Quick Takes: Hall Pass, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Hesher

Hall Pass (2011)

Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Stephen Merchant
Directed by Peter & Bobby Farrelly

I wanted a hall pass from Hall Pass so I could cut class and watch a better movie. A comedy should be funny, and for the most part, the jokes in Hall Pass are too easy, too stupid, or just not there. There’s a great moment when Owen Wilson and Jason Sudiekis talk about their friend’s family painting of themselves as sea captains, but not much else worth remembering. Not to mention the fucking commercial for Applebee’s in the middle of the movie. Ugh.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

Starring Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers
Directed by Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg

Enjoyment dependent on your tolerance for Joan Rivers, this film is quite enlightening to her career and her dedication to her craft. I’m a huge comedy nerd so I enjoyed seeing the old footage when she skirted censorship with clever wordplay, and the new footage when she just lets it all out. I’ve never been much of a fan, but after this film, I respect and enjoy her work more than ever. The film drags a bit overall, but it’s much better than I expected it to be.

Hesher (2011)

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie, Natalie Portman, Brendan Hill, John Carroll Lynch
Directed by Spencer Susser

The trailer made me think this was all about a hesher and the crazy shit he does, scored with kick-ass thrash metal of the 80s. It’s not. It’s actually a dreary, indie drama about a kid and his family dealing with some serious loss while the mysterious hesher moves into their house uninvited. It’s mostly an OK movie, but it’s heavy-handed and it gets really awful in spots. The end monologue by Hesher about losing one of his nuts is painful, but possibly deep if you’ve just knocked back a Pabst Blue Ribbon tall can like Hesher.

Uncle Jasper reviews: Slither (2006)

Starring Elizabeth Banks, Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Tania Saulnier, Jenna Fischer, Brenda James

Directed By James Gunn


Slither isn’t going to win any awards for originality. It wears its inspirations pretty clearly on its sleeve. Fans of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and Basket Case will no doubt find themselves on familiar ground here. It’s what writer/director James Gunn does in this familiar territory that makes this movie so damn special. Slither turns back the clock and  manages to conjure up some of that old ’80s video store magic when almost any low-budget pick from the horror aisles was guaranteed to be a surefire hit. But wait, this is a Hollywood film… made in the 2000’s… it has no right to be this fucking good.

A veteran of Troma Entertainment, Gunn stays true to his roots and somehow manages to circumvent the bland thrills and commercial impotence of modern Hollywood horror by giving us something we haven’t seen since we filed away our last issue of Fangoria magazine years ago. Gunn is able to deliver the goods because he is an obvious longtime fan himself. Equal parts raucous comedy and schlocky horror, Slither manages to blend these genres smoothly without falling into the common trap of one suffering at the cost of the other. Not many films are able to successfully pull this off. I’m instantly reminded of Evil Dead II here and maybe only a handful of others. A true product of one fan’s love for the genre, Slither shows no shame for what it is, and in fact, revels in it. It’s crass, gross, sleazy, and loud and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Continue reading Uncle Jasper reviews: Slither (2006) →

Subscribe via Email!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,593 other subscribers

Ongoing Series

Top Posts & Pages

Shaw Brothers Martial Arts Films
Beach Babes from Beyond (1993)
The Silver Emulsion Podcast: Ep. 150 – Iron Monkey
Stephen reviews: Outlanders (1986)
Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994)
Alluda Mazaaka...! (1995)
Na Cha and the Seven Devils (1973)
Boxer Rebellion (1976)