Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Foot Fist Way - DVD

After reviewing the sub-par Observe and Report last night I just had to watch and review the much much better Jody Hill film today, The Foot Fist Way. I just had to get my mind right. The film was made in 2006 and took a while to get a release into limited theaters, but thanks to Will Ferrell's funding that was all able to happen, and it put Jody Hill and Danny McBride on the map.

The film stars the comedic genius Danny McBride as Tae Kwon Do instructor Fred Simmons. Simmons teaches a motley crew of students ranging from 9 year old black belt and assistant teacher Julio, to a 70 year old woman who almost dies while sparring on the mat. Fred's got a serious attitude problem and takes no crap from anybody. Making it well known to everyone that he's the best fighter that lives on the planet, he also takes his job as an instructor very seriously. After going to a Karate demo with a few of his students to see his number one hero Chuck "The Truck" Wallace played by Ben Best, he gets Chuck to agree to come and perform at his small town demo that's happening in the coming days. Fred soon finds out that Chuck "The Truck" Wallace is more into partying and sleeping with Freds wife than the actual spirit of Karate, and Fred has something to say about that.

The foul mouthed Fred Simmons is somewhat similar to Seth Rogans character in Observe and Report except in the long run he actually does have a heart and he does care about his students and their well being. Well, those who deserve it anyways. Freds wife Suzie is basically cheating on him throughout the entire film and it makes for some great comedic moments. Like when she comes home from her new job and he sees that her "work papers" are actually pictures of her naked breasts on the copy machine. Fred is constantly letting his wife, friends over for dinner, and students know who the man is, and Fred's the man. The film opens up to a great scene with Fred and his class giving a small karate demo in a parking lot. This scene is so funny and lets the crowd know right off the bat that even though Fred can't break all the boards and has no style whatsoever while doing it, that he is....still the man and this is....HIS karate class to run.

The script is very well written and it's low budget filmmaking at it's best. Pretty much all of Freds dialogue is laugh out loud funny and the story is very real to the core and shows us what could actually be going on in these small town karate studios. Fred Simmons thinks he's a real life Tae Kwon Do hero and sometimes that makes him a complete a-hole to the general public. But in the end he's a hero to his students who seemed to believe in him the entire way, and that's what counts. Foot Fist Way gets 5 outa 5.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Observe and Report - Blu-Ray

Director Jody Hill is relatively new to the world of comedy. In 2006 he came out with a small independent film called The Foot Fist Way starring Danny McBride. The Foot Fist Way was hilarious and apparently Will Ferrell thought the same thing because he got the picture into main stream cinemas and put Jody Hill and McBride on the map. Well deserved if I may say so. Hills second feature Observe and Report was a good effort, but just didn't stick with me as much as Foot Fist Way did.

Observe is a very dark and strange film, not what I was expecting. The film stars Seth Rogen as Ronnie, a mall security guard who takes his job way to seriously. He resorts to smashing young kids in the heads knocking them off their skateboards, hanging out at the shooting range buckin off shots, taking out 20 cops with a mag-light, and making out with Anna Faris while puke is drooling out of her mouth. Now DON'T get me wrong, this all sounds really great and funny right?? I thought the same thing, but it's not. It's got a really weird feel to it and it makes it hard to laugh. Once Ronnie is faced with the mission of taking down the flasher that's been causing chaos in the parking lot, he gets "paired" up with Detective Harrison. I laughed really hard a few times (a part where his partner Dennis, played by Michael Pena, is doing heroin in the bathroom had me dying) but not for the most part. I understand Hill's going for the dark comedy, and trying something new with the action and realism, but I just couldn't get into it. I saw it in theaters and thought it was better, but this second viewing I was thanking myself I only netflixed it.

I will say this. Anna Faris was brilliant. Even though she's totally type casted as "the ditzy blonde" all the time, she always brings it in my eye's, and she's flat out funny as hell in this. Ray Liotta is always great and he brings his best Liotta yells and "take no shit" attitude to his role as Detective Harrison. Even at only an hour and twenty minutes running time the film still felt a bit slow at times. Especially the scenes with his drunk mom played by Celia Weston. She's great for the part but it really slowed the film down after a while.

Now don't get me wrong. The film did have it's moments, the overall idea is great, and if Ronnie wasn't so very unlikable in every way this may have worked. If this was done as a balls out funny action comedy this could have and probably would have been the funniest film of the Summer. I mean, I want to watch it again right now, it looks great on blu-ray, and I like the idea of the film, but I put it in and just can't do it. I hope that makes sense in a way. It kinda pisses me off. Observe and Report gets 2 1/2 outa 5