On Friday, Jan. 22, Amazon premiered the newest series from executive producer Shawn Ryan (“The Shield,” “Terriers”) and boy, is it a doozy. Titled, “Mad Dogs,” the series stars Ben Chaplin (“The Thin Red Line,” “World Without End”), Billy Zane (“Titanic,” “Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight”), Steve Zahn (“The Thing You Do,” “Treme”), Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”), and Romany Malco (“Weeds”).
Unfolding in an interesting mix of dark comedy and quirky violence, the series follows the story of four high school friends who reunite for a vacation that ends up going horribly awry. Like many audiences, the 10-episode first season of Amazon’s new series was binged to completion over the weekend. Now what?
Here are five movies you may enjoy if you loved “Mad Dogs.”
Very Bad Things
The synopsis of old friends getting together for some harmless debauchery is a concept not new to the entertainment world.
When digging into the first few episodes of Amazon’s series, it was very difficult to not draw lines of similarity to the 1998 movie starring Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”), Jon Favreau (“Swingers,” “Chef”), Cameron Diaz (“There’s Something About Mary,” “Charlie’s Angels”), Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), and Daniel Stern (“Home Alone,” “Manhattan”). Directed by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”), this is one twisted movie.
Danny Boyle (“The Social Network,” “Steve Jobs”) made his directorial debut with this underrated 1994 classic. Starring Ewan McGregor (“Trainspotting,” “Moulin Rouge”) in one of his earliest performances and Christopher Eccleston (“Doctor Who,” “The Leftovers”), the story follows that of three friends who happen upon a mysterious bag of money and a dead body.
What transpires is a dark downward spiral into madness.
One film that comes to mind while watching “Mad Dogs” is the 2009 sleeper hit that made Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”) a household name and helped break Zach Galifianakis (“Baskets”) and Ed Helms (“The Office”) into the mainstream.
The outrageous comedy has similarities to that of “Very Bad Things” in the concept that these friends head to Las Vegas for a night of debauchery and fun for a bachelor party. Too much drinking can lead to some hilarious chaos!
This is an odd one that many people may not remember. Back in 2003, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (“Baywatch,” “San Andreas”) was making a name for himself as the next big action movie star.
There’s even a scene in “The Rundown,” which co-stars Seann William Scott (“Goon,” “American Pie”), Rosario Dawson (“Daredevil”), and Christopher Walken (“Deer Hunter,” “Stand Up Guys”), where Arnold Schwarzenegger hands off the baton to the wrestling superstar.
The story here relies less on the home-invasion aspect of “Mad Dogs” and more-so on the fish out of water scenario explored in the Amazon series. As well, the chemistry between the actors is very entertaining. It’s a wonder this movie flopped when it was released.
The home-invasion genre got a mention above and for those of you who have seen Amazon’s new series, you’ll be very familiar with the quirky, yet dangerous, character of The Cat (Mark Povinelli). Many movies have featured killers in a mask but the cat mask here is very reminiscent of the animal masks worn in the 2011 horror film directed by Joe Swanberg (“The Sacrament”).
If all else fails and you still hunger for more, it’s worth noting that Amazon’s new black comedy is an adaptation of the 2011 British series of the same name.
The new series not only shares the same name, but Ben Chaplin shows up as Alvo — the updated version of the character is played by Billy Zane.