Archives for posts with tag: Clark Duke

An organized crime story isn’t truly epic unless it’s told in Italian with a New Jersey accent. At least it feels that way sometimes. That’s an observation, not a value judgement. And yet there are so many other geographic and/or ethnic storytelling styles. You’d think someone could deconstruct the mob genre, substitute Martin Scorsese’s sensibilities for, say, James Dickey’s, and produce something totally different but qualitatively familiar. So John Brandon writes a novel, writer/director/actor Clark Duke interprets it, and “Arkansas” (2020) proves me right. It’s the “what,” not the “who,” that matters most. That’s an observation. And a value judgement.

You know how you want to laugh when you hear somebody fart in public, but you know you shouldn’t, so you just smile and grit your teeth until you hear somebody else laugh, and then you let out a torrent of giggles? Well, “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” (2015) is 93 minutes of that. (There’s even a scene where somebody farts. Go figure.) It’s not for the straitlaced. Anyway, the title is the plot, they say “dick” and “fuck” about 375 times, sequel hijinks ensue, and if you harbor any sense of subversion whatsoever, you will occasionally laugh out loud.

With the success of “The Hangover,” a whole new genre of R-rated, male-oriented comedies was unleashed. Fortunately, “Hot Tub Time Machine” (2010) saw “The Hangover” and raised it one better. Why? Great dialogue, a fully formed plot, it doesn’t try to be something it’s not, and it tries to be the best something it is. Trust me, I was there in the 1980s. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a lot of fun. Just ask the time-traveling protagonist, John Cusack. This is the perfect Friday night movie for a gen-Xer. Order a pizza, down some beers and laugh out loud.