The Hangover (2009)

Rating: 18
Length: 1hr 4o
Release: 12.6.2009
Director: Todd Phillips
About: For a bachelor party, three best men and the groom take a road trip to Las Vegas. They wake up the next morning to realise that not only have they lost the groom but also have no recollection.

First Thoughts

I was working in a cinema when this was released. I’d finished my shift and was in the bowling alley with a few friends when we decided to go check the film out. There’s nothing better than seeing a comedy film on its opening night with a full house. Even a modest comedy can give an audience a false sense of how funny it is. After all, laughter is infectious.
I had, over the years, over played this beauty of a film as I must not have watched it in its entirety since I went to London in 2014. So, when I saw it gracing Netflix’s suggested bar this afternoon, I offered it up as the weekly lockdown watch.
The big question is: has it aged well?

The Good

  • I don’t think you could have a better cast. From your three leads, to all the support. While at the time, Cooper was considered playing to a type. Phil isn’t much different to his role in Wedding Crashers. However, for me, I’d only really seen him play the boy-next-door in Alias. He held his own in this and was that wonderful caring jerk.
  • Ed Helms not only has the physical comedy, but he’s able to make Stu likeable whereas someone else could have made him very weak and annoying. Zach Galifianakis plays the character of Alan in a way that I don’t think I appreciated at the time. There’s a real child-like innocence to him and he’s not actually as creepy as I thought ten years ago. He’s also incredibly stupid, which leads to a lot of the film’s humour.
  • The opening is just brilliant. In a tv show, this sort of opening is commonplace, but on the big screen its a refreshing way to open the story and gives us an idea of whats at stake. Its the perfect point to have as an anchor.
  • It is one funny movie. Even those that I know haven’t aged well work because of who is saying them. I haven’t laughed so much at a film in a long time and really has lifted my spirits in this lockdown era. Its a quotable monster of one liners and witty dialogue.
  • The homage to Rain Man is brilliant. Haven’t seen the film, but I know the reference because of how iconic it is. I love that its also tied in with Alan’s mimicry of Phil. Just perfect.

The Bad

  • There is an overuse of homosexual slurs in this movie. The very fact that one was dubbed over for the trailer is very telling. Its not isolated to one character either, which could be reflective of the character. Yes, its a film made a decade ago and things have changed. Doesn’t mean I have to be comfortable with it.
  • In terms of the character Stu, I do wish he’d not asked out Jade. Him leaving the really vile girlfriend is a big win for me and I just want it to be because he wants out and not because he’s too scared to be alone, but now has a fix. I guess on the other hand, it shows how invested I am in the character.

The Ugly

  • I don’t like the police brutality scene. Now, I am also aware i’m watching within a contextual bubble and that right now there are many riots occurring due to police brutality upon black people. As it stands, I didn’t like the performance of the male officer and I most definitely didn’t feel comfortable about how this man was teaching children how to use stun guns and then get them to use them on the leads. I laughed back then and even now, I did have a little chuckle when it comes to bringing down ‘Fat Jesus’. However, the laughter doesn’t last long.

Final Thoughts

Even with its flaws, The Hangover remains one of the best comedy movies I’ve ever seen. Today, it was the antidote I needed for the last 10 weeks of isolation. Not only for the comedy of the film itself, but for the nostalgia of a time I really miss.

In The Loop (2009)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 46

Release 17.4.2009

Director Armando Iannucci

About During an interview, British Cabinet Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) delivers an off-the-cuff remark that war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable.” Profane political spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi) tries to cover up Foster’s faux pas, but the ill-conceived comment is picked up by a warmongering American official. Foster is invited to Washington, D.C., where a war of words brews as politicians maneuver, manipulate and deceive each other before a U.N. vote on military action.

The Good

  • I like that you don’t need to have seen The Thick of It to watch this film. I’m certain there’s value added for fans, but I certainly didn’t feel lost. Well, no more lost than I ended up being with this car crash of a film.
  • There are some amazing lines in this film. Yes, I’m childish, those lines do mostly involve swearing. From losing count of the amount of fuck’s Capaldi uses to his wonderful ‘fuckerty bye’ I was giggling.
  • Tom Hollander steals the show for me. He’s the satirical incompetent stereoptype who seems to have slept walked into office. He’s genius and the film would have been greatly improved had we have had him as our sole focus for the film.

The Bad

  • It’s plot is a mess. A hot fucking mess. We’re here, we’re there. It’s just shit! To quote the film its ‘arse spraying mayhem.’
  • Party of the problem perhaps was the attempt to ‘appeal’ to an American audience. I don’t know what it is about the media industry, but Dr Who should have taught the BBC that ‘making it more American’ is not the way to do it.

The Ugly

  • The biggest problem for me is the nature of it being largely an improvised comedy. It’s humour feels stunted and rather hit and miss. Yes, there’s some amazing lines that do raise a chuckle. However they’re very few and far between.
  • The handheld camera approach just fucks me off. Especially when you consider that this isn’t presented as a documentary. At no point do any of the characters acknowledge the cameras. Which begs the question, why the fuck bother invoking headaches?!

Final Thoughts

It was just a bit of a clusterfuck if I’m honest. I’d love to say the removal of the handheld would have improved things, but I doubt it. All in all, I’d have rather have watched Capaldi saying ‘fuckerty bye’ repeatedly for 2 hours than this.

Star Trek (2009) written for Odeon in 2009

It’s Trek Jim, but thankfully not as we know it. JJ Abrams has taken over the directing helm and brought a long dead franchise back to life; all it needed was a push to the re-start button.

From the first stardate to the echoes of the final frontier there’s subtle nods to keep the hard-core Trekkies happy, enough action and comedy to keep Abrams’ fans at bay and explanations for those who’ve not explored the strange new worlds.

Star Trek’s reboot follows the prickly beginnings of Kirk and Spock’s relationship and their familiar crew on their maiden voyage upon the USS Enterprise having been thrown together fresh from Starfleet Academy to stop villainous time-travelling Romulans hell-bent on revenge.

Chris Pine moves from the Disney teen leagues and plays the rebellious charmer James Kirk down to a T; the Just My Luck star keeps the tone of Kirk while still making the role his own.

Up for filling Spock’s half Vulcan ears is Heroes’ Zachary Quinto. Not only does he wear them well, he brings to the screen a personal battle of identity as the conflicted alien of two world; enabling him to clash delightfully with the ever impulsive Kirk.

Among the remaining crew are Karl Urban, John Cho and newcomer and one to watch Anton Yalchin playing McCoy, Sulu and Checkov respectively each having their own moment to shine. It is however Simon Pegg as Scotty who provides the films gem moments between the lulls of battleship action. The sequence that transpires as a result of a transporter mishap is certainly not one to miss.

The battles and villains have had an upgrade, the clever script acknowledges the Trek universe without leaving the unconverted drowning in a sea of techno-babble and the refreshing comedy will leave all stunned.