September 8, 2009

Weekend In Reviews

I spent the majority of my long weekend on the couch watching television. I watched several movies I've seen and reviewed before.

I finished off the 4th season of ER and started on the 5th season. Dr. Ross's tenure at County General is nearing its end which means I'm nearing the point in the show where I stop watching. I plan to trudge through the completion of Hathaway's story just like I did the first time but then I'm out and on to other things. If I remember correctly, that should take me through the 6th season. The last episode I watched is just before Mere Winningham is hired as the new ER Chief and then promptly turns bat shit crazy. Milestones included in the episodes I watched this weekend were: Doug ultra-rapid detoxing a baby and the shit hitting the fan; Michael Rapaport playing a chemically burned deadbeat dad; Swoozie Kurtz playing a wackado televangelist with diabetes and infected plastic surgery incisions; a depressed man attempts to kill his entire family and himself; Lucy Knight (Kellie Martin) arrives; Benton finds out Reese is deaf; Benton saves a patient and kinda blows up trama 2; Doug gets his peds ER and the job running it; a Halloween party at the med school dorm turns into a helluva rager with flaming furniture and 2 ODs and then Carter blames Lucy rather than accepting responsibility because for some reason, Lucy's presence brings out the most hatefully Mark-like qualities in Carter; Carter gets his beard stuck to one of two brothers brought in covered in carpet glue and is forced to shave; Carter and Lucy track down the father of a little girl with such rare blood that only the dad can donate, after the dad bails from the hospital rather than be busted for kidnapping her in the first place; Carter rents Weaver's basement apartment; and Ross and Hathaway start trying to get pregnant.

Tons of good stuff. Here's what else I watched that I haven't reviewed before:

The Big Bang Theory, Season 1 - I only started watching this show over the summer but I must say, it's hilarious. The nerds are absolutely delightful and ridiculous. The chemistry between the entire cast is terrific and while I've never been particularly fond of Kaley Cuoco, I think she's great as Penny. But without any doubt Jim Parsons' Sheldon is the highlight of the show.

Sunshine Cleaning - This movie reminded me a lot of Little Miss Sunshine in that it's several things at once. It's a study of family dynamics, it's a comedy, it's a drama, it's bittersweet and a little acid.

Amy Adams is a former head cheerleader whose life peaked in high school. She's never been married but is raising a son alone and having a not-very-well-hidden affair with her high school boyfriend (Steve Zahn), who is now a married cop with a few kids and another on the way. She works as a maid but dreams of doing something bigger and better.

Emily Blunt is her younger sister who wears the scars from her mother's suicide like fresh, open wounds. She's a screw-up who can't keep a job and lives with their dad. Dad is Alan Arkin who has a million money-making schemes up his sleeve none of which ever work.

At Zahn's suggestion, Adams recruits her sister into helping her start a crime scene cleanup business where they do everything wrong. They're throwing biohazardous stuff in the trash and cleaning blood spatter with tooth brushes. Eventually they get the hang of the requirements of the job and they're doing well until tragedy strikes when Admans is busy proving she's as good as her old girlfriends and leaves Blunt to handle a job on her own.

The movie has a happy ending but it's not exactly what I expected and I liked that quite a bit. I recommend this movie long as you have the intestinal fortitude to stomach a couple of maggots, a severed finger, a lot of blood and one really disgusting mattress.

Adventureland - Set in the mid-'80s this movie is a coming-of-age story told against the backdrop of a summer at a local amusement park. College students home for the summer are working in the only job that inexperienced liberal arts majors in mid-west industrial towns can get - carnies.

The main story revolves around James (Jesse Eisenberg) who has just graduated from college with a BA in something useless and pretentious like "12th Century Literature and Art" and is ready to attend grad school at Columbia when his parents hit a financial stumbling block and can no longer afford to help him with this plan. He goes to work at Adventureland where he meets Joel (Martin Starr), Em (Kristen Stewart), Connell (Ryan Reynolds), and Lisa P (Margarita Lavieva). Adolescent drama all dressed up in an early-adulthood disguise ensues.

The main problem with this movie is that the entire cast is competent in comedy and drama, just as they need to be, except for Kristen Stewart who has the acting chops of a wet cardboard box. She can make one face. She exhibits no emotion whatsoever. She is broody and obnoxious and not remotely fun or enjoyable to watch which sucks the entire movie into a downward spiral that not even the collective talent of the otherwise terrific cast can pull it out of. I don't know why people continue to cast her in things because she is really and truly a terrible actress.

The movie had potential that never really paid off for me because I was repeatedly taken out of the moment by my inability to figure out what the crap Em was supposed to be feeling at any given time. Seriously, I get that Connell is married so maybe she has some guilt about sleeping with him, but when you're actively making out with Ryan Reynolds, maybe you could put on a face that doesn't look like you've just found out that you're going to lose a limb!

No comments: