Tag Archives: Michael Cera

Arrested Development: 7 Years Later

At the point when FOX finally canceled Arrested Development, its ratings were pretty bad. In the Nielson cycle that sealed its fate, the doomedskate comedy lost out to long forgotten quality programs like Skating with Celebrities and Apprentice: Martha Stewart. There has never been a program quite like Arrested Development. It can be difficult explain the show’s multi-camera  mock-umentary style. The jokes are subtle just as often as they are completely overt. Arrested did the heavy lifting for several more successful shows that followed  30 Rock, Community, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have benefited from the game changer that no one watched.

Something interesting happened,  however, when Arrested Development was released on DVD; the infinitely rewatchable series developed a massive following. The new lovers of the show found each other online and created a community that brought relevance back to the dysfunctional Orange County family and their off color antics.

Arrested Development, the last four episodes of which FOX aired back to back on a Friday night in February, launched the careers of several cast members while rejuvenating those of others. So when Netflix agreed to produce 15 new episodes of the series ahead of a feature film due out next year, coordinating the schedules of Michael Cera, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman became pretty difficult.

Getting the nine actors who portray the main characters together in one location was often impossible. This posed quite a problem for writer/series’ creator Mitch Hurwitz. The solution was a combination of creative writing and modern technology. The episodes of the fourth season of this ensemble comedy  are written to focus on just one character. Green screen is utilized to bring some of the other main characters into subplots within them. Some of the actors only shared the screen in one episode yet appear together often throughout the run.

Despite losing seven years, Arrested Development has not lost a step. The unfolding serialized comedic scenarios that run through this entire season howardare just as uproarious as in previous seasons. The inside jokes are supplemented with new ones. Fantastic in this season is the role of actor/director/narrator Ron Howard. Though serving as narrator since the show began, Howard appears in several episodes and plays a hilarious parody of himself. Howard pokes fun at  his acting past, baldness and early projects (Fantastic Four anyone?)

The show has a good time with itself and its unsuccessful past. It’s a great way to blow 7.5 hours. Or 15 if you have already watched it twice… Like I have.

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Scott Pilgrim: Commentary Sh** Show

Ugh. Day after Christmas. There is, literally, one thing to look forward to in the next 3 months, and it’s happening in a week. For those of us in the northern North America, it’s time to struggle on through the post-holiday TOTAL WINTER blues.

So here’s a fun pick-me-up I discovered by accident on Christmas eve. You see, I’m a freak. Instead of watching holiday movies during the holidays, I watch entire seasons of my favorite shows and movies that I haven’t seen in a while. This year Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World made the list.

7 Evil Exes.Please note Brandon Routh (Superman) and Chris Evans (Captain America)

7 Evil Exes.Please note Brandon Routh (Superman) and Chris Evans (Captain America)

First let me just say that this movie is, hands down, my favorite cult film box office failure. Based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the premise concerns Scott Pilgrim as he falls in love with a girl and discovers he has to fight her seven evil ex-boyfriends to win her heart.  The movie’s manic characters are a perfect interpretation for the comic’s 20-something-relationship-story told via hipster culture and video game references.

In short: this is my jam.

But it also got trounced by The Expendables when it came out in 2010. I suppose video game culture isn’t super accessible to folks outside the 15-30 age range. Or people with jobs. Oh well.

I could go on at great length about why this movie is amazing. Seriously, on and on, but that’s not what I’m about today. Over the holiday it occurred to me that I had never watched any of the DVD commentary. Generally I don’t care about commentary, but with shows I love I’ll give it a try. And holy crap did this not disappoint.

First, Scott Pilgrim has four commentaries. Two of which are cast commentaries. The first featuring Michael Cera, Jason Schartzman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong and Brandon Routh I will refer to as A-Squad. The second, with Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin and Mark Weber is B- Squad.

Both of these commentaries are hilarious, in part because both squads are only marginally interested in talking about the movie. Brandon Routh actually shows up 25 minutes late for his commentary, bringing Astro Burger with him. During the commentary you can literally hear Superman unwrapping his f****** burger, though my favorite moment is when he gives Ellen Wong instructions on preparing Baklava.

Which doesn’t even compare to B-Squad. Anna Kendrick and Kieran Culkin are acutely aware that no one is going to watch their commentary… which is why the barely talk about the movie. Instead the conversation swings from sex jokes to talking about how drunk they were at the movies premier.

Highlights Include:

  • Michael Cera calling his on-set driver during the commentary.
  • Kieran Culkan accusing Aubrey Plaza of seducing him.
  • Aubrey Plaza accusing Chris Evans of getting her drunk.
  • B-Squad tries to figure out why men have nipples.

It’s like peaking into an odd little window of these actor’s live… in August of 2010. If you have some time to kill between today and 2013 I definitely recommend listening to the cast commentary. If you only have time for 1, check out B-Squad.

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