Tag Archives: glenn close

TV Shows are Better than Movies

Movies used to be the premier form of Hollywood entertainment. They were the pinnacle. They had the best actors, the best directors, the best stories, and the best effects. But then HBO started making their own shows. They had the budget to hire quality actors to portray quality characters. Characters are the most important part of storytelling. If you don’t care about the character, then you don’t care about what happens to them. And a TV series allows a character to get developed over multiple episodes and seasons. You get to know their personality, their quirks, their pet peeves, and you feel like you truly know them.

AMC has a lot of amazing character based dramas, like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, with interesting characters and intriguing storylines. The Walking Dead not only has great characters but also feels like a zombie movie that never ends. And it has more graphic and creative zombie deaths than anything in the movies. There are shows like True Blood that are extremely sexual and violent and Spartacus (which makes True Blood seem like a family show). The quality writing on television is extended to Cartoon Network. Even the worst season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is better than anything the prequel trilogy has to offer.

In the old days, any actor could be on TV but only a few actors could transition to the big screen and be a box office draw. Now movie stars want to be on television. The Simpsons and Scrubs are famous for their celebrity cameos and guest roles. Former Hollywood heavyweights like Keifer Sutherland got a career boost by turning to TV. Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buscemi, and Sean Bean put aside film opportunities to star in HBO shows. Kevin Spacey, Christian Slater, William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel, Danny DeVito, Christina Ricci, Laura Linney, Don Cheadle, and Glenn Close have all chosen television over film. Who needs to go to the theater with that kind of star power available on a weekly basis?

With HBO hits like The Sopranos and Sex in the City, other networks started paying more attention to quality programming. Premium cable channels like Starz and Showtime stepped up their game. Basic cable networks like FX and AMC had to keep up and they did. And the major networks took note and started taking more risks. We get shows as diverse as Lost and Community and everybody wins. The production quality and star power of television shows is only going to increase. It’s a good time to be a couch potato with a Netflix subscription.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Natural (film)

The Natural is widely heralded as the best baseball movie of all time. I’ve seen it. It’s not. It’s a very good baseball movie, worthy of being on a Top Five list, but it has too many flaws to be the best. Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, an athlete who simply wants to be the best baseball player who ever lived. Barry Levinson directs this adaptation of Bernard Malamud’s novel and makes a few changes (like a whole different ending).

            Roy Hobbs is on the cusp of being a professional baseball player, but things go south when he gets shot in the stomach by a crazy lady and almost dies. 16 years later, Hobbs becomes a 35-year-old rookie for the fictional New York Knights. That’s a red flag right there. You can’t be the best baseball movie if your main character doesn’t even play for a real team.

In the beginning of the movie, a young Roy Hobbs watches his dad die of a heart attack by a tree. Then lightening strikes the tree and splits it and Roy makes a bat from the wood of his father’s death tree. Somehow this makes it a lucky bat, and Roy uses it to become a fierce homerun hitter and become the spark plug that revitalizes his losing team and makes them a contender for the pennant.

             Of course there’s lots of stuff that happens. Roy must choose between a shady seductress (Kim Basinger) or rekindling a relationship with his ex-girlfriend (Glenn Close). Spoiler alert: he choses Glenn Close. I don’t know why. Kim Basinger’s character might have been slightly evil and murderous, but she still looks like Kim Basinger. Glenn Close looks like a man. And she has a man’s name. It makes you think.

I read some review where they say that this movie avoids clichés. That’s bullshit. The whole damn movie is a cliché. The new guy with talent has to earn the respect of his coach and teammates. He gets a chance to play and makes the most of it. Everything is going great and then something happens and things aren’t going so great. But he still finds the courage and strength to play in one more game. And then he hits a gamewinning homerun and is hailed as a hero. And then he finds satisfaction outside of the stadium with his family.

            This is a good baseball movie. But it’s not the best. Bull Durham is better. Major League is better. A League of Their Own is better. The Sandlot is better. Even Little Big League is better. At least that movie had plays and situations and trivia. And real baseball teams.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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