only one who gets any jokes who is playing it with even close to a straight face. problem is he doesn't get any jokes, he IS the joke. Which seems like sort of a duh thing to say but it's the same punchline, a white guy is playing black, told over and over and over again throughout the entirety of the film with no real change. After a while it did just become blackface. The character isn't even that delusional, just dedicated, and somehow that dedication is supposed to be funny and come to some sort of head when he discovers who he really is or some bullshit. It's clear they are making fun of Russel Crowe, but for what? Acting well? Downey plays it laser straight, and that's honorable of him and he's great at it, but Stiller gives him nothing whatsoever to do but talk jive. And maybe you guys can laugh at the same punchline screamed in your face ad nauseum, but I was over that shit after months of the trailers and assumed there would be a bit more to it than that. The same goes for the Simple jack bit. For that one trailer they show it's kinda funny int eh way that it relates to Stillers character failing miserably at being a real actor, but if you still laughed during his little pageant play then your probably just a simple as Jack. it's just a guy doing a broad retard impression. If you didn't get over that in high school then I suppose this is the film for you. And what exactly was so fucking incredible about Tom Cruise? Other than he swears a lot (and not even THAT much really) and wears really obvious makeup he's pretty much the same reeeaaaaalllly concentrated character he always plays. It's a character David Mamet has been writing sharper and with a lot more satirical edge for like 25 years. And then there is Jack black, who beaks said is the most honest here he's been since Jesus' Son. Horseshit. he's every bit as over the top yelling and obnoxious as he ever is, he just gets to do it R rated here. Which seems to be what gets everyone, they are all impressed with the R rating. Does silly hammer you int eh head comedy really entertain on that level simply because its trying, and man is it T-R-Y-I-N-G, to be offensive? ugh.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 12:43 a.m. CST

    DAZED v. LEBOWSKI

    by The InSneider

    I'm glad Mori mentioned that Dazed and Confused is NOT really a "stoner movie," it just features many characters smoking weed. The plot is not propelled by weed at all. <p>And by that standard, neither is The Big Lebowski. They both contain multiple smokers and the number of participants should be part of a basic criteria if there were a formula you could mathematically apply. That said, since you've already made an exception for Big Lebowski, were you to include Dazed in Confused in that category/genre, it would have to be considered the best ever. Definitely, DEFINITELY better than The Big Lebowski. The only real flaw in Dazed is how many times Wiley Wiggins touches his face and futzes with his hair. Besides that, it's a pretty perfect movie. Lebowski is good too, don't get me wrong, but I've always felt it's overrated and personally would call it the Coen Bros. 4th best movie after Fargo, Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men. <p>Cheech and Chong. Half Baked. Harold and Kumar. Bongwater. Rolling Kansas. How High. Those are stoner movies. Most of them aren't very good. Which is why, were you to exclude Dazed and Lebowski, Pineapple Express would probably be the greatest stoner movie ever made. I think it's nearly a modern classic. And I'm amazed at how many people have told me they were disappointed or bored. That's 100% fucking crazy to me. <p>Hype is a funny thing. I saw PE 6 months ago at a test screening and haven't seen it since, although I want to, because I have a feeling that the excitement of seeing it that early maybe colored my perception of the film. that said, expectations work both ways and i think the months of buzz and a killer trailer may have gotten people into the theater but it ultimately hurt the film in terms of what people were expecting. tropic thunder is probably falling victim to the same unreachable standards. <p>both of these movies are fucking hilarious. both of them are a just a shade-better as stories than Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Step Brothers, both of which were also hilarious if not a little bit more crass and juvenile. TT and PE are both smart comedies and two of the best films this summer and frankly, this year so far, has had to offer. i'm not saying you have to love them both as much as i do, but you should at least see them and make up your own mind. aren't 4 hours of laughter worth 20 bucks? <p>and for the record, after sleeping on it for 24 hours, i still think i liked Pineapple more. Tropic was great and Downey Jr. was perfect but Franco was just as committed and I'm just more of a Rogen guy than a Stiller guy. I think it's because he's Canadian.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Moriarty's archive.

    by MaxTheSilent

    I'd love to see a 'Collected Works of Moriarty' at one point. Then we'd see the glory of his superb KING CONAN script review up against that disgraceful, indefensible review of THE REAL CANCUN. We're still waiting for an apology for that one, Drew.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 1:42 a.m. CST

    Stoners

    by Ted Brautigan

    What I'm curious about is how many of you PE haters are hardcore heads. It sounds stupid but there's definitely some subtle shit going on that had me cracking up. Stuff that I could understand not being funny if you're not a stoner. TT is pretty awesome too. What I would tell anybody that hasn't seen either one is if you smoke a decent amount take the Express. If not, see the Thunder.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 1:59 a.m. CST

    Was Freaks and Geeks accurate at all?

    by MST3KPIMP

    I'm pretty sure that I was somewhat geeky and freaky through juinor and high school and I am puzzled by the acclaim this show has received over the years. I've watched several episodes and did not feel my experiences were represented but rather reduced to stereotypical poses that could pass as heartfelt comming of age tales of a group of lovable oddballs. I really think they romanticized the freak experience and shyed away from the pain and isolation that these people endure. Most of the charaters in the show had a group of good friends and for the most part stable famlies. The two female 'geeks' were hot and the main geek was dating cute chick from what I saw. It just seemed like they were having more fun than I did and I had it far better than the freakier geeks in my school. Personally I felt more of a connection with things like the 'wonder years' or 'stand by me' which was no where near my timeline like F&G but nontheless had a gallery of 'challenged' characters with realistic faults and dimensions. Even something seemingly simple minded as 'revenge of the nerds' accomplished more than F&G by having a wider variety of character types that didnt neatly fit into the 'nerds' label i.e. Booger and that gay black guy 'yes i know'. I feel frustrated with the this current crop of 'geek appreciation' movies that are supposed to be "for me". I found the 'weirdos' in 'knocked up' to be just an exorcise in patronizing as it just focused on every cliche, These 'movie' geeks seem to be so desperate to prove how weird and real they are that it's almost instantly invalidated. I think real freaks and geeks are not so forthcomming and celebratory with theyre situation and are more like mutants in that they feel vulnerable and know they will likely be exploited or reduced by society into an Apatow character. I dunno, perhaps I'm just bitter and can't appreciate that 'geekiness' in now embraced and everyone wants to be labeled one because they play halo for 7 hours and have all 3 evil dead movies. It just does'nt ring true for me

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 2:06 a.m. CST

    MST3KPIMP

    by Mr. Zeddemore

    What's the definition of a geek?

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 2:16 a.m. CST

    BadMrWonka, spell checks are for pussies!

    by GQtaste

    Just like Bruce Willis stated when he was on here for Die Hard 4. And still that doesn't change the fact that Stiller was laughable for the part as the "action" star of the film.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 2:25 a.m. CST

    Why do people love LEBOWSKI so damn much!?!

    by MaxTheSilent

    It's amusing and fairly original but it's WAAAAY down my list of favourite Coen Bros movies. But I suppose if you think that all the swearing in it is remotely funny then that says a lot about the kind of people that seem to WORSHIP that movie.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 2:40 a.m. CST

    Mr. Zddemore

    by MST3KPIMP

    I think i get your comment by that geekiness is many things to many people and perhaps we cannot gauge the true intent of these films because we can't come to an agreement on what geekiness is to begin with. I will say that I don't think 'geek' is tangible and can't be identified by an ironic t-shirt as seems to be the norm today. I've often suspected that many 'geeks' hide in society under the guise of a more acceptable personality type for fear of being identified and thus being open for attack. This could be the underlying truth of our entire society which may explain the success of all the superhero movies which usually deal with misunderstood people playing out different identity roles in order to protect theyre true selves. I don't have all the answers or even the questions for that matter. But I do try to listen to my gut when I see something being sold as 'geek' or 'stoner' or any particular fringe group. More often than not I find theres a tendency to reduce these groups into a predicatble set of behaviours rather than truely showing the real trials and turbulations that make these people get to that place.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 2:42 a.m. CST

    cut and paste

    by maluquiro

    What the fuck are you talking about? The chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, Dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 3:03 a.m. CST

    DrTuring...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... my MAN ON WIRE review is coming this weekend.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 3:50 a.m. CST

    drturing

    by Mr. Zeddemore

    I'm not even sure what aspect of the 'geek-ometer' I fall into. I'm into mainstream stuff mostly, but have a lot of random shit at the same time that goes far beyond mainstream. I'm consider eccentric, but don't veer into subcultures... yet I wouldn't classify my tastes as strictly mainstream.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST

    arclight screening

    by ballsxcrew

    was wicked fun, thanks brother. arclight staff was a no dice that night though. thought they would have had their shit together a little more. it was however fun seeing all the red eyed, paranoid faces (me included) being pushed through the herd hoping to not miss the first 5 minutes (which totally happened...the dicks. im not bitter at all)

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 4:27 a.m. CST

    Pineapple is my favourite...

    by WhinyNegativeBitch

    ...Of the Apatow comedies by far. I saw it a few days after I saw The Wackness, and both films hit extremely, extremely close to home for me, which may have tainted my opinion of them somewhat. Pineapple somehow managed to feel completely natural and real, whilst containing retarded, over thet top 80's action scenes. I hear people are bagging on it, but it contained so many interesting and strange moments and was actually a pretty involving little story that I wonder what else they could have wanted from it. At least its not fucking Harold and Kumar. I mean, what the fuck was up with Red shooting that dudes foot off? "Gross". That was great. Moriarty nailed it too, about the awful, uncomfortable situations you find yourself in when purchasing pot. One of the biggest laughs for us in the film was when his dealer asked if he wanted to hang out and look of crazy shit on the internet, which is exactly what my dealer/"best friend" constantly does. I don't know, David Gordon Green is 4 for 4 for me.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Mori, does your wife partake in the herb?

    by Cysquatch

    Like you I am married father of two who likes the herb. Unfortunately my wife doesnt like the green so my toking has to be squeezed in at odd times. I was wondering how you handle it.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one who didn't care for McBride?

    by necgray

    I've knocked the dude a couple of times on different TBs, but I don't think anyone has agreed. Maybe it's really just personal taste on that count. I just find his ad-libs transparent and/or telegraphed. They're also way too non-sequitur for my tastes. The guy tries too hard and I can feel it in his delivery. I also felt like Tropic Thunder was 75% the same basic joke: actors are vain idiots. Eventually I started saying in my head, "Ben, buddy, I get it. Move on to the next joke, please."

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Bring Me Some Thunder

    by Darth Jackass

    My two cents: Pinapple Express only saving grace was the stellar work turned in by Mr. Danny "Thug Life" McBride! Otherwise, I felt it was poorly acted, edited & shot. It felt under cooked, almost like a student film. Tropic Thunder on the other hand had me at hello. From the opening fake trailers and music video everthing felt right. Like this was some big budget war film which it is. The laughs are big there are no lows & Tom Cruise & Matt "dude" McConaughey should errect a statue of Ben Stiler and thanking him for giving them back there mojo. Both are up to the task and get the most out of there screen time. If you only see one, bring the thunder & leave the bong at home.

  • Aug. 15, 2008, 5:04 p.m. CST

    MST3KPimp re: F&G

    by necgray

    First, I don't know if you really get the distinction that the show put forth. "Freaks" means the stoner kids. I've never known stoners to be friendless loners. Second, the storyline involving Sam (the main Geek) and the cheerleader culminated with them breaking up BECAUSE he didn't feel like he fit in with her crowd. They were also establishing tension between the primary geeks due to Sam's ability to cross over from their social circle. In a way, the show was all about how these characters dealt with the social labels slapped on them prior to the series itself. Which all rang really true to most of us. If it wasn't your experience, then it's understandable that you wouldn't feel the fondness for it that some of us do. But then consider this: how many of us have ever been a superhero? Have any of us ever worked in the Emergency Room of a hospital? Been a top attorney in the city of Boston? And yet shows exist based entirely around these settings/premises. I think it HELPS identify with the characters if they directly reflect your personal experience, but I don't think it's necessary.