Seth MacFarlane, A Hopeless Romantic?

“I just thought I’d finally tricked someone into falling in love with me.”

A bit of an unlikely match but a bit heartwarming, no?

A bit of an unlikely match but a bit heartwarming, no?

No this line does not come out of the annals of a John Green novel nor spoken in a Nicholas Sparks film. These words were written by and uttered by Seth MacFarlane (yes that Seth MacFarlane) in his western parody, A Million Ways to Die in the West. Though the movie failed to come close to the heights of his directorial debut Ted (both critically and commercially) something sentimental seemed to be at work at it’s core. Admittedly, the final product amounted to little more than a reel of gags most of which were dished out in the trailers (with the remainder kind of falling flat). However, the plot revolves around the eternal loser dude character Albert starting out by attempting to win back a lost girlfriend before slowly realizing that his dignity is greater than she would ever care to realize. And then he upgrades with Charlize Theron.

MacFarlane continued with this loser guy making a comeback theme in Ted 2. This unfortunately followed in A Million Ways to Die into the disappointment bin, but like even the stupidest episode of Family Guy, it had its moments. Jay Leno gay jokes aside, one of those moments happened to be when Mark Wahlberg’s character, John, explains to his new love interest Samantha Leslie Jackson (Amanda Seyfried, essentially switching female archetypes from A Million Ways) why things didn’t end up working with his ex-wife.

“I changed for her. For our marriage. But in the end, I wound up being something other than who I am.”

amanda-seyfried

Although this eternal theme of compromises in relationships doesn’t hold center stage as it did in MacFarlane’s last effort, I can’t help but wonder what causes Seth MacFarlane to keep going back to this. At 41, he remains unmarried. He looks quite well for his age, having done the classic A-List celeb thing of using his millions to improve and maintain his body as best as possible. His most recent known girlfriend was Emilia Clarke, an actress who has shot to stardom from her starring role on Game of Thrones. Though a solid actress (in all honesty, I don’t think she brings much more to already great material for Daenerys), the 28 year old Miss Clarke is also striking in her youthful beauty, a trend all of MacFarlane’s former paramours share. Additionally, Miss Clarke included, the past few have been noticeably younger than him which I feel raises the question of whether the actresses he dates or he himself is actually looking for something serious as of yet. Or is it all merely “just enjoy each other while we can” at the moment? Three years ago while promoting the first Ted, MacFarlane did state that he was looking for a relationship “a bit more serious.” Perhaps a bit more doesn’t quite count the same as “I’m looking for wife material” or maybe the way he throws himself into his work hasn’t allowed for anything to blossom yet.

All this is not to say the love stories presented in his films reach the heights of Silver Linings Playbook or When Harry Met Sally. A Million Ways to Die half-baked climax involves Albert saving Charlize Theron from her outlaw husband and concludes with them kissing amidst a flock of sheep while in Ted 2 John’s discovery of true love involves finding a girl that likes pot just as much as him. One of the first lessons a student is told repeatedly throughout school is “show don’t tell.” Something deeper is gained when you realize who someone is through their actions rather than their words. The fact that the above quotes form the most pivotal parts of MacFarlane’s love stories prevent them from being something truly special.

Now, one could argue that the basic unfoldings of these romances serves as an indicator that MacFarlane just throws them in their for mince meat or to appease Fox. I doubt that. As any stubbornly loyal fan of his tv shows can attest to, Seth MacFarlane’s modus operandi is throwing any joke, gag or scene in that he finds entertaining. I often wonder if he also just likes to test people’s patience. And it’s worked out seeing as the shows are still going (with the exception of The Cleveland Show, rip) and their success has fueled his career in features.

In spite of these narrative shortcomings, I’m not prepared to write off MacFarlane’s films just yet. I’m a sucker for a cheap, dirty laugh. The commercial disappointments of his last two may spur Fox to put great control over him so his style could change, for better or worse. And there’s the possibility that the romantic shortcomings portrayed in his movies are simply MacFarlane’s ideal version of love. Maybe the fact that Emilia Clarke didn’t turn out to be a stoner was a deal-breaker and Alexandra Breckenridge’s lack of appreciation for run on gags just didn’t cut it. Perhaps the tortured or subtle love stories that garner the most acclaim don’t appear in MacFarlane’s films not because he isn’t capable of writing them but because that’s not what love is to him.

In the end, I’m confident Mr. MacFarlane will eventually find his soulmate and maybe I should just mind my own business.

Advertisements

July Best Films-That I Saw

  1. Mr. Holmes-Even the greatest of stories can be at the mercy of an actor’s abilities. Thankfully, Ian McKellen along with Laura Linney are more than up to the task in this newest film featuring The World’s Greatest Detective. Over the course of the film, a 93 year old Sherlock strives to remember a long forgotten case ostensibly to set the record straight on how he worked rather than leave this world with only Watson’s views published. The mystery of this case is simple enough, but it is only at an advanced age that Sherlock finally begins to understand that a straightforward case can birth the biggest of revelations in both his past and present.
  2. Trainwreck-Amy Schumer’s raunchy sex comedy gave me exactly what I wanted. Bill Hader’s nerdy doctor voice was good too. Oh and Lebron James is a natural at comedy.
  3. Samba-a French Romantic Dramedy featuring two of France’s greatest working actors, Charlotte Gainsbourg and the immensely charming Omar Sy. For most of the film, a good amount of social commentary is put forth regarding African immigrants in France while still providing plenty of slapstick humor and awkward expressions of interest. The third act gets a bit too dark in order to give a resolution but the actors are so good I can’t help but forgive such a flaw.
  4. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation-Tom Cruise still not only has it at 53, he’s still the most daring action star working today. The whole hanging off a plane stunt is just the first of many “I can’t believe they pulled it off for real” moments in this film. I must confess I didn’t really know what the plot revelations in the third act really meant and the final shootout and foot chase through the streets of London seemed rather pedestrian compared to the other sequences but I’m still buying my ticket for MI6 in two years.
  5. Antman-Another success story for Marvel, gosh it’s hard to be a DC man right now. The humor was top notch and I like how the story for once didn’t involve the end of the world. I’m not exactly sure how our hero got out of that last sticky situation he was in and I do see George RR Martin’s complaint about how Marvel villains are too often merely have the same powers as the protagonists but no bother. I’m still seeing every Marvel film.
  6. The End of the Tour-This film really struck chord for me because it sent the message that we often overlook how much the conversations we have with others cause us to grow and how these chats affect our lives in integral but hardly recognized ways. Jason Segel’s performance as author David Foster Wallace possesses a somber simplicity that makes the well-known fact that he will commit suicide 12 years after the film’s events all the more heartbreaking. And Jesse Eisenberg manages to more than hold his own.
  7. Irrational Man-a depressed college professor finds new meaning in life by committing an act unthinkable in the name of justice, but this act opens up the doors to more that don’t have much in the way of justice. I quite enjoyed Woody Allen’s newest film that explores philosophical questions through the unique quirkiness of Joaquin Phoenix. That being said, I can’t shake my problem with the dialogue Allen gives young people. Emma Stone portrays a student who is apparently of modest means yet takes horse riding lessons and off-handedly considers graduate school in London with her boyfriend. Maybe it’s just a Northeast or Rhode Island thing but somehow I doubt it.
  8. Vacation-I got what I paid for. An admittedly mean-hearted romp of a road trip with Ed Helms and Christina Applegate towing around the next generation of Griswolds through a feces pool, a filthy motel and the Grand Canyon to reach the legendary Wally World. I laughed quite a bit.
  9. Magic Mike XXL-A surprisingly contemplative film that just happens to feature a lot of impeccably formed, sans clothes males in their mid-thirties just struggling to make their lives not only work but thrive. The stakes of the plot are low (their just dancing for fun at a stripper convention), but it allows the interplay between these men to have all the more impact as a result.
  10. Terminator: Genisys-Still, I couldn’t help but enjoy this film, it somehow managed to hold my attention thanks in large part to Arnold (I mean really, he was simply a relief to see on screen at times). Still, the plot made absolutely no sense (to me at least, though I doubt I’m the only one.) Something was said about nexus points and certain events being important in time. Anyway, the timeline changed so Sarah Connor was raised by Arnold’s terminator and John Connor is now part of Skynet. The two new leads, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney, just did not do a good job with their roles, though the dialogue did them no favors. I’m not exactly disappointed that this probably won’t merit a new trilogy.
  11. Minions-I haven’t actually seen the first two Despicable Me’s but this spinoff/prequel looked quite funny from the trailers. And it was for most of its running time before kind of going off the rails in an overly long climax that involves a lot of stunts that are just borderline stupid.

All in all, a solid month at the movies.

Benedict Cumberbatch: A living Portrait of Genius

Time recently featured Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the Nazis’ enigma code, on its cover. Within the photo, Turing was featured among all his reference books and computer prototypes while his gaze was lost in thought. Only it was not actually Turing featured on the cover; it was the actor who played him, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Everything about Cumberbatch seems tailored perfectly for exuding genius; traits that stand in contrast to the normal attributes of a leading man. A long, thin frame that makes him appear taller than his actual 6’, an elongated head that holds a broad forehead with eyes that possess a feline, alien quality. His spider-like hands and fingers give the impression of a meticulous, detailed thinker. And surely one cannot but envy the voice. His vocals exude a regal, hypnotizing majesty; a trait that appears to be exclusively enjoyed by members of the English acting aristocracy-a group you must be born into.

Indeed with qualities such as these, it should come as no surprise that Turing is not the first great mind Mr. Cumberbatch has embodied. He was catapulted onto the world stage in 2010, playing the titular character in BBC’s modern day Sherlock, following this with turns as a maniacal super villain in Star Trek and as the controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Even before super-stardom, he had already delivered the lead performance in a BBC television film about Stephen Hawking (Martin).

In shedding light on our culture’s current fascination with Cumberbatch, I will utilize Tithecott’s methodology of object construction. In his essay “The Horror in the Mirror,” Tithecott illustrates how we derive pleasure and power from the unnerving normalcy displayed by most serial killers, for their normalcy seems to hint that an average person is barely restraining potentially psychotic, murderous tendencies. However, I will travel in a different direction than Tithecott. I will argue that our fascination with Cumberbatch comes from the fact that his abnormal characteristics allow him to play men whose minds are eons away from our average intellect, and his portrayals of these men give us a connection to genius. He is a conduit through which we derive pleasure and power by understanding the character of genius.

For many children (and I was one of them), encountering genius involved turning on the television and watching Jimmy Neutron or Dexter’s Laboratory, both shows that depicted prepubescent boys operating state of the art labs in their basements and resolving the problems that sprung from their creations. For children of average intellectual capacity, genius simply acts as a way of escape from the dull rigors of schoolwork and everyday interactions with their peers and parents. But as we grow older and mature, out of both growing curiosity and necessity we come to appreciate the value of intellectual prowess and the value it holds. This is a competitive world, as shown by various debates on whether a college degree is worth it (Kelling), and to pursue our aspirations and career paths we must outthink others. And to accomplish this we need icons to follow. And geniuses naturally lend themselves to such pedestals-the challenge is reaching up to them.

But true genius seldom occurs. Yes, there are a plethora of individuals with considerable talent and intelligence, but their level is still in the same world as ours. Persons of true genius inhabit another realm of thought altogether. For every Mozart and Beethoven, there are exponentially more Salieris and Liszt. Yes, Salieri’s operas dominated much of Vienna’s music scene during his lifetime, but there are no accounts of him composing an entire overture in a night, as Mozart was apt to do (Zagorski). And can Haydn’s oratorios hold a candle to any of Beethoven’s Ninth, let alone the other eight? For every Napoleon and Wellington there are innumerably more Santa Annas and Cornwallis’s. Santa Ana displayed shrewd political calculation, but this was not enough to hold onto Texas. Napoleon on the other hand defeated 5 coalitions against his domination of Europe. And while Cornwallis came achingly close on several accounts to defeating the American Patriots, Wellington bears the distinction of finally bringing Napoleon to his knees (Pathology of Genius). Considering the aforementioned men have long since passed, our odds of meeting, let alone forming a relationship with a genius, are astronomical.

Adding to this dilemma as much as we can be fascinated by geniuses, we will never have the capacity to think like them. Therefore, to satisfy this need, we turn to a conduit, which although it cannot allow us to think and operate like a genius, enables us to connect to a genius’s emotional journey. And this need for a conduit turns into a fascination, with the conduit in question being Benedict Cumberbatch.

Now, the first question that presents itself for this choice is why is an actor required? Turing’s work is well-documented and still referenced. All the original Holmes stories are available for purchase. And Stephen Hawking is still alive. For most people, comprehending much of Turing’s work would be an impossible task without an advanced education in and passion for mathematics. And the Holmes stories are all told from Watson’s point of view with the exception of one. Much of Stephen Hawking’s work is also beyond the full comprehension of most minds, though it is still possible to see him live at a lecture. But even with a live lecture, one can only glean a cursory understanding of the genius present, for he or she will be presenting the work, not himself. Our fascination comes from the character the work comes from, not the work. This goes back to Tithecott’s point that we are fascinated by the everyday personas of serial killers; we are only interested in the murders in how they relate back to the perpetrator. So we turn to the realm of film and an actor within it.

Now, there are many talented actors out there, and even though Mr. Cumberbatch may be among the very best, we must still ask the question of why him? To illustrate this choice, allow me to compare Cumberbatch’s performance as Sherlock Holmes to Robert Downey, Jr.’s take on the character. Consider Downey’s physical traits. He possesses the typical good looks that are the prototypical hallmark of a leading man-looks which average men envy. But it’s a look we are familiar with. In contrast, Cumberbatch’s inscrutably alien features serve to make him distinctive and unreal as opposed to conventionally sexy. Both men do appear taller on the screen than in real life (In Downey’s case, 5’10 as opposed to his actual 5’7). However, the summation of Cumberbatch’s features naturally give him an added stature. Downey’s added height is a conscious attempt on the part of himself and Hollywood to make him look like the prototypical hero and lead actor (lifts and camera angles are utilized). Downey’s franchise still displays Holmes’ genius deductions, but rather than making them the center driving force of the films, it is used as a method of enhancing the action and fight sequences. Most notably, we see Downey’s Sherlock correctly predict all his opponents’ fight moves before promptly dispatching the poor foes. Essentially, the Downey films are what studios believe audiences desire in holiday blockbusters. It should also be noted that the signature trait Downey endows most of his characters with is a smart, wise-cracking delivery (We see this in Iron Man, A Scanner Darkly and Chef). I want to emphasize that this not a failed portrayal of genius, the genius is simply not the star of the film. With Mr. Downey, we see the character with looks and the intelligence to dominate a given situation. He is the cool guy everyone wants to befriend.

With Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, the character is still shown to be physically adept when needed, but the focus is on his great mind. Early in the series, when Holmes first meets Watson, we witness him quickly surmise the events of the doctor’s past via a rapid glance across Watson’s appearance. As the series progresses, we start to see lines of words, numbers and sentences race across the top of his head as he sorts through all possible scenarios and combinations. This culminates in the third series, where we see him retreat into his mind whilst giving a best man speech to sort through dozens of possible victims of a “MayFly Man.” His mind is portrayed as a vast courtroom, with all the victims standing before him as he shoes away those who are not involved in the case (Gatiss, Thompson, Moffat). For polite human beings, it would be natural to feel insulted that someone would feel it necessary to neglect the task at hand for some unrelated mystery. But we are not viewing the episode from the perspective of the normal people Benedict’s Sherlock interacts with, we are viewing the episode through the character Benedict creates. By witnessing this retreat into a mental palace, we ourselves derive power and pleasure from the fantasy that day to day interactions may be ignored when the intellect is called to other greater things. So, instead of dominating the situations they are enveloped in, Cumberbatch’s characters transcend them in order to inhabit another playing field entirely. In short, Cumberbatch’s performances give the audience a conduit to genius in action, not action with help from genius.

Delving deeper into his persona, I will once again reference Cumberbatch’s voice. His voice possesses a quiet thunder, allowing him to throw innumerable deductions and calculations at once as Sherlock, or detail the intricacies of code breaking as Alan Turing. Because of his voice, we need not to pretend to actually follow the contemplative patterns of the characters; instead, we place full stock in every word he utters. For how can a man who speaks like that have a mind limited in any way. And when we see him as Alan Turing, the way his elongated digits handle the code-breaking machine quite literally show him being able to touch mechanisms beyond our understanding. We sincerely need to witness these actions on screen to believe the feats at hand and so Cumberbatch is cast in the role of conduit. This harkens back to Tithecott, where he argues we continually reconstruct the serial killer as Average Joe to continually heighten the pleasure and power we attain from such a construction. And so we do the same with Cumberbatch, continually utilizes him as a conduit by repeatedly casting him in films about men of genius. Can he play other parts? Of course, he very ably played a conflicted plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave and a stoic World War I officer in Parade’s End. But when his name is uttered, those films do not come to mind for film lovers. His BAFTA nomination for Hawking, his Oscar nomination for Imitation Game and his Emmy win for Sherlock testify to this. He is an actor that can play anything, yet we exponentially emphasize his genius roles to develop him into the conduit we need.

As I said before, we desire a connection to the character of genius and as with all meaningful and heartfelt relationships in life, power and pleasure inevitably play a part for better or worse. In The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch’s performance does not center on Turing’s impeccable insights into the language of mathematics and logic (Tyldum). Rather, the crux of the film centers on how the higher playing field his mind operates on interferes severely with his interactions with the society he is assigned to save. We experience no real doubt that Turing will fail in his mission to break the code. We know he will, rather we are led to hope that he will be able to reach down and connect with his peers. That is why on the cover of Time, Benedict’s Turing is not tinkering with his mathematical equipment; the train of thought he is lost in does not travel in the world of mathematics. In this way, we gain power over Cumberbatch’s conduit because most of us are rarely ostracized by our peers in this way. It’s a cross we don’t have to bear for being normal. And so the theme of pleasure and power goes the swings the other way when we establish ourselves as greater than genius when we avoid being alienated ourselves. The same goes for Tithecott’s serial killers. Law enforcement ultimately catches Dahmer and we gain pleasure and power with the fact that his unhibited persona is ultimately restrained. We control the conduit we make these men into; they are at our mercy in this way. Going back to the fact that it is Cumberbatch in costume on the cover, we must once again remember his distinctive appearance. In all regards, Turing was a normal looking man. But genius, as previously observed, is not a normal thing. And so even though we find ourselves fascinated and connected through the humanistic qualities Benedict gives geniuses, we come right back around for a reminder that they are still different. With diagonally set eyes set against a stretched forehead, what else could he represent but prodigy? We need him to look the part in order for the conduit to work. In essence, our fascination with Cumberbatch comes from the fact that though he portrays the sheer tour de force of intellect with an uncanny appearance, he manages to reconcile this by adding a does of emotional weight.

Our society’s fascination with Benedict Cumberbatch lies in his ability to act as a conduit to genius, and in doing so give us the ability to derive not only pleasure and power, but an assurance that a genius’s humanity is as real as ours. We choose him as our object of fascination because as much as the thought processes of genius are beyond our comprehension, Cumberbatch’s appearance and voice are just as foreign to ordinary people. We need a connection to geniuses, but we still need to be reminded that they are different. How else can we seek inspiration from them?

Works Cited

The Imitation Game. Dir. Morten Tyldum. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley,

Charles Dance. 2014. Film.

Hawking. Dir. Phillip Martin. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Brandon. 2004. Film.

“The Sign of Three.” Sherlock: Series Three. Written by Mark Gattiss, Steve Moffat,

Stephen Thompson. Dir. Colm McCarthy. BBC.

The Imitation Game. Dir. Morten Tyldum. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley,

Charles Dance. 2014. Film.

“Is an American University Degree Worth the Cost?” BBC. Web. 10 February, 2015.

Kelling, Hans-Wihelm. “A Chronology of Mozart and His Times.” Brigham Young

University Studies. 43(2004). 9-13. Web. 14 February, 2015.

“The Pathology of Genius.” The British Medical Journal. 1625(1892). Web. 13 February,

“The Sign of Three.” Sherlock: Series Three. Written by Mark Gattiss, Steve Moffat,

Stephen Thompson. Dir. Colm McCarthy. BBC.

Tithecott, Richard. “The Horror in the Mirror: Average Joe and the Mechanical Monster.”

University of Wisconsin Press. 1997. Web. 31 January, 2015.

Zagorski, Marcus. “Hearing Beethoven, Truth and New Music.” International Review of

the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music. 1(2013). Web. 14 February, 2015.

Oh Look, More TV remakes on the way!

24, The X-Files, Full House, Arrested Development. All classic tv shows. And what do they have in common? They’re getting new seasons, years (in Full House’s case decades) after their original runs.

In the film industry, the indie film boom of the 90s gave away to an industry increasingly focused on an endless cycle of “tent-pole films”-films that are either sequels, reboots or based on an exiting franchise or material. And to a certain extent, this policy holds its justifications. Online piracy is here to stay despite international efforts to permanently shutdown sites such as The Pirate Bay, cinema attendance in 2014 dropped at least 4% from year ago levels (something studios and theaters shield themselves from by raising prices for tickets and concessions) and people more oft than not display a lack of interest in original or even semi-original ideas (I’m referring to you, Tomorrowland). 

But TV has apparently been enjoying a veritable “Golden Age,” with gripping, wholly original dramas such as Breaking Bad and Homeland enjoying hugely devoted fan bases. What’s more, the playing field for TV has been exponentially expanded with cable channels like AMC and USA crafting their own niches while online companies such as Netflix and Amazon developing a seemingly infinite amount of shows.

Now, some argue that the four major networks (Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC) are struggling in the wake of many viewers leaving to watch shows on other stations which could explain the reason for the increase in relaunches. But Netflix is the mastermind behind not only the upcoming Full House and the revived Arrested Development, but also A Wet, Hot American Summer reboot. Perhaps this should come as no surprise seeing as Netflix has made its money by making entire series of ended shows available for instant streaming. So why not make more episodes for all the newly acquired binge watchers? And all of a sudden, A&E of all places has a prestige show on its hands with its Psycho prequel, Bates Motel. 

It cannot be said, however, that the relaunch movement foreshadows a decrease in quality; at least not entirely. 24: Live Another Day, successfully emulated the various elements that made its original one show great while trimming the fat with a 12 hour run and providing an international location in London (though even the best of 24’s original arguably doesn’t really hold a candle to the best new shows). And FX’s Fargo, a series remake of a classic Coen brothers film that no one asked for, quickly established itself as an instant classic, offering an at times disturbing and equally heart-breaking introspection on a great evil’s affects on ordinary, decent folk.

S1e1

But what differentiates these two particular series from upcoming series remakes of Limitless and Minority Report is that the former pair represented a labor of love by the creators for the core fan base. The Coen Brothers felt enough lingering curiosity from their previous film to entrust Noah Hawley with making a limited series (one that got quickly upgraded to anthology series).Kiefer Sutherland and the 24 team worked for years to bring about a feature film finale for the franchise and when that didn’t work, they went with a limited run. And this run hardly found much in the way of a new audience, averaging around 7 million viewers-about half the audience it pulled in at the peak of its run.

Limitless, on the other hand, feels like another procedural spinoff and rehash by CBS-the trailer indicates that the protagonist will use his newfound mental abilities to help the cops. Forgive me, but doesn’t CBS run more than enough police procedurals with the seemingly endless stream of CSI and NCIS spinoffs. One of the few good things Limitless has going for it is that its title at least won’t get easily mixed up with the aforementioned franchises. Minority Report, on the other hand, feels like desperation from FOX, with the Empire holding up an ailing drama department with the cancellations of Red Band Society and The Following coupled with a Sleepy Hollow on life support. Additionally (maybe a tad ironically), the moderate success of Live Another Day gave FOX a reason to give the go ahead for an X-Files revival.

This seems vaguely familiar

This seems vaguely familiar

Then there’s the remakes that in addition to not being asked for, were never bothered to be heard of (Rosemary’s Baby on NBC, COUGH!). And all of the above doesn’t even factor in the new adaptations of previously adapted novels, short stories and comics: Sleepy Hollow, Hannibal and Constantine being the more notable ones.

All this being said, we don’t quite have a drought of original material, not yet at least. True Detective and Empire proved to be run away hits. And the indomitable Shonda Rhimes has managed to follow the great success of Grey’s Anatomy with Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. And of course, there’s the question of how “original” an original show can be. True Detective featured the oft-reliable character duo of police detectives while horror and fantasy shows like Penny Dreadful, Grimm and Once Upon a Time feature numerous fairytale and horror characters that have been portrayed numerous times. Successful shows will always present something familiar for an audience to latch on and connect to.

As perturbed as I am about this movement to renew the long dormant, honestly, I am riding on the wave. In the end, all one can really ask for is a good show because I’m pretty sure everyone would rather watch an excellent remake than a mediocre or terrible original. And hell, I’ve got The X-Files premiere date, January 24, 2016, marked on my calendar.

June Movie Rankings (That I bothered seeing)

June Film Rankings (That I Bothered Seeing)

1. Entourage: Most of the reviews derided this movie as merely an epic masturbatory fantasy for adolescent boys with some mild bromance to boot. So as soon as I read the reviews I bought my ticket immediately. And you know what, it did not disappoint! From the opening boat party in Ibiza to the screening party in Malibu, masses of gorgeous and scantily clad women filled the screen and I have no shame in admitting I enjoyed seeing that very much.
On another note, the film was also incredibly hilarious. I honestly can’t remember laughing so hard in a movie theater-to the point where some dickhead sitting next to me claimed to be getting annoyed. From awkward sexual encounters to well, very sexually charged jokes and gags, seeing this movie left me in stitches.
Perhaps most importantly, I actually did feel the movie displayed a real emotional heart. From Johnny’s heartbreak stemming from never being taken seriously as an actor, to Billy Bob Thornton’s Texan businessman asserting his solemn duty as a father despite admitting that his son’s a dumbass, the film provided sincere thoughts on what it means to maintain friends among all the fame.
Go see the movie, it actually does need your money to turn a profit.
2. Testament of Youth-This was the second World War I film I saw this year after Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. I was quite relieved when this one didn’t suck like Mr. Crowe’s did. However, like The Water Diviner, this film focuses on the affects war has on the families of the fallen. The main character of Vera Brittain (another incredible performance by Alicia Vikander) weathers both double standards of women and the risk of losing both her brother and sweetheart in the great war, convincing her to play her part by nursing the war’s wounded (English and German). At times wholly devastating, but still honest and emotionally poignant, this film displays the bravery of those who weathered the conflict behind the front lines.

3. Inside Out-Pixar returns to masterpiece form with a bittersweet tale about the necessary emotional turmoil during adolescence as told through the eyes of a girl’s personified emotions: Disgust, Anger, Fear, Sadness and Joy.
4. Insidious Chapter 3-I don’t understand why many critics claimed this one wasn’t that scary; it’s like they have a competition going on where the “bravest” one must have the biggest balls. Cause holy shit, I was terrified throughout.
5. Jurassic World-In my opinion, the best film in the entire franchise. Once again, I think the critics are just bullshiting when they said the sense of wonder at seeing dinosaurs has subsided, because the opening scenes displaying all the new dinosaurs and exhibits still made my jaw drop again and again.
It also possessed comedic value akin to Looney Tunes because by God, some of the prolonged ways people were torn apart by the animals kinda reminded me of those classic cartoons (particularly one sequence where someone is passed around by Pterodactyls before being devoured by the sea dinosaur).
This film takes fifth because I just couldn’t get around Bryce Dallas Howard’s character. Sure, she ends up playing hero for her nephews, but her actions allowed a vicious dinosaur to run lose and kill dozens so you know, fuck her.

6. The Little Death– An Australian sex comedy that details how specific sexual fetishes influence relationships for better or worse. Pretty funny at times, but the film to a certain extent shortchanges honest character arcs for scenes depicting the characters attempting to fulfill specific sexual fetishes.

7. Ted 2-I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t expect it to be as good as the original, but still. Most of the gags fell flat, the climax was choppy and anti-climatic and the best scene was a scene featuring the music of Jurassic Park which just served to highlight the film’s overall shortcomings.

8. Spy-An espionage comedy featuring the talents of Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne and Jason Statham. It was just so, so alright. The nuclear bomb plot hardly made sense and the comic banter between McCarthy and Statham just felt so forced at times. Not terrible, but I expected much better.