Wanderlust (Film Review)

Wanderlust (Film Review)

There are so many good ideas presented in the film Wanderlust, but unfortunately, not many of them come to fruition.

Starting off with a good cast, Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston make a pretty decent team, they never seem to really get off the ground. Both actors, especially Rudd, have good comedic timing and talent, but it isn’t used as often as it could be here. Rudd definitely gets the best parts, especially as he prepares to engage in a newly opened relationship. This gives him the chance to do what he does best, which is basically just rant off a bunch of lines in increasing silliness and grossness. Which is hilarious. But there isn’t enough of those kind of laughs in this film.

wanderThe story itself has some potential as well. A New York couple, fresh off buying their first studio apartment, come across hard times with the loss of a job and a failed documentary. They are forced to sell quickly and head to Atlanta to stay with Rudd’s brother.

On their way, they stop at a hippy commune named Elysium. Here, they discover things about themselves that they had never known before. They found freedom, and a life away from the city that they had never understood. With no pressure and the ability to do anything, it of course falls apart.

Where Wanderlust fails is that they could be making a large commentary on the rat race that so many of us engage in, and the need that we have to truly be free of the shackles of jobs and relationships. But they don’t really say that. It is very superficial in that sense. There is more to be said here, and it could have been done with more depth, intelligence, and passion. The film lacks all of these things, which is too bad.

The hippies at the commune are nothing special, either. The characters aren’t as eclectic as they could have been, and there were more missed opportunities for laughs with them.

Very much like many of the characters in the film, it all felt a little bit too hollow. Fairly disappointing, to be honest. I had expected so much more from this movie, especially since it was more of an independent feature, giving it more credibility.

I’d keep scrolling through Netflix, and skip Wanderlust.

Throwback TV: Northern Exposure

Over the holidays, I have time to pour through several seasons of whichever television series I desire. I already wrote about my experiences with Homeland Season 2.

Perhaps I was the most excited about delving back into the 90’s, the era of my youth, to get a couple of years under my belt of a show I was too young to care about when it was on TV. My love for 90’s television needs quenching every now and then, and even I realize that it must go beyond my annual re-watching of Twin Peaks, or My So-Called Life.

I wanted to get into Northern Exposure, the fish out of water show about a New York doctor who is basically forced to work in Cicely, Alaska to pay off his student loans.

northern_exposureTwo days and two seasons later, I love the show. There are so many great, quirky things about it, that it goes beyond your typical TV show. It is much smarter than it would originally seem, and this came to a head while watching Season 2, Episode 6 (“War and Peace”). In this episode, the show did something I had never seen before.

They completely, and knowingly, stepped out of a scene to make an important social commentary on the First Gulf War and our nature as a warring society. The actors stopped their acting, discussing the fact that they were being watched by an intelligent audience. With cleverness, they skipped the scene they were in the middle of doing, discussed using one of the possible script revisions, and the actors discussed their characters. It was odd, but it was brilliant, and it really worked. Once their couple of minutes had passed, they moved on to the next scene that they had discussed, since one of the characters told us that “it was a good scene.”

I thought that a show being socially conscious and not only existing within the borders it had created for itself was a bold and interesting move. I really appreciated this as a viewer. It gave the audience credit for being an audience, and gave us credit for knowing that this was not the real world that we were watching, but that, in fact, there was a real world that existed outside of our television sets. Well played.

There are so many other things to enjoy about this show. The best parts, for me, are the highly intellectual radio DJ, Chris, who takes time to read Whitman and Tolstoy over the airwaves, much to the pleasure of his fans in town. For a town under 900, one would not expect them to appreciate this, but they adore Chris and respect his philosophical and literate views on life. There is also Ed, a teenager who knows his way around town, and loves Woody Allen while desiring to become a screenwriter or filmmaker when he gets older. And Maggie, the tough and sassy bush pilot who obviously becomes the love interest for the show, who has a curse where all of her previous boyfriends have died in odd fashion, including freezing to death on a glacier or being hit by a falling satellite.

There are six seasons of this show, and I am excited to see where it goes. There is a certain amount of predictability with the character arcs, things that I know will happen. But there are so many interesting and quirky secondary characters, that I am very much interested to watch the rest and see where they are taken.

This show was originally recommended to me by my tattoo artist, and I pass along the recommendation to those who have a soft spot for 90’s TV.

Oh, and to satisfy my Twin Peaks nerdiness and obsession, there is an episode in Season 2 where they make direct reference to the show, apparently spotting the Log Lady through a viewfinder while the music changed to a somber, Peaks-inspired tune. Brilliant.

#HelloCano

Even though I’ve never been a huge Robinson Cano fan, mainly due to the fact that he played for the evil Yankees, I was beyond happy to see him jump ship and head out West to join the Seattle Mariners.

I’m not a huge M’s fan, but I do have a soft spot for them because they are the closest team to where I live, and they are the team I have had the chance to see live the most times. Plus, I love Seattle, and Safeco Field is one of the best stadiums that I have ever been to.

canoMy primary reason is that because somebody actually left the Yankees. Yes, the Mariners overpaid him. And, yes, 10 years is far too long for a 31-year-old player. But the best second baseman in baseball left the biggest team, and that is good. Sure, he did it for the money, and he will probably miss playing in New York. Plus, this helps out my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, as one of the best players will no longer be someone they have to deal with 18 times per season. So that can only be good.

The Mariners have a long way to go before becoming a serious playoff threat, but this is a start, and it gives them a building block for the next few years. Plus, if they were able to woo someone of Cano’s calibre, then who knows, maybe other big names could be lured by the Emerald City, to enjoy a great sports town and the beautiful Pacific Northwest.