For the 23rd week of 2022 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the world of shopping malls as I’m sure for anyone here from the 1980s and 1990s would definitely remember those places even though they’re on their way out. Even here in Smyrna, GA as Cumberland Mall, which was once a great place filled with so many cool things, is now a shithole. Here are my three picks:
1. Mallrats Though it was maligned upon its initial release in late 1995 more than a year after Kevin Smith broke through with his debut film Clerks the year before. It is a film that deserve its cult status as it play into two slackers dealing with girl issues as they spend much of their time at a mall. There’s some hilarious moments including a gag involving Kevin Smith’s Silent Bob character trying to use Jedi mind tricks or flying where he would get a look at a topless Joey Lauren Adams or Ethan Suplee trying see what’s in the Magic Eye painting. Add a great cameo from Stan Lee and a topless Priscilla Barnes with a third nipple, it is a joy to watch as it also features an early appearance from frequent Smith collaborator Ben Affleck.
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop While it is mainly Die Hard in a mall with a fat security guard with hypoglycemia, it is still a fun and entertaining film in which the titular character is really a good guy who works his ass off. It is a film that doesn’t take itself seriously with Kevin James delivering a solid performance as the titular character who just tries to make the mall safe during the Thanksgiving holidays until a bunch of thieves come in to try and steal some money but they have to deal with Paul Blart. He maybe the underdog in this scenario but he’s got a lot of heart and if he’s carrying some sugar. He will be a powerhouse. This was a film not well-received by many critics but it did get a nice praise from the late, great Roger Ebert.
3. Observe and Report Jody Hill’s mall cop comedy about an unstable young man who is trying to apprehend a flasher while also trying to win over a bitchy make-up counter worker is a film that has some good moments. Yet, it tries too hard to be a lot of things with Hill wanting to be a funny version of Taxi Driver (which is really King of Comedy) where he does succeed in a few moments thanks in part to Seth Rogen’s performance as well as a great supporting turn from Michael Pena as his partner. Still, it is an uneven fare that doesn’t do much for its ensemble cast despite some solid supporting work from the late, great Ray Liotta.
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