Fresh off his directorial masterpiece The Descendants, Alexander Payne trades the beaches of Hawaii for familiar territory: Nebraska. In this black and white tale, “An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.”-IMDb. The thing that IMDb fails to mention is that it could be this year’s dark horse of awards season. First off, Alexander Payne filmed it on his home turf. Secondly, he filmed in black and white. To top it all off, it wasn’t bloated with superstars. Now, there is nothing wrong with having stars in a film, but to trust your film to industry vet Bruce Dern, SNL alums Will Forte and Bob Odenkirk (both whom started out as writers on the classic sketch comedy show) and character actors Stacy Keach, Mary Louise Wilson, and June Squibb–that’s not normal for Hollywood standards. Given the fact that Payne’s last film had George Clooney at its helm, expectations can run pretty high. Well, let me tell you, from the performances to the cinematography, Nebraska is an extremely relatable film. More audiences would probably find similarities in dealing with aging parents no matter what age, gender or racial background. I was pleasantly surprised by Will Forte’s performance, and I’m scratching my head on how we let a nomination for the SAG Awards slip by him. Also, June Squibb might come out of the woodwork and steal the awards at the age of 84.
Getting Animated: “Archer” & the Art of the Adult Cartoon
Cartoons. We must have all watched them as a kid on Saturday mornings. Whether it was Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse, we all know how entertaining an animated series can be. When it comes to cartoons geared towards a more mature audience, the American public is probably familiar with shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy the most. However, there are a slew of shows that appeal to an adult audience. Cartoon Network even has an entire section of programing from 9:00p.m. to 6:00a.m. specifically for adults. Other networks have followed suit with programing that appears juvenile, and is anything but.
FX, which is owned by Fox Entertainment Group, focuses more on programming that would be seen on premium paid channels such as HBO or Showtime. This innovation has led to such successful series as Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, Justified and American Horror Story. It is also the home network of the popular adult animated series, Archer.
Archer, from creator Adam Reed, deals with Sterling Archer, a secret agent with ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service) run by none other than his own mother, Malory. “The show’s time setting is comically anachronistic, deliberately mixing technologies, clothing styles and historical backdrops of different decades.”-Wikipedia. It’s crass, sarcastic, mildly insulting at times, and yet it’s one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. And it’s a cartoon. Fans of Arrested Development will notice that the voice of Malory Archer is voiced by Jessica Walter. SNL fans will appreciate the voice of Cyril is Chris Parnell. The series is available on Netflix on Instant and is worth checking out. I’d also love to do a voice on the show someday. Hysterical.
The following clip contains some mature language and may not be suitable for young children: