VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Pretty Ugly People (2008)

Claire: 2/5 stars, 3.6/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 4.9/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: Apparently, we aborted this movie. Apparently we didn’t really want to watch the rest. Months passed by before we realized we hadn’t finished it.  Carolyn had even written a partial review, found in her drafts, which is how we even remembered to write this “review”.

Anyway, fuck this movie. We stopped in the middle and totally forgot we’d watched half of it. Both of those are not good signs. I hear the end ties it all up, but it’s a painful movie to watch. I think I may have gotten this when I was more obsessed with camping.

Carolyn’s thoughts: Not that good. Definitely not very funny. They had a shrooming scene, and I was hoping the drug scene would somewhat save the movie, but it didn’t. Lame people are tricked into having a reunion, and are tricked onto going on a 3-day backpacking trip with their fat friend who had lost all her weight and wants to rekindle the special relationship they had in college. There was no relationship, it was just 5 people who happened to hang around each other, and now don’t have much in common, and some of them are having marital strife. The hot slut chick from college got fat, so she’s dealing with her own unhappiness and her seemingly loveless marriage. The only saving grace is the black chick from Halfway House, but her funniness is lost in the group because the rest of them are so unfunny, so she’ll say something funny and it just falls flat because nobody else is on her level. And her congressman husband keeps saying “I don’t even know you anymore.” and it’s just like “Yup.” We aborted it halfway through with the plan of watching the rest the next day. However, after thinking about it, I don’t really feel like continuing, because I don’t think it’s going to redeem itself.

Written & directed by Tate Taylor.

Missi Pyle (Miss Nobody, Visioneers, Percy Jackson 2, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 50 First Dates, Live!, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, Galaxy Quest, 4 eps of The Sarah Silverman Program, 4 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 2 eps of Heroes, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Family Guy, 1 ep of Frasier) as Lucy.
Melissa McCarthy (Hangover 3, Identity Thief, This Is 40, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Charlie’s Angels, Go) as Becky.
Larry Sullivan (Miss Nobody, Psycho Beach Party, Rush Hour, 3 eps of 24, 2 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Austin.
Phill Lewis (Heathers, Total Drama Island, 3 eps of American Dad, 2 eps of Mad About You) as Raye.
Josh Hopkins (L.A. Confidential, G.I. Jane) as George.
Jack Noseworthy (Cecil B. DeMented, Barb Wire, Encino Man) as Trevor.
Octavia Spencer (Halfway Home, Dinner With Schmucks, Smashed, Percy Jackson 2, American Virgin 2000, Drag Me To Hell, Halloween 2, Bad Santa) as Mary.
Philip Littell as Richard.
William Sanderson (Larry from Newhart, Mirror Mirror, Mirror Mirror 2, 4 eps of Batman-TAS (1990s), 1 ep of Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) as Sam.


Claire: 3.4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 7.4/10 IMDB.

This was a fucked up movie. It just kept going derper (few will get that reference, but this is what we’re going with)!

Charlie Kaufman likes to make some fucked up movies! From Nicolas Cage losing his shit in Adaptation, to John Malkovich exclaiming, “I have seen a world that no man should see!”, to Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind‘s bittersweet romance–There are some freakin’ awesome Charlie Kaufman movies.

This is the worst of the 4. But it’s still really good, and now that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead, it’s time to give this one a go.

It started to lose us a few times, but then it would ultimately snap us back and just… wow… Some of what is going on in this movie is absolutely amazing, and could only be done by Charlie Kaufman.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to motivate my interest in the characters. The plot seemed thin. The message seemed thin.

Being John Malkovich said a lot about the idea–both the erotic and vanilla aspects–of living in someone else’s skin, and had relationship drama (and psychological animal trauma) to drive a story. Adaptation definitely had a strong plot and an obvious resolution as well. Even Eternal Sunshine “resolved” by indicating that [highlight for spoilers] they had become aware of the cycle, yet were going to continue it anyway, because their love was a journey and not a destination.

This movie? It basically seemed to boil down to “don’t waste your life”.

What is built up in this Kaufman film is built up as well as any other. It’s just harder for me to take something good out this. You waste your life and then you die. Hoffman did this in the movie, and then again in real life.

So, there were amazing things, but this is the least important Kaufman flick for me. Perhaps it’s because he directed it himself? Maybe that made it not as good?


Radha’s thoughts: This is one of my all time favorite movies. Hoffman’s performance is incredible and the last fifteen minutes alone make me cry like a baby for hours every time.

Claire: Seriously though… I kinda just got tired of the premise. They kept going deeper and deeper, but to what end? Don’t waste your life? I get it. Don’t waste your life!  Was there something deeper to it? I get if it was just a feeling that can’t be expressed, then I can understand. I hope there wasn’t some super-obvious symbolism I missed or something, because I do that a lot…

Radha: One way to get me is existentialism, every time. There’s no super-obvious symbolism in the movie, and the theme isn’t (or at least I wouldn’t characterize it as) “don’t waste your life” at all…I’d say if anything, it’s a meditation on the line between reality and art, and how blurry it can be. It’s definitely a portrait of the hopes and fears of mankind stuffed into one dude who’s neurotic about everything

Claire: One key word you used – “Meditation”. That could be it right there. I hate meditation, generally. Like, doing it, the concept, etc. Let’s not discuss that, it’d be an annoying tangent. But anyway, that may be it. I hate meditation. I want there to be a “point”. What is a “point”? Well, I know it when I see it…

Radha: Yeah, if you need a clearly defined point and not just an emotional study and character portrait, or a meditation on the nature of things…it’s no surprise that Synechdoche left you wanting. On the other hand, it’s exactly the kind of thing I love.

Claire’s Mom:  I love Kaufman–in my estimation, he’s the most original screenwriter of his time or any time. This film didn’t resonate with me as much as his others, but the fault could be my own–I just wasn’t able to process all the layers. I suspect this film is something that needs to be watched many times and, so far, I’ve only watched it once. Maybe I’ll get back to you after another viewing.

Radha: I’ve seen it at least 4 times and can attest to that.

Claire: I finally learned how to pronounce this.




Written & directed by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Adaptation, 1 ep of Moral Orel).

Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Hunger Games 2, The Invention Of Lying, The Boat That Rocked aka Pirate Radio, The Big Lebowski, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Scent Of A Woman, Twister, Along Came Polly) as Caden Cotard.

Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich, Bad Grandpa, Percy Jackson 1, Where The Wild Things Are, The 40-Year Old Virgin, S1m0ne) as Adele Lack.

Tom Noonan (Last Action Hero, Robo-Cop 2) as Sammy Barnathan.

Josh Pais (Michael & Michael Have Issues, Adventureland, Scream 3, Rafael in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1, 1 ep of The Sopranos) as Ophthalmologist.

Daniel London (Minority Report, 2 eps of The Sopranos) as Tom.

Michelle Williams (Oz The Great And Powerful, Shutter Island, But I’m A Cheerleader) as Claire Keen.

Stephen Adly Guirgis (Palidromes) as Davis.

Samantha Morton (John Carter, Minority Report) as Hazel.

Hope Davis (American Splendor, Home Alone, Flatliners) as Madeleine Gravis, the therapist.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jill in Weeds, Palindromes, eXistenZ, The Hudsucker Proxy, Short Cuts, 2 eps of Spawn, 1 ep of Mission Hill) as Maria.

Jerry Adler (The Sopranos, 10 eps of Mad About You, 1 ep of Quantum Leap) as Caden’s Father.

Lynn Cohen (The Hunger Games 2, Sex And The City) as Caden’s Mother.

Dianne Wiest (Edward Scissorhands, Dan In Real Life, The Birdcage) Ellen Bascomb / Millicent Weems.

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Confessions Of A Porn Addict (2008)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Native ratings: 2.3/5 stars Netflix, 5.1/10 IMDB.

This was sitting in our “to watch” pile for awhile. Why? Because Kenny Vs. Spenny is a hilarious show, and we were very curious what Spenny‘s movie about a porn addict would be like.  Then we watched Don Juan and both of us remembered that this movie existed and had been on our pile for years.  So we were also curious how this would compare with Don Juan (answer: Exact same rating from Claire, 0.4/10 higher IMDB rating from Carolyn).

This was slightly better than we expected, because our expectations were extremely low. This was obviously going to be a low-budget, unpolished, possibly-improvised, mockumentary-feeling kinda comedy. It wasn’t necessarily funny most of the time — but it was pretty awkward and cringe-inducing.

Spenny has awkward down pat. He basically just plays himself, since he’s awkward in real life. And it works.

Putting him in a relationship like that? That was pretty awesome. The reconciliation? Easily the most ridiculous reconciliation I’ve ever seen between two characters in any work of fiction that I’ve ever read, watched or listened to in my life. Worth it for that. So worth it.

It’s not great, but it is entertaining — with a few sigular laughs.  A tuesday-night kinda movie.

Directed by Duncan Christie (1 ep of Kenny Vs. Spenny, 1 ep of Single White Spenny)
Written by Spencer Rice (Kenny Vs. Spenny, Single White Spenny) and Duncan Christie.

Starring Spencer Rice as Mark Tobias.
Mark Breslin as Bob.
Lindsey Connell (Cube 2) as Felice.
Michael McMurtry (5 eps of Undergrads) as Marilyn Monroe Impersonator.
Michelle Morgan (1 ep of The L Word) as The Wrong Felice.
Errol Sitahal (Harold & Kumar 1-2) as Video Store Clerk.
Philip Williams (Max Payne, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Support Group Guy #1 (as Phil Williams).
Cecil Phillips (X-Men 1) as Support Group Guy #4.
Robert Black (porn director) as Himself.
Duncan Christie as Himself.
Kevin Morgan (miscellaneous crew on Kenny Vs. Spenny) as Himself.
Matt Zane (porn director/actor, Robert Black’s cousin) as Himself.
Tom Byron (has been in over 1600 pornos) as Himself.
Lizzy Borden (porn actress) as Herself.


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VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: How To Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008)

Clio: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

A moderately funny movie where Simon Pegg plays an asshole celebrity journalist who wants to shake things up. Watch this for the Simon Pegg Vs. Megan Fox Vs. Kirsten Dunst love triangle. This movie is pretty predictable, and not that special. I’d only recommend it if you are a fan of the actors. In that case, it is serviceable and worth a few laughs.

Directed by Robert B. Weide (producer and director on Curb Your Enthusiasm), and based on a book by Toby Young–Who was subsequently banned from the set as he was reportedly annoying actors and interrupting the director as he tried to direct scenes.

Simon Pegg plays the main character, with Kirsten Dunst as the co-worker, and Megan Fox as the movie star. Jeff Bridges (The Dude!) as the magazine editor. Gillian Anderson (Scully in X Files…officially hotter now than ever) as the publicist.  Danny Huston (Poseiden in Clash Of The Titans remake, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Number 23) as the douche. Also, the landlord lady–Mariam Margoyles–was in Harry Potter (Professor Pomono Spout).


VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Adventures Of Power (2008)

Clint: 5/5 stars, /10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB. 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This movie is not for everyone. It’s only for awesome people.

Seriously though..You gotta have a certain open-mindedness (RE: ridiculousness) when watching something like this. It is a movie about a clueless dude named “Power” who wants nothing more but to air drum. You see, his dad didn’t buy him drums. But he’s VERY good at air drumming. It’s his life passion. He wouldn’t play real drums now–even if you gave them to him. “It’s too late for me to learn drums.”

But Power has actual prowess, despite his cluelessness. Kind of like how Napoleon Dynamite was a real good dancer.

Power’s quest to pursue his air drumming career causes him to go on a cross country adventure. I am damn surprised how powerful the ending to this was, given how utterly fucking ridiculous the entire movie is!

…And the fact that I bought this at the dollar store by mistake because I thought it was a bluray and needed a bluray for testing purposes. Hey! Pretty good dollar spent! Wow!!

Yes… I’m very surprised how well this turned out. I loved this. So did Carolyn.


Carolyn: “Definitely a comedy, with a tiny dash of romance, and a tiny dash of drama.  It was definitely unique.  It wasn’t as much a laugh-out-loud at joke after joke comedy, but it was pretty awesome for what it was — a movie about air-drumming.”


“An Indie along the lines of Napoleon Dynamite but with more purpose and fluidity.” –random internet dude


The rest is just me talking about who’s in this movie:

The first full-length movie written/directed/starring Ari Gold, who also plays Power, a Napoleon Dynamite-esque character.

Power’s parents are Michael McKean (the boss in Dream On, Lenny from Laverne & Shirley, Clue, This Is Spinal Tap) and Jane Lynch (Glee, Wreck-It Ralph, The Three Stooges, Shrek Forever After, Role Models, Smiley Face, Talladega Nights, 50 Pills, 40 Year Old Virgin, Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events).

The love interest is Shoshannah Stern (the deaf girl from Weeds). The bad guy is Adrian Grenier (Cecil B. Demented, Entourage). There are other various people like Eric Wareheim of Tim And Eric, Neil Peart of the band Rush, and Nick Kroll.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Dante 01 (2008)

3/5 stars, 6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.5/5 stars, 4.9/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.1/5, very good Netflix!).

Directed by Marc Caro, who co-directed The City Of Lost Children & Delicatessen with Jean-Pierre Jenuet.

They used to collaborate together, then they went their separate ways when Jeneut went to work on Alien:Ressurrection. After that, Jenuet went on to do Amelie & Micmacs. These movies are very much in the same cinematic style as Delicatessen & The City Of Lost Children, except they are very whimsical, missing all of the darkness from Delicatessan & The City Of Lost Children.

Apparently, the darkness came from Marc Caro. So we sought to see what a Marc Caro movie was like WITHOUT Jenuet.

The answer: Not as good.

This kind of came off as Chronicles Of Riddick meets Clockwork Orange meets Pandorum. The movie had very good visuals, an interesting moral dillema, and a disturbing, claustrophobic insane-asylum-on-space-station atmosphere — but the ending was a total cop-out that left few satisifed.

And a lot of questions were never answered, which makes the mystery aspect retroactively come off as pretentious. Like, for instance, what was the company *TRULY* doing with the nanotechnology? Adding Christ allegory only makes a movie more pretentious and revolting to me.

I don’t regret seeing it, but my impression is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are both incapable of making a single movie as good as when they both collaborated.  They should get back together!

Special thanks to Ian Buckwalter for helping me understand the Jeunet/Caro dichotomy, and pointing out to me that this movie exists in the first place.


VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)

4/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.

A real D&D movie! That’s actually funny, too!

Super low budget though. I wouldn’t even call this a b-movie, I’d call it a c-movie.  The acting is quite often bad and stilted, but you know what? We still enjoyed it a lot anyway!

Major nerdgasm this movie was.