A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)

If You’ll Excuse Me, I Can Feel the Blood Rushing Back Into My Sword

My inspiration for today’s movie was twofold.  First, I knew that at least three of the people that were in the movie were people that I find hilarious.  Second, it arrived from Netflix because I wasn’t paying good attention to my queue.  And, if there were to be a third thing, it would be that the word “orgy” is in the title, and I could watch this without feeling bad, as I do every time I watch porn.  The problem with the first reason is that I find those three people funny, but I’ve also been underwhelmed by the results of their involvement with a movie before.  How did they do this time?  We’ll find out in my review of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, written and directed by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and starring Jason Sudeikis, Michelle Borth, Tyler Labine, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Angela Sarafyan, Leslie Bibb, Will Forte, Lucy Punch, Lin Shaye, David Koechner, and Don Johnson.

Eric (Jason Sudeikis) loves to throw giant elaborate parties at the house of his father, Jerry (Don Johnson).  Most of these parties he throws with his close friends from high school – Sue (Michelle Borth), Mike (Tyler Labine), Alison (Lake Bell), Adam (Nick Kroll), Laura (Lindsay Sloane), Glenn (Will Forte), Glenn’s wife Kate (Lucy Punch), Doug (Martin Starr), and Doug’s girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan).  At Eric’s White Trash Bash, he meets Kelly (Leslie Bibb) and gets her number.  The next morning, Eric’s father tells him that he’s selling the house because he doesn’t need it anymore.  Realtor’s Dody (Lin Shaye) and Kelly are in charge of the sale.  Eric and Mike decide that they need to throw one last party, but it needs to be special.  After some brainstorming, Eric decides that the group’s last party should be an orgy.  Most of the group takes a while to come around to it, but eventually they are all in.

I went into this movie as a fan of Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, and Jason Sudeikis from some of their other endeavors.  Though this movie did not change that, I found it underwhelming.  It’s not a bad movie, and there are one or two solid laughs in the movie, but that seems like it’s a bit low for something that is exclusively a comedy.  The other jokes were not painful failures at funniness; it just didn’t have anything good enough to make me laugh.  They got a lot of mileage out of uncomfortable situations such as a lady having a heated argument with her boyfriend on opposite sides of the bathroom door while another guy was on the toilet in the bathroom with her, or like having a conversation with a guy while he was preoccupied with having sex with a woman who should’ve stopped appearing naked on camera roughly 20 years ago.  I’ve also noticed an upsetting trend in comedies recently.  Far too many comedies recently are going for the shock value laugh of putting some wang up on screen.  Walk Hard did it, Forgetting Sarah Marshall did it, and this movie does it as well.  My problem with this isn’t just the fact that, as a straight man, I’ve no real interest in seeing dick.  I look at penises all the time … when I’m watching porn.  I don’t like being caught off guard by it.  Also, it just seems too easy.  It makes you shocked and uncomfortable and people tend to laugh as a release for that stuff, but that is not to be mistaken for something that’s actually funny.  Boobs and vagina being on display is rarely used as comedy by itself, so why should it be that just putting a penis on screen is comedy?  The only occasion I can think of that boobs by themselves were the joke was in the movie Airplane!, and that wasn’t the one of the only funny things in the movie.  …Perhaps I’ve talked about penis too much…  The movie does not disappoint with its title.  There is indeed a big orgy at the end of the movie.  It’s much sweeter and nicer than the orgies that I’m accustomed to.  It’s like if a group of friends that were really comfortable with each other decided to get down and dirty.  They would joke around while fucking, so it wasn’t as obscene as someone might expect going into it.  But I ultimately went into the movie looking for laughs, and found them few and far between.  I can find boobs much easier.

I like the people in the cast of this movie, but none of them really succeeded in doing much for me in this movie.  Jason Sudeikis seemed a lot like his character from SNL where he plays one of two assholes, along with Kristen Wiig.  And, though I really like those sketches, I didn’t find much of interest in his character.  He was just kinda douchey.  I’ve ranted over a particular movie that Tyler Labine was in before, playing a sweet and innocent hillbilly in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.  He played it kind of stupid and sweet again in this one, but without the writing quality of the other movie, it never had much effect.  I was also all in for Nick Kroll, having loved his comedy special and his appearances on the Doug Loves Movies podcast, but this role was hardly a stretch for him.  He played a neurotic Jew.  What else is new?  I don’t really blame the cast for this movie not connecting with me, but I also can’t claim that any of them really connected with me.  All of the main cast females were attractive and did their parts, but none stood out.  There were a pretty good amount of nice-lookin’ boobs; I’ll give the movie that much.

Perhaps I expected too much because of my bias towards some of the cast members, but I found myself to be very underwhelmed by A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.  It wasn’t laughably bad, but nothing else was making me laugh either.  I liked the cast; I just didn’t connect with them in any way.  Sadly, I can’t really recommend this movie.  But, with comedy being so subjective, it’s hard to say what different people will find funny.  This movie just wasn’t for me.  A Good Old Fashioned Orgy gets “Endurance training.  For Labor Day” out of “This is the worst orgy ever.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2011)

They Chopped Off His Bowling Fingers!

The inspiration for today’s movie came from “fellow” movie reviewer Leonard Maltin on the Doug Loves Movies podcast.  He called today’s movies one of the best of 2011.  Now, I’ve never read one of Leonard Maltin’s reviews, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume that I’m a tougher critic than he is.  And I base that on absolutely nothing.  I kept meaning to get around to watching the movie.  I saw it on Netflix streaming and put it in my Instant Queue, but forgot to come back and watch it.  Then I apparently forgot that it was possible to instant stream the movie, because I saw it at a RedBox and decided to rent it for money I wasn’t already paying.  This movie had better be amazing if it wants to win me over after having cost me nearly two dollars at this point!  Today’s movie is Tucker & Dale vs Evil, written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson, directed by Eli Craig, and starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, Chelan Simmons, Brandon Jay McLaren, Christie Laing, Travis Nelson, Alex Arsenault, Adam Beauchesne, Joseph Allan Sutherland, and Philip Granger.

A group of college students – Allison (Katrina Bowden), Chad (Jesse Moss), Chloe (Chelan Simmons), Chuck (Travis Nelson), Jason (Brandon Jay McLaren), Naomi (Christie Laing), Todd (Alex Arsenault), Mitch (Adam Beauchesne), and Mike (Joseph Allan Sutherland) – encounter two scary hillbillies named Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) on the way to their camping trip.  The college students are pretty quick to figure out that they’ve just walked in to their very own horror movie.  What they are very slow to assume is what actually turns out to be true: Tucker and Dale are just two nice guys going up to a cottage they purchased to fix it up and do some fishing.  That fact does not come into the picture for the college kids.  One night, while Tucker and Dale are fishing and the college students are skinny-dipping, Allison falls off of a rock and hits her head.  Tucker and Dale save her life, but when they yell to her friends, “We’ve got your friend,” the college students assume that Allison has been abducted by serial killing rednecks.  Misunderstandings get bigger and bigger, leading to actual deaths and the college students trying to lay siege upon two innocent dudes.

Prepare yourselves for a couple paragraphs of me gushing.  This is one of the best movies I’ve ever watched.  It’s extremely funny, and a pretty good horror movie as well.  If you’re looking for complaints, you won’t find them here.  I simply can’t.  Even just the basic idea of this movie is hilarious and ingenious.  I’ve never seen or heard of a movie that flips the cliched horror movies on their heads like this one does.  You think for a little while that you’re going to be relating to these college kids as the heroes of our movie, even though they’re not really that likeable.  Then we see Tucker and Dale, and we make the same judgements that we’ll come to dislike the college kids for by thinking Tucker and Dale look a little scary.  But once we actually meet them, you instantly like Tucker and Dale and the college students mostly become judgmental assholes.  The movie is then a lot of real laughs and extreme violence, mostly tied in with the misunderstandings that happen between the two groups.  The misunderstandings are farfetched, but hilarious.  One such misunderstanding happens when Tucker is using a chainsaw to cut up logs as the college students are approaching the house.  He accidentally saws into a beehive hidden in the log, causing him to run, screaming and wildly swinging the chainsaw over his head Leatherface-style, towards the college kids.  But this didn’t cause the college kids to die, while running away from him in the woods, the college kid runs chest first into a fallen tree, impaling himself.  Later, when other such deaths happen and Tucker and Dale actually see them, they start getting terrified that the kids are part of some suicide cult.  So you’ve got your comedy, you’ve got horror, but there’s also a bit of a nice love story here too.  Allison starts falling for the loveable Dale, but it made me really nervous throughout the entire movie that there was no way these two would end up together.  Whatever the ending was, it leaves you with a warm feeling and a nice message.  But it’s not really that romance or message-heavy, it’s mainly just a hilarious movie.

The performances are either fantastic or they’re just sort of background.  There are only about four people that are important parts of the story and the rest are just walking buckets of fake blood.  And one that has tits.  Well, a couple have tits (like Katrina Bowden, Christie Laing, and Tyler Labine), but only one actually exposes them.  Tyler Labine is essentially the hero of the movie.  He’s a sweet, teddy bear of a hillbilly who’s not that bright, but is really good at trivia.  He’s got a great heart, but low self-esteem.  That part sounds familiar.  But unlike myself, he gets the absolutely gorgeous Katrina Bowden!  Alright, Robert.  Calm down…  Anyways, through the course of the movie he gets to believe in himself more and even gets to be the hero at the end of the movie.  Also, he’s hilarious.  I’ve now seen Labine in three movies and, though Evil Alien Conquerors was not my cup of tea, I thought he was the funniest part in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and, though I can’t say he was the FUNNIEST part of this movie, he was hilarious in it.  The reason I can’t call him the funniest part of this movie is because Alan Tudyk also brought a lot of comedy.  I love Alan Tudyk as well.  He was great in Serenity, he was great in his small role in Knocked Up, and he was great as Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball.  And now he was great in this.  He also plays another likeable guy who’s just trying to get his friend to believe in himself.  The biggest excitement for me was seeing Katrina Bowden in this movie.  I know I’ve claimed to be in love with many actresses in the past, but I am also (and equally) in love with Katrina Bowden.  I don’t know how she’s not gotten more movie roles, but she’s capable of bringing the funny, the emotion, and always (ALWAYS!) brings the gundamned sexy!  Every time she shows up as Cerie in 30 Rock, she captures your attention.  I grant that she did have a bit of an easy job in this movie since her tendency to get accidentally knocked unconscious allowed her to spend most of the movie in bed.  But she was great in all of her conscious parts.  The only other part that was significant to me in the movie was Jesse Moss as Chad.  He made me hate him from the word “go”, but that’s what he was going for, so good for him.  He was basically the leading force behind the attack on these two guys we came to like, and Chad himself never seemed like anything more than a douche in a polo.  You get a bit of understanding for his motivations later, but you still think he’s an asshole.  The other college kids did a fine job, but were not doing much but getting killed.  Except for Chelan Simmons.  She gets them boobs out.

I will endeavor, in the future, to make my reviews of excellent movies better.  I can’t really mock something that is really good.  Tucker and Dale vs Evil is probably one of my favorite movies that came out in 2011 because it’s a great idea supported by lots of funny, a great look, and some fantastic performances.  I’m comfortable suggesting that you just go out and purchase this movie right now, but in the very least you should stream it from Netflix or find it at a RedBox.  After I gave a dollar to my local RedBox for it, I purchased it the very next day on BluRay.  Tucker and Dale vs Evil gets “We’ve had a doozy of a day, Officer” out of “I should have known a guy like me talking to a girl like you would end at someone being dead.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Evil Alien Conquerors (2002)

I Had No Dream!

Another request of a movie I had never heard of, but this time it came from my friend Gristle.  With no clue what I was getting myself into, I first went to Netflix and was happy to find this movie available for Netflix streaming, keeping me from having to get out of my chair to find it.  And when I started watching it, I found myself even more delighted to find out this movie stars a great many people that I find hilarious, but who have not necessarily made it in the mainstream.  I was excited to see what the combination of a large number of funny people might bring me.  What they brought me was Evil Alien Conquerors, written and directed by Chris Matheson, and starring Diedrich Bader, Chris Parnell, Mike McShane, Tyler Labine, Michael Weston, Tori Spelling, Nicole Robinson, Elden Henson, Beth Grant, Phil LaMarr, and Martin Spanjers.

It may surprise you to find out that this movie is about two aliens who are evil and are attempting to conquer Earth.  These two aliens, My-ik (Diedrich Bader) and Du-ug (Chris Parnell), are sent to Earth by their leader, the mighty Rabirr (Mike McShane), and his emissary Vel-Dan (Phil LaMarr) and ordered to behead all of the Earthlings in two days, in preparation for the coming of the 100 foot tall Croker (Tyler Labine).  They are the second group to be sent to Earth, since the first group disappeared after a teleporter failure.  But that has been fixed … mostly … probably.  They’re sent to Earth, but their powerful swords are accidentally turned into swords the size of toothpicks by the teleporter.  This does not matter, because they are so much more powerful than the weak Earthlings.  They quickly meet Kenny (Michael Weston), who takes them in and offers them shelter and help in taking over the world.  But the two aliens quickly find that they are pretty ineffectual when it comes to conquering planets.  Can they accomplish their mission in time, or will they too face the wrath of the mighty Croker?

This movie takes a potentially funny premise and some usually funny actors and make a fairly lackluster film.  It’s a comedy, but it seems to just take a fairly thin premise and stretch it very thin, without actually doing that much funny stuff in between.  I’m sure we’ve all seen a film or two about aliens coming to Earth, and the hilarious contrast between the two cultures.  The aliens in this movie introduce themselves as evil alien conquerors and quickly decide what manner of death that person will meet.  They also quickly become infatuated with Smirnoff Ice, Sun Chips, and the band Supertramp.  Take these jokes, rince and repeat, and keep doing so for about 50 minutes.  When at that point you decide the audience is bored, reintroduce the giant Croker, but have him be shrunk down to regular human size, but have him refuse to admit that he’s now smaller.  That will fill the rest of the movie.  They try to get a lot of mileage out of absurdity and quirkiness, but none of it ever reached a point that made me laugh.  I didn’t hate watching it, I just didn’t laugh.

I like the greater majority of the actors in this movie, but I feel like they just didn’t have that much to work with.  Either that, or most of them were just let off the leash and needed to be corralled into funniness a little better.  I’m a huge Diedrich Bader fan.  He’s made a misstep or two (Meet the Spartans), but I generally at least like him in everything I see him in.  Office Space, Jay and Silent Bob Stirke Back, even the Beverly Hillbillies movie.  In this movie, he didn’t do much for me.  Chris Parnell suffers from the same perception from me as does Bader: I’m just not convinced that they should be leads in a movie.  Both are awesome as background comic relief.  Remember Parnell in Anchorman?  Hilarious!  I first fell in love with Tyler Labine when I saw him in Zack and Miri Make a Porno as the drunk guy that walks into the middle of a porno shoot.  I liked that whole movie, but that one small part sticks in my mind as the funniest part.  In this movie, however, he was just way over the top as Croker, which can work sometimes, but in this instance just worked on my nerves.  Sadly, the same stuff can be said about most of the cast.  I thought they were hilarious in other things.  What happened here?

I don’t mean to beat up on this movie too much.  It’s not a horrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it did not connect with my sense of humor at all.  I thought it was quirky, but a little boring and they stretched the premise way too thin.  It’s available on Netflix streaming, so you can give it a shot yourself if you like.  My friend Jesse generally has a good sense of humor, and I assume he liked this movie if he recommended it to me, so maybe it will connect with you better than it did with me.  A lot of people liked Napoleon Dynamite, after all, but I despise that movie.  Give it a go sometime, see if you like it.  But, for me, Evil Alien Conquerors gets “You will die painlessly!” out of “They are imbued with Kabijjian magnificence!”

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