Monthly Archives: July 2016

So, continuing (sorta) my return-to-blogging warmup from the other day, I wanna talk about a series most of you have probably never watched: Casual.

I’m a huge fan of Jason Reitman. I would fuck Up in the Air if I could, and I’m in the narrow minority who loved both Young Adult and Men, Women and Children. I respect him to the point that I don’t even care that he hated our script for Diminuendo.

(Full non-disclosure; he is, to date, the only person I’m aware of to have this reaction. In fact, everyone else has been ridiculously positive. Also, no, I won’t tell you what he said or how we got it to him).

I love his fucked up situational awareness and train-wreck characters. So, I thought Casual, being his series, might be worth a look. And it was. Until it wasn’t.

Look, I knew we were in for a show filled with awful people doing awful things they don’t know are awful. I expected that, and wasn’t disappointed for the most part. Until the end of season one. Earlier in the season, Alex, the lead trainwreck, adopts a chocolate lab puppy. In that arc, he wisely realizes he can’t even care for himself, much less a dog, and returns the puppy to the store.

The writers, apparently out of ideas for what else to do to end the season, brought that dog back into the story at the end of the season for no reason except to kill him offscreen. So they can make a joke about it. And it’s really, really not fucking okay. It is literally a pointless, unmotivated moment of ugliness that the character can simply never recover from. In the context of the real world, it doesn’t even make sense. A whole lot of things that would never happen have to happen for this puppy to be dead.

People who know me understand my love for animals. If you’re gonna kill an animal in a story, it needs to be motivated. Important. And I will still never forget. Game of Thrones, for example, will never make me care what happens to Sansa, no matter what abuse she suffers, simply because she was responsible for Lady being killed. To paraphrase Don Corleone, “This, I do not forgive.”

So, yeah, Jason? You can do better. And Casual, as an entity, can blow me. I can only hope that Hulu cancels it after season two since we are apparently the only people watching it anyway.

I’ve spent more words blogging about why I didn’t/haven’t/don’t blog than I have writing blogs. The excuses can all be found in previous blogs, and still work.

However, we’re in the final weeks of prep before we begin shooting Diminuendo, and I’ve been asked by the producers to begin blogging again so there’s something to hang early PR on.

“Diminuendo,” you say. “What’s that?” It’s a feature film I’m directing which I co-wrote with Sarah Goldberger. It’s stars Richard Hatch, Chloe Dykstra, Leah Cairns, James Deen, Gigi Edgley, Dia Frampton and Walter Koenig. It’s a science-fiction romance that starts shooting on August 14 and it’s gonna be awesome.

It’s also the only thing I’ll be able to talk about soon, so I’m going to leave it for another day. It’s the middle of Comic-Con, so let’s talk pop culture. Here’s a very brief update since my last blog…

  • Zero Theorem. Was super-excited for this, but missed it. Still haven’t watched the disc.
  • Men, Women & Children. Fantastic, which bears some relevance later.
  • Gone Girl. Fine. Not Fincher’s best.
  • Whiplash. Script-by-rote with one standout performance.
  • Fury. So very ALMOST a good and interesting film, but… not.
  • Birdman. Fucking AMAZING, and, yes, if you missed it, he’s dead.
  • Nightcrawler. Interesting take on the creep-as-photographer.
  • Horns. Stop. Don’t. You’ll regret it.
  • Interstellar. I really should have done a full review on this guy, but overall, I loved it.
  • Big Hero 6. Some Disney tropes I didn’t care for, but overall, a blast.
  • Theory of Everything. Difficult and wonderful.
  • Rosewater. Meh.
  • The Imitation Game. An even more impressive and heartbreaking Breaking the Code.
  • Exodus. The final plague was this film.
  • Inherent Vice. Wait. Maybe the final plague was THIS film. Ugh.
  • American Sniper. Absented from its various propaganda, this is a mostly entertaining film about a basket case with good aim.
  • Blackhat. I’m one of the ten people who saw it, and I still don’t care.
  • Jupiter Ascending. WTF did I just watch? Is this movie a joke? Makes Fifth Element seems gritty and real.
  • SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water. Don’t ask why, just know that seeing this movie while not on drugs is apparently a mistake.
  • Kingsman. Hated it. Thought the action sequences were over-the-top and silly. Cared about no one.
  • Chappie. Neil Blomkamp is now 1 for 3.
  • Ex Machina. The Unicorn & I seem to be the only people on Earth who thought this film was obvious and dull.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron. Liked it better than the first Avengers, but needed to be half an hour longer.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. The. Best. Movie. Of. The. Year.
  • Tomorrowland. Not the worst, but close. Damn, Brad Bird, really?
  • Inside Out. Stunning. The first Pixar movie in years that feels like Pixar.
  • The Overnight. This was way better when it was Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.
  • Tangerine. I hate this movie so goddamned much. If I could drag this into an alley and kick it until it died from internal bleeding, I would do it.
  • Ant-Man. Thank Bob not every Marvel movie has to be about saving the world. Friggin’ awesome, and also, Giant Thomas!!!
  • Mr. Holmes. A little too saccharine around the edges, but still a fine performance.
  • The Fantastic Four. Every bit as bad as you heard. Every. Bit.
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl. This movie is fantastic. Tiny and warm-hearted and real.
  • The Man From UNCLE. The Kingsman in the 60s. All style, ZERO substance.
  • A Walk in the Woods. I love this book so much I almost made myself like the film. Almost.
  • Black Mass. Between Johnny Depp’s hairpiece and his teeth, I forgot to watch the movie. Totally underwhelmed.
  • Sicario. Well, it’s gorgeous to look at.
  • The Martian. Loved it. This generation’s Apollo 13. Best Ridley Scott film in decades.
  • Steve Jobs. Seriously, was there a story here and I missed it? I know nothing about Jobs at the end I didn’t know going in. He starts and ends as an aesthetics-obsessed difficult dick. That’s not a movie.
  • Bridge of Spies. Feels like one of Frank Capra’s lesser efforts. This movie needed to be made in the 60s.
  • Rock the Kasbah. God, I wanted to like this… but, alas.
  • Brooklyn. Beatiful, simple, and delicate.
  • Spectre. This movie proves that even people you respect can make a monumental, expensive turd when they just don’t care.
  • The Big Short. Good overall, but feels a bit gimmicky.
  • Where to Invade Next. It’s a shame this got such lousy distribution because I think a lot of the Michael Moore-averse would have liked it. Really more about solutions to problems than pointing out the massive bullshit we put up with in this country.
  • The Revenant. Fucking gorgeous, but utterly without story. Two-plus hours of lovingly-photographed torture porn and a stunning achievement, but not a movie.
  • The Hateful Eight. Saw the roadshow engagement and loved it. Classic Tarantino. Not sure what the hate was about.
  • Hail, Caesar! The Coens doing golden age Hollywood and it was magical.
  • Deadpool. Dumb as a box of rocks, but what a blast. Should put the nail in the coffin of all other superhero movies at Fox, since they seem clueless.
  • Batman v Superman. Calling this giant disaster out as the pile of shit it is kind of feels like gut-punching a toddler with progeria at this point, but holy fuck is this a bad film.
  • Captain America: Civil War. Epic. Amazing. The best superhero film ever made. More than a great Marvel universe installment, this is just a great film.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse. Mentioning this because normally I would have been there opening night. Instead, I just couldn’t muster the interest to go. Still haven’t seen it, and have heard nothing compelling to make me want to fix that.
  • Finding Dory. Yeah, it’s pretty goddamned great.

There. We’re all caught up. Let me wrap up by listing the big summer blockbusters I have skipped or plan to skip. Once upon a time, I would have been at every one of these. Now…? Movies have become such a shitshow I just don’t have the patience. Not seeing: The Nice Guys, WarCraft, Independence Day Resurgence, Legend of Tarzan, Ghostbusters or Star Trek Beyond.

Must be getting old.

I’m going to try to blog four times a week, even if it’s a short blast. For next time, it’s no secret I’m a big fan of Jason Reitman. I love his films, and think he’s a gifted director, so I want to talk about his Hulu series Casual, and how it made me want to put my fist through the screen.

In a bad way.

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