Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Godfather

So I finally watched the Godfather (I and II only).

Some thoughts:

  • As a big Simpsons fan, I watched some of the episode commentaries. At one point, someone said that they'd done so many parodies of the Godfather that they could probably do a Simpsons version of the Godfather with just Simpson clips.  After watching the Godfather and having those awesome "oh that's where that reference comes from," it looks entirely possible.  
  • On the note of those classic moments- those very famous scenes and moments- they are all completely worth it in the Godfather Part I.  Even though I knew roughly what was going to happen (e.g. what the movie producer would find in his bed), it didn't take away from how great the scenes were. 
  • Part I >>>Part II.  
    • There's the storytelling where I liked how they kept certain aspects of the story ambiguous throughout so that there was always that mystery, whereas, early on in part II, we find the answer to one of the big questions so it's not nearly as satisfying as it should be when we see the characters finally figuring it out.   
    • Brando.  Brando. Brando.  In a lot of ways, he really made part I.  After watching part I, I just wanted to snatch up all the Brando movies I could find and watch them.  Part II really felt like it was missing something and even though we got to see Vito Corleone's early days (by De Niro who does very well), there wasn't quite enough of Vito.  
    • I experienced the Benjamin Button effect watching part II.  Let me explain, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Forrest Gump but not nearly as good) is an okay movie, but the last 20 minutes or so are really quite good (compared to the rest of the movie).  I'm not sure if I would have thought the last 20 minutes were good on their own, but having gone through the whole 2 hour long + movie, it really was a good ending.   
    • In part II, the flashback at the end to the Corleones when they're all still back in New York was fantastic.  My favorite scene of the movie hands down.  It really makes you miss how things used to be and it was nice to see some old faces again and quite sad to see how things have changed.  
    • In some ways, the Godfather is an awesome Thanksgiving movie.  It's about family and there's constantly food around and...anyhow, I'm stretching it.   Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    On TV Shows: Underappreciated

    Party Down:

    Party Down was a fantastic show on Starz (Wait Starz has TV shows?  Yes, apparently.) that only lasted 2 seasons, for a total of 20 awesome episodes.  Party Down is about the Party Down catering company- a group of aspiring Hollywood hopefuls (many of them delusionally so) who half-assly cater various parties.  There's Henry Pollard (Adam Scott who's now on Parks and Recreation) a failed actor who's known for his one line in a commercial, aspiring comedian Casey (Lizzy Caplan), always trying his best caterer manager Ron Donald (Ken Marino), blindly optimistic Constance (Jane Lynch), nerdy sci-fi writer Roman (Martin Starr), and dumb blonde Kyle (Ryan Hansen) who's in the "handsome business."  Lydia (Megan Mullally), a single mom, joins the second season.  

    Party Down starts falling into a great groove three episodes in.  Everyone is funny and  likable.  It's TV-MA so it can and often does do a lot of great raunchy humor.  The characters really meld well together and they establish a really great dynamic and rhythm.  Scott and Caplan also have fantastic chemistry, and Henry and Casey probably fall on my list of all time favorite fictional couples.  It's also a treat for former Veronica Mars fans b/c a lot of the characters make guest appearances on the show.  Hansen and Marino were consequently characters on Veronica Mars.    

    Party Down is a really great show.  It's one of those shows I still get excited about when I hear that someone has watched it before.  Catch it on Netflicks sometime.  


    There's recent news that Community is probably not going to get a 4th season.  I can see how Community is a unique comedy that doesn't appeal to everyone- it's quirky and very meta, but it is a really great show.  I've rarely seen a show that's delved so deeply into the meta and done it well.  

    Community is about a group of friends who all go to the same crazy community college.  I still like Season 1 of Community the best.  Every episode was balanced funny and touching aspects.  The show features very unique characters you don't often see featured on TV shows like a senior citizen (Chevy Chase) or a nerdy athlete (Donald Glover) or a movie nerd who potentially has Asperger's (Danny Pudi).  The characters grew over time and by the end of season 1, all of them have become quite likable- you buy them as a group of friends and each of the characters are funny in their own way.  I'm still very impressed with how they really do try to get all the characters to interact with each other.    

    Season 2 felt very experimental- the show went off and tried lots of different tones.  Some worked well like the fake documentary episode and the fantastic Dungeons and Dragons episode, while others had more mixed results like the more serious the Group takes a trip to the bar episode.  It was still fascinating to watch, and even got into some uncomfortable territory when the Group starts excluding one of its own members.  

    Season 3, so far, seems more balanced than season 2 and features one of the best Alternate Universe episodes ever.  Here's to hoping it doesn't stay off the air for too long.    

    Better Off Ted 

    Better Off Ted is another short lived comedy that was canceled just after ~26 episodes.  It was really funny, entertaining, featured a really strong cast of characters (including Portia de Rossi), and had an insanely cheerful score.   

    Better Off Ted is about an evil corporation- Veridian Dynamics.  There's the protagonist and moral center of the show, Ted (Jay Harrington), who as one reviewer described perfectly, is a cross between Woody (Toy Story) and George Clooney.  There's also his super aggressive boss Veronica (really great performance by de Rossi), adorable meek scientists who are joined at the hip (figuratively) Phill and Lem, and rebellious product tester, Linda.