Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping
I have loved Lonely Island since I first saw their first music video. I had stopped watching Saturday Night Live at the time. I just was not feeling it and what I saw did not really excite me. However, their new digital shorts started to pop up on YouTube. I have since followed their channel on YouTube with interest and hastily devoured every album they have put out. Well, I have not watched Hot Rod, the other feature film they released. They are most known for their music and their sketches which are all always well-written and expertly performed. They have carved out their place mostly as a comedy rap group. This movie is basically about all that and then more. It follows a trio of rappers who hit it big and then one of them (Samberg) went solo. He lost himself along the way and his old friends are also slowly falling apart. It is a story of a meteoric rise, the fall and then another rise. I thought it would be a silly movie but it ended up having a lot of heart. Part of the reason for that is that it is self-aware. It ends up being a good story wrapped up in a parody of the music business and celebrity in general. The movie is jam-packed with songs that are pretty much all written by The Lonely Island which is like getting a new album from them. Samberg is great as a big star who never really learned anything but how to be famous, Jorma Taccone is great as the meek friend who is an expert at mixing music and Akiva Schaffer is the bitter ex-friend who is a good writer. Akiva and Jorma also co-directed the movie while Akiva and Andy wrote it. The rest of the cast is full of musicians that Lonely Island has performed with and Saturday Night Live alumni. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of their past work.
I had wanted to watch this movie when it came out but I am on a limited budget while I have been taking classes and I do not go out to the theater lightly anymore. Thankfully, HBO decided to air the movie and I could not be happier. This movie is timely right now for two reasons. First, a couple of friends just got new kittens. Second, George Michael died over the holidays. I loved Key and Peele. It was a sketch comedy show that was often smart but was also never afraid to get silly. It was kind of a spiritual successor to The Chapelle Show and Kids in the Hall, two other great comedy shows. This movie is very much in the vein of Key and Peele but in some ways, it is even more mature. While things on the show were exaggerated, the movie had a lot subtler acting in it. Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key have both shown how much they have grown and learned working on and writing for their show. There is also a great cast surrounding them that have a lot of fun moments including Method Man and Tiffany Haddish. There are action scenes but for the most part, you can imagine a real person acting the way our heroes act. I definitely recommend it as a silly comedy with a good heart and it is secretly pretty smart.
I have mentioned on this blog a few times how much I love the movie Wet Hot American Summer and its prequel miniseries First Day of Camp. That movie was mostly made by cast members of an MTV sketch comedy show called The State. So it was inevitable that I would check out this movie made by ten out of eleven members of The State. I have not seen much of it but The State was irreverent and it did a lot of weird things just to tweak the nose of corporate. This movie is basically a sketch comedy anthology movie full of lengthier comedy sketches. Each sketch covers one of the ten commandments from the Bible in a comedic way. This premise made me nervous because I generally do not like watching anything religious because it is usually heavy-handed and bad. This movie feels like it used the commandments as a jumping off point and could probably be considered sacrilegious at times which is just fine by me. The movie is not without its flaws but I definitely do not regret watching it. There are ten separate stories but they start to melt together as the movie progresses. Characters from an early sketch might reappear in a later sketch and all of them get a curtain call of sorts at the end. The whole thing is tied together by having Paul Rudd introduce each sketch. However, his character eventually gets sucked into the sketches too. The whole thing ends up feeling like a mess but I think it is a good sort of mess. I would recommend it to fans of Wet Hot American Summer, The State or Kids in The Hall.
Music of the Week:
Bella Thorne – Call It Whatever
– This week’s theme is “Dumb Movies That Are Kind of Smart”
– I finished watching Parks and Recreation
– I watched more of Season 2 Blue Bloods
– I watched more Season 1 of Seven Deadly Sins
– I am done with Season 4 of Haven
– I continued watching The Crown
– I continued watching The Librarians out of order
– I started The Magicians Season 2