Weeds was once a pretty interesting, if far-fetched, Showtime dramedy about a suburban widow keeping her family afloat by dealing marijuana. The cast and performances were strong – Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Romany Malco, Kevin Nealon, Justin Kirk each brought something unique to the table, be it comedic perspective, empathetic longing or whatnot. The storylines were interesting and there were some pretty staggering plot twists to keep things lively in the first two seasons. The third and fourth seasons starting veering out of control to unrestrained silliness.
Now it’s the fifth season, and essentially none of the above plaudits still hold true. Call it The Curse of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Ghost – Weeds is now as fucking stupid as Grey’s Anatomy, maybe (shudder) even worse. Parker’s “eyes wandering to the far left or right of the screen as she silently slurps the last of her Diet Coke/iced coffee” scenes were heralded as a nuanced take on a widow’s disociation in the first couple of seasons. Now it just seems like she’s got undiagnosed Asperger’s. Kevin Nealon’s character is beyond cartoonish and 100% unfunny – you are better off fastforwarding once you see his face, only pressing play when there is no trace off him left. Perkins’ Celia, initially the meddling bitch that made dicey situation dicier, is now a zero dimensional character that is just a hair beyond Nealon’s in prompting suicidal/homicidal urges. All that He Said, She Said potential sadly wasted…wait, what? Wasted potential? Elizabeth, perhaps you’ve found a home. Call us.
The writers seem far more interested in having an interesting opening credit sequence. Hey, Jenji Kohan, we fucking get it – you created Weeds! Ha – you carved that in a bar of soap! You are clever, great. Now make the show stop sucking. Bring back Conrad, Heylia, and Sanjay. Kill off Doug, Celia and all Mexican gangsters (except maybe Ignacio). Thanks, much appreciated.
(500) Days of Summer
Hey, what do you know, two good movies in a row! What a streak, particularly in this barren summer. Most of you probably assume I will love any movie with parentheses in the title, but that isn’t true. (Although parentheses are awesome, allowing you to “break the fourth wall” even though you are already speaking directly to your audience) Is (500) Days as good as The Hurt Locker? No, too precious in spots and also featuring a couple of (unneccessary) standard romantic comedy staples – the bumbling friends with no advice to offer and the wise (and profane) beyond-their-years sibling with way too much (good) advice to offer. Other than those quibbles, though, (500) Days was pretty fresh – I loved the fact that they tell you up front (and in the trailers) that it isn’t a love story and doesn’t really work out for the couple.
It’s a pretty typical story: straight-laced boy Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets quirky, not-that-conventionally-beautiful-yet-uniformly-desired girl Summer (Zooey Deschanel). The story is not told in chronological order, so you don’t get the straightforward “does she like me? she likes me! she doesn’t like me…” routine. I think every guy has probably encountered some loopy chick like Summer (and does Zooey Deschanel play any other type role? And is she the same exact person as Maggie Gyllenhaal or what?) at some point, leading to much consternation. Gordon-Levitt is a great actor, although this is the first time I’ve seen him in something this light since his seminal work in Third Rock From the Sun. He works just fine here, maybe a tad too earnest at times, but he was able to bridge the gap from breezy to (literally) cartoonish well. As a bonus, there’s a big dose of Hall & Oates in here, too. If you are going to go to a romantic comedy, I highly recommend this over that garbage with Katherine Heigl and that 300 dude. (Side note: Doesn’t that Gerard Butler look a bit too Quagmirey to be starring in romantic comedies?)
One other thing, Geoffrey Arend, who I saw in the liquor store the other day, is one of the goofy friends in this movie. As you may recall, he is engaged to Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame. Geoffrey may be a great guy, but we still couldn’t figure out how this all adds up.
About to go on safari, yall,