Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fourth Annual Mustache Marathon: Week 3

I’ve been touting for the past three weeks that I am doing a Mustache Marathon.  That’s because between the bad movies that I am known for watching, I’ve been watching movies that have memorable mustaches in them.  It is an annual thing that I do in November.  While everyone else is growing out their facial hair to the point of looking like a dirty pedophile, I am watching movies where people have their already manscaped facial hair on display.  These people tend not to look like the people you see raising awareness for prostate cancer.  These people usually have good mustaches.  They make the mustaches good.

The Mustache Marathon is currently in its fourth year.  I started it back in 2011 as a way to take part in the mustache thing in November while still being able to rid myself of dirty looking facial hair.  It used to include nine movies, one for each letter in the word “mustaches.”  I’m not sure why I did that.  It’s just what I did at the time.  The third year changed that.  I watched fourteen movies that got placed into the marathon.  How I got that high, I don’t know.  Maybe because I didn’t have to watch as many bad movies as I do now.  This month is on its way to having about eleven movies included in the Mustache Marathon.

The first two weeks of the fourth annual Mustache Marathon had three movies a piece, covering a few genres.  There was a Western, some comedies, a little bit of action in there, and a Wes Anderson movie.  Yes, Wes Anderson is his own genre.  There’s nothing out there like his movies, aside from his movies.  This week, it’s more of the same.  Romantic comedy and comedy.  I might change it up next week with the final few movies.  Who knows?

I should probably get to this week’s two additions to the 2014 edition of the Mustache Marathon.  I think you guys will like one choice and wonder why the hell I chose the other.  If there’s anyone actually reading this.  Someday, someone will.  I’m sure of that.  And when you do, you’ll likely think what I typed.

Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Let me explain.  I was trying to find something that hasn’t been included in a previous marathon that I have done.  I wanted something with Sam Elliott since you need to include him in anything movie related about mustaches.  I was hoping for something legal.  So I went to Netflix Canada, I looked up Sam Elliott, and this was one of the few movies that showed up.  That’s why it is in here.  And the mustache didn’t disappoint.  The rest of the movie did.

I don’t understand what this movie was trying to be.  I get that there are romantic comedy elements in there.  The two stars are Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant.  You don’t get much more romantic comedy than those two.  The problem comes from the subject matter.  They almost get killed and end up in witness protection.  The killer goes after them.  This whole murder aspect is played seriously, which seems odd.  And the relationship problems weren’t quirky and funny relationship problems, though the people behind the movie tried to make them seem that way.  They were serious problems that weren’t funny.  I don’t know how the movie ended up being serious when it is supposed to be a comedy but it didn’t work.

Duck Soup
This movie did work.  In the land of Fredonia, a bunch of wacky characters play pranks on one another while on the verge of war.  When the war breaks out, they continue to be wacky with the danger all around them.  It’s a laugh out loud riot as the Marx Brothers do the things that the Marx Brothers do.

There’s not much to actually say about the movie itself.  It’s a lot of visual gags that don’t translate well to text.  There are also a lot of quick little verbal quips that you need to experience by actually watching the movie rather than have me writing about it.  But what made the movie part of the Mustache Marathon was Groucho’s trademark grease mustache that was also used on Harpo and Chico as they pretended to be Groucho’s character in the movie.  There are a lot of grease mustaches running around at the same time in a scene that culminates in a great mirror gag.

Yeah, there were only two movies in the third week of the fourth annual Mustache Marathon.  What can I say?  I had a busy week.  But the next update will be the last one for the marathon.  It’ll be covering the rest of November.  Surely, I can get more than two movies into that time.  Next week you’ll get more movies from me.  And you’ll get Burt Reynolds, the final regular that needs to be included in the marathon.  Until next time, have fun with your mustaches.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fourth Annual Mustache Marathon: Week 2

Welcome to the second week of the fourth annual Mustache Marathon.  This annual marathon that I do in November is focused on what is in the title: mustaches.  The idea is that I spend November watching a bunch of movies in which actors don mustaches of some sort while portraying their characters.  The style of mustache does not matter.  All that matters is that they have the mustache.  I am celebrating facial hair for the month, so having facial hair is a must.  Except for that time I watched Road House because Sam Elliott was in it.  There was no mustache on him in that movie.

Yes, I spend November watching movies that almost always predominately feature mustaches.  If you looked at the post that I put up last week, I saw three mustache movies.  Two of them featured people who usually appear in the annual marathon.  Hulk Hogan was in the movie Thunder in Paradise, and Tom Selleck was in the movie Quigley Down Under.  This week I added one more of the usual people into the mix with Charlie Chaplin.  I also brought in a couple of newer movies to add some more recent mustaches into the playlist.  Three movies were included in the Mustache Marathon this week and I am now going to write a bit about each of them.

Modern Times
I have included Charlie Chaplin in each iteration of the Mustache Marathon.  Prior to holding these annual marathons devoted to upper lip follicle decoration, I had seen none of his movies.  But any discussion of mustaches in relation to film needs to include Chaplin.  His mustache is a staple in film facial hair.  You cannot think of one without the other.

Modern Times could very well be my favourite of the four Chaplin films that I have seen so far.  It has everything from a great story to great set pieces to great sets and great laughs.  It was all that I could have hoped to get out of a movie and more.  Every second of the movie was captivating and leading to more comedy and story.  I know that many people look at The Great Dictator as the masterpiece of Chaplin, but I would say that Modern Times also deserves that distinction.  The movie is perfect in every way.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
This is the most mustachioed film of 2014.  Nearly everyone in the movie has a mustache.  Just look at the poster.  There are mustaches everywhere in that poster.  Ralph Fiennes, mustache.  Jude Law, mustache.  Bill Murray, mustache.  There are mustaches all over this movie and it was a movie that I needed to include in the fourth annual Mustache Marathon.

As for the movie itself, I enjoyed it a lot.  The quirky nature of Wes Anderson worked well in the R-rated universe set up in the movie.  The jokes landed, the acting was great, and it was an interesting ensemble film all around.  I would love to revisit this movie soon and enjoy it all over again.

22 Jump Street
You’re sitting there wondering why I included this movie in the Mustache Marathon.  I know you are.  The two leads don’t sport mustaches.  Neither does Ice Cube.  How about all of their college friends?  Nope.  Professors?  Nope.  But then you realize it.  You know why this movie is in this marathon.  Nick Offerman.  That’s right, Ron Swanson is in this movie sporting his now trademark mustache.  And it is glorious.

I thought the movie was alright.  That’s about on par with the first one.  There were some great, funny moments, but overall the movie didn’t really stick with me.  I enjoyed it.  I mean that.  Yet I don’t think I’ll be rewatching it or thinking of too many parts of it in the future.  Something cool.

So that concludes the second week of the fourth annual Mustache Marathon.  It was a week full of comedy.  Two of them are movies that I enjoyed immensely and would love to watch again.  The other was an entertaining bunch of laughs that ultimately felt meaningless.  They all had mustaches, though, and that’s all that matters.  This is a month about mustaches.  The mustaches were good.

Come back next week and I’ll write about two or three more mustache related movies.  I have a couple of regulars who still have to show up at some point.  What movie featuring Burt Reynolds will I watch this year? How about Sam Elliott?  Will I toss in another Marx Brothers film to get some more Groucho?  These are things that you’ll find out about in the coming couple weeks.  November is halfway over.  So is the mustache marathon.  But there are still two weeks of mustache movies.  I’ll make them count.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fourth Annual Mustache Marathon: Week 1

Every November, I hear people talking about how they aren’t going to shave because they want to raise awareness for prostate cancer.  At least, I think that’s what the whole Movember thing is about.  But I also think that the people are using it as an excuse to be lazy when it comes to removing their facial hair.  Hell, I’ve used the excuse myself.  I never raised awareness.  I’ve just not shaved for November because I felt like not shaving for November.  Anyway…

I’m not going to try and say that I am raising awareness of any sort this month.  I’m not really doing that.  What I am doing is taking this facial hair fixation and using it to dictate some of the movies I watch during the month of November.  That’s right.  I’m going to spend the month diving into movies starring people known for having mustaches, or movies with just plain damn interesting facial hair.

This month of mustache movies has happened with me for the past four years.  I’ve seen a lot of movies during these marathons and so far this year hasn’t been any different.  Some of the regulars in the marathon have already shown up in this first week.  Tom Selleck and Hulk Hogan made their annual appearances.  Yet there have also been a few movies that didn’t have the usual suspects in them.  And no, The Usual Suspects is not a part of this marathon.  Not only do I not remember a mustache in it, I also try not to double up on marathon movies.  That one was already featured in an Overlooked Movie Marathon.  The first one of those marathons, I believe.  So it can’t be here.  But do you know what can be in this marathon?  These movies:

Major League
I was in the mood for some comedy when I decided to begin the fourth annual Mustache Marathon with Major League.  I just wanted a laugh, and boy did this movie deliver.  The performances throughout the movie are top notch, the personalities of each main character stand out in a movie filled with great characters, and the slapstick jokes hit as hard as a batter hits a ball to get a homerun.  The movie doesn’t fail to put a smile on my face for the entire runtime.

I chose the movie not only for the laughs that I knew it was going to provide, but for the mustaches within it as well.  There are a few great mustaches in the movie.  Most notable are the mustache worn by James Gammon as Lou Brown, the coach of the Cleveland Indians, and the mustache worn by Peter Vuckovich as Haywood, the best batter on the New York Yankees.  One is there for the entire movie and one for key baseball games.  Both are defining characteristics of their respective characters.

Thunder in Paradise
What is a Mustache Marathon without Hulk Hogan?  I had to choose a movie that Hulk Hogan was in and I wanted to get that movie out of the way as quickly as I could.  Why?  I’m not sure.  I was going to watch Santa With Muscles this year but chose not to because it wasn’t close enough to Christmas for me to appreciate that movie as much as it deserves.  By appreciate, I mean that I wanted it to not feel too early for the holidays.  That’s why I went with Thunder in Paradise.

Thunder in Paradise is a direct-to-video television movie that worked as a pilot for the series of the same name.  It starred Hulk Hogan as an ex-marine, I believe, who travels through the Caribbean with his partner Bru.  The two of them protect people, find treasure, and use their high-tech boat to be cool as all Hell.  It was created by the people behind Baywatch, and the sensibilities that they bring to the show fit with Hulk Hogan’s style.  This just might be my favourite Hulk Hogan movie that I’ve seen.

Quigley Down Under
One of the most famous mustachioed men in the film business is Tom Selleck.  The guy goes hand in hand with his facial hair.  It’s hard to imagine him without it.  That’s why I try to watch a Tom Selleck movie every time I do a Mustache Marathon.  This year is no different, as I chose to watch his western classic, Quigley Down Under.  In it, Selleck sports both a mustache and a little hair under his lower lip.  It’s a look I’ve seen before, and one that takes a little getting used to when watching him.

The movie itself is a fun little western about a cowboy moving to Australia for a job only to find out that he hates his boss’s beliefs.  This gets him in trouble with his boss, who leaves Matthew Quigley in the outback to die.  The only problem is that Quigley doesn’t die, and works his way back to the ranch, protecting any Aborigine that he can along the way.  Alan Rickman is great in his western role.  It’s a role I never expected him to have, but he soaked up every second of it.  The movie is a lot of fun.

So that’s it for the first week of the 2014 Mustache Marathon.  Three movies have been watched so far.  There are many more to come.  I still have to hit up some of the Mustache Marathon alumni, such as Burt Reynolds, Sam Elliott, and Charlie Chaplin.  So you know they’ll be coming up sometime in the next three weeks.  As for the rest of the movies that make the marathon this year, it will be movies with mustaches that stand out.  The mustaches are like characters in themselves.  This is a marathon to celebrate that hair that grows above your upper lip.  And you’ll be seeing a lot of that hair in what I watch.