Friday, April 18, 2008

The Office Continues

One of my friends has to write a paper on a pop culture staple, and she mentioned doing her paper on The Office.  That got me seriously thinking about the show and its impact on our television and everyday life.  Some peoples Thursday's revolve around the latest episode of The Office.

The show was born from the British version of a show I believe of the same name.  BBC has produced some of the best humorous television, which the Brits know best.  It's amazing how quick the show rose in popularity.  No one on the show was really well known when the show first aired, the only actor I had heard of was Steve Carell.  Now, however, the stars have branched out into movies and elsewhere.  John Krasinski is perhaps the most famous from the show.  However, Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer are quickly gaining fame.

On the latest episode, it was mentioned that an engagement is coming up.  The relationship of Jim and Pam has been a cliffhanger since the premier episode of the show.  Every viewer knows they belong together, and it has been a constant roller coaster.  The episode that it came out that they were dating was an amazing step for the show, and now to know that a ring has come into the picture is brilliant.  The writers can drag it on for as long as they want. 

I think this show is here to least for a while.  The show has become such a television icon and so quickly.  Everything about is funny, and it is something that can easily stay funny.  The characters are great and the actors are so talented.  The best part though is the writing.  Nothing gets better than the ridiculous situations and witty lines that the writers come up with.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Office is Back

Some people may be confused, but it is still the middle of the fourth season of The Office.  The first episode post- screenwriters strike aired last Thursday.  

The episode was very surprising to me.  It wasn't very typical for the show.  First, the episode mainly took place in Michael's home not at Dunder Mifflin.  Because of the set change, much of the cast was not included in the majority of the story.  The only characters were Michael and Jan, Jim and Pam, Andy and Angela, and later Dwight.  These are the main characters, however a lot of the humor comes from the minor characters.  It is surprising that they were cut out of the show's return.  

The plot was surprising as well.  It is not that it wasn't funny, just very unexpected from the characters.  Much of the plot focused on Michael and Jan's tension at home.  They were both out of character.  Michael wasn't trying to be funny and failing at it.  He actually spent most of his time mad at Jan.  Jan acted the same way towards Michael.  They were both blatantly disrespectful of each other, where as they usually try to remain calm in public.  

I think the plot was a good one, but I think it made it difficult in that it premiered the last half of the fourth season.  I feel like it could have been written all along, and there just happened to be a long break in the season.  I think everyone was expecting to be reunited with their favorite characters and then spent the half hour in Michael's house with Jan.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Apparently, 21 has remained at the top of the list for the past two weeks.  I am not really sure why.  I enjoyed the movie, but I didn't think it was well put together.

My only qualm is the sluggish plot.  The story progressed so slowly, I found it hard to stay interested.  It isn't that the story wasn't worth documenting, its just I feel like a lot of screen time was wasted with cards and numbers.  

The "big names" Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne didn't really help the story move any faster.  The students were well casted, however.  The two main roles: Ben and Jill were perfect.  Jim Sturgess is a favorite and Kate Bosworth has proved herself.  The background players and Ben's best friends were great.  

The movie is only bearable when you realize that its based on a true story.  Yes, the idea is a good one, but it is only interesting to watch because you know it really happened.  I enjoyed unfolding the story and figuring out how these students beat Las Vegas.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I feel like Penelope is a modern day fairytale.  It would work so well in a storybook.  The "ugly duckling" story line makes the film appealing for the younger generations.  Maybe this type of story has been told a million times before, but the fresh takes are usually a smart move.  The girl with the pig nose is definitely a new kind of hero.  Penelope works on so many levels and for so many ages. 

I guess her parents did what they thought was best.  I mean, their child did have a pig nose.  However, hiding her away was not the best for Penelope.  All she had to live with was her nose.  Penelope had to leave her family to find her life.  It is interesting that the news assumed the world would take the news of a pig-nosed girl as a horror story wasn't accurate at all.  The world loved Penelope and her parents fears for their child were entirely untrue.

The morals make the film acceptable for all ages.  I am glad that she gets a normal nose in the end.  After what she went through, she totally deserved it.  It would have been a bummer if Penelope didn't lose her nose and stayed with the guy.  It would be very similar to Shrek in that Fiona won her man but had to stay an ogre.  I guess there wouldn't have been any sequels then, but that could have been a good thing.  

The humor works for the older audience.  There are moments of suggestive material that probably wouldn't have been in the storybook.  It was interesting to go see the film with a guy.  He couldn't say he liked it, but he also couldn't say he didn't.  The basic facts of the story are attractive. It obviously had some appeal to a college age male.  However, it could have been Reese Witherspoon.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Into the Wild (spoiler!)

Into the Wild.  The book has been around for a long time. Everyone said it was great.  Sean Penn couldn't leave it alone, however he produced a decent book-to-screen adaptation.  Nominated for two Academy Awards, the film better be good: best Supporting Actor for Hal Holbrook and Best Editing.

Penn made some really good decisions.  The cast was wonderful, maybe even predictable.  Penn chose previous costars like Marcia Gay Harden, old classics such as Hal Holbrook, and newcomers like Emile Hirsch.  Penn also had a good idea with the flashbacks.  It was a smart move dynamic wise for the evolution of Chris McCandless into Alexander Supertramp.  

The truly amazing thing about the film is Hirsch's performance.  I'm not sure anyone knew that Emile Hirsch could handle such a substantial role.  Alexander Supertramp transforms .  Emile Hirsch sacrificed a lot for the role.  He physical ability and training skyrocketed.  He loses a substantial amount of weight by the end of the film.  He is truly skilled at protraying the tranformation of Chris.  The reality of Supertramp's situation is not apparent until the end of the film.  Sorry for the spoiler, but the point where he eats the poisonous plant leads to his subsequent death.  He has never been thiner, sicker, and more pathetic than at this point in his life.  He has accomplished his goal, only to be too weak to find food.  His success is in his death.

I have been to Alaska and hiked up to a glacier, however after watching the film, it doesn't seem like much of a feat anymore.  It is a beautiful as depicted on screen;  it made me miss the open spaces.  The real beauty of the film is in the landscape.  The story means so much more when you feel a part of the atmosphere.  It is hard to comprehend the enormity of Chris's decision except in the context of the vastness of Alaska.