Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June Recap

What was popular this month?  So far it's:
  1. Box Office Blitz 24
  2. My review of Man of Steel
  3. Box Office Blitz 23
 That's a pretty underwhelming list.  Sad bulldog face:
This is not Butler Blue II, my usual avatar.

And here's some stuff I watched.  The first three are thanks to Briane Pagel.

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret:  This dark comedic series focuses on the dimwitted eponymous character, who's working as a temp at a company in Portland (Oregon) until his boss sends him to open a new office in London to sell an energy drink called "Thunder Muscle."  (Incidentally the drink's translation from Korean means "Bad Sanitation" which may give you an idea of what it is.)  Todd is so clueless about English culture that he doesn't even know who's on the money or how much more pounds are worth than US dollars.  He lusts after a cafe owner named Alice, but she's got eyes for a muscular black dude from Canada.  Todd's attempts to impress her are all undermined by his assistant Dave.  In the second "season" (each season being only 6 episodes) we learn Dave's role in Todd's mishaps.  The comedy gets increasingly black, culminating in the final episode with a couple of surprise twists, but there's still plenty of lighthearted fun too.

Arrested Development:  Since "Todd Margaret" starred two people from "Arrested Development" and Netflix was premiering their revival of the series, I figured why not finally watch it?  I watched 7 or 8 episodes the first Sunday, so that should tell you that I enjoyed it.  Of course I'm probably one of the last people on the SEC boat for this show, but then I'm always behind the times.  As a fan of FX's "Archer" it was also interesting to see the connections between the two shows; at least 3 people from "Arrested Development" voice characters on "Archer" and really the characters they play aren't that dissimilar.  It's also the not-so-secret origin of Michael Cera.  (Remember back in 2007 when it seemed like he would be a big deal with "Superbad" and "Juno?")  For the most part it reminded me of "Seinfeld" in its heyday where little misunderstandings would lead to hilariously disastrous results.  The end of season 3 was a bit abrupt and deus ex machina, but I suppose it had to be since they were being cancelled.

I have to say though I really didn't like Season 4, the 2013 season produced for Netflix.  It was really annoying how most of the episodes were flashing back, often to stuff we'd already seen.  There were so many overlapping stories I couldn't keep track of them.  Was it really so hard to get the cast together consistently after 7 years that most episodes only focused on one or two characters?  And adding Ron Howard as a character reminded me of "Ocean's Twelve" where most of the movie seemed like a big in-joke to the stars and probably only existed for an easy paycheck.  And at the end nothing seems resolved.  (On a shallow note, the actress who plays Maebe did not age well at all.  She's one of those Lohan types who's probably still in her 20s but looks in her 40s.)  I could have done without episodes focusing on Maebe, Tobias, and Buster as I never really liked them even in the first 3 seasons.  It also bugged me that they expanded the episodes to often over 30 minutes (since there are no commercial breaks) as they really seemed to drag.  Maybe after blitzing through the first 3 seasons I was so conditioned for the episodes to end in like 22 minutes that some internal timer would go off after that amount of time.

John Dies at the End:  I didn't like the book of this as much as Mr. Pagel.  It seemed too long to me.  That is remedied in the movie version, which since it comes in at about 90 minutes cuts out a lot of stuff.  The somewhat pointless trip to Vegas is cut among other things.  Mostly this has the same blend of gross horror, humor, and campiness of the original Sam Raimi "Evil Dead" movies.  It really could have used a bigger production budget for better effects.

Freaky Deaky:  This was a movie based on an Elmore Leonard novel I watched just because like a lot of Leonard's material it involves Detroit.  I guess they actually filmed it in the Detroit area.  In one scene they're filming a movie on Belle Isle (in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada) and in the background you can see the building where I work!  Just one teensy problem:  the building where I work was built about 2000 and the movie is supposed to be taking place in 1974--D'OH!  I noticed an Easter Egg of sorts; the movie is directed by Walter Matthau's son Charles and on a movie marquee you can see "Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in The Front Page."  Anyway, it's not quite as good as "Get Shorty" or "Out of Sight" but it's much the same mix of humor and crime.

The Details:  The gist of the movie is how raccoons completely fuck up a guy's life.  This doctor puts down a new lawn for his house but raccoons keep digging it up to get at the sod or whatever.  He tries various Bill Murray in Caddyshack-esque schemes to get rid of them but can't, until he finally puts down poisoned cat food, which kills the crazy cat lady next door's cat.  And he goes to see a friend about a gun which leads to screwing in an old Benz to a not as old Salt-n-Pepa song.  And from there things get worse.  As I said the gist is how one little thing like a problem with raccoons can cause a whole chain reaction that can screw up your life.

Slither:  A horror comedy that combines alien invaders from space with zombies as alien worms from a meteor invade a small Florida town to turn everyone into zombies.  Except Captain Mal and Elizabeth Banks, who was also in "The Details" (see above).  It was fun and also gross.  My only complaint is it was too obvious who was going to survive.  On a side note, Michael Rooker's character kept making me think of Walter White from "Breaking Bad"--at least until he turns into a gross space amoeba thing.  Hurm, maybe that will be how Breaking Bad ends.

Cosmopolis:  Team Edward plays an American Psycho who rides around in an awesome limo to get his hair cut.  There are all sort of detours along the way like stalking his frigid wife and screwing a member of his security detail.  Maybe the dialogue in the Don DeLillo novel works better but coming out of the mouths of actors (especially not a very good actor in Team Edward) most of it sounds like unrealistic nonsense.  Definitely not recommended.

Mr. Brooks:  This is one of those movies I never got around to renting or looking for on Netflix.  It was finally on cable and it was pretty good.  Kevin Costner is the eponymous Brooks, a well-respected manufacturer of boxes who has an addiction to murdering people, goaded by a devil on his shoulder in the form of William Hurt, who only Brooks can see and hear.  It seems we never find out if William Hurt's character was ever real or not.  Too much time is spent on Demi Moore as a wealthy cop getting a divorce.  It's worth watching though just to watch Dane Cook be brutally murdered with a shovel.


  1. I did like Kevin Costner in Mr. Brooks. I Like when actors who typically play the hero get to be the bad guy. Bruce Willis in The Jackal is another example.

  2. You saw a lot of movies Pat. I'm a big fan of Arrested Development and have held off watching it because I don't want it to be bad. My wife liked it though.
    Your Man of Steel post is good, so I'm not surprised is in the top three.

  3. I haven't seen any of these. Just don't have the time. My loss, I'm sure.

  4. I mostly liked how often I was mentioned in this post.

    I started the "John Dies" movie but had to stop watching it for some kids-related reason and haven't gone back yet. But the book I thought was great -- even the side trip -- and the story behind how it became a book is inspirational to anyone (like us) who writes and blogs.

    I barely remembered "Mr Brooks" until I saw you mention it. I didn't like the movie hardly at all, and I agree :the Demi Moore subplot was unnecessary and stupid. I also didn't remember that Dane Cook was in there.

    As for blog traffic, it's obvious: You need to do Box Office Blitz EVERYDAY and make it all about Superman.



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