Knee-jerk review: "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

1. Hilarious.
2. The Cheese Fry's been a fan of Jason Segel since his days on the late, great NBC dramedy "Freaks and Geeks." He excels at playing the gawky, slightly nerdy nice guy who's too sensitive for his own good - that includes his role on CBS' underrated sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." Which means we're feeling an odd sense of pride in seeing him shine here as newly minted movie star and screenwriter.
3. It probably would have been easier to make the ex-girlfriend Kristen Bell and her obnoxious new boyfriend Russell Brand one-dimensional objects of scorn and villainy. But they're really just as fully realized (and even likable) as leads Segel and Mila Kunis.
4. Funniest bit: killing the pig.
5. Paul Rudd continues to steal any movie he's in.
6. This feels like the most naturalistic and plausible comedy of writer/producer/director Judd Apatow's ouevre. His films are often funny, but there's often something a little broad and high-concept about his movies (e.g. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Knocked Up).
7. The movie probably could have done without Jonah Hill's pointless restaurant server. Probably the only misstep.
8. It'll make you want to book a vacation in Hawaii.
9. A puppet rock opera about a lovesick Dracula is either the worst idea ever or the best. Discuss.
10. Charming and surprisingly sweet given all of the R-rated language and sex.
11. However, Segel's two full monty moments don't seem as outrageous and ribald as the filmmakers seem to have intended.
12. Kristen Bell is ridiculously hot.


“You must go to the Dagobah system.”

Top ten lines from “The Empire Strikes Back”

10. “Having trouble with your droid?” – Lando Calrissian’s sarcastic understatement when he notices the heap of C3-PO parts.
9. “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand, seven hundred and twenty to one.” – C3-PO’s panicked assessment of Han’s improvised plan to elude the Star Destroyers chasing them. Han’s reply: “Never tell me the odds.” By the way, how did Han and Chewbacca pilot the Falcon? There was no stick, no yoke, no steering wheel. Discuss.
8. “Oh, you will be. You will be.” – Yoda, using his scary/serious low-register growl (and appearing very un-Muppet-like) when replying to Luke’s cocky “I’m not afraid” claim about the dangers that awaited him.
7. “Impressive. Most impressive.” – Darth Vader, upon realizing that Luke’s made an unexpected last-minute escape from carbon freeze and perhaps taken a few meager steps on the road to becoming a Jedi. A wise-ass Generation X staple, this quote can be used in a variety of settings and situations in which one has surprised another.
6. “Would it help if I got out and pushed?” – Princess Leia’s generous offer to help get the Millennium Falcon up and running when they’re making their fast getaway from Hoth. Han, who must always have the last word and get the bigger laugh, replies, “It might.”
5. “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, struggling again with Luke’s whiny immaturity as he tries to learn the ways of the Jedi. The runner up is surely this exchange: Luke breathlessly mutters “I don’t believe it” and Yoda replies, with a touch of weary regret, “That is why you fail.” In Luke’s defense, do you have any idea how heavy a frickin’ X-wing must be?
4. “That’s not true! That’s impossible!” – Luke’s instant-classic cry of disbelief when told Darth Vader is his father. Also a textbook example of adding insult to injury since Luke gets this awful “impossible!” news right after losing his right hand to a lightsaber. Mark Hamill’s bleary-eyed, slobbery shriek is devastating on first viewing, but the more you see this moment, the more ridiculous it gets. It couldn’t be any more over the top. Poor Mark Hamill. He could just barely keep his acting head above the water in these movies.
3. “And I thought they smelled bad... on the outside.” – Han’s observation about the relative odors of a Tauntaun as he tries to save Luke’s life by, you know, shoving him inside the steaming guts of a dead animal. Yucky.
2. “What is thy bidding, my master?” – Darth Vader, kneeling before the Emperor’s hologram. When you’re 8 years old in 1980 and you suddenly learn that the personification of evil has an even more evil boss, well, your whole world is rocked.
1. “I know.” – Han Solo’s answer to Princess Leia’s proclamation “I love you” just moments before he’s put into deep carbonite freeze (he’ll be perfectly safe assuming he survives the freezing process). It’s a brilliant line: tragic, romantic, with just the right touch of wry humor to leaven what is surely the original trilogy’s most disturbing and dark moment. Rumor has it Harrison Ford made it up on the spot after a number of other alternatives weren’t satisfying.

The blog Writer Joshua James takes a close look at the plot of The Empire Strikes Back and suggests that one reason it's so memorably dark and tragic is that every character fails to get what they want.

See also: "The top ten lines from Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan."


The Cheese Fry Hot 12 (Survivor contestant edition)

1. Amanda (China; Micronesia)
2. Michelle (Fiji)
3. Candice (Cook Islands)
4. Jenna and Heidi (Amazon)
5. Leeann (Vanuatu)
6. Amber (Australia; All-Stars)
7. Courtney (Panama)
8. Eliza (Vanuatu; Micronesia)
9. Tammy (Marquesas)
10. Ashley (Palau)
11. Morgan (Guatemala)
12. Kimmi (Australia)

See also: "Cheese Fry's Hot 19 (TV Character Edition)"

Knee-jerk review: "The Ruins"

1. You ever see a horror movie that was so horrific that it stopped being 100% entertaining? This is one like that. These characters suffer in awful, bloody ways.
2. Note to self: if a Mayan is ever waving a gun at you and shouting in Mayan, look around to see if there's an evil vine anywhere nearby from which he might be trying to warn you away.
3. Not to get all film history on you, but with the way the vines attack and invade its victims, there are interesting echoes here to Cold War "Other" horror films of the 1950s and 1960s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
4. In the book, it was the Greek who fell down the shaft, not the German.
5. If you're going hiking in the Mexican jungle, don't wear flip flops.
6. Actress Laura Ramsey, heretofore unknown by the Cheese Fry, is mighty fine. That is no joke.
7. Do you know what septicemia is? It's apparently something that is to be avoided at all costs. All costs.
8. A great example of how to condense a 300 page novel into a 90 minute movie. Some characters are combined, some plot points omitted or tweaked. Nicely done.