Tag Archives: Nick Kroll

Shark!

IMG_2469.jpgLet’s face it, sometimes we’re all in the mood for a good shark attack movie.

And by let’s, I mean me, and by sometimes I mean pretty much all the time. Since “The Shallows” bit me in June last year, I guess shark movies are just my jam. (Okay, to be fair I learned in my “research” for this post that Vox just published an article on “Why We Love Shark Movies,” but I maintain that I was first to sink my teeth into this trend.)

So much that I was probably the only person excited to see “47 Meters Down” this weekend. It’s not just a shark attack movie, it’s a shark horror movie. “The Shallows” is more of a suspense woman vs. shark tale focused on the vulnerability of Blake Lively’s character, Nancy, as she is stuck on a rock just off the shore in Mexico with the cousin of Jaws circling about.

“47 Meters Down” has all of the vulnerability and formulaic tropes of characters facing a life or death situation, combined with the claustrophobia of “Open Water” and “Panic Room,” (no sharks, but small spaces.)

I thought for sure there would be no one else in the theater at the 11:10 a.m. showing today (not early enough in my opinion,) but alas I had to get my shark on with some other weirdos and a guy who did not know how to eat popcorn without letting everyone else know that was what was going on.

I wish a shark would have attacked him in the theater and really brought the movie to life.

This brings me to a joke by Ian Edwards noting that shark attacks don’t happen on their turf.

“Sharks live in the water. If you get caught down there, you’re trespassing …  a real shark attack is if you’re somewhere you’re supposed to be, and a shark shows up.”

For example, if you decide to go on an excursion in which you get locked in a cage and dropped into the ocean to “see” some sharks, you can expect that they’re going to stalk and bite you.

Mandy Moore’s character was all like “I don’t know if I want to do this” to her sister Kate, but Kate changed her mind by saying Lisa’s ex-boyfriend would take her back because she would seem adventurous and “not boring.”

Yeah, well not if you’re dead.

I was not on board with that plot point but, to build suspense and empathy for the characters, these movies often find a way to include an extra layer of vulnerability to an already vulnerable situation the characters willingly put themselves in.

Lisa agrees to join Kate and, within probably minutes, the rope holding their cage at just five meters below the water breaks and they plummet to 47 meters with not enough oxygen and sharks EVERYWHERE!

Believe it or not (don’t believe it) there is actually some mystery as to whether the boat crew was in cahoots with the sharks to try to do away with Kate and Lisa. However, (again, if you can suspend your disbelief) most of the horror is set between a school of extra large ocean monsters, declining oxygen levels and getting the bends.

Love or hate the formula of these movies, I was truly scared on a few occasions and tried not to think about whether Captain Taylor ( finally a chance for Matthew Modine to return to the big screen) was a bad guy and orchestrated the whole thing. Let’s (again by let’s I mean me) be real, that would have been way too much effort for the plot of a shark attack movie. Plus, there always has to be room for a sequel.

I knew what to expect with this movie, but couldn’t resist seeing it in the theater. Coming from a true fin, I mean fan, shark movies definitely need to be eaten up at your local cinema house.

Being that “47 Meters Down” is billed as a shark horror film, you’ll see some other horror trailers like “IT” (terrifying) and “Happy Death Day” (not as terrifying), which helped amp up the underwater scares once the feature started.

While I haven’t seen it yet, I recommend “It Comes at Night,” the sophmore project from “Krisha” director Trey Edward Shults, who also plays with the idea of claustrophobia in his films.

After this dose of horror, even just the trailer for “IT,” I know you’ll need a little comedic relief. Try “Detroiters” on Comedy Central starring and created by Veep’s Sam Richardson.   I assume T.J. Miller’s new special on HBO, airing tonight, will also do the trick. “Oh, Hello,” I almost forgot, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll’s Broadway brilliance is now streaming on Netflix.

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And Kid Gorgeous himself just added some dates, including Minneapolis in September, to his tour this year.

Yas and k, bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Conversation Piece

To quote comedian Michelle Wolf, a blog is a conversation no one else will have with you. I saw her show at Acme Comedy Company the other night and, of all her musings on life and funny stories, this line resonated with me the most.

I got excited because, hey, I have a blog and I like to think I write in a conversational tone that people totally get … wait, was she talking about me? Probably. I am sure Michelle Wolf reads this.

She is right and to take it a step further maybe a blog is a conversation you don’t want to have with anyone. I could talk about my thoughts on movies and comedy with a total stranger if I had at least two hours to prep and then recite it to myself a couple of times. Plus this person would definitely have to listen to a week’s worth of internal monologues I might have about a post just so they know where I am coming from. Then we can talk.

This morning I thought, oh it’s just a typical Sunday … I got up, worked out and ate an apple while thinking about making hash browns for breakfast instead. Then I thought, based on Wolf’s line of wisdom on blogs, would I tell anyone that? No, but it will make a perfect segue to write about “Friday Night Lights.”

Big news – I made it to season three and all I want to know is why are the characters always at Applebee’s watching the news about themselves and trying to get away with murder and stuff? Is Applebee’s run by the Texas mob and are they the mastermind behind that show?

It is good I can get these things off my chest here because I am pretty sure I am the only person who is still watching “Friday Night Lights” and will still want to talk about it even years from now.

I have actually talked in-depth about this next tidbit with my friends and family because I believe I made Todd Barry mad after his show in Madison a couple of weeks ago and I don’t know why.

It was a great show and I told him something to that effect while he was signing my copy of his book “Thank you for Coming to Hattiesburg.” All he said was, “Who’s it for?”

The book is all about being a comic on the road and smaller venues he performs at, including the Comedy Club on State. I didn’t expect anything from my “meeting” with Mr. Barry in terms of conversation, especially since I was nervous and didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of one of my comedic idols. I wanted him to know I liked his show and I’m a fan, but maybe I should have gone bigger and told him I have a deep obsession with peanut butter or something because I may have gotten the same reaction no matter what I said.

Was it because I shook his hand after he did a bit about being a germaphobe or because we were talking to him and he’s an introvert? Maybe he was dreaming about writing about signing his fans’ books and not having to talk to them in the process? All of this  analysis is not a complaint about Mr. Barry. I respect him and am just as much of a fan, if not more, as before, but I can’t get the interaction out of my head.

I think this look says it all:

img_2207.jpgDon’t hate me, Todd. Please don’t hate me.

I’m an introvert, too, and would be willing to give up on germs if I need to. But not peanut butter, sorry.

Moving on to other things I don’t hate (I guess one perk to actual conversations is you don’t have to say things like that when you can’t think of an effective transition), from comedians I love: “The Big Sick” will be in theaters this month and “Dean” from Demetri Martin has a stint at the Edina Cinema right now.

I am also intrigued by — and probably will love — the new show about stand-up comedy in the 1970’s, “I’m Dying Up Here.” It premieres tonight on Showtime and you can watch the pilot online now. It seems to be getting mixed reviews, but I’ll give it a shot and if I don’t like it (this is probably impossible) I’ll just watch “Crashing” again.

Don’t worry, I have more recommendations of things you should watch to convince you that comedy is the best thing on Earth.

Hot off the Internet presses is the trailer for season four of “Broad City” and “Oh, Hello on Broadway” from Nick Kroll and John Mulaney is coming to Netflix on June 13. As Illana and Abbi would say, “Yas.”

Try Sarah Silverman’s new special on the aforementioned Netflix, or if you’re in the mood to be scared, anxious, depressed and angry over the course of seven hours or so, watch “The Keepers.”

Then pick yourself back up with a deep-dive on Tom Hanks’ Instagram account.  It’s delightful.

Are we done talking now? I thought so. Bye!

(P.S. – Watch Now Hiring with Michelle Wolf on Comedy Central.)

 

66 of 366: Adult Beginners

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Adult Beginners fits the mold of a mid-life/family crisis film and, while the story has a few unique points and comedic moments, it mostly has been done before.

Think of it as a toned-down version of Sisters mixed with a little bit of Happy Christmas. 

I am by no means saying Adult Beginners (streaming on Netflix) is an intentional copy cat of other titles, but it wasn’t original enough for me to stand out from similar independent or bigger-budget films.

I was excited to see it for Nick Kroll’s role in developing the story along with Liz Flahive and Jeff Cox, who wrote the script.

I’ve been a fan of Kroll’s comedy from the since of the baby character and El Chupacabra on Comedy Bang! Bang! and it’s intriguing to see his different performances on screen, especially when he has a hand in them.

Kroll plays Jake, a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur who needs to live with his sister Justine (Rose Byrne) and her husband Danny (Bobby Cannavale) until he gets back on his feet.

They live in Jake and Justine’s childhood home, which the couple is trying to sell before they have another baby. Jake begins to help around the house and babysit his nephew, Teddy.

It could have gone any way from there, but like other similar films, the living arrangement begins to test the relationship between Jake and Justine against her marriage and own family life as all the characters work through their own issues.

They’re all starting over again in some ways and it doesn’t work well under one roof.

The downfall of Kroll’s performance as Jake and the script is he goes too far to be funny on a few occasions while the more emotional scenes with Justine fell flat and didn’t seem to have any heart or, for lack of a better term, real emotional depth.

All the characters’ relationships and plot points are presented mostly on the surface level and in such a way that you only see a glimpse of the potential for a strong film.

I admire Kroll and think Adult Beginners is a sign of what’s to come as he continues to expand his creative work in comedy and in film.

Now, without further ado, it took me three listens (worth it) of the Sally Field and Michael Showalter interview on Nerdist to find this quote. I wrote down the wrong time stamp during the first listen, found a different quote I liked to use for a different blog, and then welcomed the excuse to give it a third try knowing I didn’t imagine hearing this. Sally Field has had a long and impressive career and much of the interview focuses on her and the partnership with Showalter to make their new film, Hello, My Name is Doris. I recommend it, even if you only listen once like a normal person, and cannot wait to see this film.

“It’s what you do during those really down times that really inform who you’re going to be for the rest of your life.”

— Sally Field