Recently I finished my umpteenth re-watch of the misadventures of the waffle-loving, mini-horse worshipping civil servants that make up the cast of Parks & Recreation. The more I think it over, the more certain I am that Parks & Rec mastermind Michael Schur (who now brings us the equally brilliant The Good Place) created the best sitcom of the last decade. Parks & Rec started off as a spiritual spin-off of The Office, borrowing that show’s fake documentary format and, like The Office, the first season is short and underwhelming. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve urged to try Parks & Rec who have flamed out after a few episodes, so if you want to start (and you should), start with season two when the show found its own voice and the brilliant ensemble began to run at full tilt.
In the times in which we currently live, there’s something unbelievably cathartic about a show heralding the positive impact the government can make in the lives of citizens. Even if you should loathe the government, the show provides the greatest comedic Libertarian ever forged in the mustachioed Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). The show is earnest and heartfelt; self-aware and smart, and nearly always hysterically goofy. I’ve written before about the show’s third season (peerless) which contains my favorite moment in the series in the brilliant “Ron’s Swivel Desk”. I have to revisit that season because it also contains my favorite running absurdity of the series: Pawnee’s rabid celeb crush on local mini-horse: Lil’ Sebastian. I can’t decide which moment in the episode is better: the tiny equine’s introduction and Adam Scott’s utter bafflement at his co-worker’s excitement or Chris Pratt’s “5,000 Candles in the Wind” tribute at the Harvest Festival so I am including both. In the dead of winter, if you need a laugh to warm your heart, you can’t go wrong revisiting Parks & Recreation.
The LEGO Movie was one of the best surprises I’ve had at the movies this decade. It combined a wildly inventive animation style with a script that had laughs and feels in it for anyone from 1 to 100. Future LEGO installments haven’t been able to touch the magic of the original, and the sequel arrives early next year after a number of rewrites. While the original voice cast returns, original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are only producers this time and the final script is only based on a story idea of theirs.
Everything is not awesome in Bricksburg. Five years after Taco Tuesday, our heroes are in a post-apocalyptic DUPLO-created nightmare. The first trailer for the sequel has some laughs and made me smile, but I’m honestly a more than a little worried that without Lord & Miller running this show it’s going to be hard to recapture the magic of the first film. The LEGO Movie 2 will open in February 2019. More from Coming Soon below. Continue reading The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part Trailer #1 (2019) *They Come in Pieces*→
The state of comedy on television is at its lowest ebb in my life time. It’s odd, given that television drama is in a golden age, that TV comedies are so mediocre that I can’t even think of one that’s worth watching. Parks and Recreation was originally conceived as a spin-off of The Office, though the only thing the shows shared was the documentary-style format. Though The Office plunged in quality at the end of its run, Parks & Rec stayed stellar through all its seven seasons on NBC, during which it was criminally ignored by the Emmys. Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Parks & Recreation Season 3 (2011) “Ron’s Swivel Chair”→
22 Jump Street was just as surprisingly as much fun as 21 Jump Street and 23 Jump Street is going forward (announced just today). How that jives with the end of the film, which flashes through every possible Jump Street scenario possible, who knows? As long as Phil Lord and Chris Miller are involved, the stupid awesomeness will continue. 22 Jump Street hits stores on DVD and Blu Ray on November 18, 2014. Full details on special features below: Continue reading 22 Jump Street Blu Ray/DVD Date and Details→
It blows my mind that the same two guys who brought us The LEGO Movie are responsible for 21 and now 22 Jump Street. Phil Lord and Christopher MIller have my attention forever. If you think that making a sequel to 21 Jump Street is a horrible idea, the movie agrees with you and steamrolls over most of your objections in a way that nearly breaks the fourth wall but just skirts the edge. Think Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum look WAY too old to be undercover at a college? SO DO THE STUDENTS! They make relentlessly hilarious jokes at Tatum and Hill’s expense the entire film.
Tatum and Hill have a fantastic comedic chemistry and here’s the deal: if you liked 21 Jump Street, you’ll like 22 Jump Street. It makes not a bit of effort to deviate from the formula that made the first movie work. If anything, it’s sillier and looser in plot because they’re all just clearly having such a blast being around each other. While there’s nothing that can top Depp’s cameo from the first film, seeing what Jump Streets XXIII – LXVII would have been is nearly as good. Chris Miller and Phil Lord made me laugh again and are responsible for two of the five best movies of 2014 so far. 8.5/10