Positive Films & TV

Positive Films & TV

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Crazy Ones

The Crazy Ones, starring Robin Williams, is a new show out for this 2013 Fall season. It is about an advertising agency and the crazy shenanigans the people in it get up to to do what they do. In reality, it is a vehicle for Robin Williams to be, well ... Robin Williams. That means silly voices, random subject changes and dialog, miming, playing with toys, plans nobody else can follow, and wisdom that is present but cleverly hidden.

The show also co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) as his daughter, and partner with him in the advertising agency.  Her main role on the show seems to be of "straight man" and to be the voice of the reason against Robin Williams.

The Supporting cast includes: Andrew (Hamish Linklater), Zach (Jimmy Wolk) & Lauren (Amanda Setton). They are there mostly for Robin Williams to interact with, or to chime in with witty remarks, or to react to Williams' antics.  Lauren is in the background the most, has few lines, and (sadly) they are playing her off as the busty intern who is mostly there as a sex-symbol. Zach and Andrew work there as well, with Zach being the "charming" and confident one, and Andrew being the shy/hard-working one.

From what I have seen of the show so far, it has promise. It is certainly a LOT better than a lot of the other terrible shows on television right now. Give it a chance, you may like it. It is currently airing Thursdays on CBS at 9/8C. Check the show's website for up-to-date scheduling though :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is a 1993 (rated PG) movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker (Sarah -- the "sexy" one), Bette Midler (Winifred -- the leader), and Kathy Najimy (Mary -- the dumb one, and an actor whom I have never heard of before or since). It seems 1993 was a good year for Halloween movies that don't depress me (I wrote about The Halloween Tree earlier, which also came out in the same year).

The basic premise of the movie is that 3 sisters in Salem Massachusetts who are witches were capturing children and eating their souls to stay young forever. (Nothing is shown in a horror/scary manner, and the entire thing is played off as magical/fantasy thing (which makes sense, since there is no such thing as actual witches)). The sisters lure the younger sister of Thackery Binx to her doom 300 years ago (so, roughly 1693, right during the Salem Witch trials), and Thackery raises the alarm and follows after her. He is too late to save her, and manages to get himself cursed to be turned into a black cat that is immortal (but can talk -- they really liked their talking animals in the 1990's).  The villagers finally get there, and not being able to find the 2 children, (rightly) assume the sisters are to blame, and hang them for witchcraft. Before they hang, Winifred casts a spell to resurrect them on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) when a virgin lights their "black flame candle." Thackery (the immortal cat) then decides to guard their cottage on the off chance that their spell was real (why he didn't just destroy the candle -- or make it impossible to find, or burn down the cottage, who knows).

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree is a 1993 made-for-TV movie based on a 1972 novel. I thought I would write about it since we are in the Halloween season, and finding non-horror, non-gross, non-scary, non-upsetting Halloween stuff is actually rather difficult.

The movie is basically about 4 friends on a magical quest to learn about the origins of Halloween, and common themes seen in the celebration of it. The origin of the mummy is explored by visiting ancient Egypt. The origin of the witch is explored by visiting ancient druids and seeing Celtic practices and traditions. The origin of the monster is explored by visiting Notre Dame as it is being built, and the concepts of gargoyles, demons and evil spirits. And, finally, the origin of the skeleton as a symbol is explored by visiting Mexico's Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The movie is a fantasy romp which (in typical children's movies fashion) is done as if by magic, but at the end we are given the impression that it was all a dream, or just the kids imaginations as they listened to the teachings of Mr. Moundshroud (the antagonist/teacher in the story).

Parents should note, there IS a somewhat dark theme in the movie in that one of the friends of the 4 children is sick and the kids fear he may die (he doesn't). The subject of death and dying is a central theme in the movie, but it isn't focused on in a way that young children should really be upset. Older children may ask pointed questions, though.

On the whole, I like the movie and find it light enough to watch without being depressed (which is tough to do with a Halloween movie!). It comes off as something they might show in school during a slow day, more like an educational video with a bit of fantasy thrown in to try to make the educational aspect hidden.  If you are looking for a family-friendly cartoon to watch for Halloween, you could do worse than The Halloween Tree.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Sean Saves The World

Sean Saves The World is a new show starring Sean Hayes, who played Jack in Will & Grace. Jack & Karen in Will & Grace were pretty much my only reasons why I WATCHED that show. The over-the-top histrionics of the "main" characters of Will & Grace, and their screaming dramas were a MAJOR downer for me. The writers knew that too, which was why Jack & Karen were promoted from background characters after the first season to supporting characters. By the 3rd season they were co-characters, and I would argue that by the 6th season, they had shifted to the main characters, with Will & Grace downgraded to supporting characters.  Jack & Karen were the funny and fun ones on the show.

So, I was delighted that Sean Hayes was returning to TV, AND that he was playing another gay character. After watching the premiere, I am happy to say that he is basically playing Jack again [YAY!]. The only difference is that he isn't as silly/flighty as before, and he is a MUCH better parent than before (taking it far more seriously). The girl who plays his daughter is adorable, and the woman who plays his mother is a GREAT comedic foil for him to fence with.

The show has started out being about his fourteen year old daughter moving in with him full time, after her mother abandoned her and walked out on the family (no explanation has been given for that, so far). She had been living with her mother full time, and only seeing her father on the weekends. So, Sean (his name is Sean on the show as well) is having to learn how to transition from being "fun weekend dad" to just Dad. His daughter is having to learn how to live with a new full time parent, and how to deal with being abandoned by her mother.  Sean's mother is stepping in to help with babysitting, and other family issues. She and her son don't seem to hate each other, but defnitely don't seem to be chummy either. They had a lot of funny lines to snap at each other.

Sean works in an office that is dedicated to online sales (it hasn't been fully explained if they actually sell the things, or if they are just a marketing company) that has been bought by a new owner who is a real creep (played by the same guy who played Victoria's German boyfriend (Klaus) Ted had to deal with on How I Met Your Mother). And there is comedy in those scenes too.

Overall, I was EXTREMELY pleased with the light and happy tone of the show (despite the parental abandonment), and the humor overall. I am THRILLED to have Jack/Sean back on the air, and I think the show has a lot of potential. Please watch it so the network goons don't cancel it! It is currently airing at 9PM Pacific (8 Central) on NBC on Thursdays. Check the show's website for up-to-date scheduling though :)