A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 55 – Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz – April 24th, 2010

Neither Andy nor I had seen this before. Why? No clue. I mean, it’s starring Simon Pegg. I’ve got a bit of a thing. Not that sort of thing, just a thing. Anyhow, it’s also got holy crap everyone under the sun. Recognizable faces galore, really, so that’s fun. It’s just my problem with movies that get over-hyped to me. I end up meaning to watch things and then they get so hyped to me I just can’t watch them because there’s no way anything could live up to it. So I let it go for a while and eventually the hype is usually equal to the movie and I can enjoy it.

I’m so glad I waited for this one. Really, I might not have had to, because it’s great fun. Great cast, great script, great acting all around. Of course, a lot of the people in it are fantastic comedians (my favorite I-can’t-believe-I-caught-that actor is Kevin Eldon, who was one of my favorite bit parts in Black Books as The Cleaner), so the comic timing and delivery is great too. Let’s see how many more times I can say “great” in this review, shall we?

Now, I grew up in a household somewhat obsessed with British television. My parents instilled in me a love of Monty Python and sitcoms like To The Manor Born and Good Neighbors. We’d all gather around the television in my parents’ bedroom some evenings because it could pull in the New Hampshire PBS channel, and they played better comedy. And Doctor Who. Hell, my parents held out on “wasting money” on cable television until we spent a memorable vacation week renting a house that had it and watching The Avengers every night on A&E. Within three days of getting home, we had a shiny new cable box and a remote with a channel blocking function that I understood better than my parents did.

Actually, I have a bit of a thing for The Avengers. The words ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ are probably fairly close to describing what I know about the series. And so, when watching Hot Fuzz, I couldn’t help but be reminded of many an episode. The Town of No Return and Murdersville, in particular. More the latter than the former, since the latter has more of a comedic element to it, but I’d be shocked if there wasn’t some influence from the show on the movie. To explain to those not quite as ridiculously familiar with The Avengers as I’ve made myself, The Town of No Return involves a town called Bazeley-by-the-Sea, which has been entirely overrun by a group posing as the local townspeople but who are actually an army planning on taking over England. Murdersville is about a small town called Little Storping-in-the-Swuff, where the locals realized they could make a good deal of money by disposing of people for the right price – send your unwanted person to the town and the whole place would deal with him/her and cover it up.

I realize I’m talking about a television show from the 60s, not a movie from less than five years ago, but I can’t help it. The spirit is there. Certainly, Hot Fuzz is a comedy, and has a great deal of parody in it. One of the lines that I laughed out loud at was Danny’s “bang bang!” during the climactic firefight. They stop to pick up the swan mid-climax. It’s got a LIBRARY RESEARCH ACTION sequence (and I do love me a good research scene). It’s not all a sinister conspiracy about money and land, it’s for “the greater good.” Of course it’s parody. But it’s also a great action murder mystery while being a parody of an action murder mystery. It laughs at itself. And that’s what makes me think of The Avengers. What with my little obsession with the show, that’s obviously a good thing.

April 24, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Fuzz

April 24, 2010

Hot Fuzz

Let me start out my review saying that for the first ten or twenty minutes of the movie I was distracted by being constantly surprised and delighted by the cast. I mean, I’ve been a fan of Simon Pegg so I was looking forward to watching this film, but then it’s a cavalcade of modern British comedy best actors. There’s Martin Freeman from the British version of the office (and from the Yankee version of Hitchhiker’s Guide) and then seconds later in strolls Bill Nighy who we’ve also seen recently in Hitchhiker’s and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. And Bill Bailey from Black Books brought a smile to my face (I kept thinking of the episode where Manny stays up drinking too much coffee and watching too many cop shows.) And look, it’s Jim “Oscar Stealing” Broadbent whom I shall never forgive for performing a brilliant and Oscar worthy role the year that Ian McKellen was nominated for his performance as Gandalf. And Ex-Bond Timothy Dalton. It just goes on and on. As a long time anglophile and fan of British comedy it was pretty overwhelming.

But once I got used to that I was able to really just enjoy the movie for itself. For the completely mad and over-the-top satire of every police action movie trope that it is. Really, this movie is so self aware that it’s almost painful. Not only is it a satire of police action movies, but one character, Nick Frost’s Danny, is a fan of police action movies and makes constant reference to them. Some references, like the Point Break one, are carefully laid out ahead of time – almost too heavily. But other references, the ones I found more fun, are just thrown out there so that movie fans can enjoy them. (My favorite is when Danny tells Simon Pegg’s character “Forget it, Nick. It’s Sandford.”)

I really enjoyed the whole picture from beginning to end. It’s a lampoon of the police action genre but also a loving homage to it. The ridiculous gore was a bit off-putting at times, but still they played it mostly for laughs. The great showdown scene that takes up the entire third act is fantastic fun, and delivers punchlines on a lot of the set-ups laid out early in the movie. It’s a great time, and I had fun watching it. There were several moments that did make me laugh out loud, and although I’ll cry at the drop of a hat it’s really hard to make me genuinely laugh.

So Kudos, Simon Pegg. I really look forward now to watching Shaun of the Dead again and reviewing that!

April 24, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment