Quick Hits: Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, SubUrbia, Tape

Quick Hits: Tape cover

Quick Hits

In the latest edition of Quick Hits, I take a look at a new animation/live-action hybrid comedy on Disney+ and two under-seen (and possibly underrated) works from a definitive voice of the American independent film movement.

Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers

Quick Hits: Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers screenshot

Year: 2022 | Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The plot and story of Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers are pretty flimsy, and the dialogue and animation is not great in places. But the gags and jokes and references are fun! I laughed a lot while watching this.

Overall, I don’t think this was great, but I mostly enjoyed it, so that’s a win in my book.

Language: English
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Mystery
Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.
Rating: PG

Director: Akiva Schaffer
Starring: Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, KiKi Layne, Will Arnett, Eric Bana

SubUrbia

Quick Hits: SubUrbia screenshot

Year: 1996 | Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I ended up liking SubUrbia more and more as it went along. At first, I thought it was going to be overly long and boring, but as the themes got going, I found myself appreciating it more. And I really didn’t like the supposed climatic event, which I felt would have been out-of-place and melodramatic, especially for a Richard Linklater film. But then it ended up being a fake-out, which I thought was clever and interesting.

I don’t think that this is one of Linklater’s best works, but there’s still a lot to chew on here. Racism, classism, toxic masculinity, violence begetting violence, the effect of the military on the psyches of young men, suburban existentialism, the never-changing landscape of the American middle class…more than a few of these themes are ahead of their time, and I think that SubUrbia is one of the more effective “generation X manifestos” that I’ve seen.

Perhaps this could have been a masterpiece if Linklater himself had written the script, but Eric Bogosian’s play provides more than enough subtext to sustain his perhaps at-times uneven script.

Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 2 hr. 1 min.
Rating: R

Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Giovanni Ribisi, Parker Posey, Steve Zahn, Nicky Katt, Ajay Naidu

Tape

Quick Hits: Tape screenshot

Year: 2001 | Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tape wasn’t written by Richard Linklater, but it sure as hell feels like it could have been, with the kind of fast-paced, witty and at times philosophical dialogue that has become his trademark. And since he’s working with material so close to his own style, he directs the hell out of this film. It takes place entirely inside of a cramped hotel room in real time and has almost no physical action, but I couldn’t take my eyes away as the three characters verbally sparred with each other with expert precision.

The film is shot in poor quality with a consumer-grade camcorder, which makes it quite unlike anything I’d ever seen before visually, as well. As a result, this might be Linklater’s “edgiest” film, reminiscent of the Dogme 95 movement and giving me some serious early Harmony Korine vibes. 

And man, Ethan Hawke is a goddamn whirlwind in this film. He gives what might be his best performance, and it’s a joy to watch.

I’m very happy that I finally got around to watching this one; it’s been on my watchlist forever, and with Criterion Channel’s current retrospective of Linklater’s work, I really had no excuse to keep putting it off. It’s certainly a (perhaps under-seen) gem in his filmography.

Language: English
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 1 hr. 26 min.
Rating: R

Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman

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