Ghostbusters is a movie directed by Paul Feig starring four of the funniest women alive. It’s a remake of a beloved 1984 comedy that’s attracted one of the most intensely sexist online controversies in recent memory. And…it’s pretty good! In this episode of The M&M Report, Devin and I talk about what worked and what didn’t.
Also: Devin is moving back to California. That means this podcast is the last one recorded in the same room with me for the foreseeable future. I’ll miss him, but I won’t miss the podcast, because it’s not going anywhere! We’ll still be recording regularly in the weeks and months to come. Stay tuned for more.
Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. If you have the time, rate and review us on iTunes as well. We’d greatly appreciate your support.
The Martian is science-fiction in the most literal sense of the term. It’s essentially a big-budget ode to the scientific method, in which an enterprising astronaut marooned on Mars after a deadly sandstorm puts every ounce of his collegiate powers towards surviving and eventually returning home. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard, the movie version of the popular Andy Weir novel meets the old-fashioned morality and classical simplicity of that story with awe-inspiring visualizations of a planet we may still one day get to know.
Rather than dwelling on the wonders of space, The Martian skips straight past the sense of discovery and plunges in as the characters treat the most foreign environments as a mundane workplace. In the opening scene, the five astronauts of the Hermes mission are deep into a harvesting session when they get word of an oncoming storm. They make their way towards shelter, but not soon enough. Four of them return to safety in time, but one, botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon), disappears, presumably asphyxiated to death.
News broke (okay, a tweet was sent) last night about Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot: the receptionist role originated by Annie Potts will be played by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth.
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) June 10, 2015
Given that Feig is clearly a big fan of SNL, I’d like to think that this sketch drove to him to give Hemsworth a call.
A year ago at this time, I wrote a blog post addressing Saturday Night Live‘s frustrating lack of commitment to diversity, exemplified by a sketch in which Kerry Washington played several prominent black female celebrities capped off by a title card backhandedly apologizing for the show’s dearth of nonwhite performers.
During the season finale and throughout this anniversary season, the story was different. Perfect? Of course not. But diverse voices in front of and behind the camera were one of the factors that made this season of SNL a significant improvement on the last few.
Last night’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special began with a musical tribute to the show’s iconic characters performed by two of its most currently camera-ready stars. Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake “History of Rap”-ified forty years of surreal catchphrases and gross-out gags before intoning the show’s now-infamous opening salvo.
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”
As with most people, the word “reboot” sets my teeth on edge. I’m always a proponent of discarding tired concepts and flagging franchises in favor of original material. But reboots aren’t inherently bad. Tuesday’s “Ghostbusters” announcement offers hope that at least one upcoming remake won’t be cringeworthy. Read the rest at The Eagle.
Even before I sat down to watch Bridesmaids, I felt like I’d already seen it. It’s a symptom of the saturated pop culture world in which we live. Not only had I seen the PG-13 clips of the infamous bridal shop scene repeated ad nauseam, but the 2011 film quickly came to stand for a standard of comedy that few movies since have been able to match. (Pitch Perfect might be the exception, but I wouldn’t know – haven’t seen that one either.)
Sitting down to watch Bridesmaids for the first time was an interesting experience. I spent the first thirty minutes anxiously awaiting the arrival of farts and burps, only to discover that that scene, while well-constructed, was far from the movie’s centerpiece, and not even its funniest attempt at body part-related humor (that would be Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph arguing about their “assholes”). Instead, that scene served as a preamble for what turned out to be a moving, surprising comedy that balanced elements of romance, drama and farce with remarkable ease. I finished the movie surprised to find that, in some ways, it had been underhyped. I expected the movie to crescendo during the few scenes that everyone talks about in casual conversation, but instead I was rewarded with a supremely entertaining and well-crafted story surrounding those few scenes.
With that in mind, here are five (okay, six) reasons Bridesmaids is far more than some bad chicken and gastrointestinal malfunctions.
And now, the story of an Arrested Development fan/admirer who likes the fourth season more than some people and less than others.
I binged-watched the first three (and, until 2013, only) seasons of Arrested Development over the summer, marveling at the volume and velocity of the gags, the spiraling awfulness of the main characters, the casual brilliance of the social criticism, the comedic transcendence of the actors in peak form. The first two seasons whizzed by in a nearly flawless blaze of acidic, frequently self-referential hilarity. The third season, while funny and arguably more absurd and labyrinthine than the first two, seemed more desperate to be liked than its predecessors, and the comedy suffered as a result. (The metacommentary began to swallow the show’s plot, and the less said about the “For British Eyes Only” arc, the better.) Nonetheless, I finished my binge satisfied with the fruits of my “labor.” (The “Next Episode” button doesn’t press itself, after all.)
I started the first season right around the time that the fourth season dropped on Netflix. I didn’t have a chance to decide whether the show’s three seasons were sufficient before another one was in the works. But when I finished “Development Arrested,” which mirrors the pilot and offers a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to the saga of Annyong, I didn’t find myself clamoring for more. Especially with a show as densely packed as Arrested Development, there’s value in concentrating the brilliance.