Re-Watch: The School of Rock (2003)

The School of Rock
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack, Sarah Silverman, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Lucas Babin, Jordan-Claire Green, Veronica Afflerbach, Miranda Cosgrove, Joey Gaydos Jr., Robert Tsai, Angelo Massagli, Kevin Alexander Clark, Maryam Hassan, Caitlin Hale
Seen on: 30.6.2021

Content Note: misogyny

Plot:
Dewey (Jack Black) is a passionate musician, playing guitar in a band that has grown tired of his antics, feeling that he is holding them back with his talk about real rock instead of going in a more crowd-pleasing direction. That’s why they kick him out just before a big music contest. Hurt, Dewey withdraws to Ned’s (Mike White), where he lives for the moment, much to the chagrin of Ned’s girlfriend Patty (Sarah Silverman) who would like to see Ned, a substitute teacher, in a more settled position without any old friends who are freeloading. In short, Dewey needs a job, so when Ned gets a call to substitute at a prestigious school, Dewey pretends to be him. And when he realizes that the kids he should be teaching are actually good musicians, he hatched a plan to fulfill his dream after all.

I saw The School of Rock for the first time not long after it came out and I remembered it quite fondly. So when I was in the mood for a nice comedy, I decided to give it another try. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hold up as well as I’d hoped, even if it is still pretty entertaining.

The film poster showing Dewey (Jack Black) in his teacher outfit with a guitar, in a full-on rocker pose. Behind him, we can see 8 children dressed as rockstars themselves.
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Re-Watch: The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach, Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell, Kathryn Hahn, John Krasinski, Shannyn Sossamon, Bill Macy
Seen on: 10.10.2020

Plot:
English Iris (Kate Winslet) is apparently the last to know that her long-time crush and colleague Jasper (Rufus Sewell) is getting married to somebody else. Frustrated, she decides to leave on short notice for the Christmas holidays and puts her house online for a house swap. Almost immediately she gets a reply from USAmerican Amanda (Cameron Diaz), a movie trailer editor who just kicked out her unfaithful boyfriend Ethan (Edward Burns) and could use a break herself. They make the change and Amanda finds herself in Iris’ quaint little cottage in the middle of nowhere, when Iris’ brother Graham (Jude Law) knocks on her door, while Iris takes up residence in Amanda’s LA mansion and meets her neighbor Arthur (Eli Wallach), an ageing script writer, as well as composer Miles (Jack Black) who comes to pick up Ethan’s stuff. The change of scenery and the new acquaintances impact both women a lot.

I have seen The Holiday many years ago – too many to remember many details, so it struck me as a good opportunity to re-watch it. And it absolutely is a wonderful RomCom, albeit not reaching its full potential. Nevertheless it was exactly the kind of fluff content I was looking for.

The film poster showing Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and Graham (Jude Law) above the film title and Iris (Kate Winslet) and Miles (Jack Black) below it.
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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: The Next Level
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg
Sequel to: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Rhys Darby, Colin Hanks, Rory McCann
Seen on: 13.12.2019

Plot:
It’s been a year since Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) returned from Jumanji. They finished high school and each set out on their own life. But now the holidays are coming up and they can’t wait to meet again. Only Spencer isn’t actually happy with his life and when his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) tells him that now is the best time of his life, Spencer decides that he’d rather be Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) again. When his friends, his grandfather and his grandfather’s friend Milo (Danny Glover) all come looking for him, they all end up in the game – and things are different than before. Very different.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, so I was a little worried that Jumanji: The Next Level would turn out to be the film I feared JWttJ would be. But I’m happy to report that it was a whole lot of fun again.

The film poster showing Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Oberon (Jack Black), Mouse (Kevin Hart) and Ruby (Karen Gillan) standing with a black  horse at their backs
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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner
Sequel to: (kinda) Jumanji
Based on: Chris Van Allsburg‘s picture book Jumanji
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks
Seen on: 10.1.2018
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Plot:
Alex (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha (Morgan Turner) are all sent to detention and have to clean up the school’s storage room. There they stumble on an old console with the game Jumanji. They decide to play and as each of them choses their character, they get sucked into the video game. And the only way out is through.

I didn’t expect much of a sequel to Jumanji, one of my childhood favorites. But I was pleasantly surprised by the film: it is genuinely funny and extremely entertaining.

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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Director: Adam McKay
Writer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Cast: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Fred Willard, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Seth Rogen, Paul F. Tompkins, Danny Trejo, Judd Apatow, Debra McGuire, Jack Black, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins, Jerry Stiller, Vince Vaughn
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Plot:
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the star news anchor in San Diego. He and his colleagues Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) live the good life, filled with parties and women and are, simply put, celebrities. But their world is brought into disarray when Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) arrives on the scene: she’s young, she’s beautiful and she’s a journalist dreaming of becoming a news anchor herself.

Since Anchorman is pretty much a cult classic, I decided to watch it despite my assumption that it probably wouldn’t be my cup of tea. While it is a highly quotable film (that I quoted myself already, too, without realizing where I was quoting from) that even is kinda, sorta about a feminist topic, I was pretty much right about my assumption.

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The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets
Director: James Bobin
Writer: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
Based on: Jim Henson‘s characters
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Cameos by [put in camouflage so you can still be surprised by the people who show up, if you don’t know already. If you wanna be surprised, don’t read the tags, either]: Jack Black, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Jim Parsons, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Blunt, Leslie Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch, John Krasinski, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney

Plot:
Walter and Gary (Jason Segel) are brothers, but Walter is pretty different from the rest of the world. It is only when he finds the Muppets that he feels he has somewhere he belongs. So he jumps at the chance, of course, to go to Los Angeles with Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to visit the Muppet Studios. But the studio is decrepit and threatened by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) who wants to drill for oil there. The only chance to save it all would be to get Kermit and the rest of the Muppets together to raise 10 million dollars. So Walter takes it on himself to make just that happen.

I never watched The Muppets when I was a kid and apart from their Christmas Carol and a few choice youtube videos, I never really had much contact with them. So I felt like I was missing some ingredient in the whole thing (nostalgia? character background?), but nevertheless, I enjoyed the film. I just think you would get more out of it if you were more of a Muppets fan.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Kung Fu Panda 2 is the first feature film by Jennifer Yuh, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger and starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Victor Garber, Danny McBride and James Hong. [Here’s my review of the first one.]

Plot:
Po (Jack Black), head of the Furious Five – Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross) – is pretty content with his life. That is, until the kingdom is threatened by the evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who developed a new weapon that is able to defeat Kung Fu and with which he plans to take over. But a soothsayer (Michelle Yeoh) has predicted his defeat – and his fate and Po’s seem to be more closely tied together than both realise at first.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is a very sweet film and an excellent sequel.The cast is good, the story is nice, but it’s the animation that really stands out: it’s that fantastic.

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The Viral Video Was Right!

If you remember, a while ago I posted the viral video to Tropic Thunder. Now, finally, life has caught up with anticipation and I was able to see it.

And from start, and by start I mean the fake trailers (more on that later), to finish, I laughed. I laughed so hard, I cried. This was definitely the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.

[SPOILERS AFTER THE PICTURE.]

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Superheroes

Now that I don’t have uni, I don’t know what to do with myself, when I come home before 10.30 pm. Therefore, I go to the cinema.

Yesterday brought me Hancock and Kung Fu Panda.

Hancock was fun. Did I mention that I like Will Smith? Because I do. And Jason Bateman, and Charlize Theron. There’s hardly a movie, where so many likeable actors are together.

It had the most blatant product placement (for youtube) I have ever seen in a movie, and the weird thing is – it was actually pretty natural. And worked.

[SPOILERS BEYOND THIS]

What I didn’t expect was the absolute tragic love story. So sweet, so romantic and so fucking sad… *sniff*
I mean, I wasn’t surprised that she has superpowers as well, that was clear to me after her first look at him (but obviously not to the rest of the audience, because they gasped the hell out of the movie, when they saw her throwing the refrigerator). But when they are both at the hospital… I didn’t even mind the plotholes the size of Germany anymore.

[SPOILERS END HERE]

It won’t be my favourite superhero movie of all times (Nothing beats Superman IV :P), but it’s a solid one.

Kung Fu Panda was great. I was at the theatre in a room filled with adults, who all laughed their asses of. Seriously, there was not a single child in sight.

I really enjoyed it. They had great voices (although, Seth Rogen should have been allowed to talk more), the animation was good and the story really sweet.

The only thing I have to critisise: Not all fat people are just motivated by food, or eat all the time. And it would be great if one movie didn’t follow that stereotype. But then again, it’s a movie with Jack Black, I don’t expect them to break all the conventions.

I liked it, I laughed and I’m thinking of seeing it again this weekend, with my nephew, who will surely love it.

Sometimes You Have to Make Sacrifices

Especially for your family.

So I did. This weekend, I accompanied my mother and my sister to the movies. Not a sacrifice yet, but we watched Sex and the City. And that’s the bad part…

I’ve seen maybe five epsiodes of the show (mostly because I enjoy Kim Catrall‘s character Samantha) and never had any desire to see more of it.

I just don’t get it.
I don’t care about labels.
I don’t care about shoes (except that I like to wear some, when I am in a city, at least). Spending 525$ on a pair of shoes, and ugly ones at that? No way! When shoes cost more than 50$, I’m already reconsidering and more often than not, not buying.
I don’t think it’s outrageous that women talk about sex.

And I really hate the hidden kitsch. If you want to have kitsch, that’s fine. I like a mushy movie from time to time myself. But why pretend to be so tough and “it’s all about sex and not about love” and then go on and on and on about love and falling in love and staying in love and love, love, love… gnnaaargh…

*deepbreath*

One surprise: I think it’s the first time that I actually saw a dick in an American movie (which was not porn).

The best part of the evening?
The trailers. First, the extended trailer for the Dark Knight (with more talking and less exploding. It was shown before a girly movie…) (I am so excited!), then for You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, which is either going to be hilarious or the worst thing ever (usually, Adam Sandler movies sound like the worst thing ever, but often end up being funny. The same rule applies to Jack Black movies. And Ben Stiller movies).

***EDIT: Read the related article “This one’s for the fellas. No ladies allowed!”… It’s worth it!***