# 2 – The Hangover
Yes, it is every bit as funny as you’d expect, and no, it’s not anywhere as stupid as it looks. The Hangover is an amazingly funny film that benefits greatly from having three lead actors that know how to be very, very funny. Bradley Cooper (FINALLY, the world gets to see how funny this guy can be), Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis are all incredibly funny, and the script allows all of them to showcase their individual strengths. (Ed Helms musical ability has never, ever been put to better use. Honestly.)
For those that have lived under a rock for the past year, the setup is simple – four friends go to Vegas for a bachelor party. The next day they wake up in an absolutely trashed hotel room, each with zero memory of what happened the night before. They also realize that the groom is missing.
And there is a tiger locked in the bathroom.
What starts as a bemusedly incredulous journey to find out what the heck happened quickly escalates to insanity and hilarity, as it quickly becomes clear that the previous night’s activities included a last minute Vegas wedding, the mob, and Mike Tyson. All of them are just as hilarious and glorious as you’d guess.
And, for all of the craziness that happens, one of the largest strengths of The Hangover is that it never goes for the absurd humor that’s become so popular in comedies lately. Look, I like Will Ferrell and Andy Samberg, but once in a while it’s nice to watch a comedy that requires that you have a brain, one that actually has “real” (or real-ish) people being really funny. This film is a refreshing change of pace – for every big and obvious laugh that the film goes for there are a dozen little moments that will absolutely destroy you when/if you notice them. Yeah, humor is a subjective thing (something is either funny, or it’s not), but this is a film that can absolutely stand up to some of the best comedy films from the past 20 years. (I’d probably rank it up there with Super Troopers, in fact; it has that same mix of broad and smart jokes, peppered with great character moments.)
It also helps that the film avoids many of the Vegas clichés – most of this film happens off of the main strip, so the neon lights, gloss, and glamour that are usually required in every Vegas movie are largely absent. It’s fantastically funny, and endlessly watchable. (At least, thus far – I’ll let you know if/when I get tired of it.) It firmly deserves a spot on this list, and I’m happily surprised that it made my #2 spot.
And, to be honest, Ed Helms’ song about the tiger is worth the price of the dvd alone.
#2 – Sherlock Holmes
A new take on a classic, this film stars Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Strong. Holmes is dealing with the engagement of Watson, who is now moving out of their house to form his own business, and the extreme boredom of having no case to investigate. When convicted serial killer and gentleman Lord Blackwood asks to see Holmes on the day of his execution, he intrigues him with prophecies of coming dark days and the prediction that Holmes will go insane because he cannot prevent what’s about to happen. Then, he is executed and three days later it appears he has risen from the dead. Holmes attempts to solve the riddle of Blackwood’s prophecies as well as dealing with former love interest and the only woman to ever outsmart him, Irene, who has also just reappeared in London.
This movie fought very hard to be my number one. I loved it. I am a huge Robert Downey Jr fan, and the man’s ability to become whatever character put before him is extraordinary. This is no exception. From the beginning, you are immersed in the world that Holmes inhabits – being privy to most of his thoughts and motives. The plot integrates every part of the movie-going experience. Utilizing the soundtrack to further develop the characters, playing with sets both large and small – overblown fight scenes, and disputes which focus on everything but the physical violence. And of course the dialogue is golden. Despite the fact that in your logical mind you KNOW that this is going to be turned into another franchise, the story plays as the end of an era instead of a beginning. There’s no messing about with backstories, just presenting Holmes and Watson at their best.
The #2 worst film of 2009:
Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson star as best friends who have dreamed their entire lives to have their weddings at the Plaza Hotel. When they are both engaged at the same time and go to the most famous wedding planner, things seem perfect, but a clerical error causes their weddings to be scheduled for the same day. Neither one will give up the date, and things begin to deteriorate quickly, with each of them stooping lower and lower to ruin the other’s big day.
I could see how the plot for this film would seem like a good idea for anyone in Hollywood. It has three big name actresses, romantic undertones, and shenanigans. However, it’s quickly obvious that this is just an excuse to make funny scenes out of everything you could do to potentially ruin a wedding. And the fact that it is supposedly best friends doing this to each other is just depressing and stupid. Every time one of them plotted something else, I would cringe. The acting was shallow, the plot was inane, and the ending was so trite and forced that you felt like Hollywood felt like they needed to make it a “happy” ending just so you wouldn’t completely write this film off as a tragedy. Unfortunately, that just secured its place in the tragic column.