Netflix Notes – “The Life of Reilly” Edition


With this piece, I’m all caught up. Although in the time it took me to write and publish the last 4 posts, I’ve got enough of a back log to get right back on the horse again. A Blogger’s work is never done.

If there’s a theme in this last batch of flicks, it has to be the crowning of John C. Reilly as an unlikely comic genius. Two of the 4 flicks on this list feature trusted character actor Reilly in a decidedly lighter tone and the suit fits. It’s a great find when you see a dramatic actor flash his comedic chops – akin to the great comedic performer Alec Baldwin has become over the last few years.

First up…

1.   The Rundown

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I don’t understand why The Rock isn’t a bigger box-office star. He brings the same action machismo that Stallone and Shwarzennegar did but he is ten times more charming and eloquent then those two lugs ever were.

I’m also surprised that this wasn’t a bigger hit. In fact, I think it just came out 10 years past its prime. If this had hit in the early 90’s, it would have been huge. It’s a big, sprawling adventure flick that calls to mind Romancing the Stone and features another winning performance by The Rock as well as a tolerable appearance from Stiffler and a truly bat-S#it insane and inspired villain in Christopher Walken who at one point lectures his Latin American army on the virtues of the tooth fairy.

This was just a fun adventure flick that rose above its pedigree. There’s some real character development as well as good interplay between The Rock and Seann William Scott. Walken makes a great villain. And, there are some neat action sequences including an acrobatic fight between The Rock and a village of pigmy ninjas.

And if that last sentence doesn’t make you want to see this, nothing will.

2.   Enchanted

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The same weekend I developed my Man Crush on Jason Statham, I saw this movie and fell head over heels for Amy Adams – who brings her Disney Princess to life and radiates such effervescent joy, it’s infectious.

Enchanted was a fun, little movie which I imagine is currently the best flick of all time for some tweenagers out there – or at least in the running alongside The Jonas Brothers 3D Experience.

Essentially, this is Splash, with Adams’ animated Giselle banished to the real world of NYC by an evil wicked stepmother (Susan Sarandon). There she shacks up with the high-powered divorce attorney McDreamy and proceeds to teach him about love. And, of course, she pines for her long-lost Prince – who becomes one of many cartoon characters suddenly brought to vibrant life in Times Square.

The film was fun. The songs were funny and cheerful. And Adams was infectious. This is just a nice, light flick – the perfect tonic for all that action spectacle I’ve surrounded myself with of late.

3.   Stepbrothers

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There are some images that once seen, you can never unsee. Will Ferrell tea-bagging a drum set is one such image.

I have a theory on comedy. Comedy flicks are best seen in a crowded theater where laughter is like The Wave. They don’t always play as well when you’re at home, alone, listening to the fridge hum.

So, it’s a good sign that Stepbrothers made me laugh as much as it did and I have a feeling that had I seen this in a crowded house, surrounded by like-minded knuckleheads, I would have enjoyed it even more.

4.   Walk Hard – The Dewey Cox Story

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Who would have thought of John C. Reilly as the newly crowned King of Comedy? Between this flick and Stepbrothers, I have a new found appreciation for this great character actor who had had many memorable dramatic turns in flicks such as Magnolia.

And it’s one thing to play the supporting role and pop in for a laugh or two but in Walk Hard, Reilly is the whole show. He’s Dewey Cox, an amalgam of Johnny Cash and Ray Charles (at least, their life stories) and not only is he called upon to deliver big laughs, he’s got to sing too. And he nails it – through different musical styles from Country to New Wave to Gangsta’ Rap – Reilly transforms Dewey Cox into a singer for all seasons.

Walk Hard springs from the Judd Apatow comedy factory but unlike his grounded slice o’ life comedies like The Forty-Year Old Virgin, Walk Hard is a parody from the first frame – sending up a series of Oscar baiting biopics. Parody and satire work best when the performers play it straight and that’s exactly how Reilly handles his essay of Cox – with nary a wink in the eye.

This one had me laughing hard (again, home alone) so it passes my test. It’s a smart, playful comedy that really showcases Reilly’s talents. That dude’s gonna’ be a star.

Comments now closed (5)

  • I’ve been proselytizing people to the cult of The Rundown for years. It’s one of my favorite movies. Even Karen had to sit down and watch it after the opening scene in the club.

  • Jason got us to watch The Rundown a year or so ago and it is still a ” must pause” in channel surfing! The monkey scene still kills Aunt Ron- who would NOT see Walk Hard with me, and I also watched it alone one night, and really enjoyed it. I’ve always liked John C Reilly-and I thought he was the perfect counterpart to Will Farrell’s over- the-top Ricky Bobby, so I will be sure to catch Stepbrothers.

    And Giselle is Ron’s new favorite movie of all time-I heard Amy Adams in an interview say there is talk of a sequel, as well as a Broadway production of it ( I always felt it was made with an eye towards that anyway!). Maybe Ed can bring Aria AND Aunt Ron to it!

  • @Poe – The Rundown really hooked me. Like I said, if this came out in the Summer of 1991 – it would have been HUGE!!!

    @Aunt Sharon – I’m pinch-hitting for Andi again this week and bringing Aria to a Princess-themed birthday party where the girls will come dressed as their favorite Disney Princess. I’ll swing by and pick up Aunt Ron at 3.

  • @Ed- Okay, but who is Aria going as?? We don’t want them to MATCH!!

  • Too funny… I put together my March Flixd post on Sunday — look for it to be posted on Friday — and referenced The Rock as a great action hero and The Rundown is definitely one of the reasons why. A great action flick!

    I covered Stepbrothers and Dewey last month, so I obviously agree with you and yes, both would probably be even funnier with a few bro’s with which to watch them.

    Finally, Enchanted is in my Netflix streaming queue and I have hovered on it a couple times but didn’t pull the trigger yet. If it were 90 minutes, it would be in the can already, but alas, it is a little longer than that.