Archives for posts with tag: Saturday Night Live

Trivia question – name Bill Murray’s first starring movie role. Do you remember “Meatballs” (1979)? A no-name director (Ivan Reitman) conceived a cheaply made summer camp comedy in which Murray is an endearingly subversive mentor to a bunch of hormone-addled “counselors in training.” It’s mostly childish humor interspersed with Murray’s improv-style riffs that were put to much better use by Reitman in “Ghostbusters.” There’s a sweetly developed subplot in which Murray befriends a lonely camper, which helps make it an actual movie and not just a string of gags. Ultimately, it rode Murray and his burgeoning stardom to box office success.

Tim Meadows is one of the most underrated “Saturday Night Live” cast members and it’s unfortunate he never became a more prominent comedic film star. His highlight is “The Ladies Man” (2000) and it, too, is underrated. Granted, ribald sex comedies are a niche taste, but you don’t feel icky cheering for Meadows, who generates genuinely oblivious sincerity as a talk show host who likes to fool around. The plot’s middle-of-the-road compass reins in the raunch to appropriate levels. Plus, there’s a Julianne Moore cameo and vengeful husband Will Ferrell provides an out-of-nowhere musical number inspired by “West Side Story.”

A bunch of crazy rednecks plan an armored car heist. Hijinks ensue. That’s pretty much all you need to know about “Masterminds” (2016). In recent years, Lorne Michaels has gotten highly efficient at taking a rotating cast of “Saturday Night Live” alumni and cranking out disposable comedies that don’t make you feel as if two hours of your life have been wasted. There’s something to say for that. There’s also something to say for Kristen Wiig. In a film full of marginally likeable characters, she deftly convinces you to root for her most of all. That, friends, is the real heist.