Graduation Day! Now Filmhash.com

So we’ve graduated to a “real” website! WordPress is a great way to start a blog, but we’re now using Squarespace, which is pretty awesome.

There’s a lot of new things about the site, but we were able to bring over all of our old content (including comments)! And if you were one of our subscribers on here, you can do the same thing on the new site!

We hope you come over and read the new site, as this will be the last update on this version of Filmhash.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment here, we’d love to hear them!

Oh, and please update all your bookmarks to Filmhash.com!

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Review: Seven Days in Utopia

This review originally appeared on Cinedelphia.com

Seven Days in Utopia is perhaps the most blatant piece of propaganda I have recently come across in mainstream cinema. The new “inspirational” sports drama based on the novel Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia follows young pro golfer Luke Chisholm (Lucas Black) as he learns zen and the art of proper putting technique under the tutelage of reformed drunk and retired PGA golfer Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall) in Utopia, Texas.

This film treads entirely on the surface and how Luke ends up in Utopia is inconsequential. Suffice it to say that after a dismal performance at the previous year’s Texas Open complete with grown man temper tantrums, the relationship between Luke and his overbearing father and caddy implodes on national television. Still haunted by the event, Luke drives off in a huff towards Utopia, narrowly misses hitting a cow in the middle of the road, and instead crashes into Johnny’s fence. Just like God’s green earth, the car will take seven days to make new again, which is perfect because that’s exactly how long it takes for Luke to get back his game face under Johnny’s ever watchful eye.

What follows is a bland sequence of formulaic events spanning the titular seven days and the following PGA Texas Open. By divine grace, Johnny  just happens to have built a golf course in this town of less than 500 people and each day Luke learns a different lesson about life and golf in an unorthodox way. “[Blank] is a lot like golf,” says Johnny, and like a white southern Mr. Miyagi he proceeds to tutor Luke in the ways of fly fishing, painting, and even aviation, all the while insisting that these activities have connections to “the game.” And as any good man with daddy issues can do, Luke rolls his eyes and obeys.

It isn’t until the third act that Seven Days clumsily morphs from a run-of-the-mill inspiration film into one of outright evangelical Christian recruitment. I was not entirely prepared to find Luke on his knees crying in prayer, or see Johnny stride into a church on Easter morning with a country-rock song repeating the words “born again” playing in the background. The Christian angle even includes a chaste romantic relationship between Luke and Sarah, a drink of sweet southern tea played by Deborah Ann Woll (ironically of True Blood fame). There’s nothing more awkward then watching adults stumble through a conversation like they’re at a 5th grade dance. They get to hug!

Recruitment of any kind requires action and that’s precisely what we get as Seven Days presents the audience with probably the most random ending I have ever seen. Per the sports film formula, Luke is in the showdown of his life to determine the winner of the Texas Open. He takes out his secret weapon, a club bestowed to him by Johnny, and takes his shot. Freeze! The camera then pans upward towards the heavens before we are able to see if in fact fly fishing is the secret to sinking a putt. I sat through this movie, even resisted a bathroom break to see this guy get his mandatory redemption and instead I was met with a black screen and the phrase,  “to continue the journey…go to http://www.didhemaketheputt.com.” Yes, a website. Needless to say, this was met with laughs at our screening. If the website (which launches today) is anything like the one for the book, it is a direct call for church membership.

Religious browbeating aside, Seven Days is at its core a poorly made film. Director Matthew Dean Russell cuts hard and fast in an attempt to create moments of drama and emotion where, quite frankly, there are none to be had. Four screenwriters are credited for this film and it shows with dialogue that is stilted, hokey, and devoid of the very conviction the movie is trying to impress upon viewers. And for a film that probably didn’t need any, Seven Days also features some of the worst effects shots I’ve seen all year which is disappointing given Russell’s background as an effects supervisor.

This film is obviously made for a subculture I don’t understand, and I want to respect it as such. I could actually forgive its self-righteousness if the film was able to tell a good story in an interesting way. But it doesn’t. Ultimately, Seven Days in Utopia is an advertisement that treats its audience like sheep in every way imaginable.

Rehash: Oscars, Green Lantern, Raiders, Voldemort

Each Friday we bring you the biggest film news and a smattering of the more interesting movie-related bits around the web! We call it Rehash! To get our thoughts on film news throughout the week, follow Jill on Twitter!

Comics artist Stuart Immonen and his wife Kathryn bring you the first installment of Voldemort’s One Hour Service:

Movieline posted their first Oscar race analysis! It’s on!


Dan Meth made a great video compilation about the Twin Towers’ appearance in films.

Parks and Recreation Showrunner Michael Schur gives a master class on his favorite comedy, Cheers.

The Art of the Title looks at the retro propaganda Captain America credits.

Charlie Jane Anders at ion wrote a great piece on adapting source material, specifically focused on the success of Iron Man and the failure of Green Lantern. Here’s an excerpt:

The lesson of Green Lantern is, pandering to vocal fans of a property almost never pays off. And taking liberties often does. Look at J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, which outraged a huge segment of old-school Trek fans and yet managed to tell a strong story that delighted audiences everywhere. Look at Russell T. Davies’ Doctor Who relaunch, which did away with the Time Lords and recast the Doctor as a scarred war veteran. And yeah, look at Iron Man.

The fans will go see the movie anyway — even if they complain bitterly afterwards. Pulling in the mass audience, though, requires taking some risks with the material and crafting something that is going to look character-focused and fun to a casual watcher. And this is doubly true with a property like Green Lantern, which has almost no popular recognition.

Read the whole article here.

Netflix pricing changes went into effect on September 1st. Read the details!

George Lucas continues his quest for the perfect Star Wars Trilogy, little does he know he already made it 30+ years ago. It was confirmed this week that the latest Blu-ray edition will feature loads of new additions including Jawas that blink (because that’s crucial), and even new dialogue. There’s no shortage of coverage for this news but here’s one article to get you started. I also rant about it here.

The Coen brothers continue to make movie magic with the announcement of their latest project about the 1960s folk music scene in Greewich Village.

Lastly, Cinedelphia takes a look back at TLA Video in Philadelphia, a video rental store chain that will be closing its doors after almost thirty years in the area. Coverage includes personal memories from former and current employees, and the legacy that video rental stores leave behind.

Have a great weekend, and as always, we’ll be back on Monday!

Rehash: 08/26/2011

Each Friday we bring you the biggest film news and a smattering of the more interesting movie-related bits around the web! We call it Rehash! To get our thoughts on film news throughout the week, follow Jill on Twitter!

First we have a great infographic ad for the New York International Latino Film Festival:
Check out the whole series at Ads of the World (via Mental Floss).

If you haven’t seen it, Dan Tractenberg of The Totally Rad Show made an amazing short film, No Escape, based on the video game Portal. Whether or not you’re a fan of the game, it’s completely captivating:

Rope of Silicon brings us 10 lessons Hollywood can learn from summer 2011.

Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly gives us an early look at the Oscar race.

Empire posted some awesome new images from David Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Here’s one:

Matt Patches tells the rest of the Film School Rejects gang why he loves the first Mission: Impossible film as a great summer movie.

Patches also brings us a list of the biggest winners and losers of the summer. Marvel vs. DC! Men vs. Women! Harry Potter vs. Twilight!

And lastly, one of the most interesting articles I’ve seen on the departure of Steve Jobs, and poignant words from the man himself.

Have a great weekend everyone, we’ll be back on Monday!

Filmhash Epic Fall Movie Guide 2011

As it seems Fright Night is the swan song of summer, the autumn’s prestige and holiday pictures are right around the corner. In this post we’re going to cover the 36 fall releases we’re most interested in. Unlike summer where the focus is all on the big explosions, fall brings a wide variety of releases, and many of the films here find there way onto our end of year lists.

September
Seven Days in Utopia (trailer)
Disney seems to be cornering the market on inspirational sports films. Secretariat came out last fall, and this film looks like it could be the same crew. The movie is about a golfer who must spend…seven days in Utopia, Texas and learn some life lessons to regain his game. And who knows, it could be good. The last “good” golf movie was Tin Cup? We’re overdue. (Sept. 2) -R.S

Shark Night 3D (trailer)
I’ll admit, this film is only on here for two reasons. 1. I love how awesomely bad Deep Blue Sea is, and 2. I chickened out on Piranha 3D. And everyone knows sharks are way better than piranhas. And the trailer already has an epic quotable line: “We should be safe, this is a lake!” –“It’s a salt water lake.” (Sept. 2) –R.S

Contagion (trailer)
I’m mostly excited for this film because of it’s star power, namely Matt Damon and Kate Winslet. I also enjoy the work of Steven Soderbergh, so I’m curious to see how this fear-inducing, disease-ridden romp across international borders plays out. (Sept. 9)-J.M.
Warrior (trailer)
My love of film spans most genres, but two in particular I can never stay away from are war dramas and boxing movies. I loved last year’s The Fighter, but when I saw the trailer for Warrior, I grew surprisingly fatigued at the notion of another boxing (well, mixed martial arts) film so soon. Never-the-less, you’ll see me in the theater for this brother vs. brother story of redemption. (Sept. 9)-J.M.

Drive (trailer)
Thanks to Crazy, Stupid, Love for getting me over my Ryan Gosling-phobia. I am now prepared to watch Drive. I love films centered around film crew members, and heist/chase movies. And this is both, as Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman. (Sept. 16)-R.S.
 Abduction (trailer)
Even I can admit this film doesn’t look stellar, but it’s good news for Twihards who can rest assured that at least right now, Taylor Lautner will have some semblance of a career after Twilight. Poised to become the next action “It” man, Lautner plays a young man thrown into extraordinary circumstances when he learns his parents aren’t his own. Suddenly immersed in the world of espionage, he must navigate hoards of assassins long enough to discover the identity of his biological father. (Sept. 23)-J.M.
Moneyball (trailer)
Baseball movies are my favorite kind of movie, and I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. I was a big fan of the book, and I’m curious how they can turn a book fundamentally about the philosophy of statistics into a compelling film. (Sept. 23)-R.S.

50/50 (trailer)
Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in one of my most anticipated films of the Fall. Based on a true story, Gordon-Levitt plays a man coming to terms with a difficult diagnosis and how it will affect those closest to him. The buzz on this film has been amazing so far, I hope the momentum continues to build! (Sept. 30)-J.M.

What’s Your Number? (trailer)
I have to be honest, I wasn’t interested in this film at all until I read this article about Anna Faris in the New Yorker. The prescience of Chris Evans doesn’t hurt either. (Sept. 30)-R.S.

October
Ides of March (trailer)
I haven’t gotten vibes like this since The West Wing went off the air. Clooney directs, Ryan “Savior of 2011” Gosling stars, Clooney co-stars. And it has Paul Giamatti (who Toby was clearly based on), Marise Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Philip Seymour Hoffman? Two please. (Oct. 7)-R.S.

The Big Year (no trailer yet)
Based on the book of the same name, this movie about a birdwatching competition brings out the big comedy guns with Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. However, this being David Frankel’s second directed film after Marley & Me (also starring Wilson) doesn’t exactly inspire when Steve Martin’s career needs the least rescuing of the three leads. (Oct. 14)-R.S.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (Sundance Premiere Clip)
Watch the linked clip, from the Sundance premiere. If you don’t want to watch a documentary about the 6-foot tall African American puppeteer who is Elmo, you have no soul.  (Oct. 21)-R.S.

The Father of Invention (trailer)
We here at Filmhash love Kevin Spacey, and can’t wait to see him play a disgraced infomercial king trying to rebuild his life. (Oct. 21)-R.S.

Anonymous (trailer)
I’m not sure I care who the historical Shakespeare really was, but I can’t help but be captivated by Roland Emmerich’s (2012) effects prowess used to digitally recreate Elizabethan England. Side note: This movie, about Shakespeare, features the tagline “We’ve Been Played.” Wow. Wow. (Oct. 28)-R.S.

In Time (trailer)
Suddenly, we’ve all become suckers for Justin Timberlake. Looking forward to see if he can pull off this science fiction film that plays with the value of a person’s time. (Oct. 28)-R.S.

The Rum Diary (no trailer yet)
Johnny Depp is the Hollywood avatar of Hunter S. Thompson, so chances are this between-blockbuster film will be a reprieve for him and a joy for us as well. Also chances are this movie will have some cool hats. (Oct. 28)-R.S.

November

J. Edgar (no trailer yet)
J. Edgar Hoover. Founder and first director of the FBI, collector and curator of secret information, possible paranoid and cross-dresser? Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio? Directed by Clint Eastwood? Yes please! (Nov. 9)-J.M.

Melancholia (trailer)
In Lars von Tier’s sci-fi drama the end happens at the beginning when a planet collides with Earth, leaving two sisters to wrestle with their relationship amidst a catastrophic event. I was reminded slightly of Another Earth when researching this film, as both appear to deal with our encounters with space phenomena. My love for sci-fi films was rekindled with Another Earth, and it appears that Lars von Tier’s gorgeous-looking film will further fan the flames. (Nov. 11)-J.M.

Immortals (trailer)
Could this be the bizarre Zack Snyder-esque Clash of the Titans we all thought we wanted after 300? Not sure studios will ever catch that lighting again, but try they will. (Nov. 11)-R.S.

Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy (trailer)
I’ve never read this particular John le Carré novel, but he is one of the all-time great spy writers, and I’ve enjoyed several of his novels. Written as a contemporary piece, it is wisely being adapted as a period piece, and the principle cast includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong. (Nov. 18)-R.S.

The Twilight Saga– Breaking Dawn Part 1 (trailer)
My name is Jill, and I’m a Twihard. Why do you make me say it! Anyway, as a fan of the series I am excited for Part 1 of the fourth installment for two reasons: A) shit goes down, and B) see A. I want to know if it’s possible to create a film based on a novel like Breaking Dawn, a novel so messed up it’s actually hard to believe it’s coming to the screen. Of course we have seen ‘messed up’ on screen before, but take into consideration the audience of Twilight: pre-teen, and teen girls with lovesick eyes for a glittery non-threatening vampire. And what they will be confronted with is a blotchy and bruised Bella possibly puking blood and delivering what at first appears to be devil spawn clawing at her innards. This could very well be the record breaking mainstream film with D-movie horror tropes. Game. On. (Nov. 18)-J.M.

Hugo (trailer)
Martin Scorcese. 3D. Sasha Baron Cohen. Kids movie. These things seem completely opposed to one another, which means I have to see it. Doesn’t hurt that the trailer is completely charming. (Nov. 23)-R.S.


The Muppets
(trailer)
This definitely seems to harken back to the classic Muppet films of old, and that can’t be anything but a good thing, especially when we know that this is a passion project for Jason Segel. (Nov. 23)-R.S.

The Descendants (trailer)
We’re big fans of director Alexander Payne’s Sideways and it’s exciting to see him return to familiar territory. Clooney plays a father trying to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers an accident. (Nov. 23)-R.S.

The Artist (trailer)
I’m excited by the idea of this movie, and the trailer is fascinating, but I don’t think audiences will take to it (or maybe I’m still too disappointed by The Good German, which was one of my most anticipated films of 2006). (Nov. 23)-R.S.

December

A Dangerous Method (trailer)
David Cronenberg directs Viggo Mortenson, Michael Fassbender, and Keira Knightley in a film based on the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung (Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Mortenson), and Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), the woman who comes between them. (Dec. 9)-R.S.

The Sitter (Red Band trailer)
This movie is in incredibly poor taste, but the ridiculous neo-yuppie names of the kids, Slater, Blythe, and Rodrigo, has me sold on the concept.  (Dec. 9)-R.S.

Young Adult (no trailer yet)
The second collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, this film is about revisiting your high school days. I’m not a Cody-hater (I even enjoyed Jennifer’s Body) and I’ve absolutely loved Reitman’s first three films. This is high on my list for the season. (Dec. 9)-R.S.

The Iron Lady (trailer)
One of my favorite actresses playing one of my favorite politicians? How am I not already in line for this? (Dec. 16)-R.S.

Sherlock Holmes 2: The Book of Shadows (trailer)
I remember liking the first one well enough, as the enjoyableness of Robert Downey, Jr. and the steampunk aesthetic are more than I need to see the sequel. I also look forward to the addition of Noomi Rapace. (Dec. 16)-R.S.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (trailer)
I was once apart of the growing faction of Dragon Tattoo dissenters who thought that an American remake of the Swedish gem was a superfluous undertaking. Yet the more I see of David Fincher’s side of the story, the more intrigued and giddy I become. We are being promised a different experience this time around, an R-rated drama for “adults,” I might add, that will most likely leave audiences divided. The trailer says it all though-fast cuts, and Trent Reznor’s and Karen Oh’s rendition of “Immigrant Song.” Chills. (Dec. 21)-J.M.

Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol (trailer)
I have deep issues with Tom Cruise, but the combination of JJ Abrams and Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles jumping to live action make this difficult to pass up. Also, it’s a just a fun trailer. (Dec. 21)-R.S.

The Adventures of Tintin (trailer)
Based on the world famous (except in America) comic by the Belgian luminary Hergé, this film is co-directed by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. Writing credits come from Steven Moffat (the current Doctor Who show runner), Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Daniel Craig provide performances, and they are all backed by a promising John Williams score. This may have the best pedigree of any film this year!  (Dec. 23)-R.S.

We Bought a Zoo (no trailer yet)
Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Johansson, and Elle Fanning star in this Cameron Crowe film adaptation of a memoir of a family that literally bought a run down zoo in the English countryside. (Dec. 23)-R.S.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (no trailer yet)
The next film in line to deal with 9/11 themes involves a young boy determined to discover information about a key left by his father and find the corresponding lock in New York City. We’ve had few films tackle the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and most that brave the rough waters are met with hostility. It will be interesting to see if ten years is time enough to take a historic look back. (Dec. 23)-J.M.

War Horse (trailer)
Based on the children’s novel about the love between a boy and his horse torn apart by World War I. While having said a lot about World War II, this is Speilberg’s first foray into WWI storytelling, making me excited to see a tale of this ‘forgotten war.’ (Dec. 28)-R.S.

Ryan’s Most Anticipated Films

  1. The Adventures of Tintin
  2. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  3. The Ides of March
  4. The Iron Lady
  5. The Muppets

Jill’s Most Anticipated Films

  1. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  2. The Iron Lady
  3. War Horse
  4. Young Adult
  5. Melancholia
  6. (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)

Review: The Help

This review originally appeared on Cinedelphia.com.

When Tate Taylor set out to write his screenplay for The Help, he must have been nervous. Kathryn Stockett’s wildly popular novel not only has a loyal fan base but a lot of detractors who felt they were being spoon-fed yet another story about helpless black victims and their selfless white savior a la The Blind Side. But The Help transcends such definitive lines in the sand by creating a story that focuses on individual characters navigating the complex and ultimately interdependent relationships between black maids and white socialites.

There are so many rich characters in this story, and subsequently more plot lines, that it can be hard to pinpoint precisely who this film is about. Perhaps it’s Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan’s (Emma Stone) story. An aspiring journalist and recent college graduate, Skeeter returns home to Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s to find that being a college educated woman doesn’t get you in any closer with the ladies at Bridge club. It also puts pressure on an already strained relationship with your mother whose only wish is to see you married. She is plucky though, and lands a job at the Jackson Journal writing a cleaning advice column.

Or maybe it’s Aibileen Clark’s (Viola Davis) story, she does narrate the entire film. Aibileen is a maid in Elizabeth Leefolt’s home, where her primary job is to raise Elizabeth’s little girl. One of the interesting subtexts running through this film is the notion that part of being a member of the married social elite in Jackson (and I assume elsewhere in the South) is having children, but not necessarily raising them. Like little puppies in designer carriers, children are merely accessories needed to paint a picture of southern societal bliss, the more beautiful the better. Aibileen’s little charge is all but dismissed by Elizabeth because of her heftier-than-desired stature, leaving Aibileen to instill in the child a sense of worth I imagine she herself questions on more than one occasion. We see that Aibileen all but raises this child as her own, and consequently, the moments between Aibileen and the little girl are among the most heartbreaking in the film.

Regardless of whether the film is about these two women, or the other superb characters in the supporting cast, it is certain that the film addresses the unique relationship between them. When Skeeter gets the idea to write a book from the maids’ perspective she is met with fear from Aibileen and downright hostility from the other maids who are suspicious of her motives. Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) is particularly wary. As the former maid to Jackson’s social “Queen Bee” Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), Minny certainly has dirt to dish but doesn’t want to be taken advantage of by the willful Skeeter. But as racial tensions heighten in Jackson, Aibileen, Minny, and the other maids begin to realize that now more than ever their voice needs to be heard.

The partnership between Skeeter and the maids is the quintessential model for the interdependence of white and black women that permeates the entire movie. The maids need Skeeter’s help in getting their stories out and Skeeter needs the stories in order to get published, but at no point is Skeeter the owner of this project. Although Skeeter asks the questions, the maids, in particular Minny, orchestrate the conversation. Because their safety is most at risk they dictate not only the time and place of their meetings, but what is to be documented and how it is presented. From the moment each interview begins Skeeter simply becomes a pen and paper. The maids clearly run the show. The process ends up being a very cathartic experience for Skeeter, who actually contributes her own story about Constantine Jefferson, the maid who raised her and was her closest confidant when her own mother was distant. We see Constantine, played by the luminous Cicely Tyson, in a series of poignant flashbacks throughout the movie.

What began as a purely self-serving endeavor for Skeeter becomes a great source of strength for herself and the maids, in particular Aibileen and Minny. I don’t doubt that Aibileen and Minny weren’t aware of their inner strength or the knowledge that they had something important to say. What they lacked was the means of getting people to listen. In the end, Skeeter did not give these women their voices, she gave them an audience.

The Help is the most significant film production set in Mississippi since Oh Brother Where Are Thou?, and Taylor creates a film that never once makes a parody of its environment or its characters. The performances in this film are nothing short of brilliant, with Oscar buzz already thick in the air. Octavia Spencer is delightful as Minny bringing with her sharp wit and pitch-perfect comedic timing. Bryce Dallas Howard is too perfect as villain Hilly Holbrook, everything down to her sweet-as-pie expressions of contempt make the audience love to hate her. Viola Davis brings the heart of the film as Aibileen, and Sissy Spacek steals every scene as the slightly loopy Mother Holbrook. And I think it is safe to say that Emma Stone has successfully navigated her way to serious dramatic actor, proving she is a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Taylor assumes that the memory of the Civil Rights Movement lingers for most, so in terms of historical backdrop we only get brief snapshots that tie us to any particular timeline, namely the assassinations of Medgar Evers and JFK. I would have enjoyed more time and place descriptors, but for a two and a half hour movie, it’s all about the characters, and their development. And given the tapestry of beautiful personalities we are given in The Help, I am more than satisfied.

Filmhash List: Steve Carell’s Career

With Crazy, Stupid, Love. out today, we thought we’d take a look at Steve Carell’s career to date, and review some of the highs and lows on his path to being one of the most in-demand comedy stars around.

Bruce Amighty (2003)
Like many people, this was my first exposure to Carell, and he basically stole the show right out from under Jim Carey in one scene. Here is the clip, where Jim Carey (with the powers of God) messes with Carell’s newscaster character. However, many knew him from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and in both of his first two big breaks, he is largely treading familiar ground.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Carell didn’t stray far from his first major film role when joining his next film. He plays Brick Tamland, the idiot weatherman, and provides the film with some of the best non-sequitors in one of the funniest films of the aughts.

The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

The first starring role for Carell came with Judd Apatow’s first directing job (Carell also got a writing credit). It was a smash success, and made it onto a lot of critics top ten lists for the year. The film broke him out of the newscaster role, and into playing a more fully realized character.

The Office (2005-2011)
That fall, the British hit series The Office was brought to American shores, and the character of Michael Scott was born. While obviously based on Ricky Gervais’ David Brent, Carell brought his own brand of comedy to the role, and made Michael Scott the most beloved boss in TV history (OK, maybe after Lou Grant).

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
At the time of shooting LMS, Carell was a virtual unknown in Hollywood, as this was prior to The 40 Year Old Virgin. The role of Frank was written with Bill Murray or Robin Williams in mind, but Steve Carell was chosen for the role a few months before filming began. The directors said, “When we met with Steve Carell, we didn’t know he could do this based upon what he had done. But when we met with him and talked to him about the character, the tone of the movie and the way we were approaching it, he was right on the same page with us.”

Evan Almighty/Dan in Real Life (2007)
Evan Almighty, at the time of release, was the most expensive comedy ever made. It was a financial flop, failing to bring in fans of the original, families, Christians, greenies, or any other conceivable demographic. However, Carell’s performance was one of the few things praised about the film.

The same year, he also starred in an indie comedy, Dan in Real Life, whose premise seems a tad similar to that of this weekend’s release. It’s regarded pretty highly, but I found it only to be moderately successful.

Get Smart (2008)
Steve Carell is the obvious choice to take over the role Don Adams originated, and there may be no one else alive who could have done as good of a job. One of the better TV-to-movie adaptations, it maintains the style and humor of the source material, while updating the attitude and adding some solid action scenes.


Date Night, Dinner for Schmucks (2010)
Last year brought Carell together with NBC Thursday Night Comedy co-star Tina Fey, a dream pairing, and they did make a delightful on screen couple. The film overall felt safe, but Carell and Fey playing to their strengths isn’t something to complain about.

Dinner for Schmucks isn’t a great film, but Carell’s performance might be what saves it. He brings a sincerity and honesty to the role that others would just play as the butt of every joke (see: Zack Galifianakis). Carell’s performance alone is enough to watch this film.