Monday 7 March 2011

Overrated: Underrated

Welcome once again to Overrated: Underrated, where we at E14 grind those sacred cows into sacred burgers for your entertainment. To it!

Overrated: Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson

I can't remember the first time I was introduced to Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as a double act. If I had to guess, I'd say it was more than likely the movie Zoolander. Yeah, that was pretty enjoyable, but I couldn't then for the life of me go more than a day without hearing their names bandied about like they were the biggest thing since sliced bread led to sandwiches made of win. Two of the so-called "Frat Pack", which included Will Ferrell (who has gone on to bigger and better comedic things since then) and Vince Vaughn (who seems to have replaced Tim Allen as 'the guy in that Christmas movie that sucked'), Wilson and Stiller have starred together in such films as Starsky and Hutch and Night at the Museum.

Let's look at those for a minute. Starsky and Hutch is one of those weird movies that was funny to me the first time I saw it, but the more I watch it the more angry I get. Is it the fact that they've gone from wise-talking street cops to goofballs and druggy sex pests? Is it the fact that Vince Vaughn just doesn't work for me as a villain? It could also just as easily be the continued insistence that Carmen Electra is the sexiest woman alive, rather than just 'all right'. However, regardless of what it is that irks me, nonetheless I found the movie slightly frustrating to say the least, despite Snoop Dogg's great performance.

As for Night at the Museum, I enjoyed that movie even less. Was it casting Ricky Gervais as himself with the job of a museum director or casting Dick Van Dyke as an guard?? Really? Anyway, with the possible exception of the inclusion of ultra-hotness Amy Adams and attractive-in-a-heterosexual-way Hank Azaria in the sequel, the movies generally tick all my boxes for disinterest.

The problem, I suppose, is that ultimately I don't actually find Owen Wilson in the least bit amusing no matter what character he plays, generally because he comes across as a smug prick. I hope for his sake, incidentally, that it's not a case like Gervais where the character is just an extension of the actor, otherwise Wilson's presumably a bit of a douchehammer.

Probably the most annoying thing about Stiller to me is a similar problem to Ricky Gervais, in that he tends to get cast as the same character, particularly in the 'Fockers' series which has only served to remind us that even a great like De Niro can make a mistake when it comes to not firing his agent. What's really frustrating is that Stiller had some much potential purely based on the success of his performance in There's Something about Mary. Wilson, too, is in the 'Fockers' series, as well as playing that same smug prick in Drillbit Taylor.

Oh, and don't get me started on that bloody softly-softly voice that Owen Wilson does when he's trying to be nice to a woman in a movie in order to get laid. I liken it to scratching off my balls with a nail file over a period of thirteen months.

Underrated: Ben Affleck & Matt Damon

Gaining proper interest in Hollywood with their Academy award win for Good Will Hunting, Affleck and Damon had previously been seen in Kevin Smith movies as well as a smattering of other bits and bobs. Of course, first things first: those performances in the Kevin Smith movies were awesome, particularly Affleck's in Mallrats. However, when Good Will Hunting blew up, and also gave Robin Williams some much-deserved recognition in the form of a Best Supporting Actor award for the same movie, their careers skyrocketed.

And you know what? They deserve every last damn bit of their success. They come across as genuine, funny guys who are severely good at what they do. Chart their careers and successes since that time: Damon has gone on to do the Bourne trilogy, Green Zone, Saving Private Ryan as well as doing right by his good friend Kevin Smith and appearing in Dogma, as well as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back as himself in a hilarious cameo also including Mr. Affleck. He also, for my money, tells the best stories on Letterman, such as this one involving George Clooney.

One of my personal favourite films involving Matt Damon is the movie The Departed also starring Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio (Incidentally, say what you like about him, but much like Damon he's a fine actor). One of the great things about it is how well he plays the two different roles within the same character, as does DiCaprio.

Affleck, meanwhile, has had a successful if slightly different career path. Going from Armageddon to...*ahem*...Gigli as part of Bennifer, the union of Affleck and Jennifer Lopez that dominated more headlines than that time I got banned from Sea-Life Centres for showing my balls to a shark. Granted, the press was more overwhelmingly positive in the case of Bennifer, which gives you an idea of the agenda that the local press had in my situation.

They had an agenda, the lot of them. That shark was giving me all the signals.

Affleck has since made himself a successful director, with his feature films Gone Baby Gone and The Town receiving critical acclaim (as well as a glowing review in the case of the latter here). As well as doing this, he has also been in the aforementioned Kevin Smith projects, even going so far as to play both Holden McNeil as well as himself in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

He was even in Shakespeare in Love. Remember that movie? No? Oh, well it was about Shakespeare, and he was in love. Riveting stuff, though it did involve Gwyneth Paltrow playing dress-up and dress-down in the same movie.

Yeah, it is possible to make the point that they were both in their fair share of duff movies. For every Saving Private Ryan, there's an Ocean's Thirteen. For every Gone Baby Gone, there's a Pearl Harbour or even a Daredevil. That's right, Daredevil. I didn't want you to think that I was glossing over that 'meh' movie. One of those movies that I have found overuse CGI in the stupidest of places. That's another story, however, for another time.

Let's not forget of course their favourite collaborative endeavour. They were both involved, albeit a week apart. I speak, of course, of Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman's "F***ing Matt Damon/Ben Affleck" videos. At the risk of embedding too many videos, I'll let you track those down for yourself, but it's one of the funniest things I've seen both of them do in ages. Aside from Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.

Words: Rob Wade


In the style of Dario Argento, Finale promises to be a stylish and surreal horror film with all the hallmarks of a cult classic. Of low budget and independent origins, Finale has enjoyed much success on the USA festival circuit picking up no less than five awards along the way.

A family descends into a vortex of denial and paranoia after the death of their oldest son. Though labelled a suicide, the bizarre circumstances lead his mother, Helen to believe there are darker forces at work. Black paint was thrown over every mirror in his house, an explosive trap set in his bedroom and a woman from his past haunts the cemetery where he lies buried. But when Helen's investigation threatens to ruin the life of her daughter and possibly her own sanity, she realizes there is but one escape from this nightmare world - the very route attempted by her dead son.

Written and directed by John Michael Elfers, a self confessed Dario Argento fan, the film is something of an ode to the great Italian horror films of the 1970’s. A fast and furious opening sequence sets the pace and doesn’t let up – this looks to be one that horror fans are going to love!

Thanks to our friends at Crabtree Films, we've got three copies of Finale on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Monday 14th March, making sure to put "Finale" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Finale" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Get Finale in the E14 Store for £11.99 on DVD

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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