Kumail Nanjiani

If you didn’t get out to the movies as much as you’d hoped in 2017, it’s not too late to catch up on these worthy titles!

Spinning Platters Film Editor Carrie Kahn shares her ten favorite films of 2017, presented in descending rank order. You can also check out her list from last year here

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Film Review: Fist Fight

by Carrie Kahn on February 17, 2017

Run, don’t walk, away from this fight

Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day) and Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube) moments before they get into a… wait for it… fist fight.

I’m going to try and keep this review short, since you, gentle Spinning Platters readers, deserve better than even to have to read about this painfully awful, joyless, and unfunny new “film.” And I use that term loosely. Suffice to say I sat through 90 minutes of the most mean-spirited, petty, and demoralizing material ever presented as comedy on screen just to bring you this warning: Do. Not. Go. See. This. Movie. It hurts me to even say its title, but in the spirit of educating you so you know what to avoid, the picture in question is called Fist Fight; if you see it on your local theater marquee, now you know to instead choose to see literally anything else that’s playing.
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… in which our intrepid California-bred Senior Film Reviewer defies an epic winter storm and a fierce chest cold to bring you highlights from this year’s famous Park City fest.

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival ended last Saturday evening after ten days of showcasing over 200 films from around the globe; you can see all the winners here.

For the third year in a row, Spinning Platters was on the (snow-covered) ground trying to take in as many movies as our limited time and budget would allow. And so we bring you the first of our posts spotlighting the 17 films we managed to squeeze in to just over five days.

Many of these may receive distribution deals (if they haven’t already), so you can know what to watch for in the coming year with these handy capsule reviews, which use our patented Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide:

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Winning cast brings solid laughs to predictable picture

Mike (Adam Devine, l.) and Dave (Zac Efron, r.) are aghast after being chastised by their parents for their boorish behavior at family events.

Back in the pre-Internet days, an old creative writing teaching technique used to be to have students read the classifieds and generate a short story based on gems they found there. Screenwriters Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien obviously understand the imaginative gold of such an assignment, since, for their post-Neighbors 1 and 2 screenplay, they’ve turned an actual Craigslist ad into the decently funny picture Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Directed by TV comedy director Jake Szymanski in his first feature film foray, Mike and Dave is neither no more nor no less than what you’d expect from a raunchy-but-sweet summer comedy.
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Photo by Paige Parsons

Photo by Paige Parsons

Ending a festival is always a little bittersweet. Because you had fun, but you are also tired. So tired that you will end up seeing fewer acts, but it’s OK. Quality over quantity, eh? And these were probably the best sets of the weekend.

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The Greatest Event in Television History

It would be impossible to fill out a standard account of the events of The Greatest Event in Festival History, a panel for the shockingly popular Adult Swim series where Adam Scott (Party Down, Parks and Recreation) painstakingly recreates the opening sequences of 80’s tv shows. The panel featured star/creator/co-director Scott, co-director Lance Bangs (acclaimed music video director for acts such as Green Day, Belle and Sebastian and The Shins) and co-star/professional Ted Knight impersonator Jon Glaser (Parks and Recreation, Late Night with Conan O’Brien) and was moderated by Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash, The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail).

However, what happened during the 90 minutes that these stars were on stage defies all sense of narrative cause and effect. So, in order to give you an idea of what occurred that day, I present to you a list of real actual things that for real happened during The Greatest Event in Festival History.

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SF Sketchfest Review: You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 2/2/13

February 5, 2013

Pete Holmes’ podcast You Made it Weird is funny, deep and as the title suggests, weird. The greatest thing about it though is how the podcast can be so funny and so personal at the same time. Since all my favorite parts of the podcast are the little personal moments, I was a little apprehensive that the […]

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Sketchfest Review: The Meltdown with Kumail Nanjiani, Jonah Ray and many more at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 1/28/2012

January 30, 2012

On Wednesdays, in Los Angeles, you can go to Meltdown Comics and see comedy in the back of a comic book store. On Saturday night in San Francisco, hosts Kumail Nanjiani and Jonah Ray brought the comics but left the store behind. What this meant is that  we were treated to a  long and varied […]

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