Dylan Ramsey’s love life is a total mess at the exact moment that a stunningly beautiful, professional cello player moves in next door. Realizing he’s in love he does anything to win her affection, including steal her dog so they can search for it together. Can he… give the dog back to her, I guess (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Lost & Found.
How?! Act I: Dylan Ramsey is a restaurateur extraordinaire in need of THE BIG LOAN, but his love life is a disaster. Just then he meets his new neighbor, Lila, and immediately knows this smart, super attractive, talented woman is perfect for him: a self-confident loser. If only she also had the self-confidence to realize it! Luckily the power of positivity is destined to bring them together. Or is it? Bum bum bum. That’s because Lila’s scummy ex-boyfriend, Rene, who totally cheated on her and didn’t foster her self-confidence, is in town. Uh oh! What’s a boy to do? You know, other than never go to work and steal Lila’s dog so that she all day searching for it with you. And so his life as a dognapper is born. Act II: The whole middle of the film is mostly him making snide remarks to Rene and lamenting having to spend a bunch of time with a lame dog that totally ate his best friend’s anniversary ring that he conveniently had to hold onto (that’s just good writing). Act III: Things come to a head at the big party Dylan’s restaurant is holding to try to secure THE BIG LOAN. Coincidentally Lila is also there so that she can speak to the head of the philharmonic to try to get a job. There’s a scene where Dylan sings Neil Diamond and totally gets THE BIG LOAN, but at the same time Lila finds out that he has her dog. Oh no! After a while of moping around Dylan finds that Lila actually forgives him for his transgressions and takes him back and they smooch a whole bunch. THE END. The film hinges on a regressive “low self-esteem woman needs the right man to fulfill her promise” plot with Dylan espousing the self-help stylings of The Secret. Dylan’s advice is to dream big, have confidence, and good things will happen. So the big question: Did Dylan imagine Lila into existence through the power of positive thinking?
Why?! Love, duh… at least as far as the “romantic” storyline goes. He’s smitten with Lila and all the insane things he does is tied up in that. She actually doesn’t seem as interested in love at the moment. She’s fresh out of a toxic relationship and just trying to find work in a new country (we could analyze exactly what kind of visa she has all day but I’ll spare you). Then there is the background business loan that Dylan needs to expand his successful (?) restaurant… but I choose to ignore that. Oh and a minor B-plot MacGuffin Alert as Dylan really needs to find the engagement ring he’s been tasked to keep safe… but no one else cares about that.
Who?! Movie Within A Movie Alert! Another rare type here as portions of a fake movie about a kid who has to shoot his own dog were shot for the film. The kid? Frankie Muniz. Speaking of dogs, I also appreciate when the canine actor is given an actual credit in the film. In this case Jack was played by Cody. Good dog.
What?! There are a number of small product placements, including an extended shot of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and the forced consumption of Pepto-Bismol by a dog. I do love when there is something in there that is so small you can’t even think of how or why it would be product placement. Like there is a moment when a character is drinking conspicuously from an Orange Julius cup… did Orange Julius pay for that? If yes, why?
Where?! This is obviously set in California. From the beautiful vistas to the California license plates to the Dodgers paraphernalia. If that was it, I think I’d land this at C+/B- territory. However, there are two scenes set explicitly in the Hollywood Bowl… which means this probably jumps all the way up to an A-.
When?! Because I’m insane, I went back through the film and made sure we couldn’t get an exact date. The closest we get is the Victoria’s Secret catalogue that Dylan gets in the mail. Clearly says Spring ‘98 on the cover and he’s getting the new issue so it is a rough estimate. Too bad I couldn’t find when those magazines were released more precisely. D+
Anyway, overall the film is pretty lightweight all-around and is particularly embarrassing at the end when Dylan secures the big loan from Martin Sheen by dressing up and singing a Neil Diamond song. I shudder even thinking about it. As for the Friend we brought, Soultaker starring Joe Estevez was a pretty enjoyable film to watch. It plot is thin, but the acting and writing are off the hook. The main actor in particular is just so weird it’s almost like meta-acting. Almost like he looked at the role and decided to play the type of actor that would take such a role instead of the role itself. The ending is nonsense too. Not bad in my opinion. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! I was lost, but now … I am found. All it took was a meandering story about a vulgar restauranteur with a heart of gold. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – I would have thought this film on first blush was a Happy Madison joint. In reality it seemed like a weird Spade vehicle that might have started as a Spade/Farley buddy comedy that was retrofitted after Farley’s death. Late 90s Something About Mary clones are maybe a blind spot for me, so that was probably the most interesting bit. What are my expectations? I would just be happy if there is enough gay panic, gross humor, and racial stereotypes to remind be that “yup, this is what comedies used to be like”. It was a wildly different time.
The Good – I genuinely liked Spade and how they made a big part of the film the idea that he needs to get this woman to know him because he comes across as a jerk. This is something that gets glossed over elsewhere: the sarcastic schlubby guy needs to have a sweet and funny side to make the mutual attraction at the center of the film make sense. I had one good chuckle which, again, is above average. We’ll get to the intricacies of the plot in the next section, but it is a surprisingly coherent plot given together it has to hold about five different threads together (main romantic storyline, restaurant needs a loan, Spade needs to hold his friend’s ring, French ex-beau in town, Spade’s employee is obsessed with him).
The Bad – Oh boy, the gay panic, child rape jokes, a hard f-bomb. It was a wild time indeed. The storyline is one of the best examples of the “plot cloud” I’ve ever seen. And little of it makes much sense … like, why is this bank allowing this restaurant to cater an event as part of a loan application (I know I know, Spade did it at cost, but why would Martin Sheen give a shit?)? Why does Sheen basically say loans aren’t based on money … and then turns around and gives the loan after Spade lip-syncs some Neil Diamond?! None of it makes sense. And finally, while it is clear the bad guy is a bad guy because he cheated on Lila we are told … most of his actions during the film make him look fine? He’s clearly controlling and smarmy, but Spade is kind of mean and inconsiderate to his friends as well. I can absolutely see why Leonard Maltin thought the bad guy came across as better than Spade during the film, especially at the time.
The BMT – It is weak. I think you can add it to the repertoire of late-90s and SNL-alum comedies. But the film isn’t over the top with the weirdness that you have to show it to people. Like, there isn’t a four minute long gay panic scene or anything, which would have made the movie a bit more must-see. We’ll see more Spade films, specifically Black Sheep with Farley qualifies. Did it meet my expectations? I feel like we are on an interesting streak of films kind of half meeting my expectations. We got gay panic, and child rape jokes, and gross humor out the wazoo. But it was too few and far between to sustain the shock-horror throughout.
Roast-radamus – I don’t think Artie Lange is a Planchet … he’s just filling into the Laurel and Hardy / Abott and Costello mold that Farley left behind with his death. Reading Jamie’s section I do think the Orange Julius thing was a real Product Placement (What?). Because SNL must have some connection to Orange Julius. They have to. Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles complete with a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. And then there is a discussion about the dog. It isn’t a MacGuffin, but it is a “thing” that is a linchpin to the plot. You can imagine any plot: boy meets girl, boy steals [object, e.g. a car, a dog, a prized surfboard] from her to get closer to her, hilarity ensues. It is a something, not a MacGuffin, but it is the “why” of the film. We won’t use it for the awards, but it is something to think about.
StreetCreditReport.com – Almost nothing, which shouldn’t be a surprise since I basically didn’t know this movie existed until I watched it. Roger Ebert eviscerated it which is a plus. It probably is one of the worst dognapping films. Could definitely make a list of worst David Spade films. And probably could be considered for a Worst Films Starring a French Movie Star list of some kind as well. But even those are pushing it.
Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Joe Estevez and Robert Z’Dar classic Soultaker? Never heard of it? Well, it is about four people whose souls become displaced after they die in a tragic car accident. They then must race against death itself, players by Joe Estevez … kind of, he’s like a dark angel character, but Z’Dar is like his boss as well. Anyways, it was written and stars Vivian Schilling and it was clearly a passion project for her. As a bad movie the acting is probably its strongest attribute. The weirdness of Joe Estevez and Z’Dar’s interactions help. And finally some of the weird choices like the drug dealing alcoholic asshole friend, and very strange scene with the mother are probably what you’d see online. I really liked this film. It is wild, and just entertaining enough to sustain the run time. Probably the only time is starts to die a bit is in the end when it just takes forever to get to the point. I really liked this as a friend. A B I think, very entertaining, but nothing super special and specifically interesting.
You Just Got Schooled – This time I had it easy because it turns out Soultaker is considered one of the best episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever made. In a poll it ranked 18th among fans, and it was noted as a favorite of current MST3K writer Elliott Kalan. The episode is very good in my estimation, having watched a number of MST3K over the years. The comparison of the main character to Tonya Harding, the constant 60 Minutes references, the riffing on the screenwriting in general, and notes concerning Joe Estevez’s status as the lesser Estevez brother are all gold. I would say that while Soultaker itself is entertaining in its weirdness, the MST3K episode made it a very easy rewatch a week later. Indeed, while I may have only occasionally indulged in Soultaker by itself, I think if someone had never seen MST3K this is a fine introduction and companion to the film. It is nice that it, in a way, lends a stamp of approval to the film as an unqualified bad movie.