Almsot the weekend. It's been a long week, and I've been feeling a little under-the-weather the last few days ... so I'm really looking forward to a few days off. I hope I feel 100% soon though - there's lots to do.
In terms of movies, personally, I'm excited for ALICE IN WONDERLAND, despite some of the recent negativity with regards to the film. Like many, I'm a longtime fan of Tim Burton, and I'm always eager to see what he comes up with next. I don't quite see why there's such a Burton backlash. Obviously, he's had a few misfires in his career. I think we can all agree that Planet of the Apes, for example, was just plain bad. I really liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I know others didn't ... but ... how are people now making blanket statements that Tim Burton has lost his touch, has sold out, etc? Sweeney Todd, anyone? That was one of Burton's best-ever films, a total masterpiece. And the thing is, even if Alice proves to be a highly flawed film, it's still likely to be more interesting - certainly more visually interesting - than most other fantasy films that you'll find. And for now, Burton has made enough great films - both early in his career and more recently - that I'm happy to give him the benefit of the doubt.
And ... I am super-psyched to see the TRON trailer prior to Alice. I can't wait for that movie. As a kid, Tron was one of those movies that I'd always watch whenever it came on TV. As with many children of the 80's, growing up I was completely fascinated with the idea of computers gone awry - the fact that these then-mysterious machines could unlock the door to whole universes of danger and intrigue. The idea of "the ghost in the machine." Tron was kind of the end-all be-all of the subgenre. Now that computer technologys is such a pervasive part of our everyday lives, you could argue that that old mystique no longer exists. Certainly not in pop-culture. So that's why Tron is going to be kind of awesome (well, one reason at least). I think it will be a supernova blast of 80's nostalgia.
Speaking of which ... I can't wait for SCOTT PILGRIM. Everything I've seen and read points to a movie that is positively dripping with awesomeness.
- I really loved last night's big baby episode of THE OFFICE. Seriously, the first half of this hour-long was completely classic. I was dying of laughter for much of it. Everything just came together to perfection. The very real-yet-funny nervousness of Jim and Pam contrasted nicely with the absolutely absurd craziness of Michael and Dwight. Dwight in particular, realizing that he too wanted a baby, and thus making a baby-making pact with Angela ... hilarious. And this was also one of those rare times where Michael felt just right. He was annoying and over-the-top, but at the same time, you really felt like he was trying to help, and that he had a genuine affection for Jim and Pam and the fact that their romance and family blossomed within the halls of Dunder-Mifflin. There were a lot of those genuine, happy moments, but they really felt earned. They were the kind of moments that could really only work after spending so much time with these characters that we know them inside and out. The result was a half hour of near-euphoric hilarity where everything clicked. I loved Michael and Dwight driving Jim and pam to the hospital - in fact, the whole sequence of them rushing out of the office was just brilliant. From Stanley stopping the elevator (and Toby getting shut out of it) to Dwight getting pulled over due to impersonating a police officer (and having to quickly empty his car of various weaponry). There was just a lot of frenetic comedic energy throughout that whole first half hour. Everyone got their little moment. The birth of Pam and Jim's baby was funny, touching, and a nice payoff to years' worth of storylines. Just a great episode of The Office - one of the best ever, I think.
The second half-hour was a little bit of a come-down. Michael, who really felt spot-on in Part 1, became a bit more cartoonish in Part 2 - spending all of his time trying to recreate the Pam and Jim romance by hooking up other single people in the office. This led to an awkward lunch-date between Erin and Kevin, and more shenanigans preventing Erin and Andy from finally hooking up. But, at episode's end, the two finally made it happen via the always amusing tactic of a self-faxed date request. Oh, Andy, you smooth operator, you. But yeah - there is a lot of comedic potential now that the two are finally going to be dating. You've got to love Andy and Erin - both are hilarious characters, and I can't wait to see scenes from their first date. Similarly, Pam and Jim had some really funny moments in the hospital, post-preganancy. But, some of the cameos from Pam's mom and sister were jarring reminders of some somewhat misguided storylines (Michael hooking up with Pam's mom) from the show's past. And Jim's annoyance with a male nurse / breast-feeding coach seemed a little out-of-character and forced. Overall, the second half of the hourlong Office event was really good, but never quite matched the comedic heights of the first.
Still, an awesome overall night for one of TV's best comedies of the last decade. It was great to see THE OFFICE in top form. And, looking at the ratings now, great to see the show doing so well. Kudos to The Office for showing everyone else how these types of TV events should be done.
Part 1: A
Part 2: B+
- MODERN FAMILY had a really funny episode on Wednesday night. While this wasn't a huge belly-laugh type of episode, it was really enjoyable nonetheless. I got a huge kick out of Phil and Luke's expadition to find some hinted-at hidden treasure buried under the house. I could easily watch a whole episode of just these two interacting, and Ty Burell continues to just kill in every scene he's in. The Mitchell and Cameron storyline was also funny, with baby Lilly saying "mommy" as her first words, prompting her two dads to freak out. Meanwhile, Haley's quest to get her driver's license (for the third time) was amusing and definitely (at least for me) relatable. Finally, the Jay/Manny/Gloria plotline involving Manny's fear of rollercoasters also worked. Pretty amazing - all four parallel plotlines were really strong this week, leading to an episode that overall really hit it out of the park. Again, nothing mind-blowing, but just really great characters that are endlessly watchable and funny. Another excellent ep from Modern Family.
My Grade: B+
- Still have to catch up on PARKS and COMMUNITY. Loving both shows lately, though!
- Okay, I am kind of losing steam here and need to shut my brain off for a bit. So I bid you adieu. Stay tuned, of course, for new movie reviews, Oscar thoughts and reaction, and lots of other assorted craziness.