TV REVIEW: TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES – SEASON 02 – EPISODE 02

 

The Duke Poster
 Directors:

Writers:

Tim Heidecker (created by), T 

Stars:

Tim HeideckerEric WareheimIsaac Cheung

Review by Mary Cox

“The Duke”

The image of a casino exclusively for scratcher cards is amusing enough, but like all of Wareheim and Heidecker’s work, the point you should consider is the “heart of fear” in this episode. This episode features Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame, who previously has appeared worked with Eric Wareheim as the starring role in his video for “Wishes” by dream-pop duo Beach House. There’s something about Wise’s natural charisma that lends itself to surrealist media, and his performance, alongside Rhea Perlman and Jorge Garcia, should not be missed.

Bedtime Stories works fundamentally because it plays on our deepest fears and insecurities. On one hand, there’s the surface story about the casino and learning to live with a lie, but that’s not what makes “The Duke” so unsettling. When looking at this narrative specifically from a masculine perspective, this story is very obviously about a fear of cuckoldry and emasculation. Whereas “Baklava” was about the externalized issue of saving someone from themselves, “The Duke” focuses on personal loss of agency via impotence and forced submission.

This is the reason why Bedtime Stories is sometimes described as “hit or miss.” The terror and discomfort doesn’t necessarily “kick in” unless your personal issues and insecurities are up to bat. Even if you’re not afraid of losing your wife to another man, or you’ve never struggled to keep someone’s head above the waters of mental illness or addiction, everyone has some kind of deep-seated anxiety or raw nerve. Give it time. Wareheim and Heidecker will get to you and your issues as well.

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

TIM AND ERIC'S BEDTIME STORIES 2.jpg

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TV REVIEW: TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES – SEASON 02 – EPISODE 01

 

Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories Poster
Tim and Eric’s parody of horror anthology TV shows.

Stars:

Tim HeideckerEric WareheimZach Galifianakis

Review by Mary Cox

“Baklava”

The second season of Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker’s spiritual successor to both Awesome Show, Great Job and Check It Out! is back in action. Anthology horror series are becoming more and more popular with the success of films like V/H/S, creating more room on television for the release of shorts and limited one-offs.

Wareheim and Heidecker’s work balances in that space between humor and discomfort, but Bedtime Stories goes beyond cringe comedy and delves into the realm of the surreal. The framing narrative of “Baklava” about a man trying to get a bonus at work to pay off his daughter’s kidnappers matters only because it gives us a context for the surreal events that follow. This episode feels like an anxiety dream, where uncertainty reigns and dread looms.

Looking beyond the surface of this episode, there’s a clear parable here about the difficulty of living with people who suffer from addictions, and about the pain and futility of constantly pulling someone you care about back from the edge over and over again. This series functions incredibly well because it taps into real fears and anxieties. Bedtime Stories uses comedy to comfortably burrow into us just deep enough that it can still tap on our nerves when it wants.

 

******
“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

TIM AND ERIC'S BEDTIME STORIES 1

Film Review: SUNDOWNERS

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

SUNDOWNERSIt’s not the destination wedding that matters, but the journey the hapless videographers have trying to capture it.

Director: Pavan Moondi
Writer: Pavan Moondi
Stars: Phil Hanley, Luke Lalonde, Tim Heidecker

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
SUNDOWNERS follows two young males Alex Hopper (Phil Hanley) and Justin Brown (Luke Lalonde) as they travel to a Mexican resort as videographers to shoot a wedding.

It is a case of everything that could possibly go wrong does, and in the worse possible way. Their trip is already doomed from the start when their boss gives them the incorrect flight information This is followed by incorrect hotel information. It does not help that Justin is recruited as Alex’s photographer and really knows nothing about the camera. When they finally meet members of the wedding family, they find more trouble afoot. The bridegroom has just lost his job and gone bankrupt, with the bride, who appears to be all over him, unaware f the situation. They meet the best man, who is of questionably character though appearing friendly enough. The father urns out gay and hits upon Alex. All the high jinx sounds ripe for crazy and laugh-out loud humour but surprisingly the film is only mildly funny.

For a film with a cast of stand-ups, the laughs are surprisingly few and far between. The film plays like an uncomfortable comedy where the comedy is supposed to come from the misfortunes of the lead characters. A similar example is THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS where a couple lands in New York City and everything goes wrong. Incident after incident work against the couple but as the audience wants the couple to do well, it is hard to laugh at the mishaps. The same goes for the two landing in Mexico where one thing after another do not go as planned.

If one observes the dialogue at many points in the movie, many of the lines can be put together in a stand-up comedy routine. But somehow put in the situation of the film’s plot, they do not come across as funny at all. This is surprising considering that many of the cast and director are real life standup comics. They should be aware of how critical timing is. An example is the horror comedy GET OUT by a director who is a stand up comic. GET OUT was unexpectedly funny, primarily out of timing and camera set ups.

The film benefits from the two lead actors Luke Lalonde and Phil Hanley. They are spirited, good looking, likeable and emit good chemistry. They appear to be people fun to be with which means audiences feel comfortable with their characters.

The film is set in Mexico. The film’s hotel setting looks like any one of the all-inclusive resorts that I have visited in Mexico. But the credits indicate the film being shot in Columbia.

Moondi gives the impression that he is out to get cheap laughs at every opportunity. An example is evident in the scene where the couple rides a cab and the camera focus on a row of bobbing dog heads laid out on the dashboard. Another has them sitting on the steps of a hotel waiting fro a cab when Mexicans walk behind them laughing as if the stand ups are provided by laughter to get the humour going.

SUNDOWNERS should and could have been funnier!

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