Silly flicks

It hasn’t all been block-busting superheroes and science fiction. Occasionally, I’ve opted for the lighter, the artier, the sillier, the grimier.

Moonrise Kingdom
My first Wes Anderson film was Rushmore. I didn’t know anything about the film, or the director, and saw it on a whim. It was such a delight. In the days that followed, I bought the brilliant soundtrack (back in the days when people actually purchased CDs) and sought out Anderson’s first film, Bottle Rocket. I was hooked. I was lucky, too: the local cineplex pulled the film from its roster a week later.

In the years since, I’ve seen every one of his films. I adore his quirky style, his use of music, his interesting cast of characters, many of whom make repeat appearances. Naturally, then, I made it a priority to see his latest, Moonrise Kingdom.

I’ll say this: while it isn’t his strongest film (wedged between Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited, in my humble opinion), Moonrise Kingdom is good fun. And the soundtrack, which mined Benjamin Britten, was a lovely reminder of my choirboy days of yore. Oh, and Bill Murray’s madras pants were awesome.

Magic Mike
Steven Soderbergh made a movie about male strippers. It features Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum and some youthful lad named Alex Pettyfer—all of whom are filmed in various stages of undress. What more do I need to say, really? Oh, right: a nude Olivia Munn.

But seriously, if you peel back the layers, get past the sun-drenched Florida scenery, beautiful bronzed bodies, hilarious dance numbers, McConaughey’s scene-stealing shenanigans, and yes, a nude Olivia Munn, you discover a tender movie that documents one man’s journey from innocence to experience, a veritable celluloid Bildungsroman for our times.

Cough! Hack! Spit!

Do you believe that bullshit? Me neither. Magic Mike was simply a great bit of summer fluff—and most importantly, showed a lot of skin. Enough said.

Killer Joe
A darkly comic southern romp with more sex and violence—gratuitous, of course—than you could possible shake a fried chicken leg at.

And yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this bit of cinematic pulp with a screwball storyline only made believable by the sincerity with which the cast plays it. Indeed, Killer Joe works precisely because of the actors, all of whom seem to revel in their parts; no one more so, however, than Matthew McConaughey, who is mesmerizing as a deviant, murderous psychopath.

It’s not for the feint of heart, or those with a low tolerance for violent sex and sexy violence. However, if you’re willing to give it a go, don’t mind a bit of art for art’s sake, then this one is a hoot.

How could I pass on this, Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film?

Not only does MacFarlane write, direct and provide the voice of the title character, a foul-mouthed teddy-bear, he also manages to convince Patrick Stewart to narrate the thing and co-opt Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis to go along for the ride.

Ted is funny, filthy, and yet tender-hearted, too. It has “repeat viewing” written all over it. Indeed, when I think about each of the aforementioned films, I only foresee myself reaching for Ted again, and again. Frankly, MacFarlane’s created a modern comedic classic. Hats off to him.


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