Tag Archives: Peter Farrelly

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.

Green Book-2018

Green Book-2018

Director-Peter Farrelly

Starring-Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali

Scott’s Review #839

Reviewed December 10, 2018

Grade: A

To be candid, it was not originally on my radar to see Green Book (2018) despite the high regard and the bevy of award nominations reaped upon the film.

From the trailers, and admittedly my assumptions, the production looked somewhat of a Driving Miss Daisy (1989) role reversal with the standard over-saturation and glossy view of racism.

I confess to being wrong in my initial assessment as Green Book is a wonderful film with a multitude of worthy efforts, successfully crossing the drama and comedy barriers delivering an astounding message of compassion and benevolence.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershali Ali show tremendous flair and exhibit fine chemistry as an Italian blue-collar driver and an astute African-American classical pianist, respectively.

The men travel together in the Deep South circa 1962 on a concert tour requested by the renowned musician despite the dangers of southern racism and prejudice.

Mortensen’s Tony Lip is a struggling New York City bouncer who needs any gig for two months while the club he works for is closed for renovations. Ali plays a sophisticated musician who needs a driver with a measure of toughness, and Tony comes highly recommended.

The two men initially are strangers but form a close-knit bond and a deep understanding of each other as they become better acquainted during their journey.

The first half of the film focuses on Tony.

As viewers, we experience his Italian lifestyle. He possesses a strong family unit, a dedicated wife, Dolores, (Linda Cardellini), and loves to eat, winning a hot dog eating contest for $50 to pay the rent. He thinks nothing of beating an unsavory character to a bloody pulp if they are out of line and has more than one link to the mafia.

Still, he is a decent man, with a salt-of-the-earth mentality, and loves his family.

“Doc” Don Shirley (Ali) is the opposite of Tony. Raised as a highly gifted musical prodigy, he surrounds himself with high culture, well-versed in many languages, and of affluent means. Nonetheless, he is a wounded soul and drinks himself into oblivion each night, frequently deep in thought pondering life and its problems.

Despite being black he knows nothing about black culture.

Don is highly uncomfortable in his skin while Tony is happy with who he is, a major point that the film hits home on as the men have conflict. Don feels Tony can do so much better to educate himself while Tony sees nothing wrong with being who he is. The men forge a middle ground as they come to respect each other.

Ferrelli does a wonderful job in showing Tony as Don’s protector as he is accosted by rednecks or is caught with another man at the YMCA.

In turn, Don helps Tony write warm love letters to Dolores.

Green Book is a film about friendship and how different backgrounds can result in closeness and respect.

The film is humanistic in its approach to an overall message and is the feel-good film of 2018 without the slightest thread of sappiness or any contrived situations. The film is best about two real-life men who remained friends until their deaths.

Director, Peter Farrelly, known mostly for silly films such as Dumb and Dumber (1994) finds breakthrough success with Green Book.

The film is mainstream material, but of a sort that can be appreciated for the good it exudes. Don exhibits racism on more than one occasion- Birmingham and Mississippi specifically- but also experiences kindness from other folks.

Worth noting is that Don experiences discrimination and abuse not only from whites but also from blacks. Farrelly avoids the usual stereotypes or elicits humor from them as in the scene where Tony teaches Don to enjoy fried chicken, a food theretofore foreign to Don.

A key point to the film occurs early on when Dolores graciously invites two black workers to repair thinking nothing of treating the men to a refreshing lemonade.

Tony, witnessing the empty glasses in the sink throws them in the trash not wanting to drink from the same glasses. Is Tony along with his family, racist or uncomfortable with blacks? Regardless of the answer, after the film, they think very differently which is monumental.

The final sequence of Green Book is teary, heartfelt, and provides a feeling of incredible warmth.

In the tumultuous times of current American history, Green Book (2018) is sentimental and inspirational in a day where racism has once again reared its ugly head thanks to the chaotic political environment.

The film is a lesson learned in how far we have come as a society, but also how things have not changed so much and how much further we need to go creating equality for all. Farrelly creates a timely and wonderful film that everyone can appreciate.

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture (won), Best Actor-Viggo Mortensen, Best Supporting Actor-Mahershala Ali (won), Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Film Editing