The Under-Ranked: The Hangover Part II
It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since The Hangover was released. Todd Phillips’ comedy, starring three relatively unknown actor-comedians, rushed up the box office charts to become the most highest-grossing R rated comedy of all time – beating out Beverly Hills Cop, the previous title-holder for twenty-five years.
Now, the films’ three stars have become some of Hollywood’s greatest talents and will reunite with Phillips with The Hangover Part II, being released this weekend. But before checking out their newest drunken adventure, now in Bangkok, check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of The Hangover Part II.
Bradley Cooper’s film choices have usually fallen into two categories: action/thrillers (Limitless, The A-Team, Case 39) and comedies (Wet Hot American Summer, Yes Man, Wedding Crashers). But probably his oddest film choice has been Midnight Meat Train, a 2008 horror film based on a Clive Barker short story. Cooper plays Leon, a struggling photographer hoping to become a professional. When he is told by an art gallery owner that his work needs improving, he goes out to a subway at night to capture something different for him, he witnesses a group attacking a woman, who he defends.
When the next night he discovers that the woman was found murdered, he returns to the subway to try and find the killer. In doing this, he discovers a butcher named Mahogany, who he believes to be her murderer. Leon follows Mahogany into a dark world completely unknown to him. Midnight Meat Train is ridiculous fun. The film starts off as a pseudo-mystery and evolves into a bizarre horror film that has one of the most unusual endings ever seen. Vinnie Jones, who plays the eerie Mahogany, is at his lumbering, brooding best. Midnight Meat Train is an insane film, but worth it for where the train takes you.
If there is anyone who has benefited from the success of The Hangover, it’s Zack Galifianakis. He went from moderately popular alt-comic to one of the biggest comedic stars in years. But one of his first films is also great for some hilarious Galifianakis moments, and is a personal favorite guilty pleasure of mine. Out Cold is about a group of snowboarding instructors who love their jobs and town, who have to deal with a new owner coming in and changing their ski resort that they know so well. This is made even more difficult for the film’s protagonist Rick Rambis, played by Jason London, who discovers his long lost love has come to visit his town.
The film blatantly rips off Casablanca, which is part of the fun in a film that couldn’t be any different. Galifianakis is fantastic as Rambis’ friend Luke, who nightly gets drunk and wakes up to unusual situations (sound familiar?) The film also features other great comedians such as Thomas Lennon and David Koechner as Stumpy, the town drunk who insists he invented snowboarding and likes to challenge the mayor’s son to gentlemen’s duels. It may not be the most intelligent film, but for some great comedic moments from some of the funniest people in film before they were famous, Out Cold is a fun film to check out.
Not only has Ed Helms been in one of the most popular comedies of the decade, he’s also been one of the main characters on “The Office” as Andy Bernard, one of the possible contenders for Michael Scott’s coveted boss position. However one of his greatest roles was in a film released earlier this year, Cedar Rapids. Helms plays Tim Lippe, a insurance salesman who is sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an insurance convention. Tim has known very little of the world outside his small town and to him, Cedar Rapids is the big time.
While there, he meets three old timers of the convention; the slow-spoken friend Ronald Wilkes, portrayed by Isiah Whitlock Jr., the outrageous rule breaker Dean Ziegler, played excellently by John C. Reilly and the sexy wife looking for a good time, Joan Ostrowski-Fox, played by Anne Heche. With his three new friends, Lippe learns about himself as he staggers down into a world of debauchery and self-discovery. Helms is perfect as the naive Lippe and never plays him as a caricature, but rather as a lovable hero who doesn’t know anything different then his normal life. Reilly is also perfect as the crazy Ziegler, who could either be the craziest person Lippe has ever met or his best friend, or maybe both. Cedar Rapids is a hilarious comedy that has what many comedies don’t: heart.