25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SAVED!

CAST
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Mandy Moore (License To Wed)
Macaulay Culkin (Party Monsters(
Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl)
Heather Matarazzo (Hostel – Part II)
Eva Amurri Martino (New Girl)
Chad Faust (Heroes)
Elizabeth Thai (Andromeda)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Mary-Louise Parker (Red)
Kett Turton (Wrath of The Titans)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Aaron Douglas (The Mentor)
Valerie Bertinelli (One Day at a Time)
Teenager Mary Cummings (Jena Malone), who has “been born again her whole life,” is about to enter her senior year at American Eagle Christian High School near Baltimore. She and her two best friends, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) and Veronica (Elizabeth Thai), have formed a girl group called the Christian Jewels. Mary’s “perfect Christian boyfriend” Dean Withers (Chad Faust) tells her, as they’re swimming underwater, that he thinks he’s gay. In her shock, Mary hits her head in the pool and has a vision in which Jesus tells her that she must do everything she can to help Dean. Hoping for a sign, Mary goes to a shooting range with Hilary Faye, who has a “spiritual solution for everything” and tells Mary (not knowing about the situation with Dean) that if all else fails, Jesus could still restore their “spiritual and emotional virginity.” Believing that Jesus will restore her purity, Mary sacrifices her virginity to have sex with Dean in an attempt to restore his heterosexuality.
saved-1
Despite Mary’s efforts, when she comes by Dean’s house on the morning of the first day of school, Dean’s parents tell her that they found gay pornography under his bed and that they’re sending him to Mercy House, a Christian treatment center. Mary tells her friends, as well as Hilary’s brother Roland (Macaulay Culkin), who uses a wheelchair, about Dean’s homosexuality, and makes them promise to keep it a secret. When they arrive at school, they see Cassandra Edelstein (Eva Amurri), the school’s only Jewish student and a rebel who despises Hilary. In homeroom, Mary meets new student Patrick (Patrick Fugit), the son of the school’s principal, Pastor Skip Wheeler (Martin Donovan), a skateboarder who has been doing missionary work (through skateboarding) in South America. Mary tries to put up a good front at the assembly, in which Cassandra fakes speaking in tongues in order to get under the skins of the other students.
Mary soon realizes that she is pregnant from her encounter with Dean. When she goes to Planned Parenthood to confirm the pregnancy, she is seen by Roland and Cassandra. Roland reveals that he isn’t really a Christian, unlike his fanatically religious sister. Cassandra reveals she’s only at American Eagle after being thrown out of her old school and decided she could “handle the freaks” at American Eagle over being homeschooled by her parents. Roland and Cassandra bond over their shared skepticism. Mary finds out that she’s not due to give birth until after her high school graduation and decides to hide her condition from her friends and family until then. However, she feels forsaken by Jesus and loses her faith, causing her to be ostracized by Hilary and replaced in the Christian Jewels with a previously unpopular girl, Tia (Heather Matarazzo), who’s been struggling to get into the Christian Jewels for years. Later, after Pastor Skip gets word about Mary, he tells the Jewels to help Mary regain her faith, but they seem to misunderstand him and stop Mary in the street and try to exorcise her of demons instead.
By Christmas, Mary is still hiding her pregnancy. Cassandra mocks her about it when they are alone in the bathroom, but when she realizes Mary’s anguish, Cassandra changes her tone and offers her support. They cut school with Roland, and the three of them become good friends. When they run into Patrick and Hilary at the mall, Cassandra distracts Hilary (pretending she wants to be converted) while Patrick and Mary sneak away and Patrick confesses his feelings for Mary. Pastor Skip warns his son when they’re at home together against dating Mary, even as Pastor Skip (still married to his wife, although they live separate lives) has been secretly dating Mary’s mother, Lillian (Mary-Louise Parker).
A few months later, after multiple fights at school between Hilary Faye and Cassandra, Pastor Skip puts Roland, Cassandra and Mary on the school prom committee (chaired by Hilary Faye) to punish them. While working together, Patrick asks Mary to go with him to the prom, which Mary accepts, but as friends. Later that day, Roland and Cassandra get their hands on a picture of a younger, much heavier, and much more awkward Hilary Faye and load it onto the desktop of every computer in the school. The next day, someone vandalizes the school with graffiti. Mary and Cassandra are initially the prime suspects, and to their shock the spray cans are found in their lockers. While searching the lockers with the Jewels looking on, Mary’s homeroom teacher finds a sonogram of Mary’s baby. She tries to hide it, but it drops to the ground in front of Pastor Skip’s feet. Cassandra is expelled from school, while Mary is banned from the prom.
Pastor Skip tells Lillian that he will break off their relationship if she doesn’t send Mary to Mercy House. Lillian decides that she’s going to send Mary away, saying that it’s the best thing for Mary and the baby, but secretly because she doesn’t want Skip to break up with her. Despite being banned, Cassandra and Roland scheme to go to prom and to bring Mary with them, providing her with a dress and inviting Patrick to meet them. Roland also finds that Hilary Faye charged several cans of spray paint to her credit card just hours before the attack—indicating that she was the one who spray-painted the school.
Hilary Faye, Tia and Veronica head to the prom. On their way in, Tia finds a credit-card receipt for the spray paint—signed by Hilary Faye, revealing that Hilary did, in fact, spray-paint the school. When Mary, Patrick, Cassandra and Roland arrive, Hilary attempts to have Mary and Cassandra thrown out, but Pastor Skip decides to let them stay. The four then accuse Hilary Faye of committing the vandalism herself and framing Mary and Cassandra for it as revenge for humiliating her. Hilary Faye attempts to swear before God that she is innocent, but Tia, fed up with Hilary Faye’s lies and hypocrisy, reveals the signed receipt to everyone, exposing Hilary as the true vandal. Veronica turns on Hilary as well, calling her a fake.Eva Amurri Martino and Martin Donovan in Saved! (2004)As the now-exposed Hilary Faye flees with the others in pursuit, Dean suddenly arrives with other teenagers from Mercy House. Dean is surprised, but not upset, by Mary’s pregnancy; he meets Patrick warmly, and Mary is similarly accepting towards Dean’s roommate/boyfriend Mitch. Pastor Skip tries to send the new arrivals back to Mercy House, but they refuse, and Mary and her friends support them. Suddenly, Hilary crashes her van into the school’s huge effigy of Jesus. Realizing what she has done, she breaks down in tears of regret. Cassandra shows some sympathy towards Hilary, feeling sorry for her. As paramedics arrive to the accident scene, Mary abruptly goes into labor and is taken to the hospital.
In her hospital room, Mary’s and Dean’s friends and family crowd around the baby girl, while Pastor Skip waits outside debating whether to come in. In a voice-over, Mary tells the audience how she has returned to believing in a God who loves and helps the ones that love and help others in need.
Jena Malone in Saved! (2004)
It’s a brilliantly funny but also has underlying moral issues about Christianity and acceptance and deals with many different types of problems facing adolescents, from disability to underage pregnancy

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 9

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Jason Segel and Sherri Shepherd in How I Met Your Mother (2005)RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sherri Shepherd (Precious)
Wayne Brady (Foodfight!)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Robert Belushi (Devil’s Due)
Roger Bart (Good Trouble)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Adam Paul (One For The Money)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Lucy Hale (Truth Or Dare)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Jon Heder (School for Scoundrals)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Emily Chang (The Vampire Diaries)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)

Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of season nine takes place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall, who is stuck in Minnesota, desperately tries to find a way to get to the wedding in time. Meanwhile, in Farhampton, the time is slowly counting down to the wedding, with a new problem arising in almost every episode. It is revealed that Lily is pregnant and that she and Marshall will have a daughter. It was also revealed that Ted’s children are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother’s eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and the Mother together in flash forward scenes.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decide to divorce. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one-night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted’s wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to the first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the blue French horn.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Season 9 may have a controversial ending but it’s nice to see a show have a proper ending with so many shows ending early they often fail to finish. How I Met You Mother proved it could stay the distance and the ending will be talked about for years to come.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 5

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina: TTW)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Matt Jones (Mom)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Sarah Wright (American Made)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
JoAnna Garcia Swisher (The Internship)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)
Benjamin Koldyke (The Finest Hours)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Amanda Peet (Identity)
Larry Poindexter (17 Again)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Carrie Underwood (Soul Surfer)
Jennifer Lopez (The Cell)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Brooke Nevin (Scorpion)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: TVS)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted begins his job as a professor of architecture, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he’s in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as “two friends getting back together.” Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don Frank (Benjamin Koldyke), her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his children.Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having children. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe’s “infinite wisdom” and start trying when they have seen Barney’s Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney’s doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to “put a baby in my belly”.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Another great season which leaves you wanting to find out what happens next in season 6.

 

 

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 3

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Curtis Armstronng (American Dad)
Brenda Song (Dads)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Jon Lovitz (Happiness)
Taye Diggs (Go)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)
Jessica Chaffin (The HEat)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Ben Falcone (Enough Said)
June Diane Raphael (Year One0
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Prince (Graffiti Bridge)
Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch)
Stevie Nelson (The Mad Ones)
Kerri Kenney (Wanderlust)
Rob Reiner (EDTV)

Zooey Deschanel, Mark Proksch, Angela Kinsey, and Dreama Walker in New Girl (2011)Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back. Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Damon Wayans, Jr. (Let’s be Cops)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Lauren Dair Owens (Astrid Clover)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In a World…)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Mom)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: TVS)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Conjuring)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Katrina Bowden (Piranha 3DD)
Annalise Basso (Ouija: Orin of Evil)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Ian Wolterstorff in New Girl (2011)There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.