Movie review – Bad Teacher. Is it better than Bridesmaids?
Movies this week: Page One, Bad Teacher, Taxi Driver
Welcome once again to Movies This Week, in which I review the movies that I’ve watched in the last seven days or so. I also like to mention the context – TV, library, rental – of the movie, because I think it’s important to note, just because of the ever-increasing ways in which we access our entertainment.
Also I should mention I haven’t been to a movie theatre since I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (horrible and long) and Hugo (awful) over the Christmas holidays, and that was enough to turn me off movie theatres for good.
Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011, VOD) – Finally got around to seeing this, and I’m glad I did. Wisely, the makers of this documentary about the New York Times and its place in a post-Internet world, focus on David Carr, a character out of a film noir – a wisecracking, muckraking old-school journalist with a sandpaper voice and checkered (Minneapolis) background.
My favourite scene had to be one that finds Carr appearing on a media panel with, among others, the publisher of an online news aggregate. The publisher says something about the death of print journalism, and the New York Times in particular.
Cut to Carr, holding up a print-up of the aggregate’s home page, tiled with thumbnail photos and headlines from that day’s news stories, and complimenting the publisher on his work – right before holding up the same page, with all the tiles featuring stories culled from print newspapers removed, full of holes. Bingo bango bongo!
Bad Teacher (2011, Movie Central) – Another one I’d been meaning to see, despite lukewarm reviews. And I have to say, I loved it.
Bad Teacher is pretty solid on the laughs all the way through, the toilet humour is at a minimum, and the three actresses – Cameron Diaz but also Lucy Punch (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Phyllis Smith (The Office) – are all really funny. I understand that people are all gaga over Bridesmaids because of it’s so-called female empowerment story blah blah blah, but Bad Teacher is way funnier, much better directed, and offers just as much if not more opportunity for its lead actresses to shine. I can’t for the life of me think of an unpaid reason to sit through Bridesmaids again, but I’m already looking forward to seeing Bad Teacher a second time. (For a dissenting opinion, this guy called Bad Teacher “mediocre”; then again, he liked Bridesmaids).
Taxi Driver (1976, Criterion Collection DVD, library copy) – Speaking of movies I’m fine with never seeing again, here’s Taxi Driver. I have to say, this movie has not aged well. Except for the character of Travis Bickle – a finely drawn psychopath who may be one of the first successful movie attempts to really capture a certain kind of mixed-up, stalkerish male mindset – everything about this movie is, well, goofy, from the faux political campaign of the nonsense presidential candidate to the cop-out of an ending to Bickle’s soliloquizing about “a real rain coming down to wash all the scum off the streets” or whatever. Well guess what, buddy, it happened, and now Times Square looks like Main Street, Disneyworld. And who’s laughing now?