3.29.2007

home for purim

We watched "For Your Consideration" the other night, the latest Christopher Guest spoof. If you like his movies, this is a good one. Other than a clunky ending, it's very funny.

The prescence of Ricky Gervais was an unwelcome surprise for me. I loathe that character he does, and as far as I know, it's all he does. But I'm sure for many people his appearance is a bonus. Some of the jokes in this movie will be much funnier if you're Jewish, so you'll want to convert before viewing.

My favourite of Guest's spoofs and mockumentaries was "A Mighty Wind", a send-up of folk music culture. For me that was both the funniest and the most dead-on since "Spinal Tap". I know most people loved "Best In Show," but that was my least favourite, although it had its moments.

As in most of the Christoper Guest spoofs, "For Your Consideration" affords many opportunities for us to turn to each other and say, "Canadian" (Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara). It's a little slice of the everyone-is-Canadian culture.

Which reminds me, did anyone watch The Colbert Report last night? What did he call Canadians...? "Not bad for a bunch of bilingual..." Bilingual what? This is what happens when you watch TV when you're half asleep. I heard it, and loved it, and promptly forgot it.

Well, only two more movie nights left before the season changes. Which means, it's almost Opening Day!! I can't wait.

17 comments:

M@ said...

I agree that the ending was clunky, but I wonder whether it was a tacked-on, very Hollywood ending that mirrors the tacked-on, very Hollywood way Home for Purim was completely changed by the time it hit the screen? Okay, maybe that's a stretch.

I think I enjoyed Mighty Wind best, too, and my favourite bits were the Bob Balaban bits. I think we agree on him, don't we? For him, his improv in Mighty Wind was the equivalent of hamming it up, it seems. He's always such a joy to watch.

Who knew Levy and O'Hara could sing like that! Holy crap, eh? The only reason I watched any of the Oscars that year (or this decade at all in fact) was to see them perform it. Quite well worth it.

It's astounding how much Guest gets out of the cast -- there are just so very, very many good people.

dcbean said...

He said "not bad for a bunch of bilingual draft dodgers and..." adding something about the Danes (which I promptly forgot too).

L-girl said...

Draft-dodgers!! Thank you!!

I had a great laugh over it. I might have even high-fived Allan.

Or tried to. He generally won't hi-five me back.

Thank you, dcbean. :)

L-girl said...

and my favourite bits were the Bob Balaban bits. I think we agree on him, don't we?

We do indeed. In fact, when he showed up in For Your Consideration, I said, M@ and I have talked about him, he's part of the Bob Balaban fan club.

I have two neat tid-bits about Balaban. One is that I met him at a cast party once (a long time ago), and he was painfully shy, but hilarious, once he opened up.

And two, his casting in Seinfeld as the president of NBC has an extra layer of brilliance, because the then-president of NBC looked exactly like him. So it was also a kind of visual inside joke.

Who knew Levy and O'Hara could sing like that!

That was really something. I think she may have started out as a singer, or at least doing musical comedy.

(or this decade at all in fact)

Another thing we agree on.

It's astounding how much Guest gets out of the cast

That is so true. They are all really at their best in his movies.

L-girl said...

Plus Balaban does a lot of anti-death-penalty and anti-war work. That makes me like him more.

M@ said...

I didn't know any of those things! The problem is, on those rare occasions when we do get together, it seems like we don't have enough time to talk about all the stuff we really care about. Then again, we talk about family, dogs, and travel, so that's okay.

Another thing we agree on.

And yeah, I also start to wonder whether there's anything we don't think alike on -- I mean you, me, Allan, and SuMei. Well, SuMei and I aren't such big baseball fans, I guess. Maybe that's enough. :)

They are all really at their best in his movies.

The thing is, what else does any other director see in Fred Willard? Or Harry Shearer? Or Ed Begley Jr? Not that these guys aren't great actors, with great pieces in other movies and shows, but they're so wonderful in these films, you start to wonder why they haven't done more when you see these things. (At least Levy and O'Hara had American Pie (:P) and Orange County -- which used their strengths if nothing else.)

I remember specifically reading something about the improv in Best in Show, about the scene where Levy is trying to check into the hotel. Levy completely improvised the line "Oh! Wait! Do you take traveller's cheques?" Begly, in true improv form, says "Oh! Yes! Of course! Do you have traveller's cheques?" and Levy admits, "Um... no." Such a terrific scene, all improvised, and it works because we know so quickly and implicitly what these characters are about. We've discussed before what works in comedy, and to me, that scene is a jewel of stuff that works.

Btw, one of my favourite Bob Balaban roles was in Catch-22. He's so perfect -- while the film was unsuccessful in many ways, he did whatever could be done with Orr. (I'll admit, here, to being a total fanboy of the book, and a lesser but still pretty big fan of the movie.)

We should catch a movie sometime! In... November, I guess. :)

M@ said...

Oh. By the way. The best part of Mighty Wind for me, bar none, in all the brilliant scenes that are in that movie, was when they're all humming for BB's dad, and Jennifer Coolidge is... not humming. Holy crap, It's one of my favourite movie scenes ever.

Nuff said. When's WMTC movie night? :)

Jere said...

I also would go with Mighty Wind as my favorite Guest movie, although, of course, that's only if I had to choose one. Which I don't, so quit grillin' me under these hot lights. (Have you watched it with Guest/Levy commentary? Awesome.)

I'm a little confused about when you said "that's all Gervais does." The Andy Millman role is a lot different than the David Brent role. Similar in that they both make me roll on the floor holding my sides, when I'm not cringing at their respective embarrassments. But besides those... (By the way--NYC people, tickets for Ricky's US standup debut JUST went on sale. MSG, May 19th, part of David Bowie's Highline Fest.)

I saw the Canada comment! And I thought, "I'd tell Laura about this, but she's not a big Colbert fan." So does this mean you're on board with "The Nation"? I hope so. (I also tried Colbert's ice cream last night--it's really good!)

L-girl said...

I'm a little confused about when you said "that's all Gervais does."

Sorry to confuse you, but to me he's a one trick pony. And I don't care for the trick. He annoys the hell out of me. That may be because he's doing a good job, but regardless, I find him annoying and not funny.

So does this mean you're on board with "The Nation"?

Nope. I don't run from the room if I see a few minutes of it (especially since I'm in bed, barely awake), and naturally I love Colbert's politics. But I think the show is extremely limited, and I got tired of it after the first week.

Each to her own. :)

L-girl said...

I didn't know any of those things! The problem is, on those rare occasions when we do get together, it seems like we don't have enough time to talk about all the stuff we really care about.

The only solution is to get together more often!

I also start to wonder whether there's anything we don't think alike on -- I mean you, me, Allan, and SuMei.

Nope. :)

Oh wait - you and me, Margaret Atwood. I love repeating that. :)

L-girl said...

The thing is, what else does any other director see in Fred Willard? Or Harry Shearer? Or Ed Begley Jr?

Other than Harry Shearer's voices in The Simpsons (and wherever else), nearly nothing.

Btw, one of my favourite Bob Balaban roles was in Catch-22.

Do you know, I've never seen that movie! It's always fallen in the "loved the book too much to see the movie" category. But since you also love the book, I'll take a chance on the movie.

In November. :)

When's WMTC movie night? :)

I think it starts the day after the World Series ends. :)

M@ said...

November? Now, now, don't be so extreme. There are no baseball games the day after the All-Star game, right? There's ample time to watch a movie that day, isn't there?

Ed Begley was brilliant in Arrested Development and also was in one of SuMei's favourite shows, Veronica Mars, this season. He was apparently very good in there too. Shearer, yeah, has done very little, which is a real shame. He's obviously got lots of comedic talent.

On Catch-22, well, I don't know whether you'll like it or not. My father loved the book and hated the movie. While I like it, I do agree with my father's main criticism: Alan Arkin was a tragically bad casting decision for Yossarian. Also, Dunbar was written out of the movie. But it's still one of my favourite movies.

I also like it better than M*A*S*H, which I know is sacrilege, or at least Not Cool, to admit.

On the Atwood thing: yeah, well, you and her millions of fans must simply accept that you're wrong. Don't worry, I don't hold it against you guys. :)

L-girl said...

November? Now, now, don't be so extreme. There are no baseball games the day after the All-Star game, right? There's ample time to watch a movie that day, isn't there?

There are scattered days off throughout the season, as well as west coast games that give us most of the evening free. Those used to be my movie (Netflix) nights.

But I'll tell you, now that we live in a house and have a backyard, when there's an off night, we just want to hang out outside. We enjoy it so much.

I'm actually cancelling my Zip.ca membership, and rejoining in November. I'll probably get a movie occasionally from the library. Very occasionally.

November. :)

M@ said...

Baseball must be the only sport where there are enough games to make being a true fan such an all-encompassing pursuit.

NFL fans must be complete amateurs compared to you guys. Do you guys feel like "Eighteen weeks? You call that a season? Wait, wait -- eighteen games!? What is that, the exhibition games?"

Well, I'd totally be like that.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the game on the 18th with some real baseball fans. I'm expecting I'll leave knowing a lot more about baseball.

L-girl said...

Baseball must be the only sport where there are enough games to make being a true fan such an all-encompassing pursuit.

That's a good way of putting it! Plenty of people (even most?) who consider themselves fans watch or go to games occasionally. But when you want to watch the whole season, it has to be part of your life, a routine, like making dinner or walking your dogs. It has to be a way of life.

NFL fans must be complete amateurs compared to you guys. Do you guys feel like "Eighteen weeks? You call that a season? Wait, wait -- eighteen games!? What is that, the exhibition games?"

Heh. Well, it is different, I'll say that much. You also can't - or shouldn't - live and die with each game, the way soccer or football fans do. It's a very different rhthym.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the game on the 18th with some real baseball fans.

Yay :)

redsock said...

The famous quote from legendary Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver, speaking (I think) about how even the best baseball teams lose about 60 games a year:

"This ain't football. We do this every day."

L-girl said...

how even the best baseball teams lose about 60 games a year

And even the best hitters fail about 70% of the time.

There's a lot of pain in baseball.