Blog Archives

‘Maniac’ Looks Superbad

A brand new Netflix series titled ‘Maniac’ looks superbad in a good way.

With a cast led by ‘Superbad’ co-stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, along with Sally Field and Justin Theroux, ‘Maniac’ looks like an entertaining mind trip. Escaping into this show appears oddly comforting as a creative yet twisted cognitive wonderland.

Haven’t we all said sang, “I’m a maniac, maniac I sure know” to ourselves?

‘Maniac’ premieres September 21 on Netflix.

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The Never-Ending Big Sky of Dallas

Paramount Network’s first scripted TV series, Yellowstone, stars Kevin Costner in a role that seems all-too-perfect for the two-time Academy Award winner. Taking place on the massive kind of ranch whose size matches its influence under the Big Sky of Montana.

Written and directed by the screenwriter of Hell or High Water and Sicario, Taylor Sheridan has put a spotlight directly on the ongoing debates of ranching from the past and present. These tense dynamics and situations play out in bold, explosive strokes.

In this sense, the audience is being treated to a movie-like experience.

Dallas + gritty realism = Yellowstone.

When the scenery is a character, that alone makes watching this TV show a worthwhile experience.

P.S. The occasional language starring the four-letter persuasion is not bleeped. 

Wednesday Update

Tina Fey is returning to host the season finale of ‘Saturday Night Live.’

No need to bury the lead here. Nor would it be a good idea to bury the creative promo video for the aforementioned comedic writer, actress, and former fake, funny news host (before “fake news” became its own thing not related to comedy).

Like the host herself, the promo seen above is equally informative, entertaining and clever.

On a completely unrelated note, it will be interesting to see what society will be like 20 years down the road. Why this seemingly random observation? While flat-screen tablets and flat digital tabletops exist, when will paper products become flexible touch screens? I ask because the animated promo in the video above is displayed on a horizontal piece of paper by way of a skilled graphics designer. With flexible, roll-up TVs slowly evolving as a consumer product of the future, the natural next step would be other items that roll up…

like a newspaper.

Just look around your house and–like Jim Gaffigan–imagine the initial pitch meeting for these products. Go ahead and laugh out loud. I’ll wait.

Some of our possessions must have been wild to consider and imagine at first. Outside-the-box thinking requires seeing something that would be crazy today, yet normal tomorrow.

Or, in the case of the creative team at ‘Saturday Night Live,’ maybe the secret is thinking animating inside the box rectangle.

Leaving No Stone Unturned in Yellowstone

Is Yellowstone–the new original TV show from the new Paramount Network–a modern-day version of Dallas with grit, realism, and Kevin Costner?

Sure seems like it.

And that’s ok because, based on the writer, the show will work through and suffer through and eventually settle into something truly memorable and honest.

While it’s impossible to achieve the rating bonanza that Dallas struck during its original run in the ’70s and ’80s, Kevin Costner portraying a rancher in Yellowstone earns comparable marks for casting…thus far. Add in Wes Bentley, Gil Birmingham, Luke Grimes and rising star Kelsey Chow for a solid cast.

Time will tell, likely well beyond the first season, as to whether the show lives up to its hype. The gifted writer of acclaimed films with similar dynamics, a cast that supports the star (and then some), plus a part of the country serving as a wide-open setting for wide-open storylines is building up to something wild, yet somehow contained by the skin of everyone’s teeth with that beaten-down, albeit sturdy perimeter fence.

Will Yellowstone ever reach the level of brilliance and relevance of the cinematic western masterpiece Unforgiven? No.

But it can be forgiven for that.

P.S. An unforgettable trip to the perfectly picturesque, snow-covered Yellowstone National Park around 17 years ago sparked immediate intrigue in this show for me, which included snowmobiling around that park. There are wild stakes in that wild country. If the show is anything like my vacation with my dad, his best friend from college and his son, then this should be one hell of a great ride.