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Double D’s Double Feature: The Other Guys Review and Top 25 #25: The Sandlot

Hey guys! I haven’t blogged in like forever, so thanks for welcoming me back and since I’m back I’m starting a new series of Double Features that will include one of the movies on my top 25, unless I haven’t seen a recent movie lately, in which case I will only talk about one of the top 25 movies. Keep in mind that this is an ever-changing list and no, it may not have all the movies you love on there and yes, three of the slots are reserved specifically for The Lord of the Rings. Also, keep in mind that if I could go down to 26 it would probably be either Jurassic Park or Robocop.

Anyways, so let’s start off with the review for The Other Guys. I saw this movie on Monday with my friend Will in Welland, Ontario expecting a decent comedy and I was pleasantly surprised by what I got. I’m not a huge Will Ferrell fan. I find his naive, mildly stupid persona isn’t as charming as it’s supposed to be, but it worked perfectly for this film. In fact, just about everything worked perfectly in this film. It took me about 15 minutes to get used to the films overall tone, but once I did I began to understood the irreverence that director Adam McKay was going for. The film is over-the-top and crazy, but it knows it and it’s also hilarious. This is probably McKay’s best work to date, ranking right up there with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

“What made this film so hilarious?” You might ask. The answer is simple. It’s the writing. This is easily one of the best written comedies I’ve encountered in years. With everything from Will Ferrell’s perfectly told and perfectly ridiculous back-story to a scene where Will Ferrell and Eva Mendez use an old lady to convey sexual messages to each other, I was practically rolling on the floor the whole time. This movie was a virtual tirade of humour from beginning to end and I couldn’t help but adore it. You might say I have a demented sense of humour, but I say I don’t care when this film caters to my demented needs so perfectly. Pay attention to Will Ferrell’s perfectly timed lion vs. tuna speech, because annoying College kids are gonna be quoting it for years.

Alright, let’s talk about the cast. Ferrell plays Officer Allen Gamble and Mark Wahlberg is his partner, Officer Terry Hoitz. We’ve also got appearances from Michael Keaton as Captain Gene Mauch, Eva Mendes as Allen’s wife Sheila, Steve Coogan as business mogul David Ershon and of course Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “Formerly Known as The Rock” Johnson as Highsmith and Danson, the guys Allen and Terry have to replace. I was wary about the casting of this film at first, especially since I’m not a huge Ferrell or Wahlberg fan, but damn, everybody pulls it off perfectly. Ferrell’s naivety is perfectly suited to Gamble’s pencil-pusher persona and Wahlberg manages to channel every ounce of his energy into hating Ferrell’s character so much that you actually feel sorry for him. My only complaint about this movie would have to be that Wahlberg plays the jerk persona a little too well at first and you end up hating him for the first 20 minutes or so. I didn’t really start liking him until I found out he could dance ballet. Let’s not forget all the other minor roles here, especially Jackson and The Rock (I don’t care if he goes by Dwayne now, I’m still gonna call him that!) as the super-cop team, that for the short time they’re on screen are absolutely perfect at being the cops that everyone’s jealous of. In fact one of the films funniest lines comes from Jackson who tells Will Ferrell that if he wants him to talk, he’ll shove his fist up his ass and use him as a puppet.
Next up, I shall discuss the plot. It’s pretty simple really. In fact, I’m going to try and explain the entire plot in a single sentence. Let’s see how this works out. So, Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock (f**k this Dwayne s**t!) are super-awesome cops, but Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg suck, especially because Mark Wahlberg’s character accidentally shot Derek Jeter before the world series, but when Jackson and The Rock drop down (literally) it’s up to Ferrell and Wahlberg to step up as they take on a wealthy businessman played by Steve Coogan, who they believe is embezzling billions of tax payer dollars. OK, that was just a really long run-on sentence, so maybe I won’t do that anymore, but I figured it was worth a shot.

So, this review’s pretty short, but to be honest, I don’t have much to say about this movie other than it’s a hell of a lot of fun and that you should go see it, because it is one comedy joyride you will not want to miss. Seriously though, it’s really funny. What else can I say?

I wasn’t kidding about this being short, but hey, at least there’s a bonus Top 25 review coming up! I give The Other Guys a 4/5.

Now to talk briefly about the first movie on my top 25. I was going to make it a top 22 to celebrate my 22nd Birthday, but that would mean that I would have to remove three movies, so screw that! Besides, I promised ages ago that I would do a top 25, so top 25 it is and here’s the first entry, The Sandlot. This is the one that barely made the list, because it’s not nearly as good as the others, but did make the list based purely on how much I love it. Plus this film is in the list for the main purpose of representing my childhood. It’s a daunting task, but some movie had to do it. So I picked The Sandlot, because what movie better represents just about everyone’s childhoods than this modern classic from 1993. Even though the film is set in 1962 and I wouldn’t have been born for another 26 years I can still relate to the characters and their problems and situations and it’s that universal ability to relate that makes The Sandlot such a classic among those who have seen it.

For the unfortunate few who haven’t seen The Sandlot, it’s basically the story of a young boy who decides to join a local team of baseball players under the guidance of his mother, who thinks he’s not getting out enough. The boy, nicknamed Smalls, is a bit of a point-dexter though, so it takes him a while to pick up on the game, but soon the other boys adopt him as their own. They’re not part of a league. They don’t play any other teams. They just play with each other all day for the whole summer to have fun. Most of the film is very episodic, with the kids going from one situation to the next. The three that always seem to stick out to me are the one where Squints tricks the beautiful Wendy Peffercorn into giving him a kiss by drowning in the deep end at the local pool and then eliciting CPR from the unsuspecting life-guard, the one where the boys take chewing tobacco and end up throwing up on a carnival ride, mostly because I couldn’t sit through it as a kid, (though it seemed a lot tamer when I watched it again as an adult) and of course the climax where Smalls accidentally hits a signed Babe Ruth baseball over the fence at the end of the Sandlot, which happens to be guarded by a bull-mastiff who the boys have nick-named the Beast and all the different ways that the kids try and get the ball back without crossing the fence or getting killed.

It’s a distinctly memorable movie for anyone who’s seen it and if you haven’t, do yourself a favour and watch this and if you have kids, watch it with them. They’ll thank you for it later. This is the perfect movie to watch during this time of year. It’s about summer. It’s about first kisses. It’s about first failures, first triumphs and those little moments in life that we hold onto because they mean something to us. The Sandlot is more than just a movie to me. It’s a keepsake of precious memories that aren’t actually mine, but ultimately that’s what a good movie should be; a collection of interesting memories that don’t belong to you. We feed our brain with these memories and ultimately childhood memories, whether good or bad are the most precious of all, because they mean the most to who we eventually become. It is with this in mind that I will make the claim that watching The Sandlot at an early age will actually make you a better person later on in life. Yes, I am serious. And even though this movie wasn’t good enough to get any higher on the list I still love it to death and it will always be one of my favourites.

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