How I Met Your Mother

Cabin in the Woods

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How I Met Your Mother

From its very inception, How I Met Your Mother was based on the execution – often marvelously botched – of the big romantic gesture, most often committed by the eternally hapless Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). The show’s entire premise, that a middle-aged man would spend what amounts to actual weeks telling his bored teen kids (these poor, poor bored teen kids) about how he met their mother, just reeked of such a gesture. This was big romance! This was a hell of a gesture! It was also one that had some majorly diminishing returns for a long period of time. As the series began to wind down in its final season – a protracted goodbye that has long stretched the admiration of even the most hardcore of fans – the specter of the big romantic gesture loomed both large and literal, with actual objects standing quite effectively in for behaviors and actions. You know them. The locket. The blue French horn. Lloyd Dobler had his boombox, but Ted Mosby had an old piece of jewelry and a stolen instrument – and he almost managed to bury both along with the myth of the Big Romantic Gesture. Almost.

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How I Met Your Mother

On a filmmaking and storytelling level, the How I Met Your Mother series finale “Last Forever” was pretty sloppy. But the central point — killing the finally-named Tracy and having Ted end up with Robin — is the best possible way they could’ve closed this whole big beautiful mess out. Ted and Robin have always been the show’s Ross and Rachel, the “Will They/Won’t They” couple whose conflict drives the series. And yes, it does in fact drive the series: it’s the only inter-character issue that has been present for the entire series. Other things come and go, Ted and Robin’s weird, complicated, sexual and romantic tension has maintained. You might insist that finding “The Mother” is the real point of the show, but I’d argue that that’d be kinda terrible. Remember, “The Mother” isn’t a character until season 9, and doesn’t even get a name until the final minutes. Let me say that again, but with italics for emphasis. She doesn’t get a name until the final minutes. Ted’s pursuit of “The perfect woman” isn’t a romance story, it’s an emotional fetch-quest, shallow, selfish and narcissistic. Tracy just isn’t enough of an entity for the beginning of their relationship to provide the closure we need in a series like this. In storytelling terms, “The Mother” is what Ted wants, “Robin” is what he needs, and you should always give your protagonist what he needs.

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Arrested Development

I’m not a big fan of TV Shows with laugh tracks. It might be pretentious, but it always seemed like laugh tracks were a crutch for shows with bad writing, like hearing it made you more likely to laugh at a joke you’d otherwise roll your eyes at. This always made me uncomfortable because it seemed like such a pretentious thought. My shows, like Arrested Development and Futurama, don’t need laugh tracks because they’re better (I’d think to myself) and you idiots wouldn’t know good writing if it got way too high, fell asleep on your couch and woke up in the middle of the night to eat all your cereal (Good Writing is kind of a stoner). But good news, everyone: that pretentious thought was wrong. Laugh tracks have nothing to do with the quality of writing, and everything to do with what the show is about.

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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Sound of My Voice A filmmaking couple infiltrate a cult in search of the truth regarding its enigmatic leader Maggie (Brit Marling), but the longer they stay the more one of them comes to believe her claims. The situation grows more dangerous when Maggie makes a spectacular claim and asks one of them to kidnap a specific young girl. Marling co-wrote the film with director Zal Batmanglij, and they’ve created a thought provoking, suspenseful and often surprising indie that feels bigger than it is by virtue of the ideas at play. Marling also delivers a spectacularly charismatic performance that just may have viewers lining up for a sip of her Kool-Aid.

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Hook!

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links and stories that you won’t know about unless you continue reading. Then come back tomorrow night and read more. Then the night after that. And the… You get the point. The power of Christ compels you. We begin this evening with a promo image from the 1991 Steven Spielberg fantasy epic Hook, featuring Dustin Hoffman as the titular captain and Robin Williams has his pudgy, crowing nemesis. There’s no news here, though I’m sure you were all thinking remake or sequel for a moment, just that I saw Hook on the big screen last night while eating a giant turkey leg courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse’s Hook mini-feast. It was delightful. But more on that later.

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Sherlock Season 2 Preview

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that had one hell of an extended weekend this week. For starters, its author had a birthday. He’s old. Moving on. And then it had a “reaction” to “ice cream cake” that is too embarrassing to describe in detail. It’s also now very well acquainted with Rooney Mara’s body. All of it. But that’s another story for another time. Lets get back to doing what this column does best: things that are almost news. We begin tonight with a first look at Lara Pulver as Irene Adler in Sherlock, the second series of which will hit BBC screens early next year. The much-anticipated second frame of the Steven Moffat produced series will build on the events of the last series, including showing us what the hell happened in the pool house! 

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Next to The CW, CBS is the network we’ve heard next to nothing from in regards to shows getting picked up. Some announcements were made last month as well as yesterday, but over all there hasn’t been a definitive list yet. But that all changes this morning as CBS has announced their schedule for next season. As for the full list of returning shows? Not many surprises there: How I Met Your Mother; Hawaii Five-0; NCIS: LA; Criminal Minds; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; The Mentalist; CSI: NY; Blue Bloods; Rules of Engagement; 48 Hours Mystery; The Good Wife; and CSI: Miami. As for the schedule itself? It’s actually quite radical. So before commenting on it, you should read it for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the nightly ramblings of a link-dump crazed insomniac whose life begins and ends with what ends up in his Instapaper queue. He survives on links and thrives on the knowledge that someone out there is clicking through. Click. Click. Click. You can feed the beast by emailing wicked cool articles and hilarious movie-related videos to neil@filmschoolrejects.com.

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There is a fine line to walk as an indie dramedy, and HappyThankYouMorePlease seems to walk right up to the line and then raise its eyebrow. On the optimistic front, Neil really loved it when he saw it at Sundance last year and talked it up as the natural next step in the evolution of romantic comedies signified by 500 Days of Summer. The comparison seems obvious even from just the trailer, but Josh Radnor (of How I Met Your Mother) seems to want to juggle more than one relationship here with his writing/directing/starring debut. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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With premiere week over I’ve compiled a list of the week’s top premieres from each night. The winner of each night is based upon the quality of the writing, the shows entertainment value and if it’s a new series, the shows sustainability. This year had some extremely heavy hitters and some of the best performances we have seen on the small screen. So without further ado, here are the winners of the FSR Fall 2010 Watch List (please note that this list only applies to shows that started before or during the week of September 19th). Sunday: Boardwalk Empire In what should come as no surprise, Boardwalk Empire was top dog on Sunday. I’m not big into period pieces which is why I really never got into Mad Men, but Scorsese has made me fall in love with the 20’s and Atlantic City. Steve Buscemi is a great lead and a guy I can’t wait to watch every week. If only Scorsese could direct every episode and not just the pilot.

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Now that you’ve gotten your Sunday night fix of Boardwalk Empire, it’s time to move into the beginning of the work/school week. Monday night is a time for action, suspense and comedy from all networks, and there’s plenty of each to behold this year. Many television classics such as 24 and Las Vegas have come out of the worst work day of the week. As I’m sure you’re all just looking to decompress after a hard day, get your DVR remotes handy becomes it’s time for Part II of The FSR Fall 2010 Watch List. THIS LIST IS NOT THE EVENT!

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Jason Segel in Despicable Me

A short time ago I was given the opportunity to sit down and talk to Jason Segel of the Universal Pictures animated offering, Despicable Me. In the film, Segel plays the nerdy Vector  — the nemesis of the main character Gru (Steve Carrell). He is way too geeky to be as cocky as he is. Holed up in his sleek house/fortress, Vector can usually be found in his orange warm-up suit, playing video games while plotting his nextmove. His favorite weapon is a gun that fires live pira-nhas. Unfortunately for him, Vector has a hard timekeeping the carnivores inside the gun’s barrel… Click on through the jump to see what Segel had to say about the film, his role as Vector, and whatever else came to mind during a quick but informative Q&A. Below are some of the highlights of that event.

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There’s a scene (video below) midway through the Doris Day-Rock Hudson romantic comedy Pillow Talk (1959) that has always fascinated me. Through the benefit of hindsight, it’s impossible to watch the scene as it was viewed contemporaneous to its release.

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves working as a server at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater carrying $5 shakes, black-bean burgers, and root-beer flavored cookies to happy, cinema-loving patrons. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week… Away We Go, Monsters vs Aliens, The Hills Run Red, and more!

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…In the animated series Batman: The Brave And The Bold.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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