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.

Review: The NeverEnding Story (1984) spoilers included

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Rating U

Length 1hr 42

Release 4.4.1985

Director Wolfgang Peterson

About A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book

The Good

The physical effects are amazing considering the time. The dragon Rankor is a delight to watch. They’re not Jim Henson quality, but they have charm and grandeur.

Arteyu is a solid character that I really felt for. The actor, Noah Hathaway, brought a strength to the role that you don’t often find and with another actor he may have seemed whingey and petulant. I almost wish they’d done away with the meta layering and told me a straight story about Arteyu.

It has that vibe all children’s films had at that time; adventure that may or may not be real. now with added nostalgia to keep it as a firm favourite. For everyone but me, that is.

The Bad

The meta is handled better in films like The Lego Movie. I found the passing back and forth between Bastian and Arteyu a little clunky and distracted me from engaging with either one. I felt almost as if we spent a little too long with Bastian at the beginning with no payoff at the end.

Artax (the horse) dies way, way, way too soon. Had I have seen it as a kid, perhaps I’d have felt more. However, this is a time in which I’ve cried over a messenger owl I’ve gotten to know well over 6 books, I need a little more engagement to feel the loss. Plus, Marvel making me cry over so many characters (yes, I’m looking at you Loki) to discover they’re not quite dead yet, means this just felt lacklustre.

The Ugly

– For me, the biggest problem with this film is that we never have our three main players, Bastian, Arreyu and the Childlike Empress, in the same scene. The fact that Bastian never has a conversation with Arteyu was a massive blow for me.

Final Thoughts

-Why does it have to be so depressing? Yeah, I know we get that ‘upbeat’ ending… but it all feels a little rushed and so I didn’t end the film feeling uplifted.

I wish it had remained in my ‘Ive not seen…’ pile. My only worry now is; if I ever have kids, I HAVE to show them this. It would just be my luck that it ends up their favourite.