Tag Archives: Ben Stiller

Flashback Friday-Mystery Men (1999)

Sometimes superhero movies take themselves a little too seriously.

In 1999, the genre was given the satirical treatment in the form of Mystery Men.

When the local superhero Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) is captured by the local super villain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush), it’s up to a ragtag group of superhero wannabes to save the day. Led by Furious (Ben Stiller), the group includes Bowler (Janeane Garofalo) and Blue Raja (Hank Azaria), this bunch of second-rate superheroes must band together to save their city and their superhero from destruction.

As I recall, what I enjoyed about this movie is not the DC, Marvel Comics type movie that many fans of the superhero and comic book genre have come to expect. The film had an underbelly of dark satire that was unique to the genre and made the audience laugh.

And of course, what a late 1990’s movie without the requisite theme song sung by Smashmouth?

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Reality Bites (1994)

Life immediately after college is often very confusing. The expectation is to get a job, eventually settle down, maybe a have a kid or two and lead a generally quiet life But what happens when this expectation does not meet reality?

In the 1994 film, Reality Bites , Lelaina (Winona Ryder) creates a mockumentary of her post college experience. Her best friend, Troy (Ethan Hawke) is a musician who has lost several minimum wage jobs. Her other friends, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) and Sammy (Steve Zahn) are grappling with their own issues. Vickie is anticipating the results of an AIDS test while Sammy is in the closet. Then, along comes Michael (Ben Stiller), who offers Lelaina a career making opportunity. Now she must choose not only the life she wants, but the man she wants in her life.

I have two thoughts on this movie. The first is that the feelings and experiences of the characters feel very universal. Those of us who do complete college most often come out of it with a question what to do with our lives. Without the structure we have had for the last two decades, our life feels incomplete. But on the other hand, this movie is very Gen-X specific and it does feel a little dated.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Keeping The Faith (2000)

There is an old joke: a Rabbi and a Priest walk into a bar…..

Let’s tweak that scenario a little. Two boys who are best friends, decide as adults to join the religious leadership of their respective religions, one Jewish and one Christian. What happens when the girl next door who left town 20 years ago  comes back and causes the men to think that they have made the wrong career choice?

This is Keeping The Faith.

Jake (Ben Stiller) and Brian (Edward Norton) have been friends since childhood. Anna (Jenna Elfman) was the third musketeer in their childhood adventures. But she moved away years ago.  Jake’s chosen profession is that of Rabbi, Brian is a Priest. Anna comes back to New York for work and is not the young girl Jake and Brian remember.

Celibacy is one of the requirement’s Brian’s profession. Marrying a Jewish woman is a requirement for Jake’s profession. While they begin to question their career choices in favor of a possible romance with Anna, both men  are simultaneously try to shake the dust off their faiths.

I like this movie. It’s a New York City kind of movie, which is never a bad thing in my eyes. It’s also not a typical rom-com. It’s funny and enjoyable without hitting the moviegoer over the head.

I recommend it.

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