The Sit-Com Postulation

I don’t particularly like sit-coms. I can’t remember the last one that I watched regularly… it had to be in the early 90’s. Frasier maybe?

It’s been a while.

I don’t know why I don’t like them. I think I have a relatively well-developed sense of humor, and other people laugh at me all the time. (hmm…) I think, in general, they bore me for one reason or another. No, not other people, sit-coms. Other people are fascinating!

So it takes a lot for me to recommend a sit-com. I’m recommending Big Bang Theory, and I’m shouting it from the rooftops!

The series revolves around a pair of young physicists – Sheldon and Leonard – who share an apartment. They are, I’m sorry to say, somewhat stereotypical geek men who are brilliant in a lab but otherwise socially stunted. Sheldon is so brilliant, technically-minded, and socially inept that he’s almost robotic. Leonard is more of a warm/fuzzy physicist who has problems socially, but recognizes concepts like tact and friendship and does his best to help Sheldon with them. They are joined in just about every episode by two scientist friends — Wolowitz, a smarmy, self-described ladies-man who is so still lives with his mother (represented in the series only by a loud, obnoxious “Jewish mother” voice), and Koothrappali, a young Indian scientist who goes completely mute in the presence of the opposite sex. The foursome is off-set by Penny, a beautiful blonde Cheesecake Factory waitress from Nebraska who lives in the apartment across the hall. She is a social butterfly and the perfect foil for the four geeks.

The writing for the show is excellent, and the comedic timing of Sheldon in particular is absolutely perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to hit the REWIND button (thank God for TiVo!) because The Man and I were laughing so hard about something that we couldn’t hear what happened next.

The show starts Season 2 on Monday, September 22nd at 8pm ET. There are a couple of episodes available for viewing on the CBS web site, and season one is currently available on DVD for purchase or rental. Check it out!

REVIEW: Babylon A.D. (PG-13)

Wow, this was bad. I’m sadly getting to the point where I’m beginning to use the phrase “Vin Diesel bad“. That’s bad. And what’s worse is that it’s going to get worse. During the trailers prior to the movie (which I firmly believe can be a good indicator of how good or bad the feature film will be) The Man and I learned that there’s going to be yet another Fast And Furious movie.

Oh God.

I’m really saddened by this. Vin was great when he started out. He was set to become the new bigger-than-life-but-really-f-ing-talented-guy in Hollywood. His breakout film was a short called Strays which he wrote, produced, and directed on a shoe-string budget. That got him noticed by the likes of Mr. Spielberg (see Saving Private Ryan – Vin played Pvt. Adrian Caparzo), Brad Bird (see The Iron Giant – Vin was The Iron Giant), and Ben Younger (who to this day has had only one great film to his credit: Boiler Room starring Vin Diesel and Giovanni Ribisi).

Then he got a taste of the Action Hero life in Pitch Black and it was all over but the crying.

I am, for the record, NOT knocking Pitch Black. It’s my favorite cheezy horror movie, and I mean that in a nice way. I simply see that as the turning point in his career where he stopped thinking and started doing. That’s unfortunate.

If you’re reading this, Vin, please take my advice and find yourself a good script. And if you can’t find one out there, for God sake’s man, make one of your own. You’ve proven before that you can write. Do it again. Or at least collaborate. Get yourself out of the rut before you’re too far in to dig back out again.

~ end rant ~

Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.

So this movie, Babylon A.D., it’s pretty awful. I know this because the highlight of the movie (for me) was seeing the logo for my favorite drink plastered all over the side of a passenger jet.

Well, that and the shot of Vin in the shower. But I digress…

Every character in this movie is two-dimensional, with the possible exception of Sister Rebeka played with exceptional grace (and actual acting talent) by martial arts star Michelle Yeoh. She doesn’t belong in this movie. She’s far too talented.

The story itself lurches along like an injured troll in heat.

First we meet Toorop (Vin Diesel) and discover that he’s got a gourmet touch and a taste for hasenpfeffer. Then he is strong-armed by the Russian Mafia kingpin Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu – yes, you read that right) to escort the obviously French Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) from a women’s monastery (?) to New York City via the Bering Strait in a vehicle that reminded me fondly of the 1977 Grand Prix that The Man used to take me out on dates with, only, you know, Mad Max-ified.

Natch, they have to go through all sorts of hell (and super-advanced military ‘anti-immigration’ booby traps) to get there, only to find that the bad guys – or in this case, the bad girls – are the ones she’s being delivered to and they want her for obviously nefarious reasons. Cut to Aurora’s dad (Lambert Wilson – who should have stuck to serving desserts a la Matrix II ) who should be years dead but through some sort of life-saving self-surgical pseudo-scientific miracle has managed to keep his body alive via machine just to help his baby girl when she grows up (a girl who started out as a scientific experiment and became his “daughter” only because he conveniently grew a conscience) and he give his life for her safety. Yawn.

She finally gives birth (she’s carrying twin “Messiah” children) and dies, and Vin lives the rest of his life in a cozy comfy upstate retreat wearing nice white clothes and raising the babies with absolutely no threat from the outside world. Right.

Start writing that script, Vin!


ROTTEN TOMATOES RATING: 05% Rotten! (Wow! That’s pretty rotten!)


REVIEW: Swing Vote (PG-13)

I’m not a big Costner fan — I’m not one at all, actually. Most of the time his name on a cast list convinces me to see another movie.  Any other movie.  Still, given that this is an election year, and given that Mr. Costner is typically such a box office draw, and given that the current presidential race is – if the polls are to be believed – every bit as close as it is in the movie, I was curious.

That and the fact that there is a dearth of movies to choose from when you suddenly get the urge to go to the theater at 9pm on a Thursday.  Oops.

So the movie – yeah – not the best ever made.  Amazingly predictable.  Kind of an emotional jerk-around.  Flat characters.  Unamazing acting (with the noted exception of Madeline Carroll who will be a force to be rekoned with if she stays in the biz).

With the exception of the last 10 minutes or so, most of the movie is enjoyable fluff. The last few scenes manage to break through to the heart of the film, putting a name and a face on all of us as we struggle in our millions of various ways to get from one day to the next, trying to make things better and just barely getting by.

Despite that, I hope that this movie changes the people who see it. There are a lot of people who do not bother to inform themselves, do not bother to take notice of current events, do not bother to vote. I hope that they make their way into a theater seat. I hope that they get the message. I hope that they begin notice things. I hope that they become informed. I hope they discuss. I hope that they vote.

It is important.

Short of that this is just another Costner movie – albeit a better one than many.