Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top and Bottom of 2008 - #9

Sons of the Desert (1933)
Laurel and Hardy want to go to Chicago for a national lodge retreat. There is one problem: their wives will not let them go. They trick their wives into letting them take a trip to Hawaii instead (for health reasons), and head off to Chicago. Of course their wives learn of the deception and much hilarity ensues. While the plot alone is pretty funny, what really makes Laurel and Hardy’s comedy stand out is their physical humor. They work off each other perfectly, and even when their gags are predictable, they are still funny. The most memorable sequence is one in which Laurel and Hardy (who live in adjacent apartments) keep managing to lock themselves out of their apartments. The sequence runs surprisingly long and they milk the premise for all it is worth, and yet it never gets dull.

Sideways (2004)
Maybe if I was a disaffected middle-aged man who liked to drink wine I would like this movie more. As it was, I was bored through most of the film and did not care for any of the characters. Drinking lots of wine and having lots of sex is the goal of the two main characters, and lying to anyone and everyone in order to either get away with or get more of drinking lots of wine and having lots of sex is a perfectly good way to go about business. And when one lie gets them in trouble, they make up an even better lie for someone else. I didn’t laugh once during this "comedy."

Coming up next: a movie that is a joy to look at and one that sucks all the joy from the room.

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