$5 a Day is a earnest road-trip movie about a son’s reconciliation with his grifter father. The film opens with a classic Screenwriting 101 twist of fate: Just after our protagonist, Ritchie Flynn (Alessandro Nivola) gets fired from his job as a Health Inspector, his girlfriend (Amanda Peet) dumps him. This conveniently frees up his schedule for a wacky cross-country drive with Nat (the one and only Christopher Walken), his father, a con man from Atlantic City who claims to be dying. Along the way they come to understand each other, they scam various salesmen, and they hang out with Flynn’s old babysitter (an uncomfortably tan Sharon Stone).
So first of all, let me say that Amanda Peet is very good at seeming fed up. I have seen at least 43 movies where Amanda Peet is just miffed at something or other, and I feel pretty secure in saying that I think maybe she actually is just very disappointed as a human being. Or she is a disappointment pretending genius. She gets so fed up, that I feel like I personally, even though I am watching her movie on Netflix a good 5 years after she made it, am somehow watching it in the wrong way and offending her. I feel like I should pack up my bags and just go. Her frustration transcends time and media. Kudos to Amanda Peet. The Scrunchy Onion award goes to her, hands down.
Okay, nextly, let me say that even though I think of Alessandro Nivola as a poor man’s Sam Rockwell, or as the man who is lucky enough to married to Emily Mortimer, he did a pretty good job in this movie. Also, his name is like Tennessee; it had too many of the same letters in it. It makes me feel weird. But Alessandro-ness aside, he really makes Flynn a sympathetic chap, despite the fact that the screenwriters made little effort to provide actual events to explain his personal transformations. Kudos to you, Mr. Nivola. You win the Stoic Carrot award for your strong chin and your independent acting choices.
Now, as I have not yet gotten to the Walken in the room, I will say this about Sharon Stone: Her boobs look very nice, but she is orange. I don’t know if this was a movie-choice or a life-choice, but she has turned herself into an Oompa Loompa. If Orange is the new Black, then Sharon Stone wears overalls and works in a chocolate factory. ‘Nuff said? No Golden Globes for you this time, Ms. Stone. Go polish them orange ones instead.
So, yes. Christopher Walken is in this movie. And, yes, this is why we chose this movie. It’s Christopher Walken!! Not that he doesn’t make some stinkers, but, well, even when he does, it’s still a pleasure to watch. Hell, it’s a pleasure to watch him make a chicken. That said, he is really lovely in this role. He is subtle and detailed in his portrayal of Nat, and doesn’t rely on his affectations or odd mannerisms. He is so simple and honest that this movie is not really successful as a comedy. I’m not really sure it’s successful as a drama either. Walken hits one beautiful note, then sustains it for an hour and a half. One lovely, low note does not make a symphony, although Walken, true to form, dances as if it does. Yes, folks, there is a dance scene. I’m sure the C-Walks demanded it, and I was grateful. Mr. Walken, you win the Tab Award for Best Motorcross Robot built in a painting.
Off-topic, I would like to request that Paul Rudd and Chris Walken dance together in a movie. Hopefully, in a re-make of one of those “Breakin'” movies, where they play leaders of fighting dance gangs.
So, I don’t know, man. I was expecting a pile of poo or a surprising glorious moon, and this movie was neither one of those things. It was a solid, decent movie, but you don’t need to see it. I just don’t think it’s going to surprise you or make you think about anything. If I were you, I would just rent Seven Psychopaths. Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell. Plus, Martin McDonagh wrote it. But, back to $5 a Day. Listen, if we’re rating it on the Booby scale, I would give it two mid-sized boobies in a loose-fitting shirt. Solid, but not stopping traffic.
I get the fact that the father is thrifty (if not just a charming liar), but why is the movie called “$5 a Day.” I mean, I get it. They did strange things to not spend much. But there was no “We have to only spend $5 a day or we are going to A. starve, B. explode or C. turn into green aliens, making this a movie worth Katharine’s time. I mean, how am I supposed to play the “Drink when you hear the movie title” game if they never say it?!
And can we continue to talk about Sharon Stone? I think we can all agree that she is a beautiful lady. But I think you can actually see too much of anyone. Sure, in theory anyone should want to watch Ms. Stone walking around in lingerie. Nope. That theory’s still sound. But why so orange?
I was about to go into a tirade regarding the different hues of tan the character could have be, but then realized that perhaps Ms. Stone is a genius. Her character is in the movie perhaps 20 minutes. Yet, what do we discuss? An orange Stone glowing in lingerie. Brilliant.
So what else do I remember of this film. Hmmm… The performances were good, the story was fine and glowing orange stones. Oh, and a Sweet ‘N Low car. Who I’m assuming sponsored a large portion of this film or at least donated the car.
But, it wasn’t bad. That sounds harsh. It was somewhat enjoyable? There, that’s better. Right? Alex?
Alex: *snorts, raises head from drool pool* Oh, hey! I agree that Alessandro and Chris give pretty earnest, genuine performances. They do their damndest with dialogue has all the novelty and nuance of a Meatloaf song, and politely ignore the blaring incidents of product placement that become monumental distractions from the wafer-thin plot premise (see Kath’s reference to the bright pink vehicle inexplicably plastered with the Sweet ‘n’ Low logo. They drive from New Jersey to Mexico in that thing. Chevron, HoJo’s, and Cadillac also make un-subtle cameo appearances). Sharon Stone shows up to chew some scenery and reprise her creepy cougar role from Broken Flowers (this performance was so similar, in fact, that I kept getting confused and wondering where Bill Murray was. Then again I wonder that while watching a lot of movies).
Some good stuff: I enjoyed the recurring humor of Nat’s black socks (he wears them to bed! and in the ocean!!), and that Richie kept thinking he was dead, and that the entire movie looked like it was shot through an Instagram filter. Plus, it was educational! As a result of watching this film, I know how to grift free room service, steal pubic hair, fake a paternity test, fudge a cancerous X-ray, and piss off my no-good son in the name of a few thousand dollars. I also need to start working the expressions “You’re pure flame!” and “I slept like a polar bear” into my vocabulary. (Imagine them spoken by Christopher Walken – right??) In light of its dubious hits and charming misses, I hereby award $5 A Day my gold-plated “Meh” rating.
Kath: So we all agree!! Here is our “We all agree” photo. Enjoy it more than the movie.
Now go get yourself a little treat, you’ve done some fine work today.
Hey Boys and Girls, this here’s a new feature on the Booby Hatch blog in which we review movies! Films, even! Maybe web shows and banner ads too! Get on board, Space Coasters – OFF WE GO.
Alex: I just wanna begin by saying that I felt sort of robbed by The Château, an odd little gem from 2001. Based on the movie poster (below) I don’t think it was unreasonable to expect a madcap parade of hilarious cultural misunderstandings involving farm life, saucy nudity, and the repeated mispronunciation of French – basically, Benny Hill in Bourgogne. What The Château delivers instead isn’t bad exactly but is certainly…not that.
The film follows Graham Granville (played by Paul Rudd), an aimless fuckup from Lawrence, Kansas and his adopted older brother Alan (or “Rex” as he is known, played by Romany Malco) as they travel from Los Angeles to rural France to claim a castle inherited from a recently-deceased uncle. After overcoming the initial language barrier and the fact that the staff (who still lives in the castle) wasn’t expecting them, Graham and Rex develop a tenuous rapport with Jean, the butler, and Isabelle, the demure maid, but are then saddled with the responsibility of either selling or saving the crumbling home. Rex, a practical neat freak, wants to sell it immediately along with the staff (what?? Are we in feudal France?), presumably to shore up his small business that specializes in “solutions for premature ejaculation” (yeah – not nearly as funny as it sounds). Graham eventually agrees, but closing a sale proves harder than they thought – cue a droll cameo by Donal Logue as un sac de douche Americain interested in buying the property.
“Droll” really is the key word here, in its most literal French sense – the humor is…subtle, hinging on differences between the brothers (Graham leaves his shoes on the train- ha!), between France and America (much is made of Graham’s veganism, which the French clearly don’t “get” – at one point they serve him an entire boar’s head, hair and all), and between the respective languages (the dead uncle’s surname is Leconte – get it?? HOURS OF FUN.) I can say I enjoyed The Château, mostly thanks to Malco and Rudd’s respective charms; it just would have been easier if I hadn’t been expecting National Lampoon’s Gallic Vacation. The entire film is shot in a dim, grainy glow – it reminded me a lot of Watcher in the Woods – and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an elderly Betty Davis lurking around the castle instead of Isabelle, whose moony eyes started to creep me out. Maybe the cinematographer was trying to set a mood (I get it! The South of France is really brown and twiggy!), but the effect was less “art house comedy” and more “middle-period George Harrison music video”. There are some charming moments, to be sure: Rex yelling “Je suis le roi du château!!” and beatboxing with Isabelle, or every time Rudd attempts to speak French, but overall The Château suffered from a severe international identity crisis. Ladies?
Kath: They had me when Rudd said, “What am I going to do when I get to France?.. Love the ladies!” They lost me by playing bad porn music during the montage of Rudd and Malco driving up to the Chateau. They had me when Rudd started speaking English in a bad French accent since he knew few French words and they used English subtitles anyways. They lost me when Rudd went from charming dork to a cautionary tale you tell your daughters to avoid. I wish I could tell you it ended well, but I don’t actually remember. I blame the wine I drank.
Sabrina: As someone who has stayed in a town near Lawrence, Kansas,* I can assure you that Paul Rudd does a really funny, weird dance-walk as he and the guy who was also in The Forty-Year Virgin stroll through the village in France. Remember when Paul Rudd danced on The Daily Show ? This scene was JUST LIKE THAT, except if the Daily Show studio was a village in France, Jon Stewart was that other guy, and instead of having a really good camera and a professional crew, I just shot it on my iPhone. Totally worth the price of admission!!!!** I laughed; I cried; I doodled a picture of Paul Rudd’s smile on a napkin.
Oh, I can also tell you that it took me about half of the movie to figure out who the other guy (Romany Malco) was. I honestly can’t tell you anything about the first part of the movie at all, because I was too busy yelling, “Wait, who IS that guy? I know him from somewhere!” Finally, my husband told me who he was as he rolled his eyes and finished the last of my peanut-brickled iced cream. It was then I realized that I have become an eighty-year old woman.
So, if you would like to see Paul Rudd do one of his silly and charming dances, and you would like to get in touch with your inner grandmother, I highly recommend watching this movie right away.*** If you would like to see Paul Rudd get his dance on, but want to skip the flick, check this out!
*Kansas City. I do have a friend who lives in Lawrence. I think he just directed The Odd Couple. Now that’s a movie!! Hey, maybe they should just remake The Odd Couple with Paul Rudd and the other guy from this movie.**** I bet that would be pretty good. They should probably get a new camera though. And some lights.
**I watched this movie for free on the Netflix, says this grandmother.
***I just remembered that the end of this movie kind of makes you say, “Wait, hey, why did that happen? That doesn’t make any sense at all.” And then, if you’re me, and/or you are eighty, you will spend the next twenty minutes explaining why that was a terrible way to end the film and going over the 47 reasons why. This is the reason I am no longer allowed to watch Brewster’s Millions or The Money Pit.
****That guy was in Weeds? Yeah, I guess so.
Kath: The Forty-Year Virgin!! THAT’s who that guy is! Jay-z-us, that took years off my life. I still don’t remember how it ends.
Oprah & Ebert-style Book Club G-chat:
Sabrina: So do we want/need a rating system? 3 boobies up?
Kath: That’s a great idea! I give it 1/2 a wormy boob.
Alex: I give it one boob with stretch marks.
Sabrina: I give it two old-lady boobs out of five nice 20-year old boobs. Wait…what’s the scale?
Alex: I thought it was outta three.
Sabrina: Oh, ok, then it’s one old boob.
Alex: But seriously, were you two as confused as I was about like…what the hell kind of movie the director wanted to make?
Sabrina: Was there a director? I thought someone just used a flip cam. Paul Rudd’s wife maybe.
Alex: *puts on research goggles* It was directed by Jesse Peretz, who at the time was best known for directing that Foo Fighters video where they pretend to be in a Mentos commercial? Also THIS, which I will admit to enjoying.
Kath: I don’t “do” links. what is it?
Alex: Our Idiot Brother – Jesse, you’re alright with me. You’re like pizza and funerals. You bring people together.
Kath: The Château had potential… then went wackawoo.
Sabrina: It’s crazy. The butler guy who is his uncle pretends to die, then for SOME reason, this makes them not sell the house and give it to the hot maid, then she goes to Barcelona on a train with her toddler ?????? (oh wait did I just reveal one of the big reveals? not really)
Alex: Yeah, how are we supposed to feel when she takes off? “You go girl”? Cuz I was confused.
Kath: The writer couldn’t figure out how to end it.
Alex: I agree. Or they ran outta money.
Kath: They should have put endings in a hat and just picked one, instead of giving us a wet fart and a handshake. Example: lots of talk about how the black and white dudes were brothers, but no back story.
Sabrina: Yeah. I felt like they thought they could get a lot of mileage out of that hilarious joke.
Alex: Ok, so in a prequel who would play Graham and Rex? Jaden Smith?
Kath: Please no.
Sabrina: And Fred Savage?
Kath: Maaaaaybe his son…if he has one. That dude is our age.
Sabrina: Martin Short, dressed like a kid?
Kath: I vote Martin Short!!!
Alex: Oh sure; Jaden Smith could totally act opposite Martin Short and hold his own.
Sabrina: Does the prequel begin in a karate school or is Peter Falk reading to them?
Kath: Peter Falk is teaching karate!
Alex: Ok, anything else we wanna say about The Château?
Sabrina: *tries to make loud fart noises so that Kath will have to shhh me*
Alex: *begins the ever-popular “armpit fart”* Beans I’m totally editing this into the post.
Sabrina: That’s the stuff! We are the best. I want to marry us.
Kath: *actually farts*
Hello and thank you for joining me. I’m Hoyt Bobach and welcome to “Get the Fax!”, the only news show powered exclusively by obsolete technology.
Tonight I have the special pleasure of sharing with you a conversation with the ladies of Booby Hatch, conducted via carrier-pigeon messages, Morse code, and semaphore.
Hoyte Bobach: First things first, who are you? Please try to describe yourselves physically because all women are the same on the inside. Also, try not to talk too much about your feelings, because all women talk too much about their feelings. Oh, and also, if any of you have your periods–
Sabrina: Newt…do you mind if I call you Newt?
HB: Well…my name is Hoyt.
Sabrina: That’s not what I asked. Look, Newt. Little known fact if you haven’t dated me: I ALWAYS have my period. And that, I guess, is how I would describe me. “Sabrina? Oh yeah, the one who ALWAYS has her period.” Oh, and I like raisins. Yep. I think that pretty much sums it up. Sabrina. Period. Raisins. Oh, and since you asked, those things make me feel like my pop-pop didn’t love me enough, and that makes me want to read “To the Lighthouse” again. Out loud.
(Sabrina begins rummaging through a large bag of tampons. She pulls out a tattered book and begins leafing through it. Katharine takes the book out of her hands and tosses it through a window.)
Katharine: Don’t mind Sabrina, she has her period. Who am I, you ask? Whoooo aaaam I? Good question, but irrelevant. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case …a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question? If not, I’m the redhead.
Alex: …and I’m the drunk. I mean Judd Nelson. I mean Charles Nelson Reilly. I mean a King Charles Spaniel: loyal, flat-faced, and luxuriously furred.
HB: How did you come together as a group?
Sabrina: Newt, I don’t know if you’ve heard of esteemed guru Mordecai “Gravy Stains” Humunculus, but he has a saying: “All you need to do is make waffles and wait.” Well, I don’t always know what things mean or if they’re good ideas, but that never stops me from blindly committing to them. So for about three years, I just stayed home and made waffles. Sometimes I took a break and watched the TV. Finally, one cold Sunday in the January of 2009, my doorbell rang. It was Alex. She was drunk. Then Katharine showed up with something in a paper bag. I knew that my ship had finally come in.
Kath: I had taken the N train from Queens (I had not moved to Brooklyn yet) and transferred to the G. I then got champagne for mimosa. I believe I was wearing a hat. At Sabrina’s house we had brunch, drinks and wrote five episodes for a sketch television show. Alex was drunk. But don’t tell her that.
Alex: I was drunk. but since no one told me, I went ahead and drove a tractor to Sabrina’s apartment. Thousands were killed, but the poppy fields of Brooklyn have never been so well-tilled. Everything has trade-offs. And can you blame me? I SMELLED WAFFLES. But seriously, I the real truth is that we were assembled by Lou Pearlman like a Lady Menudo. Once our testicles drop we’re out of the band.
HB: Who are your influences and what is your favorite sketch?
Sabrina: The book “A Wrinkle in Time” really stuck with me…um…what else? Mr. Show, Kids in the Hall, Tim and Eric, old SNL stuff. OLD. Favorite sketch? That’s hard. That’s like asking me to pick which of my kids is my favorite. Um. “The Audition” is up there. Oh, I should probably list some women too, huh? Yes, yes, funny women. Maria Bamford makes me laugh a lot. “The Maria Bamford Show” was really great and scary. That’s the kind of thing I go for: funny and disturbing. Oh, I saw this great Murderfist sketch live at UCB. It was about the devil and candy and suicide and was just so disturbing that it was hilarious. That one’s up there. I just don’t know the name of it.
Alex: Hmmm, Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show for me too, plus The Ben Stiller Show…and because of my dark English roots I gotta go with French & Saunders and Benny Hill – yep, there I said it. Kath and Sabrina are always “reminding” me that not every sketch has to end with a Yakety Sax bikini chase. In the event that I was ever kidnapped by Mitchell and Webb or The Mighty Boosh…well let’s just say I wouldn’t struggle. And I’d bring snacks for everyone.
Kath: Kids in the Hall, Monty Python, SCTV and early SNL influenced my desire to do sketch comedy. Television shows like Police Squad, The Young Ones, Mr. Bean, MST3K and later Mr. Show, Arrested Development and Spaced all tickled me in my funny privates. Parodying Jodie Foster in Nell kept me entertained… I quote the movie Anchorman more than any person really should… What was the question?
Sabrina: Did I mention that I want to take Tina Fey to the prom? If she says no, I would consider taking Katharine doing her Nell impersonation.
HB: Speaking of Tina Fey, did any of you see the last episode of 30 Rock? What did you think?
Sabrina: I don’t know what to think. At first I was excited that they were addressing the fact that “The Girly Show” is primarily written by men and only has one female character, which makes it somewhat similar to 30 Rock, but then I wasn’t sure where they went with it. I think Tina Fey was acknowledging something about the situation and making fun of herself, but I’m not sure what thoughts about women in comedy I was supposed to come away with (if any).
Kath: I too had some good hopes for this episode only to be left with a fizzly fart at the end. I feel like NBC decided that the topic of “women” should be lumped into one episode just to get it over with. The writers had to figure out how to smoosh ‘women are not well represented in comedy’, ‘women are judgmental of each other’, ‘men like sexy woman’ and ‘stalking’ all in one bow wrapped 30 minutes. This said, I don’t think 30 Rock is around to be an educational tool for a sociology class. It is just a TV show. However, if they are going to attempt to discuss a hot button topic (at least to some of us gals in comedy), try to at least have a point or an ending. Or hire another woman.
Sabrina: I agree. It was weird and fizzle-farty. And does anyone know why the “girl writer” character has a creepy Eastern European accent? And now she’s gay? Was she always gay? Who is she and why does she hardly ever speak? I am confused.
Alex: I just keep waiting for them to give her some lines besides the occasional “yergen fjurgen?” It is kind of creepy the way she’s always lurking in the background of shots of the writers room. And I thought she was Swedish. I adore 30 Rock though. I still think it’s got the goods. If Tina Fey goes to the prom with Sabrina I’m gonna show up drunk and knock over the punchbowl table.
HB: What animal best represents your personality?
Alex: Bugs Bunny dressed as a girl.
Katharine: Friendly’s Wattamelon Roll.
HB: Name your favorite movie and how many times you have watched it.
Alex: Shit. You’re gonna make me get all sappy and ruin my street cred. Fine. My favorite movies are The Apartment and The Graduate. They both have great hair, snappy dialogue, and I will always be in love with Jack Lemmon in the sixties. I’ve probably watched both of those a hunnerd times or more (yep that’s a number, look it up Poindexter!) Movies without Jack Lemmon or a Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack that I like are Wet Hot American Summer, Young Frankenstein, and The Impostors – which could all be filed under “highlights from the comedy geek cannon.”
Kath: The Star Wars movies and I have no idea how many times I have watched them. However, I do believe they should be watched in this order, please take notes:
IV:A New Hope, (The introduction to our heroes and their plight against the Empire.)
V: The Empire Strikes Back, (love, struggle and revelations…The prrrfect movie.)
After you hear, [SPOILER] “Luke I am your father” go back to the beginning of the saga and learn about the start of the Empire and Vader… but watch in fast forward.
I: The Phantom Menace, (Unless you are a child, only view pod race and fight scene.),
II: Attack of the Clones, (Unless you are a child, only fight scenes, if that),
III: Revenge of the Sith, (I personally like this movie enough to watch the entire thing, but I know I’m in the minority. So have your finger hovering on fast-forward.)
Then jump in time and see Luke and Vader face off (literally)
VI: Return of the Jedi, (Close your eyes at the end during the bonfire if you are watching the special editions.)
Ahhhhhhh….pure magic. For those of you who have heard me rant about this before. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it biznaches! I also like the movie The Notebook. That is a lie.
Sabrina: Have you heard Patton Oswalt’s bit about killing George Lucas with a shovel? Good stuff. Yeah, the Star Wars was big for me too, but “favorite” movie? I would have to say Cocoon. Seen it 67 times, and it just keeps getting funnier. I’m kidding. The Brimley makes me nervous. I guess I would say Groundhog Day. It’s just kind of perfect. I like Royal Tennenbaums too. Bill Murray is, of course, in both. Oh, and how do you not love Ghostbusters? I’ll take “Murray” for 600, please.
HB: What else do you like?
Kath: CHEESE! Sorry, cheese. I like cheese.
Alex: Kittens, vodka, and judging people based on their subway etiquette.
Sabrina: I believe I answered this one already, Newt. It starts with a famous blind singer who is not Stevie Wonder, subtract the “new boy in the neighborhood” who is “in Charge,” and end with the reason that people go to hell.
Kath: I think Sabrina is having a stroke…
Sabrina: Is someone making toast? Oof. Hand me Newt’s wallet, Kath. I need something to bite down on.
HB: Do you mind if I call you later?
Sabrina: No way, Newt. That’s not my name.
Kath: Are you threatening me?
Alex: Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?
Kath: That’s not what I asked.