The Hangover Part II (2011) -vs- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

May 31, 2011 R.L. Naquin

It’s widely understood that men are little boys who constantly behave badly and get into trouble. Women stand by and judge, often bailing the men out of trouble. Women, of course, are the grownups of the world, while men are too immature to be left alone without female supervision.

That’s crap. Women can get into just as much trouble as men, and in fact, can behave in an equally self-destructive fashion.

In this SmackDown! it’s the boys against a girl in sequel comedies that whisk us away on ill-advised trips to Thailand. The Hangover Part II takes on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in an attempt to determine which sex is the stupidest.

Can the Wolf Pack take on a lone she-wolf and come out the victorious fools?

That’s crap. Women can get into just as much trouble as men, and in fact, can behave in an equally self-destructive fashion. […]

Alien Contact @ Movie Smackdown

May 29, 2011 Movie Smackdown

In the billions of stars, solar systems, and galaxies out there, our little planet is but a single speck of dust in the whirlwind of the universe. Probably, we are all starting to realize, we are not alone.

Hollywood got there earlier than the rest of us, and the film industry has told us stories of alien contact — what might happen if intelligent beings out there were to make contact with our suposedly primitive culture here on Earth — since the 1950s.

This week, Movie Smackdown! examines how alien contact is portrayed in cinema. Each day, we’ll pick another Smackdown from our Classix vault. From the brutal attack force of Independence Day to the benevolent space brothers of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, let your imagination soar as the extraterrestrial life of a crowded Hollywood universe comes calling here on Earth. […]

POTC: On Stranger Tides (2011) -vs- POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

May 22, 2011 The FilmGuru

The idea seemed outrageous. Around the turn of the century, Disney & Co. decided to translate one of its most iconic theme park rides into a film. About pirates. Seriously.

It’s not like pirates were all the rage at the time. A good pirate movie hadn’t been made since, well… Ever? Look, I never was one to get lost in the swashbuckling days of yesteryear with Errol Flynn. In my lifetime, I couldn’t remember a single good pirate movie.

Sure, pirates popped up in other films (The Princess Bride, Hook, etc.) but pirate movies weren’t popular. Think of the awful The Pirate Movie (1982), loosely based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. Or how about the horrible Geena Davis vehicle Cutthroat Island (1995) that bankrupted Carolco Pictures?

The point I’m making here is that Disney’s decision to create a movie based on its Pirates of the Caribbean ride was one of those decisions that could either be called mad genius or visionary. When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl debuted in 2003, no one expected it would launch a box office powerhouse and a franchise that would be pumping out sequels for the next decade. […]

Arnold (2011) -vs- Arnold (1998) What’s He Thinking Now?

May 21, 2011 Bryce Zabel

Probably no one will admit to this in the future, even if it’s true, but I think confession is good for the soul.

I voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Twice.

Honestly, I did it because I felt that his oversize personality allowed him to stand out from the stupid party animosities that were bankrupting California in their dance of mutually assured destruction. For a while he did, and he kept trying. So there’s that.

But, of course, it’s not enough, even if you’re an Arnold fan outside of the movies. Clearly we haven’t heard the end of the story cycle and more “shockers” will dribble out, but the whole thing feels icky. At least this happened when he was out of office. You can just freaking imagine the media circus this would be if he was still up in Sacramento. […]

Will Ferrell -vs- Bill Murray

May 21, 2011 Bryce Zabel

Will Ferrell got booed.

Yes, you got that right. Will Ferrell, a beloved SNL comic and feature funny man, was booed by a couple of guys in the crowd I was in to see Ferrell’s new Everything Must Go. I can only assume that they saw the trailers which had been cut to make it look like a comedy, and they figured, hey, we love our man Will, so they let’s check it out.

I wondered as they left the theater just how far into the film they got before they realized it was not meant to be funny but was a tough story about substance abuse and how it can take away everything you thought you had or thought you wanted. These guys felt duped they did not get the Will Ferrell that they had paid to see.

They probably also didn’t love Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

Most comedic actors secretly want to play serious roles. Despite what a great gift it is to be able to make people laugh, and despite how much we all need to laugh in this day and age, often times the people most talented at this want desperately to show you their “other side.” Sometimes we are very, very glad they did. Sometimes, not so much.
[…]

The (True) “True Story of Blackbeard”

May 18, 2011 Bryce Zabel

There’s just something about that name — Blackbeard — that Hollywood loves. It doesn’t matter what the real details are since nobody in the audience knows them anyway.

What’s important is that Blackbeard, whoever the hell he was, was definitely the biggest of the badass pirates in a world populated by badass pirates.

Even in those days, the early 1700s, hype always exceeded reality. Pirates were feared, but tavern gossip in coastal communities inflated their stories into mythic proportions. They may have been scurvy dudes with non-existent dental care and sexual diseases you don’t even want to know about — just like everyone else of the time — but they were more than that. They were celebrities with great names like Captain Kidd and Calico Jack. And they operated with impunity from the Caribbean to New York in a decades-long orgy of lawlessness. […]

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2011) -vs- Resident Evil (2002)

May 18, 2011 Rodney Twelftree

Guns, girls and zombies. Everything a film fan could want, comes together in the film saga based on the hugely popular video game, Resident Evil.

True, films based on computer games don’t have a prestigious history. For every good adaptation, there are a dozen bad ones. But in 2002, one such adaptation hit the big screen that set the bar for horror / action.

In this Smack, we’re putting on our lab coats, stirring up some carnage and introducing the Smackring to the zombie hordes of Raccoon City! Get ready to score an extra life, take your T-virus vaccination, and have that sharpened axe ready, as we set Resident Evil: Afterlife upon Resident Evil. Either way, with Milla Jovovich in both films, we win. […]

Summer of Smackdown: Wizards, Warriors & Pirates

May 15, 2011 The FilmGuru

The “Summer of Smackdown” continues! Last week we took a look at the superhero movies vying to be this summer’s big blockbuster. Forget about beefy gods in capes or super soldiers slinging shields. We’re moving from the land of comic books to the realm of full-on fantasy & adventure.

For me, this is what summer is all about. I love a good blockbuster adventure, be it of the Indiana Jones or Flash Gordon variety. A good action-adventure film can transport us to new worlds, different times, and show us unimaginable things made real.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has recently begun transferring films in this genre to 3D in post-production, creating a cheesy effect at greater expense to the viewer. Each of these films has been given the 3D treatment, but only Pirates was filmed in 3D. […]

Priest (2011) -vs- The Book of Eli (2010)

May 15, 2011 Mark Sanchez

A Western is a Western, even if there are no trusty horses, Native Americans, brave pioneers, land barons or cowboy hats (or even cowboys).

These days we regularly construct our western mythology out of the apocalypse, looking to the dismal future and not the hardscrabble past.

Both our combatants today share a common set up: Catastrophe strikes. Society falls apart. The fight begins for the remaining pieces. This formula usually includes A Brooding Outsider and Someone in Distress. When you add monsters / mutants you have the rough outline of recent popular movies like I Am Legend, The Road, even The Road Warrior from 1982. The list is longer, but you see where I’m going.

What we have now is the hybrid genre of the Apoca-Western. This sturdy form is identifiable with or without those horses and a strong silent hero because it still showcases the sense of honor, justice and redemption that motivated John Wayne as the Ringo Kid in Stagecoach (1939) and Clint Eastwood’s Bill Munny in The Unforgiven (1992). Those characters could just as easily lived in the world of the Undead as the actual living.

While there are no OK Corrals in The Priest or the Book of Eli, good still stands up to evil in every incarnation. Let’s see how they stand up to each other. […]

Bridesmaids (2011) -vs- The Hangover (2009)

May 14, 2011 The FilmGuru

The world is probably a better place knowing that women can be just as depraved, insecure, crass, pathetic, disgusting and insanely funny as men. After all, fair is fair.

Our Battle of the Sexes Grand-Slam Comedy Smack pits women against men in a dual of the demos. The Bridesmaids versus The Wolf Pack.

After spending over $32-million to make Bridesmaids, Universal Pictures followed up with an expensive nationwide spin-job selling their new movie as a bachelorette party version of The Hangover.

What made that original 2009 film a surprise R-rated hit was bringing the Wolf Pack to life in a story that shattered the formula of a raunchy guy’s film and took it to a new level where roofies were just another plot device. The question that Bridesmaids raises is pretty basic: can the same dynamic — bad decisions, outrageous behavior and same-sex bonding — work in a film about some girls who just wanna have fun, too? And, even if it can work, can that film actually be a better one that The Hangover? […]

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