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Capone spends two wild nights with THE HANGOVER, resulting in two very different reactions!!!

Hey, everyone. Capone in Chicago here. This may be one of most unusual reviews of any movie I've ever written for the plain and simple fact that I saw the film two times, and each time I had radically different reactions to it. Of course, every critic--hell, every human being--has good days and bad days; we bring prejudices into a film, both positive and negative; and we all think we're mature enough to not let those things influence the opinions we put forth in the most unbiased way possible. We go into each film with higher or lower expectations than we did the last one for various reason, whether it be a particular actor in the film or the movie's director, plot, writers, etc. The key to dealing with these prejudices is to acknowledge them and compensate for them when formulating a critique. The other thing I do, when given the opportunity, is take note of how an audience of non-critics reacts to a certain film. I'm not looking for cues when to laugh or scream or cry; but if I go to a movie aimed at little kids, and I'm not enjoying it but the kids in the audience clearly are, I'll mention that in my review. It won't in any way change my opinion of the film, but parents contemplating taking their kids will at least know that their youngsters might enjoy a movie even if I didn't. With horror films, I'm not easily scared or shocked, but if the crowd seems freaked out by a certain amount of blood or scares, I'll mention that in my write-up, especially if I didn't like the movie. As a rule, I'm not a big fan of watching comedies or scare films in a roomful of critics; the reactions very often seem off and not like those of audiences made up on the general public. I love my Chicago critical peers, but they are a tough audience. If you can win them over, they will love you; but if you can't, it kind of poisons the experience for me. This isn't always the case, but when that Chicago screening room is quiet when it's meant to be filled with laughter, the silence is deafening. Sometimes, the silence is well deserved; other times, I'm less sure. Case in point: THE HANGOVER. The first time I saw the film was with an audience of critics, who laughed only a couple times during the entire movie. I'm including myself in that mix. I didn't laugh often, nor did I feel compelled to. I wasn't holding back because I didn't want to stick out in the void. I just didn't find the film that funny or entertaining, to the point where I started thinking about other things. That's right; I'll admit it here. I started daydreaming during THE HANGOVER. But then something weird happened a couple days later. I was doing a Q&A with Bradley Cooper, and I wandered into the last 10 minutes or so of the movie, and started watching it again...and I started laughing at what I was seeing and hearing. Now, I've done enough Q&As over the years that I don't even have to like a film to do a decent post-screening interview, so my finding the film's ending funny had nothing to do with Cooper being nearby. About a week later, something even stranger happened: I saw the film again at an Ain't It Cool screening that I agreed to do before I'd even seen the film once. Now normally, I wouldn't sit through a film again I didn't like the first time, but I suspected something might be up, and I actually watched the film again. My reaction the second time made me feel like I took that punch from Mike Tyson that you see in the trailer. Now I'm sure you will all offer up your opinions (constructive and useful, I'm sure) about why my opinion has changed. And while I certainly don't embrace THE HANGOVER as much as some have (or the way I did with Warner Bros. other wildly inappropriate comedy this year, OBSERVE AND REPORT), but at least I get where they're coming from. I was perfectly content with my original observations on the film, so it's not like I was stressing out over other extremely positive reviews and wondering why I didn't feel the same way. No, I just genuinely liked the film the second time; it clicked with me; I found myself on the exact same wavelength and I just rode it. The basics of my point of view are still the same. Zach Galifianakis is the stand-out, star-making performance in the film. From now on, casting directors may look to him when they can't get Seth Rogen. Bradley Cooper is largely the straight man in THE HANGOVER, so he doesn't get as many of the funny lines, but the few that he does get are damn funny. The guy plays a great male pig. Justin Bartha plays the guy getting married who vanishes in the midst of his all-night bachelor party, so he's not really in the movie that often enough to judge or even care about. I think my biggest 180 on the film comes when watching Ed Helms as the friend who goes from hen-pecked dentist to wild man thanks to a whole lot of legal and illegal substances. He sings a song at the piano concerning Mike Tyson's tiger that is so funny, just thinking about it makes me laugh. A lot of what changed my views on THE HANGOVER has more to do with the smaller moments and supporting cast. They just seemed funnier in the second time around. The couple that run the wedding chapel; the doctor who treated Cooper's head injury; the aforementioned cameo from Mr. Tyson; the baby's masturbatory habits; Mr. Chow (a couple of dip-shit critics named Ben complained about the gay stereotyping going on with Mr. Chow, while completely ignoring the horribly offensive Asian stereotyping going on as well, and completely missing the point that Ken Jeong's performance is meant to make fun of both stereotypes; so suck these Chinese nuts, Bens), all seemed much more well conceived. There are still jokes that don't hit--a couple that are DOA--and the spaces between big laughs are still too far apart for my tastes. The biggest complaint I have with the film is that the female characters seemed wedged into the story as either shrieking harpies or kindly strippers, and either way seems equally insulting. That's nothing new for director Todd Phillips (OLD SCHOOL) or writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (FOUR CHRISTMASES; GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST), but that didn't stop me from being disappointed. This review in no way represents me going to highest peak in the land and declaring my undying love for THE HANGOVER, but it does represent me admitting I got it wrong the first time, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to get it right. In my lifetime, I've seen my film critic heroes, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, both admit they'd gotten an initial review wrong (or at least see a film's strong suits upon a second viewing). It's tough for anyone to admit they were wrong, and I'm glad I didn't write my review up after I saw this film only once. I'm not encouraging anyone to see the film more than once, if that's what you're thinking. You shouldn't have to; I think you'll find it funny and different enough from a lot of other recent R-rated comedies to see its strong points the first time around. -- Capone

Readers Talkback
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  • June 5, 2009, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Capone- your kidding right? how long you been a critic?

    by Jugdish

    Why do you think the studios fill these joints with Black people for black flicks!? SO dumb, white critics like you can "laugh" when you are supposed to you knucklehead- Of course you liked it more filled in with half stoned bozos from Bucktown.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST

    the coop.

    by busterbluth

    i have 2 different takes on coop. 1. i think he's a douche, and 2. i wish i didn't masturbate today.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    That's like me and Suspiria.

    by tonagan

    The first time I saw it, it was with a bunch of college buddies, so it was like MST3K. The second time, I saw it alone, and peed my pants.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    I plan on seeing this over the weekend

    by rumspringa

    I just hope the funniest shit wasn't shown in the trailer.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Capone - I read your review and thought it was awful

    by Kubla_Khan

    Then I read it a second time and, on balance, it's actually pretty good.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Capone: I had a similar experience

    by funnyhat

    I hated anchorman on first viewing. I felt like I was watching the death of Will Ferrell as a comedian. Utterly disappointed. <br><br> But when I was sitting around with my friends in my home theater, it on HBO, we had a blast. It was def 5x funnier.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Call me a prude if you must, but...

    by Darkman

    ...while the film looks funny, if a little derivative of DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? (don't deny it), the words 'masturbatory' and 'baby' have no business sharing the same language, much less a sentence. That's just...yikes.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST



  • June 5, 2009, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Don't be apologetic, Capone. That's part of the

    by CreasyBear

    moviegoing experience, the shared experience with everyone else in the theater. Granted, a movie you love or hate will stay right in that category no matter who's around, but anything in between can be affected by who you're seeing it with. Hell, Beverly Hills Ninja looked completely unfunny to me, but after seeing it with some of my friends who enjoyed the awful stupidity of it, I laughed now and then. The people you're with really does matter.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Capone does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    Kubla, I had the opposite reaction.<p> Upon first reading of Capone's review I found it a daring and frank expose into the mind and motivation of a critic.<p> Second time however it became a long-winded, self-serving, pretentious piece of ego centric twaddle that told me nothing about the movie.<p> Can't wait to read it a third time and see what happens next!!!

  • June 5, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Saw it a few weeks ago and didn't love it.


    But maybe I'll give it a go, if this review is any indication. It's not like I already paid to see it...

  • June 5, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST

    And does this mean we have to see bad movies twice?

    by tonagan

    I hope not. I'm not watching Vanilla Sky again.

  • June 5, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST


    by ebolamonkey

    Saw it in the theater - nothin. Saw it on DVD with friends and some personality enhancers - laughed my ass off. Maybe along with all your other comments about audience reactions, you should include "Go wrecked"

  • June 5, 2009, 10:41 a.m. CST

    by glenn_the_frog

    The movie so bad, it has to be seen twice to be adequate! AWESOME!

  • June 5, 2009, 10:47 a.m. CST

    trailer looks good

    by kennyd


  • June 5, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    I usually have the opposite experience...

    by Ronald Raygun

    Laughed hysterically at Borat when I saw it opening weekend at a packed theater. Bought the DVD a few months later and watched at home with some friends, crickets chirping. Same with the Austin Powers sequels.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Hey Capone, even I"VE been wrong.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. The first time I saw John Carpenter's "They Live" in a theater, I hated it. I was a huge Carpenter fan and I thought this was a major step backwards for the cult film director. He cast a wrestler in the lead and then alowed him a ridiculously long fight sequence and a couple of out-of-context one-liners that made me groan. Years later, I watched the movie again, laughed my ass off and boggled at the satire of 80's politics. To be "successful" in the 80's you had to be an alien. I get it. I was wrong and the film is great. I now own it on DVD.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Galifianakis=brilliant; Rogen=mediocre

    by Laserhead

    Observe & Report was wildly over-rated here. It never went far enough, not nearly (except the chase scene at the end). Wasn't nearly as funny as Foot Fist Way. That's what I kept thinking during Observe & Report: "I wish this character was played by Danny McBride instead of Rogen." There's nothing remotely charming about Rogen. He's a doofy slob who should just play 'the doofy slob friend' of the lead.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    EbolaMonkey, I totally agree!

    by captaincosmos

    I was thinking the same thing about Beerfest while reading Capone's review. Saw BF for the first time on cable, just because there was nothing else on, and thought it played just like the dumb, barely serviceable knuckleheaded comedy I expected it to be. Then came across it a couple weeks later, and for some reason, all of the small bits and jokes and one-liners that the movie is jam-packed with, all started working for me. Now, I'm not saying Beerfest is a great movie by any means, but that after seeing it again I was able to appreciate what the Broken Lizard guys were doing. Now I'll watch that movie just about any time I come across it. It's like comedy comfort food.

  • June 5, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST

    I feel like this happens to me with a lot of comedies but nothin

    by andrew coleman

    Like the new Death Race sucked but I don't go back and go "Never mind it was brilliant!". But I'm with some of the other posters in here, I did the same thing with Anchorman and Beerfest. First time I didn't really find them funny. Later they were hilarious. I don't get it.

  • June 5, 2009, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Another DGDB IMPOSTER ....

    by DrMorbius

    is posting in the TBs again!!!<P>In DICKBL0OD he uses a Zero and an O!!!

  • June 5, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Going to the Highest Peak!

    by Robert_Downey_in_blackface

    It seems that critics usually only end up "going to highest peak in the land and declaring their undying love" over movies that are art house/boring with molestation or gay overtones. Hopefully The Hangover is still good... expired tomatoes has it at 78%.

  • June 5, 2009, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Same thing happened to me with Anchorman

    by thalvar

    First time I watched it, it was ok. Then I started remembering scenes, laughing by myself. Now it's my favorite Ferrell movie, followed by Step Brothers in a close 2nd place and Talladega Nights.

  • June 5, 2009, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Is this a review or a therapy session?

    by claytron5000

    No one gives a shit about your modus operandi. Was it funny or not and why? Goddamn this is why normal people hate bloggers. Complete and utter self absorbtion. Name dropping fucking jaggoff.

  • June 5, 2009, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Movies are waves.

    by antonphd

    You have to catch them or at least be caught by them. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. I can feel a range of emotions about the same film over multiple viewings. That's just the nature of expriencing film or pretty much anything in life. I watch Trapped in Paradise every couple years. There's no objective reason why I should enjoy Trapped in Paradise once let alone multiple times over the years. But something just clicked just right with a part of me. Probably the fact that I have 8 brothers and I could appreciate the humor in the family dynamic. Probably because I saw the movie with 3 of my brothers who I'm actually close in age to. Probably because I've got a goofy streak and a soft spot for begrudging redemption and as soft a spot for raskals who can't change but you love them no matter what even while you are pissed at them for what they have done to you. So there. Films are not objective. They are about life and life is about too much to be boxed into anyone's standards.

  • June 5, 2009, 3:58 p.m. CST

    I like it

    by disfigurehead

  • June 5, 2009, 4:54 p.m. CST


    by Sal_Bando

    you yourself agree I see Caponi

  • June 5, 2009, 7:49 p.m. CST

    I laughed more at Land of the Lost

    by SoylentMean

    Truth. Word.

  • June 5, 2009, 11:32 p.m. CST

    too much hype around vegas

    by babblerouser

    I was expecting this flick to be more, well, grounded based on my many hazy mornings in Las Vegas. I guess it is too expensive to film in that town as most of the scenes in Vegas are either off-strip, from a single room in Caesars, and in the casino at the Riv. There are PLENTY of story lines that could have been used in this movie - instead they grasped at random, over-the-top, or no way in hell you could that in vegas (or any other town) type bits. I'm still waiting for a really good comedy that comes from the stupid things people do in that town ---- only saving grace was the pics in the end credits.... that was some funny shit.

  • June 6, 2009, 1:50 a.m. CST

    Funniest film in I can't remember.

    by antonphd

    How the fuck you can watch this film and not enjoy it and laugh your ass off... you have to be bi-polar. The crowd was laughing so much that we all missed at least 1/4 to 1/2 of the jokes. It was that funny. Non-stop. Except seeing poor Mike Tyson knowing his little girl died. That part was sad... even while he was making everyone laugh. Go see this or you fucking suck little balls.

  • June 6, 2009, 4:18 a.m. CST

    That's how Observe and Report was for me, Capone.

    by Grievey

    Found it too dark and gritty the first time I saw it, because I'd come off from a really amazing day and felt it was a bit of a downer. <BR><BR> However, the second time I saw it, I really really didn't want to. I'd just agreed to go along with a few friends and I had a really shitty day at work, and was kind of angry at different people. Upon the second viewing it was actually a rather cathartic experience. Like "Wow, I hated this the first time, but this second time is hilarious and great because it's capturing my mood perfectly." <BR><BR> Some movies, you just have to be in the MOOD for. So I get it.

  • June 6, 2009, 6:47 a.m. CST


    by DeNiro4Prez

    "Observe and Report" was ballsy, but otherwise an uneven, disoriented mess (and it only took me one viewing to realize this). But back to your review(s) of "The Hangover" (I'm seeing it this afternoon), I had a similiar experience with "Dumb & Dumber" some years back... first time I saw it (on the big screen), I was convinced it was overrated, scantly funny at best. But upon muliple viewings, however, I will now site the film as one of the funniest, best crafted comedies of its era. So? It happens...

  • June 6, 2009, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Saw it and laughed

    by ScottinDC

    The first half is genuinely fucking funny..the last 10 pretty great; but that 40 minute space between the end of the 'first act' and the finale is pretty limp. *SPOILER* The movie goes downhill after the naked asian guy gets released from the trunk...that whole plot spiralled the movie downward.

  • June 6, 2009, 10:45 a.m. CST

    claytron5000 you're a legend!

    by Potatino

    I agree with what you wrote about this review seeming like a therapy session, but on second thought I re-read it with my friends and I changed my opinion. Just like my heroes (insert name checking here to make myself seem important) I reserve the right to say I as much as I can in my review so the review can be more about me talking about me than the movie I saw.

  • June 6, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    in my experience

    by Handiana Jolo

    i always enjoy the r-rated comedies more after the first viewing. Old School, Anchorman, 40 year old virgin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Semi-Pro. all were disappointments in the theatre to me but now are staples of my DVD collection....

  • June 6, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST

    It's all about expectations

    by Garbageman33

    If you go in expecting one thing and it ends up being something else, you usually end up disappointed. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a perfect example. The ads made it seem like a raucous comedy. It wasn't that, so I was bummed. But when I watched it again without those expectations, I loved it.

  • June 6, 2009, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Oh, and The Hangover was great

    by Garbageman33

    Saw it last night and may see it again tonight. Zach Galifinakis needs to be in every movie made from here on out.

  • June 6, 2009, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Jesus Christ Capone

    by AICNsucks

    I stopped reading your review at the point where you decided to insult us. I mean, what the fuck were you thinking? What is the point of working for a fan site if you can't stomach reading our critiques of your glorified movie critic reviews?

  • June 6, 2009, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Capone goes to see a R-rated film called THE HANGOVER

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    About four guys having a crazy bachelor party in Vegas, losing the groom and not remembering what happened the night before, and he's INSULTED that the women are all portrayed as harpies or strippers??? What did you expect?<p>That's like watching a porno and whining that there's too much nudity.

  • June 6, 2009, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Proof that Critics are useless

    by lockesbrokenleg

    It's the AUDIENCES that make a movie. Not critics.

  • June 6, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Watch a rerun of Porky's instead.

    by Sal_Bando

    And be glad ya did.

  • June 7, 2009, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Just one wild night with The Hangover for me.

    by thebearovingian

    But I thought it was great! So...should I go watch it again? Or would it have the reverse effect and I wouldn't like it as much as the first time? Aagghh, fuck it! I'm gonna see it again!

  • June 7, 2009, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Okay, I know this is going to annoy some...

    by heavenlykid

    mostly because many of you are sick of all things Dark Knight (and if you are, suck my cock by the way) but here's my thought. Bradley Cooper should at least AUDITION for the Joker. H have a feeling this might be the right fit. And not just because he confuses me sexually.

  • June 8, 2009, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Zach Galifianakis

    by frozen01

    is way more talented than Rogan. He shouldn't be considered as a back-up to Rogan, he should be sought out INSTEAD OF Rogan. I don't know why everyone has a b*ner over this guy... he's dry and relies too much on physical humor, and your average LARPer could act better than he can.

  • June 8, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    "What's this?...a snake skin?"

    by Jared

    That had me rolling.

  • June 8, 2009, 10:53 p.m. CST

    You people are insane

    by Scoob1978

    This is in fact the funniest movies since superbad. I liked Saving Sarah Marshal but at no point did it make me laugh half as hard as this film. I can't believe it doesn't get a great rating based on the fantastic ending alone. I nearly peed myself. I didn't walk into this movie expecting anything but this is the definition of a guy movie. I can't tell you how authentic the jabs Stu and Phil take at each other or what it feels like to wake up and remember nothing of what happened. The movie is totally impossible but there is something authentic about it. And again, the last 5 minutes of the movie will have you laughing harder then anything else this year.

  • June 14, 2009, 10:58 a.m. CST

    This thread is so last week

    by WerePlatypus

    But I'll post anyway. . . saw this last night, and woke up this morning with a tight neck. I think I literally strained my muscles laughing at the end credits.