Monday, August 06, 2012

The Films of Judy Greer, Part Twenty-Seven: The Grand (2007)


Apparently I've taken like ten months off from my impressive run of Judy Greer movie watchery. This movie may have been sitting next to my DVD player that entire time. Yes, Netflix loves idiots like me.
It wasn't even that I had reservations about this movie. The cast looked solid, and it was clearly just going to be one of those low-budget indie flicks that a bunch of biggish-name actors do for funsies. And those are usually good. And this one was good. I guess Netflix Instant has just made me such a lazy piece of human garbage that inserting a DVD into the player had become a serious ordeal for me. This one started skipping a little bit toward the end and I thought I was going to fucking lose it. I'm a real adult.

Woody Harrelson mostly stars in this movie, but there are a ton of other people in it, so it more of an ensemble/improv/let's-film-this-real-quick-because-we-don't-have-much-money situation, and it works really well on that level. Dudes like David Cross, Michael McKean, Chris Parnell - and even Ray Romano - are often more funny when they're just off-the-cuffing it, and they get to dick around a lot in this flick.

So it's that kind of movie, which is good. It's also about poker, which I don't give a shit about, but they make the card-playing scenes work with the aid of some wacky commentators and quick pacing.

Like I said, the flick revolves around Harrelson, who plays a washed-up former casino heir who needs to win a gang of money to save the place from demolition. To get it, he enters The Grand, which is an annual poker tournament held in Vegas, which is where he's from, and where all the other characters converge, to participate in the same tourney.

Greer plays the wife of Richard Kind's character, and together they're a couple who are dumbing down their appearance, playing up the bumpkin role so no one will take him seriously as a competitor. I didn't really understand the concept, because it's not like you can really hustle people at poker at that level, and it's not like anyone eases up in tournament poker. I don't know. They didn't really explore the whole concept that much, and it didn't end up being a factor in the end, so again: not sure what the point was.

They give little hints that her character is a manipulative bitch who's in town to clean house with this scheme, but they don't really take the time to let her really air it out, so it's more confusing than anything. Anyway, she's not really in it very much, so it doesn't really matter.

There are a ton of faces in this flick, and trying to squeeze them all into 90 minutes is rough. The deleted scenes on the DVD open it up a little more, but I have a feeling editing this thing down was a pain. David Cross alone seems like he gets cut off mid-riff a bunch of times.

Still: I really enjoyed this little movie. And I'm glad I did, because the next one on my list is 27 Dresses, and that one is going to hurt. So bad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Dodgeball - Week Five: A Lean Six, and We Still Crush.

Just really making it happen.

We're tied for first place right now, with one more week to go before playoffs. Feeling good. Feeling confident.

Check out more videos from Week Five here.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Films of Judy Greer, Part Twenty-Six: The Go-Getter (2007)

I really need to write about these movies right after I watch them. It's been at least a month (possibly two) since I saw the shit out of this, and now I'm having to rack the ol' brain to remember all the pointed witticisms I was mentally reeling off during my viewing. I'll see what I can pull together.

I'd never heard of this film, or maybe I had and I'd mentally blocked it out, because when I see Zooey Deschanel's face on a poster with that shaky, hand-drawn font that has been brutally overused during the past five years, I just assume that I'll end up buried under its preciousness. So, if Greer wasn't in this, I'd probably not have given it a shot. But, she is, and in the end, I'm glad I watched it. It was definitely precious, but there were enough show-stealing, well-played cameos to keep it from suffocating itself with its own wide-eyed wonderment.

The movie starts in Eugene, which was a nice surprise, features an early random appearance of M. Ward (who provides the majority of the soundtrack), and then turns road-trip, taking the lead coming-of-age dude on a long drive in a stolen car to find his brother and get some closure on some things that have been eating away at him. Needless to say, Jena Malone shows up midway through, as she does in most movies like this.

Nick Offerman and Maura Tierney also make appearances, playing different breeds of hard-asses in separate scenes. Offerman is mustache-less and blazing weed, and it's cool to see him not doing the Ron Swanson.

Greer plays a girl (credited as "Better Than Toast") who lives in the same hippie commune-ish house that Offerman's character does, and she's only in a few scenes, playing a stoney, flighty, of-the-earth gal who relishes living in the moment. It's mad cosmic.

The movie is a series of run-ins with different characters who have been associated with the lead character's brother, as well as behind-the-wheel cell-phone conversations with Zooey, who is the owner of the car that the dude jacked (long story, and a very cutesy, highly unrealistic one). It moves along quickly, and as much as I rolled my eyes at certain parts, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. As far as I can remember.

This was when Greer was post-Love Monkey but pre-Miss Guided. It was a simpler time. Meanwhile, I creep ever closer to 27 Dresses. I'm scared.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Fall Dodgeball - Week Four: All Aboard the Victory Express.

Whenever I hit an opposing player so hard that it makes one of my teammates laugh, I know I've done my job.

More videos here.

And the ones from last week are here.

Again, apologies for the lack of summaries. But these moving pictures say more than I ever could. And I'm lazy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall Dodgeball - Week One: The Gym is Yellow Now.

Weird, right? It's a whole new world.

You'll have to do without my patented brand of wittery this week, but there are some sweet vids here.

We won one and lost one. Because that's what we do in our first week.

Mad predictable.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Films of Judy Greer, Part Twenty-Five: The TV Set (2006)

A bearded David Duchovny as a sensitive, passionate director trying to get his semi-autobiographical project into the fall lineup without compromising his ideals? Didn't strike me as a movie I would enjoy laying on my back and staring at. But I gotta say: this thing was highly enjoyable.

Greer's good at mixing in a Lollilove or The Amateurs between her What Women Want and 13 Going on 30 cash runs, so it's not like I'm surprised. But this is one of those little indie movies (much like The Amateurs) that has some legit star power to it, and doesn't suck at all. It's refreshing.

Along with Duchovny, the flick also features Sigourney Weaver as a bitchy TV exec, Justine Bateman as Duchovny's wife, and a bunch of other familiar faces that are no strangers to movies like this: Willie Garson, Phillip Baker Hall, Andrea Martin - you even get a little self-depricating Jonathan Silverman, which is always a treat.

Yes, this is one of those Hollywood movies about how Hollywood sucks, but it's written and directed by Jake Kasdan, who's one of Judd Apatow's homeboys, and the dude who made Zero Effect, which remains one of the most criminally underrated movies of the 90's. Anyway, the point is, the guy's got his shit together, and though you can tell they didn't have much of a budget for this thing, it doesn't matter. It's sharply written, moves quick, and the casting is spot-on.

Greer plays Duchovny's agent Alice, a girl who plays the game, but also wants to keep everyone happy, which is tough when she's surrounded by assholes all day. You'd expect her character to be a hardass, and she can be, but she mostly seems exhausted from trying not to become one of the people she's constantly arguing with. Interesting take.

And, an interesting movie. I recommend the shit out of it.

This is movie 25, by the way. I'm moving slow, but it's getting done. Still fun.

Anybody got bootleg tapes of Love Monkey?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blogging Has Calmed, But Videos Still Roll.

I'm currently taking a break from blogging all my extracurricular sporting endeavors, but there are still videos being uploaded.

Check them out here.

Sorry for the lack of coverage, but my free time is being taken up by new music I'm making, and unfortunately this was one of the things I had to shove aside for the time being.

You understand. I'm just too creative for my own good.