epic tea


“Alan was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.” Emma Thompson, tribute to Alan Rickman

Scenes from: “Gambit”, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, “Epic Tea Time with Alan Rickman”, “Michael Collins”, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, “Love actually”, “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” ,“The Search for John Gissing“, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2“, “Nobel Son”

So, go to Paris. If you can’t do that, go somewhere. Take a road trip, a train trip, a bus trip if you must. Find a place that reminds you that the world is so much bigger than your heart and whoever broke it this time around. Go hang out by the ocean and trip out on its mammoth ancientness. Offer it your heartache—it’s big enough to hold it, to dilute it with all that salt and water, melt it away to nothing. Salt purifies. Take a dunk if you can stand it. You’re alive. That relationship was but one chapter in your long, long story, one little scene in your epic.
—  Michelle Tea, How To Grow Up: A Memoir
Epic Movie (Re)Watch #228 - Tower Heist

Spoilers Below

Have I seen it before: Yes

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: Yes.

Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes, #129.

Format: DVD

Disclaimer: As this is an analysis/recap/review/weird musings post about Tower Heist, I’m not really going to get into the claims against Brett Ratner or Casey Affleck. I will say though I think it’s horrible what I did and I hope they face consequences for their actions.

1) I very much like Christophe Beck’s score for this film. It really fits the heist theme. It’s cool, slick, and a gets stuck in your head quite nicely. Since we get to hear Beck’s score before we even see any visuals for the film, I thought I’d mention it here.

2) The chess scene between Josh and Shaw speaks to how the heart of their relationship is conflict ridden. Even when they’re friendly at the beginning, even when they’re civil, there is a conflict there that is very interesting.

3) Ben Stiller as Josh Kovacs.

Josh is a very strong main character. You understand that he’s not only good at his job but incredibly dedicated and focused as well. He cares, but the one thing he cares more about is people. Josh is shown to be very empathetic not only to his staff but to a number of residents in the tower. He gives Fitzhugh extra time to leave, he chases down Shaw when he thinks he’s been kidnapped, and he knows all his staff like the back of his hand. Stiller’s reserved, human (albeit very Stiller-y) performance supports this and makes Josh a nice guy to follow along through the story.

4) Going behind the scenes of the Tower at the beginning gives you a sense of not only how this place is run but also gets you invested in its employees. They’re developed in small ways to be more than stereotypes, to be people you like and care for. This is important, as the fact that they are the ones who get screwed is the main plot.

5) Michael Peña as Enrique Dev’Reaux.

Peña is in competition as the film’s ultimate scene stealer (in competition with Gabourey Sidibe). Not only does he fit will the rest of the ensemble cast, but he’s remarkably funny on his own. Peña plays the role as sweet and endearing when he could have easily come off as annoying. But there’s a sincerity and uniqueness in the performance which makes it interesting.

6) This line always stuck with me, probably because of the film’s themes.

Josh: “You’re committing a crime.”

Fitzhugh: “I understand that.”

7) Alan Alda as Arthur Shaw.

You can definitely see why people would defend, trust, and believe show in the beginning of the film. He’s friendly and polite, but it’s obviously a facade. Alda is able to switch between Shaw’s “friendliness” and his rottenness very well, making it feel like a united character instead of two foreign elements. He’s wonderfully skeezy.

8) Téa Leoni as Agent Denham.

Originally posted by muldersleoni

The writing for Claire Denham doesn’t make her more than a plot device Josh likes, I think. BUT Leoni is able to breathe such personality and life into the character that you almost forget how she is on the page. There is one scene in particular which represents this well: Denham feels actually human when she gets drunk at a bar with Josh, but she’s still the sexy drunk girl trope. So it’s a mixed bag: Leoni’s strong performance but weak writing. At least Brett Ratner didn’t dress her up in stupid “sexy” costumes.

9) TW: Suicide

Lester’s suicide attempt isn’t only powerful from a storytelling standpoint, but edited very well. Particularly, the scene ends perfectly. You don’t know if he was successful or not right away, it’s 50/50.

10) I love this line.

Lester: “Truth is, people can open their own doors.”

11) Josh going off on Shaw.

Originally posted by waastelaand

It is so wonderfully cathartic to see Josh go after Shaw. It perfectly paints that Josh cares more about people than his job (something which was a little in doubt before now). It also perfectly sets up his motivations moving forward AND means there is no more question of if Shaw did it or not.

Josh [after Shaw says he cares about Lester after his suicide attempt]: “Then why haven’t you asked me if he’s alive or dead?”

I dig it.

12) The sadness we see among the staff shows how much Josh means to them and how good a boss he was.

13) Matthew Broderick as Mr. Fitzhugh.

Broderick has some of the most surprisingly memorable lines in the film, playing Fitzhugh as wonderfully timid and out of place. Broderick is hysterical in the part, supporting the cast neatly.

14) Eddie Murphy as Slide.

Originally posted by fuckin-cheshire

This is probably Murphy’s best film of the decade, but that isn’t really saying much. The part feels like a classic for him, very much in line with some of his 80s roles, and there’s a charm/appeal to that. I’ve said this about a number of other characters but he fits remarkably well with the ensemble cast, with a particularly strong chemistry with Stiller (who’s involvement lurred Murphy back to the part after years in development hell).

15) So some of these jokes you just know are not in good taste. And they’re not funny enough to make up for that. They’re not like Blazing Saddles which is bad taste but really good bad taste. Moments like the extended seizure joke just makes you uncomfortable. I think we have Brett Ratner to thank for that.

16) This film is at its best/funniest when the assembled crew is just doing shit. The tangent humor is ESPECIALLY strong. The next ten minutes (the mall scene through the heist prep) is almost exclusively this and features the best humor of the film. Some jokes (like the “gauntlet of lesbians” joke) can veer into bad taste territory, but largely they’re just funny.

17) Josh “apologizing” to Shaw really makes Shaw an even more despicable villain (the worse he is, the better). It also shows how Josh is able to work with people underestimating him to his advantage. Shaw doesn’t even blink when Josh says he’ll get, “Exactly what you deserve.”

18) Gabourey Sidibe as Odessa.

Originally posted by katieb1013

Sidibe is absolutely incredible in the part. There’s a chance her character might be a Jamaican stereotype, but she somehow steals scenes from comedy veteran EDDIE MURPHY. She’s hysterical, strong, and really interesting. If this movie had just been about Odessa, I would’ve been as interested if not more in the film.

19) So, why does Charlie get a promotion? He was at constant risk at being fired and terrible at his job. Is it because he’s a straight cis white dude? Actually, yeah. That’s probably it.

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

20) There’s a reason I watch this film around Thanksgiving: the entire heist takes place ON Thanksgiving! There aren’t enough Thanksgiving movies in the world so I DEFINITELY include this on the list.

21) The final act of the film, the reason the heist works as well it does is because everything that can go wrong DOES go wrong. Slide betrays them, the money isn’t there, Charlie is working at the tower, etc. It’s these constant monkey wrenches throw into the operation which makes it incredibly interesting.

22) This bugs the shit out of me, but when Slide is pointing his gun at Josh every time they cut back to Slide the painting behind him is in a different place. It bugs the hell out of me.

Originally posted by ordinary-all-stars

23) I LOVE that the Ferrari is where the money is. That it’s what they have to steal. It’s a nice surprise which completely changes the circumstances of the heist, forcing the characters to think on their feet. I love that.


Slide: “I’m gonna call Ralph. [Throws up out the hanging car.]”

My brother and I saw this in theaters together. That joke had us dying the first time.

25) I will admit if you don’t find the final heist interesting you might not like the movie as much because it’s like the last half hour of the movie. So I can see how you might be bored by it. I’m not but I can understand if some might be.

26) I never got how the FBI knows EXACTLY who was in on the heist in less than a few hours, not to mention where they are os they can be picked up.

27) Hey, that’s talented character actor Zeljko Ivanek! Just randomly showing up! Sure, why not.

Originally posted by beautifuldisastr

(That’s him. Not from this movie, but still.)

28) Josh giving himself up to save the others on his crew is a really nice ending for a number of ways. For one, it gets everyone the happy ending they deserve (except Shaw, who deserves what he gets). Also, it totally fits everything we know about Josh. Of course he doesn’t care about what happens to him. It’s about everyone else.

I like Tower Heist mainly because it’s a Thanksgiving movie and my mom really likes it, so it’s fun watching it with her. But beyond that it’s actually pretty funny. Yes, some of it is markedly insensitive (the seizure joke), but it’s supported by nice performances and solid comedy. There aren’t enough Thanksgiving movies in the world, so maybe Tower Heist is worth your time.

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Rec Mas 2017!

December 6th: A young adult book.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is an epic fantasy about Tea, a bone witch who can raise the dead, and how she discovers, develops, and uses her powers while learning and navigating the training house she’s brought to after leaving home. Tea’s determination to learn how to use her skills and developing friendships is framed by a narrative in the future as Tea tells her story to someone looking for answers. I especially loved the way this book gives space to queer characters even though those characters don’t have words to use for themselves yet.