REVIEW: 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of The Apes)
Kristen Johnston (ugly Betty)
French Stewart (Mom)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jane Curtin (The Heat)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Elmarie Wendel (Rumpelstiltskin)
Simbi Khali (Plump Fiction)
Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park)
Ian Lithgow (Rice Girl)
David DeLuise (Stargate SG.1)
Chris Hogan (Grounded For Life)
Danielle Nicolet (The Flash 2014)
Jennifer Rhodes (Charmed)
Marnette Patterson (American Sniper)
Dan Gilvezan (Transformers)
Marla Sokoloff (Fuller House)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Michael Milhoan (That 70s Show)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Lindsey Haun (Shrooms)
Shay Astar (All Cheerleaders Die)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
John Mahoney (Frasier)
Bronson Pinchot (Risky Business)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Lois Foraker (Child’s Play 3)
Ileen Getz (That 70s Show)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
John D’Aquino (Seaquest)
Richard McGonagle (500 Days of Summer)

3rd Rock From the Sun is one of the richest and hilarious television comedies to air. The series first aired in 1996 and lasted for a total of six seasons. The show molds science fiction into a sitcom and the results are a blast. A team of aliens from Mars take on human form in Rutherford, Ohio and integrate themselves into the local populace. Their goal is to learn everything they can about humans in a couple of days. Of course, it turns out humans are much more complex than expected and the team of aliens decide to stay a while longer. This first season is a great start to the series and with each episode, it only gets better.The strongest aspect of this show is its cast. They are remarkable together. From the very first episode, it is apparent how well they interact and play off of each other. Also as individuals they bring something special. The main attraction comes from John Lithgow’s role as Dr. Dick Solomon. Dick is the high commander and in charge of the other aliens. As a human, he assumes a role as a college professor of physics. Lithgow does his character well by providing great body language and delivering dialogue in a manner that just makes you smile. His lieutenant and second in command is Sally Solomon (Kristen Johnston). Sally can be an absolute riot, especially in the earlier episodes when she is coming to terms with being a female and all of the “things” that come with it. Harry Solomon (French Stewart), the transmitter/receiver, is another great character. He fills the oblivious to the obvious role for the show. Harry can be dumb, but it is always funny and never annoying like some characters in other series get because of overacting. In Harry’s case, Stewart fulfills his character to a tee. The last of the aliens is Tommy Solomon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the senior information officer and oldest alien of the group. Oddly enough, he ends up the young teenage boy with raging hormones. The struggle he endures as a wise old alien and a young teenage makes for a very interesting character.

Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin). She is a professor of anthropology and shares an office with Dick. I wouldn’t count Curtin as a particularly funny person, but when she goes toe to toe with Lithgow, the outcome is always hilarious. The two have a wonderful chemistry together and they turn some of the lightest material into something wonderful. Nina Campbell (Simbi Khali) is also a fun character. She is Dick and Mary’s secretary and adds a tough personality to keep Dick in and his neurotic behavior in check when at the office. Additionally this season has Mamie Dubcek (Elmarie Wendel), the Solomon’s cigarette smoking landlord and a couple appearances from Officer Don (Wayne Knight), who turns out to be an odd love interest for Sally in future seasons.These characters are the true strength of this series and their development as both individuals and as a group really make this first season shine. Since the four alien characters are relatively new and have no experience with human society, there is a lot of different material and directions for the characters to take. The initial episodes are really a handful, because none of the aliens are prepared or really understand the emotional states that come with their human bodies.For instance, watching Sally take on a feminine role and lifestyle is great. The alien has the personality to be more masculine than feminine, which makes for a funny result and Johnston carries the character well. Similarly, Tommy is a teenage boy going through puberty, but his alien personality wants him to be an old and wise man. Harry’s focus is also a riot. Unlike Dick, Sally, and Tommy, he doesn’t seem to have a real purpose. There are some hilarious events with him doing some pretty pointless (but funny) things with the hope to find out who he is.All of the alien characters are quite fun to watch in the early stages of the season. Since they have no experience with anything, their reaction to some of the simplest things is fun. In most cases it’s because they overreact. This especially goes for Dick. He turns some pretty dull situations into a laugh fest as he tries to understand and seeks guidance from Mary, Nina, and even some of his students from his physics class. There is also plenty of character development with the human characters and it can be a lot of fun. It is mainly watching both Mary and Nina slowly learn to understand Dick and his neurotic behaviour.As for individual episodes, it’s hard to pick out the best, because they are all quite good. The season premiere episode “Brains and Eggs” is worth noting. Obviously, it’s an important episode because it features when the Solomon’s first appeared in Rutherford, Ohio. The characters are introduced and the hilarious tone is set for the remainder of the season. The next episode “Post-Nasal Dick” is also a blast. The Solomon’s catch a common cold and being new to the human form, they fail to realize it is not fatal. “Dick Is From Mars, Sally Is From Venus” is another solid episode where the beautiful Sally goes out on her first date and gets the devastating “I’ll call you”. The episode “Lonely Dick” guest stars Phil Hartman and he does not fail to produce laughs. The “The Dicks They Are A Changin'” is simply ingenious. Mary comes to believe Dick is a man she knew in the 60s. The fun part about this episode is how her attitude towards Dick takes a 180. In “I Enjoy Being A Dick”, Dick dresses in drag, enough said. “Dick Like Me” is also a pretty remarkable episode that covers racial diversity. It tackles such a serious issue in a fun light hearted manner. Dick believes you can pick your ethnicity at will. Under such an assumption, the Solomon’s try out just about every ethnicity possible and their attempts aren’t well received, but it should still make you laugh.Overall the first season of 3rd Rock From the Sun is so funny it’s classic. This first season mixes together a great cast and puts them into one hilarious situation after another. The characters, their interaction and development, are incorporated into the stories quite well. If you enjoy great sitcoms, 3rd Rock From the Sun: Season 1 is a must own DVD box set.3rd Rock From the Sun is a show that is hard not to love. It loosely mixes science fiction with comedy and makes for a hilarious sitcom. Of course, this is mostly due to a tremendous cast. The characters are played out well and they interact together with excellent chemistry. The twenty episodes in this first season have some pretty ordinary situations turned into something out of the ordinary, which is a blast. The bottom line, whether you are new to the series or familiar with it, 3rd Rock From the Sun: Season 1 is worth every penny.

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REVIEW: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEETBALLS

CAST

Anna Faris (Mom)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
James Caan (Elf)
Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Mt. T (The A-Team)
Bobbie J. Thompson (Role Models)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Al Roker (Sharknado 4)
Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls)
Will Forte (Macgruber)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Ariel Winter (Modern Family)

Flint Lockwood is a wannabe-scientist who lives in Swallow Falls, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that has sardines as the base of its economy. Flint lives with Tim, his widowed technophobic father who misunderstands his son’s talent, and his pet monkey, Steve. Despite Flint’s zealous enthusiasm, his inventions, including spray-on shoes, a remote controlled television, rat birds, hair-un-balder, and a flying car, all ended in failure. Flint states that his dream was to help his hometown and that Swallow Falls used to be famous for sardines until the popular Baby Brent Sardine cannery went out of business permanently.Flint then invents a machine that transforms water into food, called the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (FLDSMDFR). Flint turns on the FLDSMDFR in his laboratory, but ends up overloading the house’s electrical supply. He then decides to power the machine by hooking it up to a nearby power plant. When he turns the machine back on, it ends up rocketing through town, causing widespread damage, ultimately shooting up into the sky. While recovering from his failure, Flint meets Samantha “Sam” Sparks, a weather intern whose big break was foiled by Flint’s actions. Their conversation is cut short when rainbow colored clouds float over the town and begin to rain cheeseburgers.
The town rejoices in their renewed food choices, and Flint creates a communication device to send orders to the machine and order it to create different types of food. Swallow Falls (now renamed Chewandswallow) suddenly becomes a successful “food tourism” destination. Everything is going well until the townsfolk start greedily requesting food from Flint’s machine. Flint notices that the food is beginning to grow larger in size. Although he is concerned that the food is starting to “over mutate”, the now morbidly obese mayor sees it as profitable for him and the city, and guilts Flint into continuing to make food rain.
Citizens and worldly tourists in Chewandswallow are blissful until suddenly a large tornado formed of spaghetti and meatballs threatens the town. Flint rushes to his lab to turn the FLDSMDFR off and attempts to send a “kill code” to stop the machine, but the mayor, while trying to stop him by throwing a giant radish at him, accidentally destroys the communication device before he can do it. With Flint unable to control the machine, a massive food storm is created which threatens the world. When Flint’s father encourages him to fix the mess, Flint gains self-confidence, places the kill code in a USB flash drive, and builds a new flying car to reach and deactivate the FLDSMDFR, with the aid of Sam, her cameraman Manny, Steve and Brent (namesake of the Baby Brent Sardine cannery). As they approach the machine in the sky, they find that it is now at the core of a giant meatball, where clouds go in the top and a food hurricane goes out the bottom. The machine sends sentient food to attack them. In the chaos, the flash drive with the kill code is sucked by the wind out the window. Back at Chewandswallow, the citizens and tourists escape while the last leftovers fall. Mt. Leftovers collapses, causing an avalanche of food that destroys the town. Despite the avalanche ravaging Flint’s Lab, Tim manages to re-send the kill code to Flint’s cell phone from there. Flint then goes inside the meatball, finds the machine, and connects the phone to a port. To his dismay, Flint discovers that Tim sent him the wrong file, so he is unable to stop the FLDSMDFR. Flint then gets an idea and uses his Spray-On Shoes formula on the machine, causing it to explode. With the machine destroyed, the food storm subsides and everyone is able to return safely to Chewandswallow. Tim finally shows his appreciation for his son and his inventions before Flint and Sam celebrate with a kiss. Meanwhile, the obese mayor is seen stranded in the middle of the sea, having eaten nearly all of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich boat, while muttering that his plans were not well thought out.Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs took me by surprise, I went into it expecting an average computer generated movie incomparable with today’s best of the genre and came out astonished by the sheer creativity oozing from every aspect of the film.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BAD SANTA

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CAST
Billy Bob Thornton (Eagle Eye)
Lauren Graham (Evan Almighty)
Tony Cox (Guns, Girls and Gambling)
Brett Kelly (Dead Like Me)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Bernie Mac (Mr. 3000)
John Ritter (Bride of Chucky)
Ajay Naidu (The Guru)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Ethan Phillips (Critters)
Cloris Leachman (Wonder Woman)
Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his dwarfed assistant Marcus (Tony Cox) are professional thieves. Every year, Willie disguises himself as a department store Santa Claus and Marcus disguises himself as an elf in order for both of them to rob shopping malls blind at night. Willie is an alcoholic, a sex addict, and is gradually unable to perform his Santa duties appropriately with children, much to Marcus’ dismay. When they are hired at the fictional Saguaro Square Mall in Phoenix, the vulgar remarks made by Willie shock the prudish mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who brings it to the attention of security chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac).
At the mall, Willie is visited by Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a friendly but exceedingly naive and gullible, overweight boy who thinks Willie is really Santa. The boy is a target of taunt and torment from a skateboarding gang. At a bar, Willie meets Sue (Lauren Graham), a woman with a Santa Claus fetish, and they begin a sexual relationship. Willie is harassed by a man in the bar, but Thurman intervenes. Willie gives Thurman a ride home, then enters the boy’s house where he lives with his senile grandmother (Cloris Leachman). Thurman reveals that his mother died, and his father, Roger, is away “exploring mountains” (meaning he is actually in jail for embezzlement) until next year. Willie tricks Thurman into letting him steal from the house safe and steals a BMW owned by Thurman’s father.
Bob informs Gin that he overheard Willie having sex with a woman in a mall dressing room; Gin starts to investigate. Willie goes to his motel room and sees it being raided, causing him to take advantage of Thurman’s naivete and live in his house. The next day, Marcus gets angry at Willie for taking advantage of Thurman, stating his disapproval of Willie’s sex addiction.
Gin’s investigation of Willie includes visiting Thurman’s imprisoned father, who reveals that Willie is staying with Thurman illegally. He confronts Willie at the mall, and takes him and Marcus to a bar. There, he reveals that he has figured out their plan, blackmailing them for half of the cut to keep silent.
Willie attempts to commit suicide by inhaling vehicle exhaust fumes. He gives Thurman a letter to give to the police, confessing all his misdeeds. Willie notices Thurman’s black eye, which persuades him to make an example of the skateboarding bully. A renewed sense of purpose for Willie has him attempt to train Thurman in boxing. Enraged at Gin for blackmailing him, Marcus and his wife Lois (Lauren Tom) set up a trap for Gin, feigning needing a jump start for their vehicle from Gin’s. Lois hits Gin with the car, then Marcus kills him.
On Christmas Eve, when the heist is almost complete, Willie goes to get Thurman a pink stuffed elephant that he had wanted for Christmas. Just as he gets the elephant, Marcus reveals to Willie that he intends to kill him, fed up with his increasing carelessness. Lois tells him to hurry up and kill Willie so they can get away with the money and merchandise. But just as Marcus is about to shoot Willie, the police swarm the trio, tipped off by the letter Willie gave to Thurman. When Marcus opens fire, the police shoot at him and Willie flees. Determined to give Thurman his present, he leads the police on a chase to Thurman’s house, ignoring orders to freeze. He is repeatedly shot on Thurman’s porch, but survives.
The epilogue is told through a letter from Willie, who is in a hospital recovering. He expresses his gratitude for Thurman in giving the letter to the police and his name was cleared of unarmed robbery. Shooting an unarmed Santa embarrassed the police, and Sue is granted guardianship over Thurman and his house until Thurman’s father, Roger, is released. Willie also explains that Marcus (identified as Santa’s Little Helper) and Lois are serving time behind bars for their actions, while expressing hope Roger is wise to avoid the two. The movie ends with Thurman finally standing up to his bully by kicking him in the crotch causing him to fall to the ground. Thurman is seen riding his bike away flipping off the bully.
Bad Santa is not a film for those easily offended, however it does manage to be genuinely funny, and makes a welcome diversion for adults.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 1-5

Image result for family guy tv logo

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Lori Alan (Wall-E)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Billy West (Futurama)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Fairuza Balk (Almost Famous)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Victoria Principal (Blind Witness)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Sam Waterson (Law & Order)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Norm MacDonald (Billy Madison)
Candice Bergman (Gandhi)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Faith Ford (Hope & Faith)
Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Gary Cole (One Hour Photo)
Luke Perry (The Fifth Element)
Adam Carolla (Wreck-It Ralph)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
June Foray (Mulan)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacet)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Valerie Bertinelli (Hot In Cleveland)
Tony Danza (Who’s The Boss?)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peter Riegert (The Mask)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry Maguire)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Judd Hirsch (The Big Bang Theory)
Indigo (Weeds)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Cloris Leachman (The Iron Giant)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Jessica Biel (Stealth)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Gabrielle Union (Flashforward)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
Sherman Hemsley (Lois & Clark)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Carol Channing (The Love Boat)
Jay Leno (The Simpsons)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Kate Jackson (Charlies Angels)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)

Out of the small animation boom that happened several years ago came “Family Guy”, one of the most hilarious and controversial shows that Fox has aired

For those unfamiliar with the show, it focuses on the Griffin family, residents of Quahog, Rhode Island. Peter (creator Seth MacFarlane) is the heavy-drinking father who works in a toy factory, Lois (Alex Borstein of “Mad TV”) is the calm leader, Meg (Mila Kunis of “That 70’s Show” and Lacey Chabert for the earlier episodes) is the insecure daughter, Chris (Seth Green) the chubby and dim-witted son, Brian (MacFarlane) is the alcoholic dog who talks and Stewie (creator Seth MacFarlane earned an Emmy for his voice work on the character) is the diabolical baby who is bent on world domination.The first two volumes of the show on DVD offers both the first season and half of the second seasons of the show and gives viewers who missed it another chance to witness some of “Family Guy”‘s most brilliant moments. “E. Peterbus Unum” has Peter breaking off from Quahog to form his own country when he finds out that his house is a blank spot on the map. When confronted after breaking the law, he gets out of it due to diplomatic immunity (“like that guy in ‘Lethal Weapon 2′”, says Peter). “The Son Also Draws” has Peter and Chris going on a Vision Quest when they lose their car at an Indian casino. When the trees start chatting with Peter, he asks, “If one of you falls, and no one’s around, does it make a noise?” The tree responds, “Are you kidding? Scott fell last week, and he hasn’t shut up about it since.” In “Death Is a Bitch”, Death (voiced by Norm MacDonald) comes after Peter after he fakes death to get out of paying his hospital bill. When Death sprains his ankle, Peter has to take over. “Da Boom” has the family searching for food (they dismiss a potential house after they find out Randy Newman is there, singing about everything he sees) after information hears about the world nearly coming to an end after Y2K turns out to be true.

“Family Guy” remained remarkably politically incorrect throughout its original run, but most of the jokes were rolling-on-the-floor funny because they were throwaway, including one exchange between Peter and Brian: “Brian, there’s a message in my Alpha Bits. It says “OOOOOO”!”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.” Every episode of the show was packed with such minor gags, most of which were successful and unexpected. The show’s voice talent, especially MacFarlane, Kunis and Green, handled the material with perfect comedic timing.

This second DVD volume of the series includes second half of season two and all of third season of the series, along with the controversial episode, “Wish Upon a Weinstein”, where Peter tries to get Chris to become Jewish because he believes he’ll be successful if he does. The plots of season three still get laughs fairly often, although I don’t think they reach the inspired heights of earlier episodes, such as the one where Peter’s house became its own country or lead his family towards a twinkie factory after the apocalypse.

Still, there are certainly some highlights throughout many of the episodes. In “Peter Griffin: Husband, Father…Brother?” Peter takes Chris to an Irish Heritage Museum to learn more about his heritage, where both find out that, before alcohol, Ireland was a futuristic utopia. “Mr. Saturday Knight” has Peter working at Quahog’s Renaissance Faire as a jouster when his boss accidentally dies at dinner. His competition is the Black Knight, brilliantly voiced by Will Farrell. “Thin White Line” and “Brian Does Hollywood” have Brian overdoing his new job as drug sniffing police dog, then running off to Hollywood and ending up with a job directing porn (at the adult awards in the episode, John Williams is one of the composers nominated for Best Original Score). In “Lethal Weapons”, Peter uses Lois’s newfound fighting skills to drive out New Yorkers who come up to Rhode Island just to stare at the leaves changing color.

Rude, crude and often hilarious, “Family Guy” saw fit to offend just about every group, but did so in a way that was sharp, funny and wonderfully absurd.Often brilliant, extremely witty and darkly hilarious, “Family Guy” was unfortunately cancelled after season three Fox bumped it around six or seven different time slots. Although this third season wasn’t as consistent as the first two, it’s still hilarious and fans of the show should definitely pick up this terrific set. thankfully a few years later the show would return for a fourth and become a constant.

Back on the air after an unprecedented un-cancellation, “Family Guy” had a slight bit of leeway in its return. Fans were rabid for some new episodes, while the network that had cancelled it once wasn’t likely to do so again and risk being considered foolish twice-over. As a result, there was a chance to experiment and try something new, and expand the horizons of the show. Or, they could choose to keep doing the same thing they did before, which is exactly the choice they made.

In a way, it was the smart choice. Why mess with a good thing, when you could keep making the kind of show the fans fell in love with and bought rapidly on DVD. The un-PC content is still in place, along with the pop-culture references, cut-aways and nonsensical characters. Call-backs to old favorites, like Herbert the old molester and the evil monkey were good, but the shows tended to settle into ruts. A love of musicals is appreciated, but is it funny every time a character breaks into song, as in “Jungle Love”

This set has some very good episodes in this set, starting with “Petarded,” which sees Peter declared mentally retarded. The ways he takes advantage of this status is classic “Family Guy” material, while the musical montage here, involving phone calls all over town, is actually quite funny. Plus, the appearance of the Greased-Up Deaf Guy gave hope that the creators still had that sense of the bizarre in them.

But if any moment stands out among this run, it’s the supermarket scene in “Breaking Out is Hard to Do.” When Chris is pulled into the “Take On Me” video by A-Ha, it’s a perfect blend of what this show does best, combining nonsense, the ’80s and some neat animation. The lead-in, the punchline and the execution of the whole scene is handled so well that it might be one of the show’s most memorable ever.If there’s a real reason for fans of the show to own this set, it’s provided in the extras. According to the commentaries, there are scenes included that were produced for the show that the creators knew would be cut, but did them with the intent of including them on DVD. I’m not certain what scenes were added, but there are several lines that would have been questionable for network TV. Also included are uncensored audio tracks that were bleeped on TV. It’s certainly a welcome change having the series presented as they were intended, instead of chopped up as so many shows are on DVD.

Among the 14 episodes in this set is a number of funny moments, normally involving either Lois or Chris, though neither enjoys a spotlight episode. Instead, Peter powers a couple of inspired shows, starting with “PTV,” a sharp rebuttal of the FCC’s assault on broadcast standards. As a fan of entertainment for adults, the crippling of language by the government certainly needs to be skewered. Peter’s revolutionary instincts crop up again in “The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz.” It delivers an entertaining parody of religion, as Peter forms a faith based around Henry Winkler’s “Happy Days” character, with about as valid a basis as most religions.
comedy. There’s some good stuff in here, culled from the 14 episodes, including some subplots that were cut. They are joined by three featurettes that look behind the scenes of the show. The first is a simple one, as supervising director Peter Shin shows how to draw Stewie. Straightforward, but a bit interesting. “A Director’s Life: Debunking the Myth” spends almost 15 minutes looking at the job of the directors on the show, explaining in detail what they do to make the series go. It’s rather good and shows how much goes into making animation.

I enjoy sitting down with a set of “Family Guy” episodes, thanks to the voices and rather lush animation, another great set thou some fans might be confused with the season box sets not watching the actual seasons but once you figure out the numbering its

REVIEW: EVAN ALMIGHTY

 

CAST

Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Lauren Graham (Bad Santa)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks 2)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting..)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
Graham Phillips (The Good Wife)
Jimmy Bennett (orphan)
Ed Helms (The Hangover)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Dean Norris (Terminator 2)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Jon Stewart (The Faculty)
Catherine Bell (JAG)

Newly elected to Congress, former local television news reporter Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) leaves his hometown of Buffalo, New York and moves to suburban northern Virginia, where his congressional campaign declares that he will change the world. Evan prays to God (Morgan Freeman) to give him this opportunity. On the other hand, his wife, Joan (Lauren Graham), expresses her concern about the new location and prays that she, Evan, and their three sons (Jimmy Bennett, Graham Phillips, and Johnny Simmons) will be closer together as a family. On the first day of his job, Evan is given a prime office space, where he is accompanied by his three congressional staffers, Rita, Marty, and Eugene (Wanda Sykes, Jonah Hill, John Michael Higgins), and invited to co-sponsor the Public Land Act bill with his boss, Chuck Long (John Goodman). Soon after Evan’s arrival to Congress, six strange things start to happen around him:His alarm clock repeatedly goes off at 6:14 a.m. Ancient tools and gopher wood are delivered to his house. Pairs of animals simply follow Evan without any apparent reason (with birds even flying into his office through the window). Evan grows a beard that immediately reappears no matter how many times he shaves. Eight vacant lots in Evan’s neighborhood are purchased in his name.The number “614” increasingly appears everywhere he goes.Evan soon learns that the number refers to the verse in the Book of Genesis, where God instructs Noah to build an Ark in preparation for a flood. God repeatedly appears in various guises before finally revealing himself to Evan, cordially insisting that Evan should build an Ark as well. God explains to Evan that a flood is coming, and that the only opportunity Evan will have to change the world is by saving his community instead. God also tells Evan to inform others about the flood should they ask him later. Evan’s family initially believes that he is having a mid-life crisis. Later, his three sons suspect something greater is occurring and assist him, along with various animals, in the construction of the Ark, although Joan does not. The fully constructed ark is at the center of the image with a downcast sky. A large ramp on the left side of the image is leading up into the ark. In the foreground of the image is a paved street.

Animals eventually follow Evan to Congress. When Long discovers this, he allows Evan latitude at first, but warns him that he will no longer tolerate it if it happens again in the future. Meanwhile, Evan’s staffers are outraged by his change in appearance and behavior. When Evan returns to the Ark, God presents him with a robe, and later tells him that the flood will likely come at midday on September 22. When Joan becomes suspicious of his behavior, Evan tells her the truth: God has been talking to him and is responsible for his new looks and recent actions, although Joan does not believe Evan and is convinced that he is beginning to lose his mind. After wearing the robe for some time, Evan finds it comfortable, but soon realizes that God will not allow him to take it off and wear anything else after two failed tries to change his clothes later. The next time Evan arrives at Congress, animals follow him once again.

Once Evan finally explains his reason for this, his facial hair, and his robe, he is temporarily suspended from Congress after humiliating himself in front of many witnesses. Long later removes Evan from the Public Land Act bill that he is co-sponsoring with him. Joan watches the news on television and initially believes that Evan is going insane, and decides to return to her mother’s home. Joan packs up her van and takes her sons to come with her, much to their reluctance. Evan deduces that God purposely had him suspended from Congress so that he would have more time to build the Ark, although Joan remains skeptical and departs. Evan decides to build the Ark alone, gaining media attention and public ridicule, as hundreds of animals assemble in pairs. Meanwhile, God appears to Joan as a waiter at a diner, wearing a name tag displaying “Al Mighty”. In this guise, God listens to Joan as she picks up the newspaper she was reading and shows it to him, which mocks Evan and features him building the Ark. Joan explains that Evan claims that God asked him to do it, but she is concerned that Evan is only losing his sanity and allowing himself to become the laughingstock of the neighborhood. Sympathetic toward Evan, God tells Joan that perhaps it is an opportunity for him, and explains that he himself does not give things but only the opportunity by which to obtain things, citing togetherness of families as one of these things. Seeing God’s meaning, Joan returns to Evan with new-found faith and helps him and the animals finish the Ark together in order to prepare for the flood. Meanwhile, word reaches Evan that Long has commissioned a dam and has cut corners in doing so.On September 22, Evan loads hundreds of animals onto the newly finished Ark in front of spectators and live news crews, who continue to mock him. Later, Long and the policemen arrive with a wrecking ball crew and try to destroy the Ark, since it violates numerous building codes. Minutes pass with no sign of rain, provoking spectator scorn. A large rainstorm does come, but it is brief. Joan asks Evan to leave the Ark and believes that maybe God did not mean a literal flood, but a metaphorical one. However, Evan witness Long’s dam burst from the distance, causing all of the spectators, reporters, and policemen to immediately seek refuge in the Ark, which rides the flood through the streets and landmarks of Washington, D.C.. The Ark reaches its final destination in front of the Capitol, which disrupts the vote on the Public Land Act bill. Evan tells Long that the flood was caused by his poor design of the dam, which incites other Congressmen also present to turn against Long.

After Congress puts the Public Land Act bill on hold to investigate Long’s defective dam and the animals returning to their natural habitat, Evan is given his job back with a promotion, and celebrates these events by finally shaving his beard, changing back into his regular clothes, and going on a long-promised hiking trip with his family. When God reappears once again during the hike, Evan is initially disappointed when he realizes that he never needed to build the Ark again in the first place, since the flood only happened because of Long’s defective dam. However, God reassures Evan that he now has a perfect life as well as everything that he had originally prayed for, and that this would not have happened otherwise. Evan is happy to realize this, as God informs him that the right way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness (ARK) at a time. During the film’s closing credits, God issues a new commandment to the outgoing audience: “Thou shalt do the dance”, and later follow by the footage where the film’s cast and crew dance to “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory.

Evan Almighty is predictable on every turn, and has enough humor to satisfy. The animals do their part to provide a fair share of fecal humor. Morgan Freeman offers up plenty of wisdom in the role of God. Steve Carell does an exceptionally adequate job of delivering very humorous dialogue, which in his style is sure to be adlibbed in great part. The sheer amounts of animals in this film are overwhelming and a treat to behold. Overall the storyline and humor feel very cliché. Evan Almighty was a mild success, but just does not offer anything special apart from a few good laughs.