Review/Editorial: 'War Dogs' & Leaving Your Comfort Zone
I think I'm noticing a pattern with this weekend's new releases. All three of them are vaguely connected by underlying themes of family, betrayal and high stakes adventure. The details are what set them apart. Today's film, for example, is based on a true story, and is director Todd Phillips's first drama, a departure from his usual style. This is my editorial for War Dogs, starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill.
Based on a true story, War Dogs follows two friends in their early 20s living in Miami during the first Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military, a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government.
Just to keep my thoughts brief, and because I don't want to spoil some of the crazy shit that happens in the film, I'd prefer not to write a traditional review. Instead, since I'm a huge fan of directors stepping out of their comfort zone, I'm going to make a case for 3 comedic directors who I feel are most suited to direct a drama. I'll get into the rules in a sec, but first, here are my brief thoughts on the film.
War Dogs kinda blew me away. It's not perfect, and I wasn't always a fan of certain choices Todd Phillips made, but for the most part I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. I like Miles Teller the best when he gets to cut loose with actors around his age, such as Jonah Hill, who puts 110% into his role as Efram Diveroli, the founder of AEY. These two have amazing chemisty, and you really buy into their history, at least somewhat. I'm convinced that had Marvel not already cast Vincent D'Onofrio, Hill would have made a great Kingpin. Having collaborated several times before, Bradley Cooper has a minor supporting role as Henry Girard, the key to their success. The dialogue is fantastic, the jokes land at all the right moments and dramatic scenes are very effective. The only things I didn't like were the transitions between scenes that showed random lines of dialogue throughout the film, and the use of Miles Teller's narration seemed like it was trying too hard to ape Martin Scorsese's style. But overall, I highly recommend checking it out this weekend.
Alright, so now that that's out of the way, I've picked out three directors who would best be suited to try their hand at a drama. Before we begin, the rules are simple: these directors cannot have already directed a drama or a comic book movie. That being said, here are my choices.
First one that comes to mind is Nicholas Stoller, best known for some of my favorite comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the Neighbors franchise. Stoller would probably be making the easiest transition, since a lot of his films already have dramatic moments. Plus, because he's already worked with Disney writing their two recent Muppets movies, directing a Star Wars Anthology film is not out of the question. Now let's be clear here, I'm not expecting his first drama to sweep the Academy Awards, but maybe he could try something more personal, shop it around the various film festivals or make it a Netflix exclusive.
Next on the list would be Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Now hold on, I know what you're going to say, "but what about Preacher?" Yes, they did direct the first two episodes of Preacher, a show that they're also executive producing. But here's the thing, I only said comic book MOVIE directors were disqualified, not TV. I'm sure there's a property out there that would require a bigger budget than what TV can afford. Besides, with films like This is the End and The Interview already under their belts, they're just about ready for anything.
Finally, I'd love to see what Phil Lord and Chris Miller have under their sleeves. They're already hard at work prepping for the Young Han Solo film that's coming in a few years, but what's next? It doesn't take a rocket science to guess the box office on that film, as just the Star Wars title alone will get it to $1 Billion. And with that money, they can basically do whatever they want. Also, they have this reputation for making the best possible version of the worst possible ideas ever, and I can't wait to see whatever it is they want to try next. Maybe they're going old school and will bring back film noir.
So those are my thoughts, I'm really curious to see what you guys come up with. First off, have you seen War Dogs, and if so what did you think? Also, who are some comedy directors currently working today that you would like to see step out of their comfort zone? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned as always for more content coming your way!