Usually, I take the time out to see what pop culture events are leading to an ultimate global crisis. Last week, it seemed like the end with Hell School Musical 3 debuting at the top of the box office with $42 million. Yuck. But finally, an underrated gem had its day. That is, Tina Fey and “30 Rock”. “30 Rock” ran for two brilliant seasons almost completely unnoticed. Thanks to a loyal (but small) fan base, awards, and critical praise, the show stayed out of cancellation territory. At least temporarily. Last night’s season three premiere of 30 Rock was a test of whether or not it would last any longer. It passed, with its highest rating yet (8.5 million viewers). It didn’t win its time slot but lets take this one step at a time. At least people are finally watching.
This summer, I was pulled into a show I thought I’d never watch in a million years: “Lost”. I began the series in late July and watched the season four finale this past Friday. What I experienced was quiet possibly one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in both movies and TV. “Lost” made me rethink life, learn about new cultures and literature, and mostly made me ponder how a giant cloud of smoke could symbolize fate and freewill. “Lost” is quiet simply the most important piece of sci-fi to hit American popular culture since “Star Wars”.
Some people believe in the Mayan prophecy that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Me, I try to be an optimist (and I hate Fox News or whoever is saying the world’s gonna end now) but I think things may be turning around. That’s because the world isn’t ending on December 21, 2012, it’s ending tomorrow. Yes, because High School Musical 3: Senior Year is being released in theaters nationwide. With projections reaching over $40 million in opening weekend gross. Gross, indeed. In a world where 30 Rock can barely get an audience and Stanley Kubrick and The Seventh Seal remain unknown to most, it saddens and sickens me that something like HSM 3 is seen around the country and giving the youth of America the idea that you can solve all of your problems through singing and dancing. Oh, and that you can get through high school by singing and dancing. Oh, and that this what America gets when they’re too afraid to see a movie with the word Make a Porno in the title.
When a movie like W comes out, many would judge mainly by their political beliefs. The right wingers will think it hit Bush too hard. The left wingers will think it didn’t hit him hard enough. Now, I am going to keep my political beliefs (and my hatred for Bush) out of this review because I’m a film critic, not a correspondent for CNN.
I hate censorship, with a deep passion. It ruins art and society. Now, because some idiot dad wouldn’t explain to his son what the word porn meant, ads and commercials for Kevin Smith’s Zack & Miri Make a Porno can now only be called Zack & Miri. Seriously? It’s just a word, people. And you’re kids may find out sooner or later what that word means anyway, so why not explain it to them before they find out in the wrong place. Or, don’t do that, and just don’t get offended by the word porno! And with this, why hasn’t the title of Sex Drive been changed to Getting Intimate Drive?
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words, but they never say that a disappointing movie is worth just as many. Since the days of American Pie, it seems like the bar for the teen film recently raised with such instant classics as Mean Girls, Superbad, and Juno. Sex Drive seemed to have all the qualifications to make that list. Unfortunately, it fell way short, with only a few bright spots.
You don’t have to see every movie Paul Newman starred in to understand his impact. However, his performances are well worth a look:
Hud (1963)- One of the first standout performances of Newman’s career. Newman plays titular Hud, another of Newman’s famous outcasts who instead of impressing everyone he meets, seems instead to bring misery to their lives and cause them to resent him. Despite the fact that he frequently played outcasts, Newman’s Hud seems against type to most of his roles. However, he is able to find a way to channel the character’s lack of emotion and turn him into something of a misunderstood hero in the audience’s eye. This is something only Paul Newman could do. Melvyn Douglas may have won the Oscar for portraying Hud’s father, but it’s Newman’s performance that will never be forgotten.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)- Newman’s best performance. He portrays Luke, a drunken Southern war veteran who gets busted for stealing parking meters. Luke gets sent to a prison under an extremely strict warden and becomes the prison’s free spirit who keeps trying to escape. A story that seemed to mirror the soon rebellious movement in America, Luke defined some of Newman’s actual rebellion and political beliefs. His performance sticks out most. He portrays the character of having a certain charm of confidence, yet is filled with vulnerability and emotion. Some think the story is too similar to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, but the great writing and Newman make it a classic for the ages. That, I have no failure to communicate.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)- A groundbreaking film in many ways. It was the first teaming of Newman and Robert Redford and would later inspire the names for the Sundance Film Festival and the Hole in the Wall Camps. It tells the true story of outlaws Butch (Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Redford) who successfully rob banks and trains and then run from the law to Bolivia where they meet their fateful doom. The chemistry between Newman and Redford seemed so real and natural and is what truly makes the story believable. Such scenes as the final shootout and the love scene played to “Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head” have become as essential a part of American culture as Rosebud in “Citizen Kane” and King Kong on top of the Empire State Building.