Stray Emmy Thoughts, Cameron Crowe and More TV Reviews

The new TV season is underway and I’m already behind. I actually thought about DVR-ing the 2.5 Men premiere to see what Ashton Kutcher was like, but thought my DVR privileges might forever be taken away from me if I did. Like, I’d go and try to tape Breaking Bad and the DVR wouldn’t let me because 2.5 Men was sitting on there and no one should like both shows. So I didn’t. But I did mean to watch Playboy Club (the first clear cancellation candidate), 2 Broke Girls, Whitney (now OnDemand before its Thursday premiere) and the Charlie Sheen roast … and all I watched was X-Men: First Class (moderately disappointing, but my expectations were too high). No way I get through those shows tonight with Glee, Raising Hope and Sons of Anarchy on the docket, so they’re now on a provisional basis and I’ll see if I get to them.

If you want to spoil the premiere of New Girl tonight, feel free to read the review at the bottom. Otherwise, you might wanna stop before you get there. Not many spoilers in it though, it’s pretty safe to read.

Links:

fitting end for one of the best tv characters ... ever

fitting end for one of the best tv characters ... ever

Look, I love my TV shows. Can’t live without them. So I love the Emmys, and love cheering for my favorite shows and actors. Just not this year. Last year I didn’t watch because AMC is dumb enough to program new episodes of its shows opposite the Emmys. Last year, it was Mad Men (while the show was winning its third Emmy, trumped by a fourth this year). Sunday night was Breaking Bad, which I guess is fitting since it wasn’t eligible for the Emmys this year. Before that, it was the Eagles game. So the Emmys didn’t stand a chance. It just so happens I caught the two most important parts of the night (to me) — Charlie Sheen making his “surprise” appearance that he press released earlier in the day and Kyle Chandler winning best drama actor for Friday Night Lights, a culmination of five years of FNL Emmy snubs. Other than that, the other minute pieces I watched were remarkably dull and unfunny. The beauty pageant thing for the best comedy actress seemed forced, and poor Amy Poehler looked so horribly uncomfortable as the first one up on stage that I thought she might run back down to her seat.

i think bernardsville is like 20 miles from stroudsburg

i think bernardsville is like 30 miles or so from stroudsburg

For us children of the 80s and 90s, one of the biggest movies of the season is going to a movie almost none of us will see in theaters — because we don’t have to. Pearl Jam Twenty, the Cameron Crowe documentary about the Seattle band, is hitting theaters tonight for one night only, and the closest it’s going to be around here is in Bernardsville, N.J. But if you miss it, don’t worry. It’s on PBS in a month, then out on DVD a couple days later on Oct. 25. Not quite sure what the thinking is there. Maybe it’s supposed to be an underground type of thing, but then you go and premiere it at one of the biggest film festivals in the world and throw Pearl Jam and Cameron Crowe promotional muscle behind it? Weird. Maybe it’s just the new way we’re going to be taking in movies, a weird kind of shift that completely skips over mobile phones and goes right to TV. Or maybe PBS just bought it and it’s as simple as that.

Speaking of Cameron Crowe, if you’re not worried about his career as a filmmaker, you’re not paying attention. In case you think his career is worth defending, then I give you the trailer for his Christmas release We Bought a Zoo:

If you think this movie looks in any way watchable, then great. You can stop reading the rest of this little diatribe. But if you’re scratching your head wondering, “Wait, who made this crap, Cameron Crowe or Nora Ephron???” then maybe it’s time we revisited his writing/directing filmography so far:

Say Anything: Gave us John Cusack holding a boom box over his head and little else.

Singles: Is it bad I’ve never even seen this? I didn’t get into grunge until it was no longer cool to be in to grunge. Awesome soundtrack though.

Jerry Maguire: Sports movie or chick flick? You decide. (see below)

stillwater still rules. good fantasy sports team name too

stillwater still rules. good fantasy sports team name too

Almost Famous: Gets better every time I watch it. One of my five favorite movies of the 2000s, and it would probably be in my top 100 movies of all time. Yet, for some reason, I don’t own the DVD. Inexplicable.

Vanilla Sky: Incomprehensible drivel.

Elizabethtown: Comprehensible drivel that’s 45 minutes too long. Some would say it was two hours and 15 minutes too long.

So there’s Almost Famous and … what? Maybe his career hinges on Jerry Maguire and whether you think that’s a good movie or not. I like Jerry Maguire. Liked it when I saw it in the theater, liked it the 800 times I’ve seen it since then. The “Jerry gets fired/Show me the money” part could be Tom Cruise’s best-ever non-Magnolia scene. It’s required viewing whenever you’re stumbling through the channels and find this movie on. But wow, there are some boring parts to that movie. And after the boring parts are more boring parts. And the parts that aren’t boring are pulled straight from the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan playbook. There’s no right or wrong side to fall on the Jerry Maguire debate. But you should know that whatever side you fall on is probably going to let you know whether you’ll like We Bought a Zoo.

I tried to watch the Wolverine and Iron Man anime stuff on G4 over the last couple weeks, I really have. But I think my fondness for Japanese anime went out with Voltron, and I didn’t even like it that much, especially when it was impossible to put all the pieces together on the toy to make Voltron. I hated that thing. That may or may not have clouded my overall feelings toward anime, I don’t know. But maybe an X-Men anime series is the biggest test of my anime tolerance. If I can’t watch that, the only thing that would make me watch anime again is if they recreated the 1993 National League Championship Series in anime. Even that’s probably not enough. 

There isn’t a studio in Hollywood that would make the Friday Night Lights movie since only about 2 million people watched the TV show. So if each and every one of those 2 million people bought a ticket, it’s like $16 million or so. That “if” all those 2 million people bought tickets (not happening). Screw it, let’s just start making up rumors about canceled shows that no one watched being turned into movies. Hey! Did you hear the Phenom movie is going to go into production in a month! Oh, oh, and Christian Slater has signed on for a My Own Worst Enemy movie! For reals, right now we’re still waiting for the Arrested Development movie, the 24 movie, the Entourage movie, the Party Down flick and the Lost movie (only one of those is made up). If recent reunion projects are any indication, maybe the Arrested Development movie actually has a chance. Why would these people get together and take part in a panel unless they’re pretty confident something is going to happen.

sure bet for a golden globe. mark it down.

sure bet for a golden globe. mark it down.

NEW GIRL(9 p.m. Tuesdays, FOX): When you’re proud of something, you want to shout it from the hilltops. You want to scream, “Look at this, it’s awesome!!!” So you do everything you can to make sure people know about it, especially if it’s a different kind of product that needs an extra push. At least that’s the way it used to be. Hollywood has become a “he who shouts loudest, shouts best” kind of world where people take note of the screaming, not what you’re screaming about. (Case in point: Ringer.) Fox has New Girl. Just commercials apparently weren’t working, so the show decided to go with what would have been considered suicide five years ago — it released the show weeks before its premiere. It’s been on iTunes, Hulu and OnDemand all in advance of its premiere tonight in the hopes of creating some kind of buzz. The network won’t know if it’s worked until next week when it sees the ratings from the second episode, to see how many viewers who skipped tonight’s premiere showed up for the second episode. My guess? They’re coming back, because the show is really funny. I loved the trailer the show put out in May, though I had my doubts whether Zooey Deschanel could carry an entire show in a genre (comedy) she doesn’t have much experience in. I felt a good bet better about it when she was the funniest person in Your Highness, even though I fell asleep three-quarters of the way through it. Now I can say for sure — she can carry a show, and she does. New Girl is part of the new breed of single-camera, non-laugh-track shows that CBS remains attached to even though every other network seems to be (rightfully) phasing them out completely. It’s a funny blend of good writing, somewhat interesting characters and good, funny acting. If you’re going to start a new show, those are some good qualities to have. Two problems. Damon Wayans Jr., the funniest of the male characters in the show, had to be replacedbecause his other show, Happy Endings got picked up by ABC after he filmed this pilot. He’s so good in this and he’s so good in Happy Endings that I’m wondering if ABC only picked up Happy Endings to keep Wayans off Fox. Wouldn’t surprise me. It’s also not that surprising he’s good in the New Girl pilot, either, since problem No. 2 is that New Girl plays out much like an episode of Happy Endings. Which means it seems like an episode of Friends, which means it seems like an episode of Seinfeld. Only these new breeds of “friends doing nothing” shows aren’t nearly as funny. That’s not too much of a knock since you’re talking about trying to trump two of the greatest TV comedies ever right out of the box. That ain’t happening — but we shouldn’t expect it, either. GRADE: B+.

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