Monday, July 28, 2008

a date

10 Fictional Characters I’d Date

After being inspired by EW’s “TV Characters You’d Date”, I spent way too much time thinking over my own list. I decided to expand the qualifications a bit (to movies, basically). Sigh… some boys are just too dreamy….

10. The Narrator from Fight Club (played by Edward Norton): OK. This one would be more of a tryst. A really hot, sexy one, no? This guy is seriously batshit insane—but to use an very trite phrase, he just looked so good being so bad. I’d say more about what he does in the movie, but you know the first rule of Fight Club, so I’ll just go on.

9. Han Solo (from Star Wars, duh): Thinking about it, I could pick a number of Harrison Ford movies (Indiana Jones, The Fugitive, etc.) in which I’d like to date him. So I kind of just wanted to pick Ford himself, but that kind of defeats the concept of this list, doesn’t it? In the end, I decided Han wins out, as a roguish smuggler who gets mixed up with this kid named Luke. Through this unlikely happenstance, Han discovers being part of a group ain’t so bad, and we (the audience… of his life) get to see that he’s a smart, sarcastic reckless, amazing pilot with a heart of gold. Also, his best bud is a big, cuddly Wookiee. Aww.

8. Logan Echolls (from Veronica Mars): Oh Logan, you were Veronica’s obligatory psychotic jackass, and yet your love for her was epic. The duplicity of Logan made him one of the best characters on the show. Even though he started out as an organizer of bum fights, went on to boink his friend’s stepmom (granted she was a MILF to the max), and eventually became super emo kid, Logan still maintained his wit, charm, loyalty, and all-around awesomeness. And honestly, it’s amazing he even managed to function with all the f—ed up stuff that happened to him (his dad sleeping with, and then murdering his girlfriend, and his mom committing suicide is just the beginning), so I guess I can give him a little slack. Plus, he sure is cute.

7. Leopold (from Kate and Leopold): Hugh Jackman was the only redeeming quality of a pretty bad chick flick. Leopold accidentally gets transported through time from 1870s New York to modern day 2001 NYC. He’s like Mr. Darcy minus all the haughtiness, and man, does his charisma just ooze off the screen. It’s like, one look from Leo, and you would eat some of that disgusting fake-butter stuff he’s trying to sell you. And you’d enjoy it, dammit. Meg Ryan has had a lot of enticing male leads to fall in love with, but none come close to the perfection of prim and proper Leopold.

6. Zach Morris (from Saved by the Bell): Way totally cool and awesome, who could resist his pretty brown eyes and surfer-boy blonde hair? I mean, come on-- he had a cell phone in 1991! He was like a class clown/troublemaker in 2nd grade that just never grew up, because even though he did some pretty underhanded things to his friends, he always repented with the utmost sincerity, that little rascal. Kelly never deserved such a guy, and I want my turn.

5. Marshall Eriksen (from How I Met Your Mother): He sings! He studies law! He always wins games! He slaps!! Marshall is the fun-loving, somewhat na├»ve, and always loyal best friend I’d want to someday marry. Or at least date.

4. William Thatcher (from A Knights Tale): I didn’t always like this movie, but the more times I watched (I have no idea why I kept watching it), the more I grew to love it (along with Heath Ledger’s character, William, of course). Underneath the silly, purposefully anachronistic popcorn fare of a film lies a moving character study of a boy who grows up and does achieve his seemingly elusive dream. His wish to be a knight is so pure and noble, and his love runs so deep for his friends and family, that William is truly a hero for the ages.

3. Coach Eric Taylor (from Friday Night Lights): If there were such of a thing as a FILF, Eric Taylor would be it. He’s not perfect, but he tries so hard, and whenever he does succeed in being Awesome Dad or Husband or Coach, I swear my uterus gives a little jump. Like, marry me, Mr. Taylor. I’ve never seen any squinty-eyed guy look so good in a blue polo and southern accent. Oh, and his hair! It’s so emotive, I think it deserves its own show.

2. Edward Cullen (from Twilight): Otherworldly good looks (literally), a genuinely good disposition, intelligent, athletic (as in, insanely fast and strong), and a loving heart (if only it beat), Edward is perfect. Except for the fact that he’s a vampire.

1. Jim Halpert (from The Office): You know, since Jim is actually human, I thought he should get the number one spot. He’s nearly perfect, and, in fact, his lack of ambition is part of what makes him so charming. We would have so much fun pulling pranks on Dwight and making faces at the camera over the crazy stuff Michael says. We’d fall into a comfortable relationship, but his humor and thoughtfulness would keep it from being boring. I’d work in any office if he were my desk buddy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a tribulation

You know, there are some experiences that you go through that are just horrific. Usually you try to block them out as best as you can. But there are a few that you actually try to hold on to. The ones that didn’t kill you and actually made you stronger. Here’s one of my recent experiences:

I was looking for a job and found a posting for one online for a paid internship at a book publishing house. Back then, I was considering going into publishing, because it looked cool in Bridget Jones, and it’s a tough field, but journalism’s honestly probably tougher right now with all the newspapers downsizing fo'realz. It was an ideal internship. And it was paid.

Of course since it was such an awesome opportunity, I knew my chances of getting it, as a freshman in college with very minimum experience, was slim to none. I’ve had my writing published before, I worked in an office for about a year—I wasn’t totally unqualified, but I knew I was under qualified.

I arrive at the interview on time, in my best “hire me!” clothes. The problem is that I completely lack confidence. I am surprised they even want to interview me, and I just know from the moment I walk into the office that I am in way over my head. Luckily, I’d been on enough interviews before where I can stay pretty calm, and I already have most of my standard interview answers down pat, so I don’t fall apart completely.

I meet the woman who I would be working under. I am actually getting a little panicky. At the time, I was still working at Forever 21, and by crazy random happenstance, my interviewer had been shopping there last night. And she remembered me. Yikes. The thoughts running through my head? “Fuck! I was kind of lazy last night. Definitely not my A game. Was a friendly enough? I should have been friendlier. Did I smile enough? Fuck! Ok, maybe it’s a good thing. She’ll remember me better now. Is that a good thing? I don’t think I was friendly enough.”

The interview continues and she asks me why I want to get into publishing. I don’t know anything about publishing. I am forced to BS a totally rambling answer. I meet the boss. I forget his name instantly. We talk about books. I’ve actually read one of his favorite books! I do not mention that it was for school. (The book was Killer Angels, and I did not lie when I said I enjoyed it, at least.) He tells me about the office, what he does, what I’d do. I try to ask intelligent questions. He’s impressed by my resume, but I can tell that I’m too green to be an ideal candidate. I do not exude the confidence I want to because I’m still pretty scared shitless.

The boss finishes talking and asks if I have anything else to give him. “Huh?” I want to say. Instead I shrug and smile and say no. Not sure if that’s a better response. What else would I give him?! It’s now a little awkward. I thank him and he walks me to the elevator. We small talk, I thank him again, get into the elevator, and leave. Exhausted. On the car ride back, I wonder if I should have given him an article I wrote. I had a copy in my bag.

Writing my thank you letter back in my room, I still think maybe I should have given him a copy of my article. Something to make me more memorable. My cover letter was honestly not that great—I mostly copied a template. I did not emphasize my good qualities enough in it. I decide to include a copy of my article with my thank you letter. Is that a faux pas? I don’t know. Oh well. I kiss the seal and send it. My Peter Pan stamp sure was cute, but maybe it’s not businessy enough? After sending it off, I want to curl up and die in embarrassment.

A few days later I get an email telling me that I did not get the job. I am a little relieved.

It was a pretty weird, frightening experience. In the end, though, I was glad that I did it. Eventually, I would have had to do something like that. But probably not until, like, junior year right? I guess I can reassure myself with the fact that I was, despite my experience, too young for the job. A year ago, I wouldn’t have even bothered sending in my resume. But now… well, I hold onto this memory as a “Yes you can!” encouraging moment, and the worse thing I can do is never try. Failure doesn’t feel half as bad as regret.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

a finale

Firefly (2002)

Status: Cancelled after 11 episodes; 14 episodes made (all on DVD)

Genre: sci-fi/western/drama/comedy/action

DVD extras: pretty good. Interesting commentary on a few episodes.

Basics: The series is set in the year 2517, when we’re no longer separated by continents or countries, but by planets, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire) pitched the show as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things".

The show explores the lives of people who fought on the losing side of a civil war and now make a living on the outskirts of the society, as well as the pioneer/ wild west-like culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. In addition, it is a future where the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China (they speak Chinese on the show sometimes—makes it fun and colorful, actually, if a little weird), fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures as well. According to Whedon's vision, "nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today."

The good: the cast. They are fun. Here we go:

Malcolm Reynolds (a.k.a. Mal)- the captain of Serenity. Fought in the war, which left him somewhat broken. Now his only goal is to keep his ship going. An enigmatic anti-hero figure, you might say.

Zoe: second in command; insanely loyal to Mal because they fought together in the war. She’s tough.

Walsh: the funny guy. The pilot. Zoe’s husband. (importance of role, not in any particular order, natch)

Inara: her job title is “Companion,” which essentially makes her a high class prostitute. Of course, she’s the only one making an honest living because everyone else on the ship gets paid by illegally trafficking stuff (and people) between planets. Mal kind of has a crush on her, and if he made a move, I don’t think she’d say no.

Jayne: hired muscle. His loyalty is the most questionable. Large and crude, he’s a lot of fun.

Kaylee: the sweet mechanic; the heart of the ship. She’s the best mechanic there is, and loves Serenity almost as much as Mal does.

Simon: a doctor (top 3%!) breed in the inner planets, the ones under Alliance control. He’s not really into the whole “outlaw” thing, but has become a fugitive because he broke his sister out of a government research facility where they fucked her up for sure. Now Simon and sis are on the run, and the crew of Serenity is nice enough to let them stay (it’s also handy to have a doctor on board). He likes Kaylee. She totally loves him. Simon’s problems with his sister, though, always seem to get in the way. Also, looks very good shirtless. Alas, we don't discover this until the very last episode. Damn.

River: the little sis of whom we speak. She’s kind of annoying at first, but the more you learn about her, the more fascinating she becomes.

Shepherd Book: he’s a priest/pastor/minister guy (they’re called “shepherds” in the future, apparently). Most of the time, he’s kind of just there. Had the series continued, I’m sure he’d have developed into something interesting. That leads me to my next point:

The bad: the fact that the series ended so soon. We have the seedlings of interesting characters, but we never get to fully go into their backstories. Inara and Book certainly had something very suspicious pasts. Such a shame.

The ugly: OK, I’m not really into sci-fi. Some of the episode weren’t that great, honestly. It kind of reminded me of those old Hercules and Xena shows; that’s the most similar thing I can think of.

Why it’s awesome: I think the idea of mixing the genres of sci-fi and westerns is brilliant. It works so well. The parallels between space and the wild west… you never think about it, you know? What really put this series over the top for me was the fact that Joss got to make a movie to finish off the show. And that movie is probably one of my favorite movies ever. I watched it more times than I like to admit. Brilliant direction and dialogue throughout the series.

Best episodes: “Shindig” is very Jane Austen (how cool is that?!), “Jaynestown” has that awesome song, “Out of Gas” is my favorite—it give some backstory in a highly interesting way, “Ariel” is heart-stoppingly thrilling, “War Stories” is fun (as fun as torture can be), and “Objects in Space” is just weird (but kind of in an awesome way).

In conclusion, maybe it’s a good thing it only lasted a few episodes, because that’s the only reason I gave this show a chance. I liked that it had a Big Damn Movie as a finale so I wouldn’t be stuck watching season after season. This show is lots of fun; a great summer distraction.

And so ends my DVD reviews. Yay! I really have too much time on my hands these days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

a playlist

My Playlist for July 2008:

1. Jack and Diane- John Cougar Melloncamp
2. The First Single (You Know Me)- The Format
3. Let's Dance to Joy Division- The Wombats
4. Viva La Vida- Coldplay
5. The Call- Regina Spektor
6. Surrender- Cheap Trick
7. Pork and Beans- Weezer
8. Rise Above This- Seether
9. Romeo and Juliet- Dire Straits
10. Sweet and Low- Augustana
11. Fake Plastic Trees- Radiohead
12. Forever- Chris Brown
13. I Kissed A Girl- Katy Perry
14. Time To Pretend- MGMT
15. You Can't Always Get What You Want- The Rolling Stones
16. The Beginning is the End is the Beginning- Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a reminder

Watch Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Like, today, please.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a little school spirit

Friday Night Lights (2006) SEASON 1

Status: It’s kind of a weird one. Season 3 is coming this fall, but with less episodes than a regular season, and it’ll air on cable/direct tv/something first, and then repeat on NBC some weeks later. So, it’s not totally cancelled—just kind of on a slow death march.

Genre: drama (family/teen/sports)

DVD extras: not great. A making-of documentary that is OK (and for some reason, not placed on the last disc—but watch it last if you don’t want to be spoiled). A few deleted scenes. The best thing about the DVD is that it’s cheap (probably why it’s lacking a lot of extras).

Basics: The first season of Friday Night Lights accomplishes something that few television dramas are able to do: It betters the 2004 film on which the series is based. Set in Dillon, Texas, where football--even on the high school level--is everything, Friday Night Lights is a compelling drama with a football subplot. Poignantly and effectively touching on racism, rape, steroids, jealousy, infidelity, and life-changing injuries, the series presents the inhabitants of Dillon as real people who are flawed, but remarkable in their ordinariness.

The story arc of the season is: Coach Taylor is the new head-coach of the Dillon High Panthers. He has to have a winning team because his job and the spirit of the entire town depends on him. Meanwhile, his wife has to deal with becoming the “head coach’s wife” and his daughter falls in love with the new, young, quarterback. The players on the team are more than just high school kids because of the responsibility to the town their uniforms come with, but they still have to deal with heartaches, alcoholism, absent parents, steroids, etc. It follows a small town on its quest for state championship.

The good: Incredibly real, heartfelt, fascinating, and well-acted. The actors are all really good looking. And I am pretty much in love with Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler). Total love. But since he has the awesome Connie Britton as a wife (uh, in the show), I’ll settle for Matt Saracen. More age appropriate anyway.

The bad: Stupid shaky camera shit. It suppose to give the show a gritty, realistic look, but it just distracts me. Either I got used to it though, or they calmed down a little after the first few episodes. I can see when the shaky feel works in certain instances, but in general I love me a well-done tracking shot.

The ugly: It’s only problem is that it started to fall apart the second season. For some reason they skipped half a school year, FORGOT about FOOTBALL, broke up the best couples, and added a MURDER plotline. Don’t worry, the first season finale ends satisfyingly enough. Like VM, make up what you think will happen after the last episode because it’s better than the reality.

Why it’s awesome: It’s just a really well done show. It actually made me like football. Even if you don’t like football, you can enjoy this show. Actually, if you do like football you’ll probably be a little disappointed because it’s more drama than sports.

Best episodes: The pilot was like a mini-movie. “I Think We Should Have Sex” was a definite highlight. The “Mud Bowl” and the last episode, “State”, were exhilarating.

In conclusion, it fails really because there’s no audience for this show. Either you’re living this show and don’t need to watch it on your TV every week, or you’re not, and subsequently have no interest in the world it portrays. But honestly, it’s a quality show, so if you have 22 hours to spare, give it a chance. It's even better than the movie, and it’s only $20 at Target! Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Friday, July 11, 2008

a parisian night suit

Freaks and Geeks

[First I’d like to say that they’re re-releasing the yearbook edition of the series this fall, and I WANT IT. Hint, hint.]

Status: Cancelled after 18 episodes

Genre: comedy/drama/teen

DVD extras: HOURS of extras! It’s a Freaks and Geeks lovefest. Every episode has at least one commentary track. They’re very good in general, too. Lots of deleted scenes, bloopers, screen tests, and even some homemade video type stuff. Also comes with a booklet and playlist from each episode. Yay!

Basics: Created by writer-comedian Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks followed the Weir siblings--former math whiz Lindsay and her younger brother Sam--as they navigated the perils and pleasures of a Michigan high school circa 1980. What separated Freaks and Geeks from most other scholastic series was its brutal honesty--Lindsay and Sam, as well as their friends and parents, were given very human personas that showed failure, malice, indecision, and moments of great clarity. Likewise, the plotlines rarely offered pat solutions to the characters' conflicts--the show unfolded in a naturalistic manner, which was a welcome respite for viewers tired of flashy high school dramas.

Basically it’s an anti-Dawson’s Creek. Lindsey starts hanging out with the burnouts/freaks. Sam has a couple of geeky friends and a crush on a popular cheerleader. Hilarious and heartbreaking—it was doomed from the start.

The good: You’re watching the show, cringing at what topic they decided to cover this episode— vandalism, family violence, crushed dreams, parents dating teachers, divorce, hermaphrodites—and then by the end they just totally make it work. It’s so rare for a show to make you feel anything at all, and Freaks and Geeks manages to make you feel everything.

The bad: There’s a reason why F&G didn’t last one season, and Dawson’s Creek lasted six. Every episode of F&G ended bittersweetly—sometimes even somewhat depressingly. It was a little too much like life, where you don’t win the heart of the girl and go on to do great things. That’s what made it so good, but it’s also why no one watched. Somehow, though, anyone who’s seen the series thinks it’s the most awesome thing ever (and rightly so).

The ugly: Well, nothing really.

Why it’s awesome: Most notably, the music, which is a pretty good mix of classic rock. The casting is tops: Linda Cardellini is the perfect everywoman, I would totally play D&D with the geeks every week (and they are seriously geeky—not Hollywood geeky) or toke up in Nick’s basement with the freaks (you know, if I was into that type of thing), and even the minor characters have depth and personality. Every single character experiences a good amount growth. Amazingly, even though it was canceled before the end of the season, they filmed a last episode in advanced so there’s a pretty good conclusion at the end of the series.

Best Episodes: The pilot was like a mini-movie (every episode was, actually), “I’m With the Band” (episode #6) was when I fell in love with the show, “Carded and Discarded” is one of the funniest, “The Little Things” had amazingly impressive writing/acting, and the last episode “Discos and Dragons” was the perfect finale. Looking over the episodes list, I can’t pick one that isn’t an A+.

In conclusion, the best thing that could happen to the series is that it was canceled after 18 episodes. 18 perfect episodes. No disappointing future seasons to diminish the magic of the first. Julia Roberts said it best in Steel Magnolias (yea, you knew I’d manage to reference a movie sooner or later): “I would rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

a perky blonde

Veronica Mars (2005) SEASON 1

Status: Cancelled after 3 seasons

Genre: teen/drama/noir

DVD Extras: a few deleted scenes. Pretty lame.

Basics: In the wealthy seaside community of Neptune California the rich and powerful make the rules. Unfortunately for them there's Veronica Mars a smart fearless 17-year-old apprentice private investigator dedicated to solving the town's toughest mysteries. Veronica used to be one of the popular girls but it all came crumbling down around her after her best friend Lilly was murdered and her then-sheriff father Keith was removed from office for naming Lilly's rich father as the lead suspect. During the day Veronica must negotiate high school like any average teenage girl. But at night she helps with her father's struggling new private investigator business--and what she finds may tear the town of Neptune apart at the seams.

The good: Veronica is a total ball-buster (while still managing to be cutesy but not annoying). Everyone at school hates her, her boyfriend just stopped talking to her one day, she got raped at a party, her best friend was murdered and no one is looking for the real killer… and yet she handles it all. With talent, brains, and sarcasm. Every episode has a Mystery of the Week that VM solves. The overall arc of the season is defined by Lily’s murder case. We get tantalizing clues throughout and the payoff definitely delivers.

The bad: The voice-overs are an interesting tool, and help give the show a noir-ish feel. I sometimes wish they did more than just explain what VM was doing, though. In the pilot it helped give us some insight into VM’s thought-process and beliefs, but they didn’t really do that enough throughout every episode. Could have been a great tool in propelling the story lines forward. But you know, that’s a complaint in hind-sight. The viewing experience overall is very nice.

The ugly: Dad, Wallace, and Mac are all great. Logan’s character just keeps getting better throughout the season. But for some reason, they left Veronica’s love interest, Duncan, oddly underdeveloped and LAME.

Why it’s awesome: The feel, the dialogue, Lily’s murder plotline… it’s all amazing. The Mysteries of the Week are sometimes a bit uneven, but they’re never dull. An advantage of watching it on DVD is that the impact of the MotWs are minimized and you can get more involved with the main mystery.

Best Episodes: In episode 4 they do a good job of establishing the characters’ back stories and relationships. It’s essential to see why Lily was so important to Veronica (lots of good flashbacks throughout the season too). The Christmas episode is my favorite. And of course the finale episode is HOT (oh look, I made a pun—you’d get it if you saw the season).

In conclusion, a very good summer distraction. It’s fun and engrossing. Everything’s solved at the end of the season. Ok, it’s a little cliffhangery with a couple of things, but trust me, what follows in season 2 and 3 are disappointing. Use your imagination and make up your own ending; it’s much better that way. Without Lily’s case propelling Veronica forward, she just seems kind of lost in later seasons. But this first season? Nearly perfect.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

a summer distraction

[Ah...the face of a defeated man...]

What better way to whittle away those glaring, hot summer days than a marathon of your favorite TV show? And in case you have commitment issues… here are 4 shows that will last you just approximately 24 hours. After you finish and your eyes are bleeding, you can discard the show forevermore (but I don’t think you’ll want to) because either the show didn’t go beyond one season, or the later seasons pretty much sucked. A marathon with a definite end point. Win-win.

What inspired this little project is a recent viewing of the movie “The TV Set” (2006), which I caught on Showtime today. Synopsis from IMDB: “A television network is making a pilot of Mike's quirky comedy based on the aftermath of his brother's suicide. As the network suits ask for change after change, and as Mike struggles with compromise, there are strains on families, execs who show rushes to their children, leads who feel each other out, and assistants who put a smile on everything. Can an honest show get made in the world of reality TV chasing an audience of teen-aged boys?” The answer is no. It was good and funny, but depressing as hell. Pretty much summing it up, Mike says: “If I don't worry about the content in my show, then I'm part of the problem. I'm making the world more mediocre!” It’s amazing any quality shows get made. But then, those that do, are cancelled anyway as these 4 shows prove.

So, anyway, I'll do one show a day, probably. Enjoy!

(first up is Veronica Mars, coming up tomorrow)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

a happy home

So this is what my apartment will one day look like. I got so ridiculously excited when I saw it. I think it gives me false hope that I'll manage to somehow make it so that all my things don't just look like clutter. See, my enjoyment of simple aesthetics doesn't quite outweigh my desire for material objects. Thus, I collect... pretty much everything. I started doing this thing where I rotate all my knick knacks on display. Like a museum.

Seriously, I go crazy when I find rooms like this. I like: unique artwork, mismatched furniture (that somehow go together), brightly painted bookshelves and lamps (etc), and white sofas. And books-- this room is an inspiration alone because of the number of books it holds. Simply lovely.

I also love this person's house. Just give me a bunch of random shit and I'm in heaven.

So I know it's a little early, but the Web Wednesday of the week is because I am absolutely obsessed with that site.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

a sure thing

Can many people still say they’re a Will Smith fan? Yea, he’s literally the biggest movie star in the world (and he’s worked hard for that). Yes, we all love him and think he's a good guy. Most importantly, he is as close to a sure thing as possible in terms of movie blockbusters. The Fourth of July: BBQs, fireworks, and a Will Smith movie. We know we will be entertained. Perhaps even enthralled. Cool one-liners, big explosions. Hoo-Rah. Exciting stuff!

Yet… watching his movies has become more of a habit than anything else. We don’t fervently YouTube clips from his movies the weeks leading up to the premiere. We don’t eagerly covet the DVD to add to our collection. The buzz around his films have nowhere to go but down after the opening weekend. We know that the big screen will provide adequate entertainment for a couple of hours, but beyond that, once the lights go up in the theater, Will Smith will reside in the back of our minds until next summer.

He tried, and succeeded to some extent, in changing our perception of him with In the Pursuit of Happiness. But you know, none of us really doubted his talent to begin with, so the whole undertaking seems kind of moot in the end.

And now, with Hancock, well, here was something that could have been interesting. Since I haven’t actually seen the movie, I won’t attempt to review it, uh, obviously. I can’t help but feel, however, that Hancock is already a disappointment.

It’s one of the first movies of his in a while that had the potential to bomb. Will is a superhero—but he’s a sucky person. Alcoholic, grumpy, mean. Possibly adulterous. (You know, if anyone could pull that off and still manage to be likeable at the end of the film, it’d be Will.) The movie is meant to be a dark satire on the superhero genre… but then with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Hellboy, and The Dark Knight coming out this summer, satire and dark comedy doesn’t seem like it’d sell very well. The Fourth of July is for family-fun entertainment, dammit. So I think it could have bombed, in terms of blockbuster standards.

If it had stayed true to the original script, that is.

Will Smith was really taking a risk with this one. How long had the script been floating around, as something that was brilliant, but could never be made into a movie? (A while.) How many re-writes did it have to have? (Many.) How many directors? (A lot) How many scenes needed to be cut to bring it down to a PG-13 rating? (Uh… you get the point.) Somehow, in the end, the studio managed to turn Hancock, the alcoholic antihero, into an acceptable face to put on kids’ lunch boxes.

So what started out as a risky endeavor will never actually make it to the theaters. Even the trailer makes it more about the funny fluff than substance. (Though I will argue, that whale throwing scene and making a little girl cry is really pretty dark stuff if you think about it. It’s amazing what zippy shots and bombastic music in a trailer can do.)

With great risk comes great rewards. While the movie is now a sure hit in terms of dollars, a rated R Will Smith movie could have been really fascinating. With the amount of scenes reportedly cut, it’s amazing if the story still manages to be coherent, which I guess is something in itself, yet it’s frustrating that it could be so much more.

This weekend, Will Smith will be the awesome action hero we all know and love, and millions will go see him (myself included). I’ll enjoy it, I’m sure, but in the back of my mind, I’ll keep thinking about what could have been.

The Aura of:

My photo
I tend to get obsessive about things for a while, then get over it, and start to wonder what was wrong with me in the first place. Also, having no section for "Favorite TV Shows" makes absolutely no sense to me. That should tell you a lot right there.