233 thoughts on “Third Monday Movie Day”

  1. I've already chimed in a bit on John Carter; waiting to hear what others have to say.

    I watched Shrek 4 (Runner daughter asked if I'd seen the third movie, to which I replied that I don't remember. If they make a Shrek 5 and she asks me about the fourth movie, I'll probably say the same thing) and a guilty pleasure of mine, Identity. Lots of great actors, including one of my favorite character actors, Pruitt Taylor Vince.

    1. I remember watching Identity in an early screening, which was neat. That's about all I remember about the film though.

    2. Some great actors, and one of the worst. I dislike John Cusack as much as I dislike any actor, though he used to show up constantly in good movies.

      I saw Identity on a weekend where I rented three movies, and all three ended up having the same twist. It was then that I decided to scrap every idea I had that was even slightly regarded as overdone.

      1. why do you dislike Cusack?

        I'll admit I haven't seen much of his stuff, particularly in the last decade. But I thought he was pretty good in The Grifters (fabulous flick) and Eight Men Out.

        1. I'd actually list those as my favorite performances of his, bS.

          In general, there's not much to say. When he's angry, I don't buy it. I can always see him working, and it should look effortless. He makes it look fairly effortless when he's the sad, put-upon guy, but that's about it. Some movies have used that strength (like Better off Dead and High Fidelity) to great effect.

          1. I also felt Grosse Pointe Blank played to his strengths, as he basically had to smirk and act sarcastic. Though when he acts with his sister, she puts him to shame.

            He is so dreadfully bad in Con-Air. Watching him act next to Colm Meaney really shows how much he can't do anything with intensity.

            1. I thought that one with the kid he adopted had so much potential but he just didn't have the emotional range for it, and now I can't even remember it's name.

            2. Grosse Point Blank ... LOVED that movie. The whole shootout with Dan Aykroyd at the end while airing out their grievances is hilarious.
              I need to buy that

              1. Grosse Pointe Blank is one of my favorites movies. I watched quite a few Cusack movies afterwards just because I liked him in that one so much, but I have to admit he disappointed me in most of the other movies.

      1. I predicted the twist a few minutes in (when you've just seen a movie with the same twist, you start to look for it) and I think that somehow, the knowledge of this made it all better, as I was able to say "This is a whole lot of idiocy, so I'll just embrace it."

  2. Saw no movies this month, but Stef and I are plowing through Corner Gas on DVD. It's the highest rated Canadian show ever, and it's easy to see why. The cameos they get from celebrities and extremely high-ranking political figures is ridiculous.

  3. Yesterday I watched Best Worst Movie, which is a documentary on the cult popularity of Troll 2. Troll 2 has the distinction of being the lowest rated movie on IMDB, and for good reason (watch some clips on youtube, you will understand). To be honest the documentary was a little dull, but there were still some great personalities on display. My favorite was the egocentric Italian director who was baffled by American audiences laughing at his work and who remained convinced that Troll 2 was high art.

    Also yesterday I watched Serenity for like the fifth time because I was severely hungover and it made me feel better.

    1. I watched the documentary before I watched Troll 2 and I think the documentary killed any enjoyment I was going to get out of the terribleness of the movie. I think it built its awfulness up too much to where it wasn't going to live up to it. (the Italian director excepted, that guy was awesome.) Also, an entire festival of hipsters "ironically" watching bad movies frightens me.

      For a similar, yet more entertaining in my opinion, documentary, I thought Winnebago Man was pretty solid.

  4. Went on a bit of a movie spree since last month.

    Safe House: An okay movie. Nothing particularly new about it. If you have to watch it, rent rather than buy or watch in then theater.

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    Real Steel: Blah. What a boring movie. 2 stars at best.

    John Carter: Watched it in 3D, but didn't seem like it was used much. Long, involved movie. I enjoyed it, but it was nothing special. And the Disney label didn't mean anything to me. Seems like it's doing mediocre at best in the US but better internationally, so a sequel seems probable.

    1. I don't mind that there were a few deviations in the storyline; the original is dated, after all, and it could use a little lift. I did like how they used Frazetta's book art as their guide.

      1. I can't comment on the storyline at all, since I haven't read the books. Yet. It seemed like it was reasonably faithful and it's silly to expect a movie to adhere 100% to a book.

        1. I love when people throw fits over changes to a book for a film. They have a lot of opinions on what should have been left in, but none on what needs to be taken out in order to make the thing fewer than five hours long.

          Plus, there are some great things in books that are literally unfilmable.

          1. I agree with this 90% of the time, but there still should have been a sea monster in "Where the Wild Things Are"!

            Also, don't watch the Secret of NIMH immediately after reading the book.
            My problem isn't that they changed the story, it's that they made the story suck.

        2. It always seemed to me that if you really want to film the storyline of a novel really closely, and do justice to all the characters, you'd have to do TV. Novels : TV :: Short Stories : Feature Films

          1. TV. Novels : TV :: Short Stories : Feature Films


            Anyone want to work with me to make some feature films from Spookymilk Survivor entries?

          2. Game of Thrones is proving that nicely. Sci-Fi did a decent job with Dune as well. It would be neat if books were converted to five to ten hour-long episodes of TV. Since each one would be a separate process, you could do quite a few in a year. Budget would be an issue though.

          3. Yeah, I tend to agree here, though it's not always necessary.

            I felt Kubrick's The Shining was quite effective with the limitations (King is wordy anyway), and he knew what to cut out and what to change. It pissed King off, but Kubrick made a better movie than King did when he did release it as a mini-series.

            Some short stories, though, would do just fine being a short rather than a feature film. Staying with King, 1408 was about six pages and should have been left at about six pages. It's also more proof that Cusack isn't great.

  5. 50/50: I'm a Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan, and this one kept his winning streak alive (haven't seen G.I. Joe, so I'm prepared for that to come to a crashing halt). Funny and touching in nearly equal amounts.

    Contagion: I liked it quite a bit. Had a bit of a hurdle with the way Minnesota was portrayed in terms of medicinal knowledge in the very beginning (hint to fimmakers: that 'Mayo' building in Rochester is not where we keep our stores of oil and egg yolk), but once it got down to the actual epidemic, I thought it carried the tension quite well. It was better than I expected it to be.

    Rush Hour 3: This one barely counts, since I saw it on the bus back from Tulum/Xel Ha, and as such I could barely hear it, and the subtitles were all in Spanish. I just watched Jackie Chan fly around and imagined Chris Tucker screaming "LEEEEEEEEEE" for two hours, and that seemed to be pretty accurate.

    As far as TV is concerned:

    I watch (and kind of enjoy) Revenge. That feels mildly confessional.

    The season finale of the Walking Dead was last night, so I'll spoiler a bunch of stuff now.

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    1. I enjoyed 50/50 quite a bit, but New Gal is a social worker and she couldn't get over how unprofessional the counselor was.

      "She's saying hi to him on the street? No you should never do that! No don't offer him a ride! Oh this is unbelievable."

      I told her that she would probably do the same if one of her clients was as adorable as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and eventually she reluctantly agreed.

      1. Ha, yeah... I could see where the movie was going with that pretty much the first scene in. Though I liked the rapport between the two characters (and have enjoyed Anna Kendrick since she was in Up in the Air), it was the one sticking point in the movie for me.

  6. I rented Young Adult last week. I thought it was pretty enjoyable. I was surprised at how dark it was, and even more surprised on how flat it fell at the end. Considering they didn't really pull any punches up to that point, having the film just sputter to a stop was a real bummer.

    For my birthday, I didn't want to do anything big, so J & I stayed in and ended up watching all of the anime Taisho Baseball Girls. It's about a group of high school girls in the 1920s starting a baseball team. It was very charming, really fun, and surprisingly baseball accurate. I liked it a heck of a lot.

    Going to rent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo tomorrow, which I'm both excited and dreading to watch. Hoping it's good.

  7. The reason this entry doesn't have a movie of the month is because I suspected that I'd finally be watching The Lives of Others and using that, but I've still only seen the first six minutes. Today I have an empty house and a day off, so this would seem to be the day.

    It's been primarily a TV month here.

    Battlestar Galactica (I'm on season 3, episode 13):

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    Futurama: season 6. It was watchable enough.

    Luther: series 2. I've watched two of four.

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    The Expendables: Alright, against all my instincts that this was going to be a stupid cash grab, I watched this movie. It is a stupid cash grab, but one that I legitimately enjoyed.

    Terriers, season one and only: I just saw the first episode. There's too much dull exposition, but everything else works, so I'm excited to see more. Donal Logue is an excellent dramatic actor - his powerful, understated performance in the scene where he learns his ex-wife is getting remarried is Exhibit A. I already wish there were more than 12 episodes left.

    Otherwise, it's been a busy month in the Milkman house, so that's about it for viewing.

    1. I'd never actually seen Donal Logue in anything prior to Terriers, but his performance definitely blew me away. The chemistry he & Michael Raymond-James have on screen is wonderful.

      I think I'm going to have to start another rewatch of the show tonight, now.

      1. Really?! He shows up all over the place.

        At the very least, I'm betting you saw him as Jimmy the Cab Driver in the old MTV commercials, with the thick glasses and the combover, talking about the MTV awards shows.

        1. Oh you know what I do remember those, but didn't realize it was him. I suppose he's one of those "ohhhh that guy!" type of actors. I looked at his IMDb page, and saw he was on an episode of X-Files, and I know I've seen that. I saw plenty of Grounded for Life commercials, but I never watched the show.

          1. For me he's not one of those guys because I liked him a lot going way back, but yeah, I think he's one of those for a lot of people.

            I watched Grounded for Life occasionally. It was actually alright, though I know the cast was part of the reason I could watch it.

            1. The first thing I really remember seeing Donal Logue in was Blade. That's the role I always think of when I see him in something else.

      2. I enjoyed The Tao of Steve with Donal Logue playing the lead. Not a great movie but I liked the concept. It seems like everyone knows at least one person that consistently outkicks his coverage.

    2. It would be nice if you could finish all of BSG before you came to Minny ( I realize that's like 4 days away). Lots of stuff on those later episodes that would make for great discussion while quaffing Surleys. We'd probably even be able to get DK to join the discussion.

        1. You can easily fit another episode or two on the plane here and the meetup isn't until the 24th or so.. It's only about six episodes a day, perfectly doable.

  8. So is the gig here that we all just mention movies we saw?

    I finally saw Inception a little while back. Does that count?
    Also, we watched The Big Year which wasn't funny at all, and yet, I was still kind of into the little world they were exploring.

        1. I can't think of a more obvious twist ending I've ever seen, though Unbreakable comes close since I was looking for one. I also nailed the one from The Sixth Sense about five minutes in, but a friend had said "The ending will blow your mind!11!!!1" so I naturally started thinking about endings he'd think were mind-blowing.

          1. Huh, I saw it coming, too, but I left the movie thinking that it didn't count as a 'twist', per se. I enjoyed it a lot either way. It didn't blow my mind, it just gave me a nice full movie experience.

            1. You talking about Inception here? Yeah, I still enjoyed it, though not as much as I thought I would, from the hype. It wasn't quite as tight a storyline as I would have liked. Maybe that's a little unreasonable given the concept, but there were times when I felt like it meandered.

              1. I am, after I looked over my post, I saw that I could easily have been talking about that killer clown movie with Tim Curry.

                People ascribed a lot more importance to Inception than it really warranted. It was a fun movie that featured some good acting, some fun effects, and a different sort of concept. I had heightened expectations, and it lived up to them, but the hype train started rolling, and before too long, it was being nominated for Best Picture. Anyone who sees it now has those additional "future of cinema" type expectations.

                1. Heh, yeah, I think this was the only place on the webs that had a more grounded opinion of the movie.

                2. People ascribed a lot more importance to Inception than it really warranted.

                  Man oh man, THIS. This is why I didn't like it, and it's not even a "fault" the movie has. I went in expecting something bigger than the movie even aspired to be. If I'd known it was just a silly action trifle, I probably would have loved it.

                  1. This is why I haven't yet been able to bring myself to watch Inception. I figure if I let it simmer a bit longer, I can get my expectations to an accurate level, and hopefully enjoy the movie.

                    1. I've felt underwhelmed by every single Nolan film I've watched. So I try really hard to take the over the top internet Nolan fandom with a grain of salt, but it really does alter my expectations. Inception intrigues me a lot, and I bought it on DVD for $5 on Black Friday, so I do want to get around to it sooner or later here.

                    2. The two movies I felt were better than I expected were Batman Begins and Insomnia. I have enjoyed every one I've seen to varying degrees, but generally less than the average consumer.

                    3. You guys really didn't like Memento? It was a long time ago, but I was fairly blown away the first time I saw it.

                    4. I liked it, but I saw it ten years after it came out. I'm just saying I liked it less than the average person.

                      I liked Spice World more than the average person, but I still think it's terrible.

                    5. I'm with New Guy on this. I know it had a gimmick, but I thought that it rose above that gimmick and wove it very nicely into a way to where it served the plot, rather than vice versa.

                    6. I remember feeling like I was less moved than I should have been when I saw that one. It was clever beyond most things, but something about it just didn't work for me. Probably a deeper meaning problem, just like I feel with Inception and some of his other stuff.

                    7. I felt the only thing interesting about Memento was the gimmick, and thought it hid a pretty mediocre film. Admittedly, the friend who made me watch it spent a month telling me how it was the BEST THING EVARR!!!!! and explaining the gimmick in detial before I watched it which probably helped color my opinion of it.

                    8. I mean never thought that it had any deep meaning or that it was flawless, but I think that Memento is a gripping story told in an exciting way. You can argue that without the gimmick it would be a much weaker movie, but who cares? You could say "_______ would be much weaker without ______" about any movie.

                      The scene where Guy Pearce realizes that he doesn't know who he's mindlessly talking to on the phone is still one of my all-time favorite movie moments.

                    9. The scene where Guy Pearce realizes that he doesn't know who he's mindlessly talking to on the phone is still one of my all-time favorite movie moments.

                      Yes. I agree with all of what you said above, but this is the most true statement.

                    10. You could say "_______ would be much weaker without ______" about any movie.

                      Well, obviously, but I'm talking about the script here. Without the gimmick, I don't particularly care for the script. That's not a small thing.

          2. I think my favorite M. Night Shyamalan twist was in Signs, where you watch the entire movie thinking it's pretty good and then BAM!

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            1. See my comment below. No, that one's not nearly a great movie, but there is something to love about it.

            2. Ahahaha, my best friend came out of that movie saying it was his favorite movie of all time. To my knowledge, it still is, he's seen it twelve times.

              Yeah, me neither.

                    1. I'm not trolling, nib. I legitimately don't think it's anything special, and Lucas pissing all over his legacy as time goes on doesn't help matters.

                    2. No no no, I was trolling you.

                      I've known for a while you dislike the best movies ever made. We had a conversation about it.

                      ...and before you reply to my "best movies ever" comment, that is another troll, they're top fifteen, tops.

          3. Same Sixth Sense experience here. I figured it didn't count because I knew to look for something.

            I didn't even consider Unbreakable to be a twist. But I freaking love that movie and the double meaning of the title. Love it.

            I feel similarly about Signs

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            but that's just a far worse movie in general.

            1. I hated Unbreakable. Long, boring scenes, everyone has the same "act without emotion" thing going on. There's one interesting character, but she dies between the first two scenes.

              1. I actually really liked Unbreakable, but I don't remember pretty much anything about it other than the primary twist. That's not a good sign, since I usually remember things about movies.

                I don't really feel like going back over it to see if it's worse than I remember.

              2. I'm less of one to critique acting though, and I can see that criticism.

                But the philosophy of the film, the marriage/family stuff, all of that worked for me. And visually I thought it was really impressive. Easily my favorite of his.

                  1. I also don't think I've seen anything after Signs. And even though I've enjoyed his stuff enough, I just haven't felt it worth it. So maybe that's a pretty big indictment of his first few movies.

                    1. Whatever you do, avoid The Happening at all costs. Under no circumstances should that movie ever be viewed.

                    2. I was really surprised to learn that people were still intentionally watching Shyamalan movies when that came out. The reviews were horrible and people were like, "Can you believe how bad that movie was?!" Why, yes, I can, which is why I didn't see it.

                      I talk to co-workers about movies every now and then, and one common thing they say is "Oh, I don't even care about directors." This is so unaware. I've found that pretty much everyone cares about directors, but a lot of them don't know who does what, and therefore doesn't even know about this incredible resource to find what movies they like.

                    3. Aha! You've brought up the worst mainstream movie of all time (or second worst, depending on how charitable you are to Jingle All the Way), I am contractually bound to share this review.

                      The Happening is my least favorite movie ever.

                    4. The Happening might be my second least favorite movie. I'm pretty sure I hated Spiderman 3 even more.

                    5. I got a free copy of Spider-Man 3 with my PS3 way back in 2007. I still haven't watched it.

                      Is it truly as bad as The Happening, or is your hatred of it colored by the fact that the first two were pretty watchable movies?

                    6. Six words.

                      "Emo spiderman jazz club dance scene"

                      It's that bad, but there was a okay, but incredibly poorly edited movie hidden in there somewhere, so I don't know that it ranks in the bottom ten for me.

                      With The Happening, there was no goodness to be had, it's a green aesop where the aesop is clueless and goes about everything in a clueless way.

                    7. I really wish they hadn't tried to do so much in Spider-man 3. I think the venom storyline was enough. Throw in the green goblin wrap up, maybe. But a third villain? Too much.

                    8. there was a okay, but incredibly poorly edited movie hidden in there somewhere

                      This. As a fan of the comic book, I was able to know what was relevant, or at least, what I considered relevant, and sort of self-edit as the movie went on. That helped.

                    9. I did not like Spiderman 1 or 2, so I did not really expect to like Spiderman 3. But I didn't expect to hate it as much as I did. Some specific moments that stood out:

                      1) As nibbish so eloquently put it, "Emo spiderman jazz club dance scene." This segment was incredibly misconceived, terribly acted, and as a bonus, unforgivably long. I think I had my fists clenched the entire time.

                      2) There was a scene where Topher Grace's character goes to a church and literally asks Jesus to kill Peter Parker like some kind of holy assassin. I am not a religious man at all, but holy shit, I have no idea what they were thinking with that.

                      3) There was a moment during the climactic battle where Spiderman inexplicably pauses in front of a gigantic, majestically waving American flag. I saw the movie in Argentina, and there were audible groans from the audience when this happened. Most of them came from me. I was embarrassed for my country. I wanted to hide my face as I left the theater.

                    10. I saw that flag thing on the previews, but thought it was from one of the earlier movies. Actually, I thought I remembered it being a cash-in on the Twin Towers. Either way, I thought it was asinine, considering that in the comic, Spider-Man isn't defined by patriotism.

                      I saw the first two movies and they were to me what I said: watchable. I'm not sure how much better a comic book movie can be done, because at the moment I'm struggling to think of one that I really like.

                    11. Oh, hell, of course.

                      I also loved The Dark Knight, so there's that, too (I'm essentially in the same boat with some of you on Nolan. I keep waiting for the amazing breakout, since his first film, Following, showed so much promise; unfortunately, I think the success of Inception will allow him to keep making heavily-plotted stories that are short on pathos and deeper meaning).

                    12. I thought The Dark Knight suffered from a lack of climax. It was just too jarring for me to say I really liked it. Batman Begins was a much tighter story.

                      I think you're right on there with plot vs. pathos. Obviously, I want both, but for me, deeper meaning is the key, and I'll overlook other problems if there's deeper meaning. I feel like this might be apparent somewhere else on the interwebs... 🙂

                    13. I wasn't wild about The Dark Knight, but I did like it a whole lot as a comic book film. Again, people made it out to be more important than it was. Thankfully I saw this before the hype got too out of control. I thought they bit off more than they could chew in the last segment of the film, but overall it was pretty good. I'll go see the next one, which is fairly large praise for me since I rarely get to the theatre anymore.

  9. The only movie I watched since last month was Ratatouille in my "watch the Pixar movies I haven't seen yet" quest. Really enjoyable, and now one of my favorite Pixar flicks.

    Otherwise, I've been spending most of my viewing time trying to catch up on Parks and Rec. Almost done with season two.

    1. Yes, that. We finally just started catching up on that. Our schedules have made watching stuff together a rarity, so we do marathons when we get the chance. We also watched the entirety of Modern Family's third season so far last week.

        1. The show gets a little samey with its unwillingness to put characters into situations that change them in any fundamental way, but the stories work, the cast is dynamite and I still laugh out loud during every episode.

    2. Get caught up on Parks. I don't know when exactly it happened, but that show became the best comedy on TV not named Community, and there are weeks when it surpasses the later.

      1. I've still only seen the first episode of Community, and it was horrible.

        I keep considering watching more of it, but part of what I hated about the first episode was the acting, which doesn't get magically fixed in the way that writing sometimes does.

        1. I've watched a handful of Community episodes, and while I think it's okay at times, I really don't understand the lavish praise it gets.

          1. I'm a huge Community fan, but the over heaping of praise by the internets can be a bit trying. But, I think its gets a lot of critic love because there is no comedy on network tv the does things Community does. For example "Contemporary American Poultry" (Season 1, Episode 21). Its a simple story premise: how does the study group act when Jeff (Joel McHale) is not in charge. But instead of doing a normal sitcomy show, it tells the story as a mafia movie send-up (Ive never watched Goodfellas, but the gags are easy to catch.). The paintball episodes are just plain fun tv.
            Its meta, but its also works within the shows universe.
            The first few episodes are kind of clunkers (is there any show where the pilot is awesome?), but the show really gets fun after 6 or 7 episodes

            1. (is there any show where the pilot is awesome?

              Absolutely, but I think it's a mistake for most shows to air their pilots. They're done months to a year before everything else, and normally are full of problems that are corrected when the show goes to series. The shows don't want to feel like they wasted their work, so they air a show that gives the worst possible first impression instead.

              I'd be all for unaired pilots being a DVD extra.

            2. The Lost pilot (not Greg Grunberg) was pretty awesome. Significantly serialized shows kind of have to air their pilots, but with a lot of them you can tell they're crossing their fingers to get the story introduction out of the way with as little damage as possible.

              Breaking Bad and Justified are both decent pilots, but nothing compared to what they're able to do in their worlds later on. Mad Men's pilot is greatly exaggerated compared to pretty much the rest of the series. Game of Thrones's pilot is a little overstuffed expositionally. Battlestar Galactica's first true episode ("33") is one of the better expressions of that show's core ethos in the series, but that's a cheat since the show "piloted" with a miniseries.

      2. Ugh, Community. I freekin hate Community and I don't care who knows it. Also, I admittedly have only watched the pilot, but I thought it so unfunny, and I hate Joel McHale enough that I refuse to ever watch another episode and give it any sort of chance. (A very similar situation to my opinion on The Offce and Steve Carrell.) Parks and Rec, fortunately, makes me laugh often and has no characters that annoy me, so I will definitely do my best to get caught up.

        1. I don't like Joel McHale a whole lot, but he's far better than a few of the actors in that pilot.

          Your feelings on Carell still boggle my mind. He's one of the few comedic leads in TV that also has dramatic chops. He has a lot of range. I can't figure out what you're holding against him, unless it's just that the character is such a dick.

          1. I'm curious about which actors? Specifically, I ask because some of the characters changed a lot over the first season, to better fit the actors.

            1. I can't completely remember, but I know the Indian (or Pakistani, maybe?) guy was so bad I wanted him the hell off my screen. I almost turned off the show solely because of his performance, but I really wanted to like something with Chevy Chase in it for the first time in years.

              1. Abed. I'd say they use him too much. He kind of develops a gimmick that gets annoying to me, but he also has some really funny moments as the show goes on.

                Chevy Chase is usually (though admittedly not always) brilliant. His best stuff is understated and unexpected throw-away comments. Classic Chevy Chase stuff.

              2. I like McHale, and Linds and I gave an honest effort to that show, but four or five episodes in, it wasn't any more watchable than it had been in episode one, and we gave up on it. I've seen bits and pieces of it since then. It's apparently a super-meta look at pop culture or some such... I don't know, it hasn't gotten any better to my eyes.

                1. Yeah, that's basically it - it's become meta. Sometimes it works, and well, and sometimes it doesn't.

                  To be honest, I think it smacks of effort now, in a way it didn't during late season 1/early season 2. Those were a pretty high high point.

            2. Also, writing changing to fit the actors is a pretty common, and clever, trick. This is one subtle reason that a lot of shows get better after the first season.

          2. I can't say about his dramatic chops, because I've never seen him do anything dramatic. But as a comic actor, I find him unwatchable. I just find him annoyingly over-the-top, and his Office character was the worst for that and ruined the show for me.

            1. He does dramatic stuff on that show all the time, particularly deeper into his run.

              Carell's not really over the top, his character is. When his character isn't being over the top, he isn't either. You've robbed yourself of a few of the best American sitcom seasons ever.

              1. Seasons 2 and 3 are my favorite comedic television ever, I think. Actually, last season hit a lot of surprising high points, which was a nice shock, since we'd sort of written of the show as dying a slow death, but Carell's farewell tour had a lot of laugh out loud moments that the show hadn't had since season 4 or 5.

                This season, on the other hand? Oish. I don't know that this show can be fixed now.

                1. I liked a few things this season, but the writing's gone. The new exec prod is clearly trying to recreate what Michael Schur did in the early seasons, but can't. It reeks of desperation.

                  1. About the only thing I like that they've done is not dilute Creed, so whenever he's on it's still a quick (almost imperceptible during some episodes) hit of full on weirdness that just about always delivers a good laugh.

                    Other than that? Slim pickings.

                    1. I wrote an Office episode on spec a few years ago for some script competitions and it got reasonably close to getting picked up. Creed, for me, was the easiest character to write. I wonder what that says about me...

                  2. Robert California was a nice gag character to start with, but he's gone off the deep end. It's hard to appreciate the little things they're doing right when there's such glaring problems.

                    1. I actually enjoy the Robert California character. I cant quite figure him out, its like he enjoys the chaos and at the same time he just doesnt care about his job.

                      But yeah, this season has been tough to watch. The show has picked up steam since the Florida episodes, but still its so inconsistent (another Office romance, UGH). I still watch the show out of habit.

                      I was watching Season 5 over the past week, and I think that is where the wheels started to fall off. Dwight gets to be too over the top by the end of the season. Its getting to the point where the Jim and Pam story is just tired.

                      I think they could cut The Office staff in half (get rid of Andy, Phyllis, Kevin, and all those Sabre employees) and maybe a tightening of the shows cast can perk things up

                2. I'm with you there. I'm still watching it, but sometimes I don't know why. I am a little giddy at the possible Schrute Farms spin off though.

                  I think the biggest problem this season is Jim, and there are a lot of big problems.

                  I'm also right with you on Season 2 and 3. I mean, maybe not best ever, but among them (see my list here, then adjust for comedy.).

                  1. Flight of the Conchords? Office? Scrubs?? Firefly?

                    If you had thrown in Chuck season 2, it's eerie how much your list mimics mine.

                    Of course, that just means I've got to watch Arrested Development.

                    1. Ooh, Chuck! Yeah, that show was fun. Not top ten material for me (and indeed, beyond season 1, I don't think Scrubs was either... maybe season 2, but that kind of seemed to run into the rest of the series for me...).

                      You should absolutely watch Arrested. And then, after you've watched it, turn around and watch it again to pick up all sorts of new jokes.

              2. Well, whether its the character or actor, I still had a hard time watching it and don't anticipate giving it another chance. I've come to peace with my decision. I figure no one man can possible see everything that is good, so if I miss out on something, there is something else that I do think is awesome to take its place.

                1. Classic Cheaptoy werewolf stubbornness. By which I mean, he's got his mind set on something wrong.

                  Just watch through season 3. You can end there. Not much time commitment, no need to see beyond that. The last episode of season 3 is a perfect ending to a sitcom, frankly.

                  1. Classic Cheaptoy werewolf stubbornness. By which I mean, he's got his mind set on something wrong.

                    Also known as: Classic Novak werewolf stubbornness.

                    1. Roasted.

                      I don't deny this is stubbornness on my part, but I'm not budging on The Office. I've got too much of a back log of things to watch right now that I've no interest in re-examining my opinions of it. (And now that the second season of A Song of Ice and Fire (I refuse to call it Game of Thrones season 2, dammt) starts soon, its adding one more thing I need to make time for.

                    2. Seriously though Cheap, you should put The Office through Season 3 on the list. That's not that much time, given that they're 22 minutes or whatever each.

        2. Just wait on Parks. It gets awesome and awesomer. It took a while to find it's footing, but once it gets there, it's great.

          I think Community suffers from to much snark, but it becomes less and less of a Joel McHale vehicle and more of an ensemble, which makes a big difference.

          Again, I can't say much to the acting. Although I will say that they do so many spoofs, etc., that everyone gets a chance to act differently from their character, and they often sell those different twists pretty well, so that might help with that problem.

          1. I actually miss 'The Pit' from S1-2. There were some great moment that came from that story (mainly the Town Hall meetings with all the crazy characters)
            I wonder what Mark Brendanawicz is doing these days.

        3. I love Community, but I am with you on the weakness of the pilot. It has definitely come a long way from there. If you ever want to give it another shake, I would recommend watching the paintball episode from the first season. It was the first high-concept episode that they did, which may or may not be your cup of tea, but it's a great example of what the show can do when it's firing on all cylinders.

          1. I still remember how giddy I was when I saw that episode the first time. So much fun.

            The one from this season with the dice was pretty brilliant too.

          2. I may, but I make no promises. The pilot was some of the worst television I've ever seen, afterall.

            1. I'm trying to figure out what comedies you like... You're one of those 2.5 men guys, aren't you?

              1. For the record, I am definitely not one of them guys. We've established Parks and Rec, and there's Arrested Development, which I know you agree on. Other favorite current comedies that I like are Modern Family and Raising Hope. (I feel like I'm writing an interet tv dating entry.)

                1. I was mildly interested in Raising Hope when it first came out, then it got washed away by a million other things I wanted to watch on TV (almost all of which I stopped watching after an episode or two). Is it worth looking into?

                  1. The Milkmaid watches it religiously, and it seems mildly amusing. I do very much like every member of the cast, save for maybe the lead, and he's adequate.

                  2. I think its worth watching, although I haven't seen a lot of the second season since I dumped DVR and find it tough to remember to watch things. The second half of season 1 is better than the first few episodes when they really hit a stride focusing more on the Chance's than the baby. Plus, Garrett Dilahunt and Martha Plimpton deserve ratings, dammit.

                    1. I know of places where episodes can be watched that aren't Hulu+. Mostly I feel bad that I wasn't watching it as consistently when it was aired. The baby has made my tv watching habits suck.

                    2. I know of places too, but when I have legal means of seeing them, I try to support the people in the business so they're allowed to keep doing what they're doing.

                    3. That's a good point and maybe I'll wait for the second season to come out on Netflix to watch it. Better quality anyway.

                  3. Raising Hope is pretty good, but then again I enjoyed My Name Is Earl and the shows share the same style. (Both run by Greg Garcia). I agree with cheaptoy, Garrett Dilahunt and Martha Plimpton are a joy to watch.

                2. I'm only 1 season in on Modern Family and haven't seen any of Raising Hope, though I hear good things from people I respect.

  10. So, since we're talking movies and TV comedies, I'll throw this out there:

    A friend of mine (who is a comedy writer (see: Daily Show, The)), swears that there haven't been any really good comedy movies in the past decade, as all truly good comedy has migrated to TV.

    I tend to think that it's less of a problem of migration, and more that there aren't that many great comedies from before that either (far too much juvenile humor, etc.).


    1. I agree with your friend. Great writers of every genre have been migrating, because TV allows them freedom they can't even touch in film. The more we see extremely successful shows with ongoing arcs (it was long an errant belief that shows that weren't self-contained couldn't make it), the more that TV outlets give writers and exec producers the keys and tell them to drive. Plus, there are more outlets than ever for TV, and it's seemingly no easier for a movie to get seen than it used to be.

      It's a little staggering to me when I try to think of comedy films I've really loved in the past ten years and I come up mostly blank. Meddlesome producers? Writers seeking different outlets? Too much of a focus on broad and physical humor? I don't know, but it's been tough times for comedies for a while. I'm not really sure this is a great change from the norm, though. I can't think of an era when I thought a lot of great comedies were being made.

      1. Yeah, when I think of all the comedies that I like, I really don't remember many of the funny moments all that well and they tend to compare poorly to my favorite TV comedies.

        When I think of the comedy movies that transcend this, they generally have strong dramatic moments as well. Back to the Future. Groundhog Day. Even the Muppet Christmas Carol has some touching moments.

        Two exceptions I can think of are This Is Spinal Tap and Maverick.

        1. Over the past "roughly a decade", I'd have to give the nod to South Park, 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Best In Show as great comedies.

          You're probably right about needing drama too. My favorite comedy ever is really a drama in so many ways.

          Oh, I should probably mention it's name, right? Kicking And Screaming. No. Not the Will Ferrell one.

          1. I wanted to be Olivia d'Abo's retainer.

            (Whatever happened to Chris Eigeman? Now that dude could play irascible.)

            1. Yeah. She was something special in that movie. So was he. So was just about everyone. That casting was awesome. Really, just the whole movie was awesome.

              Also, Eigeman was pretty great on Malcolm in the Middle.

                1. True, though none of his other stuff has worked on that level for me. I think because a lot of his other subject matter deals with stuff I haven't experienced, but K&S was something I understood more directly?

                  1. Well, he does have a thing for unlikeable characters. Of which, I see he's attached to an HBO version of Franzen's The Corrections. That should be right in his wheelhouse.

                    1. This is true. It's like he took all the problems and divided them up among characters in K&S, and filled in the rest of each character's attributes with likability. Unlike some of his other work, where he just heaps on the faults.

              1. I watched Kicking & Screaming a few years back and absolutely adored it, even though it felt like my heart was being punched through my back.

        2. Two exceptions I can think of are This Is Spinal Tap....

          What? What about when Nigel rejoins the band on stage after their falling out. That's powerful stuff.

        3. I was just thinking about Maverick the other day. Definitely a movie that I can enjoy watching over and over and over.

        1. What's weird is that both of those guys do drama better than they do comedy. I guess that's true about a lot of comedy actors, but it's so pronounced with them.

          1. Are we counting Funny People as a drama? Because that was more of a good movie wrapped in a bad movie's clothes than it was an actual, you know, "good movie".

            1. Are they like that because that's who SNL hires, or do they become that way because of SNL? Could be the latter. Live comedy can really turn people into broad comics, because it's just annoyingly easy to get a laugh with a stupid flailing of limbs, or whatever.

  11. We saw recently La Vie en Rose (Edith Piaf biopic) and Howl, which is about Ginsberg's poem Howl and the obscenity trial that followed.

    La Vie en Rose was one of those movies that had a non-linear timeline. Problem is I am not sure why. It didn't add much to the film and sometimes was confusing or choppy. It would have been much better with a straight timeline. Howl was great (although I could have done without the poem animations) and I am really interested in reading more about the obscenity trial.

    Just so you don't think I'm getting all artsy on you guys we also saw Bridesmaids. Some funny scenes, of course but overall... meh.

    1. non-linear timeline. Problem is I am not sure why. It didn't add much to the film and sometimes was confusing or choppy.

      Ever since non-linear timelines were used to great effect with Pulp Fiction (I realize it was done before this, but I don't think it can be denied that this film popularized the trend that continues today), a lot of directors seem to assume they can do it just by doing it. It takes a pretty strong writer, editor or director to really make it work.

  12. Let's see...

    I finished Twin Peaks, thought it was great.

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    I watched the documentary Senna, which tells the story of Ayrton Senna. I watched this on a Netflix recommendation. I didn't really know anything about F1 before this, and I found the story pretty interesting. I didn't feel like it was an especially well-done documentary, but I liked it.

    I saw the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. Not sure that I would have picked this on my own, but my wife insisted. The writing is pretty solid, though, and every shot outdoors makes me want to own a large British estate. I like that a fair amount of time passes between episodes. It's also kind of nice to see some perspective on WWI both from the British perspective and from the perspective of those who weren't in the battle. I'm no history buff and would in no way say everything's historically accurate, but it's an interesting perspective.

    I saw most of Grizzly Man. It wasn't quite what I was expected, though I'm not sure what I was really expecting.

    I got through the first five episodes of The Wire. Looking forward to the rest of that series.

    I saw the first five episodes of the third season of Mad Men.

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    1. Grizzly Man! Yes. I didn't know what to expect from that either, but over time I've come to love that I saw it. I think that, as time passes after seeing it, it turns out to be a nice point of confluence between the tragic and the comedic. I'm not too sick for saying that, am I? I am? Darn.

      1. Grizzly Man absolutely cracks me up. What's his name - Timothy Treadwell? Herzog's narration with his accent is just comedy gold although I know it's not at all the intention of the documentary.

          1. I started that movie dreading what I knew would happen to Treadwell. And then at some point, I started cheering for the bear.

        1. Once upon a time - it may have been on Casa de Leche - someone knew something but wasn't revealing it. Someone else then commented that it was the biggest "non-reveal since Werner Herzog's footage from Grizzly Man." Not a great story here, but man, did I love that reference. To the point that I felt compelled to tell this awful story.

    2. I've been stalled on Mad Men for ages, ever since a five-episode day when I lived in LA. I'm not sure why this is, since it's still in my #1 spot in the Netflix queue, begging to be enjoyed.

  13. Hmm, almost finished with season two of Justified. Still awesome. Bhiggum was definitely season 1 Raylen Givens, and not season 2 Raylen Givens.

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    That's all I can remember having watched besides staying current on Parks and Rec and Modern Family.

  14. Saw a movie with my wife. Forget what it was. Saw Game Change on HBO. Shudder. It's pretty good, although McCain's character was just about fully two-dimensional.

    1. I saw part of that in the break room the other day, and assume I'll track it down when it's available to me. Kudos to the costume department. There were times it looked like a documentary.

    2. I had been trying how to figure out Game Change without broaching certain topics. Let's just say that I really enjoyed it.

  15. Seeing all these comments almost makes me wish I had time to go to movies and watch more TV. Almost.

    1. I watch my fair share, but sometimes I feel left out, too, Jeff. Especially when it comes to all this great music people talk about. But it's not like I'm unhappy with my other hobbies.

    1. Dang, a lot of stuff discussed that I'd've wanted to opine on.
      I just saw Inception, about a month after Source Code, and well, that made me love the ending of Inception.

  16. I just watched Alien for the first time.

    That's a really great movie. I knew some of the scenes that were coming through constant memetic overuse, but the claustrophobia in the dark tunnels was more effective than the jump scenes, anyway.

      1. Yeah, out of all the hundreds and hundreds of movies I've seen, I have no idea how a movie that so perfectly aligns with my tastes (critically acclaimed sci-fi suspense horror) could have possibly been missed. I always meant to see it.

        1. I always meant to see it.

          Yup, me too. I've seen the sequels on cable TV during college, but for some reason the original has escaped me.

      1. I am assigning Alien and Aliens as homework, due ASAP. Alien 3 is optional for extra credit. Watching Alien: Resurrection will count against your final grade.

    1. I watched Alien and Aliens for the first time about a year or so ago. I absolutely loved Alien, and thought Aliens was okay.

      I'm super stoked for Prometheus, so I'll probably rewatch some time later this spring.

      1. I know and appreciate that Alien is something special, but Aliens is one of my favorite movies of all time.

  17. Since this is apparently still going strong, I just watched The Muppets. And am now filled with joy.

  18. Bringing this back to the resurrected movie post; Phil, I have now seen the first two episodes of Awake. It reminds me a bit of Journeyman. It's getting harder to keep the two worlds separate, though thankfully the colors are different enough to give me some clue.

    1. Never saw Journeyman. Completely agree with the "keeping to worlds separate" part. I'm excited to see where it can go, but a little fearful of the quick introduction of some dastardly plot that led to his condition.

  19. Watched the new True Grit this weekend. I really enjoyed it, but my wife couldn't understand Jeff Bridges' mumbling accent, so she didn't like it.

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