Category Archives: Film

Miss (or missed?) Mister Show

Do you know about Mr. Show with Bob and David? I was lucky enough to catch it before it was cancelled from HBO, I waited patiently for the DVD sets to be released, and then followed along as David Cross and Bob Odenkirk made names for themselves as Tobias Fünke (Arrested Development) and Saul Goodman (Breaking Bad). Here they are appearing on The Daily Show on September 11, 2013:

The full episode is available on Comedy Network.

Some times you come across a show that is ahead of it’s time. That is true of Mr. Show (“At Least A Dozen Mr. Show Skits That Became Reality”) but it also comes from a rich history of top-notch sketch comedy, from Monty Python to the Kids in the Hall. You may recognize some of the cast and guests like Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Jack Black, Tom Kenny, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brian Posehn, Jerry Minor, Scott Aukerman, and Dino Stamatopoulos.

You can pretty much skip Run Ronnie Run. It is a rare case where the outtakes are far superior to the actual finished movie. If you are new to all of this, here are three amazing sketches that might spark your own interest:

The Audition

Young People & Companions

Pre-taped Call in Show

Note: These three skits in particular are from the mind of Dino Stamatopoulos, comedy writer, creator of Morel Orel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole, and Starburns (Community).

Also, Bob and David are plugging a new book:

Enema Bag Jones

The Wrong Guy (1997)—“Nelson Hibbert”

DF: Yes, I wrote that with Jay Kogen, who I met while doing It’s Pat, and my friend Dave Higgins, who we had all met because we were on Comedy Central together. He used to be part of a troupe called Higgins Boys And Gruber. Kids In The Hall really liked those guys. We had guested on their show years earlier. The three of us wrote The Wrong Guy… I think we wrote it at the same time we were writing Brain Candy, so I was writing both of those at the same time until I actually quit Kids In The Hall. I remember being very excited, because I was suddenly in a position to hire David Steinberg. I actually went to a dinner meeting to interview David Steinberg, who was one of my boyhood comedy heroes. I used to watch The David Steinberg Show on PBS back when it was a replacement series. I used to watch him host The Tonight Show. And then he had a series in Canada called The David Steinberg Show that was the first place people saw John Candy and Joe Flaherty and Marty Short, Dave Thomas. They were all regulars on The David Steinberg Show before SCTV was on the air.

AVC: He was notorious for his appearances on The Smothers Brothers as well.

DF: David Steinberg was the reason the Smothers Brothers got cancelled. He did a sermon about Moses and the burning bush, and CBS said if they didn’t cut it from the show, they were going to cancel ’em, and the Smothers Brothers said, “Well, you better cancel us.” So David Steinberg caused the Smothers Brothers to have their TV show cancelled.

RANDOM ROLES: Dave Foley | A.V. Club

A Serious Post

02-OCT-09: The Coen Brother’s A Serious Man

Like much of the Coens’ work, the climax is unexpected and thrilling, confounding and infuriating. The lack of high-profile performers lends an authenticity to the project, making it feel lived-in and real, instead of “Here’s a bunch of our famous friends in a vanity project.” Though never as absurd, A Serious Man is a spiritual cousin to Raising Arizona .

—Tara Thorne, The Coast

It is largely about misery and bad luck, and it’s very funny. Its hero’s first two words must have been oy vey. The Coens, who have a way of following their vision with unwavering consistency, do not flinch from the problems of poor Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), which include a wife, son and daughter who cause him misery, a deeply flawed brother-in-law who has taken up residence on the sofa, three rabbis who are no help, and an exhibitionist neighbor who goes heavy on the eye liner and smokes during sex. If you aren’t Jewish when you go into this movie, you may be when you come out.

—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

Even with its recognizable tropes, there’s an element of ingenuity to “A Serious Man” when situated in the Coen canon. The movie synthesizes their past and present achievements. Recalling the situational comedy of “Burn After Reading” (which itself recalled the situational comedy of “Fargo”), Larry’s problems form a laundry list of insurmountable woes: He grapples with his nagging wife Judith (Sari Lennick) and her patronizing lover Sy (Fred Melamed), desperately tries to communicate with his aimless son (Aaron Wolff) on the brink of his bar mitzvah, dodges threats from a disgruntled student and feebly attempts to help his deadbeat brother (Richard Kind) solve a gambling problem. Though Larry’s troubles are exploited for the sake of the Coens’ prankish tendencies, he perseveres by way of spiritual convictions that play out with unexpected sincerity. Adopting a desperate stare and constant naivete, Larry oozes pathos. As an archaic symbol of the post-World War II nuclear family, he represents a dying breed, recalling Tommy Lee Jones’s resigned stance in “No Country for Old Men.” Thus, “A Serious Man” draws liberally from the Coens’ own work. At once devilishly confounding and mature, it’s unquestionably their most personal movie yet.

—Eric Kohn, IndieWIRE

This movie is utterly assured, personal, serious, sad and very funny.

—Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood

The movie has no stars, few recognizable faces. And unlike so many American films, which cast gentiles in Jewish roles (Imelda Staunton, for example, as the stereotype mother in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, also about suburban Jews in the ’60s), this one actually has ethnic-appropriate casting. The Jews here are sometimes broadly drawn — Larry’s family slurps soup at a decibel level that even th4e Simpsons would find deafening — but they’re fully assimilated,. Nobody says, “Oy vey!” or talks shtick. If people answer a question with a question, the first would be Larry’s plaintive “Why me?” when he seeks legal, emotional or spiritual help, and the second the world’s “Who cares?”

—Richard Corliss, Time

Clifford (1994) featuring Where the Wild Things Are

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Zach Times Two (or three if you count the last post)

Comedian Zach Galifianakis has snagged lead roles in Todd Phillips’ comedy “The Hangover” for Warner Bros. and the HBO pilot “Bored to Death.”

In “Hangover,” Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms play best buddies at a wild Las Vegas bachelor party who lose the groom just hours before his wedding. Legendary Pictures is producing with Warners, and filming is set to begin this weekend.

In “Death,” Galifianakis plays Ray, a struggling comic book artist and best friend to Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman), an alcoholic writer who pretends to be a private detective. Ted Danson also stars in the project from writer Jonathan Ames and director Alan Taylor.

From The Hollywood Reporter.