The worst part about being on vacation is hearing news and saying, “I need to get that up on my blog, prontissimo!” but then realizing that it’s much more important to take a nap. I pretty much unplugged last week, so let’s try and catch up as best we can:
The departure of The Office was that one thing that almost got me off the couch and on to the computer to take two hours and craft some kind of appreciation piece for the show. Then I realized, “Wait, why is this surprising? This is what I’ve been predicting for months would happen!” Because I was. All the signs pointed there, especially with the contracts of all the major cast members needing to be renewed for this year. The network pitch had to be, “Come back for one more year, we’ll wrap it up, and then you can live off the syndication money for the rest of your lives if you want to.” Sign me up for that deal! I’m not nearly as down on The Office as everyone else has been, it’s kinda like the live-action version of The Simpsons. Remarkably dependable for 10 good laughs a week, but it’s been around so long you don’t necessarily need those laughs because you feel like you’ve already laughed at them. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad show by any means, just not as good as it was in scenes like this:
There are only a few shows that have gotten markedly better each year the show was on the air. Cheers is the best example. I can make a pretty good argument that its final season was its best season. Saved by the Bell is another good one. Tori or no Tori, the gang’s senior year was easily the best. But The Office peaked in season 2 — one of the best seasons of a sitcom ever — and has steadily gotten worse since then. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, since it would have been impossible to keep up that pace. But you can see the drop-off in each season. It’s palpable. It’s not the worst idea to squeeze one more year out of Dunder Mifflin Sabre then go ahead with the likely misguided idea of starting the Dwight spinoff. I’d rather that than see the staff get reassigned to Los Angeles or something or some other textbook Jump the Shark move.
I don’t wanna go anywhere near the circumstances around Tony Scott’s death. The gossip sites are all over it, I’d imagine, I haven’t even bothered to look. What I can do is rank his best movies in what can best be described as a very Bruckheimer career. Didn’t it seem like every single one of his movies was a Bruckheimer movie? Close — he directed 15 American movies, and I’m pretty sure at least six of them are Simpson-Bruckheimer joints. He was pretty much the 80s and early 90s version of Michael Bay. That doesn’t mean he didn’t lay out some classics:
5. Domino. Could have been better, but at least it was different.
4. The Last Boy Scout. Under-appreciated because this was right out the time where people started saying, “How much excess can Tony Scott pack in one movie???” Because it was A LOT. But this might be a top 5 Bruce Willis role on the cool meter. Which is a pretty tough list to crack.
3. Beverly Hills Cop 2. I have no idea why Scott was brought in to direct the second, especially after the first set all kinds of box office records. But it turned out to be a great idea, since it’s one of the few examples where a great movie became a better sequel. Scott made sure to get louder gun shots, bigger explosions, all that good stuff. But he amped up the Eddie Murphy quotient to almost ridiculous levels while still keeping him the funniest man alive.
2. Top Gun. Set the mold for what action movies needed to look like in the 80s to be popular: Fast, sexy, funny, usually in that order. No longer did silly things like facts or physics matter. All that mattered was giving people the craziest experience you possibly could, rules and truth be damned. This is the first movie where that mentality worked. When you walked out of the theater and said, “I know there hasn’t been a mid-air firefight like that since Vietnam, but it was cool!” Also unleashed the Tom Cruise Reign of Terror upon the world.
1. True Romance. I fully believe if Quentin Tarantino held on to this script instead of selling it, the movie wouldn’t look that much different if he directed it. You can’t say the same for Natural Born Killers. Scott obviously knew he had a fantastic, jarring script on his hands, and didn’t wanna screw with it. Smart move. It’s still one of my favorite casts ever in a movie — yeah, including Balki — and contains one of my favorite can’t-turn-it-off scenes. Umm, you’re going to have to guess which one it is. Can’t embed it. But what the heck, I can link to it.
More from the, “Well, duh,” file: Ben Affleck has nothing to do with Justice League. Glad we got that cleared up, especially since the initial reports were nothing more than “Warner Bros. is planning to approach Affleck about Justice League” and then we didn’t hear anything for a month. In that time, Warners either never approached him, or Affleck gave them the old “Thanks but no thanks.” So let’s just all move on, shall we? And maybe we can get some more realistic names on that list. It’s going to be tough for any director to come in and follow-up The Avengers, so this is not something that should be rushed.
Speaking of Avengers, mark your calendars! We’ve now got a release date for the Avengers sequel — May 1, 2015. So let’s do the Marvel/Avengers rundown: Iron Man 3, May 2013. Thor 2, November 2013. Captain America 2, April 2014. Then the new ones — Guardians of the Galaxy in August 2014 and another one in May 2014. Marvel hasn’t announced what movie will take that spot, but everyone seems to think it’s going to be an Ant-Man feature. that bores me, but so does Guardians of the Galaxy. Never got into either of them. It would, however, make Avengers 2 an absolutely CRAZY movie. GotG is pretty tied to a bunch of Thanos storylines, who was the villain teased in the credits of Avengers. And then Ant-Man makes another Avenger. Then instead of using a standalone movie to introduce someone like Wasp or Black Panther or Miss Marvel or Quicksilver, they can just add them in Avengers 2, which would be bursting at the seams.
Yowza, this is where we’re headed? The anti-Obama “documentary” was just about the biggest debut at the box office last weekend? I couldn’t care less if it was about Obama or Romney, but how does this get to be called a documentary? It’s a fantasy vision of what the country would look like in 2016 if Obama stayed president. Isn’t that fiction? I’m sure the filmmakers use a lot of facts to back up their theories, but so do other movies and fictional stories, right? Documentaries take a camera around and just follow people in their lives. These thesis papers disguised as documentaries are pretty annoying. Thanks a ton, Michael Moore.
This probably requires its own blog post, but I’m out of time. So just sit back, enjoy, and witness the greatest comedy team of the last 10 years.