Category Archives: Richard Jenkins

There’s Something About Mary-1998

There’s Something About Mary-1998

Director Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Starring Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon

Scott’s Review #1,428

Reviewed June 16, 2024

Grade: B+

Since many films are released within the romantic comedy genre most are disposable and forgettable. Very few stand out initially let alone stand the test of time.

Decades later, There’s Something About Mary (1998) holds up well mostly because of its chemistry and laugh-out-loud memorable moments. It also has a heart and is not mean-spirited showcasing a brewing romance people can relate to.

Watching in 2024 particularly interesting is the appeal of Cameron Diaz since retired from acting, and a young Ben Stiller who was then in his heyday and a box-office gem. Brett Favre, who then was a superstar NFL quarterback makes a cameo appearance.

Pleasing is to watch a hit film from decades ago that still offers appeal.

Ted’s (Ben Stiller) unexpected dream prom date with Mary (Cameron Diaz) in 1985 is disastrous due to an embarrassing injury at her home causing them never to get to the prom. Mary leaves town shortly after.

Thirteen years later, pre-social media in 1998, Ted hires shady investigator Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to track down Mary so he can reconnect with her. Pat becomes obsessed with her and lies to Ted about Mary, finding out everything he can about her to trick her into dating him.

Ted realizes the truth and travels to meet Mary in Miami, Florida where she is a successful orthopedic surgeon to reconnect with her.

Instantaneous hilarity comes to mind from two legendary scenes involving Ben Stiller’s Ted that most people have heard of.

While using the bathroom at Mary’s house before leaving for the prom Ted gets his private parts or ‘frank and beans’, caught in his zipper. Every male viewer will squirm in imagined discomfort but the hijinks with Mary’s parents and neighborhood firefighters who get involved make the sequence legendary.

This pairs well with a later scene when Ted masturbates just before his date with Mary to relax. Mary mistakes some ‘residue’ on Ted’s ear for hair gel and hilariously applies it to her hair causing it to stick straight up in the air during dinner.

Both scenes still feel fresh and natural years later and are now historical.

The introduction of Tucker (Lee Evans) a third admirer of Mary doesn’t work so well in hindsight. The revelation that he is not a British architect but merely a pizza deliverer who injured his back to get close to Mary feels forced and unnecessary.

The triangle between Ted/Mary/Pat is just enough.

The inclusion factors are impressive. In 1985, Mary had a black stepfather and a mentally disabled brother both of whom she adores. When Ted drives from Rhode Island to Florida he stops at a rest area and is assumed to be gay. This is preceded by a session with a psychiatrist who suspects Ted may be gay.

These additions go a long way to showcase normalcy in these individual areas.

It’s also impressive that the Farrelly brothers (Peter and Bobby), who direct the film, make Mary a surgeon paving the way for female viewers to aspire to the same.

There’s Something About Mary gets a slight knock for exploiting female breasts, Mary is seen at least twice through a window putting on a bra while a male spies on her from the distance.

The characters are benevolent especially Ted and Mary making it easy for the audience to root for them. Thanks to the tremendous chemistry between Diaz, Stiller, and Dillon, There’s Something About Mary (1998) feels fresh and romantic without a forced feeling.

The Cabin in the Woods-2011

The Cabin in the Woods-2011

Director Drew Goddard

Starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth

Scott’s Review #1,221

Reviewed January 17, 2022

Grade: A-

The Cabin in the Woods (2011) is a very clever film with tremendous writing and acting. It takes a standard horror film premise and spins it into something new and inventive. I wouldn’t dare spoil the twist reveal at the end of the film but suffice it to say it’s a doozy.

It’s not your typical or expected slasher film.

Created by Drew Goddard (he wrote Cloverfield-2008) in his directorial debut he also co-wrote the screenplay with Joss Whedon. Besides horror, there is dark comedy and science fiction incorporated making it cross-genre entertainment and enjoyment.

When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin for relaxation and quiet, odd horrors await them. A group of backwoods zombies wreaks havoc on the group and they are systematically killed one by one in a gruesome fashion.

From an unknown location, two scientists (Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford) are manipulating the events, but there are even more sinister machinations going on somewhere else.

The story on the surface is pretty basic and Goddard and Company delightfully add parodies of standard horror elements. Most who see The Cabin in the Woods will be fans of the horror genre.

Anytime five college kids head for a weekend alone in a secluded cabin it’s a recipe for disaster.

I immediately compared the film to Friday the 13th (1980) meets The Evil Dead (1981).

The group even has nicknames that coincide with traditional horror/slasher film character trademarks: ‘The Virgin’, ‘The Athlete’, ‘The Whore’, ‘The Fool’, and ‘The Scholar’.

This is a pure treat for fans.

Goddard, or the scientists manipulating the action, gleefully fills the students with intoxicants making their libidos flare and their curiosities piqued. A mysterious diary and other weird objects are found by the group in the cabin basement.

Ordinarily smart, the students are unable to provide rational thinking or proper reasoning. Naturally, they are unable to escape the remote area either.

The scientists cackle and make bets on which zombie will appear next. The audience enjoys this immensely because what horror film viewer doesn’t predict who gets killed when how and who will be the last one standing?

The Cabin in the Woods is incredibly enjoyable.

In joyous form, two of the group have animalistic sex outside and one is decapitated.

Then things get strange.

The audience knows of the scientists, but wait there’s more! When the scientists are called by a mysterious ‘director’ who tells them that Marty (Hemsworth) has not been killed and is attempting to rescue Dana (Connolly), something has gone amiss.

The reasoning and understanding of the big reveal are very implausible but shocking nonetheless. It’s scary because it’s unexpected and that’s why the film is so creative and successful.

The Cabin in the Woods (2011) turns the traditional horror formula upside down and is a pure delight for fans of the genre. Instead of mocking, it embraces the methods and offers intelligence and humor that I truly appreciate.

Let Me In-2010

Let Me In-2010

Director Matt Reeves

Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz

Scott’s Review #509

70135744

Reviewed November 4, 2016

Grade: A-

I loved Let Me In (2010).

It is nearly as exceptional as the original, Let the Right One In (2008), which is Swedish.

Billed as horror, it contains none of the typical horror cliches or corny dialogue- rather it is mysterious, compelling, and character-driven.

This in itself is refreshing.

Additionally, the cinematography is exceptional in its coldness, darkness, and good old-fashioned ambiance.

Let Me In is about a twelve-year-old outcast, named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee),  who befriends a neighbor girl-Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz)- who we learn is a vampire.

Owen is bullied at school and through Abby, learns to stand up to his tormentors.

I am partial to foreign language films so, to me, the American version lacks the engaging language a bit and is not…well, foreign, so that detracts slightly, but not much at all, and this effort is quite remarkable.

This film is a horror film- in the classic sense of containing vampires and not being played for goofs- and quite gory, but also a beautiful, emotional film, and the concepts of sadness and loneliness are explored.

Let Me In (2010) is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in recent years.