Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DVD BlitzCraig: Punchline (1988), Superman: The Animated Series Volume 3, Scrubs - Season 8

I'm so far behind in this, but you got to understand, I watch a shitload of DVDs... like, tons and tons and tons. I'm a single guy, with virtually no prospects over the horizon, so I'm sort of locked in with my bachelor lifestyle of "wake up, eat, shit, masturbate, watch a DVD, go to sleep" (not in that particular order, either). The routine sustains me. So, when trapped in a routine like this, the DVDs begin to accumulate, and when the movies are shit like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, well, I'm sorry, I just don't feel like writing about it. I mean, what more can be said about Prince of Persia that hasn't been said about dogshit?

Anyway, I'm going to try my best to catch up, because another part of the routine that sustains me is writing - whether it be in this blog, writing comedy for my stand-up, or just writing my grocery list.

Punchline (1988)

Tom Hanks stars as Steven Gold, a talented stand-up comedian who is the rising star at his home comedy club in New York City. He reluctantly takes amateur comic, and house mom, Lilah Krystick (Sally Field), under his wing and teaches her the ropes of comedy.

I found this movie to be really enjoyable, and an insightful look into the richly rewarding, but often profoundly lonely, world of stand-up comedy. I like how much the lifestyles of the two main characters completely clashed, but they both want the same thing: to succeed in comedy. Steven Gold is an intelligent, rapier witted individual, with a gift for comedy that is so natural, everyone knows he'll eventually break out big, but he is also a deeply lonely person, mostly due to his lack of social skills, and comedy is all that he's got. Meanwhile, you have Lilah, who is also a naturally gifted comic, but she is so devoted to her family, she doesn't have the time, or the inclination, to write her own material, and barely gets laughs rigidly delivering jokes that she bought from someone else using her family's vacation fund. She is anything but lonely, but nevertheless, has the same drive to make it in comedy as Steven.

These characters work so well because Tom Hanks and Sally Field give really strong performances. The solid performances create several great moments in the movie, one of my favorites being a scene where Steven completely bombs, and has an emotional meltdown, after discovering that his overbearing father, from whom he has kept his stand-up career a secret, is in the crowd:

Yikes. Every comic has had that experience, though few have been so grotesque. The worst I've ever bombed was the one and only time I got drunk before going onstage and promptly forgot my entire set. I just stood there, swaying on my feet, staring at the lights, desperately reaching into the murky cow pond that my mind had become, and retrieving nothing for my troubles. It was pretty god awful, but I didn't end up crying at least. Nope, I just burped, stumbled off the stage and into polite silence.

The only bad part of the movie is the clumsy and unnecessary subplot of Gold falling in love with Lilah. This development didn't feel natural at all, and while it certainly added a layer of neurosis to Gold's already neurotic character, it also just seemed way too forced. For one thing, Lilah never comes across as sexually alluring at all. Secondly, at no point during their time spent together, did it seem like Lilah and Steven were hitting it off romantically. It felt like the tone of the movie just kind of shifted dramatically - kind of like in Funny People, when the movie takes a complete left turn, and the plot is suddenly about Adam Sandler trying to reunite with his ex. I just sat there watching, thinking, "Where the hell did this come from???" I guess it did serve to emphasize the depth of Gold's loneliness, juxtaposed with the depth of Lilah's love for her family. Still, I wish it was developed better. Plus, considering that the same actors eventually play mother and son in Forest Gump, it was a little disturbing seeing the two kiss. Blegh.

Ultimately, the movie was enjoyable, and I'd hardily recommend it to anyone who is interested in comedy, along with the following films: Comedian, Heckler, I Am Comic,When Stand-up Stood Out, and that should be enough to get you going.

Verdict: Fucking Awesome

Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 3

Superman finishes up his adventures in the final season of this amazing series by Batman: The Animated Series masterminds, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Most of this season involves Superman fending of invasion by the forces of Apokolips, led by the evil, godlike ruler, Darkseid. However, interspersed throughout the season are appearances by characters such as Mr. Mxyzsptlk, Bizarro, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Metallo, Supergirl, Batman, and Braniac.

I can't say enough about how amazing this series is. If you follow my blog, you already know there is a very large place in my heart for any animated series by Dini and Timm, so it shouldn't surprise you that my review of this series would be absolutely glowing. The season long epic involving Darkseid is handled extremely well, top-to-bottom, especially in this shocking scene when a heroic cop, named Dan Turpin, is murdered in cold blood by Darkseid to prove a point:

Good lord... remember, this was a cartoon that came on in the afternoons for kids just getting out of school. You just don't get scenes like that anymore. My only regret is that it didn't continue on longer, especially considering how the series ends with the world hating and fearing Superman after he is brainwashed to attack Earth by Darkseid... and, my god, is the fight he has with Darkseid later awesome:

Sure, it's not as good as the one he has with Darkseid later in Justice League Unlimited, but we'll discuss that one at a later time. So, yeah, as a whole, the Superman animated series is a work of art, and if you've never seen it, or have only watched bits and pieces, you really owe it to yourself to watch the entire thing. After you watch it, you'll be pissed that they still haven't managed to make a decent Superman movie yet.

Verdict: Fucking Awesome

Scrubs - Season 8

The hilarious hospital series closes it doors, as J.D. (Zach Braff) decides to leave Sacred Heart for new horizons and... wait, what? What do you mean there's a season 9? How can there be a season 9??? The main character friggin' left!

You know what sucks? When people don't get the simple concept of leaving on a high note. It's one of the oldest rules of showbusiness. Although this series isn't perfect, it was still really well written and enjoyable enough where, had it bowed out at the appropriate time, it would have been revered as one of the best television comedies ever. Instead, its legacy is one of being canceled, only to be renewed, have what was supposed to be the final season, only to have one more season, before being canceled again in disgrace.

But this isn't a review of season 9... sigh... I'll cross that minefield when I get to it. Let's pretend, for the sake of this review, that this actually were the final season of Scrubs. If such were the case, I'd say that it was a fantastic send off for a truly great show. The jokes are still sharp, the characters still likable, and the actors still giving it their best. All the characters end up right where I'd imagined them to be, so no surprises there, but it still works well for the series. The final sequence, where J.D. walks down the hallway one last time, and sees the familiar faces of all the characters he encountered during the series is actually quite touching.

It would have been the perfect end to a wonderful series... but noooooooo! Ugh... well, anyway, good season, and if you made it this far into the series, you'll enjoy it.

Verdict: Fucking Awesome

No comments:

Post a Comment