In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Ben Stiller plays a man who can’t stop himself from indulging his flights of fancy. If only the movie were as untethered from reality. The central problem with this amiable but slight adventure, directed by Stiller from a script by Steve Conrad and a short story by James Thurber, is its unwillingness to be as whimsical as it clearly wants to be. Aside from an unexpected homage to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Walter Mitty’s fantasies are largely earthbound, and the movie surrounding them is watchable but rarely surprising.
The title character is a charmless slip of a man, perpetually clutching his briefcase like a life preserver. He struggles to hold a conversation for more than a few seconds, and he’s too shy to confront his burgeoning feelings for his comely co-worker Cheryl Melhoff (Kristen Wiig). He deals with the world by retreating into his shell, imagining an alternate universe in which he’s a hero, a Casanova, an aggressor and an adventurer, only to be jolted back to reality by the encroaching return of his banal conversation. Tasked with circling the globe to recover the missing cover photograph for the final issue of Life magazine, Walter learns that he’s much healthier when he allows his fantasies to bleed into his real life.
Listen to Episode 13 here.
Welcome back to The M&M Report, Cross-Country Edition. Devin and I have temporarily migrated to opposite sides of the country, but the miracles of technology allowed us to have a fun conversation nonetheless.
We started with some discussion of Beyonce, who stunned the music industry on Friday when she dropped a new album entirely without promotion.
After that, we revealed our holiday plans for pop culture consumption. Devin hopes to marathon every episode of a highly acclaimed AMC drama about a man who makes meth (guess which one) and Mark is going to honor Devin’s demands and dive into the first season of a political drama that rhymes with “The Best Ring.”
From there, we reviewed Amazon’s first scripted series, the political satire Alpha House. We were underwhelmed, despite the presence of John Goodman.
Because the holiday season is in full swing, Devin and I simply had to discuss our feelings about holiday music, including our theories about Christmas albums and some of our favorite tunes.
And finally, we had a heated debate about Love Actually, which is either the best or worst Christmas movie of all time, depending on who you ask. Keep your eyes open for a special appearance from Devin Doesn’t Like Things.
Next week, we’re starting our look back at the year in pop culture. Until then, thanks for listening!
Click through for the time breakdown (and a bonus blast of holiday cheer from Mariah Carey and Jimmy Fallon):