December 30, 2011

Friends With Benefits Review

This past year two movies came out with essentially the same plot. There was Friends With Benefits, and another movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. I went with the one starring Mila Kunis. I don't know if that was the right choice or not. I didn't watch the other one, and I probably never will.

I didn't expect much out of Friends With Benefits, and that is probably a good thing.  It didn't do a whole lot other than parade Mila around in her underwear, which I'm not saying is a bad thing.

December 19, 2011

Breaking Bad Season 3, a retrospective

I just finished season 3 of Breaking Bad last night and I think it has solidified itself as one of my favorite television series of all time. I've heard season 4 is even better, so I can't wait to start watching.  It is going to be tough to top season 3. The slow burn of the first few episodes made the last half just that much sweeter. I wasn't a fan of "Fly" when I watched it last week, but it really did fit in with the narrative much better than I initially thought it did.  I should never doubt the writers of Breaking Bad again. It is simply one of the best written shows going today.

At the end of season 2 going into season 3 the tone totally shifted. I wasn't feeling it right at first. The show has always taken on very serious subject matter, but there was a sense of hope that made enjoyable to watch, along with a little humor mixed in. Sure they were making and selling drugs to pay for cancer treatments, but it was all in good fun.  In season 3 it wasn't fun anymore. Things got real.

The cancer inside Walt seemed to be gone, but the cancer of his actions was spreading. Even though he never used his own product, drugs ruined his marriage and tore his family apart... just like so many of his anonymous users. He is so good at what he does he gets the chance to go corporate. He is able to reach a much larger customer base, and become even more disconnected from the damage he is doing.  But by the end of season 3 Walt gets a very personal reminder of chaos he is involved in, and is forced to take action. 

Walt and Jessie had their ups and downs all through the season, and I was not expecting the ending we got. Walt has always been so logical and pragmatic in his decision making. It was strange to see the emotion and depth of the bond he had with Jessie. It might have been guilt driving it to some extent, but I didn't expect him to throw away everything to save his partner.  Walt had been veering from the path of logic for a while, and it culminated in a surprising end to season 3. 

The Breaking Bad we have now it not one I ever invisioned when I watched the pilot. The characters have changed, and the world is more cruel and unforgiving than anything we saw early on. That is hard to imagine when you think about how heartbreaking those first couple episodes were. The show we have now has changed quite a bit, but it is still about cancer.  Now it isn't the cancer in Walt's lungs; it is the cancer of humanity. It is the cancer of greed, selfishness, indulgence, and addiction. I have no clue where the show is going to go from here, but I bet it is going to be good.  

Breaking Bad is one of my favorite television shows of all time. I would have said that about LOST too until the final season. I don't think Breaking Bad can suffer the same failings that LOST did.  LOST was all about bringing things together at the end, which it completely failed at. Breaking Bad isn't dependent on weaving 20 different story lines together. If it ended here I woulnd't feel like I got screwed. 

It is crazy to think there are 13 episodes that the rest of the world has seen that I have no clue about. A ton of what I'm writing here could be stricken completely irrelevent just a couple episodes into season 4. I really have no clue where it is going, and that is why this show is so much fun to watch.   

December 15, 2011

December 13, 2011

The Bottle Episode

This weekend I went on a Breaking Bad season 3 marathon. The last episode I watched was episode 10 entitled "Fly"; one of the most blatant bottle episodes in television history. The concept of a bottle episode was not new to me, but rarely is it so obvious as it was in this case. Usually I only realize in retrospect what was going on. This time I knew it from the very beginning, and I found it very off-putting.

Even though it was technically well made as all episodes of BB are, it might be the worst episode of Breaking Bad I've seen in the series thus far. That is an opionion, not a fact. Some people loved "Fly". I did not.

December 9, 2011

The Office isn't horrible this year!

My enthusiasm for The Office had really cooled off the last couple years. Last year when I heard Steve Carell was leaving I thought it was all over. The only reason I was tuning in each week was to see what stupid stuff Michael Scott would do. Without him I wasn't sure it was going to be worth watching.

The show felt stale. It was spinning its wheels trying to deliver jokes with characters who didn't have any room to move beyond their cliched bubbles. Meredith had to have a alcohol/sex joke every episode. Kevin was the stupid fat guy... etc.  There were still some very good moments over the last couple seasons, but none of it seemed to be going anywhere.  I didn't mind watching, but I didn't care all that much if I missed an episode or two. I didn't care anything about the story, I was just watching and hoping for laughter.

December 3, 2011

Review: Trollhunter

If you have netflix instant you might want to queue up this little Norwegian film. Sure it is subtitled, but don't trick yourself into thinking you are watching some deep artsy film. Trollhunter is a lot of fun. We watch from the perspective of college students who go out in search of an alleged bear poacher. They track down the culprit, but get more than what they bargained for.

The entire time is spent behind the lens of their camera, so it is a found-footage style film. While I did enjoy The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the format is not my favorite.  Trollhunter manages to do it in a way that is not nauseating or distracting. They actually use the format to add to the tension and tone of the movie. And that I can get on board with.