Rob Thomas

Veronica Mars Movie 2014

The high school reunion at the center of Veronica Mars is a perfect symbol for the movie. All the swirling feelings that come with blunt-force nostalgia are there, and it’s amazing to slip back into the old rhythms with beloved friends. The entire thing is like returning home to smiling faces and warm embraces. But the prickly awkwardness is there, too. Questions about why we’ve stayed away for so long, why people haven’t evolved as much as they should, whether those old rhythms are really the best ones. Wanting what we’re used to while demanding something more. If ten-year reunions are for people on the cusp of understanding adulthood, Veronica Mars‘ reunion comes with a full on mid-life crisis. A dozen years and a thousand lifetimes after Veronica (Kristen Bell) solved the biggest, most personal case of her young life, she returns to Neptune to help out former/eternal flame Logan (Jason Dohring) when his pop star girlfriend is murdered and he becomes the prime suspect. Maybe more important than what she’s returning to is what she’s leaving behind: a jumpstart job with a law firm before she’s even taken the bar and a stable, steady boyfriend in Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell). Or maybe what she’s leaving behind isn’t that important.

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VERONICA MARS

Veronica Mars is apparently a very satisfying return of some clearly beloved characters from a TV series that went off the air seven years ago. Fans will love it. In fact, fans do love it, as I witnessed at the packed premiere in the 1100-seat Paramount Theater at SXSW. There’s nothing wrong with a movie catering to fans of a property, and there’s no reason to assume something serving as a continuation of a pre-existing entertainment product should work for those attempting to jump in blind. This certainly isn’t the first feature spun-off from a TV show that expects you to have at least some familiarity, nor is it unlike many sequels throughout the history of film, nor is it unlike a ton of made-for-TV movies offering a reunion of characters (and of cast members that play them) and, more importantly, of reunion of fans with those characters they’ve missed. Veronica Mars, however, is not for me and the majority of people who’ve never seen one episode of the show. Why did I go into something like this without catching up? I was curious to see if it would be worthwhile for others in my shoes. And now I can say that it is not. Maybe that’s all I need to say, but I’d like to offer more, because I believe that fans deserve better than what they get here, regardless of all the direct service they receive in the form of recall references that only exist to make someone feel […]

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Veronica Mars Movie

A long time ago we used to be friends, and then a lot of people pitched in to bring you back into our lives. With Veronica Mars, fandom is going to get an interesting experience because the Kickstarter campaign ensured they’d be both audience and financier. We’re starting to see the fruits of that crowdfunded labor of love with a trailer that looks like it’s for a television show. Which is unfortunate but expected. As cool as it would be to see Veronica and Friends given a cinematic scope, it’s still a fairly low budget movie, and Kristen Bell’s plucky character was never much of a globe-trotter. Still, as exciting as a reunion is, everything about the film’s setup  feels too been-there. Director Rob Thomas was always doomed on that front. Shifting the story outside of the crew’s hometown might have made the whole affair feel alien, but bringing it back to the high school auditorium might ultimately make it feel stunted. The fine balance of delivering enough of the same difference. The good news? The same old energy is clearly there. The cleverness, the dangerous depths and the mystery that explodes all the way to the top. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Veronica Mars

It’s been ten years since Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was the pluckiest crime-solver in Neptune, but that doesn’t mean that the former teen detective can resist the allure of one more major case – especially when it involves her ex-love Logan Echolls. A new featurette goes behind the scenes of Rob Thomas‘ infamously Kickstarted film, giving us the scoop on the important aspects of Veronica Mars, like who she should ultimately end up with: Logan (Jason Dohring) or Piz (Chris Lowell)? You would think that ten years later this debate would finally be over, especially when Veronica is shacked up with Piz in New York City, but things get weird when you visit your hometown. Also, there’s the little detail that Logan is accused of murder, Veronica’s reason for getting back into the detective biz in the first place. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was framed, but maybe all of these very enthusiastic actors should step off the “I heart Logan + Veronica” bandwagon for just a bit while she gathers evidence. Check out the Veronica Mars: Love Triangle Featurette here:

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Veronica Mars

Despite all the ballyhooing about whether or not Kickstarter is right for people like Rob Thomas and Zach Braff, people still gave them plenty of money to fund their projects. And now the world has a Veronica Mars movie on the way. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: they are actually making it. And they are showing off footage to the world, beginning at yesterday’s Comic-Con panel. Less than 24-hours later, the rest of the world can get a look at what Thomas, Kristen Bell and a number of familiar faces have been working on. The first look featurette includes some talking heads, a few thanks-yous to fans who contributed to Kickstarter and in the last minute or so, a teaser full of actual footage from the movie. At first glance, it looks just like the TV show.

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Veronica Mars

Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell raised $2m through Kickstarter yesterday, and they did it in under 10 hours. As of this morning, their effort to score a budget for a Veronica Mars movie has secured their goal with about $500,000 and 29 days to spare. One guy, entrepreneur Steve Dengler, even gave $10,000 to the production to get a small speaking role in the film (and because he’s a big, big supporter of crowdfunding). What they did took a certain kind of courage. Maybe not greater courage than the more-standardized model of getting money from fans when they hand it over at the box office, but absolutely a different type of courage. After all, it’s one nerve-wracking thing to convince studio executives that your idea has an audience, but it’s another to prove it out on the limb without the amount of fan support you thought you had. Simply put, it’s likely we’d all be writing different pieces if Thomas and Bell’s Kickstarter campaign were still languishing at $6,000. Fortunately, fans have proven their overwhelming dedication to seeing Ms. Mars again by breaking records and ensuring that Thomas may actually get to include a big choreographed fight scene amid all the broody talking. With 29 more days to raise funds, who knows how high they might go. Now, all of this comes with a catch: Warners (because they’ve held onto the copyright) will be distributing and making money off a movie that fans are funding. Depending on the deal they have with […]

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Veronica Mars

Three years ago, I wrote a piece about why Warners needed to make a Veronica Mars movie. They didn’t. But now you can. Rob Thomas, the cult show’s creator, has launched a $2m Kickstarter project to bring the plucky young private eye played by Kristen Bell to the big screen. In the twenty minutes since it went live, it’s earned $40,000. Not bad. Obviously this could be huge for Veronica Mars fans, but it’s also a potentially big moment for the Kickstarted generation of filmmakers and for culture in general. Granted, this particular project has a high profile, but that’s the point. With Netflix resurrecting Arrested Development, the tide turned away from the originating channel, and with this, it could go beyond television altogether through a direct fan appeal.  If this proves successful, scorned patrons from Firefly to Jericho could stop mailing angry letters to studios and start electronically sending their very real, very monetary support to bring back a show they love in whatever form the creator sees fit to deliver. If Thomas and company are able to make this happen, and to make it a box office success, won’t Warners (and everyone else) feel dumb. It’ll prove that the audience was there all along, and that for properties like this, maybe we don’t really need the middle man to deliver. Update: In my haste to get this posted, I failed to note that Warners will be the one distributing the film. Which makes sense as they, of course, own the copyright on it. That […]

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Austin Cinematic Limits

Okay, I admit it. I used to watch Dawson’s Creek – only the first two seasons though, and I only watched it for its dialogue. Really! Other than introducing me to the acting talent of Michelle Williams, Dawson’s Creek also provided me with a glimpse of Rob Thomas‘s writing style. Though Thomas was only credited as a writer on two episodes during season one - Prelude to a Kiss and In the Company of Men – his knack for whip-smart dialogue really left an impression on me. Nonetheless, I was always too embarrassed to admit to ever watching Dawson’s Creek. Six years later, I got hooked on Veronica Mars – which Thomas created, executive produced, wrote 64 episodes of, and directed two episodes for. I used to get mocked and ridiculed by friends for watching a television series about a teenage detective, but I didn’t care. The writing was so incredibly intelligent, the music was fantastic (I love the Britt Daniel karaoke scene in season two), and I actually got all of the pop culture references; so I felt like the series was written for me, not teenagers. With the cancellation of Veronica Mars came Party Down – a television series created by Thomas, John Enbom, Dan Etheridge, and Paul Rudd. Other than serving as a co-creator and executive director, Thomas was not very involved in Party Down; he co-wrote the unaired pilot and one episode for season one (most of his time was relegated to working on Cupid for ABC). Nonetheless, Party Down still bares the undeniable mark […]

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Despite the fact that it seemed like a pipe dream when the idea was first kicked around, development on a feature film version of the failed Starz sitcom Party Down seems to be chugging along steadily and assuredly. First the movie was just a twinkle in its creators eyes, then things started looking better as everyone involved began synching up their schedules, and now the whole thing appears to be a done deal. At least according to Megan Mullally. At a recent press tour, Mullally answered questions about what she has coming up by saying, “I will be doing the Party Down movie. John [Enbom] is writing it right now.” That’s not exactly new news in itself, we already knew that work was being done on the script; but some of Mullally’s other comments make things sound further along than the last time this project was talked about. First off, Mullally knows some details about where her character is going. She added, “I think we’re going to see Lydia’s ex-husband – Ed I think is name (sic) – who was really racist and a misogynist.” Also, it sounds like financing for the film is all taken care of. Before Enbom started work writing the script proper, Mullally says that he turned in an outline to investors that was “enthusiastically approved.”

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Seeing as it was on the Starz network and only lasted for two seasons, there are probably a lot of people out there who haven’t heard of the TV show Party Down. But seeing as it was one of the best shows on recent television, there are also a lot of people who hold it very dear to their hearts. That tends to happen when something is good, and kept away from the mainstream, and ended prematurely. Traditionally, a TV show reaching cult status has always been a good recipe for strong DVD sales, and then talks of a film adaptation. Shows like Arrested Development and even Party Down creator Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars have gone through the same process. Also traditionally, despite the fact that the DVD sales raise a lot of studio eyebrows, the film version never comes to fruition. Could Party Down change all of that? Probably not, but they’re going to try.

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On Friday, Warners sent out a twitter missive into the world thanking fans for sending them support for Veronica Mars – the erstwhile show about the plucky teenage detective solving cases while she solved her own. In return, the studio set up an email address where fans can write in (ostensibly to give numeric proof that the demand for a movie is there). Warners shouldn’t wait for that numeric proof. They’ve gone that route before by looking at ratings for a show that was on a network no one’s heard of and by looking at DVD sales. The numbers aren’t there, but the character is, and when good writing is staring you in the face, that writing should be reason enough to make things happen. Since that’s the least convincing business argument, here are three better reasons for why Warners needs to make a move on Veronica Mars.

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Party Down

When only 74,000 people watch your second season finale, you can’t exactly count on being renewed. Such is the case for the creators of Party Down, the latest in a long line of great comedy shows canceled before they were able to reach their prime. After two gloriously offbeat seasons, Starz has decided not to renew the Adam Scott and Ken Marino-led show. And while it disappoints me, as a fan of the show, to see it go, it’s clear that this was the inevitable endgame.

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veronica-mars-1

Veronica Mars has a strong cult following, despite closing up shop in 2007. This has led to fans clamoring for a feature length follow up, but as every year passes the chances dwindle. And according to Kristen Bell, it may never happen at all.

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