Tons to get to playing catch-up from my vacation last week, let’s hit it:
It’s a waste of time to get in to how geeks became the rulers of the Hollywood world, but this weekend is our Christmas — Comic-Con. I’ve never been and never will, not because I’ve got two kids and it’s 4,000 miles away, but because I’d hear nothing but veteran attendees saying, “I can’t believe how much it sucks this year, it’s so corporate now.” I know, because that’s what I say at the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade every year. At least the vets are around to offer up tips on the experience if you’re going (or want to go sometime before you die). Monday we’ll do a huge Comic-Con roundup of all the news that came out of it, including trailer reviews. Other than the Super Bowl, this is the only time trailers are all released at the same time. I’m not going to bother dissecting the leaked versions of Amazing Spider-Man or Avengers until after this weekend when they premiere at Comic-Con. We’ll just do it all Monday, along with trailer reviews of Dark Knight Rises and John Carter of Mars. But if they haven’t been taken down yet, have at Spidey or Avengers. Actually, never mind on Avengers, it’s already down. A bootleg Spider-Man trailer was still up around 10 a.m. Wednesday, but it’s likely to be gone by the time you read this. (UPDATE, 12:15 P.M.: An actual copy of it is up on YouTube. For how long, who knows.)
Another thing I may not do — ever get to a movie theater this summer. I’m now at about double digits of big-screen-necessary stuff I need to see (in order: X-Men, Harry Pott-ah, Hangover 2, Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids, Thor, Super 8, actually, let’s just stop now, I’m getting depressed) and we’re about to add another to the list with Captain America. If you’re still on the non-comic-book-movie bandwagon but you’re finally deciding to check this one out, you should probably know a few things going into it. Marvel does a really good job of explaining all this kind of stuff to beginners, but you may need a primer. Might actually be good to refresh if you’re 36 and haven’t read a Captain America comic in about 25 years (me).
Just in case you thought South Park was going away — and if you saw the mid-15th season finale, it sure seemed like the show was getting ready to ditch — it won’t be going anywhere. The show is signed through 17 seasons, so the earliest it’s going away is 2013. It’s easy to take South Park for granted, but you’re going to miss it when it’s gone. Oh yes, you will. The rest of the season comes back Oct. 5 as the fall viewing schedule gets more crowded by the day. That reminds me …
Let’s recap. The new TV show American Horror Storyis made by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, creators of Nip/Tuck and Glee. OK, I’m in. It’s going to air on FX, the most daring basic cable network on TV. Geez, gimme a break, I already said I’m in. It’s starring the incredible Connie Britton fresh of Friday Night Lights. C’mon, seriously, I’m in, OK? Leave me alone!!! This instantly jets to the top of the list of “New Shows I’m Looking Forward to in the Fall,” edging out Terra Nova, How to Be a Gentleman and New Girl.
Speaking of Murphy and Glee, so long to Finn, Rachel and Kurt come 2012. Some perspective here, Gleeks. The best thing about the show is that the kids aren’t the stars — the script is the star. No one started watching Glee because of Lea Michele, so why should they stop when she leaves? Let’s also read between the lines. Murphy only said those three will be leaving, he didn’t say jack about the other 10 or so other members of the glee club. Maybe it’s because the others had no problem continuing to work for scale or something close to slave wages. The show’s three biggest kid stars may have made outrageous financial demands that couldn’t fit in to the budget of the show and were quickly shown the door. So while everyone is saying all the right things now, like “no one can stick around forever” and ”high school kids graduate in real life,” don’t be surprised when season 4 brings us Puck pulling a Wooderson and trolling the high school for freshman chicks, Mercedes pulling a Screech and student teaching with Mr. Schu, Quinn taking over the Cheerios and Brittany and Santana being held back a year. Those kinds of jobs probably were available for the departing trio, but for whatever reason, it won’t work.
Being part of the problem and not part of the solution sucks — so it’s with great displeasure that I relay that TNT canceled Men of a Certain Age after two seasons. I liked the show a good bit. I’ll watch Andre Braugher in a TV show about him doing a crossword puzzle for an hour. I was a big Quantum Leap fan, which, by the transitive property, made me a big Scott Bakulafan. But for some reason, I had some kind of falling out with the show. I have no idea why. It started when I only caught the first two episodes last winter, but managed to catch up OnDemand and in reruns leading up to the midseason premiere in June. Then I watched the premiere and just lost track of it. It was part Phillies, part my crazy desire to catch up on Breaking Bad from mid-June on, part, umm, watching something else. I liked the show, but it never seemed to have any immediacy. Maybe that’s why it lost out, because millions of other people thought they could catch up too.
Wasn’t Anger Management a crappy enough movie? Does it really have to be remade into a TV show? Oh wait, did someone say crappy??? Then Charlie Sheen’s ears must have been ringing! He’s supposed to take on the Adam Sandler role, which seems like the wrong way to go completely given the events of the last few months which, if I’m forced to write about one more time, could cause me to turn up the gas in my house and start randomly lighting matches. That means they’ll have to get some over-the-top lunatic to take on the Jack Nicholson role. We’re talking Nick Nolte or Gary Busey nuts, people. No idea where this thing would show up. Maybe FX, since it seems to show the movie every couple weeks and it already runs 2.5 Men reruns.
I know, I know. I missed Emmy nominations, my bad. Three surprises I’m happy about: Friday Night Lights for best drama, acting love for Justified (Tim Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins and Jeremy Davies all scored nominations) and Martha Plimpton for best comedy actress. Three things that stick in my crawl: Still nada for Sons of Anarchy, John Noble on Fringe (still) and nothing for the supporting casts of either Community or Parks and Recreation.
We’re like 55 percent through the year, so it’s a good time to take a look at those Netflix queues and start thinking about what the best movies of the year so far are. The last thing you want to do is get bogged down in November trying to get to the movies and watch every DVD to try and find the best movies of the year. Some upcoming DVD releases I’m looking at that are mentioned in that article: Cedar Rapids is sitting on my TV right now, Super is Aug. 9, The Beaver is coming out Aug. 23, The Conspirator is Aug. 16, Win Win is scheduled for Aug. 30, Meek’s Cutoff is Sept. 13 and most of ther other stuff doesn’t have a release date yet.
I love when movies come out within months of each other and they’re basically the same thing. Nine times out of 10, the movie that gets there first is the one that’s more successful. Armageddon and Battle: LA are two exceptions, so it will be interesting to see how Friends with Benefits (opening this weekend) fares against No Strings Attached. In the battle of sex-romp movies with initials, NSA made $20 million its opening weekend and $71 million overall ($148 million worldwide on a $25 million budget) and there’s no reason to think FWB can’t grab that too. It should actually do better since it’s coming out in the summer. It’s also pretty good counter programming to Captain America, too. There are a couple Snow White adaptations coming next year too.