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Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

Hocus Pocus

This live-action Disney comedy is great fun for the Halloween season.  It stars some well-known comedy actors and has some great acting, subsequently.  The writing is sharp, the music is fun, and the humor is gentle enough for kids but with plenty of in-jokes for the adults.  The story is engrossing and involves a group of witches coming back to Salem from 300 years ago.  Bette Midler sings a great toe-tapper of a song, and the characters are interesting and sympathetic.  It’s fun and goofy and great for the season and the family.

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Ernest Scared Stupid

If you’re a fan of the old Ernest movies, you’ll already know and love this one.  It’s classic Ernest comedy, stupid and childish.  Don’t expect smart storytelling, although this one does have a more complicated story than most Ernest movies.  It’s a Halloween tale involving a troll that hunts children.  The details don’t always fit together (especially as far as the timeline goes), and the acting is like something out of a public television children’s show, but it’s all in good fun and is quite amusing if you have the patience.  Jim Varney is as perfect as usual as the titular character, and Eartha Kitt has an inspired turn as an old mystery woman.  The acting in these two cases raises the quality of the show quite a bit on their own.  The effects are appropriately disgusting, and there are a couple of genuinely creepy moments.  Kids in particular will enjoy this movie, and it’s good, clean Halloween fun.  There’s also plenty of Ernest’s typical child-like jokes and crazy character personalities that utilize humor that younger kids won’t necessarily get.  But if you have no patience for silly, goofy comedy, you won’t be able to stomach it.

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Mouse Hunt

This physical comedy movie has some great stars in it, but that’s about the most positive thing I have to say.  The characters are two-dimensional and stereotypical, the plot is unoriginal, and the humor is bland.  It’s pretty good stuff if you’re very young and don’t have much experience in movie-watching.  But for those of us who’ve seen more than one slapstick comedy, we expect more.  Every joke in the film has been done before and better.  The highlight is Christopher Walken as a crazy pest control man, but even his scenes are slow.  The mouse itself is well-done and causes some humorous problems, but the focus is too much on the uninteresting human stars.  At least, the male characters are as maligned as the female ones for once, although one scene in particular had a woman simply allowing one of the male stars to jam his arm all the way down the front of her dress without knowing why, just sitting there as if she wanted it.  This made even less sense than the rest of the movie.  Which is really saying something, considering all the weak plot points and glaring plot holes.  It’s a pity because it felt like this one had some potential.  It doesn’t, however, live up to it.

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The movie is a different animal than the tv series.  It must be judged separately.  On that note, it’s almost a dark comedy about a slayer of vampires trying to deal with growing up and high school while learning about her destiny.  It’s fun and funny, and there are a lot of good and memorable moments.  Unfortunately, the acting doesn’t always measure up, and the rampant stereotypes get a little tiring after a while.  The whole thing has a very late ’80s, early ’90s feel to it, and that’s great if you’re feeling nostalgic.  It’s meant to make fun of a lot of things from that era, and it does, but it also falls short now and then, not really ever sure if it’s being serious or not.  If you can immerse yourself in the goofiness and humor, though, it’s delightful.

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This Disney classic is the humorous tale of a college coach who is haunted by the ghost of the pirate captain Blackbeard.  It’s a typical old Disney comedy, with plenty of goofiness and lightheartedness.  There are some super recognizable faces in the movie, and the acting is as good as you might expect.  The story is fun and silly and a good popcorn movie.  It’s a little old-fashioned, but there’s plenty of humor and mild action.  It’s all designed to be fun and funny, and it is definitely that.  There’s a lesson learned in the end about being helpful and kind and making the world a better place, despite one’s own failings.  But all of that is buried under the entertainment value.  And that’s just fine for a light, silly movie like this.

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Beetlejuice

This strange, mildly unsettling comedy is an acquired taste.  But if you love anything Tim Burton or anything darkly funny, it’s for you.  It’s gross and weird and has bizarre effects, but it’s all pretty entertaining.  The acting is excellent, the music is memorable, the story is original.  Michael Keaton is disturbing and funny as the titular ghost, and Winona Ryder is in top form as the character that most people think of when they see her name.  Everyone is excellent.  The plot has a few twists and a satisfying ending.  There isn’t much else to say.  If you like bizarre comedies and dark humor, this is a classic.

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Batman (1966-67)

The old Batman series with Adam West is well-known for its campy humor and action and absolutely ridiculous stories and characters. It’s just fun and entertaining in a mindless sort of way. The sets in the first couple of seasons are well-built, and the iconic characters of Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and some of the other regulars are familiar and charming. The acting isn’t bad, just cheesy. Some of the actors did such a good job with their crazy characters and jokes that they’re known most for their work on this show. It’s all kind of bad in a good way, the sort of thing you’d watch for a laugh with a bowl of popcorn in front of you. There are even subtler bits of humor that you might not catch if you’re not paying attention. The word “tongue-in-cheek” seems to have been made with this show in mind.  My main criticism is how poorly the female “characters” are treated.  Every woman is brainless and breathless, and every female villain is treated as if she’s been brainwashed and needs to be taken care of.  Catwoman comes closest to being a real person, and even she is powerless against her inexplicable love for Batman, making it her sole motivation most of the time.  The worst example comes in an episode when women are put in charge of the city, and they bungle it because they can’t stop putting on makeup and daydreaming.  The men may often be the butt of jokes, but at least most of them are portrayed as competent and intelligent.  In episodes where female characters are scarce, this is hardly noticeable, however, and the show is worth a look if you want a laugh or two.

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