Paulie: Charlie Kaufman, Eat Your Heart Out

From left: Jay Mohr, Jay Mohr, and Jay Mohr.

Paulie (1998)
Directed by John Roberts
Written by Laurie Craig
91 min.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—when you’re a kid, it’s damn near impossible to know whether a movie is revered or not. You watch a thing, and if you enjoy it, it’s a part of your world. And your world is only as big as you and your parents, so if you and your parents like the thing, it’s a ‘classic’. Only when you grow up do you discover, by asking friends and scouring the internet, how many movies you thought were well-known that were really just well-known to you.

It still throws me for a loop that I’m the only person in the history of the world who has seen Little Big League. When I was a kid, it played on TV just as much Rookie of the Year, but apparently, I’m the only one who flipped to it. I must’ve watched it damn near 30 times, and I still know parts from it by heart: “Kids today are amazing—I played winter ball down in Venezuela, and they had kids half his age, every one of them speaking Spanish. That’s a hard language.” “They speak Spanish in Venezuela.” “I know! That’s my point!”

But I digress.

The point is, Paulie is one of these such movies—a movie that, for whatever reason, hasn’t had its due, despite being ubiquitous at one point in time. And like Little Big League, it still holds up today. It’s thoroughly enjoyable family fare.

But it’s also so much more.

Paulie is the most ‘meta’ family film of all time.
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Wes Anderson, Please Don’t Become Tim Burton

Wes Anderson is capable of perfect moments like this. But I don’t think he even cares.

I love him, don’t get me wrong. I’m a Wes Anderson fan. I really am. Every single one of his movies are either very good or great. Well, almost every single one. His latest, Moonrise Kingdom, is quite bad. And that worries me. Because until it, Anderson had that whole ‘style and substance’ thing down pat—and then suddenly, not so much. To the untrained eye, one might assume it was simply a much-needed slapdash, throwaway, breather film after the hard work and meticulousness of Fantastic Mr. Fox. But I suspect something worse going on. I suspect hackery.
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