Category Archives: farrelly brothers

The Three Stooges 2012

The Three Stooges ~ I love the Three Stooges. I grew up on the Three Stooges. Everybody loved the Stooges when I was a kid. We would all race home from school to see the shorts on local channel 29. We all loved them, and being a guy (it does seem to be a gender thing), I loved them a lot. And unfortunately I was also a casualty when parents groups shut them down in the early 1970s.

Like most kids, I was aware of the difference between fantasy and reality, and knew you didn’t try any of that stuff the Stooges do on TV. Unfortunately those nosy parents who always seem to have too much time on their hands first had the wonderful shorts of the Stooges edited down to almost nothing by taking out the perceived violence (and essentially the humor too), and then by removing them from the air completely. You bastards, you took my Stooges away.

Let’s face it, the 1970s was a very bad time for kids television. Parents had a lot of time apparently to ruin it for kids. They took our superheroes away, our Warner Bros. cartoons, our Little Rascals, and our Three Stooges. These were all too ‘violent.’ Heck, we knew the difference. And from then on, children’s television had to watered down, have a message at the end, be educational, and conflict had to be solved through thoughtful discussion rather than Batman punching the Joker, or Moe poking Larry. I’m still not sure about Larry, but trust me, the Joker needed a punch.

Fortunately the video age saved us all, or at least the Three Stooges from this terrible time. On video, we could see the shorts in their original form, uncut and unedited, and we could see what geniuses the Stooges truly were. Today, several cable networks show the shorts on a regular basis, and the Stooges are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. And perhaps that is what has spawned this new movie, The Three Stooges.

When I first heard of the Farrelly brothers making a new Three Stooges movie I have to admit I cringed. These are the guys responsible for such masterpieces as Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary among others. Not that their work is bad, but even when it’s good, there is always some quantity of potty humor and slob comedy. Humor for ten year olds is what it is, and although I don’t want to think it – it’s the perfect team to return the Stooges to the big screen.

When I first saw the trailer, I was iffy, and as a Stooge fan, I was extremely wary. I am here today to say I have seen the film, and wow, I had no reason to worry, as a matter of fact, it was one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. I laughed until there were tears in my eyes. Yeah, baby, it’s that good.

The movie follows the boys from childhood into a Blues Brothers like plot of trying to raise money for their orphanage, and it’s done in three episodic segments stylized like the shorts of old. The new Stooges do wonderful jobs of imitation and homage. Many of the stunts, the effects, and even the gags are directly from the old shorts and done with respect and humor. The first two segments are flawless Stooges extended shorts. The third segment does move into French farce as well as slapstick, but that’s okay, I still dug it.

The nearly unrecognizable Sean Hayes as Larry, television veteran Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe (I’ll never be able to watch “24” with a straight face again, and Will Sasso from “Mad TV” as Curly are all stellar morons in the best sense possible. Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of “Jersey Shore” are all terrific but for me, the movie is stolen by Larry David every time he appears on screen as Sister Mary-Mengele.

Yeah, I loved this, more than I should have, and more than I ever would have believed either. The only thing that brought it done was during the end credits when the Farrelly brothers appear on screen to show how stunts were done and to tell kids not to try this at home. It may have been done tongue in cheek, but it brought that original 1970s bad taste back into my mouth. Stupid parents groups. Leave the Stooges, any Stooges alone. Still, this newest edition of the Three Stooges is highly recommended, bring the kids, be prepared for a little potty humor, but mostly Stooges goodness.

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The Heartbreak Kid and More

The Heartbreak Kid ~ I was unaware this was a remake of the 1972 classic until I saw the names Neil Simon and Bruce Jay Friedman in the credits – and I wish I hadn’t. If I had kept thinking this was just another Farrelly brothers cringe-fest I could have enjoyed it so much more rather than knowing they were destroying the memory of a great flick.

Now it’s not that Ben Stiller or the Brothers F don’t produce a good or amusing movie, it’s just that it pales considerably to the darker and more mature Simon comedy. And while I was suitably entertained, I couldn’t get behind Stiller’s character who comes off badly and lacking, well, character. Stiller is good as usual, but Michelle Monaghan and Malin Ackerman steal the show. This is definitely a guy’s chick flick, and worth the price of admission – as long as you haven’t seen the original.

Transformers ~ Now I’m a generation removed on this one. When the Transformers cartoon was on the air and the toys and comics were the rage, I was more concerned with stuff like college, work and yeah, girls. So I just like I just don’t get it when it comes to the robots who are ‘more than meets the eye.’ And I am definitely out of the loop with my younger friends who cried when they heard that Bumblebee would not be a Volkswagen. But I can live with that, they’ve all put up with my rants about why insert-any-superhero-movie-here sucks.

And so I walked into this one blind, not knowing the cast of characters, the backstory, anything really. It was all new and fresh, and bad. It’s really not that great, or sophisticated, a movie. And nearly not effort was put forth to differentiate one robot from another – I know I couldn’t. Perhaps a studied eye and someone well-versed in the mythos could, but not I. And this is a shame, considering how much was put into making the robots look realistic. They could have put the same detail into making them not look so alike.

There’s not all that much action, or serious robot-on-robot action sadly until the end, and that battle scene and chase scene is great – even though I didn’t know who was who. Great mecha action for fans of giant robots and kaiju eiga alike. Shia Le Bouf continues not to impress me and John Turturro was actually a surprise in this flick as a parody of a military baddie. Megan Fox is the highlight of the human cast, she’s definitely got a career ahead of her. All in all, fun eye candy for the last fifteen minutes, the rest fast forward through.

Down in the Valley ~ I have to say this has got one of the most impressive preview trailers I have seen in some time. The preview is definitely worth seeing. But once I got the film through Netflix… wow. Despite it having Ed Norton in the lead, one of my favorite actors, he overacts atrociously, and the film is just crap. Don’t see it. See the trailer below, and leave the rest to your imagination.

Heading Home ~ This is probably one of the earliest, if not the first, example of why sports heroes shouldn’t become actors. In this 1920 silent Babe Ruth plays himself in the ‘true life story’ of his early days. Quaint if inaccurate and amusing for the title cards that are written in weird colloquialisms of the time. Worth a watch if only to catch Ruth in his thin prime and to watch his facial expression unchanged throughout.

Shallow Hal

THESE GUYS COULD BE GOOD…

A Video Review of “Shallow Hal”

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, are responsible for such films as Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene, Say It Isn’t So, There’s Something About Mary and this classic Shallow Hal. Believe it or not I think they are fabulously talented filmmakers – I just think they might be a little embarrassed about it. Maybe they come up with great ideas and are unsure so slip in some toilet humor so it works. Or maybe they’re just lazy.

Howard Stern suffers from the same malady. He is one of America’s most talented and professional broadcasters. Yes, that’s what I said. The paradox is why should he bother working at it when it’s easier to fart and make dick jokes? Exactly. That’s the problem with the Farrelly brothers as well. Toilet humor is easy.

There’s a touching story at the heart of Shallow Hal just like most of their films. It’s just so entrenched in disgusting vile putrid content it’s hard to find. A subconscious suggestion makes Hal (played by the ever amazing Jack Black) see women as they are inside rather than superficially outside. He eventually falls for Gwyneth Paltrow, an overweight girl he would have never previously even considered talking to. Like I said, it’s a touching story, but it seems like after they got the plot the brothers sat down and made a list of every fat joke they could think of and injected them into the script.

Maybe eventually they’ll get the confidence to come out of the water closet and make a real film and surprise us – but not this time.