Jamie Foxx

Redeeming Features: “Horrible Bosses”

Welcome to Redeeming Features. The blog where I (poorly) review movies that are underappreciated, underrated or under the radar, in hopes of convincing you to give them a second chance. Horrible BossesThis week, we’re talking about what is probably the most underrated movie I’ve reviewed thus far. Not necessarily because it’s the best, or even better than some of the others, but because people just did not give it a fair stare. Everybody knows about it, but nobody has actually seen it. Although, that does seem fair, considering the trailer seems to have been thrown together in as much time as it takes to watch.

Anyways, I’m talking about Horrible Bosses, a not-so-horrible raunchy-romp-around about three uppity up bosses and the underlings dead set on killing them. Also, when I say raunchy, I don’t mean like hanging dong or nothin’, but you do get pretty friendly with one Jennifer Aniston. So, that’s nice. By raunchy, I mean how they’re in no way attempting to shy away from a combination of some of the English language’s most unsavory slurs.

Now, the typical review route is to start with our main characters, but it seems more apropos to focus on the bosses they abhor. Each one dabbling in their very own special brand of awful, and driving the plot from the very get.

Let’s start with Harken (Kevin Spacey). Harken is the sort of strong, sinful type. Well-versed in the ole “trick you into drinking scotch at 8 a.m. in the morning” game, he twists and tortures his go-to manager, Nick (Jason Bateman), to absolutely no end. Passing him up for a promotion, even after making him miss the passing of his Gam Gam… and then not so surreptitiously laughing in his face about nicknaming his grandmother Gam Gam. Spacey does a phenomenal job tapping into the sadistic dick we all know he’s capable of playing. Source: Se7en, and a litany of other films.

Second, we have Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Anison). Harris, as Dale (Charlie Day) so lovingly calls her, is one “Evil Crazy Bitch… D.D.S.” Dale, her dental assistant, grits his own pearly whites just trying to survive this succubus. She drills him day in and day out about, well, not drilling her. Playing a vigilant game of cat and rouse, Dale becomes increasingly more and more upset with her antics, and when he finally decides to stand up to her, she pulls out an iPad album full of laughing-gas-induced Dale staged in some rather provocative positions. Although, he gets no sympathy from the boys seeing as Aniston is a stone cold fox. And, honestly, a remarkable actress – she’s surprisingly good in this.

Last, we have Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell). I know, I know; another damn Farrell movie, but the dude is making a serious comeback, and doing so with gusto. Farrell, borderline unrecognizable, plays this role like a reprehensible coke-riddled fiddle. After taking control of his father’s company, Pellitt starts exploiting the very foundation it's built on and making star employee, Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) do his REALLY dirty work. Ya know, like “trimming the fat.” AKA, firing the fat people. AKA, the pregnant lady in the office. Needless to say, Kurt has his work cut out for him.

Eventually (to get the damn plot moving) they can’t take it anymore and decide to start murdering. Except they have one problem: they have no idea how to murder. Like, I’d be surprised if any of them have even hit an animal with their mid-sized Volkswagen sedan. So, what do they do? Pile into the aforementioned mid-sized Volkswagen sedan and ask their GPS to take them to the roughest neighborhood around. There, they meet Motherfuckah Jones (Jamie Foxx), who gives them all the tools they need to get the job done. And yes, his name is Motherfuckah Jones, not to be confused with MotherfuckER Jones, which would just be ridiculous, ya honky.

The movie, for all its stupidity, is actually really smart. The character development is strong and succinct. The dialogue is quick and quicker-witted. And the acting is superb. Well, superb for what it is – they weren’t up for any Oscars or anything. Every bit and everyone works incredibly well together, which makes for a surprisingly fun, flagitious flick.

TL; DR - Three friends conspire to murder the awful bosses who stand before their happiness, but quickly learn their plan to only be as good as those executing it.

Cody Tidmore is a Level Three sketch student at DCH. He’s been watching movies for as long as he can remember. Seeing it all – the good, the bad, even the ugly. And when it comes to annoyingly working movie quotes into regular conversation, he’s the reel deal.

What We're Loving: Hacks!

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison turns hack, Amanda Hahn gets her hair hacked, Jonda Robinson might hack up a hairball, and Ryan Callahan learns some lesson from a LA hack. tina-fey3At this point, it's hack for a person who loves comedy to discuss the greatness of Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch. Ugh, we get it nerds, they're funny gals, under appreciated, could have been rocket scientists and once saved Earth by winking at an asteroid. It's quite common for each of them to be lauded with affection, especially from schlubs that like to do make 'em ups on stage for strangers. But this week has been especially kind for fanboys/fangirls of Dratch and Fey as their old Second City/UCB show has found it's way online. The quality of the footage is TERRIBLE. It honestly looks as if the uploader took a Beta copy of their baby steps, converted the footage to VHS, recorded the Dratch & Fey show over it, washed the tape in the dishwasher, hung it out to dry in the Death Valley sun and then decided to upload it to YouTube. Seriously, that's what happened. Even though it's not quite in HD, the quality of the comedy shines through.

Here's a link to the whole thing.

The show begins with dueling one woman shows, one with the intention of educating an audience to women's history and the other with the intention of educating an audience to women's anatomy. From there, Dratch and Fey delve into a really well put together combination of sketch, audience interaction, and monologues. Though the show only ran from 1999-2000, the complete package feels incredibly refined and tight. There's never much downtime and the whole set ebbs and flows so naturally that it's obvious why this sketch show is thought of in the pantheon of all time greats. Hell, the whole thing helped to inspire 30 Rock, so that alone makes it worth watching. The other part that really stands out to me is just how good Rachel Dratch is. That's not to say Tina Fey isn't great, but she's a movie star gosh darn it, we get to see her in stuff all the time. The aggressive innocence with with Dratch plays makes every one of her characters likable and will leave you convinced as to how underrated she is. And then you can finally join us in the chorus of people clamoring for more Dratch & Fey. -David Allison

tumblr_n9jvg93aIB1thkqcyo1_1280I don’t want to seem divisive or political with what I’m about to say, but I need to get it out there: I am a fan of cats. Many times I have said that if reincarnation is a thing, please, make me a cat so I can take naps for days. I recognize that not everyone is a fan of felines, though, such as my friend who believes that they are evil and the only thing keeping them from taking over the world is their lack of opposable thumbs. If she’s right, and they someday do rise up, I like to think I’ve given enough belly rubs that they’ll show some mercy on me.

All of that is to say that when cats are involved in something, it usually catches my attention. And this week that was the case when I stumbled upon the Tumblr “Confused Cats Against Feminism.” Now, when I first heard that women were against feminism and had their own Tumblr dedicated to the cause, I wasn’t really interested. Frankly it sounded boring to me, and I like getting to vote and stuff, so I was like “nah.” But then when cats got in on the party, I was like “yes, please!” There’s one with sage advice about who and what to trust. One who is against both vacuums and the women who wield them. One who believes in equal oppression of all humans. And one who just wants his belly rubbed, dangit.

You should check them out so you can enjoy their cuteness, be more informed about this cat cause, and also so, in the event that they do overpower humans and take over the world, you’ll be in their good graces. Also, if you have an anti-feminist cat in your life, get him or her in on this movement! - Jonda Robinson

1382258215Exciting news, everyone: I got a haircut this week. No, I’m not so vain as to write about how much I love my haircut. I’m here to write about the woman who cut it because I fell in platonic love with her. What I thought would be a normal conversation as she cut my hair turned into a fascinating talk with a fascinating woman named Alexis Lu, AKA Queen Lex Lu. It’s possible that you’ve heard of her already because she has her feet dipped into a million things around Dallas and Texas. She’s a hair stylist, make up artist, photographer, stylist, wig maker, rapper, actor, and a warm, funny person in general.

I warned her that I would stalk her all over the internet, but I did not tell her that I would be writing about her on a public blog. It’s okay though because it’s illegal to get mad at someone for writing about you if it’s nice things, right? …Right?? Right! Good, because I only have rave reviews for Lex Lu. I liked her so much that my new goal is to find reasons to hire her for various things. Do I need my makeup done before the next time go to a coffee shop to write in a corner by myself? No. Do I need to hire entertainment to rap for me while I get dressed for work in the morning? No. But I want to anyway, because not only does she do great work, she’s so pleasant to be around. Plus she has a song called ‘CAN’T FEEL MY FACE’ which makes me giggle because that’s a little too relatable.

I’ll end my post with week with another call to action: Hire this woman. She’s excellent. And just more proof that talking to strangers is the best possible way to spend your day. -Amanda Hahn

03Last weekend, my girlfriend and I watched Collateral, the 2004 crime thriller starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, directed by Michael Mann (Heat, Thief). I lived in LA when Collateral came out and I always thought that the film did the best job of capturing the way LA looks at night. It turns out, that was director Michael Mann's intention. He shot the film in DV, and even had the taxi cab that Foxx's character drives painted a particular shade, to capture the golden hues of Los Angeles streetlights.

I did not remember how much the film was about the nature of improvisation, not just on a thematic or performance level, but in the nature of its structure. The film has the structure of a great long form improv show; diverse elements and characters eventually come together, scenes mirror each other, there are call backs, and everything from the beginning is brought back at the end and tied together.

There are so many parallel scenes in the movie that play off each other - the twin cab rides of Jada Pinkett-Smith and Tom Cruise, the visit to the jazz club vs the visit to the night club, the two run ins with the patrol cops, the two visits to the first informant's apartment. Throughout the film, the same locations and characters are visited and revisited, but each time the suspense is heightened, new information is added. Old scenes take on new meanings. Like a great improv show, the movie does not endlessly invent new things; it takes what it has and escalates and escalates until the everything reaches a fever pitch.

The movie even has a scene of actual improvisation. Foxx's meek cap driver must impersonate Cruise's cold-blooded hit man, and acquire a hit list from a cartel heavy (Javier Bardem) at a night club. Foxx does not know what he's walking into or what to say. His only choice is to "Yes, And" the hell out of everything and hope that he's committed enough to his character to pull it off. That scene is one of the best in a movie full of great scenes, and rewards an engaged audience with its call backs and in-jokes.

I always thought Collateral was a brilliant crime movie, another example of Michael Mann's mastery of the genre. I had no idea it was also a brilliant improv show. - Ryan Callahan