From Ben Stiller’s flawed, but occasionally brilliant 2013 remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” this is a compilation of scenes set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” a song which plays a pivotal role in the film. I felt “Mitty” was severely underrated. The understated way that director Stiller shows the developing relationship between his character and Kristen Wiig’s is wonderful and one of the best and most natural portrayals of “a friendship growing into something more” ever put on film.
Among the more inspired bits in Ben Stiller’s extremely funny 2008 Hollywood satire “Tropic Thunder” were these fake ads / movie trailers starring the film’s lead characters that came before “Thunder” started. Not safe for work. “I’ve been a bad, bad boy, Father.”
Director David O. Russell is currently enjoying a critical (and increasingly popular commercial) hit with “Sliver Linings Playbook.” While Russell has directed some great films in his career (“Three Kings,” “The Fighter”), my favorite is the nearly forgotten “Flirting with Disaster” from 1995. Easily one of the best comedies of the 1990s, Ben Stiller plays a new father who can’t bring himself to name his new child until he discovers who his real parents are. His journey leads him down some very bizarre and hysterically funny detours. Everything about “Disaster,” from the script to the casting (Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Josh Brolin, Richard Jenkins, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, and several other terrific character actors) is flawless. Aside from the generic title (which is pretty terrible, in my opinion), I don’t know why this film was not a commercial hit. While it has become a minor cult favorite, the film truly deserves better and is so goofy and weird, it will put a smile on your face, even if you’re in the worst mood.
The opening track of Nico’s “Chelsea Girl” album from 1967, written by Jackson Browne. It also underscored the moving finale of Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums,” specifically the final scene between Ben Stiller’s and Gene Hackman’s characters, a scene that always gets me.