We all know the chaotic day of November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was shot in his motorcade. The new film Parkland looks to add, instead of retread, the knowledge most already have on the events, and by the looks of the trailer, it does just that. The film recounts the memorable day from multiple perspectives, including the hospital that the President was rushed to, for which the title is taken from.
The film is the directorial debut of Peter Landesman and stars an ensemble cast of familiar faces including Zac Efron (High School Musical), Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Billy Bob Thornton (Armageddon), Tom Welling (Smallville), and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook). The films look to be a unique take on an infamous day that could bring about a new perspective. Check out the trailer:
Parkland weaves multiple stories into its narrative in a Crash-esque way, but centered around the assassination of JFK. The plot includes the hospital the president was rushed to, the man behind theZapruder film , the FBI agents responsible for tracking down Lee Harvey Oswald, the brother of Oswald, and the Presidents security detail trying to piece their stories together. All in all, the trailer didn’t quite sell me because of the somewhat overly dramatic tone it carries as it leads up to the moment we know is coming, but as it puts it, “The story you know/the people you don’t”, The cast is pretty solid, so hopefully they don’t go to waste, and the film is capable of bypassing the common flaw in these ensemble pics, which is to balance the pacing of each story. Oh yeah, and it can’t hurt that Tom Hanks is a producer.
The film is due out September 20th, two days before the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.
Who knew that the Coen Brothers would be involved with a film as filthy as Bad Santa? Known for creating such elegant pieces of drama and such witty pieces of comedy, their name on a raunch fest like Bad Santa seemed unimaginable at first. Then, the movie was released to critical and commercial acclaim, and our light bulb moment had been reached.
Bad Santa, starring Billy Bob Thornton as Willie, an alcoholic shoplifting Santa Clause, is every bit as raunchy and crude as you might think it’d be. Though with that raunchiness comes just as much heart and moral decency as any other Christmas movie. For those of you who don’t know, the plot revolves around two cons named Willie and Marcus (Tony Cox) pose as Santa Clause and his elf at a local mall to rob all of the stores on Christmas Eve. Everything goes smoothly until the security manager Gin (Bernie Mac) discovers their plan. While this shit is hitting the fan, Willie befriends a young boy known only as, The Kid (Brett Kelly).
Willie then gets involved romantically with The Kid’s mother Sue (Lauren Graham), more shit hits the fan, but it’s all really funny in that miserable kind of way.
Bad Santa works mostly because of how unlikable all the characters are besides The Kid. His roley-poley little body mixed with his innocent facial expressions are the ying to Billy Bob’s beer swigging yang. The two gel in an unlikely way that will warm your heart and possibly creep you out all at the same time.
Out of everybody involved though, it’s Tony Cox’s evil but wise Marcus that steals the show. With some smaller roles in films like Friday and Me, Myself, and Irene, his comedic timing is almost perfect, and he represents how evil Willie could be, but somehow has the heart not to be.
I’ll admit, I watched Bad Santa at far too young of an age (8 to be exact), but now, it’s a Christmas tradition for my friends and me. I mean, what other Christmas movie will make teenagers come over to your house?
This episode starts with Johnny standing picket line firm and Eric dealing with blow-back from the guys. I was glad to see Ari get through the episode finally able to accept that divorce is the only option and he is doing it by the books at this point. I never understand why he was being so nice to Mrs. Gold when it was so obviously over for her and that he was the only one trying to salvage the marriage. Bravo to Ari for being strong finally and taking no shit. He never took shit from anyone except the Mrs. and now she has joined the distinguished club.
Eric finds out some disturbing information that may or may not be true: That Sloan is banging Johnny Galecki. That’s like Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie…. gross. Eric actually gives Scott the ultimatum of dropping Galecki or dissolving their partnership. How far you’ve fallen Eric my boy.
Vince continues in his seemingly futile quest to gain a date with the brilliant Sophia, only managing to make himself look like a stalker. Turtle likewise starts to experience difficulties when his partners seem none too interested in his plans for his new restaurant Don Pepe’s. On the bright side of his terrible storyline we do get to see David Spade briefly in action.
Drama just keeps getting better and better. He stands strong after Phil threatens to screw up his Miner/Rescue Dog movie if he doesn’t return to work on Johnny Bananas. Dice then gets the call…. Phil caved to their work strike and as Dice says – “Johnny Bananas rides again.”
I liked the episode, but I’m hoping the second half of tonight’s double premiere is a little better than this one. I give the episode a 3 out of 5 grizzlies.
Victory laps are usually reserved for the revered, the celebrated or the most popular. We are just going to have to settle for the best in this case. As Friday Night Lights made its final season debut on April 15th to tie for last place in the ratings, we must think whether they deserved such an awful way to end its run. DirecTV viewers have been done with the season for months, heck , this fifth season is already out on DVD right now. From a television executive standpoint, you have to wonder, why does this show, the little show that could, even bother? Well, it is the same reason why I was asked to do this article: Friday Night Lights was one of the best damn shows on television in the last decade.
I have been an avid watcher of this show when it first launched back in 2006 to mediocre ratings. I had seen the movie and thought it was worthwhile enough to give the show a shot. Obviously no Billy Bob but hey, life is not meant to be perfect. I remember the pre-launch of the show, and that it had garnered the best reviews, some even declaring the pilot to be one of the best ever made. Granted, critics and opinions do not mean much in the world today of bloggers, or just people who troll IMDB message boards (right boss?), but it was something that had to be seen and watched. I figured, if it is a show about football, it has got to be at least watchable right?
I remember the pilot being easily being unforgettable. It had several moments of intensity, sincerity, levity and just pure fun that pulled me into its grasp. Although it had the same principle plot of the movie, (powerhouse team becomes underdog after horrible injury with a twist), the episode was very well constructed and kept the pace original and fresh to make the idea seem less stale.
Now, I admit, I have a soft spot for dramas. Not only stuff like 24 or Boardwalk Empire or anything dealing with action and HBO, but I love The O.C. I get crapped on about it every once in a while, because let’s face it, it is not something someone would readily admit out loud. The reason I mention this was because for the most part (effin’ Oliver), the first season of the The O.C. was brilliant. They captured the dynamics of friendship, comedy, relationships so well that I wanted to hang with Seth Cohen, crush on Summer Roberts, and have awesome benefactors like Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. The humanity of people was prominent during the season, and the one thing I always noted was the dynamics of the parents relationship. Sandy and Kirsten acted like adults. They had their issues, ups and downs but they got through it because they did not have their heads up their asses. Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) are that couple.
They keep the show, and everyone involved, as grounded as possible. I give the writers a lot of credit. They threw obstacles at them, but there was not an ex, or a ridiculous plot in order drive a wedge in between the two. It was bigger houses, money , jobs…things real couples argue about in life. They were not perfect, they had their flaws. But they were perfect for that show and for each other.
Watching the first season made me come to the conclusion that it was so good, it probably would not last more than two or three seasons. This came out around the same time that Arrested Development was still struggling to find audiences despite the perfection of that show. No one gave any hope to the critical darlings that kept people entertained, or at least those that watched it. They wanted the low-concept projects that the A.D.D generation did not have to think too much about. Which is fine, I am not here to preach about peoples’ television watching habits or their tastes. I am just happy that this show was able to last five seasons after going down to wire like the Dillon Panthers and the end of every game.
The characters drove this show, obviously being led by the Taylors (Chandler, Britton, and Aimee Teegarden) but as with any ensemble show, they are only as good as the surrounding parts. You had Jason Street (Scott Porter), Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), Smash Williams (Gaius Charles), the Lyla and Buddy Garrity (Minka Kelly and Brad Leland), Kronner’s boy Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons – Paul), and even Grandma Saracen (Louanne Stephens) in the first season that clicked together.
As the seasons progressed, they added more characters such as Luke Cafferty (Matt Lauria – The Chicago Code), Vince Howard (Michael B. Jordan), Jess Merriweather (Jurnee Smollett), and Becky Sproles (Madison Burge) for the last two seasons but it was always the Taylors that took center stage.
They responded to situations in the most human way possible, whether to compromising, arguing, and not doing overly stupid things. They were the moral compass of the show and their impact showed through the last five years in the growth of everyone, even themselves.
The second season had its hiccups with a plot to build new viewership that was just unnecessary and stupid, but we still had the same base. They rebounded the next few seasons and still helped build a consistent and entertaining show to watch. It is interesting to think that people did not watch the show because it was about football. Or maybe, because it was not about football at all. This is a show about courage, compromise, family, and growing up. Football was just the backdrop. This could have been about basketball, baseball, badminton, whatever, it was just there to help get from point A to point B.
I truly believe that if you give this show a chance, you will walk away impressed and wanting more. There may not be explosions, Kiefer, vampires, or a mysterious island – and the concept may be boring to some, but it truly is one of the best shows on television. There is just something about hearing, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”, that just makes me smile. Give it shot and it may make you smile too.
Have you checked the Zodiac lately? Because it is of course the year of the sequel. That’s right, 27 major studio sequels to be exact. It must be the current Hollywood fad right now to give every movie a 3D sequel. Below are recently announced and upcoming movies that follow up other movies that did not warrant a sequel to begin with. Actually some didn’t even deserve to have a first one made, but let’s go over them:
Bad Santa 2
According to IGN Billy Bob Thornton is in talks to reprise his role as the foul-mouthed mall Santa from the first 2003 movie. But the biggest question is why? Do we really need a sequel to such a let down, crude movie starring an actor who hasn’t had a decent role since his only noteworthy acting turn in Sling Blade? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for crude movies. I love ’em. But a sequel to Bad Santa eight or nine years after the fact seems like doing a sequel to Battlefield Eartha decade later. Admittedly, I may just be hating on Billy Bob because he effectively ruined any fantasy I could have about Halle Berry, after sloppily plowing her in Monsters Ball. Thank you Mr. Thornton, that is now burned into my retinas.
American Pie 4: American Reunion
I’m not really sure how this one will go, but I’m pretty sure they’ll have no problems rounding up the likes of Chris Klein, Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari and Tara Reid to do this movie. Lord knows they aren’t doing anything of note at this point in their careers. Eugene Levy and Sean William Scott are the only ones who will add any entertainment to this, the fourth entry into the American Pie franchise. Well, it’s the fourth if you’re not counting the four Direct-to-DVD sequels starring no one from the originals except Eugene Levy.
Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance
The first Ghost Rider was so bad I honestly think I’ve somehow erased it from my memory, or aliens did because the recurrent nightmares I kept having from its suckiness interrupted their sleep study of me. This is one movie there should not be a sequel of. Reboot? Maybe. But a sequel, yet again starring Nicholas Cage? No! No! No! I don’t care if nothing from the first film is mentioned, because having to look at Cage’s face the entire time will only be a constant reminder of how much scum inhalation the first movie performed. (Basically the movie was a scum sucker.) Seriously Cage, turn Drive Angry into a franchise and get it over with.
Honestly, I did enjoy the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans. It was entertaining to me, and I saw it in 2D instead of that “slimy piece of worm ridden filth” (Thank you Han Solo) they tried to pass off as a 3D feature. Imagine how I would have enjoyed it if actors like Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson were utilized better, and the story didn’t seem like a fan fiction written by a 16-year old ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ fan. The effects and action were good, but I was hoping they would just end it with Clash of the Titans being an entertaining, dumb action flick. But no, they’ve come back for more. At least the story for Wrath of the Titans sounds decent, you can read about that here.
This Fast and the Furious sequel just got downright lazy. Maybe the next one will just be called Fast6, all bunched together like that. I was not a fan of the first movie, didn’t get a chance to see the second one, and flat out refused to see the Tokyo Drift. And though I actually enjoyed the fourth movie, Fast and Furious, Fast Five looks extremely entertaining to me, so I will be checking it out even if it wasn’t warranted. I mean come on, they are throwing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the mix. However, if they had decided to end the franchise with number 4 I wouldn’t have cared at all.
Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon
Two words sum up Revenge of the Fallen for me; Colossal Failure. It took me awhile to come to grips with that, but multiple views at theater, and a purchase on DVD finally did it. That’s when I noticed more and more how terrible the film was when robots weren’t beating the ever-loving cybernetic crap out of each other. Shame on me. Even though the franchise should have ended with part two, it was a given with the amount of box office cash it raked in that a 3rd installment was inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it should be happening. This is another I will be seeing, giving Michael Bay a second chance to make something even comparable to the first Transformers. I may be setting myself up for a huge fit of gouging my eyes out at the theater, but that is a risk that I’m willing to take.
Now I understand I’ve committed to seeing half of the movies I just described as being ‘sequels we don’t need’, but I can’t do anything to stop them from being cranked out of the Hollywood machine. So I’ll just buckle up and hope the ride doesn’t suck too much.