Posts Tagged ‘Office Christmas Party’


As the calendar turns the page to 2017 let’s have a look back at the great people I met, wrote about or chatted with in 2016. Warren Beatty gave me his home telephone number, I drank cranberry juice with Denzel Washington, had Elvis’s girlfriend and JFK’s mistress on my radio show and fulfilled childhood dreams by hanging out with Iggy Pop and Cheap Trick. On stages, studios, in hotel rooms, on phones and even in the back of taxis, they spoke and I listened. Here’s some of the best stuff I heard this year:

Casey Affleck on throwing himself into the role of a depressed man in Manchester by the Sea: “It’s what you have to do. You have to go there, show up on set and be prepared to play the scene with the right feelings, the way it is supposed to be. I’m just not good enough to show up in a great mood, say good morning to everybody, check in with the kids and read the paper and then walk into the scene and be believably gutted in the way he is supposed to be. He carries around all this guilt, he’s devastated and filled with self loathing so I have to start way back in preproduction and try to slip into these bad feelings and stay there for as long as I can. If you just showed up and tried to walk through it or do anything but give 100 percent you’d really look like a jackass.”

Warren Beatty talking about casting Lily Collins in Rules Don’t Apply: “I believe very much in what I call ‘the blink,’” says Beatty. “That is the superiority of the unconscious knowledge as compared to conscious knowledge. The knowledge that when we sit and we really give it some thought, the thought we feel it is due. That thought can be misleading when we could have trusted our initial instinct, the blink. I think the unconscious has a lot more intelligence in it than the conscious.

“It was a blink with Lily. I can only say I loved the way she looked. I loved the way she sounded. I loved the way she talked. There was an integrity about her I felt I could believe in this circumstance and at the same time she looked like someone to me who Hollywood would want to exploit.”

Director Uwe Boll on why he’s quitting filmmaking: “I’ve been using my money since 2005 and if I hadn’t made the stupid video game based movies I would never have amalgamated the capital so I could say, ‘Let’s make the Darfur movie.’ I don’t need a Ferrari, I don’t need a yacht. I invested in my own movies and I lost money.”

The Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua on casting Denzel Washington: “I wanted to see Denzel Washington on a horse.” AND “My idea was, if Denzel walks into a room, the room stops. If Clint Eastwood walks into a room, the room stops. Is it because he’s a gunslinger or is it because of the colour of his skin? We’ll let the audience decide.”

Rebecca Hall on playing Christine Chubbuck in Christine: “I don’t think I have given [a role] like it before and I probably won’t again because it is one of those jobs that if you are incredibly lucky you get maybe three of them in a career. And that’s only if you are incredibly successful and lucky and often only if you were a man.”

Jonah Hill on how some people respond to his morally ambiguous characters: “A lot of times Wall Street bros will come up to me as if [Wolf of Wall Street] is their Goodfellas or Scarface. People see what they want to see. It is a little scary sometimes when people misinterpret.” And how he reacted after a crew of South African arms dealers approached Hill in a restaurant after seeing a trailer for War Dogs: “You don’t want to make it an overly uncomfortable environment while that is happening,” he says, “but you also don’t want to lie and be dishonest that you are agreeing with them. You don’t want to make them feel bad about their misinterpretation. It’s an unusual an awkward situation to be sure. In the end, we all want to be seen as heroes in our own story, I guess.”

Isabelle Huppert on the unique tone of her film Elle: “Sometimes you are in a Hitchcock thriller. Sometimes you are in a psychological study. Sometimes you are in a comedy and at the end of the day you are in none of those; you are in a Paul Verhoeven film.” 

Riley Keough on what she learned while making American Honey: “I learned not to drink too much.”

Spike Lee on casting Jennifer Hudson as the mother of a slain child in Chi-Raq: “Do you know Jennifer Hudson’s history? It is known knowledge that Jennifer’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered in Chicago. I think that’s extra gravitas that you have with Jennifer Hudson in this film. This is not an act for her. She got hit directly by gun violence on the South Side of Chicago. I didn’t want her to think that I was exploiting her. I knew I wanted her for the part but there was some length of time before I got the courage to approach her. Also, when we did meet I was babbling. She said, ‘Spike, I know why you want me to do this film, so just stop. I’ll do it.’ I was trying to be sensitive and I turned out to just beat around the bush. I said, ‘I’ll just shut up and say thank you.’”

Stan Lee on naming his characters using alliteration —think Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdoch and Reed Richards: “It’s because I have a bad memory. If I could remember one of the names like Spider-Man, if I could remember his first name was Peter then I knew his second name began with a P. That is really the only reason. I have a terrible memory for names and by making the first and second letter the same, if I thought of one name I had a clue as to what the other was.”

T.J. Miller, star of Office Christmas Party: “Let’s talk comedy in a time of tragedy. I have a political obstacle to my social mission statement,” he says. “The social statement was, tragedy permeates our everyday lives, people are lonely, they’re scared, they have death anxiety, they don’t know how to attribute meaning to their own existence, so through comedy we can provide an opiate or distraction that permeates our everyday lives. Through satire we can hopefully frame the world in a way that people can laugh at. Also I aim to help people, through my stand up, to release the death anxiety. I aim to help people not take themselves so seriously.”

Queen of Katwe star David Oyelowo on working with nonactors on the film: “I actually took a bunch of the kids to see Jurassic World while we were doing the film and Madina (Nalwanga), who plays Phiona, sat next to me and was clutching me the whole time, terrified by the movie. She turned to me and said, ‘Is this what we are doing?’ I asked her if she had ever seen a film before and she said no. We were halfway through shooting a film in which she is playing the lead.”

Snowden co-star Zachary Quinto on how says working on Snowden made him think differently about even simple Internet searches: “I had this experience the other night. I was shopping for a washer and dryer online. I was Googling the consumer ratings. I left that search and went to another website and immediately the pop up ads on this other website, which had nothing to do with consumer reports or shopping, were about washers and dryers. What we are willing to sacrifice in our privacy without even thinking about it for convenience sake, what we’re willing to give up in our own freedoms and interests just in sitting down at our computers is shocking. You can take precautions. You can take steps to enact two-step verifications and put tape over your laptop (camera) and strengthen your passwords but all you need to do is shop for appliances and you are exposing yourself to some kind of tracking, a collection of data.”

Arrival director Denis Villeneuve on filmmaking: “It is a privilege when you can take a camera and ask people to sit for two hours in a theatre,” says Villeneuve. “It is nice if you take that privilege to explore something out of our reality, to bring some poetry to it.”

Moon Zappa on how she grew up with a rock star dad: “I longed for structure. When I saw John Hughes films I was, ‘Wait! People sit at a dinner table? Wait! People say sorry?’ Even to this day when I see somebody with a sweater draped over their shoulders, or a loafer or an exposed ankle, I’m like, ‘That is so exotic.’ I think if I had grown up in the repression my father encountered I would also have put two rocket boosters on my back, but growing up like that was too much. It was like fastball pitches every single minute.”

Most of these interviews went well and were a pleasure to do… but not all. Below is the terrible tale of a day wasted waiting for Idris Elba’s phone call.

Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear Me Now? Waiting For Idris Elba.

Idris Elba is a busy man. He’s released seven movies this year and has several more on tap for 2017. He’s on track to join Dwayne Johnson, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the world’s highest earning actors after turns in the mega-grossing The Jungle Book, Finding Dory and Zootopia.

If you don’t know the name you haven’t been paying attention. Rev up Netflix and check out his work on TV shows like The Wire or Luther and movies like RocknRolla or Beasts of No Nation and become a fan. You should know he was once voted one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in the World and more than one twitter friend of mine refers to him as a “pretend boyfriend.”

Not only busy but good looking as well! I was pleased to be granted a fifteen-minute phone interview to discuss his debut in the Star Trek franchise as Krall, a hostile alien who causes trouble for Kirk, Spock and company in Star Trek Beyond.

I don’t usually write questions but I thought I might ask him if he watched Star Trek as a child. Would he consider himself a Trekker? Did he have a favourite Star Trek character growing up? Did he wonder what Star Trek fans would think of the predatory new character? Are there parallels between the film—and his character—and our world today? Has he considered what being part of the legacy of the show means?

If there was time at the end I might even follow up on the rumours and ask if he even wants to play James Bond.

Then the first call came in. “Idris is running behind.” Cool. This happens all the time on press days. Then another call and another and another. My phone hasn’t gotten this kind of workout since a Nigerian Prince called over and over to solicit my assistance in moving his fortune to North America. Each time a publicist announced another delay with the assurance the interview would still happen. As the time wore on the actual length of my interview began to tumble downhill from fifteen minutes down to seven.

In all two hours passed from my scheduled start time until my phone rang for real.

“Hi Richard, I’ll connect you with Idris,” said the perky voice on the other end of the line.


A minute passed before Elba’s familiar husky London accent filled my ear. Hallelujah! Better late than never. We talk over one another. “Hello… HELLO… Can you hear me?” It’s a bad cell phone connection. It sounds as if we’re talking through two tin cans connected by strings but I’ll take it.

I ask him about his childhood memories of Star Trek.

“It was a show me, my mum and my dad watched together,” he says. “They both liked it. It was a show that really took your imagination places. That’s my early memory of it. It was a really imaginative show that showed space travel in a way that was different, you know?”

It took him 23 seconds to speak the 50 words that told me his parents liked Star Trek. I mention this because as soon as he stopped talking and I started asking the next question I heard a strange beep beep sound followed by… nothing. The great void. No more husky voice. And like that, poof. He’s gone.

“Are you still there? I think we just lost him,” the eavesdropping publicist said. “Let me get him back for you. Just one second.”

I had visions of the actor walking around Fifth Avenue desperately yelling into his phone, “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?” but in my heart I knew that wasn’t happening.

Minutes later she’s back. “I’m so sorry. We lost him. I know you only had a couple of minutes to speak with him…” actually it was twenty three seconds… “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with him.”

My interview with Idris was over. Still born. Terminated before it even really began.

Was I mad? Not really. Frustrated? Yes. Not only had I wasted the afternoon waiting for Idris but now I didn’t have a story to file.

My friends on social media didn’t exactly see it my way. “What do you expect?” wrote one person. “He is the hottest man alive.” Another chose to look on the bright side. “That’s 45 seconds more Idris than the rest of us.” (I hadn’t yet timed the actual quote when hit facebook to vent.)

In the end it’s not a big deal. I’m choosing to look at the bright side. I didn’t get to chat with him but I do have a contender for the Guinness Book of World Records for Shortest (And Least Satisfying) Interview Ever.


Screen-Shot-2015-06-30-at-1.42.28-PM-300x188Welcome to the House of Crouse. It’s a packed house this week. Director John Madden goes long on his political thriller Miss Sloane and the pleasures of working with Jessica Chastain. T.J. Miller talks about laughing through the apocalypse and Riz Ahmed discusses realizing a childhood dream by starring in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s loads of guests and loads of fun so c’mon in and set a spell!




screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-36-40-pmRichard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Office Christmas Party” with T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman and Jenifer Aniston, “Jackie” starring  Natalie Portman, “Lion” with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman and Jessica Chastain as “Miss Sloan.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-34-12-pmRichard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Office Christmas Party” with T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman and Jenifer Aniston, “Jackie” starring  Natalie Portman, “Lion” with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman and Jessica Chastain as “Miss Sloan.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

Metro: T.J. Miller’s message to North America: Have a hell of a festive party

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-6-37-58-amBy Richard Crouse – Metro

In Office Christmas Party T.J. Miller plays Clay, a scattered office manager with a “mind like a drunk baby.” In a last ditch effort to save his branch from closure he tries to woo a lucrative client by throwing a no-holds-barred Christmas party.

“This is the way we close Walter,” says Clay. “We throw the best Christmas party he’s ever seen. We could save everybody’s jobs.”

Miller leads an ensemble cast featuring heavy-hitters like Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Aniston but he doesn’t want to talk about that. Not right away, anyway.
Instead he begins the interview with, “Let’s talk comedy in a time of tragedy.”

OK, lets.

“Basically I have a political obstacle to my social mission statement,” he says. “The social statement was, tragedy permeates our everyday lives, people are lonely, they’re scared, they have death anxiety, they don’t know how to attribute meaning to their own existence, so through comedy we can provide an opiate or distraction that permeates our everyday lives. Through satire we can hopefully frame the world in a way that people can laugh at.

“Also I aim to help people, through my stand up, to release the death anxiety. I aim to help people not take themselves so seriously.”

When Miller, who also currently plays Erlich Bachman on Silicon Valley, finally gets around to talking about Office Christmas Party, he’s still on message.

“It’s very easy to promote a comedy during the apocalypse,” he says.

The Christmas film, which features a greedy pimp, a sexually repressed head of HR and an office load of drunk, disgruntled employees, is a mix and match of sentimentality and debauchery that Miller thinks is perfect for the season.

“What better way to spend the holidays?” he asks. “First of all you don’t have to talk to your family for an hour-and-a-half during the holidays. That’s a bonus. If the movie is funny, you talk about how funny it was for half-an-hour. How dynamic Jenifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Courtney B. Vance are. How strange I look in a Santa suit for that long. That my facial hair is still abrasive and arresting. That’s two- and-a-half to three hours towards a stress free holiday. That’s what we’re pitching you.

“It’s a funny movie. It’s a laugh a minute. Well, it’s a laugh every minute-and-a-half to two minutes. We wanted to give you a break. It’s exhausting to laugh every minute.”

Miller, who once worked as a legal secretary in the same Chicago office building seen in the film, says the movie is silly and fun but shares his core comedy philosophy.

“Workplace environments have become so sterile and corporations have become so much about profit and not the people they work with that we’ve lost the fun of work. We don’t have cool office Christmas parties anymore. We are saying, ‘You spend so much time with the people you work with, why not have a night or two a year where you can kind of just relax? Take a night off from worrying about offending someone or giving ‘tude.’

“That is our message to North America. Take the holidays, drink way too much eggnog, laugh, relax and know that we’ve got a lot of work to do in 2017.”


OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY: 2 STARS. “as sweet & gooey as a (used) Hallmark card.”

screen-shot-2016-12-03-at-3-13-25-pmJennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman appeared in the edgy “Horrible Bosses” films so you’d expect their new movie, “Office Christmas Party” to be holiday fare more naughty than nice. But you’d be wrong. Their latest suffers from not being too vulgar, but from being not vulgar enough.

Aniston runs Zenotech Data Storage Systems, a tech company she inherited from her late father. Dad left her the company but gave the main branch to her party animal brother Clay (T.J. Miller). She’s a strict by–the-book business person the Grinch who cancels all branch Christmas parties to save money and gives Clay until the end of the quarter, just two days away, to turn things around or she will lay off 40% of the staff and cancel all bonuses.

Clay is scattered with a “mind like a drunk baby,” but determined to protect his branch and his staff. To that end he recruits head programmers Josh (Jason Bateman) and Tracey (Olivia Munn) to woo a lucrative client (Courtney B. Vance) by throwing a no-holds-barred office Christmas party. “This is the way we close Walter, we throw the best Christmas party he’s ever seen,” says Clay. “We could save everybody’s jobs.”

Despite Clay’s warning, “When I drink a lot bad things happen,” they proceed with the party. Add in a greedy pimp, $300,000 in cold hard cash, a sexually repressed head of HR (Kate McKinnon) and an office load of drunk, disgruntled employees and you have a Bacchanalia that would make would make Caligula blush.

Given the premise “Office Christmas Party” is not nearly as wild as a movie about and out of control party should be. Despite the excess of flesh and booze the movie often opts for sentimentality over debauchery. It most certainly doesn’t put the ‘X’ in Xmas.

Tone wise it should feel like anything could happen; like the movie could go off the rails at any second. Instead it’s as sweet and gooey as a (slightly soiled) Hallmark Christmas card.

Packed with comedy heavy hitters like Aniston, Bateman, McKinnon and Miller, it’s the supporting cast who garner most of the laughs. Fortune Feimster, a comic best known for her work on “The Mindy Project” livens things up as a motor mouth Uber driver and Randall Park’s take on a shy-but-kinky office worker has its charms but it is Courtney B. Vance who steals the show. The velvet-voiced character actor who specializes in playing lawyers—think “Law & Order” and his Johnnie Cochran in

“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”—unexpectedly lets his freak flag fly and the results are glorious. If it was his movie it might have been more fun.

Somebody should’ve spiked “Office Christmas Party’s” punch.

Marilyn Denis Show: Richard’s top holiday movie picks & Oscar predictions

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-12-02-48-pmRichard sits in with Marilyn Denis to have a look at the top movies for the holiday and the hottest Oscar picks.

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 38:33)

Movie critic Richard Crouse breaks down his top picks for holiday viewings, and the films that have Oscar written all over them: Holiday movies: Office Christmas Party, Bad Santa 2, Almost Christmas. Oscar picks: La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Fences, Live By Night.