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Movie Review: Trainwreck

Published July 28, 2015 by mrsrag


Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James.

Rated: R.  Comedy.  Running Time: 2 hours 5 minutes.

Maria and I certainly didn’t discover Amy Schumer, but we do feel we were in the first wave of her admirers.  Her raunchy humor and matter-of-fact delivery are right up our alley.  You should check out her show, Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central, if you’ve not yet discovered this American treasure.  Trainwreck is her first attempt at a starring role on the big screen (she’s had a couple of small parts previously), she also wrote the screenplay and lured Judd Apatow to direct it.  Another of our favorites, Bill Hader plays Amy’s love interest, and their chemistry carries the film.  The tale begins with Amy in a relationship with John Cena’s character, but she’s playing around on him every chance she can, after all, “he’s like making love with an ice sculpture.”  They do have a scene together where she asks him to talk dirty to her during sex, and his epically bad attempt is hilarious.  Their relationship is short lived, the break up is another pure Amy moment, and we never see Cena again which was a surprise to me.  Trainwreck just delivers from start to finish and beyond Amy and Hader, the supporting cast is great as well.  Colin Quinn as Amy’s irascible father, a nearly unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as Amy’s heartless boss and even Lebron James playing himself like you’ve never seen, blend together in perfect fashion.  The theater was packed and the laughs were constant.  Amy has a hit without a doubt, and I’m hoping this is just the beginning for her. 

The Schumes.  I love this girl.  She embodies everything I like to see in a female comedian.  Her crass, unapologetic and true humor speaks to me, and many women across generations.  I’m not saying she’s a role model, as the title infers she (or her character) is quite a hot mess.  But her act subtly filters in female empowerment, while maintaining a healthy dose of humility and self-parody.  Ross and I first saw her on HBO in 2012 when her comedy special, ‘Mostly Sex Stuff’ debuted and we instantly liked her style.  The fashionably short, yet proper looking dress she donned coupled with her understated delivery & coarse wit caught our attention.  And we knew she had that something.  We were pleased when Comedy Central offered her her own show.  One of my favorite skits from ‘Inside A.S.’ is titled “12 Angry Men”, you should look it up on YouTube when you get a chance.  It is hilarious and packed with big stars that will both shock you and make it even more enjoyable.  I would suggest giving the show a test run before going to view Trainwreck, because Schumer definitely has a distinct flavor of humor.  You will either love it or hate it.  And frankly, if you hate it – then we would probably not be a good match up for friendship.  Basically everyone I know loves her or has found something to admire in her quick rise to stardom.  And as she noted, “I’m not really a slut.  I’ve only had sex with four guys, and that was a weird night.”

Beyond the bawdy humor, I was truly shocked at the acting chops displayed by Amy and Bill Hader.  The latter has made a career playing weird, off the charts, cartoon-like characters.  Beyond his numerous SNL bits, check him out in Clear History or 22 Jump Street, or even his voice over work in several animated films.  All quirky, but funny.  He plays it pretty straight here, and as I mentioned before, he and Amy have great chemistry.  Trainwreck grossed $30 million it’s first weekend, just behind can’t miss movies Ant Man and Minions.  Thirty mil for an R rated movie is big business these days when the kiddies are taken out of the equation, and word of mouth has to keep people filling the seats for the foreseeable future.  One final note, here’s hoping that fucking sick prick that shot up the theater in Louisiana doesn’t hurt the films business.  Our country has these types of incidents far too frequently, and I wish there was a quick solution to the problem, but in the meantime we all just need to keep living our lives.  Stay alert for sure, but don’t let them effect where you go or what you do, otherwise they win.  And I for one say, fuck that!  Sorry for the sermon, go see Trainwreck, it’s two hours well spent.

It’s sad that you have to ‘stay alert’ nearly everywhere today.  You can’t send your kids to school, you can’t go to the mall, you can’t even go to the movies without worrying about some self righteous asshole attacking you for no apparent reason.  But those unfortunate human specimens will never keep me from going to do what I love.  You can’t live like that.  It’s just a shame that in the U.S. we seem to harbor so many of these selfish psychos and have to read about a new shooting every other day.  But I digress.  Trainwreck is a guaranteed fun night out with lots of laughs and captivating entertainment.  Schumer delivers a smart and funny assessment of the dating scene in our current culture.  She completely shatters the stereotype that ‘women can’t be funny’, which I’ve heard one too many times in my lifetime.  Men and women alike seem to enjoy her brand of humor and she is redefining what it means to be a woman of comedy.  I wish her all of the success in the world, but I know she doesn’t need it.  I’m a fan Schumes, you keep doing you girl.

Ross’ Rating: 4.25 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 4 Gummies.

Movie Review: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

Published October 10, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring the voices of:  Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal, Khamani Griffin.

Rated: PG.  Animated.  Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes.


My son Ethan (freshly turned 10 on Oct 2nd) had already seen Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, but asked if Maria and I would take him again, which was a very good sign.  Having seen the first one, and finding it quite mediocre, I can’t say I was doing cartwheels about going, but we went anyway.  The kid was right!  Not just better than the original, MUCH better.  Flint Lockwood (Hader) invented a machine that turned water into food.  In the first movie, everything was going along great on his island hometown of Swallow Falls until the machine runs amok (the food becomes enormous) and has to be shut down.  At the beginning of 2, Flint is about to embark on a new business venture with his love interest, meteorologist Sam Sparks (Faris) when we find out the aforementioned machine, is still working in the wilderness and creating horrible “foodimals” that are threatening to overrun the Earth.  The residents of Swallow Falls are evacuated to San Franjose, California.  Chester V (Forte), inventor, entrepreneur and Flint’s hero, has been enlisted to lead the effort to stop the machine and eventually needs help from Flint and his gang.  Also back from the first movie are: Flint’s pet monkey Steve (NPH), his bushy eyebrowed, sardine loving dad Tim (Caan), chicken suit wearing Brent (Samberg), police officer Earl (Crews) and his son Cal (Griffin) and Sam’s cameraman Manny (Bratt).  An eclectic group to say the least, Chester sends them back to the island, and this is where the movie really begins.  The “foodimals” and food puns steal the show.  There are tacodiles, watermelophants, shrimpanzees, bananostriches, and peanut butter and jellyfish, just to name a few.  We learn along the way that everything isn’t quite what it seems as pertains to who’s good and bad, but the dialogue flows smoothly and the jokes are clever and aplenty.  I had more laugh out loud moments at Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, than I’ve had at any animated movie in a long time.

This was the best animated feature we’ve seen since Wreck-It Ralph, which was released in November of 2012.  We’ve seen a slew of forgettable kids movies since then.  Like Ross, I wasn’t a fan of the first installment of this series either, but the sequel was awesome!  The puns were so bloody brilliant I found myself wishing that I had come up with them myself.  We had fun whispering our own bastardizations of the animal, food hybrids before the film identified them.  One of our favorite characters was Barry, a live strawberry that Sam Sparks smuggles out of one of the sketchy labs they encounter.  This adorable little fruity dude, has some of the most memorable lines and an addictive catch phrase.  When he first meets Flint he keeps looking at him and uttering, “En woo.”  All three of us had some good laughs and it’s always a good sign when Ethan wants to go see a movie again.  The storyline was also well done, incorporating the ground work laid by the first movie while heading in a new, exciting direction with the plot of the second.  It reminded me of the flawless transition that was achieved with the classic Toy Story trilogy.  I found the overall moral of the story great too.  The lesson that Flint had to learn was to appreciate and recognize his real friends.  His loyal brood accompanies him to the island and he starts to take their friendship for granted.

I love Bill Hader, he stole the show at the James Franco Roast we watched on Comedy Central recently.  He enjoys doing these voice characters, in addition to reprising his Flint Lockwood role, he’s had parts in Ice Age, Monsters University and Turbo.  It is Flint’s ambition, awkward genius and eventual growth that is at the center of Meatballs 2.  I’m not sure where I’d rank it among my all-time animated favorites, but most definitely would recommend you see it in the theater or when it reaches DVD.  So many memorable characters, Maria mentioned the talking strawberry Barry; look for a scene where Barry is interpreting Flint’s speech for the other “foodimals”.  Hilarious.  I also enjoy Flint’s dad Tim played by James Caan.  He has Eugene Levy-like eyebrows, and has his own adventure with some warrior pickles who share his love for sardines.  That last line is something isn’t it?  So is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, a very pleasant surprise. 

I most certainly suggest catching this one in theaters.  We skipped the 3-D, which didn’t take anything away from how great it was.  I doubt it will be taking best animated feature of the year home (lots more of this genre to come during the holidays!), but the story is uplifting, heartwarming and seriously funny.  I believe adults will enjoy this one just as much as the kids!


Ross’ Rating: 4 out of 5 Gummy Bears.

Maria’s Rating: 4.5 Gummies.


Movie Review: Turbo

Published July 23, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring the Voices of: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez.

Rated: PG.  Animated.  Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes.

Honestly, Ross & I were not expecting too much from this one, but Ethan was intrigued when we peeped previews before Despicable Me 2.  The premise didn’t really appeal to either of us.  Snail wants to be fast, snail becomes fast, snail competes at Indy 500.  It’s a unique concept, but centered around things I’m not very interested in.  However, it surprised me to some extent and ended up surpassing my expectations.  The story had an encouraging and uplifting message: Follow your dreams.  But the message was delivered with a noticeable lack of laughs and the final result was underwhelming.  The tale begins in a garage bordering a lush garden of red, ripe tomatoes.  Our main character “Turbo”, or as his snail kin call him, Theo, is watching car racing on a small television.  He has a race track set up and he is working on improving his lap time of 2 minutes, while playing out his ‘speedy’ fantasy.  His brother instructs him to get some rest for a big day of work that’s ahead of them.  The snails travel in force, but slowly, toward the garden where they harvest the fresh tomatoes and send the duds hurtling toward “Turbo”, who is having a difficult time dodging the fleshy, large orbs.  He vocally daydreams about racing as he completes his daily tasks and the other snails castigate him for what they believe to be a fruitless dream.  But can we blame them…he is a snail – one of the quintessential slow creatures of the Earth.

Snail ends up falling on drag racing car, gets dose of nitrous, becomes super fast.  Turbo was mildly better than I expected, but still very mediocre.  And as Maria pointed out, seriously lacking in the humor department.  Ethan seemed to like it which is the most important thing really.  I’ve made this point before, the bar has been set so high for animated films that when you see one that is not spectacular, it is a major disappointment.  That being said, even though Turbo was an average offering, I was okay with it because my expectations weren’t very high going in.  My favorite part of the movie was Turbo’s sidekick snails which included Samuel L., Snoop and Maya Rudolph (think Lightning McQueen’s pit crew).  Michael Pena as Tito, Turbo’s manager of sorts, was okay as well.  Just a mostly forgettable hour and a half, but not so bad you want to demand your money back.  If it’s a rainy day and you literally have nothing else to do with the kids, maybe point the car toward your local theater.  Maybe.  But you know, bowling can be fun too.

The bar is really up there, so it’s understandable when one of these kids movies doesn’t make the cut as one of the elite.  With so many classics in the rearview mirror, the more recent stuff starts to blend together.  The theme of this film echoed that of many other animated features, but without the clever writing and entertainment.  Perhaps if I were a die hard car racing fan I would have found the plot more enticing.  It felt like a convoluted concoction of Epic, Cars and Antz all mixed up into one picture.  Turbo was good for a few smiles and for entertaining Ethan throughout the afternoon.  He enjoyed himself and as Ross said, that’s what really matters.  If I were you, I’d skip the theatre on this one and wait for the DVD release.  You’ll save some cash and your precious time.

Actually, I have another ideaGo see Despicable Me 2 again, that movie is awesome!  Hey, if you love auto racing, Turbo is worth a watch.  Also, figuring out who the voices are is a fun game, I nailed Richard Jenkins in this one, a decent snipe.  And if you are into motorsports, keep a sharp ear to see if you can ferret out Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti.  Or you could take Maria’s advice, wait for video.

Maria’s Rating:  2 Gummy Bears out 5.

Ross’ Rating:  2.5 Gummies.