The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

I Love You, Man (2009)

Peter (Paul Rudd, left) and Sydney (Jason Segel, right) rock out to Rush in the Man Cave.

Peter (Paul Rudd, left) and Sydney (Jason Segel, right) rock out to Rush in the Man Cave.

I Love You Too, Man

by Bryce VanKooten

For most in this country, it may never happen at all. But for the few million who happen to live in LA — this hotbed of fanfare and traffic — I suppose it a bit more attainable. I’m still getting use to the fact that it’s feasible to see movies before their release. And the opportunity to shoot the breeze with the Director after the film just comes as an added bonus I guess; the ala mode, if you will. Either way, when I got the invite to Brown University’s alumni screening of John Hamburg’s I Love You, Man (Hamburg is an alum), I jumped at the opportunity. Seeing a movie four weeks before its release is like talking to the starting quarterback before the big game: you’re as close to affecting the movie’s process as you can be without actually affecting anything. It’s the little dose of thrill we all need. I hope I never get used to it.

Hamburg — who wrote Zoolander, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers [coming soon: Meet the Little Fockers] and wrote/directed Along Came Polly has an enviable career, to say the least. He has perfect style and the ability to convey reality in a witty and original way. “I just wanted the film to look and act as real as possible. I wanted the characters to be people we all knew and not just [guys and girls] saying cliché jokes”, he recalls. I Love You, Man is a smart satire. Nailed it.

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We nearly missed the movie, actually. My friend and I sat in the wrong theater on the Paramount lot for about 20 minutes before we realized we were in the wrong theater. When we finally sprinted to the right one, the curtains pulled to reveal what we all needed: guy and girl find another guy – the perfect spin to the romantic comedy.

The movie opens with Peter (Paul Rudd) proposing to Zooey (The Office’s Rashida Jones). The very next scene takes us on the car ride home where Rashida calls her best gal pals to tell them of the wonderful news. We soon realize that Peter has never had a best guy friend. This poses a problem for the wedding. Who’s going to play the Best Man? Throw in Peter’s younger, gay brother Robby (Andy Samberg) — who’s best friends with his father (hilarious) — a terrific supporting cast, including Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly as the venomous, bickering married friends and you’ve got yourself a fantastic hour and a half.

There were quite a few scenes worth noting, but of course, I’d never dream of spoiling the surprise. In the end, the poker table scene takes the cake – in an array of drinking games, male bonding and an inexperienced drinker – as the hardest I laughed (or cringed). But there are other moments that are guaranteed good times, including Rudd’s air-guitaring ‘slappa da bay-eez’ and any moment Peter’s new found friend Doug (Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon) shows up. I repeat: Thomas Lennon = hilarious.

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Rudd’s dedication to his character’s emphasis on this new found friendship (he wants it to work so badly!) provides much of the film’s laughs. Even after the film, Hamburg revealed, “I knew when I wrote the script I wanted Paul in the lead. There are certain lines that only Paul can say.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Paul Rudd finds the perfect balance between apologetic awkwardness and consistent hilarity. And as it turned out later, his awkward appeal was only spurred on by the crew surrounding him. “In the scene when we were filming Paul’s goodbye to Sydney”, Hamburg recalls, “we knew that Paul was going to say ‘see ya city slicker’ or something random and awkward like that, but I couldn’t help it. Once we got rolling, we just left him out there. We must have done forty-two takes of that signoff — him walking out the door saying anything that came to mind, each time getting longer and more awkward. He was dying. We were all laughing. I think it turned out really well.”

Not to be outdone was the rest of the film’s cast. Rashida Jones fit perfectly in the role of Peter’s fiancé and Jason Segel – who ruined comedy for me when he penned last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall (only to have it resurrected by Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder) – managed to regain some strength with his normal, all-too-familiar portrayal of everyman’s friend, Sydney Fife. Fife is the guy every man hopes to have – honest, easy going, plays an instrument – and the best man most men end up with – loose-lipped, unpredictable, but by your side.

Amidst all the puke, pillow talk and premarital shenanigans in this homo/hetero-nuetral parade, there are some redeeming moments in this colorful tale of romantic reality. A lesson in love, this film manages to tell a new story with a nice twist on the fairytale ending. In a genre often lost to poo, potty and porking, I Love You, Man is the friend we all need: fun.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Film Reviews, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

LOST: Episode 6 — Doubting Thomas, The Island and Proxy’s.

Jack (Matthew Fox) finds himself where everything started.

Jack (Matthew Fox) finds himself where everything started.

It’s back to the land of the LOST. Except this week – it’s not so cut and dry. I mean, the castaways are back. Some of them at least, but this time the rules have changed. As always, Thursday morning was met with a recap of the previous night’s episode. I’ve heard many takes on this week’s (218/09) sode’:

You [we] learned absolutely nothing in 58 minutes of Lost that you didn’t know in the first 2. Complete filler.”

“It was good not great – talk about a bunch of biblical references.”

“I like the bible stuff – the writers are so smaaaart!”

“This may be my favorite episode of the season, thus far.”

And to think that the first and last comment came from two people who use to be dating.

It was really until this morning that I realized that this episode really was something great. Granted, it was a caught-in-the-middle-of-a-much-bigger-story episode, but was that all? This week we opened with what we all thought was a flash back to the pilot. It was not. And we soon realized – crap, they made it. They made it back!? Then we got one of those 52 minute story’s explaining how they got where they just told us they’d be. Part of me felt like we could have done without that. Let me get straight to the point, though.

The most intriguing thing about last night’s episode was the fact that each person onboard the flight had to recreate the original flight sequence. We saw this clearly play out with jack putting his father’s shoes on Locke’s dead body in order to recreate the original flight. We also saw this when we noticed that Sayid was handcuffed to an officer of the law in order to become a proxy for Kate – who was in a similar boat on her maiden flight. And I thought that was it. That must be that Jack was himself, Hurley the same and Sun, too, right?

Wrong.

Think about it. Here we go.

Locke = Jack’s daddy – coffin-ized

Sayid = Kate, cuffed like a renegade.

Hurley = Charlie, with his guitar and carefree spirit (I made the second part up)

Sun = Sayid, who was looking for a lost love

Ben = Hurley, both ended up being late to their flights

Jack = Jack, because he is weak, and the only person weak enough to play Jack, is Jack himself. Pussy.

And now for the kicker….

Kate = Claire (Kate is prego with Jack’s baby from the night before). Whooooaaaa.

What is going to happen to the extra business classer’s that we got to meet briefly in last night’s episode? It hurts my mind to think about. I’m sure they’ll somehow find a gun, point it at someone and die – or they’ll shoot at someone in a raft as they’re paddling away, just before they jump points in time – wait a second!? Eureka!

As for Ben and his gladiator face, I think it’s obvious that he tried to kill my love, Penelope. Can’t you just see Ben about to execute Penny the same way Widmore’s boy Keamy did in Alex? And then, in walks Desmond – all excited because he just told Ben he wasn’t going to The Island. And then as Dez realizes that Ben always gets the best of everyone, Ben softly says, “Desmond, this doesn’t concern you. But if you stop me, I will hurt you.” What’s the only way Desmond will go back to the island – if Penny’s in trouble right? Maybe she dies, or is really hurt and the only way to save her is to go back. Back from where he once came.

Side note: Jack’s character arc coming on around with the inclusion of doubting Thomas (Jack: someone like me exists?!) and the Good Will Hunting-esque, “it’s not your fault” moment from Ben — of all people — was outstanding.

This is all turning out to get very good. Geeeeez, I love LOST.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Lost, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lost Through Four Episodes: The Little Prince

LOST Season 5 -- four down, thirteen to go.

LOST Season 5 — four down, thirteen to go.

“I’ve always been with you…”

–Kate

Such is life. Such is LOST. The all-consuming, abusive relationship I’ve been in for the past 5 years. To be honest, I couldn’t feel more at home with last night’s episode. It was one that fell through the cracks, sure, but when push came to shove – old habits die hard.

We’re 4 episodes in to LOST’s season 5 saga and I can feel the uneasiness building in the air. The premier was a bit weak. The follow up was stronger, but still lacked that spice of answers we all hold hope for. How bad does the audience want answers? Last night I was busy. So … I woke up at 6am this morning to watch last night’s episode. Is there a stronger word than obsessed?

I’ve always been with you LOST.

The 4rd episode – Jughead – did wonders for all of us. We felt like we got some info penciled into a few questions, learned a little about our boy Widmore and managed to make our way back a few decades and see some terrific footage of a blond cutie that may or may not be married to someone, may or may not be someone’s mother and may or may not be in love with Widmore. Answers? Eh, it’s a start. Any time we get Desmond on screen, we’re in for a solid single. Join that with Faraday’s theories of time travel, his professed love for Caroline and a hydrogen bomb hanging feet from the ground and we’re off to a good start. Jughead = money. My favorite episode since last year’s, The Constant. Season 5: I like where its going.

Then we hit last night’s episode: The Little Prince

Sitting there with my cup of morning coffee in hand, it seemed to me that the ‘ol LOST writers were getting back to their old tricks. Did anyone think for a moment that Ben wasn’t suing Kate? Do we need to hear Jack say, “I can fix this” one more time? Does anyone not know by now that Sayid is a little unstable and will be either bleeding, shooting or both in every episode until the finale? The answers to all of this is of course not. We’re fans. We’re loyal fans. We get it.

But then I stopped. Could The Little Prince be a look into something deeper? Probably not, but its worth a look. Thanks to the last two ep’s we know can see where this is going. Faraday (my boy!) and Caroline are falling in love faster than the DOW is falling past 7,000. Jack, despite his inability to see what we all see, refuses to stop trying and will forever fight for Kate – this could come into play big time if we’re in a LOST-esque gun-to-the-head scenario. And Aaron — our hapless hero caught in the middle — could play a KEY role. He’s seemingly the only person BORN on the island (that we know of)…. right? Op, Rousseau’s daughter — but she’s dead, dead. There is a high chance I’m going insane.

I’m growing more and more intrigued to the Faraday/Caroline storyline — I won’t lie. And I finally want Jack to suck it up, have some faith, and trust someone else — I’m almost rooting for him. That’s a first, I think. I want Locke to start killing everything in sight. And finally – maybe I’m the only one – does it seem like Juliet’s into Sawyer?

Ben’s into Juliet. Juliet’s into Sawyer. Sawyer’s INTO Kate. Kate’s … into me … okay, she’s mostly into Jack. And Jack’s into his Dad, because Jack is gay. But he loves Kate. So he’s into her, supposedly. So at least that’s clear as mud.

I’ve always been with you LOST.

Last night’s saga (and all four ep’s this season) have proven to us all that we’ve always been with Lost. We’ll always be with LOST. No matter how many times it betrays us, no matter how much abuse we take, we’ll be right there … loving it.

Millions of questions to answer. 30 episodes left.

I’m so there.

February 5, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , | Leave a comment