Friday, December 30, 2011

Episode 12: The Sitter

  • 0:00 - Ramones - Babysitter
  • 0:30 - Intro, "The Sitter" discussion
  • 10:06 - Trailers
  • 16:32 - What Kat Watched (Elf, Dr. Who, Parks & Recreation)
  • 20:36 - What Chris Watched (Pearl Jam Twenty, Our Idiot Brother, Super 8)
  • 29:50 - What Matt Watched (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, True Grit, Hot Fuzz, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Cowboys & Aliens)
  • 41:35 - Outro, Pearl Jam - Breath and a Scream (Demo)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Judging Movies Objectively

Here’s a little 1,000 word post for you since this holiday season has left you all without a podcast! Don’t worry, episode 12 will be up before the new year, and we’ll be back to a normal schedule once the holidays stop kicking my ass and taking up all of my time!

All movies should be judged on their own merits. Of course, this is a very difficult standard to live up to. Consider all possible baggage a movie may be carrying before one even gazes upon it, giving one either lofty expectations, or no expectations at all:

A terrible advertising campaign
A great advertising campaign
It’s a sequel to a phenomenal movie
It’s a sequel to an abortion of a movie
It’s an adaptation of a beloved book
Its director’s pedigree is mostly one genre, or it at least seems that way
Its legacy precedes it
There are no big stars in it
There are ONLY big names but no big actors
You expected a comedy/drama/thriller/horror movie and got something else

In order to judge a movie effectively, I try to divorce myself from all my feelings going in beforehand. For example, I went in to 2011’s Our Idiot Brother expecting a goofy comedy starring Paul Rudd. What I got was a funny drama starring Paul Rudd. If I were hung up on expectations, I would have been mad that Our Idiot Brother was a bad comedy. Instead, I judged what I got.

It could be that a movie like that was intended to be a riotous comedy and we, the audience, were swindled, but the drama was so potent and well done that I have to call it a successful drama. In my mind, intent isn’t what matters as much as execution.  I have an artist friend who vehemently disagrees with me in that regard, but as I am also an artist (music, not a blogger), I feel that we must agree to disagree. I do not feel that context of the times or what the filmmaker was trying to say matters. After all, the makers of the film version of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho intended the ending to be interpreted one way, and many people I’ve spoken to see that the ending is either ambiguous, or the opposite of what was intended. In my mind, the ending I see better fits the satire of the movie, and the intended ending hinders the message of the satire.

On top of all this, there are movies that are adaptations or sequels. Most movies are adaptations of a previous work. This is not even something I need to cite; this is pure common knowledge here. The complaint nowadays that most movies are remakes or sequels is valid insofar as it’s a shame that there isn’t more original material out there. To decry remakes or sequels themselves is to forget fantastic remakes such as The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, The Fly, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Departed, The Magnificent Seven, A Fistful of Dollars, True Grit, and even Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (I am half kidding on the last one... half). It is to forget well regarded sequels (or entries in a franchise) such as The Empire Strikes Back, The Godfather Part II, Aliens, From Russia With Love (and about ten more James Bond films), Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Dark Knight, For A Few Dollars More (a sequel to a remake), Toy Story 2 (I don’t personally like it, but everybody else does), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers & The Return of the King, and The Color of Money.

And the argument that most sequels are bad seems to forget that most movies are bad in general. You may dispute that, but watching Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer is all the solid evidence I need that most movies are just not worth watching, original or not.

As far as the context of the times when a movie was released goes, I’m afraid I can’t make excuses for films that people loved back in their day but that I can’t stomach today. Gone with the Wind isn’t continually beloved because it was merely great at the time; it is merely great. It has high drama (okay, melodrama), interesting and complicated characters, and astounding visuals. Casablanca is beloved because of its simple love story told well, and not because it suited the times well. One hundred years from now, even if the aesthetics and nature of film have changed immeasurably, There Will Be Blood will still be considered a masterpiece, and not just because the filmmaking was “good for its time.” The special effects of some old films may be dated, but they are remembered because our culture likes them, period. Innovative films that were just innovative but weren’t any good (The Birth of a Nation), are remembered as curiosities, but never watched for entertainment purposes.

Legacy can affect a film’s reception on first time views as well. John Rambo is a cultural force and his legacy is miles of body bags filled with mindless mooks, killed by Rambo’s bare fucking hands. This is his legacy, this is his legend. First Blood, John Rambo’s first outing on film, is a deliberately-paced, low-body-count, somber-at-times story about a shell-shocked Vietnam veteran who snaps. There is action, and it is glorious when it appears, but it happens much less than one would think given how the sequels have changed what we think of when we hear the name John Rambo. Would you be bored watching First Blood if you were expecting dozens of explosions and gallons of blood?

First Blood is good because of what it is, Gone with the Wind and Casablanca are good because of what they are, and all movies are what they are. They should not be a product of their advertising, their legacy, movies that came before it or their source material. They should all be judged on their own merits. That is what I try to do.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Review: The Sitter (2011), dir. David Gordon Green

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

I didn’t hate The Sitter, but I can count on one hand the things I liked about it. The fact that it isn’t funny isn’t the fault of the actors, but the horrendously bad writing and editing. The comedic timing is wrong throughout the movie and the only jokes that actually land do not involve the four leads. Sure, there is an emotionally satisfying moment here or there (a character’s freak-out by the river was something that was certainly well executed, and thankfully the scene doesn’t overstay its welcome), but overall the movie is a failed comedy.

This is a good illustration of why movies should strive to succeed in more than one area, because if a movie fails at the one thing it sets out to do, then it has nothing else going for it. With The Sitter, there are many attempts at seriousness and only a few of them are executed well; the rest of the moments are just bland and unsatisfying. So because it failed as a comedy and didn’t bother trying with the serious bits, we’re left with a movie that doesn’t work on any level. Nothing about it is horrendous or unwatchable, but it’s mostly unentertaining.

Overall, the only good things about The Sitter are Sam Rockwell, J.B. Smoove, and The Peña Colada Song.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: Hugo (2011), dir. Martin Scorsese

The following review has a minor spoiler

Hugo has many great touches to it. Scorsese and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker are adept at giving his movie great touches. There is a moment where Isabella falls down amongst a sea of people and they walk over her is extraordinary. The moment where Hugo jumps down onto the train tracks to retrieve a key somehow breathes suspense into a scene where only cynics could believe anything bad could happen. Scorsese’s films are always a cut above the rest because of these little touches.

And yet, the writing isn’t the greatest. It isn’t that there is anything bad in the writing, but that the writing itself isn’t wholly inspiring. That is the great thing about Scorsese: even in a movie where some characters make turns that don’t feel genuine, or know things they can’t know (how does Papa Georges know that Hugo knows the book isn’t burned?), Scorsese’s visual flair and Schoonmaker’s editorial finesse make the flaws fall by the wayside.

The love of early cinema is everywhere in the visuals. In other 3D movies, the fake backgrounds look like fake backgrounds. In Hugo, the backgrounds still look fake, but somehow they look like old-fashioned matte paintings, albeit ones that are moving and in 3D. The train windows are tinted so as to make the trains themselves look sepia-toned. 3D movies were not invented by Mr. Scorsese, but they were clearly invented for him.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Review: The Departed (2006), dir. Martin Scorsese

In this review I share my thoughts on the ending. I don’t name any specifics but if you fear spoilers, read no further. Just know that this is one of my favorite films and I recommend it to everybody who isn’t offended by violence or foul language.

The Departed has so many great tricks up its sleeve: it has an interesting theme, it is crafted to perfection editorially and visually, and it is written for people who know how to watch movies without having to be beaten over the head with exposition.

Billy Costigan has two identities long before joining the special undercover unit of the Boston State Police. The son of divorced parents, he split his time between different parts of the city, with different behaviors and even different accents. In a way he has no real identity except for the one he wishes to project; as a respectable member of his family, and not a crook. What better way to be respected than to join the state police? Unfortunately, his motives are easily spotted by his superiors, and they use his less-than-savory family background to put Billy up as a mole with the Irish Mob, headed by the eccentric and unstable Frank Costello.

Colin Sullivan was drafted at a young age to work for Frank Costello. Sullivan has graduated the police academy at the start of our story, so he is now Costello’s mole inside the Boston State Police. Colin has his identity as a police officer, but he also has his identity as an associate in the Irish Mob.

The Departed is an amazing study in the nature of identity and how one's real self, projected self, and perceived self all become hard to disentangle. At all points in the movie, motives are up in the air, and we are left to wonder whose identity is at the forefront of every character decision. Is Billy a cop here, is he his father’s son, is he Costello’s new soldier? Is Colin in it for Costello or is he in it for the state police and personal glory?

On top of that, it is thankfully a suspenseful crime saga, well shot and well-acted. Having a great theme is one thing, but packing it on top of a movie that is so well crafted makes it a movie worth remembering. Thelma Schoonmaker won a well-deserved Academy Award for this picture, and the writing and directing won as well (a first for Martin Scorsese).

So we have a movie with a great theme, and crafted to perfection, so what else is there to say? I can say that The Departed is a rare movie that doesn’t treat the audience like simpletons. You’re either paying attention or you aren’t, and it’s your fault if you can’t keep up. Some people would say the film is too complicated; I say some people are too used to being fed exposition. I love not having to be told what I already know.

So what we have is a movie with three strengths, and these strengths make The Departed one of the best films of the Aughties. And when that final bit of symbolism scurries through the shot, I don’t feel like I’m being beaten over the head with obvious symbolism. Instead, I feel reminded of what all the departed main characters of the movie had in common. I’ve always thought that was brilliant.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Episode 10: The Muppets

·         0:00 - Rest In Peace, Patrice O'Neal
·         0:46 - Paul Simon - Me And Julio Down By The School Yard
·         1:16 - Intro, "The Muppets" discussion
·         17:52 - Stuff Chris Watched (Hugo [kinda], The Simpsons)
·         19:53 - Stuff Matt Watched (Dexter)
·         20:49 - Stuff Kat Watched (Parks & Recreation, The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen, Dr. Who)
·         28:22 - Video game stuff
·         34:53 - Outro, Starship - We Built This City

This episode is dedicated to Patrice O'Neal.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: The Muppets (2011), dir. James Bobin

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

The Muppets is a hard movie to judge objectively. I don’t think it’s a great movie because it can be slow at times. Some of the humor falls a little too flat as well. The Muppets is self-aware in a way that is cute, but comes dangerously close to being too cheesy.

However, The Muppets is more than a movie. The Muppets is a piece of nostalgia that isn’t draped in irony or cynicism (much like I Love The 80’s seemed to be). It is a reminder of an important aspect of many of our childhoods. It takes us back to a time of innocence and wonder. It makes us feel happy. Most of what I loved about this movie had to do with The Muppets themselves, and not with the movie.

After all, in my mind, a movie should be self-contained. Much like The Passion of the Christ or the Harry Potter series, the movie is meaningless if you have no frame of reference. The Passion of the Christ, Harry Potter, and The Muppets do nothing to help any viewers who are not familiar with the source material, and The Muppets will suffer for it if anybody goes into it not knowing just what is so special about the Muppets.

Some jokes will work, and the celebrity cameos are brilliant in every way, but most of the references will leave those unfamiliar with the history with nothing to grasp onto.

Now, if it feels like I am being too down on this movie, I will elaborate that I loved the experience of watching this movie as a fan of the Muppets. It had everything I had ever wanted to see from the Muppets since I last watched them regularly (over 20 years at this point). So while I think it was an okay movie, it was an amazing experience as a Muppet fan.

If you grew up watching the Muppets, you need to see The Muppets; if you did not, then you can skip this one.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bonus Episode: Planes, Trains & Automobiles... and other BS (guest Matt "Saint Mort" Kelly)

  • 0:00 - The Yardbirds - Train Kept A Rollin'
  • 0:30 - "Planes, Trains & Automobiles Discussion, interspersed with many digressions
  • 54:26 - Steve Miller Band - Jet Airliner

This episode is a bonus episode, and there are no attempts at structure or discipline. Okay, there are ATTEMPTS at structure and discipline... I just failed. Please enjoy this tribute to Planes, Trains & Automobiles. We discuss John Candy, Steve Martin, and how much I suck as a person because I forgot that John Hughes wrote the Vacation movies (among other reasons).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Episode 9: Immortals

  • 0:00 - Spoiler Warning, KISS - God of Thunder
  • 0:30 - Intro, "Immortals" discussion
  • 11:11 - Stuff Matt Watched (Trick 'r Treat, Blue Velvet, Human Centipede II)
  • 19:07 - Stuff Kat Watched (The Lookout)
  • 22:36 - Stuff Chris Watched (30 Rock, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
  • 25:56 - Outro, Queen - Who Wants to Live Forever

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: Immortals (2011), dir. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

Tarsem’s Immortals is not a worthless film. To call it that would be disingenuous. Immortals is a film with a negative net worth; worthless would imply that its net worth is zero.

Immortals is presumptuous enough to think that we’ll care what is happening. It is presumptuous enough to take itself seriously when it is impossible not to laugh at some of the ridiculous occurrences found within. At one point, a character is injured and rendered incapable of breeding. This event was met by laughter by not only me, but many others in the theater.

Of course, there are plenty of other moments that are poorly executed: a clunky romantic scene that can’t decide if it wants to be modest or titillating, and winds up being neither; a series of messengers to King Hyperion who somehow know what happens to many groups of people who are wiped out with no survivors; a magical wall that somehow makes it possible to survive a tsunami; and a not-so-rousing speech that somehow turns fleeing soldiers into enthusiastic fighters in a matter of twenty seconds. There are more moments that are terrible, but instead of taking notes during the movie, I was busy trying to find an implement to slit my wrists (I didn’t find any).

Immortals is the worst movie since Richard Kelly’s The Box. It is a worse movie than John Tucker Must Die. But I’ll throw it a bone: I liked it more than Jaws: The Revenge.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Episode 8: Tower Heist

  • 0:00 - Dream Theater - Beyond This Life
  • 0:30 - Intro, "Tower Heist" discussion
  • 8:30 - Stuff Kat Watched (Sleepaway Camp, Dead Alive, Cabin Fever 2, Suspiria, Black Christmas, Halloween, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Night of the Living Dead)
  • 12:06 - Stuff Chris Watched (The Conversation, Attack the Block, Jackie Brown, Cop Land, The Social Network)
  • 16:05 - Outro, Huey Lewis & The News - Hip to Be Square

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: Tower Heist (2011), dir. Brett Ratner

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

Nobody has ever said “The new Brett Ratner film is out; we must sojourn to the theater and attend the first screening!” Mostly because fans of Brett Ratner a) don’t exist, and b) wouldn’t be the type of people who could form coherent sentences if they did exist. He has no visual style, no interest in developing one, and would be terrible at it if he tried.

So now that we’ve settled that Tower Heist is visually uninteresting we can move on to the story, which is uninspired. Every story beat has been hit before but this movie brings nothing new to the table. At least with Star Wars, the movie made us feel like we were watching a tried-and-true formula for the first time. Tower Heist gives us the conventional heist film… again.

I am finished calling attention to how mediocre most of the ingredients of this movie are. Now I can discuss what works: the actors. Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe, and Alan Alda are all reasons to watch this movie. Their performances are not great, but everybody is clearly having a great time in this movie, and it can’t be argued that Eddie Murphy is a funny man.

There is nothing original here, but it wasn’t unentertaining, and it was a pleasant diversion.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Episode 7: Halloween Horror Special (guest Matt "Saint Mort" Kelly)

  • 0:00 – Spoiler Warning
  • 0:08 – Blue Öyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
  • 0:38 – Intro, “50/50” discussion
  • 1:24 – “The Thing” discussion
  • 4:15 – The scary movies we watched*
  • 1:02:30 – CGI vs. Practical
  • 1:07:20 – Star Wars gripes revisited
  • 1:11:43 – Outro, The Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein

*I am sorry for not detailing this section; there are just too many movies that we talked about and we went back and forth a lot. Doing a thorough list would be next to impossible. Just be warned that when we bring up The Thing, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Let The Right One In, Let Me In, and Halloween: Resurrection, we spoil their endings. 


Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: The Thing (2011), dir. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.


It could be that the premise of The Thing is just so intriguing that I can’t help but like it. After all, most reviews have been poor. The idea that there is an alien that can impersonate a human being and make it nigh impossible to tell friend from foe is not only creepy but it’s the kind of paranoia-inducing plot that makes movies like The Truman Show* and Invasion of the Body Snatchers so interesting.

Like Let Me In, The Thing is a period movie set in the early 80’s that really doesn’t feel shoehorned into the era like so many other period pieces. Paleontologist Kate Lloyd is recruited by Norwegians to consult on an amazing discovery. She is flown to the Arctic where she meets up with the Norwegian team and the few Americans at the Arctic base. From there, horror ensues.

The Thing’s creepy premise makes this film’s chases and scares all the more tense and effective. I haven’t felt this scared at a horror movie in a few years. And even understanding that this is a prequel and everything that happens is a foregone conclusion, I found myself hoping for things to happen that wouldn’t happen, and praying for things not to happen which most certainly were going to happen.

Taken as a prequel, it sets up John Carpenter’s The Thing perfectly. Taken as a movie with its own merits, it ends with a brilliant bit of uncertainty that makes me wonder what would happen next.

There were some moments that didn’t feel right (one character’s wrap-up just makes no sense to me), but otherwise, I liked The Thing very much and I recommend it to horror fans who don’t have a knee-jerk gag reaction to watching remakes/prequels/sequels/etc.

*Just you try and tell me that you didn’t have a little moment when you wondered if that could be happening to you… just imagine… WAY more people would have seen your drunken karaoke rendition of Sitting on the Dock of the Bay than you originally thought!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review: The Frighteners (1996), dir. Peter Jackson

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

The Frighteners is what happens when you give somebody like Peter Jackson a budget… or at least it was what happened when you gave Peter Jackson a budget back in the 90’s. I am not saying that I don’t like the direction his career has headed, because he is firing on all cylinders now; I am saying that I miss the kind of slapstick fun (and sometimes depravity) that he used to be known for.

The Frighteners concerns Frank Bannister, a paranormal investigator who is a conman. Don’t get me wrong, he can actually see and communicate with the dead; the dead are simply in on the con. After Bannister crashes his car into a litigious-minded citizen’s fence, Bannister has his ghostly friends haunt his house! Once there to do his magic, Frank meets the gentleman’s wife, Dr. Lynskey (named after actress Melanie Lynskey, who was in Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, and has a cameo here). From here, some spooky coincidences cast Bannister under suspicion of several deaths, and Dr. Lynskey is caught up in the middle.

The rest of the film is a non-stop parade of ridiculous action sequences (and I mean that in the most loving way possible) and some over-the-top scenery-chewing acting on behalf of the Big Bad (again, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with that, especially given the darkly comedic nature of this film. My only beef: there are moments where The Frighteners strives to be 100% serious, and only Michael J. Fox is really able to pull it off. Chi McBride has a serious moment or two, but he plays these in a half-comedic fashion, so with him it works.

The Frighteners is the last movie of Peter Jackson’s free spirited era of filmmaking. And thank goodness he not only ended it on a high note, but went on to make even bigger and better movies!


Hang In There!

I realize that I have not produced any new content for Celluloid Freaks in several weeks. I hope you subscribers will hang in there and await new reviews and podcasts, because they are coming. I have one new review to post in mere moments, and the technical and scheduling difficulties that have prevented further podcasts have come to an end. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: 50/50 (2011), dir. Jonathan Levine

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

The television marketing campaign for 50/50 has done the movie no favors. Each TV spot I have seen reduces this movie to a story about some guy who tries to get laid because chicks dig dudes with cancer… or something. Don’t let that be the reason you see this movie, because it is grossly misleading, and that would be a terrible movie 99 out of 100 times a movie with that plot would get made.

50/50 is about Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who despite all his cautious living, contracts an extremely rare kind of spinal cancer. The film proceeds to show us Adam’s next few weeks (or is it months? I couldn’t tell), and how he, his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), his best friend (Seth Rogen), and his mother (Anjelica Houston) deal with his cancer. We see him meet new friends (played by Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer) whilst undergoing chemotherapy, and we see him as he goes to a therapist (the amazing Anna Kendrick).

50/50 is a movie about its characters more than a plot, which makes the film feel lighter than it should be for a movie about such a heavy subject matter. Some of the dialogue feels a little clichéd as well. The side effects of chemotherapy are barely explored, but seeing as how this movie focuses on how cancer affects the dynamics of relationships as opposed to how cancer affects the body, one can let that slide.

Overall, 50/50 is a light film that’s well-acted, directed, and staged, but few of the performers really stand out (Anna Kendrick is best here). I liked it, but I won’t remember it years from now.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Episode 6: Moneyball (guest Matt "Saint Mort" Kelly)

  • 0:00 - Spoiler Warning
  • 0:04 - Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days
  • 0:30 - "Moneyball" discussion
  • 14:33 - Interlude, Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane
  • Matt Kelly discusses:
  • 15:03 - "Killer Elite"
  • 20:43 - "Super" (SPOILER ALERT for Super from 21:45 through 23:50!!!)
  • 25:48 - James Gunn
  • 29:45 - Acting, Special Effects, Budgets, Action Movie Scripts, Marvel's Choice of Directors
  • 34:36 - "Mary & Max"
  • 40:55 - Philip Seymour Hoffman & "Moneyball"
  • 42:28 - The Concession Stand
  • 45:06 - Reviews of "Transformers" and "Abduction"
  • Matt Kelly departs
  • 48:22 - Interlude, Rush - Animate
  • 48:52 - DVD Organization discussion
  • 52:23 - Outro, Warren Zevon - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Moneyball (2011), dir. Bennett Miller

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie, as opposed to the upcoming podcast episode, which will contain spoilers and an in-depth discussion of this movie

The best sports movies are really character dramas (or comedies): Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, and Raging Bull for boxing; Field of Dreams, The Natural, and Major League for baseball; Big Fan, Invincible, Brian’s Song, and Rudy for football; and Hoosiers and Hoop Dreams for basketball (there really aren’t many good basketball movies). Moneyball goes even further than these movies by giving the actual playing of baseball almost zero screen time. However, I didn’t come away thinking “I wish there had been more baseball.” Moneyball is a movie about business more than sports. It is about challenging a system with new ways of thinking and how a small group of people pioneered a new way of building a baseball team.

Moneyball does a lot with silences and pauses, making each word feel important. It is also slow, but it never feels sluggish. Like The Social Network, also written by Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball was co-written by Steven Zaillian, writer of American Gangster and Schindler’s List), Moneyball is all about the words more than the actions. That is where the similarities end, however, because Moneyball features fewer motor-mouths and more contemplators. Sometimes there is too much contemplating, but that is my only complaint.

Last but not least, Moneyball is hilarious! Please don’t go in thinking that it is funny because Jonah Hill is Brad Pitt’s costar; this is not a buddy comedy. In fact, everybody plays their character as straight as an arrow. Conversations are funny. Situations are funny. There are no jokes. Moneyball earns its laughs because of great writing and great characters.