Bruce Almighty

Alanis Morissette in Dogma

Once, in the 90s, it was told unto us that God was one of us, just a slob like one of us, trying to make his way home. The all knowing, all seeing, all feeling creator of everything and anything in the universe could take on many forms, and he typically has throughout the many channels of pop culture. But it’s hard to find a good version of God in movies – for good reason. It’s a part that many might not want to take; God is, after all, the ultimate role. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. How do you embody a deity, the most important figure in a vast amount of people’s lives, and a part they’ve already casted in their minds while daydreaming in church pews from an early age? You get around it, and you get creative. Sometimes, you don’t even have to be on screen. Just pray for the best. 

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Hollywood is good at recycling things. After all, you build a giant house or an elaborate prop and you wouldn’t just use it once and toss it, right? This is why they have backlots at studios; they can hoard all their favorite stuff for later use (like the iconic building in the image above) or, failing that, at least use it for the studio tours. Same kind of goes for on-location sets – some places are just too dynamic to use only once, especially when the owner is more than willing to pimp out their place for cash. This circle of life is great when you are working with a generic looking high school or cookie-cutter set but there are the occasional moments when they use a location just a little too iconic for its own good – and like a type-cast actor, you can’t help but to see the location as anything besides what made it famous in the first place.

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I recently read a figure somewhere that said 2011 would have more sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes of pre-existing films than any other year in history. Even if that isn’t true, it certainly feels true, so it doesn’t come as a shock to me that when he was recently questioned about future plans, Jim Carrey said that he would probably be working on some sequels of past hits. In an upcoming interview with Coming Soon, Carrey said of his possible next projects, “We’re talking about maybe returning to some old characters that everyone has been asking about. There’s Bruce Almighty and we’re talking about maybe another Dumb and Dumber.” Okay, so it sounds like his next move is more likely to be a revisiting of his Godly character from Bruce Almighty, but I’m not going to focus on that because I can’t imagine there’s anybody out there who’s really clamoring for another go around on the Almighty train (though I’m certain if that person exists they’re going to find me in the comments section). What I believe would be more interesting to more people is the possibility of Carrey and Jeff Daniels getting back together to make another Dumb and Dumber. Seventeen years after that film’s release there is still one guy in every crowd who will yell out, “kick his ass, Sea Bass” every time it looks like a fight is going to break out. People remember that movie very fondly. Of course, there was already the prequel film […]

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Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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