Actors’ Spotlight #66: Amy Poehler

Amy Meredith Poehler (born September 16, 1971) is an American actress, comedian, director, producer, and writer. After studying improv at Chicago’s Second City and ImprovOlympic in the early 1990s, she went to New York City in 1996 to become part of the improvisational comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. The group’s act became a half-hour sketch comedy series on Comedy Central in 1998. Along with other members of the comedy group, Poehler was a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

She is best known by starring as Leslie Knope in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series in 2014 and a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 2012. Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television series Saturday Night Live from 2001 to 2008 and became co-anchor of SNL’s Weekend Update in 2004 alongside friend and colleague Tina Fey. She is also known for voicing Joy from Inside Out, Sally O’Malley from the Horton Hears a Who! movie adaption, Bessie Higgenbottom in the 2008–2011 Nickelodeon series, The Mighty B! and Homily Clock from the American-English dub of The Secret World of Arrietty.

Poehler served as an executive producer on the Swedish-American sitcom Welcome to Sweden, along with her brother Greg Poehler. The series aired on NBC. She is also an executive producer on Broad City which airs on Comedy Central, and appeared in the season one finale. Since August 2015, she has served as an executive producer on the Hulu original series Difficult People, which stars her former Parks and Recreation co-star Billy Eichner and comedian Julie Klausner, the latter of whom is the creator of the show. In December 2015, Poehler received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions in television. An 18-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee, she won the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live.

Amy Poehler, like Tina Fey, is one of the funnier women working in the business today. And like Tina Fey, she’s usually good at picking film roles….for the most part. Unlike Tina Fey where she hasn’t made a bad movie to date, Amy Poehler’s made some pretty bad movies in her run and these are 5 of Poehler’s worst films.

5. Mr. Woodcock

This was right after the success of Bad Santa where they were giving Billy Bob Thornton every raunchy comedy out there hoping to replicate the success of Bad Santa and boy, was this a mess of a movie. It had potential to be something funny but it just didn’t come together well at all.

4. The Ex

I really have no idea what this movie was trying to be, cram as many comedic actors you can, this also had Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Charles Grodin, Jason Bateman, Paul Rudd, Fred Armisen, Donal Logue, Amy Adams, and Romany Malco and they just didn’t give them anything to work with at all.

3. Southland Tales

A really lackluster followup for director Richard Kelly after he broke ground with Donnie Darko, Southland Tales is another one of those movies that I have no idea what they were trying to do with its’ cast or the script.

2. Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil

The follow-up to the surprisingly decent Hoodwinked! but it’s like they were forced to make a sequel with half the animation budget and half the funny jokes….actually, there are no funny jokes in this movie.

and the #1 worst Amy Poehler movie is…

The Alvin & The Chipmunks sequels (The Squeakquel and Chipwrecked)

Why did these movies waste the cast? I mean, come on, Poehler voicing Eleanor makes no sense whatsoever because she barely has any lines in the film, she has no chemistry with Theodore and she’s only in the film to have a name for the voice cast, much like the rest of the cast, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, all wasted in these films.

Now that we’ve gotten the bad Amy Poehler films out of the way, let’s look at the best Amy Poehler movies:

5. Blades Of Glory

One of the surprisingly funny Will Ferrell sports comedies that really came out of nowhere and she and her then husband Will Arnett have a great hilarious supporting turn in the film as the bad guys.

4. Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer is one of those take it or leave it movies, if you can stand the absurdist humor that the movie carries, then you’ll definitely have a good time with it. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s over the top, it has a great cast, it’s definitely worth the watch.

3. Mean Girls

Ah, remember when Lindsay Lohan was actually considered worthy in Hollywood? Mean Girls was that movie that helped to give Lohan a big career boost and showcase her potential as an actress before that got squandered fairly quickly. Add in a script by Tina Fey as well as a strong cast of young talent including Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, & Lizzy Caplan and you have one of the biggest comedy surprises of the time.

2. The Secret World Of Arriety

It’s Miyazaki, how can you go wrong? Well, most of the time, you really can’t and Secret World Of Arriety is another classic Hayao Miyazaki movie with Poehler playing one of the voices in this.

and the #1 best Amy Poehler movie is…

Inside Out

The story works so perfectly, combining a lot of great comedy, great elements of drama, and great character traits. It’s interesting that the film doesn’t have a villain to the plot, I think the last animated movie that doesn’t have a villain to it was Hotel Transylvania, another great animated movie. One of the writers for this is Meg LeFauve, who’s going to be writing Captain Marvel next, so this is a welcoming sign ahead for that.

The characters are all very likeable and their voice actors perfectly fit their parts easily. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, & Phyllis Smith each fill their parts out as the emotions so very well, it’s hard to choose which one I liked the best of the bunch. It’s like The Lego Movie again, so many great characters in that, it’s hard to choose the best one. Even characters who could’ve been obnoxious like Richard Kind as Bing Bong, even he was really enjoyable and a lot of fun and when he’s written out of the film, it’s very similar to Dexter’s Laboratory when Dee-Dee’s imaginary friend disappears forever.

The emotional moments in here perfectly fit into what Pixar movies can usually bring us, there’s a lot of great moments where the emotional levels peak very high but the ending is what got to me and the way the story wraps up, I thought that was brilliant and didn’t feel forced at all.

Lastly, the animation is spectacular in this, not only is this Pixar at its’ best but there’s also a great scene where Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong end up entering abstract thought and it allows them to create some pretty impressive forms of animation, both 3D & 2D. It’s one of Pixar’s most perfect movies.

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