Rating: The Good – 88.5 Genre: Action, Comedy Duration: 107 mins Director: George Armitage Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Completely original black comedy with a razor sharp wit and superb performances throughout, Grosse Pointe Blank is that rare achievement where every aspect of the film’s production is perfectly tuned. That’s right, this film is perfect – from the immensely innovative action sequences, to the quirky searing humour, to its real sounding yet slickly cool dialogue, to the fantastic array of actors who one and all ‘get’ the script, this film is perfect. John Cusack plays Martin Blank, a hit man going through an existential (or just plain “guilt”) crisis who has to return to his home town for the first time in 10 years to do a job. Of course, it just so happens the job coincides with his 10 year high school reunion and still living in that town is the girl of his dreams (literally) whom he stood up on prom night to run off and join the army. Needless to say, much fun is had as he bumps into a series of characters all of whom he has a past with (pasts which are never explicitly mentioned) and goes from existential crisis to near on full melt down. And on top of all that, an utterly deranged colleague (played superbly by Dan Aykroyd) is lurking about as he attempts to force Martin to join a hit man union… or pay the price!
Rating: The Good – 67.4 Genre: Comedy Duration: 97 mins Director: Michael Ritchie Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin
The late eighties was a great time for Hollywood comedies, as there was a sense of ease and good fun about them. This underappreciated gem is one such movie. It stars Dan Aykroyd as a small time fraudster who escapes his mental hospital, assumes the identity of his psychiatrist, and heads to LA to cover for a well known radio therapist. Along the way he picks up legitimate looney Walter Mathau and begins working his magic on the rich elite of L.A. in particular the his new assistant Donna Dixon. Charles Grodin is a howl as the radio therapist recuperating in England from his mental breakdown while Richard Romanus and Ayre Gross are suitably slimey as his agents. Michael Ritchie (director of Fletch) plays this one just right allowing his cast plenty of room to find their characters’ level while still managing to zip the drama along. The gags are actually quite funny and some of the radio calls are classic. If you’re in the mood for some easy comedy, The Couch Trip will not disappoint.
Rating: The Good – 76.7 Genre: Comedy Duration: 105 mins Director: Ivan Reitman Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Sigourney Weaver
“When someone asks you ‘Are you a God?’, you say ‘Yes!!’” Although it’s been mainly remembered as nothing more than an enjoyable children’s film, Ivan Reitman’s film was written by and starred the golden generations of both Saturday Night Live and SCTV. The result is a totally original, unbelievably witty, and eminently quotable landmark in movie history. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray play three scientists who make a name for themselves as paranormal investigators and exterminators who go into business just in time for a major paranormal event to hit New York city. Overt humour, subtle humour, legendary comedy actors, unique story, groundbreaking special effects, and one of the most memorable movie soundtracks, Ghostbusters has it all. The three leads are perfect in their assigned roles and their long established understanding of each other gives their on-screen relationships real depth. Throw Sigourney Weaver into the mix as one of their clients and romantic interest for Murray’s legendary Dr. Venckman and there you have it. “Back off man, I’m a scientist.”
Rating: The Ugly – 60.3 Genre: Comedy Duration: 91mins Director: Tom DeCerchio Stars: Damon Wayans, Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern play two Boston sports fanatics who kidnap the Utah Jazz’s prima donna star player (Damon Wayans) in order to get their Celtics through a play-off series with the Jazz. It’s a great premise and although it could’ve been exploited better by a young Judd Apatow, there are some nice moments that stem from it. Of course, the film will speak to you on a whole other level if you’re a sports fan with a tendency to get a bit nuts about your team as it will affectionately reminds you of your more charming idiosyncratic self. Wayans yet again plays the egotistical sports superstar (The Last Boy Scout and The Great White Hype) but in truth, it was the one role he seemed to get right every time and this time round is no different (though Celtic Pride is certainly the weakest of the three films. Stern and Aykroyd make a decent double act despite many of the jokes falling flat on their face. More than anything, it’s the scenario that wins out here and it fittingly builds up to a unique and memorable finale which more than does justice to the premise.