Steve Coogan

Redeeming Features: “The Other Guys”

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. The Other Guys“Whoa! What’s this!? Two Redeeming Features in one week?! It must be my lucky day!” said you, maybe?

If not, that’s fine; but this IS the second RF this week. Figured since I missed last week, I outta write my wrong and do two. That, and I was specifically asked to by my boss. Or at least, I think he’s my boss? Hey! Jason! Are you my boss? Better yet, are you my Mother!?

Paternity tests aside, this week we’re loading up a movie that I’ve wanted to do for a while now, but honestly just wasn’t sure how people would react. In my personal opinion it’s funny, but was tragically overlooked and undercut because of its mere stupidity. And rightfully so; this movie is dumb; so so dumb. But in a weird way, its stupidity is what makes it a fun watch. One that makes you say, “Huh… that wasn’t half bad! We should watch it again next year!”

I’m talking about The Other Guys, an overtly silly action cop parody about two buddy cops who are anything but. They spend the whole movie doing everything except draw their weapons on each other. Well, until one of ‘em actually does, that is. And yes, that doesn’t make sense and would definitely never happen. But if you go into this movie fully aware that it has every intention of leaning head-on into absurdity, then you’re in for a good time. I mean, the opening scene involves Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock jumping off a 50-story building, hoping to aim for a vegetable stand to break their fall. And it does break their fall, and also their necks. And they die. Immediately. Leaving space forrrrr… The Other Guys.

The Other Guys in The Other Guys are played by none other than Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. And both do a phenomenal job of doing what they do best: being total morons. Gamble (Ferrell) is an even-tempered, desk jocky who probably blows on his soup when it’s too hot. Also he thinks soup is an actual meal. Hoitz (Wahlberg) plays a run and gun, balls to the wall, wild Tasmanian devil detective who hits one “unlucky” streak after accidentally shooting Derek Jeter. The two make an amazing(ly terrible) pair, and play off each other in the best (worst) ways possible and getting each other into the worst (best) situations possible.

Quickly, they tumble and rumble their way into the office of David Ershon (Steve Coogan), a Wall Street tycoon who Gamble is convinced has gone crooked. And while he may very well be right, Hoitz doesn’t wanna have any part in this tax fraud bullshit. He wants the big car chases, the gunfire, the coke fueled hobo orgies… and boy does he get ‘em. While attempting to pin down Ershon, the two get caught up in a nonsensical series of “look over here’s” and misdirects. They hot rod Gamble’s Prius all over town trying to get dirty on this scum, but their bad (at being a) cop methods always end up getting them on the receiving end of their Captain’s (Michael Keaton) hilarious ass reaming tactics. One of which involves inadvertently quoting TLC songs. What can I say, boy don’t want No Scrubs on his force.

Much like Gamble’s aforementioned Prius, The Other Guys cruises along nicely, making stops along the way for plenty of all-too-familiar, Ferrell-fueled line-o-ramas and Wahlberg’s incessant probing about Gamble’s insanely hot wife (Eva Mendez). On screen, the two make for a lot of fun and despite this being Ferrell’s wheelhouse, Wahlberg totally holds his own. I would even go as far to say he’s a much better comedic actor than he is serious. Ahhhhh, I’m just busting your balls, Markie – say hi to your mother for me.

TL; DR – Two mismatched New York City detectives seize an opportunity to step up – but until they learn to work together, they’ll continuously take inadvertent steps back.

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: Non-Spoiled Snooze Alarms, The Theater/Theatre Dilemma, Sexy Jesus

imageEach Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ashley Bright puts the swagger in your step, Julia Cotton questions reality, and David Allison knows where they keep the best gold.  921435

Over the past ten days or so, I've been almost exclusively listening to the bluesman, Howlin' Wolf. I have no albums of his, so at home, I listen on Spotify. At work and in my car, I listen on YouTube because I'm a cheapo and I cancelled my Spotify subscription. I've tried to skip around and listen to other things, but I've been fiendishly obsessed with Howlin' Wolf. Even the song "How Many More Years" that has been on one of my phone alarms for years (yes, years. I need to upgrade my phone) is in the repeat mix despite being one of my snooze sounds. Being a snooze alarm usually ruins a song for me, but not this one. You may think of Blues music as sad, 'I lost my dog in the river and I ain't got no pants' music, but just as there are many shades of the color blue, there are many moods of the music. Howlin' Wolf has plenty of songs you can dance to. Most of my dancing consists of me bobbing my head while typing emails at work, but it counts. And if you want a surefire swagger to your step, play "Back Door Man" in your ears when you walk into a room. I have yet to check the jukebox at Twilite for his music, but if that song is available, I guarantee you it will up the sexy bad ass in every person in the place by at least 25% while it plays. - Ashley Bright

proudAh! The theater… or is it theatre?  If you are a TRUE thespian… stop wasting time and just go enjoy We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known As South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 at the Undermain Theatre (I’m not taking a side...it’s how they spell it).

This super meta, satirical look at the process of actors putting together a show is also a sort of history lesson. But further, it is an exploration of how we obtain and then convey that history. How do we tell the story of those pasts that we did not witness nor do we have explicit documentation or recollection? We usually end up confusing it because we fill in the holes. But if we didn’t try to fill them, would that be worse?

When we recount a story from when we were 5-years-old, we fill in the holes as we cannot fully recall ourselves that young, but still want to tell a complete story. We fill holes with ideas about ourselves that we are aware of now. Ideas based on home photos or media we’ve consumed about an era. We even use ideas that we really wish were true things… whether they are or not.

When I was 5, my mom, brother and I went to see Oliver & Company.  Mom was in a good mood and just wanted to have a fun family night.  It was completely spontaneous and it was on a school night!  We missed the first 5 minutes, but we watched the rest and then stayed in the theater (we all agree it’s ‘er’ when it’s the movies) and watched it again all the way through.  It was the greatest family day of my 5-year-old-life!  Except the internet just told me I was actually 7 when O&C was released.  Why do I think I was 5?  Also, my mom would tell you... it was a horrible day. There was no heat in our house with cracks in the seams of the walls and cold air was getting through. She and my grandmother were at odds, so we could not go to her house.  My mother had planned a reason for us to be out of the house and then get home late enough so we would sleep through the cold for as little time as possible before having to get up for school the next day.  Our trip to the movies was a strategic plan.  How important is it to know that there were different realities to that day?  How does my brother remember that day?  How did my grandmother?

We Are Proud To Present… exposes ramifications that result from filling in information based on guided or misguided intuition.  It is an impeccable ensemble piece with some of the best actors in DFW.  It is a darkly hilarious and quite thought provoking ride that is definitely worth strapping in for.  The show runs through April 19th. You can get tickets here.

Then you can get into the history behind how to spell theater/theatre. - Julia Cotton

mzi.bglfzfdjI love alliteration!  In celebration of that fact, I’m creating “Movie Soundtrack March” to showcase great comedy soundtracks that go underappreciated.  The only rule for my weekly pick is that the soundtrack has to mostly be comprised of original music.

My goal with a lot of these selections is to provide you with a recommendation for a piece of media that is easy to find.  Maybe the soundtrack is streaming on Spotify or you can find a copy of it on Netflix or Hulu, basically if you want to see it, you can with minimal effort.  Today, UGH, today, I have to recommend something that isn’t easy to find.  When you do find it though, you’ll be all like “Oh man, David, that was worth the effort.” Remember, they don’t put bricks of gold on the surface, they bury that shit in the ground; sometimes you have to dig.

Today’s recommendation is the soundtrack to Hamlet 2.  The soundtrack includes the collection of songs from the 2008 Steve Coogan vehicle Hamlet 2 and is divine.  If you aren’t familiar with the film, here’s a brief synopsis: Steve Coogan is an actor/director and isn’t very good at being a human.  The play that he ends up writing is home to many of the best songs on the soundtrack, namely “Rock me Sexy Jesus” and “You’re as Gay as the Day is Long.”  In addition to the track list from the musical, you can also find some amazing covers of classic hits like “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Maniac” performed by a gay men’s choir.  Maybe it’s because my mother directed a similar choir for years in Colorado, but I can’t not love an album/movie that includes hits from such a choir.  Still on the fence?  The whole soundtrack was put together by the Ralph Sall experience, which is headlined by the man responsible for “Whoomp” from Addams Family Values. That should be enough. - David Allison 

What We're Loving: Kid Detectives, Inspirational Humans, Dead Men Fighting, British Conversations

CommunityEvery Friday, DCH performers, teachers and students offer their recommendations for things to watch, read, see, hear or experience. This week David Allison suggests a tip to Hulu, Sarah Wyatt spreads the gospel, Ryan Callahan finds stories that keep him up at night, and Nick Scott has his  preconceptions shattered. Thursday night, NBC will air Donald Glover’s last episode of Community. Cue crying montageEven though he’s just thirty years old, Glover has an incredibly diverse career that many comedy fans may not fully be aware of. He’s showed off his ability to rap on Community and under the moniker Childish Gambino. He’s written for 30 Rock, (and provided the occasional cameo). And, along with the Derrick Comedy members DC Peirson and Dominic Dierkes, created a series of fantastic sketches that tackle issues like werewolves in radio stations and Bro Rape.

Mystery TeamI’m going to assume that everyone is watching Community, so my recommendation this week is a great movie called Mystery Team. After hitting it “Internet big” a number of years ago, Derrick Comedy took a step back, pooled their resources and decided to make a movie.  The film follows the story of  three kid detectives that have grown into high schoolers, but refuse to give up their investigative hobby. I love their ability to play the dumbest characters (Peirson plays a trivia braniac, Dierkes a strong man and Glover a master of disguise) in very real situations. Also, it has some great support lent by Jon Daly (Rafflecast and Kroll Show) and Bobby Moynihan (SNL). Moynihan steals every scene he's in. The entire film is fantastic and necessary viewing for comedy fans, especially because it’s free on Hulu. - David Allison

Andy DalyAndy Daly is the funniest guy I know. We’ve never met but I feel like he would be cool with me saying that. You probably know him best from his stint on MADtv back in the day, but he is so much more than that. Andy Daly is killing it in the comedy game. He is everything I aspire to be as an improviser, comedian and human being. He is a great listener, he always follows the fun of a scene, his characters are off the hook and he just seems like a genuinely great person. He has a new show, Review, set to debut on Comedy Central this spring, one day after my birthday. He also has a new podcast, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, debuting in February that promises to be truly amazing. This podcast came about because of his amazing characters on the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. Cactus Tony, Chip Gardner and Don Dimello are just a few of his creations that I urge you to do yourself a favor and listen to immediately. I have never laughed so hard by myself than I did while listening to the Cactus Tony episode of Comedy Bang Bang. Daly is also wonderful and underrated as Principal Cutler on Eastbound & Down. I hope this post reaches every corner of the globe because people need to know the comedic gold that is Andy Daly, and I am happy to spread that gospel. Daly is about to blow up, and he would totally be OK with me saying that. - Sarah Wyatt 

McSweeney's 45McSweeney's Quarterly Concern Volume 45: Hitchcock and Bradbury Fight in Heaven is catnip for short-story lovers like me. Inspired by two anthologies—one edited by Alfred Hitchcock, one by Ray Bradbury—which McSweeney's Editor Dave Eggers found at used-book sales, this collection features a fine mix of old sci-fi and mystery/suspense stories, from the obscure but brilliant (Julian May's Dune Roller) to the often-anthologized and brilliant (John Cheever's The Enormous Radio) to the simply brilliant (Franz Kafka's In The Penal Colony). With the exception of new stories from Brian Evenson, China Melville, Benjamin Percy and E. Lily Lu, everything  in this issue was pulled from anthologies edited by Bradbury or Hitchcock in the 1930's, 40's or 50's. Also included, and of particular delight, are the original introductions. Hitchcock's introduction is predictably brief and droll and familiar in tone to his TV intros, while Bradbury's is a hidden little gem, a paean to the revitalizing powers of stories, which offer the reader "that sense of living on the margin of impossibility." Once I opened this compendium of classic tales, I found it nigh impossible to put down, and I continued reading and reading late into the night, repeatedly convincing myself that I could read one more story before bed, just one more. - Ryan Callahan

the_trip_poster01Watching two moderately known British actor/comedians eat a series of meals throughout the English countryside doesn't seem like that great of a concept for a TV show or movie. At least that's what I thought until I saw The Trip. Originally a television mini-series on the BBC, in 2010 it was re-edited into a single feature-length movie for American audiences. The movie stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as exagerrated versions of themselves, hired to travel to multiple fancy restaurants throughout northern England. The two spend most of the meals doing their excellent celebrity impressions and riffing on pop culture, but the movie also explores Coogan's character's inflated sense of self and struggle to be a good father, as well as Brydon's desire to be at home with his family rather than out doing celebrity things. But it's the chemistry between the two that makes the movie/show work.

Outside of perhaps remembering his part as the Director in Tropic Thunder or as the lead role in Hamlet 2, some of you may be hearing of Steve Coogan for the first time recently, as he was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Philomena in this year's Academy Awards. In my list of comedic heroes, Coogan is pretty high up there. I've watched just about everything he's done, including some unfortunate movie choices. Anything featuring his Alan Partridge character is a must watch. All of his talents are on display in The Trip, and it's interesting to see him, even fictionally, comment on his career. Brydon I was only familiar with thanks to Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (also starring Coogan and directed by Michael Winterbottom, who also directed The Trip), but all it took was watching him share one meal with Coogan and I was on board. I would say more about the movie, but it would it would be as entertaining as having someone describe someone's impression or joke later. Better to just watch. And if you can, I highly recommend finding the original BBC show, as much was cut out before releasing it as a film for American audiences. RUNNER UP PICK: The 9/11 Commission Report - Nick Scott