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The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort, a real life stockbroker who made millions of dollars by scamming people in the ‘80s. He made tons of money, had sex with a bunch of women, did a lot of drugs, and inspired a lot of people to do the same by publishing his life story in a memoir. This film adaptation brings Jordan Belfort’s story to the big screen and turns Belfort into kind of a folk hero. This film celebrates Belfort’s crimes and pays no attention to his victims. I doubt Bernie Madoff would get that kind of treatment, but Belfort is depicted as a rock star.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives another brilliant (yet Oscar-snubbed) performance in another Martin Scorsese film. These guys have been making quality films together for over a decade now. They know how to work with each other, and more importantly, they trust each other. Jordan Belfort is brash, arrogant, and an asshole but you still root for him to succeed and feel bad when his past catches up with him. A part of you hates him, a part of you loves him, and that kind of emotional manipulation has become a trademark of Scorsese’s films.

The supporting cast is great. Jonah Hill is practically unrecognizable as Donnie Azoff. Matthew McConaughey has a brief but memorable part. Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, and Ethan Suplee have small supporting roles as well. But the beautiful Margot Robbie will be the one who benefits the most from this movie. She’s a relative newcomer yet she holds her own against Leonardo DiCaprio and is the most captivating person whenever she is on camera. She is beautiful. And she gets naked and that’s always a bonus.

The three-hour running time is a little too long. It could have been two hours long, maybe two and a half. It runs out of steam a few times and a few scenes are redundant. Yes, we know that everyone is making crazy money and doing illegal things. You don’t need to show that forty different ways. We get it. Still, this is a great movie and deserves to be treated as one. Watch it. It’s on the Netflix.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Grandma’s Boy

Grandma’s Boy is a stoner comedy flick produced by Happy Madison, Adam Sandler’s production company. It stars Allen Covert, the guy who plays Adam Sandler’s friend in a bunch of Adam Sandler movies. Luckily this movie doesn’t have Adam Sandler in it. Allen Covert stars as Alex, a 35-year-old stoner who works as a videogame tester. He’s kind of a slacker but he gets shit done. He gets kicked out his apartment one day and ends up living with his grandma and her two roommates out of necessity, all while dealing with a major videogame deadline at work and trying to start a relationship with the new office hottie (played by Linda Cardellini).

There really is a plot, but there’s not much of one. Throughout the movie Alex is working on his own game in his spare time. Then his creepy/loser boss steals it and claims it as his own. Alex has to prove that it’s his, and his grandma ends up saving the day by beating the thief in the game, thus proving that her grandson created it. There are lots of cameos and a pretty recognizable cast. Doris Roberts plays Grandma Lily and Shirley Jones and Shirley Knight play her elderly roommates. Kevin Nealon, Nick Swardson, Jonah Hill, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Joel Moore, and a few others play supporting roles or pop up randomly.

My biggest beef with the film is with Dante the Dealer, played by Peter Dante. This movie has a lot of characters and some slightly exaggerated stereotypes, but Dante is too over the top. He orders lions and karate monkeys and is loud and obnoxious. There is no marijuana dealer in the world that acts like him. Maybe the producers are confusing meth heads with stoners, but there’s really no excuse for such a bloated and unfunny caricature of a character. A lot of his jokes aren’t funny; it’s just a set up with no punch line. He drags down the movie in every scene that he’s in, like a live action Jar Jar Binks.

This is a pretty decent comedy. It’s probably the best Happy Madison movie that doesn’t star Adam Sandler. Allen Covert usually plays supporting roles but he proves he can also carry a picture. Grandma’s Boy tanked at the box office, but it has potential to be a cult classic. Check it out if you like stoner comedies, it’s one of the better ones.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a Judd Apatow comedy about a fictional singer named Dewey Cox. John C. Reilly plays Dewey Cox, a gifted but dimwitted musician trying to create his masterpiece, a song that sums up everything he’s learned about life. It’s pretty much a direct parody of Walk the Line, but it also spoofs biopics in general.

Walk Hard begins with little Dewey Cox accidently cutting his brother in half, and his father spends the next few years reminding him that “the wrong kid died.” This childhood trauma propels Dewey’s desire to prove that he’s worth something and win his father’s approval. He’s a natural at the guitar and soon begins his rise to the top. The film follows Dewey’s life as a rockstar: meeting women, having kids, doing drugs, going to rehab, changing his sound to reflect the current decade, all that fun stuff.

The humor is not for everyone. I know people who can’t make it five minutes into the film without turning it off. Personally, I think it’s one of the funniest movies of the last ten years. There are a lot of absurd moments and intentionally horrible casting, but John C. Reilly is able to make Dewey seem like a real person. His lyrics might be stupid, but to him they’re sincere and more importantly they are consistent to his character. He’s a poet who uses terrible metaphors and believes in what he thinks he knows. And John C. Reilly actually sang all his songs.

There’s a great supporting cast and tons of cameos: Jenna Fischer, Kristen Wiig, Tim Meadows, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Jack Black, Justin Long, David Schwartzman, Frankie Muniz, Jack White, Eddie Vedder, the Temptations… the list goes on and on. I like this movie a lot. I still quote this movie more than I should. And I also bought the soundtrack. The iTunes exclusive extended edition in fact. I don’t regret it.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

There are comedies and there are Judd Apatow comedies. Comedies just try to make you laugh. Judd Apatow tries to make you laugh and cry and he usually succeeds. He makes dramadies. They are more reminiscent of real life; they are full of real situations that you can relate to, they just happen to much prettier and wittier people. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jason Segel plays Peter Bretter, who decides that going to Hawaii is the best way to get over his ex-girlfriend. Of course she shows up at the same resort with her new boyfriend, and Peter must find a way to start forgetting Sarah Marshall.

It’s easy to forget about your hot ex-girlfriend when you get a hot new girlfriend. Mila Kunis plays Rachel, the hot new girlfriend. She’s a concierge at the hotel that Peter stays at. They strike up a friendship that eventually evolves into a relationship, but she is reluctant to get involved with a tourist.

Jason Segel is a great comedic actor. Mila Kunis is sexy and funny and brunette. Kristen Bell is sexy and funny and blonde. Russell Brand plays Sarah’s new boyfriend, famous rock star Aldous Snow. Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and a whole bunch of other funny people also make cameos. The whole cast is solid, and they play off each other well.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is about moving on from a doomed relationship. Through a bunch of random flashback depicting the highs and lows of their time together, you see how they just don’t mesh well. They are both the victim and the villain, and that happens a lot. Relationships don’t always work out, but that doesn’t mean one person is at fault.

There’s a running gag about Peter’s unfinished Dracula musical done with puppets. You hear a few songs and see a couple of scenes from the play. I hope that they make a full length Muppet Dracula movie. This flick just wetted my appetite. I want the real thing.

If you’ve never seen this movie, you should. I’m warning you know that there the movie is bookended by shlong. It’s not like Watchmen, it’s not an awkward CG blue shlong, but it’s there and it’s unnecessary and I don’t like that I’ve written this much about Jason Sigel’s cock.

There’s a half-assed sequel about Aldous Snow that changes his character around completely, but it doesn’t have anything to do with this movie. This movie is good. It’s relatable, there are lots of quotable lines, and it’s an honest comedy. You can tell that it was a passion project for Jason Segel. He did a great job and made a great movie. Kudos to him. I’ll always remember Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Critically Rated at 13/17

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