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Clerks


Viewed – 20 July 2014  Netflix

I don’t know what inspired me, but I suddenly had a desire to finally see this cult favourite slacker comedy from the nineties.  Kevin Smith’s brand of pop-culture and crude comedy has garnered him a healthy fan base with hits such as Mallrats and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back as well as more serious efforts like Red State and Dogma.  Yet I was a bit late to the party and never got around to this popular debut until today.

clerks_1994_movie_trailer

Randal and Dante are two bored clerks at a convenience store who spend their time discussing such topics as hermaphrodite porn, the ending to Return of the Jedi or which woman Randal should be dating from the two in his life.  Meanwhile outside local small time drug dealer Jay struts his potty-mouthed stuff with best bud Silent Bob.  This is funny, low-rent entertainment, shot in grainy black and white and with many funny lines and oddball characters (the guy checking the eggs, the chewing gum salesman…) but it’s not a comedy for the easily offended .. it gets very crude at time (…People say crazy shit during sex. One time I called this girl “Mom.”).  Yet if you like Kevin Smith’s movies, you’ll certainly find much to enjoy here and the characters, especially Dante are well written and mostly realistic, even if some events stretch plausibility (the dead guy?).

A cult favourite it may be, and as the first movie by a director, quite daring – but the sheer throwaway nature of it’s humour and concept stops it from being the classic some may consider it to be.

Verdict:  3 /5

50 First Dates


Viewed – 19 July 2014  DVD

If someone hadn’t borrowed me this, I wouldn’t have ever watched it.  I don’t really go for romantic movies, and have never been that bothered about popular comedy star Adam Sandler.  However I must admit to being pleased that I did!  Sandler plays Henry, a womanizing guy who works at a sea-life centre, and has a fear of commitment.  One day he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) and for the first time he finds himself really falling for her innocent charm and beauty.  Yet the following day, when he goes to talk to her again, she has no recollection of him.  You see, Lucy has short-term memory loss and only remembers him for one day – the next, he’s a stranger, and he has to woo her all over again.

50-First-Dates

This is a great idea for a romantic comedy and also quite a touching tale of wanting to be with someone but unable to truly be together from her point of view.  It’s sort of sad too, certainly giving my emotions a run for their money surprisingly.  Comedy is laid on fairly thick (Sean Astin’s lisp…) by supporting characters (including an annoying Rob Schneider), and at times it gets a bit silly and crude (walrus vomit anyone?), but this adds some flavour to what otherwise would have been a little too sugar-coated.  Barrymore & Sandler are very good and believable in a tricky situation, and it was also great to see Dan Aykroyd in an extended cameo.

A very charming, feel good and thought-provoking experience that was much better than I initially expected.

Verdict:  4 /5

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy


Viewed – 16 July 2014  DVD

I had wanted to see this much talked about comedy for a while.  I have a liking for Will Ferrell, that former Saturday Night Live comedienne who proved so likable and funny in the popular yuletide hit ‘Elf’.  So sitting down to this was quite enticing.  Farrell plays Ron Burgundy, a TV channel anchor in the seventies who see’s his chauvinistic, macho persona in jeopardy when he falls for a pretty and ambitious reporter (Christina Applegate).

anchorman

From the off it’s clear this may have been a fun sketch on SNL, but does it hold up to a full length movie?  Not really.  Burgundy as a character is a limited ‘gag’ that’s been done before and his surrounding news team, featuring the likes of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell are equally limited in their appeal.  The pairing of Farrell & Applegate works well enough as they make for fun rivals, but after a while the forced humour and the general gooning and pratfalls gets tired.  The idea just isn’t all that special, and despite obvious enthusiasm from the cast – the general feeling I was left with was of a simple gag milked for all it’s comedic value, of which there was only very little.

That being said it’s not like this isn’t funny.  Farrell gets some good moments (his encounter with Jack Black, his descent into self-loathing), and a showdown between rival news teams with cameos by Tim Robbins and Ben Stiller proved quite funny.  Overall though, this was a movie trying to be a lot funnier than it clearly was.

Verdict:  2 /5