Monday, June 24, 2013

Netflix Files: Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Derek Connolly
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Mark Duplass, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Rating: R
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars!

Hello faithful readers! My last post from a few days back has not performed as well as I'd hoped in number of views, so I'm already back with a vengeance! I decided to mix it up and put out a review on something I'd watched on Netflix. I felt this makes watcing the topic film easier, should someone who reads this be interested in doing so! I will continue to post both archives, Netflix indulgences, and (should you be interested) new movies, since I've been to the theatre almost every weekend this summer!

Last night, my fiancee, my brother, and myself went to Little Caesar's (did you know that you can get a pizza, crazy bread, and a 2-liter for ten bucks?! Crazy!) and then returned to my humble abode to scour Netflix for something interesting to to watch while eating (since the two always seem to go hand in hand now a days). I mostly use Netflix for TV shows (I'm amidst a slow watch-through of Arrested Development Season 4 and a slightly quicker trip through Supernatural), but after a little debate through the movies on my instant queue (there aren't many) we settled on Safety Not Guaranteed.

Initially, I was excited about the film for two reasons. I saw Colin Trevorrow directed, and he was attached to directing Jurassic Park 4, and the other was that I'm a huge Parks and Recreation fan, and Aubrey Plaza is a huge part of that experience for me! Now..forward!


A magazine reporter, Jeff (Jake Johnson; 21 Jump Street), recruits a couple of interns Darius (Aubrey Plaza; Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Arnau (Karan Soni; Betas) to follow a story about a classified ad placed in the newspaper. The ad is searching for a time-travel partner. Following said lead, the trio eventually stumble onto the ad writer, Kenneth (Mark Duplass: Zero Dark Thirty) and must figure out how to approach him.

Thoughts (What I Liked):

Initially I was worried, because the first five minutes indicated that Aubrey Plaza was just playing April Ludgate in a movie. Don't get me wrong, that would be awesome, but I didn't think it fit. Don't worry, her character begins to differ as the movie progresses.

I thought (hoped) that Mary Lynn Rajskub (24) would have played a bigger part as the magazine editor, but the part she did bring to the table was perfect. In the end, I hoped for a little more screen time for her, but she was fantastic nonetheless!

Mark Duplass' Kenneth was great. He was like a little smarter, more together version of Napoleon Dynamite. I kind of envision him as a "plays Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! in the cafeteria" kind of guy, and I was not disappointed. I spent the entire film wondering whether or not he was a genius or a complete nut-job, and I'm still not sure I know for certain. I can tell, however, that the director and writer intended it that way, and I loved it!

One of my personal highlights of the film is Jeff, the reporter. At the beginning, all signs point to this guy being a huge scumbag. He uses this business trip to visit an ex-girlfriend, has the interns do his work for him, and seems to be nothing more than a shallow individual. However, as the movie progresses, Jeff becomes more self-aware, and the redemption for his character is subtle but charming. I hated him at the beginning, but loved him by the end. Jake Johnson did a fantastic job.

Thoughts Pt. II (What I Didn't Like):

I've never been very good at eloquently stating what I don't like about a movie, and I often don't write reviews of films I don't like (or at least haven't in a good while). This film was good, I might even go so far as to say great, but at the end of the 86 minute film, I was only bugged by one thing (Well, one overarching thing).

I loved the ending, which wrapped up the stories well (enough) for both Kenneth and Darius, but I wanted to know more! I wanted to learn about Jeff's life, which seemed to be approached with a new perspective following the trip. I wanted to know more about Arnau in general. I want to know more about everything Kenneth and Darius did after the movie ended. Don't get me wrong, I loved the film, and the mark of a great storyteller is to leave you wanting more. So, in that vein, I say "Bravo"! Well done Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, and friends. You left me wanting oh-so-much more. But in that same line of thought, with an 86 minute movie, you have at least 20 minutes to play with before your film becomes "kinda long". So I'm glad I was left wanting more, but I think the writer and director could've granted it within reason.

In Conclusion:

This film is great. It isn't for kids, and the R rating obviously comes from the 2 (or 3, or 4...I can't remember) F-bombs dropped throughout, but aside from that is really pretty tame. If you were to subtract the aforementioned F-bombs, it would be an easy PG-13. I really enjoyed it. It's simple, fun, thought provoking, and funny. Plaza, Duplass, and Johnson really shine, and Rajskub and the other supporting players really fit well. Ultimately, if you have 86 minutes to kill in between the Netflix Tv Series' that you watch, I'd recommend you use them for this! It isn't life changing, but it's well done!

Thanks so much for reading as always, folks. I'm still looking for new ideas, film recommendations, and ways to increase my readership. I appreciate my readers as always, and hope to keep feeding the blog soon. Please, please, PLEASE send me feedback, via comment, facebook, twitter, anything, and I'd also encourage you to subscribe via RSS if you want to be updated via email when I update the blog! I want to hear your ideas for this blog, too! A blog is nothing without its readers! Thanks guys! God bless!!


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Great Muppet Caper

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
Directed by: Jim Henson
Written by: Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses, Jerry Juhl, Jack Rose
Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Diana Rigg, Charles Grodin
Rating: G
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

Viewing platform: DVD

Hello friends. I'm in the process of doing a lot of other things currently, which include working full-time, a full-time relationship with my betrothed, and a part-time gig playing the Scarecrow in a production of "The Wizard of OZ". That's one of my dream roles, but the worst part is that I'm unable to consistently get movie watching time. I've mostly been seeing movies in the theater, actually, but I'm trying to stick to the niche that makes my blog unique! Of course, if my readership would like to read new movie reviews, I am all about that, but I'll try to stick to a "You should rent/borrow/watch on netflix" kind of dynamic otherwise.

This post has actually just been sitting in my "pending posts" for awhile, and my most recent viewing isn't terribly fresh, but to be perfectly honest, I've seen this movie probably 50+ times, so I think I'll be okay. This film is my favorite of the Muppet movies, though not the most often remembered. My next favorite is 2011's The Muppets starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams, but I'm sure I'll get to that one eventually!


Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson; The Muppet Movie), Gonzo (Dave Goelz; The Muppets), and Fozzie the Bear (Frank Oz; Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) are off to rocky starts in their journalism careers, so they decide to follow a story about a jewel theft to London. The prize jewels of Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg; Game of Thrones) were stolen, and our trio intends to interview her, but instead mistake her receptionist, Miss Piggy (also voiced by Oz) for Lady Holiday herself. Kermit complicates his professional endeavor when he falls for Miss Piggy (as he often does) and it is further complicated by Lady Holiday's brother, Nicky (Charles Grodin; Beethoven). Ultimately, Kermit and the gang (including all your favorite Muppets) must sort all this out and stop another heist in the process!!


My thoughts are: you should immediately rent this movie! (There's more, but seriously. Watch it!)

My favorite element of this film (aside from the Kermit/Piggy/Nicky love triangle) is the writing. I think the jokes are all fantastic, whether corny or otherwise, and I find it all fantastically clever. I have been watching this movie since I was a child, and I still laugh out loud every time I watch it (of course, I do that with a lot of things, so...grain of salt)! Of course, when I watched this as a child, I had a tad different sense of humor (Spoiler Alert: Gonzo jumps in front of a taxi) but still, it appeals to a broad audience!

As previously mentioned, another of my favorite elements is the triangle between the long-beloved couple, Kermit and Miss Piggy, and odd man out Nicky Holiday. Grodin plays Holiday with as much conviction as a Muppet movie can have, and all in all it makes for a very interesting scenario. Plus, you get a sweet operatic love ballad out of it!

One of the best parts of all the Muppet films through the years has been the celebrity cameos. In this particular film (which was released nearly 8 years before I was born), I have not quite appreciated them as I have in others. In my older, wiser (?!) years, however, I've come to appreciate the cameos of Jack Warden (The Replacements), Peter Ustinov (Spartacus), Peter Falk (The Princess Bride), John Cleese (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and of course, Oscar the Grouch (Sesame Street). I didn't understand the degree to which most of these folks had celebrity back then, but I get it now. I'm sure that in 22 years, the new Muppet fans won't get it, either!

Final Thoughts:

If you haven't gotten this impression from me already, watch this movie. If you are a Muppet fan of any kind, appreciate good writing for young audiences, or even just want 95 minutes of relatively quiet time with your kids, wife, grandparents, mailman or second cousin, you will enjoy it. That's the Archives Report guarantee. It's not often that I endorse G-rated movies (which have lost something over the years) but I'm in full support of this family endeavor!!
I welcome all of your feedback, as always, and hopefull will start to get more entries in as my schedule opens up! I love you all! Thanks for reading!

God Bless!


Post Script:

I'm trying to get more traffic to this blog, and I'm looking for ideas on how to do that. If you have any ideas on that front, or if you have some special topic you'd like to read here, PLEASE send me your ideas! Thanks so much!!