Category Archives: larry david

Clear History

Clear History ~ I stumbled onto this movie blind and with caution. Blind because I didn’t know anything about it other than it starred Larry David and Jon Hamm. With caution because HBO movies, with very little exception, have been very bad to me in the past. Whether it’s The Girl, Behind the Candelabra, or Phil Spector, it hasn’t been all that pleasant. In the case of Clear History, this might be a new beginning.

The story is one of bad judgment and revenge, starring and co-written by Larry David, with all the style and idiosyncrasies of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” What a surprise. Larry David, at first in stealth mode looking very Unabomber-like, plays a man who jumps ship on a billion dollar electric car idea, then lives as a hermit under an assumed name after the world thinks of him as a total idiot. While he’s hiding out in Martha’s Vineyard a decade later his boss comes to live. With his new life at stake, LD plans his revenge.

Larry David is at his finest here. Michael Keaton is a surprise here, he’s funny and even uses his Beetlejuice voice to good effect for the first time in decades. Liev Schreiber is good too, even though he’s uncredited because of his contract with rival network Showtime. This is also the first time I have enjoyed Danny McBride in anything.

Clear History is a very good, very funny movie, recommended, especially if you’re a “Curb” fan. Keep it up, HBO.

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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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