REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: 10 YEARS LATER

CAST

Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
H. Jon Benjamin (22 Jump Street)
Michael Ian Black (Wedding Daze)
Janeane Garofalo (Dogma)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
A. D. Miles (Role Models)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Amy Poehler (Free Birds)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Adam Scott (Krmapus)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
David Wain (Wanderlust)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Paul Scheer (Piranha)
Josh Charles (The Ex)
Kristen Wiig (Ghostbusters)
Rich Sommer (Grilfriend’s Day)
Eric Nenninger (Jeepers Creepers II)
John Early (Bad Neighbors 2)
Chris Pine (star Trek)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Mark Feuerstein (Once and Again)
Sarah Burns (Married)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Joey Bragg (Fred 3)
Anne-Marie Johnson (Suicide Dolls)
Chris Redd (empire)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Maya Erskine (Betas)
Marlo Thomas (LOL)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)

wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-paul-rudd-marguerite-moreau“Andy, you are 26 years old. What is wrong with you! When are you going to grow up? We can’t be teenagers forever.” That above quote is said to Paul Rudd’s Andy Fleckner as a simple gag. It pokes fun at the actual age of the actors that are playing these characters, but therein also lies the central “flaw” of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. As fun as all of these camp shenanigans may be, these people can’t just continue doing this forever. However, this is at least something that the series is well aware of and embraces wholeheartedly. It’s bonkers that Ten Years Later even happened at all. One prequel season was a surprising gift in itself. This is the extra marshmallow in the s’more. If last season was the unexpected reunion tour, then this is the sloppy, drunken after party that follows. Sure, it’s less polished, but it’s all dessert anyway.wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-episode-4-lunch-knife-renata-alyssa-milano-michael-ian-black-review-guide-listMuch like First Day of Camp, this season takes this eclectic group of campers and puts them back into Camp Firewood, only now it’s ten years later as opposed to the beginning of their adventure. First Day of Camp does some glorious dot connecting to David Wain’s 2001 cult classic film, while also pulling off deep inside baseball jokes, like the introduction of Jim Stansel or seeing the birth of the anthem, “Higher and Higher.” Obviously with this new season taking place after everything, there’s little to few dots that need to be connected now, which as a result does lead to the trivial feeling that’s sometimes present through this season. Make no mistake, this is all undeniably a great time, but there’s not the same sort of satisfaction to be derived from the material this time around.ajh6scyuze0gpcrgcjueWhile the last installment was about building connections, this one is very much about breaking them to pieces and starting anew, which is only fitting considering this season revolves around Camp Firewood being literally torn down. The fun is in seeing the radical places that everyone has ended up rather than marveling at their clever origin stories. In that sense, the first episode spends the majority of its time simply introducing everyone and catching up the audience.untitledIn an eight-episode season this might feel like a bit of a waste, but with dozens of characters, what are they supposed to do here? The only real answer it to have a longer season, but with First Day of Camp also being a mere eight episodes, that seems to be the pattern that these guys are following. The season certainly could have used a few more episodes this time though. Similarly, this season—more than last season—really feels like it should be watched in one sitting like a long movie. Doing so would even help some of the material flow a little better, too. None of the many storylines feel rushed and everything is given enough time to breathe. It’s a real delicate balancing act that never shows its hand. The characters deal with the insecurity over who they’ve turned into through the years, however everyone is going through this same problem. At their core, they’re still those ridiculous teenagers from summer camp, and so are these actors, no matter how old they are. That’s sort of the point here.wethotmamericansummer-10yearslater-adamscottTen Years Later also gleefully wallows in glorious ‘90s jokes to make sure that the audience never forgets exactly when this season is taking place. It’s also probably the only place you’re going to hear Laura San Giacomo get brought up any time soon. First Day of Camp had this same sort of fun with the ‘80s, but this season is much more meta than the material’s ever been before. There’s also supernatural weirdness afoot too because of course there is. Elements like hidden nuclear fallout shelters entering the mix are so crazy, yet oddly fitting. This universe slowly stretching its boundaries has allowed for insane developments to seem plausible.1498150156458Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later might spend a little too much time roasting on the campfire, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable endeavor that showcases a bunch of exemplary comedians who have now been laughing together for decades.

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REVIEW: SWEET HOME ALABAMA

CAST

Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)
Josh Lucas (Hulk)
Patrick Dempsey (Transformers 3)
Ethan Embry (Can’t Hardly Wait)
Mary Kay Place (The Big Chill)
Fred Ward (Chain Reaction)
Candice Bergen (Boston Legal)
Jean Smart (The Accountant)
Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire)
Melanie Lynsky (Heavenly Creatures)
Courtney Gains (Children of The Corn)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Rhona Mitra (Underwolrd 3)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Sean Bridgers (Nell)

The film opens on a stormy Alabama beach with two children, Melanie Smooter and Jake Perry. Jake has brought Melanie out to show her the glass sculptures that result when sand is struck by lightning. They discuss their future together, with Jake asserting they will be married one day. In the present day, Melanie has changed her last name to Carmichael, a rich local family, to hide her poor Southern roots. She is a successful up-and-coming fashion designer in New York City. After becoming engaged to Andrew, Melanie goes home alone to Alabama to tell her parents. In reality she is going to procure a divorce from her estranged husband Jake. Andrew’s mother, the Mayor of New York, expresses doubt that Melanie is good enough for her son, whom she is grooming to eventually run for President of the United States. In Alabama, Melanie asks Jake why he has returned the divorce papers unsigned for the last seven years, but he orders her out of his house, eventually calling the sheriff (another childhood friend) to intervene. When Melanie’s father brings her home from the station she announces her engagement. Hoping to spur Jake to sign the papers, Melanie empties out his checking account, after learning that her name is still on it. Jake says he will sign the papers in the morning, lamenting “nobody finds their soulmate when they’re ten years old”. Following Jake to a local bar, Melanie gets drunk and embarrasses herself in front of her childhood friends, expressing disgust at their lifestyle, confessing that Jake got her pregnant as teens and outing a mutual friend, Bobby Ray Carmichael. When Melanie wakes up the next morning, the divorce papers are lying on her bed, finally signed by Jake.Melanie visits the Carmichael plantation to apologize to Bobby Ray, where she is cornered by a private detective sent to dig up dirt for the mayor. Realizing her predicament, Bobby Ray pretends to be her cousin, backing up her pretense that this is her childhood home. Melanie soon reconciles with her other friends, and learns that Jake followed her to New York City to win her back—intimidated by the size of Manhattan, he returned home determined to make something of himself first. Melanie now realizes why Jake never signed the divorce papers. Andrew arrives at the Carmichael Plantation to surprise Melanie. Jake takes him to a Civil War reenactment, where Melanie is with her father. On the way, knowing who Andrew is, Jake regales him with the story of “Felony” Melanie Smooter, a young girl who once tied dynamite to a cat’s tail and then was arrested after it ran into the bank. When Andrew sees Melanie at the battlefield, she tells him Jake is her ex-husband. When her father introduces himself as Earl Smooter, Andrew realizes that Melanie has lied to him about who she really is and leaves. Andrew soon appears at Melanie’s parents’ house, having gotten over the shock and admitting he still wants to marry her, here in Alabama.Once Melanie’s friends from New York arrive, they browse at a glazier whose wares they all have admired in New York, only to realize it is Jake.

Melanie’s lawyer interrupts the wedding ceremony, bringing the divorce papers that Melanie herself has missed signing. Melanie hesitates, realizing her love for Jake. She wishes Andrew luck in finding a good woman. Andrew, distressed but showing no ill-feelings, wishes her well in return. His mother explodes, berating Andrew for risking his promising political career and verbally attacking Melanie. She then insults the town and Melanie’s mother, for which Melanie punches her in the jaw, to the cheers of the crowd. Melanie, in her wedding gown in the rain, finds Jake planting metal rods in the beach to draw lighting to create more sand sculptures. She tells him they are still married, and asks why he didn’t tell her he came to New York. They repeat the conversation from when they were children about why they want to be married. As Jake and Melanie kiss, sheriff Wade “arrests” them and takes them to the bar owned by Jake’s mother, where their friends and family are waiting. The pair finally get their long-awaited first dance as husband and wife, to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. A mid-credits sequence shows that they have a daughter, Melanie continues to thrive as a designer and Jake opens a “Deep South Glass” franchise in New York.The concept and plot is very smart, when the tone is told with humour even in situations that are serious. In fact, if the movie hadn’t had humor, it would of fallen apart. The humor is lifting the story to a little more than just good. It is so fun, so full of genial and amusing characters, excellent acting and an excellent ending.

REVIEW: I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THE WORLD ANYMORE

CAST

Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)
Gary Anthony Williams (The Internship)
Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe)
Devon Gaye (Dexter)
Jeb Berrier (Grimm)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Lee Eddy (Day 5)
Robert Longstreet (Take Shelter)
Michelle Moreno (No Postage Necessary)
Jana Lee Hamblin (Portlandia)

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (which honestly needs a new title) stars the endlessly charming Melanie Lynskey  as Ruth, a woman who is fed up with people being assholes. It’s that simple. One day, she comes home to find that her house has been broken into, with the thieves having stolen her laptop, a set of silver she inherited from her grandmother, and some prescription medication for depression and anxiety. When it becomes clear that the police are basically doing nothing to help her, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Ruth doesn’t go on this adventure alone though. You see, one of the assholes that Ruth was fed up with was Tony (Elijah Wood), a guy who lives in her neighborhood and constantly lets his dog shit in her yard without cleaning it up. This is a guy with tinted prescription sunglasses, a rat tail, and a keen interest in martial arts weapons. But with no one else willing to help her, Tony is all she has. So off they go, tracking down the shady criminals who stole all of Ruth’s stuff. What follows is darkly funny thriller in the same vein of the Coen Brothers, with flairs of The Big Lebowski and Fargo, and an array of violence that is on par with Saulnier’s Blue Ruin and Green Room. The odd humor mixed with the surprisingly brutal violence creates an interesting dichotomy that is never boring, though it is occasionally jarring. The film as a whole is not quite as polished or refined as the grim but amusing thrillers of Joel & Ethan Coen, but the combination of comedy and brutality is clearly intentional and purposeful, even if it doesn’t always mesh well.What makes the film work better than it otherwise might be is the eclectic cast. Melanie Lynskey is always outstanding, and this movie is no exception. The turn of Ruth from jaded nurse to vigilante seems like an outlandish one, but Lysnkey brings such a genuine performance to the table that the movie never feels overtly goofy. Elijah Wood as her peculiar sidekick is quite the scene stealer, coming through with some impressive physical comedy to accompany his masterful characterization of Tony. And the three criminals played by Devon Graye, Jane Levy and David Yow are endlessly creepy without becoming caricatures.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore acts as a parable that beckons for people to just stop being so shitty to each other. But it also cautions us to think harder about how we choose to deal with toxic people who would treat us so poorly. And if society’s perpetual carelessness for how we treat each other results in the same kind of brutally, bloody climax on display in this movie, we should probably heed Macon Blair’s warning.

REVIEW: THE FRIGHTENERS

CAST

Michael J. Fox (Back to The Future)
Tina Alvarado (American Playhouse)
Peter Dobson (Modern Girls)
John Astin (The Addams Family)
Dee Wallace (E.T.)
Jeffrey Combs (Fortress)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)
R. Lee Ermey (Apocalypse Now)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Cleopatra 2525)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
John Sumner (District 9)
Jim McLarty (Evil Dead)
Anthony Ray Parker (The Matrix)
John Leigh (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)

In 1990, architect Frank Bannister’s (Michael J. Fox) wife, Debra, dies in a car accident. He abandons his profession, and his unfinished “dream house” sits incomplete. Following the accident, Frank gained the power to see ghosts and befriends three: 1970s street gangster Cyrus (Chi McBride), 1950s nerd Stuart (Jim Fyfe), and The Judge (John Astin), a gunslinger from the Old West. The ghosts haunt houses so Frank can then “exorcise” them for a fee. Most locals consider him a con man.

Soon after Frank cons local health nut Ray Lynskey (Peter Dobson) and his wife Lucy (Trini Alvarado), a physician, Ray dies of a heart attack. Frank discovers there is an entity, appearing as the Grim Reaper, killing people, first marking numbers on their foreheads that only Frank sees. Debra had a similar number when she was found.

Frank’s ability to foretell the murders puts him under suspicion with the police and FBI agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs), who is convinced Frank is responsible. Frank is arrested for killing newspaper editor Magda Rees-Jones (Elizabeth Hawthorne), who had attacked him in the press.
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Lucy investigates the murders and becomes a target of the Grim Reaper. She is attacked while visiting Frank in jail; but they escape with the help of Cyrus and Stuart, who are both dissolved in the process. Frank wants to commit suicide to stop the Grim Reaper. Lucy helps Frank have a near-death experience by putting him into hypothermia and using barbiturates to stop his heart. Dammers abducts Lucy, revealing that he had been a victim of Charles Manson and his “Family” in 1969.
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In his ghostly form, Frank confronts the Grim Reaper and discovers that he is the ghost of Johnny Bartlett (Jake Busey), a psychiatric hospital orderly who killed twelve people 32 years earlier, before being captured, convicted, and executed. Newspaper reports reveal that his greatest desire was to become the most prolific serial killer ever, showing pride at killing more than contemporaries like Charles Starkweather. Patricia Bradley (Dee Wallace-Stone), then a teenager, was accused as his accomplice, although she escaped the death penalty due to her underage status. Lucy resuscitates Frank and they visit Patricia. Unknown to them, Patricia is still in love with Bartlett and on friendly, homicidal terms with Bartlett’s ghost, and eventually kills her own mother, who had been trying to monitor her daughter’s behavior. Lucy and Frank trap Bartlett’s spirit in his urn, which Patricia has kept. The pair make for the chapel of the now-abandoned psychiatric hospital hoping to send Bartlett’s ghost to Hell.
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Patricia and Dammers chase them through the ruins. Dammers throws the ashes away, releasing Bartlett’s ghost again before Patricia kills him. Bartlett’s ghost and Patricia hunt down Frank and Lucy. Frank realizes that Bartlett’s ghost, with Patricia’s help, was responsible for his wife’s death and the number on her brow, and that he is still trying to add to his body count (and infamy) even after his death.
Image result for the frightenersOut of bullets, Patricia strangles Frank to death, but Frank in spirit form rips Patricia’s spirit from her body, forcing Bartlett to follow them. Bartlett grabs Patricia’s ghost, while Frank makes it to Heaven, where he is reunited with Cyrus and Stuart along with his wife Debra. Bartlett and Patricia’s spirits claim they will now go back to claim more lives, but the portal to Heaven quickly changes to a demonic looking appearance, and they are both dragged to Hell by a giant worm-like creature. Frank learns it is not yet his time and is sent back to his body, as Debra’s spirit tells him to “be happy.”
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Frank and Lucy fall in love. Lucy is now able to see ghosts as well. Frank later begins demolishing the unfinished dream house and building a life with Lucy while the morose-looking ghost of Dammers is riding around in the sheriff’s car. Frank and Lucy then enjoy their picnic.Image result for the frightenersFrighteners might not make you believe in ghosts, but it will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even shed a tear or two. Wildly funny, weird, gross, and sometimes really peculiar, this is Jackson’s splatter-gore at its best.

REVIEW: HEAVENLY CREATURES

CAST
Kate Winslet (Divergent)
Melanie Lynsky (Two and a Half Men)
Sarah Peirse (The Hobbit 2 & 3)
Diana Kent (Billy Elliot)
Clive Merrison (Saving Grace)
Simon O’ Connor (Dangerous Orphans)
Jed Brophy (Brain Dead)
Peter Elliott (800 Words)
Darien Takle (Xena)
In 1950s Christchurch, New Zealand, a 14-year-old girl from a working-class family, Pauline Parker (Lynskey), befriends the more affluent English 15-year-old Juliet Hulme (Winslet) when Juliet transfers to Pauline’s school. They bond over a shared history of severe childhood disease and isolating hospitalizations, and over time develop an intense friendship. Pauline admires Juliet’s outspoken arrogance and beauty. Together they paint, write stories, make Plasticine figurines, and eventually create a fantasy kingdom called Borovnia. It is the setting of the adventure novels they write together, which they hope to have published and eventually made into films in Hollywood. Over time it begins to be as real to them as the real world. Pauline’s relationship with her mother, Honora, becomes increasingly hostile and the two fight constantly. This angry atmosphere is in contrast to the peaceful intellectual life Juliet shares with her family. Pauline spends most of her time at the Hulmes’, where she feels accepted. Juliet introduces Pauline to the idea of “the Fourth World”, a Heaven without Christians where music and art are celebrated. Juliet believes she will go there when she dies. Certain actors and musicians are “saints” in this afterlife.
During a day trip to Port Levy, Juliet’s parents announce that they are going away and plan to leave Juliet behind. Her fear of being left alone makes her hysterical, culminating in her first direct experience of the Fourth World, perceiving it as a land where all is beautiful and she is safe. She asks Pauline to come with her, and the world that Juliet sees becomes visible to Pauline, too. This is presented as a shared spiritual vision, a confirmation of their “Fourth World” belief, that influences the girls’ predominant reality and affects their perception of events in the everyday world.
Juliet is diagnosed with tuberculosis and is sent to a clinic. Again her parents leave the country, leaving her alone and desperately missing Pauline. Pauline is desolate without her, and the two begin an intense correspondence, writing not only as themselves, but in the roles of the royal couple of Borovnia. During this time Pauline begins a sexual relationship with a lodger, which makes Juliet jealous. For both of them, their fantasy life becomes a useful escape when under stress in the real world, and the two engage in increasingly violent, even murderous, fantasies about people who oppress them. After four months, Juliet is released from the clinic and their relationship intensifies. Juliet’s father blames the intensity of the relationship on Pauline and speaks to her parents, who take her to a doctor. The doctor suspects that Pauline is homosexual, and considers this a cause of her increasing anger at her mother as well as her dramatic weight loss.
Juliet catches her mother having an affair with one of her psychiatric clients and threatens to tell her father, but her mother tells her he knows. Shortly afterward, the two announce their intention to divorce, upsetting Juliet. Soon it is decided that the family will leave Christchurch, with Juliet to be left with a relative in South Africa. She becomes increasingly hysterical at the thought of leaving Pauline, and the two girls plan to run away together. When that plan becomes impossible, the two begin to talk about murdering Pauline’s mother as they see her as the primary obstacle to their being together. As the date of Juliet’s departure nears, it is decided that the two girls should spend the last three weeks together at Juliet’s house. At the end of that time, Pauline returns home and the two finalize plans for the murder. Honora plans a day for the three of them at Victoria Park, and the girls decide this will be the day. Juliet puts a broken piece of brick into a stocking and they go off to the park. After having tea, the three walk down the path and when Honora bends over to pick up a pink charm the girls have put there, Juliet and Pauline bludgeon her to death.
In a postscript, it is revealed that the next day Pauline’s diary was found in which the plan for the murder had been outlined which led to Pauline and Juliet getting arrested. The two are tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. It is a condition of their eventual release that they never meet again.
Peter Jackson starts the movie by emphasizing what a beautiful, peaceful country (via a cheesy 1950s documentary) New Zealand is. But beauty is not everything — fairy tales can become nightmares. Jackson doesn’t just show the audience what the two girls did, but showed why they did it. Even then, he doesn’t make excuses. At first the movie seems almost whimsical, with fairy tale figures coming to life, beautiful woodlands, and hillsides transforming into blooming gardens. Nobody except Peter Jackson could have pulled off the idea of including living clay figurines or four-foot-wide butterflies. Somehow it not only works, but adds to the surreality of the story.

But as the girls go deeper into infatuated madness, Jackson warps the whimsical world around them. Settings get darker and more distorted, and the line between fantasy and reality is completely wiped out. The scripting keeps that creepiness going (“Our main idea for the day was to murder Mother. But the movie really centers around Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, and these two carry the movie beautifully. Lynskey can switch in an instant from sullenness to smiles, naive girl to murderous woman. And the luminous Kate Winslet plays the devil-may-care Juliet, whose vivacity and charm overrule any of Pauline’s reservations. “It’s everyone else who’s bonkers!” she says gleefully when Pauline casts doubt on her own sanity. The most terrifying horror is the real kind — the kind that is in the human heart. With its brilliant direction and equally good acting, “Heavenly Creatures” is destined to be a modern classic.

 

 

 

REVIEW: UP IN THE AIR

CAST
George Clooney  (The Ides of March)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Anna Kendrick (Into The Woods)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Amy Morton (Blue Bloods)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
Sam Elliott (Hulk)
Danny McBride (The Pineapple Express)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars)
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for an HR consultancy firm which specialises in termination assistance, and makes his living travelling to workplaces across the United States in order to conduct company layoffs and firings on behalf of employers. Ryan also delivers motivational speeches, using the analogy “What’s In Your Backpack?” to extoll the virtues of a life free of burdensome relationships with people as well as things. Ryan relishes his perpetual travels. His personal ambition is to become only the seventh person to earn ten million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines. While traveling, he meets another frequent flyer named Alex (Vera Farmiga) and they begin a casual relationship.
Ryan is unexpectedly called back to his company’s offices in Omaha, Nebraska. An ambitious, freshly-graduated new hire, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) is promoting a plan to cut costs by conducting layoffs via videoconferencing. Ryan argues that Natalie knows nothing about the actual process, live or not, and does not know how to handle upset people. He plays the role of a fired employee to demonstrate her inexperience. His boss (Jason Bateman) assigns him to take Natalie with him on his next round of terminations to show her the ropes, much to his annoyance.
As they travel together and become better acquainted, Natalie questions Ryan’s philosophy, but he is satisfied with his lifestyle. During the trip, Natalie is shattered when her boyfriend unceremoniously dumps her by text message. Ryan and Alex try to comfort her. Natalie later lectures Ryan about his refusal to consider a commitment to Alex in spite of their obvious compatibility, and becomes infuriated; she apologizes later, but soon afterwards they are both ordered back to Omaha to begin implementing Natalie’s program. There are problems during a test run; one laid off person breaks down in tears before the camera, and she is unable to comfort him.
Instead of returning immediately to Omaha, Ryan convinces Alex to accompany him to his younger sister’s wedding. He learns that the reason the couple had him take photos of a cutout picture of them in various places was because they cannot afford a honeymoon trip. When the groom gets cold feet, Ryan’s older sister talks him into using his motivational skills to persuade him to go through with it. Although this runs counter to Ryan’s personal philosophy, he successfully argues that the important moments in life are rarely unshared. The wedding goes off without any further hitches.
Ryan begins having second thoughts about his own life. As he starts to deliver his “What’s In Your Backpack?” speech at a convention in Las Vegas, he realizes he no longer believes it, and walks off the stage. On an impulse, he flies to Alex’s home in Chicago. When she opens the door, he is stunned to discover she is a married woman with children; Ryan leaves without saying a word. She later tells him on the phone that her family is her real life and he is simply an escape. Again, he ends the conversation wordless. On his flight home, the crew announces that Ryan has just crossed the ten million mile mark. The airline’s chief pilot (Sam Elliott) comes out of the cockpit to meet Ryan. He notes that Ryan is the youngest person to reach the milestone. When asked where he is from, Ryan can only respond “here”. Back in his office, Ryan calls the airline to transfer five hundred thousand miles each to his sister and brother-in-law, enough for them to fly around the world for their honeymoon. His boss tells Ryan that a woman he and Natalie fired has killed herself, and that an upset Natalie has quit via text message. The company also puts the remote-layoff program on hold because of related concerns.
Natalie applies for a job in San Francisco, the city she was originally offered a job before following her now ex-boyfriend to Omaha instead. The interviewer is impressed by her qualifications and a glowing recommendation from Ryan, and hires her.The film concludes with Ryan standing in front of a vast destination board, looking up, and letting go of his luggage.
The acting is exemplary; Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are perfectly cast as muse and apprentice respectively.  The movie is sad at times, funny at others, never giving right or wrong answers just an observational peice in the study of life.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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CAST
Charlie Sheen (Anger Management)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Conchata Ferrell (Mr. Deeds)
Holland Taylor (Legalley Blonde)
Marin Hinkle (Dark Blue)
April Bowlby (Mom)
Jennifer Tayor (Wild Things)
Ashton Kutcher (That 70s Show)
Amber Tamblyn (The Grudge)
Edan Alexander (Outliving Emily)
SANTA’S VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED
GUEST CAST
Josie Davis (Bones)
Alan finds a new girlfriend, Sandy- his cooking class teacher. In the first scene Charlie wakes up and thinks that he had a one-night stand with her, but when Alan walks in and kisses and greets her he (Charlie) realises that Alan is with her. He also describes her as a “nester”. But she is a great cook and gets Charlie and Alan hooked on to her food. They also gains lots of weight. When they sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, Charlie sees that his house has been transformed in to – what he calls – Santa’s Village of the Damned. In bed she also remembers that she forgot to put out cookies and milk for Santa. They realise that she is crazy.
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WALNUTS AND DEMEROL
GUEST CAST
Melanie Lynskey (Up In The Air)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Susan Sullivan (The Increible Hulk 70s)
Charlie’s friends and family put a crimp on his plan for a romantic Christmas Eve date. Evelyn talks to his date, learns about who she is, and then takes extreme measures to prevent them from having sex, but Charlie begins to have sex with her anyway until he learns that she might be his half sister.
Alan has to mediate when Herb becomes more interested in Kandi and her breasts, making Judith angry. Rose and Berta discover Charlie’s boundery after following the couple around the house and stopping at his bedroom door to eavesdrop. Also, Jake gets into the egg nog, unaware that the egg nog’s filled with burbon and becomes inebriated, starting with his dancing and muttering around the house and ending with his narrating “T’was the night before christmas” and throwing up all over the back of Herb and Judith’s car on the way home.
WARNING IT’S DIRTY
GUEST CAST
Carl Reiner (Oceans Eleven)
It’s holiday time at the Harper house and it has everything you’d expect—booze, singing, womanizing, and an old man soiling himself. This year, Alan has written the Harper Christmas newsletter to send out. Now, I sometimes get newsletters in lieu of a Christmas card and for me it just seems a little too impersonal. Unfortunately, there was nothing impersonal about this newsletter. In it we learn that Jake passed his class by the skin of his ass, Charlie is single no more after getting engaged to a lady, not a whore, and Evelyn rejuvenated her secret garden—turns out nothing rhymes with vulva. I think the best part of the scene, besides the poem of course, was Alan’s responses, in his best Oliver Twist accent, to Charlie’s bah-humbug attitude. I’m not sure if Alan was hitting the sauce or if the holidays just puts him in a jolly mood, but he was downright witty!
The real story of the evening, though, involves Charlie giving Jake some much unneeded advice about how to cheat. Charlie notices Jake scamming on some girl down at the beach and gives him a hard time for not going down to meet them. Jake reminds Charlie that he’s in a committed relationship and, in turn, Charlie reminds Jake that he’s only 13 (though he’s actually 15) and shouldn’t be tied down so young. Maybe Charlie is feeling a bit too tied down himself at the young age of 40 (though he’s actually 42), because it seems that he wants to live vicariously through Jake. After much prodding, Jake finally agrees to go talk to the girl. Throughout the evening, and despite Alan’s repeated objections, Charlie helps Jake with the rules.
Unfortunately, Charlie has no rules to help prepare Jake for when Celeste shows up unexpectedly with his Christmas present, and finds Jake with the other girl. As soon as the new girl learns of Jake’s girlfriend she storms off, the now ex-girlfriend leaves in a huff, and Chelsea gives Charlie a look that would castrate a lesser man! In other Harper family news, Evelyn brings a Hollywood producer to the Christmas Eve dinner. Mr. Pepper, played by the ridiculously funny Carl Reiner, is a wheelchair-bound spitfire whom Evelyn just couldn’t bear to see spending the evening alone in his $60 million estate—and with the $2 million she could make off of selling his house when he buys the farm, who could blame her? It turns out that he knows Lucille Ball wasn’t a true redhead. He’s willing to share with them how he knows but warns them, “It’s dirty.” and complains that he’s sitting so close to the fire his chestnuts are roasting. In the end, it looks as though Mr. Pepper really does pass away. He slumps over and is unresponsive. As Evelyn mentally calculates her commission, Mr. Pepper awakens to say “She thinks she’s going to sell my house when I’m gone. But I ain’t going!” Then he looks down at his lap and realizes “Oops. I am going.”
ONE FALSE MOVE, ZIMBABWE!
GUEST CAST
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Sophie Winkleman (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jane Carr (The Five-Year Engagement)
Graham Patrick Martin (Major Crimes)
Jim Piddock (Independence Day)
Walden wakes up on Christmas and gives Zoey a key to his house. Zoey says that giving her a key to his house is premature. He asks if he can meet her parents (who are flying in), but she tells him that next year might be a good time as they are still learning about each other, However, Walden counters by telling Zoey her eye color, pants size and that she runs the faucet to cover her peeing. Walden’s mother is coming to visit him. Alan tries to get Evelyn to come over seeing as though this is the family’s first Christmas without Charlie. She declines as she is having a “two man sandwich”, which Alan learns over the phone in disgust. Walden then wonders where Lyndsey is, but Alan tells him that she has a new boyfriend now, leaving him single and lonely again. Jake calls and tells Alan that he is with Judith, Herb and his sister, actually not being there and is instead smoking pot with Eldridge somewhere else.
Walden’s mother arrives and Alan is smitten with how young and beautiful she is. They have dinner, Walden’s mother asks if Walden was now a homosexual and hiding it; they quickly due a recap of Season 9 to clear things up. She then explains that she is a primatologist and mainly works with gorillas. Walden mentions “Magilla”, an imaginary gorilla friend that he had when he was a child. However, she tells him Magilla does exist and he shared the first four years of his life with him, which lead to Walden learning sign language; she wanted to see if a gorilla baby could learn as fast as a human baby. She sent him back to the jungle after he tried to kill a Jehovah’s Witness. This revelation shocks Walden deeply as all his memories of Magilla clear up and he explains that he was so perfect during his childhood because he feared that he would be sent to Zimbabwe just like his gorilla “brother”. He leaves in a huff.
At Zoey’s apartment building, she opens the door to find Walden holding a bottle of liquor, inquiring if he was drunk; Walden himself is unsure, but thinks he is due to drinking and invites himself in. With hid thoughts muddled with alcohol and anger, Walden questions Zoey’s parents, who are very British and appear to like him despite his odd behavior, if they would do something similar to what happened to him. At the beach house, they then get a call from Zoey, who tells them to come over as Walden is acting crazy. They arrive to see Walden has climbed up to the roof of the complex, where Zoey meets Walden;’s mother and briefly forgets the situation. Alan climbs up to talk some sense into him, telling him how he knows the pain of losing a brother (referring to Charlie’s death). On the street, Jake and Eldrige, both baked, eat doughnuts and blankly comment on the situation before deciding to get more food.
Later, Walden is taken to the place Magilla is being kept and reunites with his “brother” after identifying himself through sign language. Alan becomes shocked that Walden’s mother brought a taser to stun Magilla if he attacked Walden.
GIVE SANTA A TAIL-HOLE
GUEST CAST
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Brooke D’Orsay (The Skulls III)
Patton Oswalt (Agents of Shield)
 Still pretending to be the poverty-stricken “Sam Wilson”, Walden spends Christmas with Kate, who urges him to get a job. He then gets a call from his internet business partner Billy, who tells him that they have been offered $800 million for their “electronic suitcase”. Billy wants to sell, but Walden wants to hold out for a higher price. “Sam” gets a job selling Christmas trees, which he takes to immediately and enjoys.
Billy stops by the Christmas tree lot multiple times with new offers, urging Walden to sell, but Walden repeatedly shoos him away, saying he will not sell for less than $1.4 billion. Just as “Sam” closes a $40 deal with a Christmas tree customer, Walden and Billy close a deal to sell their electronic suitcase for $1.2 billion. After Kate’s sewing machine breaks, Walden uses his Christmas tree commissions to buy her a new one for Christmas. Walden feels much happier with Kate in his new blue collar world. Meanwhile, Alan plans to spend Christmas Eve with Evelyn, Jake and Lyndsey, but none of them are able to come. Jake plans to spend Christmas with his girlfriend and her children, Evelyn is having plastic surgery, and Lyndsey has to go to Cleveland to help her grandmother, who broke her hip. Alan begins to feel alone and miserable, until a less-than-willing Berta comes to seemingly comfort him.
ON VODKA, ON SODA, ON BLENDER ON MIXER!
GUEST CAST
Diane Farr (Roswell)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Paula Marshall (Veronica Mars)
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Jenny hooks up with a bikini wax technician named Brooke who catches Jenny’s heart, but gives her a fake phone number. Walden visits Brooke’s salon to get a painful wax, but gets Brooke to promise to call Jenny. Alan is still with Paula who introduces Alan to her former wife of 20 years, Rachel. Rachel starts coming onto Alan who initially refuses. After Alan finds out that he and Paula are not exclusive, he unknowingly takes Rachel to the same bar that Paula visits every Friday. Paula is pissed off to see them both together. They discover that they still have feelings for each other and that Rachel was going out with Alan only to make her jealous and then they get back together in a lesbian relationship.
The night of their date Jenny gets bombed and then Brooke shows up bombed because she usually never does second dates and passes out on the couch with Jenny.
Walden narrates that Alan is sleeping with lesbian dreams of Paula and Rachel. Jenny and Brooke slept together. While he and Berta are busy getting stoned.
FAMILY, BUBLE, DEEP-FRIED TURKEY
GUEST CAST
Richard Riehle (Halloween II)
Kari Klinkenborg (Castle)
It’s Christmas time and Rose comes over and offers her help, but is turned down. Louis doesn’t believe in Santa as he never got presents, so Walden and Alan want to prove him Santa exists by hiring a Santa who will be captured on video. Unfortunately, while Alan and Walden are in the garage putting together Louis’ new bike, sex between Evelyn and the fake Santa leads to a trip to the emergency room for the latter. Sometime later, Louis can’t sleep, and asks Walden and Alan to stay with him; the two wind up falling asleep. In the morning, however, they discover all the presents under the tree and a video of Santa. Walden realizes Rose was responsible when he sees “Santa” leaping over the balcony railing. Rose tells Walden she really does want to be friends with him, and surprises Walden with a Christmas gift – a cuckoo clock (that, unknown to Walden and Alan, is actually a spy cam).

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A show lasting 12 years was bound to end up a few Christmas episodes 7 specials are all good I especially love Santa’s village of the Damned. Josie Davis was a brilliant guest star playing a woman who still believe sin Santa and is obsessed with making every perfect for Santa. the second Walnuts and Demoral is just a brilliantly well plotted episode with several neat twists and turns. As you watch these specials you get see how much the show changed throughout the years especially when you get to the last 4 seasons, the years without Charlie, but even those xmas specials are just as good. All seven are worth watching over Christmas a good 3hours + to keep you entertained.