Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964 - DVD)

It's a good thing Stanley Kubrick realized while developing this movie that he needed to change it into a comedy because even though it's not exactly a laugh-a-minute riot, it's definitely so absurdly over-the-top that it would be hard to take seriously. The premise is that a rogue US general, believing the government putting flouride in the water is a Communist conspiracy, orders a bomber squadron to nuke Russia during the height of Cold War tension. While it sounds serious enough, the movie satirizes the paranoia and silliness of the era, with a strange sexual subtext. (The opening scenes could only be described as "airplane porn".)

Despite its simplicity, the plot is riveting and Slim Pickens has some of the best lines I've ever heard in a movie, including:

(In response to hearing "Wing Attack Plan R"): "Well, I've been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones."

"Stay on the bomb run, boys! I'm gonna get them doors open if it harelips ever'body on Bear Creek."

Reportedly, Pickens was not told the movie was a comedy and took his role completely seriously...which only makes it even funnier. Peter Sellers is also great playing three different characters: the RAF Group Captain, the US President, and Dr. Strangelove himself, a sinister ex-Nazi presidential advisor who has a hard time controlling his right hand. In fact, Sellers does such a great job distinguishing these three that I sometimes found myself thinking of him as being Captain Mandrake and forgetting he was the other two.
Rating: 4.5/5

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007 - DVD)

After seeing the third Pirates movie, Crawl told me that he thought it was the worst of the three. Personally, I might have thought it was the funniest, or perhaps I'm just putting too much emphasis on Sparrow's "That makes you Chart Man!" line, which made me laugh harder than anything else in the rest of the series.

To summarize, it's more of the same. If you loved or liked the first two, then chances are you'll probably like this one, too. If you hated or disliked the first two, then I'd be surprised if it blew you away.

Only question: Why is Captain Barbossa considered a Pirate Lord? The only reason he was a captain was because Sparrow's crew mutinied and Barbossa happened to be the guy who took over. But this movie makes it sound like he's been a pirate captain for many, many years.

Better question: Why do I keep complaining about logic in a series that pretty much throws reality to the wind, anyway?
Rating: 2.5/5

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006 - DVD)

Geez, I've been watching a lot of things with Will Ferrell in them lately, and Talladega Nights is another typically good comedy featuring the former SNL alum. Ricky Bobby is a champion NASCAR driver whose skills, and ego, are eventually challenged by a gay Frenchman, Girard, who seems to be an even better driver than him. In trying to beat Girard, Ricky wipes out and the accident leaves him afraid to race anymore, which causes his wife to leave him and his career and life to hit rock bottom.

One of the most famous scenes in this movie is the "Baby Jesus" sequence in which Ricky Bobby says grace at the dinner table by praying to "Lord Baby Jesus". You have probably, by now, heard people quote this scene. If not, here are some choice selections from this conversation:

Ricky: "Dear Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden, fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawin' at the air..."
Chip: "He was a man! He had a beard!"
Ricky: "I like the baby version the best, do you hear me?! I win the races and I get the money! I work too hard for your bull, Chip."

Cal: "I like to think of Jesus with, like, big eagle's wings, singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with, like, an angel band, and I'm in the front row, and I'm hammered drunk."

Anyway, the scenes with Ricky's deadbeat father, some of which parody the training montages in the Rocky films, are often hilarious, too, and the movie has one whopper of an ending that I won't spoil here (but a similar thing happened in real life with NASCAR driver Carl Edwards).
Rating: 3.5/5



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