Super Troopers 2 – Seventeen years after making a huge comedy splash with a film about the hijinks of a squad of highway patrolman, Broken Lizard are back with a kickstarted sequel, picking up where they left off. Think of all the quotable lines from that first film and how fondly it’s reminisced about. How can you live up to that hype? The pressure for Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske must have been immense but, you know what? They pulled it off. No, it’s not quite as “lightening in the bottle” as the first one but if you have a love for these characters like I do, you will just purely enjoy the film of the level of having a reunion with good pals. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it also hilarious? You’re damn right it is and it opens with a scene I couldn’t believe was happening. Do yourself a favor, comedy fans, and go check it out.
Pain & Gain – What the hell are you doing, Steve? A Michael Bay film of your High Spots list? Bear with me here because I will explain myself. No, I don’t consider Michael Bay to be a good filmmaker at all. He is baffled by how humans interact, he is trigger happy, explosion heavy and can’t keep the camera stationary for a goddamn second. All of that aside, five years ago this week he directed this film about a trio of muscle bound meathead gym rats who decided to make a quick buck by kidnapping a wealth client and the movie is wildly entertaining. Led by Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and The Rock, this film is all about the characters and the height situations they get into as their stupidity escalates everything but, really, the former WWE superstar takes the cake as the must watch in this one. This and Southland Tales are when I started to really believe in him as an actor.
Better Luck Tomorrow – Long before Justin Lin was known as the Fast And Furious go to guy, he made a little indie film financed with credit cards and with money raised independently by him and his other producers. The film almost collapsed completely until M.C. Hammer of all people kicked in the money to finish it off, then going on to be the first independent film to be picked up by MTV Films for distribution. The story follows a group of book smart Asian-American friends who, out of pure boredom, try out a life of excess and, more importantly, hardcore drug dealing! The movie was my introduction to Lin and his style, followed up by the immensely great Finishing The Game, but also actors Parry Shen, Roger Fan and Sung Kang, who’s character Han actually crossed over into the Fast And Furious series. A discovery from my video store employee days, if you haven’t seen this one then you need to right now. It’ll give you a new appreciation for this filmmaker fifteen years after he made his first mark.