The Trip

YEAR: 2010

DIRECTOR: Michael Winterbottom

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: $1,090,768 (as of July 17th, 2011)

 

When The Observer asks steve coogan to tour the finest restaurants he asks his girlfriend to go with him. she can't, so he calls a bunch of friends and asks them to go. but none of them are available so he calls rob brydon and asks him.

now, if the names steve coogan and rob brydon mean nothing to you, than i can understand why maybe you haven't been as excited about seeing The Trip as i have. however, that shouldn't stop you from seeing it now.

the film is a very simple road/buddy movie in which steve and rob travel through the north of england while - among other things - eating great food, checking out the countryside and trying to one-up each other with their michael caine impressions.

i will admit that while i have been familiar with steve coogan for many years - since i discovered his brilliant tv show I Am Allen Partridge and then in films like 24 Hour Party People and Hamlet 2 to name a couple - i only became familiar with rob brydon when i saw him and coogan in Tristam Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story. in that film they have some great moments playing off each other and The Trip just lets them take that to the next level.

the film began its life as a series on the bbc which director michael winterbottom took and edited down into a 100 minute film. he took out much of what wouldn't be understood by a north american audience - like references and the like. and i think he did a good job with it.

i haven't seen the tv series, but i think the film stands on its own and the characters are defined enough that any audience, even those with no reference point to coogan and brydon, will get it. although, there are moments that might go by without recognition as they did for me (there was a Flight Of The Concords reference i missed and a couple celebrities mentioned that i had no idea who they were).

so much of the film is the two of them improvising while sitting and eating or sitting in the car. and while the first big laugh comes with the battling michael caines, the funniest scene has to be the two of them riffing on the line "we rise at dawn!"

beyond the laughs, the film is about these two friends who are about the same age, but at two different places in their lives.

brydon has a wife and a kid. coogan has an ex-wife and a kid. he still dates and chases women and is on a break from his girlfriend and lives alone in a lonely apartment. brydon is well-known in the U.K. and is content with his career. coogan is better known internationally but is still looking for more fame and recognition. you get the idea...

for those who are a little more in-the-know about these guys and the history of their work, their careers, etc, their relationship in the film might bring with it even more recognizable layers and understanding. but for the rest of us - like i mentioned earlier - it isn't an issue. you don't sit there thinking you are missing out on anything. the film is put together really well and the ideas are simple and universal.

Tupperware!

Tupperware Year: 2004

Writer & Director: Laurie Kahn-Leavitt

Tupperware! played at a few film festivals but never got a theatrical release - in case you are wondering why you never heard of it. rather it made its broadcast debut on pbs' The American Experience television show (which is a great series by the way).

Tupperware! is a pretty standard documentary with a narrator, archival footage and personal interviews all weaved together. there is nothing wrong with that though, and for anyone interested in the subject it is informative and interesting.

i would describe the film as a "biography" of brownie wise and tupperware, but wise is the real focus of the film. brownie wise is the woman that took tupperware and made it the huge business it became by creating and marketing and getting the company to commit to selling its product through the famous "tupperware parties".

the film looks at the rise of the parties and talks to women who became sellers and managers, etc... and the business that became basically the template for any similar business-model in the future. if you, or anyone you know has been a part of a business that uses people as sellers and who then get more people to sell and grow the business then you are familiar with what brownie wise created.

today everyone knows tupperware, but with all the various knockoffs the stuff isn't as pervasive as it once was (the patent ran out in the 80s i think - only a short while after creator earl tupper passed away). however, this film provides a little history about the product (i would have liked more) and the woman that knew how to sell it.