Posts Tagged ‘The Office

05
Oct
13

It’s Pilot Season – 2013

The Fall 2013 television season is upon us. And that means we’re inundated with the worst the networks have to offer. Each year brings us new series; a few will be great, but most will be unwatchable trash. There’s far too many horrible series out there for me to review them all. So, I’ve decided to watch the three biggest pilots of this season and review them. Please note, my reviews are not necessarily what I think of the entire series, but simply my thoughts on the pilot episode.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

Yawn.

Holy fuck, we start right out the gate with a major shitfest. Even on paper, Agents of SHIELD sounds like a horrible idea. An Avenger’s show without the Avengers in it? What could go wrong? Recently, Fox picked up a show for the 2014 season that would feature Gotham city without Batman. People started making fun of it immediately and/or bemoaning how terrible an idea it is to do a Batman show without Batman. And you know what? Those people are absolutely right. Nobody gives a fuck about Gotham City without Batman. So, why would we give a fuck about SHIELD without the Avengers? The reason The Avengers was a massive hit was everybody wanted to see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk together on the big screen. I guaran-fucking-tee you that nobody said, “Ooohhh I can’t wait to see Agent Coulson and some other nondescript guys in black suits!” And that is exactly what Agents of SHIELD is. It’s a generic spy/sci-fi series about a bunch of nondescript guys in black suits. Watching it is painful. You just keep thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if Iron Man just blasted through a wall and started kicking some ass? But it’s not going to happen. Instead, we see a bunch of non-superheroes acting like a bunch of idiots. Thanks guys, if I wanted to see that, I could watch any other genre of film or television. From a conceptual standpoint alone, this series failed miserably.
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01
Mar
13

Louie Season 1, Season of the Witch

Louie Season 1

Louie looks confused.

Comedian Louis C.K. has the funniest show currently airing on TV, aptly titled Louie. You have probably never heard of it. Instead, you spend most of your time watching Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, and laughing your ass off because you think recycled shit is hilarious. Guess what, dumbass? You need to change the channel to FX and watch Louie. The show is an honest look at the daily life of a single-dad living in New York City who happens to be a comedian and an enthusiastic masturbator. No joke is considered off-limits. In the first episode Louie is accompanying his daughters on a field trip, and the bus breaks down in Harlem. Solution? Put all the black kids next to the windows to ensure the safety of the bus. With all kinds of jokes about race, sex, religion, inadequacy, aging, parenting, and more, there is nothing that Louie won’t touch. His brand of humor can often times be like the British version of The Office. Some situations can be laugh out loud funny, but other situations can just be relentlessly cruel and awkward. At times, the show can be soul-crushing. But no matter what, in every episode, you are always guaranteed to see something completely original and well worth your time.

Verdict: Awesome

Season of the Witch

Cage looks confused, too.

Nicolas Cage’s choices in movies can be considered questionable at best. Horrifyingly shitty at worst. If you check out his IMDB page you’ll see he does 3-4 movies a year. 75% of those are guaranteed to be crap. The remaining 25% has a 50% chance of being good and 50% chance of being awful. Is that enough math for one day? Well, I’ll simplify things. Season of the Witch is absolute crap. And not campy, funny crap like The Wicker Man. It’s stinky rotten crap so putrid you shouldn’t go within 500 yards of it.

The movie offers an interesting parallel to the movie Black Death. In Black Death, Sean Bean led a group of medieval knights to a village to kill a witch responsible for the plague. It turned out she wasn’t a witch at all, the villagers sacrificed the knights to some pagan gods, and HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED THAT MOVIE IS A TOTAL RIP-OFF OF THE WICKER MAN! EVERYTHING HAS COME FULL CIRCLE NOW! OH MY FUCKING GOD! Ahem. In Season of the Witch, Cage and Ron Pearlman lead a group of medieval knights to a village where a witch who was responsible for the plague will be put on trial. The key difference between the two movies is that in Black Death witchcraft isn’t real, and in Season of the Witch, it is real.

The movie started off promising with Cage and Pearlman speaking in really half-assed English accents as they killed hundreds of people in literally every battle of the entire Crusades. After that, the movie takes a nosedive into boring mediocrity. Nothing exciting happens, Cage brings in a very restrained performance, the CGI is horrendous, and the story is thread-bare. In the end there is a huge battle against the forces of darkness, and of course the good guys win. Yawn.

To be honest, I wish Cage and Pearlman would have used their regular voices instead of making the movie even worse with their terrible English accents. There is no rule that says every historical movie has to feature people with English accents. That’s a bourgeoisploitation fallacy. The fact that these guys were fighting demons excludes the notion they were going for historical accuracy. Why not just let them speak normally?

As an aside, why does everyone in Game of Thrones have English accents, too? They aren’t in fucking England, and the author is from fucking New Jersey. HBO should fuck off.

Verdict: Shitty

24
Aug
12

Sucker Punch, Cedar Rapids

Sucker Punch

The vivid artistry and the subtle nuance of metaphor truly comes alive in this piece.

This is one of those big-budget movies that is so bad it defies explanation. After watching it I had to rethink some of my previous “shitty” verdicts. Keep in mind this didn’t prompt me to change any of my past verdicts, but this movie is so fucking bad, it made me seriously reconsider the definition of “shitty.”

Written, produced, and directed by Zack Snyder, this 2011 “film” is one of the smelliest turds Hollywood has crapped out in a long time. Eschewing all plot, logic, and character development for flashy visuals, the movie stumbles along from action sequence to action sequence until it reaches a laughably idiotic finale. Below is a list of reasons why this movie sucks so hard:

  • Entire production filmed against a green screen
  • Waife-like beautiful women are all experts in weapons and martial arts.
  • People casually walking away from explosions or collapsing buildings.
  • Giant samurai robots.
  • WWI-era steampunk German zombies. (yes, you read that sentence correctly)
  • Using WWII-era planes to fight medieval-fantasy orcs and dragons.
  • Girls getting the shit beaten out of them, crashing through buildings, etc. and not getting a scratch on them.
  • Weird flying mecha in the aforementioned WWI-era setting.
  • Fighting hordes of non-descript robots.
  • Tons of slow-mo action, punctuated by brief super-fast action, to be brought back again to more slow-mo action.

The mish-mash of genres, settings, and action styles must have seemed like a ZOMG AWESOME idea to Snyder, but it turned out horribly. It looks more like a shitty video game than a movie. And the storyline is just about as good as one you’d find in a mindless button-mashing PS2 game from the early 2000s. I especially like how the girls only enter the “fantasy world” when they start dancing. OH MAN I CAN’T WAIT TO KICK GERMAN STEAMPUNK ZOMBIE ASS BUT FIRST I JUST GOTTA DANCE! I also like how the “fantasy world” is actually already within another “fantasy world.” So we go two layers deep, like Inception, but without any coherence or good plotting. I also like how Jon Hamm is slumming it for some reason at the end of the movie. The acting is horrible, the special effects gaudy and overused (i.e. every second of the movie), there are huge gaps in logic in every aspect of the story, and the plot is just all around clunky and terrible. What do you expect when Snyder co-wrote it with Steve Shibuya, who has no other writing credits, and his biggest previous work was as Production Assistant: Effects Unit in Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Probably my favorite part is that this run-down shit-hole mental institution’s only inhabitants are young, thin, incredibly attractive 20-something girls. Could someone please point me in the direction of this psychiatric facility so I can apply for a job? Thanks.

Verdict: Shitty

Cedar Rapids

The crazy mofos of Cedar Rapids.

It’s unfortunate that, a lot of times, smaller movies don’t get the proper distribution and advertising they deserve. They may get a limited run at an art-house cinema, and then get lost into obscurity. One of those movies is the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. It was on the 2009 “Black List” – a list of the most liked unproduced Hollywood screenplays. Previous entires on the list include 50/50, The King’s Speech, and Juno.

Fortunately, Cedar Rapids didn’t stay on the Black List for long. It is a very funny movie about a small town insurance salesman named Tim Lippe (played by The Office’s Ed Helms), who gets sent by his company to the annual convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To Tim, Cedar Rapids is the big city. He has never left home before. He wants to stay on the straight-and-narrow, as his company is eligible for the prestigious “Two Diamond Award”, which they have won the previous four years. If he screws up and they don’t win the award, he’ll be out of a job.

Complicating matters, the hotel is overbooked and salesman are forced to double-up their rooms. Tim gets roomed with the brash and rude Dean Ziegler (played by John C. Reilly). The bulk of the movie features Tim’s downward spiral as he loosens up, starts to drink, gets wasted, cheats on his girlfriend (played by Sigourney Weaver) with Joan (played by Anne Heche), hangs out with prostitutes, sings Karaoke, uses meth, and tries to bribe his way into winning the coveted award.

Raunchy comedy is certainly nothing new, but Cedar Rapids has an indelible charm, and an absolutely hilarious cast, all of whom are acting at the top of their games. It manages to be funny, totally inappropriate, charming, and crude all at once. It is skillfully directed and written. It is a comedy that should not be missed by anyone.

While people are out laughing at drek like That’s My Boy, The Dictator, or Mirror Mirror, they are missing out on movies that are truly funny. I hope more people discover Cedar Rapids, because it has a lot to offer.

Verdict: Good

02
Dec
11

How to Jump the Shark: The Office Season 8

They should have crossed out the whole picture.

Up until this season, The Office was probably my favorite show of all time (second only to Rock of Love Bus). I quoted it. I had parties to watch the new episodes. I loved it, and since I hate everything, that is saying a lot. The show had weak episodes here and there, but through 7 seasons, it gave me a lot of laughs.

Then came season 8. Why couldn’t The Office have had the grace to quit while they were ahead?

I predict that The Office will be cancelled by the end of the season, if not before. It certainly needs to be put out of its misery. Here’s why:

  1. They lost the show’s main character. Yes, The Office has an ensemble cast, but the world of The Office only works with Michael Scott at the helm. He is an incompetent boss, completely insane, and yet still likable. The show revolved around Michael’s crazy ideas and the rest of the office trying to cope with/react to them. Andy is not nearly incompetent or insane enough, and Robert California might be insane but he’s barely on the show. Without Michael, it’s just an office full of slightly weird/annoying people. Why would I waste my time watching it when I can just go to work?
  2. All of the characters got fat. Ok, not all of them. Just Darryl and Pam. And Pam is pregnant, not so much “fat” per se. Either way, I feel like the cast is just bigger this year, and for some reason I don’t enjoy watching them as much because of it. So sue me.
  3. The characters are not consistent. Pam used to be somewhat meek, shy even. She seemed like a nice person–now she just seems arrogant and entitled. Round-face smug, bossy Pam. She seems more like Angela now. And Angela is nice and happy this season. What the hell? Who decided to switch Angela and Pam? I don’t like either of them now. Andy used to be an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with anger issues. Now he is an acapella-loving, banjo-playing man with daddy issues. Ok, so Andy has issues. Why not carry on his previous anger issue? Why make up a new one this season? They used it as a plot device for a single episode, instead of building on past established traits in multiple episodes. It didn’t fit and I didn’t get it.
  4. They tried to continue the series after all of the loose ends were tied up. Last season, Michael Scott finally realized his dream to get engaged to someone equally as insane as him. Pam and Jim already had their happily ever after. Angela was dating a gay politician. Dwight was exactly the same as he was on day 1 of the series. The Office was left with an uncertain future with no replacement boss–what better way to end? What other story is there to tell? (None, if you couldn’t guess.) Leave it open so that each viewer can make up his own ending, if you will.
  5. The gags are over-the-top. I know what you’re thinking. It’s The Office. ALL of the gags are over-the-top. But that’s just it–they’re not. Like when Jim and Pam throw Andy’s phone into the ceiling over his desk. That is totally doable, and I’m sure people tried it after the show aired. Or the time when Michael was going to pretend to commit suicide by jumping off the roof into a bouncy castle. It was crazy, but within Michael’s realm of crazy, so I could buy it. This season? Jim publishing a fake book online about throwing garden parties? Dwight finding it, purchasing it, and using it as a reference to throw a garden party? IMPOSSIBLE. At the very least, IMPLAUSIBLE. Sorry guys, I just don’t believe your jokes anymore.
  6. Not enough of the minor characters. I love Meredith, Creed, and Kelly. They have provided some of the funniest moments this show has ever offered up. Creed selling fake IDs to all the local teenagers. Meredith flashing Michael in his office. Creed’s “blog”.  Meredith trading sex for paper discounts. Creed taking a bite out of a potato. Almost anything that Kelly says. (“I have a question for you Ryan. First of all, how dare you.”) In seasons past, I would lol every time they would come on screen–but this season I haven’t lol’ed once. Are they even in this season, or do they just not have anything even remotely funny to say?
  7. The writing is bad. I think that sums up 3-6. The writers all forgot their craft after Steve Carell left the show. His impact on the entire production was obviously huge, because without him, they just can’t pull it off. Most of the issues I listed could be corrected with better writing–but it won’t happen. If they could write better episodes, they’d be doing it already.

The bottom line is that the show is pointless without Steve Carell. If the people in charge had any insight, they would have realized this and cancelled it already. Instead, they decided to go for one more season–but I guarantee it will be the last.*

Verdict: Shitty

*But if it’s not I’ll still be watching, and complaining about it the entire time.




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