13 items from 2015
Bring me Louis Theroux! There are many moments during this disappointing depiction of Scientology where you may be crying out that very same plea.
Unlike the staggeringly good Amy, this documentary fails to muster any sense of objectivity towards the subject matter and frequently comes across as overly manipulative - the very trait it seeks to expose and demonise when it comes to Scientology. It's epitomised by the use of footage featuring key figures in the religion, including John Travolta, Tom Cruise and its founder L Ron Hubbard, which often dwells or freeze frames on the blazing eyes or wild laughter in a bid to make them look crazy. It devalues its objectives.
Such subjective treatment needs a stronger authorial presence in the film, beyond the occasional off-camera voice of the interviewer. »
Nick Offerman practically defined what it means to be a scene stealer for seven seasons on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” As bacon-loving Libertarian Ron Swanson, he breathed life into a character who will go down in TV history as one of the all-time comedy greats. With the show signing off for good this season, series co-creator Michael Schur penned an episode devoted almost entirely to Offerman and five-time Emmy-nominated star Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope. The half-hour was not only a love letter to their characters but also the unique skills of each star, giving Poehler room to improvise lyrics to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and Offerman space to layer in drama between the laughs.
“Parks and Recreation,” NBC
Season 7, ep. 4, “Leslie & Ron”
Nick Offerman: “I had heard a rumor of (the script). Mike had »
- Geoff Berkshire
A review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon I've lost the right to pee... Though "AC/DC" aired more than a month after the most recent episode, the two still feel linked to me in the ways that they've tried, to mixed success, to lay some emotional foundation underneath Jake's usual antics. In "Sabotage," he admitted that he can't sit back and let other people help him because of abandonment issues from his dad, but the moment was so brief that it felt more like a distraction than anything else. Here, he eventually tells Terry and Charles the real reason why he can't let go of any case: the one time he did it, the perp stayed free long enough to kill a few innocent people. Here, it didn't feel like the show was trying to skimp on the dramatic beat, but rather that it maybe didn't »
- Alan Sepinwall
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Spongebob Squarepants of course! Spongebob and his band of friends from Bikini Bottom must come land side in an attempt to thwart the villainous Burger Beard (played by Antonio Banderas) in new flick The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water.
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water is in UK cinemas this week, just in time for Easter, and we’re so taken with the enduring bromance between SpongeBob and Patrick the starfish, that we’ve decided to take a look at some of pop culture’s best buddies. Who else should be on the list? Let us know in the comments.
SpongeBob and Patrick
They aren’t the smartest creatures in Bikini Bottom, but their love for each other makes them best buddies. The two have been neighbors and best friends forever, cementing their relationship through the creation of the “Best Friends Forever Club. »
- Kat Smith
We've all wept over the end of Parks and Recreation. Some of us grieve in different ways, though. For example, we've made a life-size papier-mâché replica of Ron Swanson that's glowering at us from the corner his very moment. Aubrey Plaza? Well, Aubrey Plaza gave one of her castmates a vial of blood and some of her hair. "Aubrey Plaza and I are very close," Aziz Ansari told Conan O'Brien on Monday's Conan. "We've known each other before the show, and we became really good friends on the show, and she gave me this gift." He then pulled out a note from Plaza. »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
It’s a tough task to end a series after seven much-loved seasons, but “Parks and Recreation” showrunner Mike Schur proved more than up to the job. He co-wrote tonight’s finale, “One Last Ride,” with series star Amy Poehler and also directed the flash forward-filled episode, a love letter to both the show’s crazy characters and devoted fans.
Variety spoke with Schur by phone a few hours before the finale aired on the East Coast — he’s in New York for an appearance with the “Parks” crew on tonight’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” He happily answered questions about his writing process with Poehler, which flash forwards didn’t make it into the final cut, whether or not we’ll ever see the Pawnee gang again, and, of course, the tantalizing tease of President Leslie Knope. He also dropped a hint about a Jean-Ralphio easter egg. (“Parks” fans, »
- Geoff Berkshire
Yesterday, I published the first half of a long email exchange with “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Mike Schur looking at the origins and evolutions of some of the show’s most memorable supporting characters and running gags. That discussion concludes today with talk of DJ Roomba (who came very close to never being a part of our lives), Li’l Sebastian, Burt Macklin and a lot more. But we start out with the first — and last — appearance of Pawnee’s greatest mystery man. I know you had talked in the past about wanting to get Bill Murray to play the occasionally-mentioned but never-seen Mayor Gunderson. How did that actually come about? And if he had said no, was there a back-up Gunderson plan, or would he have simply remained a mystery forever? Mike Schur: We wanted to do an episode in the final season where someone died. We settled on Gunderson, »
- Alan Sepinwall
A few weeks ago, while working on my review of the “Parks and Recreation” episode “Save Jj’s,” I asked people on Twitter for the name of one of the show’s weirder recurring characters, the creepy, heavily-tattooed owner of Pawnee’s pawn shop. My followers identified him as Herman Lerpiss — and, better, pointed out that there have been a lot of characters named Lerpiss in Pawnee over the years, often with far more elaborate biographies than has ever been suggested on the show itself. This made me realize that, while I have interviewed “Parks” co-creator Mike Schur many times over the years about major developments for Leslie, Ron, April, Andy, and the rest of the show’s main characters (you can read some of those interviews here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here and here), I’d barely scratched the surface of all the crazy background characters »
- Alan Sepinwall
Parks and Recreation fans finally met Mayor Walter Gunderson on Tuesday night's show, and he was a familiar face.
Photos: Favorite TV and Movie Reunions
For those Parks and Rec fans paying attention, Murray's cameo has been hinted at in the past. Back in 2011, Poehler showed up on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and said she'd cast the funnyman as the mysterious mayor if he came at a good rate. "Bill Murray, if you’re listening, I will pay you $250 to do one episode of my show," she joked.
"There was no attempt really to lure him -- we just kept saying it out loud," Parks and Rec's executive producer Michael Schur told Entertainment Weekly. "Aubrey [Plaza] met him somewhere and said, 'You should »
In a parallel universe, Jim O'Heir could have spent the last seven seasons on "Parks and Recreation" not as office punching bag Garry/Jerry/Larry/Terry/Garry, but as Ron Swanson. That's the role he auditioned for at the start, and while he didn't get it, Mike Schur and Greg Daniels liked his audition enough to hire him as a background character with the potential to do more, much like Stanley, Phyllis and Meredith on "The Office." It was a move that paid out well for all involved, and tonight's second episode — the last regular installment of "Parks" before next week's series finale — had a crowning moment of sorts for O'Heir's long-suffering alter ego. (I reviewed both of tonight's episodes here.) Earlier today, we spoke about the ups, downs, and many names of Garry Gergich, the experience of being a part of this great series, as well as the Kickstarter »
- Alan Sepinwall
Nick Offerman could go incognito without his signature 'stache!The "Parks & Rec" star debuted his mustache-free face at the premiere of "Me And Earl And The Dying Girl" at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday. Now that the NBC sitcom has wrapped up production, the actor said goodbye to his character's famous facial hair and went in the opposite direction from the look he sported for seven seasons -- beard, with no mustache. On Friday, Nick's costar Retta shared one of the final photos of a mustache-clad Offerman during his last day on set. "Ladies and gentlemen, that's a series wrap on Mr. Nick Offerman," Retta captioned the pic on WhoSay. "#RonSwanson He's a simple man. He likes pretty, dark-haired women, and breakfast food... We wrapped the show in December. We shoot out of order and scenes from episode 4 were Nick & Amy's last scenes of the series."While we're »
- tooFab Staff
When “Parks and Recreation” signs off on NBC at the end of next month, fans will say goodbye to the colorful residents of Pawnee. But there won’t be a need to bid farewell to the actors who played the characters they grew to love.
Even though “Parks” never emerged from Nielsen’s ratings cellar or garnered the industry awards it richly deserved, its exceptional ensemble has nonetheless made a huge mark in Hollywood. What launched as a star vehicle for Emmy-nominated “Saturday Night Live” veteran Amy Poehler quickly became a showcase for breakout talent Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari and Rashida Jones.
“We collected a group of people at a really important time,” Poehler says. “I am the least surprised at how fancy and famous everyone is and has become. I felt that way about them and their talent since day one.”
From movies to standup to publishing, »
- Geoff Berkshire
For ensemble comedies to truly work, you need a group of incredibly talented people, not just one major star. That’s true for shows like Parks and Recreation, Community, New Girl, and, most recently, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, even though each of these four series has one standout performer that has risen above the rest. Parks has Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, Community had Donald Glover (and still has Danny Pudi), New Girl‘s got Jake Johnson, who, in my eyes, has made Nick Miller one of the best characters currently on TV, but what about Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Who is that show’s star, or, if you will, its Mvp? As you can probably guess by the title of this article, I would say the breakout star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been Melissa Fumero, who plays straight-laced, rule-following Amy Santiago on the Fox comedy. While this may sound like blasphemy to many »
- Chris King
13 items from 2015
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