Friday, April 15, 2011

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose: TV's best drama returns tonight

Actually, there's one thing out there today that, if not better, is at least odder, and that's good enough for me.

Having grown up around the Chesapeake Bay, I'm well aware that it's unfortunately full of all kinds of poisonous things that live there and kill the oysters and fish, largely from the chicken s$#% that rolls off the farms and into the waterway. It's still a stretch that these toxins would make the leap and start killing human beings on a large scale, but in the realm of horror movies, I suppose anything's possible.

It seems that Barry Levinson, a Baltimorean who, back in the day, made one truly great movie about Charm City ("Diner") and several more fairly good ones ("Tin Men" and "Avalon" among them), has returned to Maryland and made a horror movie titled "The Bay." The flick will apparently be a found footage kind of thing about an isopod parasite that is unleashed from the bay and carries a horrific, untreatable disease.

Laugh if you want to, but much more than just about any other kind of horror story you might be able to cook up, that truly terrifies me, so I'll be there to see this, probably with my eyes covered at several points.

But the main event here today is the return of TV's best drama (yes, better than "Mad Men" and anything else you can name in my book) to NBC tonight for what will be its fifth and final season. And from what I've heard from folks who are lucky enough to have DirecTV and have seen this already, the show really goes out on top.

If you've never seen the show, you've really missed out on a true original: A prime-time TV series that takes a fairly hard look at life in modern middle America, but still manages to be extremely addictive. And transitioning from season three to season four with a cast of new kids mixed in with the regulars, the show somehow got even better, largely due to the addition of Michael B. Jordan (yes, really, with the B added I suppose to remove any confusion) as Vince. He's an actor I've loved watching grow up, first as the truly doomed Wallace on "The Wire" and now both on "Friday Night Lights" and also as Alex on the almost-as-good "Parenthood" (and man has that show piled on the drama lately!)

Like many great shows, "Friday Night Lights" will get most of its recognition after it leaves the air. Although Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton have rightly been nominated for best acting Emmys, if this final season is as good as I'm expecting, a posthumous Best Dramatic Series nod should be coming too.

But back to the present. Not to spoil too much, but here's a bit of what you'll see on tonight's premiere, courtesy of AICN, followed by a preview from NBC, and then stick around for two more trailers that caught my eye this morning.

• The East Dillon Lions, with only two wins last season, are to take on the state champions this week in something called The Whataburger Kickoff Classic.
• Both Julie Taylor and Landry Clarke are now high-school grads and spend most of their components of the episode saying goodbye.
• Landry’s band performs a final concert, and they sound great.

OK, now on to the trailers, starting with easily the most literal title since "Snakes on a Plane," "Cowboys & Aliens." With a title like that, you'd better deliver exactly what's promised, and as you'll see from this first theatrical trailer, it does. And thankfully, it looks like Jon Favreau's movie starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde will be just as much fun as it should be when it drops July 29. Enjoy.

And finally today, a clip that's really just perfect for a Friday morning. I had never heard of "Casa de mi Padre" until this morning, but judging from this trailer, it should be a real hoot. As you'll see, Will Ferrell (funny in any language) somehow stars in this spoof of telenovelas that also features the "Y Tu Mama Tambien" duo of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, and even Pedro too. Keep an eye out for this some time later this year, enjoy the trailer, and have a perfectly pleasant weekend. And if you haven't yet, please go see "Hanna," because it really is the best theater movie I've managed to see so far this year. Peace out.


jeremy said...

I'll be waiting on FNL until I can power through all of them in one weekend. Same can't be said for Game of Thrones . . .
Good to hear Hannah is worth my time. I was on the fence about it from trailers.
I think the only movie I'm currently looking forward to is "The Beginners" and that's not scheduled to come out until June. So please keep making your recommendations. I'm too lazy to search anything out right now.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'll keep at it, Jeremy, but you're right ... it's been a really slow beginning to the year ... The only other movie I can pretty highly recommend is "Cedar Rapids," and that's not a great one, just one that made me laugh and smile a lot, and sometimes that's enough

Kevin said...

I agree it has been a “reel”-ly slow year, so far, but did you see Source Code? I didn’t love it, but I thought it was better than Hanna. I got the feeling you read that one before the movie came out. Maybe that helped you appreciate it more than I did. As for me, I wait for the movie, so what I see, is what I get out of it.
The trailer for Cowboys & Aliens looks good. Provided it doesn’t ask Harrison Ford to show too much emotion, and it lets Daniel Craig remain tongue in cheek, it could fill the gap left when they took Firefly/Serenity away from us. I am also looking forward to X-Men: First Class, but I hope you won’t think less of me for that.
Like Jeremy, I like to power through a season, not to mention skip the commercials, but I will enjoy every minute of Doctor Who, including the commercials. It starts next Saturday at 9 on BBC America, and is preceded by Doctor Who Rewind, a highlights and recap show, building up to the new season. You really need to get BBCA.
One more thing … regarding Baltimore … I prefer John Water’s version of Charm City, although that may seem like a horror movie to some (seen Serial Mom lately?). Please keep writing, and I will keep reading (your blog, not the book before the movie).

Reel Fanatic said...

I wanted to love Source Code, Kevin, but I just couldn't do it .. I was with it for about an hour or so, but the ending was just so tacked on and ludicrous that, for me at least, it just about wiped about all the good will that came before it .. and I unfortunately don't get BBC America, so I always have to catch up on Doctor Who all at once when it hits DVD, unfortunately ... and like you, I have nothing but undying love for John Waters

Jake Mabe said...

I saw "The Conspirator" today, only my second visit to the multiplex this year. Pretty good. Makes a nice case for civil liberties. Kevin Kline takes a nice turn as Edwin Stanton.

You're going to love "FNL."

"Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. CAN'T LOSE!"

Reel Fanatic said...

The season premiere was indeed great, Jake .. Don't spoil it for me, but I assume from the coming this season at the end, but Lions are gonna at least make a run at a state championship, and Coach Taylor is gonna take a big new job at the end .. just my guess .. As for "The Conspirator," I skipped that one because at least recently, I just can't stand Robert Redford's movies .. I opted for "Rio" instead, and except for the fact that the story is entirely too familiar, it's a whole lot of fun, which is just about all I ask for from an animated flick

Jake Mabe said...

I'm not going to spoil "FNL" for you. Not going to say one word. Just ease back and enjoy.

As for Redford, I don't even remember the last film of his I watched before this one. "Bagger Vance," maybe.

"The Conspirator" isn't the best thing I've ever seen, it's heavy-handed in some parts, but, hell, anything that stands up for civil liberties in this day and age can't be all bad.