Walter Mencken 2:08 p.m., Aug. 27
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Funny People like John Hughes
Entertainment Weekly is an interesting magazine. They have some writers that do great columns (Stephen King and Diablo Cody are two). They cover so much about movies, yet they always seem to give good reviews to everything.
It's strange. A movie like G.I. Joe could get horrible reviews, and it'll squeak out a C- or B in EW. And of course, it just made $58 million over the weekend, just to show how idiotic our society is.
So I was disappointed when their head female film critic gave a bad review to Funny People. Not just because it's one of the best movies of the year. But she had what I consider to be a big contradiction.
She was saying she couldn't like a movie where all the male characters were jerks. On a hunch, I searched out her review of Sideways, another great film with male characters that are jerks.
Yep. She said that was one of the best movies of the year.
It's a shame that Funny People isn't getting better reviews. It's so much funnier and more interesting than The Hangover, which for some reason the critics are all over.
When it comes to making comedy, it's hard to beat the late John Hughes, who recently died at 59.
It was no surprise to me, that this same film critic didn't like Hughes' classic "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." She said Ferris was a jerk that bullied people around. Come on. This movie is a comedy classic. Maybe he bullied his friend Cameron, but who wouldn't? It got them to take an old Ferrari out on the town (a choice ride I'd highly recommend, if you have the means).
Hughes started out writing commercials and one of his famous ad campaigns was the Edge shaving test, that involved the credit card being run across the face.
He started writing jokes for comedians like Joan Rivers, before jumping to National Lampoon to write pieces, one of which became the Chevy Chase film "Vacation."
I think his films Some Kind of Wonderful, 16 Candles, and Breakfast Club are among the best teen comedies ever made. And I'm not biased because I was a teen when they came out. They still stand up today (what's with that song by Yello being played in so many of them?)
Pretty in Pink was okay. Hard to forget the great scene of Jon Cryer lip-synching to Otis Redding (although, Lloyd Bridges lipsynching to Otis in "Cousins" is even better).
I didn't care much for Weird Science, although...you gotta think Anthony Michael Hall loved the fact that he got to do so many Hughes films.
I had never seen Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Many critics said this was his best film.
A guy I play racquetball with lent it to me a few years back, and I was very disappointed. I think the main problem is...John Candy is so annoying that it's hard to ever have sympathy for him later on in the movie. But maybe I'm just a jerk, because it worked for everyone else (and is it really that funny to have two men sleeping in the same bed, with one claiming to have his hand between two pillows?)
I thought Candy worked better in Uncle Buck, which had some touching moments and nice touches of humor.
Macauley Culkin ended up in another film of his, the very popular Home Alone. Again, not my favorite movie, as I don't care for the slapstick stuff. And the premise of course, is way to unbelievable. But Pesci and Stern are great as the burglars. And of course, it's the movie that probably put Culkin on Michael Jacksons radar.
Hughes wrote She's Having a Baby and Mr. Mom, which were both cute comedies.
The last movie he directed was the horrible Curly Sue.
And the last movie he got a writing credit for was the Owen Wilson flop "Drillbit Taylor," which I never saw.
I say you rent (or Netflix) one of the classic Hughes films you haven't seen. I'd recommend Some Kind of Wonderful, which I love and so many people haven't seen.
And go out and see Funny People. You won't have a more fun time at the movies this year.