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The Last Man on Earth (2015)
Not for everyone but this show is a masterpiece
I'm not surprised by how much people hate this show. But the show made people really hate some characters and that's essentially the point of it. Love and hate are not really that different. They do evoke the same reactions, same passion. Having said that, I would really like to be an apologist for this show.
Where are all the abandoned cars and bodies? They do mention that most people died in their homes. Maybe the virus weakens you to the point that you cannot get out of bed. But people probably got together in some homes so that they could have some last days together. That explains all cars carefully parked at homes and enough empty homes. Even if the homes weren't empty, let's just assume that taking out that skeleton and dumping it in the backyard is standard procedure
Tandy is annoying. yes, that's the point. so was the point with Phoebe, with Michael scott, with parks and recreation, with Pierce. The humor comes from the character. Asocial, selfish, petty man child who doesn't get his way and is contrasted by normal rational people. It's a standard template
Show is unoriginal. Of course you feel that way. But these are people who had successful runs on Saturday night live. They are improv artists. They make script on the fly. That knowledge is necessary to appreciate what they are doing. Same goes with the Office.
What makes the show profound? The show tries to make us consider the ephemeral nature of life. We take the comforts we have for granted. But something as simple as a test flight kills you instantly. There is hope which is immediately quashed with death. Celebrities come in the first episode of every season to die with less than 3 words to speak. Just when you jump out of your chair that Jack Black is going to give you a familiar flavor of comedy, he is shot.
There is a pathetic nature to the characters who insist on having relationships even though none of those things make any sense anymore.
Is the show scientifically accurate? More or less. from satellites falling out of orbit to uncontrollable fires to nuclear meltdowns and food/fuel going bad. Sure, they do paint a picture. But that's not the point. It's a comedy. The only premise is that everyone is dead.
In essence, for the people who hate the show, you are expecting a certain kind of comedy and you are not getting that. Your hate originates from there. Yes, the show is tedious. But that's where the humor is supposed to come from. Sometimes if the joke isn't going anywhere with no redemption, that is the point. They don't owe you anything. You are not special. The showmakers are constantly trying new modes of comedy. It's avant garde, it's post post modern if you may.
If you feel characters are predictable, you haven't watched the show. you probably watched an episode or two. It takes a lot to produce a show like this. Louie, Baskets, Kimmy Schmidt, All these shows are deeply philosophical and require an intelligence that's rewarding only in the long run. There is no quick gratification.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
Surreal and Succinct
This film may not be Citizen Kane but its not one of those films which will be forgotten. It has the characteristics of a film which generates a cult following for reasons you cannot put a finger on.
The film however may not be for everyone. There is a poetry behind the parallel the film tries to draw. Set in the time when Obama was running his "Yes, we can" campaign for the presidential elections, the film tries to draw parallels between the dystopia of a once rich and prosperous nation and a once happy and profitable gangster trade.
Recession has hit even the gangsters. They need to make the same changes in their businesses that other corporates have been doing. Cutting costs, bringing in a no surprise mode of operations, hiring consultants to execute projects, so on and so forth.
The poetry doesn't end there. Some of the substance induced conversations are so surreal, its near poetic. Some scenes put you on the edge of your seat and some make you say "WTF". Some make you ponder what's going on and once in a while there is "WOW" scene.
Having said this, the film has its share of clichés. Some which almost tend to show the messy screen writing. This is where the film falls remarkably short of being a classic.
The film is worth watching. Worth watching for a few repeats too.
Parental Guidance (2012)
Not worth the time spent
The aim of a family film needs to be the analysis of the relations. The ambitions, the next generation, the generation gap, the parental aspirations, the learning on the job for parenthood, the triumphs and of course the laughs.
The film successfully fails on all these parameters. The topics are touched but never analyzed. The important issues aren't delved into but just mentioned and the textbook cliché is copied and pasted. It clearly looks like a film made using a template where somethings were changed but the original formula is the same.
One reason i picked up the film was because I'm a huge fan of Billy Crystal. A script which cant make the best of Billy Crystal, is a failure.
This film isn't simply worth the time spent. There is nothing new in it.
Its a must watch if you are a music lover and read about the old times
I have watched this film several times. I even own the extended cut which runs for 2 hours.
The comedy lacks any subtlety. But that is intentional. A musical journey starting from the time of Robert Johnson to Eddie Vedder, despite the spoofs, the film makes an homage to all music genres and all artists who lived their time. The bold 50s, the crazy 60s, the drug riddled 70s, you could call this an American version of This is spinal tap but they are both completely original and different films.
The songs are good, with great lyrics and the final song "A beautiful ride" always manages to bring a lump in my throat.
Of course, this film isn't for everyone. You need to cultured sensibility to make sense of and appreciate the humor.