After much swearing, debate, and attempts to remember our Google passwords, my husband and I successfully rented The Interview - the movie North Korea (allegedly) didn’t want any of us to see.
So far, two days past our rental, our internet (and personal freedoms) are still intact.
I was going to see it anyway. I have a great, big soft spot for Seth Rogen (not so much for Squinty Franco but he’s not hurting anything, I guess) and that wonderful Rogen laugh that simply carries mirth upon it, whether anything else is funny or not.
This Is A Seth Rogen Movie You Definitely Want to Rent
The whole mess with the theatrical release not happening, of course, made me want to see it all the more (didn’t that work on you?) and it was interesting to imagine this could be the new release movie of the future, streamed directly into my living room where I could watch in my PJs and gnaw on leftover gingerbread.
But - and I am paraphrasing The Grinch here - Movie theatres "will always be, just as long as we have we." The group experience, the loud talkers, “I know what’s going to happen” guys and sticky floors all mixed in with about 100 people laughing (or crying) at the same thing, at the same time, is part of the joy of seeing movies.
When viewed in the sterility of my own living room, I find that most comedies, no matter how great, end up with the air let out of them a little. Not that The Interview has a ton of air to start with.
Centred around Franco’s faux-journalist TV host (he makes a passable “bad” entertainment news host, but no danger of mistaking him for a real journalist, even of the "puff piece" variety) who lands the interview of a lifetime because North Korea’s Supreme Leader is a huge fan. Nearly the entire film is the lead-up to the actual interview. I enjoyed a few J-school and journalism jokes but I don’t know if they’re as funny to people who haven’t worked in a newsroom.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You: The Most Addictive Popcorn You Will Ever Eat
It’s a fish-out-of-water/incompetents on the loose type of comedy that follows the basic formula. When did our action-comedy heroes become so tepid? Is it truly only funny when the only way our protagonists can succeed is in spite of themselves?
There were a couple of very funny lines, a handful of funny scenes, and a lot of not-so-subtle gay jokes. Boobs are in there, even in North Korea. And cartoonish, improbable violence. There’s a fair amount of Vancouver & area standing in for the world’s most dangerous nation. The portrayal of Kim Jong Un is not nearly as vicious and goofy as the puppet portrayal of his late father, Kim Jong Il, in Team America (which is also a lot funnier overall).
There was even an attempt to illustrate some of the known atrocities from the country - not funny, but at least Rogen, Sterling & Goldberg didn’t completely skirt the issues, and quite a bit of the comedy is derived from the Ugly American stereotype, and not at the expense of the North Korean people.
At the movie’s end, hubs was just about asleep, and all I thought was: it’s just a movie.
If you want to check it out yourself, for $6.99, it streams in Canada via YouTube. You'll need a Google account to rent or purchase it, and possibly an A/V guy to get it on your TV. Unless you're better at things than me, which you probably are.
A rather short-lived, completely wacky and much beloved institution of late, late night TV has come to an end. Secretariat will go out to pasture, Geoff Peterson the Robot Sidekick will go into storage, and the best late show on TV will go dark as Craig Ferguson kicks in his fireplace set on The Late Late Show and moves on with his career.
Craig’s show was always a strange, heady mix of self deprecation, rapid-fire jokes and broad comedy (two guys in a horse costume smashing through plate glass, anyone?) and though it may have had the lowest budget around (our host would have us believe it was financed mostly through the change in CBS execs’ pockets), it had the best entertainment value from a late show that anyone can ask for. And yes, that includes you, Giggles Fallon.
Craig on his own is incredibly, dangerously funny. His stand-up acts are wonderful and bless him, unless it’s because he’s not saving his money, Craig is goodly enough to take that act on the road to all kinds of weird little places that most A-listers wouldn’t event admit exist. He is often ably assisted by the human behind the robot, Josh Robert Thompson, whose Morgan Freeman impression is so dead-on he is actually allowed to substitute for Morgan Freeman in voice work.
My husband often joked that he would find me in bed with my “boyfriend” - the slightly rakish, barely-reformed, Scottish-accented bad boy of late night TV. Craig is handsome and affable and very laid back, which certainly added to the vibe of his show, as well as his relaxed and improvised chat with guests. His greatest achievement was making the whole show into a huge, running standup act that continued to snowball into the most consistently hilarious hour of television available in this milieu. When you see a stand up, the good ones tell jokes that loop around, connect to each other, and get a bit funnier when referenced again through the course of the act. Craig has been doing that for 10 years as host of the Late Late Show. The layers he built into his show just kept piling on, and rewarded his loyal audience with a stream of inside jokes that just kept being funnier every time you heard them.
Whether you believe the hype that he was passed over for Letterman’s chair or not, Craig’s show certainly couldn’t have a home on even the later edges of primetime. A bit raw, definitely unpredictable, and occasionally punctuated with (carefully bleeped) profanity, it is the stuff of TV executive nightmares.
But it was the stuff of the sweetest dreams, too. Happy semi-retirement, Mr. Ferguson.
Image screengrab CBS.com
One of the best things about the holidays is getting together and cozying up with a family favourite movie or special. Warm feelings are great, but they won’t keep you full and happy while you watch these heartwarming scenes, so here are some great pairings you can (mostly) whip up faster than an elf's wink.
Kevin might be facing down bad guys and spending Christmas Eve alone, but a guy needs a good meal for all the action that lies ahead. So, using his brother’s gangster movie, Angels With Dirty Faces, Kevin orders up a pizza through his mail slot and prepares a fancy and festive table to enjoy his cheese pizza, all to himself. Feel free to stray from tradition and order (or make) yours with extra mushrooms or your family’s favourite toppings.
Buddy knows it’s important for an elf to stick to the four food groups.
While following Buddy’s diet to the letter might give everyone a tummy ache, stock up on some candy canes and maybe a few cookies for this sweet film.
Once his heart is the proper size, the Grinch sits down with all the Whos for the feast and he himself, carves the roast beast. Serve your own wintery comfort roast before snuggling in to watch this family favourite. (And do skip the live-action version with Jim Carrey in favour of the animated classic. You'll thank us.) This roast will wait on you all day: Crock Pot Roast Beef Dinner
After a doggy disaster with their planned Christmas dinner, Ralphie and family end up at the town’s Chinese restaurant for a nice duck. Skip all the turley prep and dial your favourite take-out counter instead.
The action starts at the office Christmas party in this film, so put the kids to bed and enjoy an upscale adult affair with bubbly and tiny food. It will be a great party, unless you invited someone named Hans. That guy is a real party crasher. Our own Party Mummy Lisa Thornbury has some great cocktail party ideas for menu planning.
Suggest a pairing, or let us know what's on your TV menu tonight!