Scrubs: Season One

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Scrubs: The Complete First Season (B+). I have never watched this show in “real time,” but I was looking for a diversion and thought I had heard good things about Scrubs, so I took a chance. It was a good gamble. This sit-com is set in a somewhat down-on-its-luck hospital called Sacred Heart; the main characters are three interns–sensitive J.D. (Zach Braff), neurotic Elliott (Sarah Chalke), and cool-dude Turk (Donald Faison)–plus nurse Carla (Judy Reyes) and a couple of crusty old doctors who make life hard for everyone else. The show is basically from J.D.’s perspective, and Braff plays him as an earnest, well-meaning guy with a vivid imagination (the contents of which are often acted out on-screen). Minor characters like the hospital’s miserable in-house lawyer Ted are very funny in their own right. There are lots of laughs but also some poignant moments worthy of a serious doctor show like E.R. My only criticisms are that the show depends too much on sexual humor and that the characters’ sexual morality is on a par with other harbingers of the end times like Friends and Sex in the City. Otherwise, I thought this was a superior sit-com, and I look forward to viewing the second season.

Arrested Development (Season 2)

From the desk of The Movie Snob

Arrested Development (Season 2). (B+) I actually finished watching this season on DVD a few weeks ago, so I’m afraid my memory is already a little hazy. As I recall, I thought the first disc was a little slow — good, but not great — but then the other two discs were better and propelled the show back into the high quality of the first season. Most cast members got their opportunities to shine, although I did think that Lindsay and Maebe (played by Portia de Rossi and Alia Shawkat) got a little shortchanged. One of the most amusing storylines had to do with George Michael (Michael Cera) and his very plain girlfriend Ann Veal (Mae Whitman). At first George Michael’s father Michael (Jason Bateman) can’t remember that Ann exists, then he can’t keep her name straight, and then he just doesn’t like her. Lots of great guest stars, including repeats from the first season like Henry Winkler, Lisa Minelli, and Judy Greer, and new ones like Dick Van Patten, Ione Skye, Ben Stiller, and Zach Braff. We’ll see if the truncated third season can measure up….

Three New DVD Reviews from Nick at Nite

Disturbia

Rear Window for the teen set. It is not exactly the same as the Alfred and Jimmy masterpiece, but it is pretty close. Teenager is placed in Martha Stewart lockdown at his house for three months over the summer after he punches his Spanish teacher. Teenager starts to spy on his neighbors and watch the goings on in the neighborhood. Of course, the goings on are bad goings on, and our teenager must deal with it. Even though it is a copy, it isn’t all bad. This is worth a rental. I give it a “B.”

Ocean’s Thirteen

Ocean’s Fourteen, Ocean’s Fifteen, Ocean’s Sixteen . . . as far as I am concerned they can keep making these movies until the end of time. I know it is a formula. I know it is campy. I know it is a continuation of a remake from the original rat pack. Still, I like ’em. These heist films are fantastic. The how-did-they-do-that and comedic bent make them better than the fare you normally see at the cineplex. Sure, my wife likes Pitt, Clooney, and Damon, but that is not main reason we like these movies. We have fun at them. Isn’t that what it is all about? You know, it looks like the actors had fun making this movie. I give it an “A.”

The Ex

I don’t know how I feel about this movie. It has a bunch of actors I like. Jason Bateman (Disconnect), Zach Braff (TV’s Scrubs), Charles Grodin (So I Married an Axe Murderer), Amanda Peet (Gulliver’s Travels), and Mia Farrow (The Great Gatsby). It has some laughs, I always like that. But, it also had some of those fleeting moments of uncomfortableness seen in What About Bob? (why won’t Billy Murray leave Richard Dreyfuss alone?), The Break Up (when it this gonna get funny?), and Swingers (did he really call ten times in a row?) that make my stomach hurt. I watched this with my wife, she kept saying she was going to be very unhappy if it did not have a happy ending. My point is this, when people make movies that are supposed to be funny, they need to be funny, when people want to make dramedies (dramas that have some funny moments), they should clearly label the DVD case or film poster as such. I give a “C+.”

Chicken Little (movie); The Edge of Sadness (book)

Merry Christmas from The Movie Snob!

Movie review:

Chicken Little (C+). This holiday season has not gone according to plan at all. By now I should have seen and reviewed both the new Narnia movie and, of course, the new King Kong. But I walked out of Narnia last weekend and demanded a refund because the theater’s sound system was messed up. And to my greater surprise, my little sister, who was a great fan of Lord of the Rings, balked at seeing Kong while we’re home for Christmas. Too long, she says. So somehow we wound up seeing this little trifle (not even the Wallace & Gromit movie that got such critical acclaim, because she objected to that one too). Actually, this movie turned out to be kind of cute. In a town where all sorts of animals live harmoniously together, Chicken Little (voice of Zach Braff) is a nerdy little kid who becomes a laughing-stock when he sounds the alarm that the sky is falling. If you’ve never seen a movie before, you’ll be surprised to learn that the misfit is more or less right and all the normal people (including his disbelieving father) turn out to be wrong. Some nice homages to other sci-fi movies contribute making this a bearable movie-watching experience.

Book review:

The Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O’Connor. This is Loyola Press re-issue of a novel that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. It’s the story of about six months in the life of a Catholic priest, Father Hugh Kennedy. The 55-ish-year-old cleric has been assigned a dead-end post in a dying parish in or near Boston, but he accepts his assignment willingly, even gladly, as a quiet refuge after spending four years away in treatment for alcoholism. He is gradually drawn out of his seclusion by the Carmody family, including his two best childhood friends Helen and John, and their ruthless entrepreneur of a father, Charlie. Author O’Connor was not a priest, but his portrait of the life of the Catholic clergy in the last days of the old pre-Vatican II Catholic culture rings true. Well-written and very interesting.