Friday, October 29, 2010

The Foot: Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree (plus Halloween Hijinx)

Welcome to the conclusion of the Great Halloween Re-Watch of 2010.

The greatest Halloween movie of all-time does not involve psychotic murderers stalking unsuspecting teenagers who only want to fornicate nor hand-held cameras that capture a witch or a mischievous demon haunting a small number of people.

Halloween is a holiday for children. There's nothing funner as a kid than dressing up in a costume and going out with friends to get some free candy. Parents love taking their son or daughter out for their first Halloween.

The greatest Halloween movie of all-time is a 17 year old cartoon movie known as The Halloween Tree.



The great Ray Bradbury wrote it and Hanna Barbera turned the story into a movie. The story follows four friends on Halloween night. The group are set to trick-or-treat and have a whole bunch of Halloween fun until they arrive at Pipkin's house--their friend. As they arrive, Pipkin's taken away in an ambulance. After the ambulance leaves, Pipkin suddenly runs by and the friends begin to chase him. His friends chase him to an ominous looking house with a gigantic tree in the front yard--the halloween tree. The owner of the house is called Moundshroud--a character with a skinny, gangly body and the face of a skinny pumpkin. His voice is gravely and he is in possession of Pip's soul. A pumpkin sitting atop the tree bears the likeness of Pip--a representation of his soul. Throughout the movie, Pip (his ghost/spirit) runs through the various time periods with his pumpkin, away from Moundshroud--the figure of death in the story.

His four friends (Tom, Wally, Ralph and Jenny) have no choice but to follow Mr. Moundshroud in his quest for Pip because they want to save Pip. Tom, Wally, Ralph and Jenny are all dressed in costumes. Tom is skeleton. Ralph is a gargoyle. Wally is a mummy. Jenny is a witch. Moundshroud wants the children to understand the history behind their costumes and takes them on a journey through time to educate them (and to follow Pip). Moundshroud takes the four kids into ancient Egypt to learn about the book of the Dead and the process of mummification. The four kids travel to medieval Europe to learn about the origins of witches and the surrounding myths. Moundshroud takes them to the unfinished Notre Dame cathedral to teach Ralph about the belief in gargoyles and demons as warriors against evil spirits. The last destination is Mexico to learn about the day of the dead, the celebration of life in midst of death. The friends find Pip in a tomb--too late to save him.

The friends won't let Moundshroud take their friend and so they offer a year of their lives to save their friend from death. It's one of the moving endings of all-time. Moundshroud wonders if the kids understand what they'll give up for their friend and they do. They want to save Pip's life. With the deal made, they race to Pip's house to find him awake after returning from the hospital. Pip tells them that he was close to being gone and his friends have tears in their eyes as they talk to good ol' Pipkin. Pip tells them about a dream he had that involved each one of his friends, and his friends simple smile up at him because the dream happened.

The story is about friendship as well as the magic and meaning of Halloween. Each episode reviewed during the month long re-watch used Halloween as a back-drop. None focused on the history of All Hallow's Eve. The classic horror movies that air each October don't focus on the history of Halloween. The Halloween Tree stands alone as the great Halloween movie of all-time.

Leonard Nimoy voiced the great Moundshroud. Ray Bradbury narrated the film. And, for your viewing pleasure, here it is:

















SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Halloween--Written By John Carpenter and Debra Hill--http://www.horrorlair.com/scripts/halloween_script.txt

THE FUNNYORDIE.COM CLIP OF THE WEEK

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/79984f2712/halloween-hijinx-from-colin-mcglinchey

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

The Vampire Diaries "Masquerade" Review

It has come to my attention that I should attach spoiler warnings to any review. While one would think the word "review" implies discussing important plot points and developments, one would be wrong. So, if you like the show then watch the episode before reading this.

The Vampire Diaries is one of the few shows on television that would actually kill off their big bad in the 7th episode of the season. The first half of the episode sold the idea that Katherine was going to die. And the writers of TVD earned it after a first season in which fans learned that anything and everything could happen. No character is safe on this show besides Elena, Stefan and Damon. This kind of risky storytelling is refreshing. The intensity begins the first second of the teaser and doesn't end until the last frame of the episode. The narrative moves at a blistering pace. "Plan B" cleary showed what Katherine was capable of and the threat she is to the characters. The characters acknowledge how dangerous Kat is and decide to kill her. TVD doesn't devote one or two episodes to developing a plan to kill the big bad. TVD spends a teaser and the first act to the plan followed by the execution of the plan in the second act. Friends and well-wishers, the pacing of the storytelling is completely awesome.

"Masquerade," the title of the latest episode, was co-written by Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec--the showrunners of The Vampire Diaries. "Masquerade" is the best kind of transitional episode. It moved the story into the second act of the season while resolving (or, actuallly, stashing) some arcs from the first seven episodes of the season.

The A story belonged to the plot to kill Katherine. Stefan, Damon, Caroline, Bonnie, Jeremy and Alaric worked as a unit to ensure the successful execution of their plan. Elena was left out of the loop but she soon forced her way into the loop (and good thing she did). Katherine, as she warned last week, as many plans in her pocket. Considering she has trust issues with the Salvatore brothers, she got a witch to put a nasty spell on Elena. Whatever Katherine feels, Elena would feel. Once Caroline successfully led Kat into the room, and the staking and stabbings began, the pain began for Elena. Jeremy rushed upstairs and stopped Damon right before a stake to the heart, explaining that Elena experiences each wound that Katherine has. Unable to hurt the big bad, Stefan and Damon talked to her. Stefan soon found out the importance of the moon stone to her. He surmised that Katherine ran from someone or something in 1864. Katherine neither confirmed or denied, only mouthing "I love you" to Stefan after telling him that she would check in on him through the years. Damon tried to kill her again before Stefan reminded him of the spell. And, so, the three sat in a room they couldn't get out of.

Meanwhile, Lucy (the witch Kat had) used a spell to get the moon stone from Bonnie. The two witches (actually cousins) had an understanding (because of the powers) that something good would happen. Lucy delivered the moonstone to Katherine but not without a full serving of intense witch mojo, rendering Katherine unconscious. Lucy explained to the Salvatore brothers that the spell was broken and the two were free to kill Katherine. As Lucy walked to her car, Bonnie begged for some answers about her power, worried that she's caught in the middle. Lucy promises that Bonnie belongs in the middle and that the two will see each other again.

Stefan meets up with Elena for possible reconciliation and he fails. Shortly after, as she walks to her car, a masked person kidnaps her.

In the B story, Tyler finally transformed into a werewolf. Katherine didn't explain why she need a werewolf by her side or why she wants to break the curse, only saying that Mason wasn't the lone werewolf in Mystic Falls. Matt tried his best to get killed by his best friend but Caroline completely owned Matt and took him down. Kat had a backup plan. The girl who fell down the stairs stabbed Tyler. Tyler pushed her hard enough that her neck snapped as she hit a desk. And the transformation commenced.

I've had a few issues with the season but The Vampire Diaries is an entertaining show and usually delivers some truly awesome episodes. The last three episodes have been fantastic.

Some other thoughts:

-Nina Dobrev is awesome. If TV shows had a Most Valuable Actress & Actor award, Nina Dobrev is the current favorite to win the award. Katherine's my second favorite badass female vampire since Julie Benz's Darla.

-Katherine told Damon that she couldn't kill Elena because she needs to protect her doppleganger. That is a wait and see plot point. I don't have much to write about it.

-The Bonnie/Jeremy coupling began. It has potential.

-Charles Beeson directed the episode.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Sleepy Hollow--Written By Andrew Kevin Walker and Tom Stoppard (based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving)-- http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/sleepy-hollow_shooting.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Foot: Review of Terriers--"Agua Caliente"



"Agua Cliente" is sort of the sequel the third episode of the series, "Change Partners." "Agua Cliente" returns our characters to their old partners. Britt finds himself in the company of Ray while Hank joins forces with Mark to find Britt, who got kidnapped and brought to Tijuana. The Mexican Cartel kidnapped Britt as he raced around a golf course, doing a job for Mags. The top guy of the cartel (Felipe Prado if I recall correctly) has history with Ray. Ray dragged Britt's name into the job because, presumably, Ray will die should he fail. The cartel wants Britt and Ray to retrieve a whole lot of cocaine from a police station and bring said cocaine to the warehouse (or garage). Britt only agrees to do the job once Felipe threatens Katie's life. Felipe must've watched Point Break because Bodhi used the same ploy to get Johnny Utah to assist in a bank robbery. I digress.

Britt and Ray steal the cocaine easily. They become fugitives because a ton of cocaine was stolen from the police station. Britt returns the cocaine to another cartel and politely asks for Felipe's phone. You see, they killed the men who can save his girlfriend's life. The second half of the episode is a frantic race to save Katie from any possible danger. Katie, of course, doesn't get harmed despite a brief situation with the hired muscle. The biggest threat is actually the Professor. I wondered whether or not Britt would return home and soon discover what Katie and her professor did together. The secret remains a secret; however, Hank warns the professor to never sleep with one of his students again because he will tell his wife everything along with the tenure board and the university.

The biggest moment between Britt and Ray is the fight. The duo need to get into prison and it helps that Britt wants to beat his old partner up. Britt hasn't forgotten what happened when Ray strolled into Ocean Beach. His arrival led to Britt's confession to Katie that he wanted to meet her after breaking into her house. Ray attempted to blackmail Britt into a theft job. Ray, meanwhile, wouldn't mind throwing a few punches because Britt tried to get him arrested. Unfortunately, Gustaffson and the OBPD failed to act on the evidence. Also, Ray split for Mexico. The fight is Britt's lone way to let out his frustrations against the man who won't let him forget or move past a past he wants to forget.

Meanwhile, Hank asks Mark to help him find his buddy. Previous episodes made it clear that Hank screwed up badly in the past. Mark warned Britt, previously, that Hank will let him down. In this episode, we get a glimpse of how well the pair worked together before Hank let his partner down. They find Britt quickly and smuggle him home without incident. Hank takes a bullet for Katie and Mark takes down the hired gun from the cartel. Afterwards, Britt reminds Mark what he said about Hank letting him down. Mark said Hank will have his moments but it won't stop him from letting Britt down. Britt asks Gustaffson how Hank let him down. Mark simply responds with, "he'll have to tell you the story."

I enjoyed the episode. The episode was lighter than the previous two episodes. I'm looking forward to the Hank/Mark backstory and how exactly Hank let his partner down. Terriers excells at telling effective and moving personal stories. I only hope Tim Minear is the man who wrote the Hank/Mark episode, assuming the episode was produced.

Some other thoughts:

-I love the dialogue in the show. My favorite scene of the episode is when Hank stops by Mark's office and says hello to Mark's wife. The first few scenes of every Terriers usually features sparkling dialogue.

-I wonder if this episode needed the presence of the Professor. It seemed too convenient that Katie would forget her cell phone and then he'd drop it off. One of the very few clunky spots of the series thus far.

-Phoeuf Sutton and Jon Worley wrote tonight's episode. John Dahl directed.

-Once again, for those who haven't watched the show, every episode besides the most recent can be streamed on hulu.com or viewed ondemand. You won't regret the time you spend with Terriers. It's a terrific show.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

The Hurt Locker--Written By Mark Boal--http://www.joblo.com/scripts/hurtlocker_script.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Foot: Review of No Ordinary Family--"No Ordinary Quake"

Tonight's No Ordinary Family, titled "No Ordinary Quake," felt like two entirely episodes. The first half was awful but the second half engaged me. The narrative moved forward. The characters were more likable and less annoying (in the second half). With November sweeps only two weeks away, it makes sense that the show quit re-telling the same character stories every week and decided to actually move forward in the story.

The show introduced its first non-Powell-with-superpowers character and actually gave the character depth or, at least, as much depth No Ordinary Family will give a character, which isn't much; however, beggars can't be choosers. Rebecca, the new character, went around to various places and created earthquakes because of a vendetta she has with Dr. King. Dr. King locked her up in a cell because of her superpowers. Anyway, Rebecca has trust issues because she was locked in a closet. She also wants Dr. King to take her abilities away because she wants to be normal. Unfortunately, Sylar 2.0 arrives as she tries to kill Jim (again she doesn't trust people though Jim wants to help her). Presumably, she's dragged back to her cell.

The Powells, meanwhile, carry their own individual secrets--except for Daphne. Stephanie grows more curious about her son's possible abilities after he saves the day at the store, when the earthquake hit and nearly killed someone. She asks him to urinate in a cup for testing. The urination in the cup is a waste of time. She eventually finds out from Katie that her son lied about his abilities. Stephanie flips out and bans him from playing football because she considers his knowledge of the game cheating. Jim doesn't tear into his son because he hasn't told his wife that other people with superpowers exist. JJ feels hurt because his parents want him to return to the person he was pre-powers. By episode's end, each secret comes out. Jim tells JJ that he's always been special, that the powers don't his son special. Jim confesses that other superpowered people exist to his wife, and Stephanie tells her husband that she's researched the man who specialized in chromosome mutation. JJ even gets to remain on the football team.

Meanwhile, Daphne thinks her classmate and teacher are having an affair. She reads both minds and draws a conclusion based on vague sentences and statements. Stephanie advises her daughter to tell someone about this. Daphne does. Of course, she was wrong about the entire situation. Daphne ruined the reputation of her classmate and teacher. Blah. This entire story fell flat on its face.

No Ordinary Family is slowly treading into Heroes territory. The pilot of this series featured characters who were delighted and excited by their abilities. The series had the potential to make superpowers fun. Unfortunately, the characters have been miserable with their powers. The family argues more than ever. It is apparent that Dr. King is HRG 2.0 with his own secret facility where he imprisons people with powers. The difference between Heroes and No Ordinary Family is that Heroes had a fantastic beginning and then the show became terrible. No Ordinary Family has not had a fantastic beginning.

The series just received a full season--22 episodes. I'll probably continue writing about it though the reviews might become progressively shorter because the show is very simple in theme.

Some other thoughts:

-I hope the writers abandon the procedural aspect of the show. Whenever Jim is fighting crime, it's going to be terrible.

-The end of tonight's episode indicated the football storyline is done; however, the previews indicated that it isn't. It should be dropped because the actor who portrays JJ is way too small and skinny to play on a varsity football team.

-None of the characters are exactly memorable but Daphne is about to join the ranks of the worst characters in TV history.

-Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer wrote the episode. Timothy Busfield directed it.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Smallville--"Solitude"--Written By Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer--http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Smallville/Smallville_5x08_-_Solitude.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Foot: The Great Halloween Re-Watch ("Fear, Itself"--BtVS")

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The end approaches for the Great Halloween Re-Watch of 2010. Today marks the penultimate write-up for a Halloween episode. If anyone can guess what will be the FINAL episode or movie of the re-watch then you'll win a "good job" comment from me and, possibly, two front-row seats to the final battle in the Dinosaur Steel Cage tournament that happens over at Post-Collegiate Apocalypse.

Buffy, The Vampire Slayer takes center stage for the third time in less than a month. The series produced three Halloween episodes in seven seasons. Season 4's "Fear, Itself" is my favorite Halloween episode of the Whedonverse. The story is great, the dialogue is fantastic and the costumes are awesome.

The fourth season of Buffy transported the gang into the world of college, and with great transitions comes a certain degree of change. Angel left for LA in the season three finale and Buffy feels a little less than whole. Adding to her insecurities and abandonment issues is a guy named Parker she slept with in the previous episode, "The Harsh Light of Day." Parker only used her for sex, and she feels sad and low. Xander chose to forgo college--a decision which leaves him feeling left out and invisible. The brutally-honest-and-blunt Anya only piles onto these issues for Xander when she tells him he has nothing in common with these people he calls friends. Willow's evolution as a witch worries Oz and Buffy because of the magic she experiments with. In a piece of foreshadowing, she tells Buffy that college is a place for experimenting. As for Oz, he has feared his werewolf-ness since "Phases."

On an October evening, the Scooby Gang carve pumpkins in Xander's basement. Buffy talks about the life of a pumpkin and how said life ends with its guts being ripped out. Xander tells the gang to prepare for a night of spine-tinging and goosebump inducement because he rented a movie for the second annual Halloween viewing party. Of course, the video store gave Xander Fantasia instead of Phantasm. Willow tells the group that she thought the plans were to the Alpha Delt thing. Xander, caught unawares, wonders what the thing is. Buffy opines that a scary house sounds lame. Oz sells her on the idea though, explaining: "It actually borders on fun. You have to go through the whole scary house maze to get to the party and it's usually worth getting to. Those guys go all out." Oz, Willow and Xander are all in but Buffy is undecided, explaining that she wants to make sure Giles doesn't want her patrolling.

The next day, the new care-free, full-of-fun Giles surprises her with his Halloween spirit. She looks mortified that he's dressed in full costume, and with a huge bowl of candy, in his apartment adorned with Halloween decorations including an animated Frankenstein. Giles tells her that the demons and vamps find Halloween much too crass, in response to her sort-of-desire to patrol rather than party on Halloween. Buffy decides to go with her friends to the Halloween. Her mother sews a last-minute Halloween costume for her, and Buffy tells her about her fear that every important male in her life with bail on her. Joyce tells her daughter that she shouldn't be afraid because she has Giles, her friends and her mother.

Fear is the central theme of the episode, if the title didn't give it away. Naturally, a fear demon's occult symbol gets accidentally triggered. The fear demon's presence alters the reality of the frat house while feeding on the fears of the people in the house. As the gang makes their way through the house, their fears help the manifestation of the fear demon. Xander becomes invisible. Oz sort of transforms into a werewolf despite the absence of a full moon. Willow loses control of her magic. Buffy gets drawn into the basement of the house, far away from her friends and confronts the animated corpse of a dead frat guy who promises that everyone she loves will abandon her. Of course, she's also attacked by zombies.

Meanwhile, Anya arrives late to the frat house in her bunny costume (because bunnies frighten her). She witnesses a window disappear from the house and becomes concerned about Xander (the two characters copulated in "The Harsh Light of Day" and Xander admitted, early on in the episode, that date-like qualities were at work between the two). Anya goes to Giles' house. Giles sits, alone, inside with a full bowl of candy. Anya and Giles work together to figure out what happened inside the frat house. With the help of a chainsaw, Giles makes his way into the frat house.

Inside of the frat, Buffy, Xander, Willow and Oz get so scared that they find themselves in the same room--where the fear demon wants them. Giles emerges into the room with his chainsaw and the gang quickly figures out a way to kill the fear demon. Buffy jumps the gun and accidentally manifests the fear demon; however, the fear demon is very tiny. The Scoobies can only laugh and make jokes. Before Buffy stomps on the fear demon, he reminds her that everyone will leave her. She's overcome that fear, says 'yeah yeah' and kills the fear demon.

Back at Giles' house, we find out the translation of the words underneath the picture of Gachnar--"actual size."

Some other thoughts:

-The costumes are great. Oz and Willow would win the contest though. Willow dresses as Joan of Arc because, like Joan, Willow was almost burned at the stake. Plus, she had a close relationship with God. Oz, of course, is God. Sarah Michelle Gellar is so damn cute dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. Sarah looks amazing throughout the entire season. Emma Caulfield looks hilarious wearing her huge bunny costume. Giles' costume is also hilarious.

-The atmosphere of the episode is great. It FEELS like Halloween.

-David Fury wrote the episode. Fury is one of the great writers from the whedonverse. The dialogue throughout the episode is fantastic. Many great lines. I won't list any.You can read the full shooting script here: http://buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/060_scri.html.

-Tucker Gates directed the episode. He earned tremendous amount of praise from critics and LOST fans for "Ab Aeterno." Gates directed "Fear, Itself" excellently--especially the frat house scenes.

Here is the entire episode, courtesy of YouTube:









THE SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer--Written By Trey Callaway--http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/i/i-still-know-what-you-did-last-summer-script.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Plan B" Review

Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec and their band of merry writers waste no time raising the intensity of the season just six episodes into this 22 episode season. The latest episode of The Vampire Diaries, titled "Plan B," accomplished one important thing: make the big bad an actual threat. In other words, the writers stopped telling the audience how evil and bad Katherine is. They finally SHOWED it.

Friends and well-wishers, Katherine is a badass vampire who doesn't mess around. Should someone kill her werewolf boyfriend, she'll simply dig into her pocket to pull out Plan B--a plan that began as Plan A was in action. Katherine wanted to show Damon, Stefan and Elena that she means business. For the last few weeks, Katherine used compulsion on Jenna to spy on Stefan and Elena. Apparently, Katherine wants Stefan back and Elena thinks her relationship with Stefan is central to appeasing her. I doubt Katherine's master plan ends with a doting Stefan in her arms. I accept that she likes the guy and would prefer that he be hers rather than Elena's but that seems secondary to her actual plan; however, the motivation for every character in the show involves romantic relationships so maybe her masterplan is winning back Stefan's heart through chaos and violence.

Several of my millions of readers might wonder, "what exactly caused Katherine to use Plan B?" Well, Mason Lockwood got his heart ripped out (literally) by Damon. Damon, obviously fuming about the attempt Mason made to kill him last episode, wants revenge. With the help of Jeremy and Bonnie, he learns Katherine and Mason were involved in the biblical sense and the moonstone has importance to Katherine. Bonnie uses her witch mojo to weaken Mason as Stefan and Damon bring him to their house for a torture session. Damon eventually receives answers and he learns that Mason is actually a guy who had the bad luck of falling for a crazy woman. Damon still rips out the heart of Mason, prefacing it by saying Katherine would've done it too. The murder is motivated mostly by Damon's obsession with Katherine. Remember, the central motivation of every character on this show is a romantic relationship. Sure Damon dislikes Mason for the plan to kill him but Damon's the same vamp who vowed to make his brother's life miserable because Katherine liked Stefan more.

For good measure, Damon calls Katherine to tease her about the death of Mason. Katherine's momentarily surprised. She responds quickly by calling Elena and compelling Jenna to stab herself in the gut with a knife. Also, she begins using compulsion on the most useless character in the show--Matt. Kat wants Matt to fight Tyler for as long as he can until Tyler kills him. Katherine wants a werewolf. Matt agrees.

Meanwhile, Caroline and her mother make a tremendous amount of progress in their understanding of one another; however, Caroline compels her mother to forget about the last few days because she doesn't want her mother to remember she is a vampire. The B story worked. Caroline's currently the most valuable character of the season.

Also, the three girls (Elena, Bonnie and Caroline) hung out together for the first time since the carnival episode. Bonnie became less of a bitch, which is nice.

And Elena and Stefan broke up.

Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain wrote the episode. The duo worked on ANGEL and Dollhouse. And the episode delivered. An A+ effort and strong performances from the entire cast.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Six Feet Under--"Pilot"--Written By Alan Ball--http://leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Six_Feet_Under/Six_Feet_Under_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Foot: Review of Terriers--Missing Persons (Watch This Show)

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="435" caption="Credit: theamericandishtv.com"][/caption]

Terriers is like Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. The series continues producing gems on a weekly basis but it is getting very little run support. And by run support, I refer to the poor ratings the show has received. Friends and well-wishers, Terriers is the best show on television. Please watch.

The latest episode of Terriers, titled "Missing Persons," dealt with Hank's sister, Steph. We met Steph as she snuck into the attic after being released from the hospital. Hank told Britt, a few episodes ago, that she is brilliant, exceptional woman when she takes her meds. But things become dicey when she doesn't take her meds. The title "Missing Persons" refers to two characters: Adam Fischer, the character central to the standalone story; however, the title belongs to Steph--a woman who is missing a part of herself because of her mental illness. One day, during college, she disappeared for six days--the beginning of her illness. Steph hallucinates throughout the episode. In the teaser, she asks her mother would she like any ice cream. Hank looks worried that his sister is regressing. Indeed, she hasn't taken her medicine.

Hank leaves her alone for awhile because of a case. Left alone in the house and the neighborhood, Steph goes outside. She sees a little girl swinging on a swingset as she talks to a middle-aged female neighbor. Steph's attention is focused on the little girl. She crosses the street and begins talking to the little girl (her name El). The two play together for the majority of the day. Steph wonders why El's parents take such bad care of their daughter. At home, she asks Hank to talk with the parents about their daughter; however, the case distracts Hank. Steph takes the matter on herself but we find out the little girl wasn't real--she existed entirely in Steph's mind. She causes a brief scene in the neighborhood. Later, in bed, Hank sits by her. Steph wants to get better. She tells Hank that she wants to take care of him because he always took care of her. But she isn't ready, and he needs to let her go for awhile--to get better.

For the second week in the row, Donal Logue conveys his pain and sadness so well that one would have to be made of stone to not feel something. Hank wants his sister to get better. He drives her to an assisted living place, though he continually reminds Steph that he will take care of her. Steph recognizes, and so does Hank, that she needs more than Hank if she wants to heal herself, so Hank lets her go for a little while. And the final shot of the episode tells us everything we need to know about Hank's feelings.

The case-of-the-week, standalone plot, parallels the personal situation with Hank and his sister. Hank and Britt meet a college guy who cannot remember anything about himself, and he feels like he did something bad. Of course, Adam (the college guy) DID do something bad though he wasn't exactly driving his own bus. Adam planned a trip to Cambodia and began taking anti-malaria pills. The pills have a plethora of side-effects including delusion, paranoia and memory loss. The pills and a simple crush led to kidnapping and locking the girl-of-his-infatuation in a closet for two days. Hank and Britt soon find the girl and rescue her. The paranoia sets in and Adam takes his crush's roommate hostage but Hank resolves that crisis rather quickly.

While alone in the room with Adam, Hank tells him that whatever temporary craziness he is experiencing with soon pass. Earlier in the episode, Hank told Britt the kid reminded him of Steph which explained why he wanted to hang around the kid, and make sure he was okay. In the room, Hank takes his frustations out on the kid. He tells Adam to pull it together because he knows his sister cannot pull it together. Hank's frustations are borne from a feeling of helplesness, an ability to fix whatever is broken in his sister's brain.

"Missing Persons" is a terrific episode for the Dolworths. Donal and Karina Logue knocked it out of the park. Hank is becoming one of the great TV characters.

Other thoughts:

-Steph continues to remind me of River Tam from Firefly. Now, Hank reminded me of Simon Tam. The bedroom scene felt like the scene in Serenity when Simon is wounded, and River tells him that he always took care of her. River simply adds, "my turn" before she enters a room full of Reavers and goes to town. Also, the bedroom scene reminded me of the final scene in "Ariel," a scene that ALSO takes place in a bedroom. River asks Simon (who brought her medications) if if it is time to go to sleep again. Simon says, "No, mei mei. It's time to wake up." Intentional or not, I'm enjoying these Firefly reminders.

-Britt gets the spotlight next week. In "Missing Persons," he didn't know what to make of Katie's mood. This story is like a bomb waiting to explode. It's not going to be pretty. Also, Britt took told Hank that he needs to be treated like an actual partner. The frustrations with the various cases and money stuff combined with Katie took its toll on Britt.

-Lots of good banter between Hank and Britt. I enjoyed the brief sidekick exchange the most.

-Jed Seidel wrote the episode, his second of the season. Michael Zinberg directed it.

-Once again, please watch this show.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

American Pie--Written By Adam Herz--http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/american-pie_production.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Foot: The Potential of Scream 4

Last night, the Scream Awards aired on SpikeTV. Naturally, I forgot about the entire show despite interest in it. I wanted to see the tribute to LOST (and I did...it was rather unnecessary). Well, the LOST tribute sums up what I wanted to watch. I learned, courtesy of televisionwithoutpity.com, that the Scream Awards premiered the official Scream 4 trailer. Immediately, I searched the Internet to find the trailer. Joblo.com had a story for the trailer with the trailer embedded. I watched the glorious one minute and forty second trailer.

I've been following the production of Scream 4 since news broke that there would be a Scream 4. The Scream franchise is a favorite of mine. It sparked my interest in screenwriting. 12-year old me wrote a bunch of Scream ripoffs with a pencil and paper. I also wrote a lousy Halloween 8 script and Jason X script. I digress. The biggest story surround Scream 4 was whether or not Neve Campbell would return. Indeed she did and she gets the first frame of the trailer. Along with Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers and Dewey return for the fourth installment. Plus, a whole new group of teenagers populate Woodsboro. And you know what? I'm excited. I saw Scream 3 thrice in the theaters--arguably the worst of the three.

Folks on the message board are speculating about the surprise opening scene murder. Will it be Gale Weathers? Sidney Prescott? Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin? Williamson and Craven are in a fairly good position regarding the speculation. Scream 3 opened with the murder of Cotton Weary--downright shocking. Many speculate Bell and Paquin only joined the cast to be part of the iconic opening scene. It seems too easy. If Williamson kills of Sidney Prescott in the opening scene, it would be ripping of the opening scene of Halloween: Resurrection when Michael Myers kills his sister. Gale Weathers would be Cotton Weary 2.0. I'll guess that it'll be Bell and Paquin though. No matter what happens it will be a dynamite opening scene. Kevin Williamson is the master of the set-up, the hook and the reveal.

Rory Culkin seems to be the Randy of Scream 4. He explains the new rules of horror. Certainly, the horror genre has changed since 1996. The original Scream is an excellent commentary on the horror genre. One would argue that Williamson should've stuck to his guns and kept Billy Loomis motive-less considering he and Stu emphasize the terror of acting without a motive. With the landscape of the horror genre throughout the last thirteen years, I wonder what kind of movie Scream 4 will be. The only horror movies similar to the Halloweens, The Friday the 13ths and the Nightmare on Elm Streets are the remakes of those classic films--the much gorier remakes of those films. The remakes of those films are connected by a certain amnesia about what made the originals classics. Horror filmmakers' chief interest hasn't been simply scaring the audience--they want to gross the audience out or make them feel repulsed.

Kevin Williamson knew the horror genre, knew how to scare people. The original Scream is a homage to the classic slasher films. Using those movies as his template, Williamson created his own classic--a movie that effectively scared the audience, remained true to the spirit of the classics while creating a whole new identity for the modern horror movie. Unfortunately, many films that followed Scream failed to grasp what made Scream successful. The Scream genre (as I'll call it) died with the third installment. Slowly, the torture porn genre began to emerge. Violent and extreme films that cared more about the kills (a brief digression: the trailer for the forthcoming Saw movie boasts about the various new torture devices...are you kidding me? Digression over). Torture porn, or gorn, and terrible remakes have populated the horror genre in the last 10 years.

Rory Culkin's character tells other characters that the rules have changed--the killer has to be way more extreme, the unexpected is the new cliche, while his friend adds, "virgins can die now." Culkin's character notes that the killer films the kills, and the trailer features shots of Ghostface using a camcorder and an iPhone. The characters are even more hyper-aware--when the killer calls a young girl and asks her if she likes horror movies, she casually passes the phone to another girl in the room. Scream 4 should easily stand on its own, and apart from the first one, because the foundation for the original Scream has disappeared. Williamson uses Culkin to tell the audience that. The question is: what does that mean for Scream 4?

Many people, entirely on the message boards, speculate about the types of kills, and the gore level for each kill. Such things do not concern me as a fan of this franchise. I wonder what Kevin Williamson has up his sleeve. Williamson's a smart guy.

The current horror genre suffers from a lack of imagination. One could argue that making a fourth Scream movie lacks imagination; however, Scream 4 possesses the potential to be an original and imaginative film because Scream is unlike any other horror movie. It can do what other horror movies cannot such as comment on itself and its genre. In his review of Scream, Roger Ebert wrote, Scream is about knowledge of horror movies. With knowledge comes power, and with power comes great responsibility. In this case, that responsibility is: save the horror genre, Williamson. Remind Americans what makes good horror.

NOTE: Due to the Phillies game, my Terriers review won't be up until the AM.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Buffy, The Vampire Slayer--"Some Assembly Required"--Written By Ty King--http://buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/014_scri.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Foot: Review of No Ordinary Family--No Ordinary Vigilante

In an interview recently, Michael Chiklis said that he would've done another dark drama like The Shield; however, no such dramas existed so he chose to play the role of Jim Powell in No Ordinary Family. He described the show in one word--entertainment. Chiklis expressed his desire to work on a show that his entire family could watch together. Indeed, No Ordinary Family is as straightforward and simple a network show can be. The themes are clear, and sometimes beaten over the audience's head. The characters are mostly good. Anti-heroes don't exist or grey areas. Essentially, it's a rather boring series to write about on a weekly basis.

For instance, parents and the relationships with their children was the theme of this week's episode. Jim and Steph (especially Jim) have let their own powers damage their relationships with Daphne and JJ. Stephanie mostly blames Jim for losing sight of the big picture, specifically his role as a father. Before the powers, Stephanie spent too much time at work and, in turn, sacrificed quality time with her children. The roles have been reversed. Jim's become a vigilante and spends too much time away from his son and daughter. His newfound hobby leads to a postponement of a planned camping trip for he and JJ. A series of attacks in the park, and another vigilante, has consumed Jim. The other vigilante continues taking justice into his own hands, which means the guy shoots the attackers. We learn that the vigilante feels responsible for the death of his own (murdered in the park).

The story opens Jim's eyes about his own son. JJ has gotten in trouble at school for his quick improvement. JJ continues to withhold the powers from his parents while using the powers to attain the life he desires. JJ's story is an interesting reversal. Rather than rebel against school and his parents, JJ succeeds in school, succeeds socially, and even makes the football team once his father becomes pre-occupied. Jim and Steph have a sit down with their son to discover the root of the improvement. The situation seems insane. The suspicions of the teacher regarding drug use to become a math genius is absolute nonsense. Eventually, Jim and Stephanie settle down and accept the success JJ has. JJ continues to lie about his superpowers though.

Other notes:

-Daphne sneaks off to a high school party--another lesson the show teaches parents about forging good relationship with their children. The most surprising element of the story belonged to the actor who played the convenience store worker. No idea what his name is but he portrayed Wendell during the first season of Everwood before disappearing. Obviously, he did not land a leading role. Wendell would be included in my Great Characters list if the list returned. Wendell has numerous connections and provided Ephram with his greatest chance to impress Amy in hopes she would soon be smitten. The reason for his interest in helping Ephram and Amy become a couple remains unclear. If I ever have the chance to talk with Greg Berlanti, I will ask him question after question regarding the motives of Wendell.

-Stephanie and Katie stumble upon the possible explanation for the super powers. Unsurprisingly, it relates to the special plant that she's been researching. Also, a man once found great answers about the plant but died. I expect Dr. King and his Syler-esque buddy were behind it.

-Jim Powell, the central character of the show, is fairly unlikable. Not good for the central character, especially when the show WANTS him to be liked.

-How many attacks happened weekly in that damn park? Each time Jim went to be a vigilante, an innocent girl was attacked.

-Ali Adler and Jon Harmon Feldman wrote the episode. Ron Underwood directed it.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Felicity--"Pilot"--Written By J.J. Abrams--http://www.leethomson.myzen.co.uk/Felicity/Felicity_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Foot: Halloween Rewatch--Buffy--"Halloween"

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="410" caption="Credit: thetorchonline.com"][/caption]

Halloween is the one night people can change their identity completely. As Buffy says, it is the "come-as-you-aren't" holiday. My beloved Buffy, The Vampire Slayer's first Halloween episode focuses on that identity aspect of Halloween. Buffy feels insecure about herself, wonders what kind of girls Angel liked as a human teenager, finds out and then dresses as a 18th century noblewoman; meanwhile, Xander is humiliated after Buffy saves him from a punch in the mouth. His masculinity suffered a blow, so he dresses as an Army officer on Halloween. Willow DOES dress in a sexy outfit but prefers to cover herself with the ghost costume. Willow feels uncomfortable and insecure but she's just waiting to break free from her shell. Instead of simply dressing the part, the characters BECOME the part thanks to a spell cast by the villainous Ethan Rayne. The characters become their costumes, in case I wasn't clear.

I've merely outlined the broad beats of the story, and now I will dive into the full episode. Let us begin with our heroine and protagonist, Buffy Anne Summers.

Her insecurities begin when she arrives late for a date with Angel (thanks to slayer duty), and she finds Cordelia, at her most flirtatious, talking to Angel. Buffy is worked from the pumpkin patch fight with the vamp and wants to put a bag over her head. Angel tries to help Buffy feel better but she doesn't. She just wants to be a normal girl--not a girl who thinks about ambush tactics and beheadings instead of nail polish and facials. Despite Angel's best effort, she goes home.

At school the next day, Snyder forces Buffy, Xander and Willow to be volunteers and chaperon young children as they trick-or-treat. Buffy hoped to stay in and veg, since Halloween is the one night of the year the vamps and demons take a break. The forced volunteerism leads to costume buying because costumes are mandatory. Buffy finds the perfect 18th century dress at the costume store, and decides to be the kind of girl Angel liked in 1775. Buffy, of course, only assumes that Angel liked the noblewomen after looking through the Watcher Diaries.

The night begins relatively well until Rayne performs the costume magic, resulting in absolute chaos. Children become demons and vampiries. Buffy becomes less hero and more helpless 18th century girl. She cries and whimpers. The Buffy story is more overt than usual, in a Buffy episode. She even tells Xander that noblewomen are only expected to be pretty and desirable for men in hopes that they'll be married. Willow, earlier in the episode and pre-chaos, reminds Buffy that the right to vote for women is much better than 18th century society. Buffy is the model for the 20th century/modern woman--a strong, independent and absolutely awesome female. The costume chaos helps Buffy reaffirm her sense of Buffy-ness after feeling lousy about herself for half of the episode. Also, it is no surprise when Angel tells Buffy that he hated the noblewomen and found them dull.

Meanwhile, Willow emerges from her shell during the episode. Willow was a wallflower during the first season and the first five episodes of season two. With the encouragement from Buffy, she dresses in a sexy outfit. She temporarily wears a ghost costume until the costume magic happens (transforming her into an actual ghost for a period of time). She walks around in her outfit and becomes the leader when she realizes Buffy and Xander have a sort-of amnesia. Willow keeps her friends safe and together. She also helps Giles discover the person behind the chaos. When the costume chaos ends, she trashes the ghost costume and walks home in her outfit, comfortable in herself. She also catches the eye of Oz.

Other thoughts and notes:

-Xander becomes an army officer and gains closure when he beats up Larry in an alley. Larry is the guy who was going to deliver the punch before Buffy saved the day. Xander's masculinity is saved.

-The darker side of Giles is introduced through Ethan. Ethan calls Giles "ripper." Giles sort of tortures Ethan until he reveals to Giles the way to end the spell. More Ripper backstory occurs in "The Dark Age."

-Carl Ellsworth is the credited writer; however, the episode received a page one rewrite. Ellsworth wrote a first draft, turned it in. After that, he was fired. Some debate remains about who re-wrote it. Many thought Joss Whedon. After brief research, the answer is actually Marti Noxon. Whedonesqe.com is great for this kind of information. Ellsworth has a successful career as a horror screenwriter now. He also worked on Boy Meets World.

-"Halloween" is a fun episode. I watch it yearly and I never stop enjoying it; however, the episode is not my favorite Halloween episode. My favorite Buffy Halloween episode will receive the spotlight very, very soon.

-Bruce Seth Green directed the episode.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Buffy, The Vampire Slayer--"Halloween"--Written By Carl Ellsworth--http://buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/018_scri.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Foot: Halloween Re-Watch w/ANGEL's "Life of The Party (and LCS Picks)

The Great Halloween Re-Watch

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The Series: ANGEL

The Episode: "Life of the Party"

Written By: Ben Edlund

Directed By: Bill Norton

Premise: As Halloween approaches, Lorne throws a Halloween party for all the firm's clients and employees. During the gathering, Lorne's timely advice to his friends starts happening literally, causing mischief. The events lead to more trouble when Lorne's empathic subconscious begins manifesting itself in a hulking demon.

Unlike the Dawson's Creek episodes that earned a spotlight in the Halloween re-watch, I actually watch "Life of the Party" every year around Halloween alongside two Buffy Halloween episodes. And every year, I enjoy the episode. The writers wanted to make a fun and entertaining episode. They did. Even better, Lorne takes center stage in the episode. Obviously, I have a few thoughts to offer.

1. The episode comes from the fifth and final season of the show. The fifth season sort of rebooted the show. The main characters began working for Wolfram & Hart, the evil law firm they've battled the last four seasons. Angel only took the offer to save his son and to give him a new life. Angel, more than any of his friends, suffers an identity crisis for half of the season until Cordelia returns to remind him who he is and what he does. "Life of the Party" is the show's fifth episode so Wesley and Fred have questioned whether or not the move to Wolfram & Hart will result in any actual good. Gunn exists in a grey area because the law firm provided him with a legal upgrade, allowing him to be more than a muscle. Lorne struggles with his place in the new grand scheme, and we learn the struggle takes a heavy toll on the lovable green demon.

The episode deals with the themes of the season in a light-hearted way because the annual Wolfram & Hart Halloween party has arrived. Morale in the company is low because Angel continually kills the firm's own clients or evil employees. The most important clients resist attending because of the new man in charge. Angel has no interest in catering to the demands of the clients nor making them feel secure with the new regime; however, Lorne's behavior changes Angel's mind. For Lorne, Angel will visit the residences of the new clients to attend the Halloween party rather than kill the evil clients.

Angel and Lorne only visit the Archduke Sebassis because the other dominoes will fall if Sebassis agrees to attend. Following a rather uncomfortable and awkward conversation, Sebassis agrees to attend (though the demon will bring an arsenal of demons with him).

Angel isn't the only problem. His friends and co-workers have little interest in attending the Halloween party. Lorne later tells Gunn he had his sleep removed--a bad idea for an empath demon because, without sleep, Lorne begins writing people's destinies rather than reading them. For example, Lorne tells Wesley and Fred to get drunk. Suddenly, Wes and Fred are drunk without drinking a drop of alcohol (well, Wes drank a tiny bit of beer). Lorne tells Spike to think positively, thus Spike becomes the most positive person at the party. Lorne tells Gunn to mark his territory, then Gunn urinates throughout the office. Lorne tells Angel and Eve to get a room to relieve their sexual tension. They do.

The lack of sleep causes his subconscious to manifest. The hulking subconscious of Lorne kills one of Sebassis men, which leads to a brief altercation before the Hulk Lorne breaks it up with his threat of great harm. The subconscious also kills a demon who dressed as a human for Halloween. Wes and Fred restore Lorne's sleep and the subconscious disappears. Afterwards, Wes explains to Angel the meaning of what occurred:
WESLEY

That thing I think it was a manifestation of Lorne's subconscious. It peeled away from his mind, using Lorne's supernatural powers to punch its way into our world.

ANGEL

"Punch" is the right word. Why was it trying to kill everyone?

WESLEY

I don't think it was. It may have just been processing the conflicts that Lorne normally deals with in his sleep, acting out on the emotional responses he has to the people around him.

ANGEL

(notices Eve hang up the phone and head to the door, he stands)

I guess Lorne makes some judgments after all.

Yes, Lorne makes some judgments; however, the conflicts Lorne experiences usually result from resistance from another person. Lorne's intentions always come from a place of good. Lorne tells Angel that he can't fight, do magic but he can create good from a bad situation. Lorne just wants to find his place in Wolfram & Hart--a confusing place where morals are colored grey. Throughout this episode, he experiences resistance from everyone in his effort to bring people together for the possibility of some good. Who can blame his subconcious for going apeshit?

As Lorne falls asleep, he tells Angel that it's hard being the host of the party. Angel simply tells him: "stop trying to be."

2. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker are delightful as the drunken Wes and Fred. Of course, the night ends in disappointment for Wes. Wes has loved Fred for awhile and she's never felt the same. During a drunken embrace, caused by the promise of a closer friendship, Fred asks for Wes' opinion on another guy. Poor Wes.

3. Angel watches hockey in his office during the first half of the party until Lorne interrupts him. David Boreanaz is a huge Flyers fan. I imagine Angel watched the Flyers game.

4. The WB wanted ANGEL to become less serialized in their fifth season, which is why the show received a semi-reboot. The writers craftily planted the seeds for the Big Bad through the first half of the season. In this episode, we hear a few names that will eventually return when the Black Thorn arc begins.

5. Andy Hallett, who portrayed Lorne, died last year. The character of Lorne and his portrayal of the character can always brighten one's gloomy day.

6. Ben Edlund wrote the episode. Bill Norton directed it. Mark J. Goldman edited it.

2010 MLB LCS PREDICTIONS

I went 2-2 in my LDS predictions. I didn't think about the possibility of Cliff Lee pitching Game 5 so, if only I could have that pick back.

New York Yankees over Texas Rangers in 6

I'd like to see Cliff Lee in the World Series but his team will have to avoid a 2-0 deficit before his first start. CJ Wilson's capable of winning Game 1; however, the Yankees are a machine in the post-season. The Twins had no chance besides a few inning in Game 1. Their rotation is solid with the exception of Burnett. Hunter and Lewis will need to step up. Lewis has a devastating change-up. The Rangers play very well in Arlington and the Yanks do not so they could split. I'll be rooting for the Rangers but reason tells me to pick the Yanks.

Philadelphia Phillies over San Francisco Giants in 5

The Phils took care of business in 5 the last two years. I see the trend continuing. The Phils just shut down the best offense in baseball. The Giants will play a ton of small ball but they will need to get on-base first--that could be tougher than you think. The Giants do have power in their lineup and they can manufacture runs. Both teams will need to manufacture runs. The Giants rotation is outstanding. Do not dismiss them. In September, they strung together 17+ games in which they didn't allow more than three runs. Lincecum's the 2-time defending Cy Young winner. Sanchez had a 3.09 ERA this season and threw a no-hitter last season. Matt Cain had a Cole Hamels type year. The run support wasn't there but he can shut teams down (though the Phils have a history of success vs. Cain). Sanchez can get wild but he dominated the Phils in August.

Overall, the Phils are simply better. The pitching is better and the offense is better. The bullpens are relatively even. I can see the Phils having success against Sanchez and Cain--success as in 3-5 runs over the course of multiple innings. With Sanchez, they'll have to work counts. If Sanchez doesn't have his control, good things will happen. The Phils will have to manufacture some runs against Lincecum. I won't be surprised if it's a 0-0 game into extras considering Halladay opposes him.

The Giants are a dangerous team but so were the Dodgers the last two years, and the Phillies took care of business.

The 1942, 43, 44 Cardinals are about to have some company in the history books.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Firefly--"Jaynestown"--Written By Ben Edlund--http://www.fireflywiki.org/106.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Foot: Review of Terriers--Ring A Ding-Ding (Watch This Show)

There is a scene in the latest episode of Terriers, titled "Ring-a-Ding-Ding," that could be considered the transcendent scene of the series thus far--the scene that certified Terriers leap from a good show to a great one. Hank, portrayed by the terrific Donal Logue, finds himself consoling the broken-hearted woman who discovered her husband cheated on her, and she's also dying from cancer.

Beth, the woman, tells Hank that her husband will be sorry when he loses her. The pain washes over Hank's face because he, more than anyone else in that moment, can relate to what this woman (Beth) is feeling. The circumstances surrounding the end of Hank's marriage differ from the circumstances of Beth's marriage; however, the emotion and the grief is all too similar for Hank, who earlier in the episode, attended an engagement party for his ex-wife and personally witnessed how happy she is with someone new. Hank is very sorry he lost the love of his life because he was a drunk, he messed up and he has to live without her. He tells Beth only, "yeah, he will."

For the first time since the LOST finale aired on May 23, it became dusty in The Foot, folks. It got a little dusty as Hank consoled Beth, which means that I'm invested in the characters, their relationships, their world and this series. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I must write about the actual episode before I write about how much I like the show.

Last week's episode placed the Lindus/Montague plot on the bench for a little while so the show could return to the exploration of the characters. The last two episodes of Terriers were particularly difficult to write about in an analytical/english major way because of the structure, tone and subject of the episodes--they were straightforward in their neo-noirishness and, heck, Britt barely had any lines last week. I welcome the break from the central arc of the season because Terriers returned to the great characters.

Marriage and its many complexities was the theme of "Ring A Ding-Ding." As mentioned above, Hank attends the engagement party for his ex-wife and her future husband. Hank's had difficulty accepting the impending marriage. He told Gretchen that he still loves her and used Jason's credit cards in an attempt to paint him as a seedy, shady individual. Hank, as I've noted in the past, has plenty of darkness in him; meanwhile, Britt decides to ask Katie to marry him after listening to speech Jason gives. The decision overwhelms Britt but he knows Katie wants marriage, a baby and Britt realizes that he wants that too.

Throughout the episode, Hank gives Britt advice about marriage, that marriage changes a couple, that marriage is, in a word, complex. The case of the week emphasizes the difficulties a marriage creates. In a nutshell, Beth's husband cheated on her. The husband explains to Hank and Britt that he and Beth's love died years ago; however, after a confrontation with the mistress (and the woman who cut her hair for years and, essentially, took all the stories Beth told in the salon to steal her husband), Beth talks about the promise that every couple makes on the day of their marriage: to love each other until death. And she is devastated because he continued to cheat on her as cancer took over her body. Hank probably sees Gretchen in Beth, a woman who gets hurt because her husband couldn't control himself

Surprisingly, Katie experiences more anxiety than Britt. After class, she attends Karaoke night at a bar with her professor and classmates. Eventually, she ends up in bed with her professor. The next morning, she meets with Hank in a diner to confess what she did. Hank's heartbroken for Britt. Hank tells her to forget the experience, that it never happened (he goes a bit Don Draper on her) because Britt will never forgive her if she told him.

Most importantly, Katie tells Hank that she wants everything that Britt is about to ask of her--she wants to be a wife and a mother but she's scared. Something exists inside her that pushes away that life, that makes Katie feel like she doesn't deserve it. All Hank can do is embrace her as she sobs in his arms and ask her to forget.

Other thoughts and notes:

-The Lindus money is being stored away until the Lindus stuff blows over. Britt wants to use his half for the wedding. Hank has already screwed up with Britt's share. I won't be surprised if Hank botches Britt's share again.

-Laura Allen is terrific as Katie. She looked stunning during the bar scenes and she really brought the pain in the final scene.

-Jason the fiance is a nice guy after all. He lied to Gretchen about the credit cards for the sake of Hank, and Hank finally acknowledges that Jason is a good person and makes Gretchen happy. Of course, he doesn't want to lose her to him. Donal Logue was awesome in this episode.

-Steph is awesome. She had the best lines at the party and a great scrabble scene with Jason. The character still reminds me of River, which is okay.

-The scene at the hair salon, with Hank and Paulo, cracked me up. This show is funny too.

-Angela Kang wrote the episode. Billy Gierhart directed it.

-I love this show. I get excited to watch it every week. The writing is outstanding. The characters are terrific, fully developed and engaging. I hope FX decides to renew Terriers for a second season. I also hope people begin watching.

-Executive producer Shawn Ryan linked this on his twitter: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Terriers-101-Read-This-And-Start-Watching-FX-s-Latest-Must-Watch-Series-27552.html. Read it and watch.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

Terriers--"Pilot"--Written By Ted Griffin

http://www.zen134237.zen.co.uk/Terriers_1x01_-_Pilot.pdf

Go ahead and READ the pilot if you aren't in the mood to watch the filmed product.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Foot: Review of No Ordinary Family--No Ordinary Ring

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The third episode of No Ordinary Family, titled "No Ordinary Ring," accomplished a seemingly impossible thing--a three-and-a-half minute act. And the identity of the show began to emerge during the course of the forty plus minutes of the episode. The show began to extend itself beyond the initial conceit the first two episodes revolved around. The first two episodes largely dealt with the excitement and possibility of the superpowers gained from the plane crash. The writers interspersed the family's dynamics and issues throughout the first two episodes but "No Ordinary Ring" is the first episode that the Powell family as a whole became engaging beyond their superpowers. Well done, show.

The theme of the night was honesty and trust. The Powells have trouble remaining honest and truthful because of the fact they all possess the powers to do extraordinary things.

Daphne finds herself in the center of the lies and dishonesty. She continues having trouble controlling her ability to read minds. An old friend, Megan, briefly hangs out with Daphne until Daphne oversteps her boundaries by addressing something she heard from Megan's mind. The incident frustrates and saddens the girl, who wants to simply be a normal 16 year old girl. The revelation that her own father has been dishonest about his activities (NOBLE activities though) sends Daphne into a teenage fit, determined to tell her friend the entire truth about herself. Daphne cannot though. By the end of the episode, she accepts the reality that she can only be her true self around her family, Katie and George. And as long as her father promises to always be honest, Daphne will be okay.

Daphne also chooses to be dishonest to protect her brother. She cannot be honest with the entire world about what she can do JJ, the possible future supervillian (as predicted by Doc Jensen of EW.com), asks his sister to read a girl's mind to determine whether or not he and his crush share a mutual attraction. The crush does not. She thinks he is a tool. Using the advice George gave her, Daphne makes up a lie to protect JJ. He learns the truth and becomes upset. In case you missed it, being truthful and honest equals good while lies equal bad. The lies the Powells are forced to tell will haunt them by sweeps in all likelihood.

Stephanie, with the help of Katie, breaks into her office after hours to retrieve a blood sample so Stephanie avoids unemployment and prison. Alarmed by the news that Steph has to give a blood sample in order to get her grant for research, Katie gives her own blood as Stephanie's. Steph, indeed, retrieves the blood. Later, Dr. King finds something superpower-ish on the security tape. The plot thickens, friends and well-wishers. Stephanie would be wise to continue lying to Dr. King considering he employs the Sylar-esque killer. And, again, I cannot take Stephen Collins seriously as a villian--not after 48 seasons on 7th Heaven.

Also the ringplot led to a sweet ending between Jim and Steph. Julie Benz looked terrific throughout the episode.

I will now return my full focus to the great Red Wings/Avs game on VS.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

The Searchers--Written By Frank Nugent--http://www.aellea.com/script/searchers.html

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Foot: The Halloween Re-Watch continues

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="479" caption="Yes. The cast of Dawson's Creek circa season two."][/caption]

Television series usually have bad episodes every season. HEROES, for example, had a stunning 60 episode streak of non-stop awfulness. I dare say that no series will ever match this streak that Heroes built in three years. For every other series that produces one or two bad episodes per season, it's understandable because of the rigors of network television. A writing team and production crew responsible for producing 22 episodes per season are bound to produce a Pittsburgh Pirates-esque effort once or twice in twenty two chances. And, then, series become progressively worse the longer the show is on the air, even my beloved Buffy, The Vampire Slayer produced two awful seasons of television in the show's last two years.

I wrote about awful Halloween episodes last week as the intro to the awful Dawson's Creek episode spotlighted that week. Well, folks, Dawson's Creek has its turn once again under the Halloween re-watch extravaganza spotlight. The episode today has a rather interesting behind the scenes story. It is titled "Four Scary Stories." I know the broad beats of the story, so I'll fill in the details with my own guesses.

Veteran TV shows usually earn a full 22 episode pick-up if the show consistently performs well. Dawson's Creek was exactly this type of show for The WB. For the fifth season, the network ordered 22 episodes. The series hadn't produced a Halloween episode since "The Scare" (and even that episode aired the spring) so the network wanted a Halloween episode presumably. The crack team of Dawson's Creek writers (and, actually, the show always had a talented team of writers but they DID write absolute trash) pitched ideas and broke the story. Soon, a script existed then a completed episode.

One problem though: the episode sucked and the network hated it. The WB pulled the episode from sweeps. Now, I am unaware of how much money it cost to produce this episode of Dawson's Creek. If I was a powerful executive at The WB, I would've eaten the episode. I wouldn't have let this one go to air. Instead, the network pushed the air date back and told the producers to re-tool the episode. The Dawson's Creek team re-tooled the episode. The episode ran on December 12, 2001. You, the reader, might think the episode doesn't qualify for the Halloween re-watch. It does, friends. And I watched the entire episode once again for the purposes of this blog.

"Four Scary Stories" finds Joey, Jack and Pacey returning from a night at the cinema. The three complain about the lack of actual scares in horror movies. Jack suggests Hollywood forgot that the scariest things are usually the ones most possible. So, these three characters are going to tell scary stories that will actually be scary. Over the next 39 minutes, the audience is subjected to the worst scary stories ever written. The stories lack thrills and scares while the resolutions make zero sense. A character remarking that the story scared him or her does not actually make the story scary. Also, the title character of the show does not appear in the episode. Of course, once Kevin Williamson left the show, it became Joey Potter's show. I digress.

Joey, during the teaser, complains about the lack of originality in today's horror films. Naturally, her "scary' story lacks originality. On Halloween night, she goes to the library to read for a class. Apparently, Joey has a class full of classmates who do nothing but study since she tells Audrey Halloween is the lone night she can get the material. Audrey tells Joey that a recent string of attacks on young women happened in the library. Joey, somehow, doesn't know this. I guess this university is the only one without any security updates for the students. Boy this episode sucks.

While studying, an older man with an odd demeanor eats peanuts and reads the paper. A few hours later, the man continues eating peanuts. Joey's freaked. Peanut man politely asks for a pen. Joey says sure. She asks the man behind the desk (not a librarian because the university apparently doesn't employ them) about the older man. Young guy says he's okay then hands her the call numbers for the reading she needs. As she searches for the books, the older man freaks her out. She runs. This continues for 4-5 minutes until we find out the young guy was responsible for the attacks and the older man is actually a cop. It's awful. I could go on about the gaps in logic but why bother?

The second "scary" story belongs to Jack. It's a terrible ghost story. Jack, apparently, time-travels using the frat house bathroom to the 50's where he encounters the ghost of a frat guy who was hazed terribly for being gay--it's actually relevant to what's going on and being reported around the country; however, the story is neither scary nor well-written.

The third "scary" story belongs to Pacey. A few years before this episode, Joshua Jackson had a role in Urban Legend. I imagine the writers thought putting Pacey in an urban legend would be neat. It's the classic high-beams story except the story is terribly done. The car chases Pacey and a tertiary female character. They stop a diner full of characters you'd see in a bad horror movie. Back on the road, Pacey manages to get the car off the road. He and tertiary female character approach the car with a bat but the car is empty. NO ONE WAS DRIVING IT. I hate this episode.

The fourth "scary" story belongs to Jen though Grams tells the tale. Grams warns the tale terrified Jen so much that she cannot bear to re-live the tale.

Now, I wonder if the actors were allowed to read the entire script. How could they not feel embarrassed when asked to sell this one story as terrifying? Pacey even remarks, "that is a scary story." It isn't. Full of nonsense? Yes. Confusing? You betchya.

The gist of Jen's terrifying experience: she worked the late night shift, went outside, locked herself out because she left her keys in the room. Jen thought using a trash can was wiser. She walks down an empty alley. A mannequin falls in front of her. She's spooked. She re-enters, finds her ID card (that fell on the ground) on her desk. A voice whispers "Jennifer" and then the mannequin crashes through the glass as the scene returns to Grams' house where the trio of self-involved characters sit, spooked.

I've watched this particular episode a number of times because I am foolish. The last one remains complete nonsense. This episode wouldn't get a passing grade in a creative writing class. It breaks many rules.

And many people got paid for THIS. And, for your viewing pleasure, HERE IT IS:











SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

The Faculty--Written By Kevin Williamson

http://www.horrorlair.com/movies/scripts/The-Faculty.pdf

The screenplay for the underrated 1998 The Faculty.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Kill or Be Killed" Review


The difference between good and evil, as portrayed by Nina Dobrev, comes down to a kiss. As Elena, she delivers sweet, gentle kisses to her boyfriend. As Katherine, the badass vampire, she attacks like an animal with her kiss. Katherine sure knows how to use her feminine wiles to her advantage. Any supernatural male falls head over heels for her and will, literally, kill and maim for the girl. The writers, intentionally or unintentionally, have sort of defined the show's take on good and evil. Elena's the quintessence of the noble heroine while Katherine is, simply, not. Katherine uses her sexuality as power.

The Vampire Diaries is a show full of strong and powerful female characters--but complicated characters with complicated relationships. The latest episode of this show, titled "Kill or Be Killed," brought Elena, Caroline and Liz to the forefront. Caroline and her mother, Liz, have had a rocky relationship since the series began. The relationship becomes more broken by episode's end, while Damon's foreshadowing two weeks ago about the Katherine-ness that resides in Elena comes to brief fruition when Caroline reveals she hasn't been honest with Elena.

Following last week's fun encounter with Damon, Mason makes a brief truce with Stefan; however, Mason quickly breaks the truce when he approaches Liz about the vampires residing in the town at the Park Opening Thing (every episode features a town event that brings the characters into one place). Mason wants the Salvatore brothers killed. Liz, a member of the Founder's Council and devoted to the elimination of vampires, listens to Mason. Together, they concoct a plan. Liz, through a little girl, gives Damon a glass of lemonade that actually consists of vervain. Damon and Stefan blame Mason for the vervain cup and corner him in the woods; however, Liz and two cops take the vampires out and brings them both to a basement on the Lockwood property to kill them.

Since Damon and Stefan are two of the most important characters on the show, they don't die. The kidnapping, or whatever you want to call it, leads to substantial plot development. Damon and Liz are friends, and the incident tests the friendship. Liz, a woman set in her beliefs and unwilling to see a vampire beyond their vampire nature, betrays the friendship through her actions. Damon, for all of his vices, is an extremely loyal friend unless a friend (Elena) rejects his advances, leading to the murder of her brother. I digress. Damon will not kill Liz because she is his friend. Liz asks to die too. This request happens after Liz discovers her own daughter is a vampire. Caroline hesitates to save the brothers because she doesn't want to further fracture an already fragile relationship but she sacrifices the relationship for Damon and Stefan. The other development involves Stefan and his realization that he needs human blood. The vervain and wood nearly killed him because he's weak without human blood. Stefan realizes he must build a tolerance to the blood, through small drops daily, if he has a chance of beating Katherine. The revelation leads to a brief discord in his relationship with Elena; however, she accepts it after Damon opens her eyes. And, hey, Elena began forgiving Damon.

As for the Katherine-ness that resides in Elena, there were moments during her conversation with Caroline when I wondered if it was Katherine. I look forward to the development of this potential darkness that exists in Elena. I look forward to more information about a doppelganger means in this TVD world.

On the werewolf front, Tyler gave Mason the moonstone at the end of the episode. Tyler nearly kills a girl accidentally. Some conflict exists in this character. He's torn between retaining his complete humanity or giving into the werewolf that exists in his genes.

"Kill or Be Killed" was a well-written episode--my favorite episode since episode two of the season. I always appreciate progress in the story and various plots. When TVD is written and executed like this episode, I'm a big fan of the show.

Other thoughts:

-Did Mason really think it was a good idea to deliver a spine-buster on concrete to his own friend who was obviously drunk, thus killing him? TVD, sometimes, takes the convenient path in their narratives like the town hosting some festival that brings each character together. The writers needed to reveal how Mason killed to get the curse and it felt sloppy.

-Caroline was awesome in the woods when Mason transformed into massive d-bag. He got his ass handed to him. I even applauded what happened on my screen.

-Michael Daneils wrote the episode. Jeff Woolnough directed it.

THE GREAT HALLOWEEN EPISODE/MOVIE RE-WATCH

The re-watch returns, friends and well-wishers.

Today's episode comes from Buffy, The Vampire Slayer--the sixth season, to be exact. The Whedonverse delivered terrific Halloween episodes and each episode will get the spotlight in The Foot. The sixth season's Halloween episode, titled "All The Way," is my least favorite of the Halloween episodes. But it's a good episode. I have four quick things to say about the episode before I link the screenplay and the actual episode (courtesy of YouTube).

1. "All The Way" is actually a coming-of-age story for Dawn. Halloween has a prominent place in the episode, with all of the costumes and trick-or-treaters. But there are no haunted frats or people becoming what they dressed as for Halloween. Dawn tells a lie in order to spend the night with her friend and two boys. The four act like teenagers on Halloween, destroying pumpkins and mailboxes. Dawn and the one boy, Justin, establish a connection. She has a first kiss with him. Unfortunately, he and his friend are vampires. The night ends with Dawn slaying her first vampire as well. After a season in which she was defined by one thing--she was the key--this episode establishes Dawn's identity as a teenager. She, like many others, can't figure out if someone she likes will stay nice or turn out to be a rotten person. With vampires, it's always the latter.

2. Anya has the best line of the episode (in an episode with some good ones). At the end of a successful day in retail, she teaches Dawn the dance of capitalist superiority.

3. The only party in the episode is an improptu engagement party for Xander and Anya. Costumes are worn because no one changed after dressing up for the Halloween sales at the Magic Box. The episode calls back to previous Halloween episodes and the rules established such as: creatures of the night don't go out on Halloween because they find it much too crass. I love this show.

4. This is one of the least depressing episodes in a season defined by how depressing it is. Steven S. DeKnight wrote the episode--one of my favorite screenwriters working today. A few years ago, I was able to correspond with him briefly on myspace.com. DeKnight is now the showrunner for Spartacus. I recommend reading the actual screenplay. Each time you read the word "schmuck bait," take a shot of vitamin D milk. It's a fun script to read. Buffy scripts usually are. The wit isn't limited to the dialogue. Great script.

Also, the kid who played Beans on Even Stevens has a cameo in this. If I ever bring back the great characters list, Beans from Even Stevens is definitely on the list.

HERE IS THE LINK for the screenplay: http://buffyworld.com/buffy/scripts/106_scri.html

And "All The Way" in 4 Parts:









THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Foot: Review of Terriers--Manifest Destiny

The masses have NOT flocked to watch Terriers on FX. Five episodes in and the ratings aren't great. I see it now: another great show cancelled while One Tree Hill gets renewed for a 32nd season, or another season of the Kardashians or Jersey Shore goes into production. Low viewership killed Party Down--the funniest American half-hour comedy since Arrested Development. FX is completely in support of Terriers. On network television, executives might gun for a show's death for whatever reason. On cable, the executives respect the show they've spent time and money to produce, market, advertise, etc. Unfortunately, more people need to watch to keep a show alive. Terriers will definitely complete the first season; however, the second season is a question mark.

Terriers continues to get better each and every week. "Manifest Destiny" continued where last week's episode left off. Hank and Britt had Lindus' corpse, Gustafson took heat from his bosses because Lindus was freed, and much more dangerous men wanted the papers Lindus possessed. Hank and Britt needed to find a way out of a few unpleasant situations. Once they freed themselves from immediate danger, the Montague case became much more than Hank anticipated. While he said the case is closed, the man won't let Montague get away with whatever they are dumping. Hank's an anti-hero, yes, but the key word is hero.

This was a Hank episode. Michael Raymond-James barely had any lines. Donal Logue dominated the screen. Britt did most of the physical work, including creating the crash scene, returning to the crash scene to place the papers in Lindus' jacket while Hank came face-to-face with the bad man, Mr. Zeitland and his henchman. And the writers presented a different Hank this week.

The last few episode portrayed Hank Dolworth at his worst--very selfish regardless of the consequences. The behavior led to two deaths. This week, with the threat against the people he loves established by Zeitland, Hank is at a crossroads. If he hands the papers to Montague, personally, he could be kill. If he doesn't, he and Britt will be killed along with everyone they love. In the pilot, Ted Griffin established Hank as a man who protects the people he cares about. Hank became involved in the messy situation because of Mickey. Hank took Lindus on directly in an effort to find the person who murdered his friend. Hank will not behave stupidly. He and Britt return to the crash scene to plant the papers in Lindus' jacket, which allows the company to craft a story in which they plead ignorance to whatever toxins Lindus funded in the development. Hank and Britt, meanwhile, protect themselves and their loved ones from death. It's not the ideal solution for Hank, a man who HATES letting the bad guys get away with crimes. But he had to protect his sister and Gretchen--his ex that he still loves.

The arc came to a temporary conclusion but it will most certainly be revisited by season's end. Steph tells Hank that the papers are bullshit, that cancer wasn't in the ground. Regardless of what Hank says, even he knows the case isn't yet closed.

Rian Johnson directed "Manifest Destiny." Johnson directed the awesome Brick as well as The Brothers Bloom. Terriers in his wheelhouse. Lesley Headland wrote the episode.

And guess what? Hulu is streaming every episode of the series. So watch, get caught up then watch weekly on FX. Terriers is head-to-head with Boardwalk Empire for Best New Show.

SCREENPLAY OF THE DAY

1408--Written By Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski

http://www.horrorlair.com/movies/scripts/1408.pdf

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK

About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.