Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

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mfunk9786
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Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#1 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:17 pm

The reviews for this film intrigued me, so I was looking forward to seeing it. Any time a comedy splits critics like this one does, and is described as being unlike most studio films, it's easy to intrigue me. I found The Foot Fist Way to be just a little too amateurish to consistently enjoy, but I adored the first season of Eastbound & Down for the most part. I was curious to see what Jody Hill could accomplish with studio money and a surprisingly diverse cast in a film that's he's self-described as a comedic Taxi Driver, and I couldn't have been more pleased.

Hill is the main reason why the film works, because his direction (and the lensing of the overqualified Tim Orr) is tight and economical, which is essential when you're dealing with material like this. I was constantly impressed by how he was able to cut away quickly from a great punchline or visual gag - it was the polar opposite of an Adam McKay/Will Ferrell movie, that would have lingered on even the most dubious gag for five minutes, letting Ferrell yell and scream and wear the joke to the bone. Seth Rogen put in his first true performance, allowing himself to go to dark places that I didn't think he was capable of, much like a poor man's Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love. I knew people like Ronnie in high school, I think we all did - and apparently so did Rogen, because he played the character to a T. Faris was also superb, pouting her lips out and once again stealing every scene she was in (has this ever not happened when she shows up in a movie?).

What made me think this movie was a near-masterpiece was Hill's ability to juggle exaggerated humor with dark realism. When Ronnie begins his descent into Bickle territory by attacking Patton Oswalt (in a funny small role), we're more terrified than amused, and have accepted (having seen the pitch black humor in the date sequence with Rogen and Faris) that the movie intends to take us to dark places, still inviting us to laugh the whole way through if we're moved to do so.

This is the best movie Rogen has ever been in, and while I know I like him more than most people on this board, he usually only brings a charm and comedic timing to comedies - this time his acting was on display, and was the driving force of what was a surprisingly excellent ride. I highly recommend this one - even if you don't end up liking it, I doubt you'll feel that you wasted your money/time by going to see it, and I guarantee that at least someone you're with will walk out of the theater with the same ear-to-ear grin that I had.
Last edited by mfunk9786 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#2 Post by knives » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:29 pm

Absolutely agree, wish I hadn't re-watched King of Comedy earlier that day, but oh well. I'm curious about the boards take on th last sequence, which frankly didn't feel like it was in the reality that Hill set up. Maybe Ronnie was experiencing a skewed hallucination from not taking his pills mixed with the other thingsthat had gone on at that point?

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#3 Post by cdnchris » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:24 pm

I've been meaning to catch this one, though may have to wait for video. I saw Rogen talk about it on some talk show (can't remember which, they all sort of meld together) and was intrigued by his description of it, which didn't fit with the trailers I had seen that presented it as a stoner "Paul Blart". He really pushed it was dark, though, as if to warn the audience, and mentioned Taxi Driver a few times. Don't know if it worked because by the sounds of it a lot of people went to see it thinking it was another Paul Blart only to come out somewhat horrified. That has me even more intrigued.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#4 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:31 pm

The "date rape" scene has been garnering a fair share of internet discussion. Kim Voynar does a good job of distilling all of that here.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#5 Post by LQ » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:37 pm

cdnchris wrote:He really pushed it was dark, though, as if to warn the audience,
I think you have to have a predilection (or at least a tolerance) for a certain caustic, very dark sense of humor in order to enjoy this movie. Seth Rogen was right to caution the audience! I really enjoyed this too, but damn...certain scenes were downright gutwrenching.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#6 Post by Barmy » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:21 pm

Loved this film. Saw it in Times Square with people clapping and hooting, babies crying, etc. However, the date rape scene is 10 seconds at best and shows a loss of nerve. The uneven tone is far too rare in Hollywood movies these days.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#7 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:17 pm

Did you want the date rape scene to go on for five minutes? The joke was presented, intentionally lingered upon for just a beat too long, there was a punchline, and the movie moved on. Any longer and the scene would no longer work, it'd just become "look how dark this is!" The economical editing is one of the film's greatest strengths.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#8 Post by knives » Thu Apr 23, 2009 4:24 pm

Let's leave him to the Barmyverse.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#9 Post by Barmy » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:04 pm

It was not lingered on. In fact, had I not been alerted to it by the MSM, I might not have noticed it at all. The whole POINT of the date rape scene is you are supposed to (1) feel outraged/uncomfy and then (2) laugh at the punchline. There wasn't time to be outraged/uncomfy before the punchline. EPIC FAIL. :x

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#10 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:32 pm

Were you half asleep? One character was fucking another character who had her eyes closed and puke all over her after heavily drinking all night. Need me to draw you a diagram?

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#11 Post by knives » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:38 pm

knives wrote:Let's leave him to the Barmyverse.
It will be so much easier for you to just listen to me. Otherwise you're just feeding a well respected troll.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#12 Post by knives » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:41 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:Were you half asleep? One character was fucking another character who had her eyes closed and puke all over her after heavily drinking all night. Need me to draw you a diagram?
Barmy always sleeps through movies.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#13 Post by Barmy » Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:00 am

I would have preferred about 60 seconds of fucking before the punch line. What was that French flick with the rape scene? Irreversible? Something more like that. :o

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#14 Post by knives » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:11 pm

I doubt a punchline would help in that case.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:22 pm

Barmy has officially ruined that scene for me forever.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#16 Post by knives » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:23 pm

The one in O&R or Irreversible?

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#17 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:27 pm

Both

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#18 Post by swo17 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:36 pm

I'm sorry you are no longer able to enjoy rape.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#19 Post by nsps » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:54 pm

This is where the scene loses its nerve: Ronnie stops, noticing that she's passed out, checks on her, then she tells him to keep going. You can see the whole thing in the restricted trailer. This overrides the suggestion of rape and says "It's all good, folks, just some friendly fucking." I can see how some might find this dodging of the issue more offensive than the portrayal of rape.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#20 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:31 pm


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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#21 Post by Niale » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:39 am

I watched this again recently and was really struck by its brilliance.
I am awfully glad to see that Cult Canon article. I was honestly quite surprised to see all of the negative press, when I took to the net afterwards.
From the looks of things, Roger Ebert did not even review it.

I am in the camp, if there is one, that thinks the entire movie is a fantasy.
And plays by the rules of a deranged fantasy. This may be a bit of a reach, but the last image of him in a gun range tells me that as he was imagining the entire story while shooting at the range. As for the rape scene, while watching the movie I just thought it was really funny. I dont honestly understand the hypocrisy. The girl can be portrayed as an ignorant floozy who willingly throws herself this way and that- sans the rape scene I bet nobody would have been offended by this performance- and the mall cop can shoot as many people as he likes... But when you logically bring those two absurd threads together... For the rape scene... All the sudden you cant do that. The rest of the movie was dark and funny, violent, mean spirited. Besides, we are meant to be disgusted with the both of them.

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Re: Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009)

#22 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:31 pm

Roger Ebert was very ill around the time that this film came out.

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