The VelociPastor

I was prepared for this to be a really dumb movie, and I was not disappointed. It was quite enjoyable! If you, like I, love bad b-rated horror movies, then this is a must see. It's the age-old tale of a priest's journey to China to find deeper spirituality after a devastating family tragedy. The twist, however, is that he is blessed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur.

This movie checks all the boxes for a low budget horror movie for me: bad acting ✔, cheap visual effects ✔, Christian ninjas ✔, and lots of laughs. The VelociPastor (2018) is a sincere parody that is genuinely funny.

Watch it on Hoopla today!


Amelie

This quirky French comedy very loosely parallels the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. The title character is a cute young waitress with a vivid imagination who comes to realize her joy at helping others. There is no end to the outlandish stratagems that Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is plotting, but will she be able to find love for herself ?

Amelie (2001, rated R) is a fun film with plenty of computer-generated visuals, giving it a unique and farcical feel. Watch the film on Hoopla today. In French with English subtitles.


800 Words

I enjoy watching the TV series, 800 Words, which has both comedy and drama.  The recently widowed George tries raising his two teenagers while starting over in New Zealand.  There is plenty for family audiences to enjoy as George often begins an episode posing a dilemma, but by the end of the show discovers something about himself and being a father.  It is also filled with plenty of sunshine and beach scenery because they live in a beautiful seaside town and George likes surfing, or at least he tries.  Also, there are several beautiful single women vying for Georges attention.  What's not to like?

Binge watch 800 Words (2015-2018) on Hoopla. The complete series (3 seasons) is available.



Impractical Jokers

Four lifelong friends compete against one another to see how they can embarrass each other.  If you refuse to do what the others tell you to say, then you lose.  If you lose the most, you have a punishment you must do.

The premise is simple, but the execution is hilarious.  They place the group in real life situations where the public has no idea what is going on, leading to fun and embarrassing interactions.  It is always a treat to see what they are going to have to do next and who is going to be the "big loser" at the end.

Binge watch Season 1 (2011-2012) of Impractical Jokers on Hoopla, then continue on to Seasons 2 and 3.

David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single

This comedy is about how quickly life can change and how as a result, you change with it.  In David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single (2012), Sam (Garcelle Beauvais) is excited to move to Chicago.  Sylvester (Isaiah Washington), her husband of 17 years, receives a promotion that requires the family to move, but also affords them the luxury of living in a nicer home.

As Sam proudly packs up their apartment (which they share with their 16-year old-son), Sylvester abruptly announces that Sam will not be moving.  If that isn't bad enough, he boldly tells her he was moving into his new home with his girlfriend!

With the love of her best friend, the honesty of her son, and the pushiness of her mother, Sam decides she will survive and love again.  David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single has funny parts and several aha moments regarding love, self-respect, and family.  Watch it on Hoopla today.

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A Dog’s Purpose (2017) PG

81i2yytjxl-_sy445_When we are first introduced to Bailey, the lovable narrator in A Dog’s Purpose, he’s a spunky newborn pup full of wonder and curiosity.  He asks, “What is this place and why am I here?”  As his story unfolds, these questions are answered, and we come to understand all the wonderful reasons dogs exist in our lives.  This movie weaves together the separate stories of Bailey’s nine lives and explains how the humans he accompanies on each life’s journey have a unique reason for needing and loving a dog.

I loved this sweet movie for the message it shared, but be warned, it will leave you and your children in tears.  Keep a box of tissues nearby! If you love A Dog’s Purpose as much as I did, you’ll find more movies featuring our furry, four-legged friends here.

Cowboy Bebop. The Complete Series (1998-2003) TV-MA

51x5myp3xxl-1If you’re a Firefly fan, then you’ll definitely love Cowboy Bebop.  Both are space-westerns with a sassy, devil-may-care crew.  Join Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, Jet Black, Edward, and last but not least welsh corgi, Ein, on their adventures bounty-hunting their way through space.  If you enjoy comedic action/adventures with a dramatic flair, this is the anime for you.

Roxanne (1987) PG

26290332_saThis modern day retelling of Edmond Rostand’s classic Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah, is satisfyingly funny. C. D. Bales (Martin) a fire chief in a small town, falls in love with the beautiful Roxanne (Hannah), a visiting astronomer.  Unfortunately, C. D. has an extraordinarily long nose, and Roxanne is smitten with Chris, one of C. D.’s new firemen.  C. D. agrees to help Chris woo Roxanne, even going so far as to feed Chris romantic lines through a one-way radio. But will Roxanne discover C. D.’s true feelings?  This romantic comedy will not disappoint.

Enjoy Roxanne?  We’ve created a list of rom coms (and more rom coms).

The Death of Stalin (2017) R

deathofstalinOne of the most unique films I’ve seen in a long time is Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin. Fans of the horribly absurd (or the absurdly horrible) will find themselves cringing while laughing through this warped historical comedy. Nikita Kruschev (Steve Buscemi) and Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale) jockey for the top Soviet position after the 1953 death of Joseph Stalin.

Jeffery Tambor sweats up a storm as Georgy Malenkov, Stalin’s nervous-wreck of a second-in-command. With each member of the Soviet politico watching over his shoulder for the other, this satire bites down hard on the realities of tyranny, cruelty, power, and fear. Given the truth underlying the farce, it sometimes felt wrong to laugh, but I found it impossible not to. This dark comedy will make you think and stays with you long after it ends.
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My Man Godfrey (1936)

225px-my_man_godfreyIn this farce masterpiece, William Powell plays Godfrey, the enigmatic butler whose sophistication and commanding presence hint at his true identity. Godfrey is discovered living in the city dump, and recruited to work for the Bullocks—a family described by one of their longtime staffers as being more “nutty” than “exacting.” The cast of characters includes the shrill-voiced Mrs. Bullock, usually hung over and in a pixie-seeing haze in the morning; Cornelia, Godfrey’s nemesis; and her sister Irene, hopelessly in love with Godfrey from the start. Then there’s poor Mr. Bullock, the sole voice of reason in the family. Oh and Carlo, Mrs. Bullock’s “protégé,” really a freeloading artist who becomes melodramatically upset as soon as Mr. Bullock starts talking belt-tightening.

It is hard to believe that in the midst of all this chaos and frivolity, My Man Godfrey has a deeper aim than to make the audience laugh. But at the heart of the story is Godfrey—the butler who’s really a high-minded aristocrat—and who really makes the audience think.

The Edge of Seventeen (2016) R

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) finds growing up in today's modern world challenging, especially in the shadow of her next-to-perfect older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). This coming of age tale in the vein of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles is candid and honest with humorous moments of what it's like to be a teenager who just wants to have a real conversation with another human being in person and not through social media and their phone.

Her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) is busy with her own problems and oblivious to her daughter's obvious struggles with school, friends, and social life. To make matters worse, her brother and her best friend find a romantic connection—which sends Nadine over the edge. Her one and only confidant, her history teacher (Woody Harrelson), seems to be the only constant in her life who actually pays her any real attention until one day the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope.

If you enjoyed Juno, watch The Edge of Seventeen.

The Ref (1994) R

refIt’s Christmas Eve and Gus (Dennis Leary) is a burglar whose partner abandons him when their latest heist goes south. He is forced to take hostage Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) – who are on their way home from marriage counseling – making them drive him to their home. Slowly, the rest of the family begins to arrive for their annual holiday celebration and Gus pretends to be Lloyd and Caroline’s marriage counselor. Little does he know that he will become the “counselor” for the entire dysfunctional family while he figures out a way to elude capture by the police.

The Ref is a dark comedy that takes the idea of a holiday movie and turns it on its head. The script is biting and sharp. Leary is best known for his sarcastic delivery and shines in the role of Gus. Spacey and Davis also are outstanding as the bickering couple who eventually realize they do love and care about each other. The rest of the cast is top notch and there are a number of well-known actors in cameo or supporting roles: B. D. Wong (Oz; Law & Order) as Dr. Wong, the Chasseur’s original marriage counselor; Christine Baranski (Cybill; The Good Wife) as demanding sister-in-law Connie; and J. K. Simmons (Law & Order; The Closer) as Siskel, the commander of the military school Lloyd and Caroline’s son Jesse is attending (little do they know that Jesse is blackmailing Siskel).

Granted, I know this movie isn’t for everyone. But, if you like dark comedies, a sharply written and delivered script, and something a little different to supplement all the maudlin and saccharin holiday fare that comes on this time of year, give this one a chance. It may just win you over.
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Saving Mr. Banks (2013) PG-13

savingmrbanksSaving Mr. Banks is an engaging drama about Walt Disney's quest to win the movie rights to the classic children's fantasy Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. Inspired by his daughters' love of the series and motivated by his determined personality, Disney will not relent. Travers (portrayed by Emma Thompson), just as stubborn as Disney, refuses to let her masterpiece succumb to the big screen and most of all, transform into a musical with animated figures. She ignores her grim financial outlook and the encouragement of her agent and remains in seclusion for years.

Finally, she agrees to a short trip to the Disney studio offices in California. Once there, Walt Disney tries everything in his business arsenal to win her over, including a trip to Disneyland. It is finally a very personal insight into both characters that seals the deal. Tom Hanks does an excellent job portraying the many sides of American icon Walt Disney.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) PG-13

manfromuncleWith a lot of action, funny parts, and some serious scenes, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was really an enjoyable movie. Starring Henry Cavill as CIA agent Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer as KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, the film is set in the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War.

Curious about the original TV show of the same name? Check it out – we own the complete series (seasons 1-4), which ran from 1964-1968.

Married to the Mob (1988) R

marriedtomobIn this gangster comedy, Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer) is unhappily married to mobster Frank de Marco (Alec Baldwin). When she finds herself unexpectedly widowed, Angela grabs her young son and runs away to lose herself in the big city. Somewhat bumbling FBI agent Mike Downey (Matthew Modine) goes undercover as he tries to bring big mob boss Tony Russo (Dean Stockwell) to justice. He becomes involved with the lovely young widow. Funny and sweet, you’ll be rooting for Angela all the way in Married to the Mob.