Field of Dreams

Every once in a while it comes to my attention that I failed to see a movie which has great pop culture relevance. These are films I probably should have seen when I was younger but it missed me and everyone else saw it so when I realize not seeing this movie is a problem I can’t find anyone to watch it with me because they’ve already seen it. Sigh. Usually these are movies I know something about through pop culture osmosis, so by the time I get around to actually watching it, I have assembled a vague plot outline in my head. Sometime my outline is way off and sometimes I prefer my version better.
The other night, Hubby realized I had never seen Field of Dreams. He decided to quickly rectify this as he’s a sucker for baseball movies and this one in particular never fails to make him cry. I knew a bit about this one. I knew it was about Kevin Costner building a baseball field because a voice told him “If you build it, he will come”, and I knew “Shoeless” Joe was a central part of the film, and I knew at the end Costner plays catch with his dead dad. However, there’s a bunch of other stuff in this movie that I totally wasn’t expecting.
I was really surprised that the field gets built in the first act of the movie. I guess I imagine act one would be him hearing the voice and figuring out what it means, act two is building the field, and at the end he meets the baseball players and reunites with his dad. The quickness with which he translate the message, gets his wife on board, builds the field, and then meets the Black Sox team a bit jarring.
Was not expecting all the stuff with writer Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) and the doctor and am not really sure what it adds to story overall. I understand how the 1919 White Sox and Terrance Mann fit into the breakdown of Costner’s relationship with his father but it sure seems like a lot of people had to be involved just one guy can reconcile with his dad. And then all those people heading to the field at the end? All those people had to get in their car and drive all the way to Iowa just so two men could have a catch? It seems a little much ado about nothing.
This does not mean I didn’t like the film. The cast is strong, I particularly liked Amy Madigan as Costner’s file Annie, even though I found him way too pretty for her. James Earl Jones is fun in it as the cranky writer. It’s a good reminder that families get a limited time together so we should do our best to not let pettiness get in the way. While it’s not exactly the film I was expecting, I would still recommend it to anyone who like films about baseball or may need to call their dad.

Eight Men Out

Last night the television decided I needed to know more about the Black Sox scandal because after Field of Dreams for the first time, hubby and I found Eight Men Out while flipping through the channels. Both films feature the 1919 White Sox who were disgraced after it was discovered they agreed to throw the World Series for a payoff from gamblers after being fed up by their owner’s cheapness and broken promises. Those involved, including the legendary “Shoeless” Joe, were banned from baseball. While in Field of Dreams, their story is less central to the plot, Eight Men Out follows the team from pennant win to their disgraceful banishment from the sport they loved, despite never being convicted by the courts.
The film has a strong cast with John Cusack as Buck Weaver, the only one of the eight that did not accept money from the gamblers but was still banned for knowing about the fix and not reporting his teammates. His struggle as he is trapped between being loyal to his teammate versus “doing the right thing” by turning them in. He knows exposing the truth will not only destroy his teammates’ careers but break the hearts of the fans and tarnish baseball’s reputation. He tries to play the best he can and hopes that his teammates will change their minds, but they are all in too deep and Weaver ends up losing everything in the process.
The real bad guy here is owner Charles Comisky who took advantage of this team, making them vulnerable to the gamblers’ offer. Early in the film, pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn) is upset when his promised bonus for winning thirty games is again being thwarted by management. It has been theorized that when Cicotte approached 30 wins, he would be benched for the rest of the season to avoid rewarding him as promised. Years before the scandal, the team was known as the Black Sox when management started charging players for laundering their uniforms and the players protested, causing their white uniforms to become dirty (black) over time. In the film, the team is rewarded for winning the pennant with champagne in the locker room but are disheartened to learn this is the bonus they were promised for a good season. Cicotte pops the cork and discovers the champagne is flat. This mistreatment allows player Chick Gandil (Michael Rooker), the White Sox who organized the fix, an easier sell. These guys weren’t the multi-millionaires their present day counterparts are. Year after year they helped others get rich while they received meager salaries.
However, the things do not go according to plan. The players do not get their money as promised and midway through the series decided to play fairly. But they have done business with some dangerous individuals. Pitcher Lefty Williams (James Read) is threatened by one of the gamblers, who promises his wife will be killed if he doesn’t pitch poorly enough to be thrown out in the first inning.
While Weaver is portrayed as the biggest victim in this story, many find “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to have been unfairly banned. One of baseball’s best players of his age, many feel that the illiterate Jackson did not have the intelligence to understand exactly what was going on. While he accepted money (unlike Weaver), he played well during the series, not making the errors that those more involved with the fix made. To me, one of the saddest parts of the story is how clueless coach Kid Gleason (John Mahoney) was during all of it. He was helpless to stop Comisky’s penny pinching and most likely felt betrayed by his boys after defending them to the press.
Eight Men Out is a very engaging telling of one of the darkest events in baseball history. You really want to reach into the screen and stop them from ruining their lives, but you can’t and it’s a sad reminder that you there is no changing the past.

How The Mystery Kills the Mystery on How I Met Your Mother

As How I Met Your Mother ended its seventh season, Ted Mosby ran away with an old flame, Victoria, just minutes before her wedding. This could be an interesting way to end a season, the lead getting back with the one who got away, if this was any other show but How I Met Your Mother. Viewers know nothing will come of this because, while creators have sprinkled “clues” throughout the series’ 164 episodes, they really haven’t led anyone closer to figuring out the identity of the ever elusive mother, but they have made it very clear who she certainly is not.
So far, viewers know the mother is in possession of a yellow umbrella, took at least one class at Columbia University, has ankles, showers, and, at this point, has not met Ted Mosby. Ted’s narration has repeatedly told us he has yet to meet Mommy Dearest, so having him drive off into the sunset with an ex-girlfriend is just the creators’ way of telling the audience “We’re going to waste your time and you’re going to take it!” We know this is going to end and, most likely, it’s going to end horribly. The creators rely on the old adage, that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, but what makes a journey so magical, is not knowing what the destination will be and here viewers are constantly told exactly where they are heading.
The season ender also had another major development, professional womanizer Barney Stinson proposing to his girlfriend Quinn. However, as the finale came to the close, it is revealed in a flashforward that Barney’s future bride is not Quinn, but Robin. This means in season eight not one, but two relationships will fall apart. What a way to say good-bye to your fans for the summer.
When the series first began, creators were unsure how successful the show would be and wanted to make sure the mother was met. Rumor has it the creators had back-up mothers, just in case the show was canceled. These early seasons had a sense of fun to them, as viewers kept their eyes peeled for possible mother sightings. However, the show wasn’t cancelled and since the creators seem to want the show to end with the initial meeting of the mother, they have been forced to stall, shoving in random girlfriends as a way to kill time. As with many other high-concept series, the gimmick weighs down on How I Met Your Mother as seasons progress.
Two major characters making life altering decisions should be a solid and exciting way to close a season, leaving viewers eagerly awaiting what the future holds for their heroes. However, the writers of How I Met Your Mother botch the execution and spill the beans that we are still no closer to the mother than we were when we first met Ted and the Gang seven years ago. If the writers kept their “clues” to themselves and stopped making promises to the fans early in the season, only to have to scramble when the finale comes, then maybe fans wouldn’t be so eager for the mother and still be enjoying the journey of finding her.

2012 Emmy Winner Predictions

The Emmys may be the least surprising awards show. They pick their favorites and continue to nominate them long after the series or actor has past their prime. It’s isn’t a collection of the best in television as much as what the Emmy voters have on their DVR, with maybe one new HBO show to prove they know what the kids are watching. While I truly believe we are experiencing a golden age of television, there are a few major categories where I have a favorite nominee.
Here are my picks:
Outstand Comedy Series
Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
30 Rock
Who Will Win: None of the established series had a particularly stellar series. They may give it to Girls, since it was the most talked about comedy series of the year. It could win and then never be nominated again.
Where Are?: Parks & Recreation (Amy Poehler got a best lead actress nomination), Community is doing some really interesting things with the medium, my favorite show on television, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, will never get the respect it deserves, but, to me, it’s brilliant, although last season was not its strongest. At least they gave up on Glee.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham in Girls
Melissa McCarthy in Mike & Molly
Zooey Deschanel in The New Girl
Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie
Amy Poehler in Parks & Recreation
Tina Fey in 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep
Who Will Win: This is a crazy list of ladies. They really covered all their bases and, in a way, this could be anybody’s to win, although I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Miss Poehler. Leslie’s run for city council gave Poehler the chance to show a really human side to her sometimes wacky character.
Where Are?: This category is so crowded, I can’t think of anyone they missed.
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jim Parsons in Big Bang Theory
Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm
Don Cheadle in House of Lies
Louie C.K. in Louie
Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock
Jon Cryer in Two and a Half Men
Who Will Win: This one’s a little ugh. No one who gets me really excited. It’s a very predictable list. I could see current Emmy favorite, Jim Parsons taking it or Louie since he’s such a critic darling, although I do take points away for his literally playing himself.
Where Are?: It’s never going to happen, but it would be nice to see Joel McHale in this category for Community.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik in Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten in Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen in Modern Family
Sofia Vergara in Modern Family
Merritt Wever in Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig in Saturday Night Live
Who Will Win: Hard to read this one, maybe Kristen Wigg for her last season on SNL. Would love to see Bialik, she’s the best part of Big Bang Theory and could have an advantage as a former child star grown up right.
Where Are?: Any of the ladies from Community. It’s also a crime that Kaitlin Olson will never be recognized for being one of the most daring ladies in comedy. Also, Maya Rudolph is fun in Up All Night.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O’Neill in Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson in Modern Family
Ty Burrell in Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet in Modern Family
Max Greenfield in New Girls
Bill Hader in Saturday Night Live
Who Will Win: The Modern Family guys all kind of cancel each other out and New Girl is too much of a young person’s show, so maybe Bill Hader? Not that I would complain. He’s the most dependable cast member since Phil Hartman.
Where Are?: Any of the guys from Parks & Rec. While Poehler is great, it’s such a great ensemble cast.

Outstanding Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men
Who Will Win: Wow, this is a hard one. Every single show is a critical darling. Maybe Breaking Bad after not be eligible last year? Or Downton Abbey as a first time nominee in this category?
Where Are?: This is a really solid category. Can’t think of anyone missing.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Glenn Close in Damages
Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife
Kathy Bates in Harry’s Law
Claire Danes in Homeland
Elisabeth Moss in Mad Men
Who Will Win: The Emmys do love them some Claire Danes but Moss’ Peggy went through some big changes this season.
Where Are?: Drama is really solid this year. If anything it’s “Why is Kathy Bates here?”

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dramatic Role
Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall in Dexter
Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis in Homeland
Jon Hamm in Mad Men
Who Will Win: This may be the toughest category to judge. We got to see a very different side of Don Draper, Walter White stooped to almost killing a child to manipulate his partner, and didn’t Steve Buscemi kill a guy he treated like a son (I don’t have HBO)? Could be anybody really but might root for Hamm.
Where Are?: Another category I can’t complain about.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn in Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt in Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi in The Good Wife
Christine Baranski in The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks in Mad Men
Who Will Win: I’m really hoping Christina Hendricks gets reward for all the crap they put Joan through this season.
Where Are?: Aren’t there a lot of ladies in Game of Thrones? Again, no HBO.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito in Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle in Downton Abbey
Jim Carter in Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
Jared Harris in Mad Men
Who Will Win: Feel like it could be down to Paul as as the always amazing Jesse Pinkman and Harris for his incredibly haunting departure from the show, (however I think he didn’t submit that episode to the Emmy board)
Where Are?: Surprised John Slattery got bumped for Harris, but would love to see Vincent Kartheiser get recognized for his work on the show. Hope to see Jonathan Banks fill in Esposito’s spot next year.

May livetweet the show @tuxedopengin for any that are interested.

Revolution- Pilot

In Chicago, two young children mindlessly watch Bugs Bunny. Mom tries to get them to say hi to grandma but they are too zoned out. Dad, Ben, comes home and says they need to fill the sinks and the tubs because it’s happening.
He calls him his brother Miles who is on his way back to the base after a few drinks (good role model) . Ben warns him that all the lights are going off and they are never coming back. And with that all electronic devices start to stop. Televisions, computers, even cars and planes stop working, which doesn’t seem to make much sense, but whatever.
Flash forward sixteen year, Aaron, a disgruntled teacher, tells the children that things didn’t used to be that way and the all should be asking why, but they don’t seem too overly concerned. After class he runs into Ben, who seems pretty please that everything went to shit just like he said it would, and tells him how his backyard becoming a raccoon brothel keeps him from sleeping. This one is one to watch.
We see a grown up version of those two mindless kids, Charlie and Danny, explore an abandoned bus which brings back memories for Charlie of when the lights first went out and she got to eat all the ice cream she wanted. Danny has an asthma attack and Charlie hurries him home. Back home he’s treated by dad’s new lady friend, Maggie, who Charlie’s isn’t too fond of. Ben reprimands Charlie for putting her younger brother in danger, but Charlie points out that everything is dangerous. Ben says she’s right and asks her if she wants to end up killed like her mother.
Gus Fring (!) rides into town and demands to see Ben, who sneaks some sort of talisman to Aaron. Gus (they have not given him a name yet so he’s the dude from Breaking Bad) says he wants to know where Ben’s brother Miles is and says he works for Sebastian Monroe (woah, that’s a name) and hasn’t come this far for nothing. Danny, inadvisedly whips out a crossbow and threatens Gus. This inspires Gus’ crew and other townspeople to whip out their illegal weaponry. In the confusion Danny shoots and hits his father. Fing Danny! It’s gonna be like that, is it? A full out fight breaks out, with Gus ending things by shooting the rebellious townsfolk. Danny is taken away by Gus and his men.
Charlie runs in just in time to see her father die. She promises to find Danny. However, she has company, Maggie and Aaron are insisting to tag along, despite the fact that Aaron is allergic to bees and is most likely afraid of his own shadow. I like that he’s sticking around.
Gus tells Danny it’s nothing personal, that if he couldn’t bring in his father, he couldn’t go back to his boss empty handed. He reminds Danny that he isn’t the one with blood his hands. Danny is intend to escape. Danny is kind of dumb.
The trio make camp and Aaron says he wasn’t expecting the chafing. He asks about Uncle Miles and Charlie says he’s good at killing. Aaron is thrilled to hear this, not!
The next morning Charlie runs into a fellow named Nate. Their exchange is brief but it’s clear this is someone who we will be seeing more of. She rejoins Maggie and Aaron and the trio find an airplane to make camp in. Aaron knows that there are first aid kits in the cockpits of planes because he owned one as a former big wig at Google, which does not exist anymore. I don’t think you need to own a plane to know about first aid kits, but it gives us info about Mr. Aaron.
Danny has broken out of his shackles but drew some attention. He knocks out his guard and makes a run for it.
The trio wakes up at knifepoint as their “plane as shelter” idea is a popular one. Aaron tries to play tough guy which is inadvisable. Maggie leads them to some liquor she has in her bag and then one drags Charlie off to most likely have his way with him. Suddenly the bad guys start puking blood, thanks to the poisonous liquor Maggie tricked them with and Nate is back, of course, shooting Charlie’s attacker.
Turns out Nate is going to Chicago to try to find work on a fishing crew so he, at least momentarily, joins the crew.
Danny stumbles through a field where he runs into pollen!!!! Oh no!!!! His Kryptonite! This one is going to be a problem.
The crew finds their way into Chicago and Aaron full of memories from his past life and leads the crew into the hotel he got married in. Lucky enough the bar tender at the hotel is Uncle Miles! What are the odds?
Danny wakes up in a bed with a guy to his head. He was found by someone else who can be killed by pollen.
Charlie asks Miles why he’s wanted by Monroe. He says they think he and her father know why the lights went out and might know how to turn them back on, but he doesn’t want to get messed up in all that. Charlie demands he help out of family loyalty but Miles doesn’t really know what he owes a girl he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. Ohhh snap!
The group notices Charlie is upset and when Nate sees Miles he’s ready for blood. However, Miles reveals Nate has the mark of the militia. Nate freaks and hurries out of the hotel, weapon drawn.
The group try to decide what to do next. Miles plans to enjoy the last bottle of single-malt in Chicago while waiting for the militia, summoned by Nate, to come for him. Charlie thinks that’s crazy talk and even if he doesn’t join their ranks, he can’t just wait to be killed. Uncle Miles clearly it’s the Fun Uncle and screams at Charlie to leave him alone.
Gus has followed Danny to the farm house and questions Danny’s caretaker. While she originally swears she hasn’t seen anyone for weeks, Gus sees through this since he used to be an insurance adjuster. Wow, life has changed a lot for this dude. He busts into the bedroom just as Danny escapes out the window.
As predicted, Nate leads a militia group straight to Miles who is ready for them. While seemingly prepare to fight an army all by his lonesome, Charlie and the others bust in to help save the day. Even Aaron is helpful, but I like him too much to trust that he will not be killed off. Nate helps Charlie and the two briefly face off sharing a meaningful look before Nate runs off. He’ll be back.
As Maggie tends to Miles’ wound, he agrees to join their little crew. He doesn’t think it’s going to end well for any of them but what else is he going to do, right? Charlie is still happy, nonetheless.
In a flashback it is revealed that Miles’ buddy from the beginning of the episode is Sebastian Monroe, the big baddy!
We see present day Monroe as he receives news that Ben is dead and Danny has been captured, he doesn’t seem completely pleased.
Farmer lady goes to her attic and reveals she also has the same talisman Ben gave Aaron and we see it generates power, allowing her to operate her computer and access a primitive version of the internet. She conversing with another, proving there are others.
While the premise is a bit hard to believe and everyone is a bit to pretty and clean for people surviving a kind of Armageddon, this show has potential to be ok, but, as it reminds me a lot of Heroes in tone and style, it could also become horrible.

Finding Nemo


After losing his wife and all but one egg, Marlin the clownfish is left extremely paranoid and overprotective of his only child Nemo. However, Nemo is a risk-taker at heart, and grows increasingly frustrated living under his father’s oppressive rules. In an effort to impression his classmates, Nemo swims his way up to a boat, only to be captured by a dentist who plans to gift Nemo to his fish-killing niece. The always cautious Marlin must explore the ends of the ocean to find Nemo and along the way meets a collection of characters including the absent-minded fish Dory and Crush the surfer dude turtle.
This film is responsible for the comeback of comedian Ellen DeGeneres. While her television alter-ego’s coming out was a television landmark, her show has cancelled the following year and DeGeneres spent half a decade trying to reclaim her place in Hollywood. Along came Dory, a role written specifically for her, to remind the public how likable DeGeneres naturally is. Dory is forever cheerful despite, or a direct result of, suffering from one of the most severe cases of short-term memory loss in film history. Her mantra, “Just Keep Swimming” helped make Dory one of the best beloved characters in Pixar, or Disney, history, and propelled DeGeneres back to the A-list. She now hosts her own talk show where her forever perky, always dancing persona reminds one of Dory.
One thing I love is while Marlin and Dory develop a kind of love for each other, the filmmakers didn’t push a romantic relationship for the two. It’s very rate to have a male and female character be unrelated and not have them become romantically involved.
Pixar seems like one of the best places to work. While I’m sure team members work long hours, they are often rewarded by having one of their inside jokes stuck into the background or having a character named after them, like Darla, the feisty tot who is every fish’s worst enemy, who is named after long-time Pixar producer Darla K. Anderson. They also love to sneak cameos in the background from other Pixar characters past and present.
Pixar is always making new innovations in computer animation. Toy Story was the first full-length computer animated film and the shiny plastic toys were a good fit for the still somewhat limited artform. With each film they pushed boundaries and developed new techniques. A new shading system called “transblurrency” was developed for the jellyfish sequence. The animators were too talented for their own good, creating surface water that looked so lifelike they worried viewers would think it was live action and had to go back to make it look more fake.
While Pixar has one of the best track record in Hollywood, Finding Nemo is one of their more popular films. While it didn’t touch me quite like Up!, Wall-E, or the Toy Story films do, it’s consistently cute and funny, and who can’t relate to Nemo’s need to pull away from his dad’s controlling way or Marlin’s need to protect his son? Pixar is brilliant at creating stories everyone can connect to and that’s their ultimate weapon.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

The 40-Year Old Virgin made Judd Apatow a major force in Hollywood, introduced the masses to Seth Rogan, and paved the way for other comedies that marry vulgarity and heart (most of which are at least produced by Apatow). With its sunny, happy poster and self-explanatory title, it became a big hit and helped the careers of nearly every actor involved. The heavily improvised dialogue makes the situations seems more real and allows you to believe the cast are actually a group of friends. I always appreciate when a cast seemed to genuinely enjoy the filming process and that shines through in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Andy (Steve Carell) has given up on finding love after a series of embarrassing experiences and has built a happy little life for himself, content to die a virgin. However, when his secret gets out among his co-workers, they make it their mission to help him lose his V-card. When Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener) at his store, he manages to get her number and scores a date, but worried how she’ll react to his secret, he jumps at her suggestion that they spend time getting to know each other before being intimate.
One interesting element of the film is that while his co-workers (which include Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, and Romany Malco) give Andy the push he needs to find love, their advice is terrible. They all have questionable love lives with Rudd still pining over an old flame, Malco cheating on his live-in girlfriend, and Rogan seemingly uninterested in anything beyond a one-night stand. They pressure Andy to just get it over with by hooking up with some random drunk chick at a bar, but it’s clear the concept makes Andy uncomfortable. There’s a great shot when Andy gives up on love after a fight with Trish and successfully picks up a girl at a bar. Back at her place she attempts to seduce him by getting into her tub and pleasuring herself with her shower head. The sadness on Andy’s face as her watches this stranger exposing so much of herself to him is heartbreaking. Andy didn’t need to start acting like a player in order to finally get laid, he just needed to realize he has a lot to offer.
I like that they didn’t make Andy super creepy or anything. He’s a fairly regular guy, he’s clean, there’s nothing glaringly wrong about his appearance, he’s friendly, he just has trouble meeting new people, and, more importantly, lacks the confidence to make the first move with a girl. I know a lot of nice guys who struggle landing dates and sometimes they blame the girls for not like “nice guys”, but that really isn’t the issue. It’s not that girls exclusively like jerks, they just tend to prefer guys who have confidence, or at least the confidence to ask them out and kiss them first. But most nice guys are paralyzed by the fear of offending the object of the affection or of being rejected.
40 Year Old Virgin is a fun movie for a date night at home. Apatow is the king of mixing rude jokes with charm because he tends to highlight people who care deeply about each other so you know all the teasing is in jest.

The Five-Year Engagement

Caution Spoilers!
When Tom and Violet get engaged after only dating a year, some worry they are rushing into things, but a series of unexpected life changes delay the big day five years. When Violet (Emily Blunt) gets accepted to PHD program in another part of the country, Tom (Jason Segal) agrees to quit his job as a sous chef at a hot restaurant to help her follow her dream, however, Michigan is an odd fit for Tom. While Violet is the star student in her group and her contract extended, the best job Tom can find is in a sandwich shop and he slips deeper and deeper into depression. The two patiently await the perfect time for their wedding, but eventually learn that there’s never a perfect time for anything and sometimes you just have to pick a cookie and eat it, but more on that later.
One thing I like about Jason Segal’s writing is that there’s something refreshing untrained about it. His scripts are sprinkled with specifics that you know must have been inspired by moments of his life. He also is more than willing to “go there”, he’s never afraid to appear nude or perform a revealing sex scene. There are also a lot of familiar faces in his films. He clearly puts thought into who he wants to spend his time with when filming. I feel like more than the vast majority of actors, you get to know Jason Segal as a person when you watch his work.
Early in the movie, Hubby pointed out that all their troubles could have been easily been avoided. Their biggest problem is that Tom had to give up his culinary career so Violet could further her studies and continue on the road towards becoming a professor. Michigan is not know more its culinary scene but its cost of living is extremely low, so Hubby said Tom should have tried to start his own business, and then later in the movie, Tom does start his own business after he moves back to San Francisco and agrees to relocate the business to Michigan to be with Violet again. The whole movie could have been avoided if they had just thought of that of when they first moved! It makes the rest of the film a little tiresome being based on such a flimsy conflict.
In the end, the message seemed to be you can’t wait for that moment for when everything is perfect. This is highlighted by the relationship between Violet’s sister Suzie (Alison Brie) and Tom’s best friend Alex (Chris Pratt). The two hook-up at Tom and Violet’s engagement party and quickly marry when Suzie discovers she’s pregnant. The two repeatedly throw caution to the wind and build a relatively happy little family for themselves. Brie and Pratt are a lot of fun and hopefully in the next year or two they’ll be able to be the leads in romantic comedies. However, Brie’s British accent is a tad distractingly bad but hearing her and Blunt fight as Elmo and Cookie Monster is a classic sister moment.
While The Five-Year Engagement isn’t a classic it is a cute date night movie with a lot of familiar faces.

Kill Bill

Few people on the planet share Quentin Tarantino’s undying passion for film. His projects are love letters to movies that inspire him and he often uses his name to bring attention to films and genres that are not well known by the masses. With help of muse Uma Thurman, Tarantino created The Bride, an assassin who almost loses her life when she tries to chose family over a life of murder and must destroy her former team and defeat the man who taught her how to kill in order to find her daughter. It marries kick ass action scenes, humor, and strong character as only Tarantino can.
After surviving a beating that should have been fatal and a bullet wound to the head, a former assassin known as The Bride or Black Mamba (Uma Thruman) tracks down and kills her former crew (the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad) one by one, before setting her sights on her old mentor and lover, Bill (David Carradine). Her quests spans two films and features a series of memorable fight scenes and vignettes showing the various crew members’ origins. While the violence is at time gory, the films still have a lot of humor and pop sensibility, which has come to be expected from Tarantino.
I think what makes this story so strong is it’s a completely justifiable killing spree. When The Bride wakes up from her years long coma and realizes that she is no longer pregnant, her reaction is heartbreaking. Knowing Bill, she assumes her baby was killed. The audience doesn’t learn otherwise until the end of Volume 1. It would be hard not to emphasize with the pain of a mother who has lost her child and the rage she feels towards those responsible. The Bride’s mission is a completely identifiable, if hyperbolic, way of showing what one mother will do to avenge her child.
While Tarantino is known for violence, I find him to be one of our more feminist directors. While his directorial debut lacked a single female character, his more recent work, Kill Bill in particular, feature strong woman not only kicking ass but for admirable reasons. These women are also allowed to keep their femininity and have a sense of humor, attributes often missing from tough female characters. Writers can bring their vision of a perfect world to life, and I think Tarantino would love to live in a world where women are as sassy as The Bride.
Originally intended to be one film, I think it possibly would have been stronger if it had stayed this way. Volume Two is a little on the slower side (after a jammed pack Volume One) and the constraints of one film could have led some of the less necessary portions to be scaled back or cut entirely. However, the films show how much Tarantino has matured as a storyteller while still retaining his voice. He’s definitely a filmmaker who keeps things interesting, even when you’re not entirely into what he’s currently obsessed with.

Breaking Bad Episode 508 Gliding Over All

Fly. Those are always trouble on this show.
Todd reports for work to find Walt staring at a fly on the light. He has dealt with Mike’s car, insuring he was not followed and no questions were asked, but he thinks it’s pretty cool how they turn cars into cubes.
They now must deal with Mike’s body. He tells Todd it had to be done. They are about to dispose of Mike when Jesse stops by, asking if Mike got out. Walt answers in a way that to Jesse is affirmative but isn’t a true “yes”. Jesse asks what they are going to do about the nine but Walt reminds him they are not a team anymore and he will handle it alone.
Walt showers and we see the copy of Leaves of Grass Gale gifted Walt is kept by the toilet.
Hank is meeting with a prisoner willing to talk in exchange for all charges dropped. Hank doesn’t take the bait.
Walt meets with Lydia at a restaurant and she’s her typical neurotic self. She worries how it will “play” with Walt not ordering anything. This lady thinks she’s living in a spy movie. He wants the names but Lydia worries the names are the only thing keeping her alive. Walt reminds Lydia of his promise but Lydia says he would protect her from Mike, and Mike is clearly out of the picture now. Walt says if she withholds the names, then she’s truly useless to him, but Lydia says she will grow his business in the Czech Republic. While Madrigal is still under investigation, it’s a big company and Lydia can make international maneuvers with a click of a mouse. She says she was working with Gus towards expanding into this marker when he was killed. She asks for ten months to deliver and Walt agrees. Now the names can be given and Lydia’s usefulness remains intact. She leaves and Walt reveals to the audience he was keeping the power to kill her right under his hat all along. The old recin trick again.
At home, Walt hides the recin in the wall outlet before calling Todd, requesting to meet his uncle and his connections. They plot how to kill the nine within the prisons, using all their available resources. Todd’s uncle says they can all be killed but to do so in such a short time frame would even be tricky for Seal Team 6. Walt does not accept this answer. He says the question really is, is he the right man for the job. He has to figure it out.
It’s go time and they have teams of prisoners brutally murdering the nine by beating, shanking, and, in one case, burning one to death. News gets to Hank in the middle of a photo op and it’s back to square one for his case.
News of the prison murders hits the airwaves as Walt enjoys playful daddy-daughter time with Holly. Marie rushes in and shuts off the television. She says Hank is pulling into the driveway and has had an awful day at work. Hank heads straight for the liquor cabinet and pours himself and Walt a drink. He sits down and reminisces about a job he had while in college tagging trees. Every morning he could pick up where he left off the day before and he sometimes wishes he could go back to tagging trees instead of chasing monsters.
Montage! Walt’s new venture with Lydia begins. Money is pouring in and Todd is steadily learning the trade.
Time has passed as we see little Holly starting to learn how to walk. Skyler tries to extend the family time but a call from a friend sends Walter Jr out of the room. Marie thinks Skyler is doing so much better and it might be time to have the kids move back in them. Skyler wants to know if Hank doesn’t want them around anymore, but Marie says the issue isn’t the kids themselves, but whether keeping the kids is enabling her.
Skyler comes home and sees Walt sitting out by the pool. She approaches him and asks him to take a drive with her. They go to a storage facility where she has a unit containing all the money they have made. She says it’s too much to count. Too much to launder. She wants her old life back so when is enough, enough for Walt.
Walt goes in for scans, something we haven’t seen him do for a long time. Afterwards he visits Jesse, whose days are now spent almost accidentally burning his house down. Walt explains he tried to call but none of Jesse’s numbers are working. Jesse invites him in and sheepishly puts his bong out of sight. Saul told Jesse what Walt did and he’s not returning to the business so why is Walt bothering him? Walt says he saw a RV that was the same model as their old one. They reminisce about what a hunk of junk it was. Jesse points out they had money then, why were they saving it? Why did they suffer the World’s shittiest RV? Walt leaves saying he’s left something for Jesse. Jesse’s obviously cautious but it’s money he was owed from the sale. When Jesse is alone, he discards the gun he had been holding, obviously meant to protect him from Walt if needed.
Walt goes home and tells Skyler he’s out. The kids come home and the family celebrates. They are talking such banal stuff you know something big has to be brewing. Hank does to the bathroom and stumbles upon Gale’s copy of Leaves of Grass. The inscription jogs Hank’s memory and the dots connect. Walt is Heisenberg.
Now, what will the last eight episodes have in store? I’m imagining an inevitable showdown between Walt and Hank. I’ve never had a good feeling about that baby. What role will Jesse play in these final days? Will anyone make it out alive?