Troubled by unfortunate event after unfortunate event The Watch sidesteps faux pas to come out on top as a consistently funny sci-fi comedy that doesn't let its high concept tangle up a bevy of one-liners. The script penned by Jared Stern Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg assumes you've seen a few movies before entering the theater (mainly any sci-fi movie made in the 1980s). "Summer movie logic" is the foundation for The Watch's ridiculous plot which finds four adult nincompoops teaming up to form a Neighborhood Watch trying to solve the murder of a local Costco employee and eventually pursuing a killer extraterrestrial. Instead of making sense of it all The Watch wisely focuses on its four leads: Ben Stiller Vince Vaughn Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade — a quartet whose bro banter goes a long way in spicing up the dust-covered material. There's nothing revelatory to be found in The Watch but the cast's knack for improv a poetry of the profane makes the adventure worth…viewing.
Director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) establishes his two-dimensional characters quickly and bluntly smashing together broad personality types like a Hadron Collider of cinematic comedy. Stiller's Evan is a micromanaging do-gooder who can't find time for his wife; Hill's Franklin is a mildly disturbed weapons enthusiast yearning to join the police; Ayoade is the quaint weirdo who joins the Watch to fill the void left by his divorce; Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn: a loud crass gent looking for a bit of male bonding. The ragtag team assembles to fight crime but they spend most of their time drinking beers in a minivan — an affair they dub "stakeouts." A perfect opportunity for banter.
For a movie about enforcing the law and alien invasions there's a surprising lack of action in The Watch. Long stretches of the film see the central players yapping back and forth about everything: Russian nesting dolls peeing in cans or the similar viscosities of alien goo and human excrement. Charisma goes a long way and Vaughn does much of the heavy lifting making up for lost time out of the spotlight (he's been virtually nonexistent since 2005's Wedding Crashers). The man spits out jokes like no other — the rest of the cast barely keeps up. Ayoade balances out Vaughn's bombardment with a tempered timed delivery that's uniquely British and rarely found on the American big screen. Even when nothing's happening in The Watch it's rarely boring.
The Watch is at its best when it goes a step further mixing the group in with outsiders and throwing them off their rhythm. Billy Crudup cuts loose as a creepy neighbor and its delightfully weird while the always-impressive Rosemarie DeWitt as Evan's wife Abby brings unexpected warmth to the couple's relationship. Sadly The Watch mishandles its greatest asset: the aliens. The film never finds a pitch perfect blend of comedy and science fiction (Ghostbusters or Galaxy Quest this is not); a few scenes where the two come together hint at the best possible scenario but more often than not The Watch avoids its sci-fi roots. A moment in which the guys haul a dead alien back to their man cave plays like an E.T.-inspired version of The Hangover credits. It's lewd and ridiculous but the rest of the film struggles to maintain that energy.
Stiller Vaughn Hill and Ayoade have all proved themselves able funnymen capable of taking weak and tired material up a notch which they're forced to do in every moment of The Watch. Schaffer can handle his talent but his direction isn't adding anything to the mix. By the third slow-motion-set-to-gangster-rap scene The Lonely Island member's obsession with non-cool-coolness is officially just an attempt at being cool (which is not all that funny). The Watch has a greater opportunity than most comedy blockbusters to go absolutely bonkers: it's rated R. But instead of taking its twist and running with it the movie plays it safe. In this case safe is non-stop jokes about the many facets of human reproduction.
On Tuesday, TV legend Andy Griffith died of natural causes at the age of 86. While the actor's famous friends and co-stars publicly mourn the beloved Griffith on Twitter, fans of the late actor are left to remember some of his finest contributions on television and in film. And he has plenty of fans here at Hollywood.com — below, read some of our staff's favorite Andy Griffith moments, and pay tribute to the actor yourself in the comments below.
Michael Arbeiter: The "Mr. McBeevee" episode of The Andy Griffith Show might be one of the most hard-hitting depictions of a father-son relationship that I've ever seen on television. When he suspected his son Opie (Ron Howard, before he started telling stories of a wealthy family who lost everything) of making up lies about a "man who lived in the trees" (it turned out to be an electrician working on power lines), Andy Taylor was at first amused. Then frustrated. And eventually, when it seemed like Opie was so caught up in his lie that he couldn't detach himself from it, Sheriff Taylor was emotionally distraught, and angry. Andy Griffith brought his character to a point that fans hadn't seen prior: threatening his son with beatings if he didn't fess up. But the great actor managed to sell the performance with so much pain and confliction that anyone watching wouldn't vilify him. Of course, he could not bring himself to hit his son, cementing just how strong a relationship the Taylor men had. A tear jerker like no other. Matt Patches: As a young kid, I was slightly aware of Griffith's contributions to the world of television, but my first real taste of the man's talents came from an unlikely source: 1996's Spy Hard. The absurdist comedy pit two fantastic actors, the Shakespearean-trained Leslie Nielsen and the nicer-than-nice Griffith, against each other in a spy adventure ripped straight from the James Bond playbook. Fearlessness is key when tackling a wickedly funny role, and Griffith's willingness to "go there" may never be represented quite like it was when he strapped on plastic arms to chase Agent WD-40 around with an axe. Aly Semigran: Being a hardcore Simpsons fan, I can't help but associate Griffith's classic Matlock with being the beloved program of choice for Abe Simpson and his fellow residents at the old folks home. While I'll occasionally find myself singing along to "We love you, Matlock, oh yes we do" with all the gusto of someone 85-years-old and up, I think my favorite thing about the reference is it showed how much Griffith could cross so many generations. Sure, he may have been geared to the older set, but younger pop culture enthusiasts like myself had to appreciate the talent and impact he had. We love you Matlock, oh yes we do. Kate Ward: Speaking of Matlock appealing to the younger set, I found myself hooked on the series as a pre-teen after spending a week on the sofa, forced to fight a nasty flu. I wasn't quite the target generation for the syndicated legal drama, but Ben Matlock — and a bowl full of Jell-O — was the perfect antidote to any ill feelings. The Southern gentleman was warm and cozy, with a voice more soothing than any cough drop on the market. It wasn't long until I built up my strength and my obsession with the series. Even when I returned to school, I made sure to tape the daily episodes on VHS, way too excited to come home and watch an episode that was as predictable as the presence of Matlock's banjo. Still, it was a formula that worked — millions of AARP members and sick teenagers like myself can't be wrong. I still hum the awesome theme song to fend off colds. Kelly Schremph: My mom was absolutely addicted to the TV show Matlock. So, every morning when I was little, I'd wake up to her watching re-runs of the show and I'd sit down and join her. It sort of became like a morning ritual. Who knew Andy could inspire such mother-daughter bonding times? Lindsey DiMattina: My grandfather always used to try and use Andy's jokes as his own. Let's just say we knew it wasn't his material (Andy did a much better job), but we always laughed anyways to make grandpa feel good about himself. Brian Marder: It was somewhat shocking to see Griffith pop up in 2007's Waitress -— one of his final roles -— and even more jarring was the against-type performance he gave as a (mis)perceived curmudgeon who secretly had a heart. Fitting, perhaps. [Image Credit: AP Images] More:Remembering Andy Griffith: TV Legend Dies at 86 Roger Ebert, Ron Howard and More Remember Andy Griffith on Twitter
Since we're allowed this four-day weekend to give thanks, we thought we'd keep spreading the love with our picks for celebrities we're all thankful for. Considering we spend all day writing about them, it's only fair.
Anderson Cooper had a gigantic year. He got his own talk show; discovered Courtney Stodden and had the pleasure of featuring her various times on CNN; went spray tanning with Snooki; and tried coffee for the first time. And as great as it has been to watch him do all those things, the true reason I’m thankful for him above anyone else this year is because he reminded all of us what it’s like to laugh so uncontrollably it’s embarrassing. Back in August, while talking about how French actor Gerard Depardieu urinated on an airplane, little Andy made a pun he found so amusing that his on-air composure was wrapped up in some pastry dough, put in the oven of some innocent house, and tossed into the center of a tornado, never to be seen again. What then surfaced were the noises a girl scout makes when she’s informed that because she’s sold the most cookies that year, she’s won a pass to the spend an entire day at the local science museum completely by herself, without any other kids to cramp her intelligent style. In that moment, Anderson became the greatest person to ever live, and includes everyone with crazy illnesses that the BBC has ever deemed worthy of a documentary. -Hannah Lawrence
This year, I’m thankful for Kim Kardashian because it really takes a strong woman to convince a man to marry her after six months of dating and without living together first. I also admire Kim for successfully planning the most gorgeous and detailed and pristine and beautiful and magnificent wedding to take place above sea level, and the way she got most of the vendors to donate their services to her. Additionally, I think it’s incredible she was PAID to get married, made money off both her engagement AND her wedding photos, and held her head up high when the report came out that she really wanted to marry New York Knick Danilo Gallinari, but had to settle for New Jersey Net Kris Humphries because Danilo rejected her proposal for them to get married and play house on top of two gold crested lions in Las Vegas. So basically, I guess I’m saying I’m really happy I’m around when Kim Kardashian is because I feel like the air is purer and more exciting with her around…it’s just as if she’s going around and personally adding a third atom to all the oxygen molecules in the world because she loves us. -Hannah Lawrence
We could spend hours lauding his slew of knockout 2011 performances—Rochester in Jane Eyre, Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method and his explosive lead role in Shame—but Michael Fassbender is more than just an on screen chameleon. This year, he emerged as one of Hollywood's classiest stars, a dashing gent with a real life presence that's powerful and charming. He makes us laugh, he makes us think, he makes us melt from a charisma overdose—and that's just in interviews! He's a real deal movie star, and in a business currently founded on mind-numbing robot blockbusters and Kevin James falling down, his rise to fame is like the second coming. -Matthew Patches
Herman Cain Every four years, America has a Presidential Race. And every four years, someone enters the competition that, regardless of their politics and agenda, makes for a great headline. This year it's Hermain Cain, a Republican hopeful and our new favorite political celebrity. No matter how much we learn about Cain or hear from his campaign, every tibit complicates the fascinating man: He's the former CEO of a pizza restaurant chain, he's a gospel vocalist, he's been accused of sexual harassment by a former flame, and most recently, he's been a pop culture-referencing maestro. In the last few months, he's gone on to unknowingly quote the theme song from Pokemon: The Movie and support a plan seemingly pulled from Sim City 4. Baffling? Yes. Entertaining? More so. -Matthew Patches
Ryan Gosling’s Dog, George
If you know me, you’d probably be under the impression that Ryan Gosling would be at least one of my picks for celebrities I thank the heavens for at this, the most thankful time of the year. But nay. I thank the celeb that helps make Mr. Gosling so worthy of our praises: his lovable mutt, George. Does George have style like Ryan? Yep. Check out his doggy Mohawk. Is George just as adorable as his crush-worthy master? Yep. Look at adorable mug. Nothing’s cuter than a man who loves his dog as much as Gosling does and almost nothing is cuter than George’s little puppy face. He’s the girl-bait Gosling doesn’t even need. -Kelsea Stahler
Who can take a normal sentence? Sprinkle it with rasp? Cover it in crazy and nervous twitch or two? The Nightman. The Nightman can. That’s what Charlie Day does to everything he does. He can take a normal, perhaps slightly quirky sentence and turn it into comedy gold with nothing more than his signature delivery. Sure, the only celeb news he’s managed to merit in the past year is that his wife (and the object of his It’s Always Sunny character’s stalkery affection) is having a baby, but not every celeb can serve up the juicy gossip like LiLo and the Kardashians. Some celebrities are celebrities because they’re simply awesome. And for that we thank Charlie. -Kelsea Stahler
When an actor spends a good deal of his career as a relative unknown—recognizable by face alone from a sitcom a handful of us have caught in syndication—and then skyrockets to notoriety with a critically dynamite drama series and a surplus of movie roles, you’d think he might get a pretty big head. But Bryan Cranston has maintained the humble, silly, self-deprecating charm that, combined with being the best actor ever, makes him the celebrity for whom I am most thankful. Cranston is ever willing to joke about himself, his career, and even his deadly serious AMC show Breaking Bad. From his goofy talk show appearances (hiding grapes in his pants and bringing mock crystal meth to the hosts he visits) to his costume parties with costar Aaron Paul, to his terrific and fearless appearance on Saturday Night Live, the charming, down-to-earth but zany Cranston is undoubtedly my celebrity hero of 2011. -Michael Arbeiter
Some might call it unfair to vie for the thrones of both dork and hip hop culture. Some have tried to venture into both territories, but few have achieved more than a fleeting, novelty fame. But Donald Glover masters all worlds. The actor, improviser, standup and rapper all rolled into one is lovably impish when he’s bashfully joking with talk show hosts or teaming with Danny Pudi on Community to form what can best be described as the human equivalent to Calvin and Hobbes, but ferociously slick once he replaces his thick-rimmed glasses with a monochromatic hoodie and belts out some of the best poetry in today’s hip hop world as Childish Gambino. As he rises to fame, Donald seems to emanate more and more that his only goal is to have and make fun—you can rarely see him not clad in a smile only appropriately captured in widescreen cinemas. Acting or rapping, Donald is still a kid at heart, and a wacky one at that, and he wouldn’t have you believe anything otherwise. -Michael Arbeiter
Whether he’s showing off those gorgeous abs or ripping out someone’s still-beating heart, Skarsgard’s badass antics on HBO’s True Blood have captivated our television screens for four seasons now and we’re still thirsty for more. This hunky piece of vampire eye candy gives us plenty to be thankful for. For one, he’s got that whole bad boy appeal working for him, which he pulls off to perfection time and time again. Additionally, his character offers equal amounts of sex appeal, sarcasm, and power. Not only can he deliver a line with conviction, but he can kick some serious vampire ass and look really good while doing it. Those killer abs, pecks, and back muscles are enough to keep anyone coming back for second helpings -- not to mention those piercing blue eyes. -Kelly Schremph
In a world full of Kim Kardashians and Lindsay Lohans, it’s nice to see an actress actually dedicated to her craft. McCarthy made comedy gold this year with the release of the box office hilarious hit, Bridesmaids and continues to fill our hearts with laughter through entertaining interviews and hysterical SNL skits. And let’s not forget about her CBS show, Mike & Molly, which brought her first Emmy win. This girl is on fire! Of course, my loyalties stem as far back as her Gilmore Girls days when she played the lovable and kooky Sookie – she’s absolutely amazing. But not only is she one of the funniest women on television, she also seems like a really cool person that doesn’t get too caught up in all the Hollywood hoopla, which is getting harder and harder to come by these days. It’s for all these reasons and so much more that I’m extremely thankful for Ms. McCarthy! -Kelly Schremph
The easiest target of 2011, Charlie Sheen probably made me laugh more than anyone (although I was fortunate enough to have not attended his “Torpedo of Truth” road show); he absolutely made me laugh more than anyone who wasn't trying to. It’s uncool, passé to exalt Sheen – be it ironically or unironically – at this point, but let’s not forget that for a good chunk of the year, he provided great entertainment, much more than ever existed on his barely chuckle-worthy “most watched” sitcom. His was an utterly fascinating pop-culture flameout to watch, especially since Sheen so badly wanted to televise it and especially since Sheen made a genuine, rarely seen tumble from the top – at least the top of the TV-salary hierarchy. Plus, although such words and phrases as “tiger’s blood” and “Adonis DNA” and “winnnnning” have by now been Tweeted and T-shirted ad nauseam, they were once upon a time hilariously inane and, believe it or not, fresh. But Sheen, whose awesome collapse started in February, was the gift that basically kept on giving all year, because his Comedy Central Roast, maybe the network’s best ever, aired just a couple months ago, meaning that he really did entertain us for the balance of 2011. -Brian Marder
Don’t vomit. And don’t worry – this won’t be yet yet another fawning quasi-obituary or hyperbolic praise song, though, truth be told, that would all come very easily for me. Jobs didn’t make the cut just because he passed away this year – even though I admittedly added points to his score since it was the last time he could technically appear on such a list. Remember that while it may feel like a lifetime ago, the now ubiquitous iPad 2 was actually introduced in (March) 2011, and Jobs was the one who unveiled it on stage and obviously had a major hand in its conception and genesis, like all Apple products, and he did all that while he was presumably gravely ill. He once again forever changed the way we consume entertainment and non-entertainment, and I’m still reading his biography (on one of the devices he’ll be remembered for) and still watching the bevy of posthumous TV specials about him. In short, he’s still entertaining me; it’ll be a long time before he stops, and it’s safe to say that I’m not alone. Oops – so much for not eulogizing him. -Brian Marder