Archive for Dana Carvey

The Secret Life of Pets

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Living an easy life, happy terrier Max sees his world upended when his owner brings home Duke, a mongrel Max regards as a loser. But the two soon find themselves allied against a horde of abandoned pets looking to turn the tables on humans.

What people are saying:

“In much the same way that the smash Zootopia demonstrated that creatures of different culture and class and species are better off when they come together, The Secret Life of Pets is a testament to teamwork and friendship and fixing the rifts that divide us. Let the fur – and the warm, fuzzy feelings – fly.” 3 stars

“Draws on the universal experience of pet ownership to draw out the “awww” in all of us. But the film butt-scoots by on its premise. There’s not much more going on, thematically or emotionally below the surface.” 3 1/2 stars

“Quite disappointed. Not at all what I was expecting from the trailer! I thought this was going to be a cute, funny movie about the trouble that pets will get into everyday but then hide all evidence of it just before the owners get home. No not at all. It’s a movie about a big dumb bully who goes out of his way to destroy the life-style of the main character. But wait, it changes to “oh let’s work together and we can all be friends BS”. Ugh. more moral crap. And don’t forget, there’s psycho bunny who wants to kill all humans! At least he’s funny.” 1 star

“It certainly won’t be winning any awards for originality and you’ll probably feel like you’ve seen the story a thousand times before, but with its colorful animation, great voice cast and enough funny moments sprinkled throughout, particularly when it comes down to finding clever ways of portraying the typical animal behavior that all pet owners will recognize, it may be just charming and cute enough to hold your attention.” 2 1/2 stars

“The problem with The Secret Life of Pets is that we’ve seen it before. This movie borrows most of its tricks from Toy Story, Oliver & Company, Flushed Away and other animated features that came before it. It doesn’t really have anything to make it stand out from the crowd. This isn’t a bad movie, it just isn’t anything special.” 3 stars

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Wayne’s World 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wayne and Garth now do their acclaimed Friday-night TV show in an abandoned doll factory in Aurora. At the end of the broadcast, Wayne, Garth, and his friends, head into the Mirthmobile, and off to an Aerosmith concert. After the band’s performance, Wayne and Garth head backstage (thanks to backstage passes), and praise Aerosmith like they did to Alice Cooper in the previous film.

That night, Wayne has a dream in which he meets Jim Morrison (Michael A. Nickles) and a “weird naked Indian” (Larry Sellers), in which Morrison tells Wayne that his destiny is to organize and put on a big concert. Wayne then asks when Garth’s football phone going to arrive, Morrison said it was sent to the wrong house and will arrive in the morning along with a swimsuit magazine and Stanley Cup video. The next morning, Garth showed up with the phone, magazine and video, which convinces Wayne to put on the show. Wayne and Garth dub the concert “Waynestock” and get to work, by, firstly, at Morrison’s request, to hire his former roadie, Del Preston (Ralph Brown), who, surprisingly had the same dream as Wayne. Their early attempts to sign bands and sell tickets fall flat, and Wayne wonders if the whole thing was a good idea.

Meanwhile Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra has a new producer, Bobby Cahn (Christopher Walken), who slowly tries to pull her away from Wayne (blocking calls to her in the process) and Illinois. After Wayne admits that he was spying on her, Cassandra breaks off the relationship and hastily gets engaged to Bobby on the rebound. Garth meets a beautiful woman, Honey Hornée (Kim Basinger), at the laundromat, and she quickly ropes him in with her charms. Eventually, it is revealed that Honey is manipulating Garth into killing her ex-husband, and Garth quickly bails on the relationship.

Back in the real world, tickets for Waynestock are finally selling, but no bands have shown up. Wrestling with what to do, Wayne departs the festival grounds so he can find Cassandra, leaving Garth to keep the rowdy crowd in check. In a parody to The Graduate, Wayne travels to a church and breaks up Cassandra’s wedding before escaping the ceremony with her. Meanwhile, Garth has stage fright during the concert. Upon returning to Waynestock, the bands still have not shown up. As in the first film, three endings occur.

Wayne and Garth consult Morrison, who said that no one will come, telling them that all that matters is they tried. They turn around to go back to Waynestock and they lose their way, not knowing how to escape the desert dream sequence, and therefore presumably die of thirst (the sad ending).

They drive their car to find the bands, but a helicopter corners them, so they drive their car off a cliff (the Thelma & Louise ending).

The promised bands arrive and the whole event is a huge success (the happy ending).

REVIEW:

You know, there is a reason Saturday Night Live films that were based on sketches didn’t really gain more than a cult following, let alone have enough backing from the studio to earn a sequel, and that is because they were nothing more than vehicles that appealed to a certain sector of the population. With that in mind, it is a miracle that Wayne’s World 2 was even made.

What is this about?

A message from Jim Morrison in a dream prompts cable access TV stars Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) to put on a rock concert, “Waynestock,” with Aerosmith as headliners. But amid the preparations, Wayne frets that a record producer is putting the moves on his girlfriend, Cassandra (Tia Carrere), while Garth handles the advances of mega-babe Honey Hornee (Kim Basinger).

What did I like?

Valiant effort. I applaud the film for attempting to not rehash the same plot that they used in Wayne’s World. Films like this are well-known for doing such nonsense. While they didn’t use that plot, trace elements do show up, but I’ll get into that a little bit later. For now, I guess we can just be glad this film can theoretically stand on its own.

Jim Morrison. There are various dream sequences here in which Wayne dreams he is being spoken to by Jim Morrison (of The Doors’ fame), and being escorted there by a half-naked Indian. Michael A. Nickles does a decent job of bringing Morrison back to life, as it were, and he gives off that stoner, etherworldy vibe that is necessary in a dream sequence. I have nothing to say about the half-naked Indian. I belive he was there just for decoration.

Garth’s women. The last film was all about Wayne and Cassandra and that continues a bit here, but Garth also gets a little bit of action, so to speak, as he manages to hook up with Kim Basinger in a laundromat, then ends up with his doppelgänger that works in the permit office, played by Olvia d’Abo. One look at her, though, and you just knew they were going to end up together.

What didn’t I like?

Not! I believe it was Roger Ebert that said Wayne and Garth were “impossible to dislike”. Well, in my mind the impossible has been made possible, at least for Wayne. Garth, I can go along with being impossible to dislike. Wayne is your typical Mike Myers character, funny the first time, and gives you a few chuckles in small does after that, but eventually wears thin.He desparately tries to crack jokes in the hopes that they’ll get a rise out of the audience, but for me, they fell flat. As far as Garth goes, I’m glad we got more of him, but why is it his story is so much like a kiddie menu, whereas Wayne’s is like the Big Mac? I have never been a fan of how much Garth gets shafted like that.

Recycled. As I mentioned earlier, they didn’t recycle the plot from the previous film, but there are elements that pop up which are carbon copies of the first flick, most notably the slimy rich guy who woos Cassandra with the promise of furthering her career. Look, Tia Carrere is a catch, of that there is no question. Why she wants to stay with Wayne is beyond me, but we don’t always have to watch their relation get threatened like this. Come up with something else, like maybe some random chick wants to steal Wayne from her, for a change!

London calling. There is a montage where Wayne and Garth head to the UK, but it is more than obvious they don’t actually go, as they are replaced by look alikes who we never see from the front, and the plane is a toy. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but this isn’t the kind of film that goes that far overboard, so it didn’t quite jive with the rest of the film, at least in my eyes.

Wayne’s World 2 is a great example of why sequels should only be made when they are well thought out and the characters have somewhere to go and grow. As can be seen here, this is a flick that was just made because the last one made some money and the studios thought they could cash in on the popularity of these characters. I cannot recommend this, even to fans of Wayne and Garth, as this is nothing but horrid schlock that appeals to the lowest common denominator. It isn’t horrible, but it is bad.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Wayne’s World

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Carvey) are the hosts of Wayne’s World, a local Friday late-night cable access program based in Aurora, Illinois, where they ogle pictures of beautiful celebrity women, play air guitar and drums, and interview local people, indirectly making fun of them over the course of the interview. The program is popular with local viewers. One day Benjamin Kane (Lowe), a television station executive, is visiting a girlfriend (Ione Skye) who turns the TV to the show. When she tells him how many people watch the show, he instructs his producer Russell Finley (Kurt Fuller) to find out where the show is taped, telling him they may have an opportunity for a huge sponsorship.

Benjamin shows up next week in Wayne’s basement and introduces himself after the show ends. He offers to buy the rights to the show for $10,000 ($5,000 each) and to keep Wayne and Garth on for what he describes as a “huge” salary. Garth then covertly speaks to the audience, sensing he has a bad feeling that Wayne is selling out, but he is too shy to confront Wayne about it. Following the purchase of the show, it is quickly “reinvented”, complete with a weekly interview guaranteed to Noah Vanderhoff (Brian Doyle-Murray), the show’s sponsor. The first reinvented show is also their last, as Wayne holds up a series of cards with questions on the front and, unknowingly to Vanderhoff, insulting phrases on the back such as “Sphincter Boy” (with an arrow pointing at Vanderhoff), “He blows goats…I have proof” and “This man has no penis”, prompting Benjamin to call Wayne up to the control booth and fire him on the spot.

At the same time, Wayne’s blossoming relationship with hard rock vocalist and bassist Cassandra (Tia Carrere), the frontwoman of a band named Crucial Taunt, leads to a rift forming between Wayne and Garth. It erupts after Wayne walks out on the show, leaving Garth to a bout of stage fright for the rest of the show. The two separate, but later make up after Wayne breaks up with Cassandra following an argument between them over Benjamin.

While making up with Garth, Wayne remembers a limo belonging to record executive Frankie Sharp (Frank DiLeo) outside an Alice Cooper concert in Milwaukee. He also remembers that a security guard at the concert (Chris Farley) said that Sharp would be riding through Chicago later that day and forms a plan with Garth to get her back. With everyone in the donut shop helping, Wayne is able to convince Cassandra, who is at a video shoot directed by Benjamin, to leave the shoot with the band and head back to Aurora with him to perform on the show. Garth, meanwhile, hacks into a satellite system and is able to route the signal from the broadcast into the television set in Sharp’s limo. In the meantime, the police keep Benjamin at bay and leave him unable to enter the house until the show’s over.

Nearing the end of Cassandra’s song, Frankie Sharp and Benjamin enter the basement. Once the song is finished, Frankie says to Cassandra that it is the wrong time to sign her band, causing her to become infuriated with Wayne. Wayne is called small-time by Benjamin just before he leaves with Cassandra, and Wayne’s crazy ex-girlfriend Stacy (Lara Flynn Boyle) comes in to announce to Wayne that she is pregnant. Suddenly, an electrical fire starts from the broadcasting equipment and consumes the house. While Wayne walks out of the burned-down house with an injured Garth, Cassandra lies in paradise with Benjamin. Wayne and Garth then decide they don’t like that ending, and decide to do the “Scooby-Doo ending” instead. Wayne then pulls off Benjamin’s face, revealing that he is actually Old Man Withers, who then remarks, true to Scooby-Doo form, “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you snooping kids!” After this, Garth imitates Scooby-Doo by saying “Good One, Shaggy.” Wayne and Garth then decide to do the “mega happy ending”, where Frankie gives Cassandra a six album record deal, Wayne and Cassandra kiss, Russell and the crew member who keeps saying “I love you” get together, while he announces how he discovered that “platonic love can exist between two grown men”, Noah is glad people are seeing him in a new light after he started sponsoring Wayne’s World, Benjamin realizes being successful doesn’t get you everything, and Garth finally gets his dream girl (Donna Dixon).

REVIEW:

Those of us that were growing up in the late 80s-early 90s may remember a time when Saturday Night Live was actually funny. A focal point of those shows was a sketch featuring two guys and their basic cable TV show. Little did anyone know that this little sketch would go on to be a big hit movie, Wayne’s World!

Now, this film, like the sketch, doesn’t have a “plot”, but there is a bit of a story for those that just have to have one.

I really think the fact that this story was forced upon them in order to make a “successful” film actually took away from the picture. The best and most memorable Wayne’s World sketches are those where the guys just went off the cuff.

Sadly, this film didn’t have that feeling, but rather that of a product that was taken over by greedy corporations, similar to the way it is depicted in the film. Maybe that was done on purpose, but I can’t be for certain.

There is a nice, fun, vibe that goes on throughout this picture, especially with some of the toungue-in-cheek jokes, such as the blatant product placement and of course, the stuff we’ve come to know and love from the sketches.

I think this is the film that introduced me, and I’m sure many other people of younger generations, to Queen. The most memorable scene in here is in the car when they sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then start head banging. Yes, that’s even more memorable that Tia Carrere is a bikini…but not much.

The cast is hilarious. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey continue to show what great chemistry they have.

Tia Carerre is great not only as the token eye candy, but as a strong female lead here, as well.

Rob Lowe is about as slimy as one can get, which makes him the perfect villain for this picture.

Oh, how I remember these days when comedy films were actually funny and didn’t try to make any kind of political statement or masquerade as a drama. This, I think, is the reason I love this film so much. Not to mention the fact that it cracks me up everytime I see and brings back that 90s nostalgia. I highly recommend it to all of you that haven’t seen it. You don’t know what you’re missing!

4 out of 5 stars

Clean Slate

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Maurice Pogue (Carvey) has Anterograde amnesia, a form of amnesia that prevents him from remembering anything that happened to him the day before. He realizes from a recording he made for himself the previous night (Sunday) – to keep himself in the know – that he’s a private investigator in Los Angeles, and acquired the condition after being injured during a case. Pogue tells himself not to reveal his condition to anyone, as he’s the key witness in the case against the man responsible for his amnesia. Appearing on the recording is a strange woman, Sarah Novak (Golino), who informs him she has been living under the alias Beth Holly in San Francisco, and she has come to L.A. because she is being blackmailed. The police then come to Pogue’s office, and take him to what turns out to be his birthday party. He tells his friend Dolby (Jones) that he’s seen Sarah, and learns from Dolby that Sarah is dead. While at the party, Pogue also meets Anthony Doover (Michael Murphy), his doctor – the only person who knows of Pogue’s condition.

Two henchmen take him from the party to meet Philip Cornell (Gambon), the man Pogue is to testify against. Cornell offers Pogue a large sum of money to deny witnessing Cornell’s involvement in the crime. On re-examining his files at the office, Pogue learns that Sarah was once Cornell’s lover, who decided to testify against Cornell lest he killed her because of her knowledge of his illegal activities. Sarah hired Pogue to protect her but was killed by a car bomb, the same bomb that caused his amnesia. That night, Pogue meets Sarah at a fashion show she’s modeling in. She tells him the girl that was killed in the explosion was a double, and that someone’s threatening to tell Cornell she’s still alive. Sarah also tells Pogue about a valuable coin Cornell stole from the L.A. County Museum, which she in turn stole from him. Sarah tells Pogue that she gave him the coin the morning before the explosion; Pogue cannot remember. The only clue the two have about the coin’s location is one word Pogue said when Sarah gave it to him, “Baby.”

The next morning, Pogue has forgotten everything again. Cornell shows up to his office to get Pogue’s sworn statement but Pogue, mistaking Cornell for his landlord, gives him a check for rent. Pogue tries throughout the day to figure out where the coin is but doesn’t find any answers. Later on he meets with Sarah; she stays at his place for the night and they make love. Pogue wakes up the following day remembering everything from the day before. Through learning his dog is Baby, he recalls that he hid the coin in its collar. He takes Sarah to a payphone to call the people who are blackmailing her, Pogue notices that her handwriting is not the same as on the note the coin was wrapped in. Thus realizing she cannot really be Sarah Novak, he switches the coin without her knowledge. He then follows her and finds that Doover and she set up the scam to get the coin. When Doover says they’ll have to start all over again after they failed to get the coin, the woman posing as Sarah refused to go through with it again. That night, while sitting in Pogue’s car outside his office, the woman reveals into one of Pogue’s recorders that she’s really Beth Holly, whom Doover had hired because of her resemblance to Novak. Cornell’s men then kidnap Beth when they see her in the car.

Thursday morning, Cornell, who’s figured out that Pogue has the coin, abducts Pogue and takes hum to his home, where he attempts to torture him to give up the coin. Pogue and Holly escape, and rush to Cornell’s trial. During the trial, Pogue falls back in his chair and hits his head, then suddenly regains his memory. He tells Beth that he put the coin in a parking meter and she speeds off to get it. Pogue then gives his testimony against Cornell, which prompts Cornell to change his plea in the case. Pogue finds Sarah back at his apartment and the story ends when the two kiss and go inside.

REVIEW:

Apparently, Dana Carvey movies are they key to special memories/moments in my life. If you will recall, a few months back, when I reviewed Master of Disguise, I mentioned that it held a special place in my heart as I saw it in one of the last drive-in theaters. Well, Clean Slate has a similar link to my past, as this was the first film I took a date to see.

With that thought, let me just say that when I first saw this film, I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Seriously, I was a high school junior on a date with a hot majorette. Do you honestly think I was paying attention to what was happening on the screen?

Years later, though, I finally have decided to check this film out and actually watch it this time. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m glad I didn’t watch it the first time and sort of wish I didn’t watch it this time.

I have to mention this about the plot. The whole amnesia thing where everyday he wakes up and forgets everything from the day before sounds a bit too much like 50 First Dates (or vice-versa), if you ask me. I think that is one of the reasons that I couldn’t get invested in the film. I was thinking too much of Drew Barrymore’s character from that film.

Having said that, the amnesia angle is the best part of the plot. Everything else just seems like it was written to showcase Carvey and everyone else just has to smile and nod. Even while doing that, it does him no justice.

Don’t get me wrong, the story itself could have worked. Perhaps if they would have set it in the 30s or 40s and made this a film noir comedy akin to Johnny Dangerously (speaking generally as having a comedy set in that era, of course).

The romance angle could have gone somewhere interesting, especially with her supposedly being dead, and the other woman with the handcuffs and whatnot, but the filmmakers chose not to see where that would have led. On one hand, I’m glad, but on the other, I have to say I am intrigued to know where this all would have led.

Judging by the cast of this flick, you’d think it would have worked, but it just doesn’t. Dana Carvey was supposed to be a huge star after leaving Saturday Night Live, but that just didn’t happen. If ever he questions why not, then he need look no further than this film. Carvey is best known for his impression and quirky demeanor. Neither of which are on display here. At least in Master of Disguise, he did what he was known for.

Valeria Golino is not a leading lady. She would have worked much better as the other woman, played by Olivia d’Abo, and vice-versa. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Golino, but she just didn’t sell me on this role.

Michael Gambon, who is currently best known as Dumbledore, really surprised me with this turn as a villain. Of course, the whole no thumbs thing makes me go back to my suggestion that this film should have been set in the 30s or 40s. That would have been perfectly explained as some gangster cut them off, rather than that lame story about his father.

Kevin Pollack and James Earl Jones make interesting additions to the cast, but both seem to be a bit out-of-place, especially Jones, who does nothing more than ride around in a wheelchair with a neck brace on for the few scenes he is in.

The verdict on Clean Slate is this…if you have a clean slate about this picture before watching it, then leave it that way. There really is no reason to waste your time, unless you’re just a die-hard Dana Carvey fan, and even for that group I would find it hard to recommend this. While not totally horrible, Clean Slate fails to deliver where it matters most, the department of being an entertaining, enjoyable comedy. For that reason, and the reason alone, I have to say stay away.

2 out of 5 stars

Master of Disguise

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The plot is centered on Carvey as “Pistachio Disguisey”, a simple-minded member of an Italian family with supernatural skills of disguise. The patriarch of the Disguisey family (Brolin), Pistachio’s father, is kidnapped by archvillian Devlin Bowman (Spiner), who plans on brainwashing him to steal a variety of priceless artifacts and sell them on the black market.

A prominent subplot in the film is Pistachio’s propensity to be attracted to women with unusually big butts, and his frustrations in love. Despite initial hesitation, he is eventually drawn to his assistant (Jennifer Esposito), despite her relatively small backside. The film also acknowledges “The Godfather” when the grandfather comes out of a car in the night with blue light and Tubular Bells played.”That is crazy… so crazy it just might work.” an overused catchphrase of Disguisey.

REVIEW:

Ever have one of those films that holds special memories for you, no matter how good or bad it is? Well, for me, Master of Disguise is such a picture. When this came out in theaters, I didn’t see it in a theater, but rather at a drive-in. Yes, I said drive-in. It was actually a double feature with Men in Black II.

So, nostalgia aside, this comedy vehicle is meant to do one thing and one thing only, showcase Dana Carvey’s talent at doing voices. It does that successfully, but every other aspect of the film falls flat

Jennifer Esposito makes for good eye candy, but that’s about it. She makes an attempt to actually give her character some depth nad feeling, but it just doesn’t work.

Brent Spiner looks hilarious with the goatee, but for some reason he works as a villain. At the same time, I can’t help but think that he’s just Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation gone haywire.

Harold Gould is good as the grandfather, but why did they make him disappear for more than half the film? He could have been used for so much more during the picture.

Plotwise…well,it has its ups and downs. I like the fact that he’s trying to live up to the family name and save his parents, but were all the big butt jokes necessary? On top of that, the mind control drugs just didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it was the fact that they only mentioned them in passing or if I just didn’t belive them, but something didn’t click about that part of th plot.

There are funny moments. This is Dana Carvey after all. The best of which is the scene in the turtle club, but for the most part, I was let down on the comedy front.

It is so hard to find a good family comedy these days. This could be one of those, if you take out the butt jokes. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch this, though. Save for a couple of redeeming factors here and there, you’d really be wasting your time. I hate to sound like I’m bashing this film, but I honestly can’t find enough redeeming qualities to give it a good rating.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars