Things I Noticed Last Week – 5.18.2015

Lots to cover this week so let’s go!

1. I guess I have no choice but to come to the conclusion I’m one of only about 5 people on the planet who did not enjoy Mad Max: Fury Road.

I was so incredibly disappointed. A movie that was so universally loved seem so forgettable to me. Here’s my breakdown:

  • The film had too little dialogue. I understand there was not endless conversation in the first three films, but this one was so void of dialogue it almost seemed inaccessible. To go along with this, it was incredibly disappointing to see two tremendous actors in Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in roles anyone could have filled. Why bring in such exceptional talent and not give them much to work with; no dialogue and tons of stunts that were surely performed by stunt doubles. If you want to see Tom Hardy in a road movie watch his performance in Locke. His acting chops are undeniable in a film consisting of literally nothing but his phone conversations.
  • The film seemed to have such an identity crisis. What at surface level appears to be a big budget blockbuster is really nothing more than B-movie underneath all of the explosions. The problem: it lacked all of the things that make a great B-movie.  There was obviously a lack of vulgar language (as with any other language as well), almost no nudity, and all of the onscreen violence was either implied or quickly hidden in a ball of fire. In most cases you don’t need any of these things for a successful film, but if they’re missing in a B-movie, what exactly do you have? A B-movie is a suppose to be completely over the top in every way. The only thing over the top here is the amount of explosives used.
  • The film overall was quite boring. It was your run of the mill journey film with some Death Race 2000 mixed in. The journey itself is ultimately nonsensical (both literally and figuratively) and a film with so much promise, that could have been so much fun, ultimately falls flat.

So hate me if you must, but this film (even with all the noise) made me want to fall asleep. Both Hardy and Theron have made great films, many of which are a much better use of your time.

2. Wayward Pines premiered this week. There was a lot of promotion building up to this one and oddly enough, I had no clue M. Night Shyamalan was involved. I guess after his string of not so great efforts recently, Fox decided they should keep him in the background.

The series is based on books with the same name and I’d assume many of the people looking the most forward to the show were fans of the novels. I on the other hand, had no idea what to expect.

The first episode didn’t show me anything I haven’t seen before. There is unquestionably a massive influence from Twin Peaks, and there a definitely some elements similar to The Prisoner and Lost. The cast is beyond star studded, Terrance Howard (who plays the town sheriff) shows off a lot of comedic talent, Juliette Lewis doesn’t disappoint as a creepy bartender, and last and unfortunately least, Matt Dillon plays the lead in terribly unconvincing fashion, as a Secret Service Agent and most of his dialogue is cheesy at best.

Will I be watching next week? You betcha! For all of it’s faults, the mystery surrounding Wayward Pines is intriguing enough to keep tuning in. Is it Twin Peaks? No, but what is? Moving into the dead season for television, you could do a lot worse than this one. Maybe I’ll feel differently next week.

3. Hulu Plus, in a brilliant move, picked up The Mindy Project. I said it before and I will say it again: Mindy Kaling is the funniest woman on television and it would be a shame for her to not to be starring in a show somewhere. As a Hulu Plus subscriber, I will gladly continue paying my monthly fee if they stay on this course.

4. If you’re reading this, Mad Men has already ended. Don’t worry, the world will continue to spin. With that said, I have never been a fan of the series and will not shed a tear for it. To me Mad Men was always an old boys club to which I never received an invite. I tried to like it, I gave it multiple changes, but it never grew on me. It was visually stunning and extremely well written, but it was always too pretentious for me.

What is more interesting to me is the direction AMC will take following the conclusion of the show which put their network on the map. Did anyone know AMC even existed prior to Mad Men? Don Draper was the conductor on a freight train to success, picking up train cars filled with the likes of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. TWD is now the last man standing and AMC must be scrambling as to date they still haven’t replaced Breaking Bad, arguably the greatest series of all time.

Does AMC fade into the background again, showing nothing but the Die Hard films on repeat? Or do they have a trick or two up their sleeve moving forward?

4. I’ll admit, I don’t have the emotional attachment to The Simpsons most people have. I’ve never been obsessed with the show, but I’ve also never hated it. It was always one of those shows I would watch if it was on, but didn’t necessarily seek it out. Because of this, I’ve never differentiated how great the early episodes are and (allegedly) how bad the later episodes have become. They all have seemed pretty solid and entertaining to me.

This is certainly not to give any disrespect to the show, who blazed a path for adult animated series to find a home on major networks in prime time slots. The Simpsons is now and will always be an institution in popular culture. So even I was shocked to hear Harry Shearer was leaving the show. I imagine there has to be more to the story, but how does Fox not fix this. Shearer voiced so many characters and was such an integral part of The Simpsons universe, how do you replace that? Do you write out all of the characters he voiced for? Or do you write off the show completely?

Springfield without Ned Flanders is not a Springfield I want to visit.

5. Lastly, Harvey Weinstein has made it clear he wants Jake Gyllenhaal to be nominated for an Oscar.

I for one can’t blame him. Without seeing the film it would hard to comment on the performance at hand, but is there anyone in the business who has quietly racked up a resume of really solid films like Gyllenhaal? If you don’t believe me scroll through his IMDB Page, there are a ton of hits there. No one ever talks about him as a top-tier leading man, but for every bad film he’s had, he’s got about 5 more that are truly good films; Nightcrawler, Source Code, Brokeback Mountain, and Donnie Darko immediately come to mind.

So if Weinstein says he deserves a nomination (and let’s face it: Harvey Weinstein plays to win). , I’m not only willing to believe him, I’m also ready to get in line for tickets.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!