A Mishmash of DVDs and a Movie

As Parks and Recreation, possibly my favorite current show on TV, is on hiatus, I felt the need to fill the imminent Adam Scott void in my life. I’ve developed rather a crush on him as Leslie’s love interest, Ben.

So we borrowed Party Down seasons 1 and 2 from the library. Party Down is a sub-par Hollywood area catering company. Ken Marino is the Michael-Scott-ish team leader who pines to open a franchise of his own, while Adam Scott is the actor returning to a day job, his tail between his legs having been one of the “hey it’s that guy” guys. The episodes are 30 minutes and funny, raunchier than network TV, and in general, really solid. The cast features alums from Veronica Mars and Freaks and Geeks, and Jane Lynch steals every scene until she departed the show for Glee. Did the showrunners (one of whom is another of my crushes, Paul Rudd) take that as a setback? No, they hired Megan Mullaly for season 2 and she was hilarious. The humor is Apatovian, and he is name checked a couple times, so if that’s not your thing, this won’t be either, but if any of the other things I mentioned have been and you haven’t watched it, check it out. We enjoyed it a lot.

What we enjoyed much less? Real Steel with Hugh Jackman. I requested this from the library because Entertainment Weekly said positive things about it. It’s not without merit, but it follows a Disney plot trajectory: guy is a jerk, guy meets son, guy wants to become better man for son, guy succeeds! The robot fighting effects were good, but in the end, this felt more like a story my 8yo would have enjoyed, though I would have had him skip most of the beginning. Forgettable. Eminently skippable.

But what did we enjoy EVEN LESS? Julie Taymore’s The Tempest. Oh, I was so excited when I heard about that project. I really enjoyed her Titus Andronicus and Across the Universe. Helen Mirren as Prospero/a! Alas, the reviews didn’t lie. It was painful to watch, so after a bit we stopped watching. It feels like Taymore has pulled a Gilliam–she’s talented and creative but she needs someone, somewhere, to rein in the crazy. Example: naked Ariel flitting about the skies to weird music.

So two duds in a row, then I went with some mom friends to see Friends with Kids, starring Adam Scott and a bunch of people who were in Bridesmaids. One of my friends noted that we were laughing loudest of all the theater goers–perhaps we were just closest in experience to those punishing-on-a-marriage years of little kids. It was good, and Adam Scott was impressive throughout, especially toward the end though the rest of the movie ended more with a whimper.

So, my takeaway: when in doubt, watch the thing that Adam Scott is in. Don’t trust EW’s reviews, unless they’re of the Tempest, in which case, they’re right, stay away.

PS this entry had tons of links, then wordpress ate my draft and I don’t have it in me to do them over. Go to IMDB for more info.

4 Responses to “A Mishmash of DVDs and a Movie”

  1. Jennifer Reese Says:

    I too nursed a little crush on Adam Scott as Leslie’s sweetheart, which is one reason I went to see Friends with Kids. But all that sex talk and dating Megan Fox? Bleccch. Suddenly crush was comatose. I hope it can be revived. I ene
    Have you seen Wanderlust? Highly recommend.
    I was forced to see Real Steel in the theatre. Even John Carter was better and that was pretty bad.
    So, if you don’t trust EW movie critics, what movie critics do you trust?

  2. girldetective Says:

    Wanderlust was on the list. In general, I do trust the EW critics, but Real Steel was a real dud. I also like Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott and miss their version of At the Movies terribly. Ebert is ever more unreliable. I should have consulted Time Out. They are almost infallible, for me. http://www.timeout.com/en_us/film/real-steel

  3. Jennifer Reese Says:

    I love A.O. Scott’s reviews. He wrote something once in defense of taking kids to “inappropriate” movies. I agreed with him and had already been doing just that, but his piece inspired me to take my kids to EVEN MORE (more in number and more in degree) inappropriate movies. Not sure if this was wise. We shall see. I have to start looking at Time Out if you say it is infallible.

  4. girldetective Says:

    OK, maybe infallible is too strong for Time Out, as they clearly thought Friends w Kids was less funny than I did, but in general, it’s my go-to place, and the only book I buy when I buy them every couple years.