Thursday, October 28, 2010

Short Review Time

So, from now until the end of next week, I'm going to be totally swamped with work.
I don't think I have any regular readers that are going to be devastated at my lack of posting, but I feel like summing up my thoughts on the shows I've watched this week. For the sake of time and my laziness, I'm going to post a bunch of mini reviews. And please, don't judge me by the horrific amount of television shows I watch:

  • How I Met Your Mother - "Baby Talk": I had mixed feelings on this week's How I Met Your Mother. It had some funny moments, and Laura Bell Bundy's reappearance. But I felt it was overall a little blah, and can't see myself wanting to rewatch it anytime soon (and I'm the queen of HIMYM rewatching). It felt more to me like an episode from the earlier seasons, but it seemed like a more mediocre episode than the majority of the episodes in the early seasons. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I digress.

  • Glee - "The Rocky Horror Glee Show": This was a somewhat fun episode even if it was almost plotless, but I think I would have understood it more if I'd seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Also, this episode brought Will's creepiness and inappropriateness to a whole new level, and his "creature of the night" face was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. And Finn looks completely adorable in those glasses.

  • Raising Hope - "Happy Halloween": This episode was funny, as all of the other episodes of Raising Hope have been. This is getting to be a new favorite show of mine.

  • Modern Family - "Halloween": Modern Family was excellent, and it continued to live up to my high expectations. Gloria's "American accent" was one of the funniest things I've seen on the show and had my dying. Also, Mitchell's spiderclimb down the building was an excellent payoff.

  • 16 and Pregnant - "?": I don't remember the girl's name, but there was a girl who was 16 and pregnant. And she had a tire cake at her wedding.  
  • Grey's Anatomy - "These Arms of Mine": I have to admit, this week's Grey's Anatomy bored me, and I didn't really pay attention while I watched. However, they may just be because I started freaking out about all my work. So, I might need to rewatch this to form an accurate opinion.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Babies is Adorable

If you haven't heard of the French documentary Babies, you may wish to correct the grammar of my title. If you have, you probably will still want to correct my title because I don't know how to italicize in a title, and it looks like I'm talking about babies not Babies. 

Ever since I saw the trailer for Babies, I wanted to see it. Why? Babies are adorable, so Babies should be adorable. In fact, I have a theory that the cutest things in this world are babies and puppies (can be substituted for another cute baby animal). And yes, I just realized I referred to babies as a thing. I didn't know how to group it otherwise because if I said living creatures, I could potential be saying that staplers are the cutest of everything and babies/puppies are just the cutest living creatures. And that's just not true, in my opinion at least. I'm sure there's some stapler aficionado out there that thinks otherwise. Well, maybe there is. Wow, I've gotten really off topic. So, let's go back to the movie.

There's not too much to say about Babies because there wasn't much to it. It's a collection of cute videos of four different babies. The babies are from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco. There's no narration, no interviews, and very little dialog. I enjoyed it because I find babies adorable and thought it was interesting to see how different cultures raise children. There were a lot of cute and funny moments. There was even a couple of puppies! I really enjoyed Babies. That being said, I could see how someone could find it boring.

Really, it's quite simple to decide if you should see this documentary. Ask yourself, "Am I content to just watch four cute babies be adorable for a hour and twenty minutes?" If the answer is yes, you should see the movie. If the answer is no, you should check to see what's pumping your blood because you obviously don't have a heart. I'm completely kidding. If it's no, just don't see the movie.

Glee: "Duets"

To be honest, I was a little blown away at how good the latest episode of Glee was. Since the second half of season one, Glee has been less than stellar. Don't get me wrong, there've been some good episodes and moments. But even though I liked, for example, the Britney Spears episode, it was kind of a lazy episode. It was enjoyable but not necessarily "a good episode." As I watched last weeks unsatisfying "Grilled Cheesus," I started to wonder why I watch anymore. This week's episode reminded me why I liked Glee in first place. The whole episode gelled together and many of the problems that typically plague Glee were avoided.

One of the best aspects of "Duets" was the music selection. Lately, some of the songs on Glee have been, to put it in a polite term, blah. They've been okay, but I haven't had any desire to download them or listen to them again. That was not the case this week. I pretty much have the desire to listen to all of this week's songs on repeat, except for perhaps Finn and Rachel's "really rude" performance. I was pretty pumped for their "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Don't judge, but I absolutely love that song, regardless of how cliche it may be. I also thought "Lucky" was surprisingly pretty great. I've never been much of a fan of Quinn's voice, but Dianna Agron sounded really good on this song. Another thing I enjoyed about the song selections this week is that they were actually songs that I could imagine the characters choosing.

I think one thing that helped with the music selection was the adaption of a looser theme than is usually used. When themes like "Hello," "Funk," or even "Britney Spears (as much as I love rocking out to her music)" are used, it really limits the song selection. The characters sing songs that suit the theme better than they suit themselves. While there was still a theme this week, it was a theme that worked. I didn't feel like I was being hit over the head with a concept. I also thought the theme was introduced somewhat organically into the storylines. Characters like Artie and Kurt had really been dealing with loneliness for a while, and while it wasn't really introduced before this, it made sense that Brittany would be lonely. Along with the idea of loneliness, the explored the "duets" or couples of the show like Tina and Mike, Finn and Rachel, and now Quinn and Sam.

Speaking of couples, I really liked how they dealt with the couples this week. "Duets" was really one of the first episodes where Finn and Rachel seemed like an actual couple. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but they seemed this week like they actually liked each other rather than were just using each other. I also am loving the Tina and Mike pairing. I really hope that the writers aren't planning on putting Tina and Artie back together because I fear that might be their plans. I feel bad for Artie, but I don't really like his character. He seemed like kind of a jerk to Tina where Mike seems like a sweetheart. He was so adorable this week with his little clap at Rachel and Finn's performance and his writing Tina's name in a heart on his vote.

While I thought Sam was annoying in the season premiere (I believe I referred to him as "that blonde thing" in a Facebook message to my sister), I actually kind of liked him tonight. I like the whole dorky angle that they're taking with him. He won me over with his "Sam I am" intro. I'm not sure how I feel about him and Quinn coupling, but their performance of "Lucky" was "so freaking charming" that I just might buy into the idea of them as a couple.

Just a small note on this, but I really like how they gave some closure to the Finn and Kurt storyline. I felt that was a little unresolved, but I appreciated that they went back and tied it up a bit.

Another thing I liked about this week's Glee is that it actually seemed to move the story forward a bit. For a while, I feel like Glee's been running around in circles with the same story lines. Unless that end running around in circles again, I think they made some movement forward this week. Some characters got some development, while still remaining in character like Brittany and Rachel. I liked how they handled Rachel this week. She grew a little bit with her kind speech to Kurt, but she's still the same Rachel whose "unselfishness" consisted of her ultimately trying to help herself.

There were some good Brittany moments this week, as always. Some of my favorites were her telling Artie that she used to think he was a robot, writing "me" as her vote for the winner of the duet contest, and of course, her pushing a meatball with her nose. I just wish we could have seen her and Artie's duet.

This episode was focused more on the kids than the teachers, and it really worked well. There weren't too many storylines to handle. Will's addition to the episode was little more than having hilarious reactions to the Glee kids' performances. I was really impressed that this episode was as good as it was, given the lack of Sue.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Social Network

Like many people, I count myself among the ranks of those with Facebook accounts. I can spend hours looking at boring photos or facebook creeping on others' wall-to-walls. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I wanted to see "The Social Network" or as I less eloquently call it "that facebook movie."

Despite the dramalicious trailers, I was a bit skeptical as to how interesting a movie about the creation of Facebook could be. However, my fears were laid to rest as I watched the opening scene. So, what's this movie about? The movie begins with, as so many do, relationship drama. Mark Zuckerberg's girlfriend, Erica, breaks up with him for being a jerk. After an obligatory "I'm breaking up with you" zinger, she leaves him. In response to her dumping him, Mark starts FaceMash, a site comparing the "hotness" of the girls at Harvard. While this site is shut down by the administration, it catches the attention of Cameron and Tyler, two very preppy and identical twins (in fact, they're so identical that they're actually only played by one person). They want Mark to help them with an idea they have for a new site. Weeks later, he creates Facebook. This is where all of the drama begins. The main story of the movie is innercut with scenes from two court cases brought against Mark: one by his friend, the cofounder of Facebook and one by the twins.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Social Network was the "true story" aspect of it. While it's uncertain how factual the movie was, it was interesting to think of it as a true story. Because modern society is so engrossed in Facebook, there was a certain dramatic irony to many of the scenes.

Another interesting aspect of The Social Network was the characters, in particular Mark Zuckerberg. I know, I know, they're real people, and it's strange to call them characters. Regardless, it was interesting how he was portrayed as an unlikeable jerk but was ultimately, in my opinion, a little sympathetic. I'm sure most of us can think of the one kid who constantly makes negative remarks that are occasionally kind of funny. That's how Zuckerberg was portrayed. Probably 99% of the things he said were unbelievable rude, and 50% of them were backhanded comments. But rather than him actually being a jerk, this seemed to be more of a defense mechanism than anything. By pushing people away, he gets to be the rejecter rather than the rejected.

Anyway, I liked the movie a lot. It was well-paced enough that I was never bored. It had a sort of somber tone to it that really worked. And, it was just really interesting.

I don't think this review made any sense, to be honest. But it's lateish, and I'm tired. So, I'm just going to post it as is.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

You would not believe your eyes, if ten million fireflies...

If the Owl City lyrics in the title didn't scare you away, keep reading because this post actually has nothing to do with "Fireflies." Instead, it deals with the Joss Whedon show, Firefly. If you've stumbled upon my blog, you probably a fan of television and have likely at least heard of Firefly. I know that before I started watching Firefly, I'd heard it mentioned probably a couple million times. Hyperbole aside, it is mentioned in the majority of "best cult shows" and "cancelled before its time" lists.

Over the last two days, I've watched the first eight episodes of Firefly, and well, it's really good and kind of addicting. As much loved as Firefly is, as much television I watch, and as much as I've enjoyed Whedon's other shows, it may seem kind of surprising that it's taken me this long to get into it. After voraciously watching all seven seasons of the fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the entirety of the excellent Angel, and the two seasons of the sometimes-amazing-sometimes-not-so-amazing Dollhouse, I was looking for a new show to watch. Because I'd enjoyed the rest of the shows that Whedon had created and it had received so many raving reviews, I decided I'd start watching Firefly.

So, I went to Hulu, and clicked on the first episode of Firefly waiting to wowed. And I hated it. I really wanted to like it, but after about ten minutes, I had to click away from boredom. A little while later, I decided to give it another chance. After all, ten minutes really wasn't that long. This time I lasted fifteen minutes (unfair, I know, but I was really bored). I gave it one more chance, lasting about twenty minutes, and I decided to give up on the show. Flashforward to this weekend. I was bored, and being the loser that I am, had nothing to do. After reading another list of best television shows that included Firefly, I was inspired to give it a final chance. I got to about the twenty minute mark, finding the beginning more interesting than before but still not great. Then, it started to get kind of interesting. As the episode went on, I became more and more interested. I started to find out about the characters, almost all of whom were intriguing. When Simon and River came into the show, is probably when I really started to wonder what was going to happen.

I was still not completely sold on the show, but by the end of it, I had enjoyed the first episode. So, I watched the next one. I started to get a little more invested. Then I watched the next one, and I was even more invested. By around episode four or five, I understood why everyone raves about Firefly--it's an excellent show.

One of my favorite aspects of the show is the characters. I love seeing actors from Whedon's other shows reappear in Firefly. I have an immense like for the charming Nathan Fillion (which reminds me I totally forgot to mention my love for Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog earlier). But even not considering the actors that play them, all of the characters are really interesting. There's not really one of the main characters that I could say I don't enjoy watching. Which, honestly, I shouldn't be surprised about because creating interesting characters is a big strength of Whedon's.

I also really like that focus of the show often is the characters. While the plot of the show is interesting, its character interaction and development moments are often its greatest. I was somewhat wary about watching a "space western" as Firefly has been described because I'm not a huge fan of space shows or westerns. But somehow, I really am loving Firefly. While it is both of those things, it's also a show about humans interacting, and I really love that.

Okay, so that previous paragraph was kind of rambly, and that's probably a sign I should end this post soon before my caffeine boost kicks in even more. So, I think I will do that. I might post again when I've watched more of Firefly, and share my thoughts on the rest of the short-lived show. And considering how much I feel like procrastinating from my school work, that might be posted pretty soon.