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Culture Cafe

Movie, music, and television reviews from a select group of bloggers.

Armie Hammer (r.) and Johnny Depp (l.) star in 'The Lone Ranger.' (Peter Mountain/Disney/Bruckheimer Films/AP)

Armie Hammer stars in 'The Lone Ranger' – check out the full trailer (+video)

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 06.24.13

The Lone Ranger teaser trailer isn’t so much about introducing Old West heroes John Reid (Armie Hammer) and Tonto (Johnny Depp) – in fact, they’re barely in it. Instead, it foremost offers a peek at the antiquated trains used in Gore Verbinski’s western – which in part account for the estimated $200-250 million price tag and principle photography taking 4-5 months (in such places as Monument Valley and Moab).

Of course, Depp and Verbinski are no strangers to working with massive budgets and shooting on location in unspoiled terrains, after Pirates of the Caribbean. Lone Ranger reunites them with producer Jerry Bruckheimer as well as Pirates writing duo Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who worked together on both the story and script with Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road, Snitch).

Disney’s full Lone Ranger trailer gives a more proper introduction to the lawman John Reid and explores his inspiration to put on a bandit mask, in order to fight for justice in the Wild West; however, he is once again overshadowed by Depp as the peculiar American Indian spirit warrior Tonto. On one hand, it’s refreshing to see an iteration of Lone Ranger where the characters feel like true equals; on the other hand, there’s a risk that Depp’s antics will take precedent over Reid’s story, making the latter seem like a second-tier player in his own movie (similar to what happened at times in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland).

Lone Ranger also reteams Verbinski with director of photography Bojan Bazelli, who worked with the filmmaker on The Ring. Their new collaboration uses a similar harsh color palette – here, with more of a western flavor – and the nightmarish montage that opens the new trailer almost feels lifted from their J-horror remake. Yet, but a matter of seconds later, there are jokes with horses wearing hats and big-budget spectacle featuring multiple (count ‘em, multiple) train derailments that tease the central conflict: a power struggle involving a scheming railroad tycoon (Tom Wilkinson) and his henchman (William Fichtner).

That’s to say: upon closer inspection this trailer’s all over the map, as is the actual movie (we suspect). That’s not a surprise, seeing how Depp and Verbinski’s first foray into the western genre resulted in the highly idiosyncratic Rango; moreover, Verbinski made it clear from the beginning that he’s not interested in making a conventional Lone Ranger re-telling. But will moviegoers in general go for it, especially once word-of-mouth comes into effect?

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

'The Voice' winner will be announced during the June 18 season finale. The current judges on the show are (from l. to r.) Usher, Shakira, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton. (Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

'The Voice' winner: Who will triumph tonight? (+video)

By Staff Writer / 06.18.13

Who will win during the season finale of the NBC reality singing competition “The Voice”?

Viewers won’t find out until tonight, but “Voice” judge Adam Levine says that he knows who will take first place.

Despite the fact that contestant Danielle Bradbery isn’t one of his contestants (Levine doesn’t have any competitors left on the show), the Maroon 5 lead singer said during the June 17 episode that he believes Bradbery’s vocals will net her the crown.

“The crazy thing about your voice is it's just so unbelievably perfect and powerful," he said. "It's one of the better voices I think I've ever heard live... And I'm just going to go ahead and say, I think Danielle's the winner of this thing," he said. 

Because of this praise, fellow judge Blake Shelton, who has Bradbery on his team, gave Levine a standing ovation.

The remaining contestants on the show are the Swon Brothers (Zach and Colton), who perform together, Michelle Chamuel, and Bradbery. The Swon Brothers are on Shelton’s team, while Chamuel is being coached by singer Usher, who called Chamuel “the winner” during the June 17 episode.

The winner of the current season will be announced during the June 18 episode.

“The Voice” premiered on NBC in 2011 and features judges initially facing away from contestants, unable to see them, while the singers audition. Judges then choose whether or not they want the singer on their team based on their vocals alone before turning in their chairs to see what the contestant looks like.

Judges for the first season of the show consisted of Levine, Shelton, Cee Lo Green, and Christina Aguilera. Aguilera and Green were later replaced by singers Shakira and Usher. A contestant coached by Shelton has won the show twice, while a contestant from Levine’s team has secured the win once.

Jay-Z arrives at "The Great Gatsby" world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in New York. He is teaming up with Samsung to release his new album, having released a three-minute commercial about the CD during the NBA Finals and announced a deal that will give the music to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile devices. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

'Magna Carta Holy Grail': Jay-Z will release new album with Samsung on July 4

By Contributor / 06.17.13

Rapper. Club owner. Clothing line creator. Entrepreneur. These are some of the many hats worn by the rapper Jay-Z, who demonstrated his versatility yet again Sunday night when he announced the upcoming release of his new album "Magna Carta Holy Grail."

During ABC's television broadcast of the fifth game of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, a three-minute commercial aired depicting Jay-Z working in a studio with superstar producers Timbaland, Rick Rubin, Swizz Beatz, and Pharrell Williams. The men discussed the music they were creating, nodding their heads to the beat and laughing as wisecracks were made. Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter, described the new music as "lush" and full of live instrumentation.

"That's what hip-hop is," he said. "It's the emotion."

The commercial was produced by electronics giant Samsung, who reportedly signed Jay-Z to a $20 million deal in early June. The New York Post's Page Six quoted a source on June 4 who spoke of the artist's desire to create a "new music-streaming service to promote his acts and music on mobile devices."  And that’s exactly what the 43-year-old rapper has done.

The Game 5 advertisement directed viewers to MagnaCartaHolyGrail.com, a website providing further details on Jay-Z's latest project. The album, described by the rapper as "revolutionary" on the Magna Carta Holy Grail site, will be given away for free on July 4 to the first 1 million users who claim the offer on the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, the Galaxy S4 smartphone, or the Galaxy Note II tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung paid $5 million to offset the costs of the 1 million albums being released for free – $5 for each album download.

"Magna Carta Holy Grail" will initially be made available through its corresponding Samsung app. The app, which will feature an "unprecedented look into the album, personal stories, and inspiration," comes out next Monday. But fans will have to wait until the stroke of midnight on July 4 to download the album on their Samsung devices. "Magna Carta" will be released to the general public on July 7, 72 hours after Samsung users get their hands on it.

Jay-Z, a winner of 17 Grammys, hasn't put out a solo project since "The Blueprint 3" in 2009. His most recent work, however, was 2011's "Watch the Throne," an album he wrote jointly with the rapper Kanye West. He also served as the executive producer for the soundtrack to this year's film adaptation of "The Great Gatsby." Overall, the Brooklyn artist has released 11 solo albums, nine of which have reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

"The idea is to really finish the album and drop it, giving it to the world at one time and letting them share it," Jay-Z said at the conclusion of the video.

"Great, beautiful," Rubin replied with a smile.

Colby Bermel is a Monitor contributor.

'Monsters University' features the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman. (Pixar/Disney-Pixar/AP)

Billy Crystal, John Goodman star in 'Monsters University' – check out the trailer (+video)

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 06.17.13

Monsters University is the first prequel released by Pixar Animation Studio, and reveals the story behind how the beloved Scarer duo featured in Monsters, Inc. - green-skinned, one-eyed, Michael “Mike” Wazowski (voiced by Billy Crystal) and the big, friendly, hairy giant James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) – became the best of friends back in their college days (despite being very different people monsters at the time, before they formed their adult personalities).

Disney/Pixar has unveiled one last theatrical trailer for Monsters University – it’s technically the eighth trailer overall, assuming you count the initial four teasers as separate - in addition to four clips of footage, each around a minute in length. In other words: this is the final push in the film’s marketing, on the off-chance you’ve not already decided whether or not you want to see Mike and Sulley’s origin story.

Monsters University was directed by Dan Scanlon (the Cars short “Mater and the Ghostlight”), who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Robert L. Baird and Daniel Gerson (Monsters, Inc., Cars). Per usual, the Pixar animators look to be having a lot of fun creating “monster-ized” sight gags and jokes that lampoon college student stereotypes – as well as university life in general – which the story from Scanlon and his collaborators seems to offer plenty an opportunity for.

Early word of mouth is that Monsters University has a well-crafted storyline that involves more than just Animal House-style shenanigans – despite what some of the trailers might have you believe – and the final theatrical preview does the best job of suggesting as much to be true. All things considered, it should be enjoyable to watch Mike and Sulley evolve into characters we know and love (from Monsters, Inc.).

'True Blood' stars Stephen Moyer. (John P. Johnson/HBO/AP)

'True Blood': Did season premiere solve show's problem of juggling too many storylines?

By Anthony OcasioScreen Rant / 06.17.13

The intent of this episode is to find who or what Bill (Stephen Moyer) is now but the actual story and its focus is, as one now expects from this series, unnecessarily complex and disorganized, so much so that the question it’s looking to answer is once again muddied by the relentless, unforgiving nature of the numerous storylines that True Blood attempts (and mostly fails) to juggle simultaneously. But even though the mess of plots and subplots continuously to feel unnecessary, as if it’s a weakness of the series, there’s something about this amalgamation which tempts you to tune in, year after year, episode after episode – and season 6 is no different. 

The premiere picks up where the True Blood season 5 finale left off, with Sookie (Anna Paquin) and company escaping from the Vampire Authority as Billith was born from blood. This, itself, is a bit of a conundrum for those tuning in, as you’re required to piece together fragmented memories from over a year ago in order to understand what’s going on. This has largely been the case since True Blood began, but since season 5 and season 6 storylines are essentially one, being able to remember everything from last season is now a bit of an unfortunate necessity. And though the series has been on the air for six years now, it seems as if you need to continuously remind yourself that this show is, for all intents and purposes, a vampiric soap opera, as season 1 was the only time the series could have been considered a streamlined drama.

Still, True Blood keeps pushing forward, moving more and more away from the source material, into whatever theoretically logical storyline can hopefully encase its enormous – and ever-growing – cast of characters. Now it’s time to witness the return of Warlow (canonically speaking); the shortage of Tru Blood; the reign (or lack thereof) of Billith; humanity’s turn on vampire allegiances; Andy Bellefleur’s (Chris Bauer) rapidly growing fairy children; and Sam Merlot’s (Sam Trammell) single father woes – and that’s just in the premiere episode, where no story really feels fully serviced.

But with longtime series scribe Brian Buckner taking over as showrunner for season 6, and Raelle Tucker, who penned the terrific season 1 finale, taking on the first episode of the season, there’s a real reason to be intrigued and excited about what the premiere, as well as the season, has in store for its characters. Such encouraging and hopeful feelings are quickly squashed, though, as True Blood finally reveals itself for what it is: a self-working machine, where writers and directors are really only there to continue progressing what’s already been established. Typically, what’s already been established would be series formatting, character personalities, visual styles, etc. But in the case of True Blood, what’s already been established is its proverbial cornucopia of characters stories, with an open-ended seasonal storyline to boot.

Now that’s not to say that what True Blood currently is, in and of itself, is a bad thing, but it does limit the avenues that creative minds, like Tucker, are able to take with their given episodes. Additionally, with the episode count being cut from 12 episodes to 10, the inherent structure in which Tucker, as well as every other writer on the show, are typically used to have shifted, so there is a 2-episode storytelling gap that needs to be filled, even if many believe there’s already too much storytelling going on already.

What we’re left with, essentially, is a “ball” that’s been rolling for quite some time, and the only thing Tucker can do is maintain the series with the season 6 premiere – but, again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As True Blood has aged, it’s the supplemental characters, like Eric (Alexander Skarsgård), Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and, yes, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), that have risen to the top, as their characters have the weight and intensity to break through the melodrama of its main characters, to consistently elevate each scene beyond its operatic structure. But at the same time, characters like Terry have, sadly, been pushed aside and are now used as a comic relief or, like with Alcide, are given completely unenticing storylines to follow.

At six years of age, True Blood has already defined itself as a series, so any complaints of its complicated, disorganized structure are a bit of a moot point, and there’s no real opportunity for anyone – even the showrunner – to change that. And it shouldn’t change, really.

Because no matter how numerous or ridiculous the storylines, no matter how operatic the series itself is, there’s an undeniable allure to its madness which leads you to continue tuning in. There’s a reason why soap operas were so successful on television for so long, and True Blood has, for better or worse, successfully made use of such elements. Will this be one of the best seasons of television you’ve seen? Not likely. But you’ve got to give credit to a series that can get you to watch it on its terms where even if, at times, you’re frustrated, you’ll tune in next week.

Anthony Ocasio blogs at Screen Rant.

'300: Rise of an Empire' is scheduled to come out March 7, 2014. The film '300' (pictured) was a surprise box-office smash. (Warner Bros. Pictures/AP)

'300: Rise of an Empire' trailer shows a new Greek-Persian battle

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 06.14.13

Zack Snyder’s stylishly violent swords and sandals epic, 300, was a surprise box office smash (taking in $456 million worldwide in the spring of 2007), but no one kids themselves into believing that his cinematic vision was not responsible for that chest-beating comic book adaptation being so enjoyable to watch. This is why the upcoming sequel/prequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, has prompted more wariness than excitement, as Snyder passed on directing to make Man of Steel instead.

Rise of an Empire is based on Frank Miller’s 300 companion graphic novel “Xerxes,” which Snyder and his 300 co-writer Kurt Johnstad adapted into a script. The film centers around the Battle of Artemisium, a naval conflict that pitted the Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against the vengeful commander of the Persian navy, Artemesia (Eva Green), and the Persian leader Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), who had developed a major god complex by that point.

As expected, the newly-released Rise of an Empire trailer appeals heavily to everyone’s nostalgia for the first movie, between shots of Xerxes leering over King Leonidas’ (Gerard Butler’s) corpse and the VO narration by Lena Headey – who’s now a bigger star thanks to Game of Thrones – reprising as Queen Gorgo. That’s in spite of the fact that neither 300 lead is expected to make anything more than a glorified cameo in the new installment (a misleading, but smart, marketing angle to take).

The Battle of Artemisium occurred at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae depicted in 300; hence, Rise of an Empire is described as being a 300 ”mid-quel” rather than either a pure sequel or prequel. The Rise of an Empire director Noam Murro has said the film will offer a “whole different choreography of fighting and war,” which could be an effective means to distinguish the movie from Snyder’s brazen storytelling and action coordination in its predecessor. (Or, it could just be an excuse for why Murro’s adaptation feels like a hollow knockoff.)

So far, based on the trailer, the digitally-enhanced visuals and cinematography in Rise of an Empire seem decent, but they lack that extra “oomph” factor and flair that Snyder brought to the proceedings. And bless Stapleton for effort, but he doesn’t seem to possess either the macho presence or yelling capacity that made Butler so memorable as a Greek warrior. Maybe Green playing a treacherous warrior lady will make up for that…?

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

George Takei's Facebook page recently became the subject of controversy when a comedian stated he contributes jokes for Takei. (Wong Maye-E/AP)

George Takei: Does he write his own Facebook posts?

By Staff Writer / 06.13.13

Does George Takei, whose Facebook page has won him a devoted following, employ ghostwriters to think up new status updates?

Yes and no, according to Takei himself. Takei, best known for his role as USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series, is well known for his Facebook account, updated frequently with jokes about grammar mistakes, posts about his support of gay rights and gay marriage, and funny photos.

“Parents, is this you?” Takei asked in a recent status update, posting a photo of a parent sleeping with their infant lying on top of their head.

His page currently has more than 4 million likes.

Recently, writer Rick Polito stated in an interview with Jim Romenesko, a media analyst, that Takei pays him $10 per joke to write for his page.

However, Takei himself said he didn’t see what the fuss was about.

“What is this hoo-ha about my FB posts?” Takei said in an interview with Wired. “I have Brad, my husband, to help me and interns to assist. What is important is the reliability of my posts being there to greet my fans with a smile or a giggle every morning. That’s how we keep on growing.” 

He pointed out that his e-book "Oh Myy," which came out in November, stated that people he called “George Fakei” sometimes updated his page for him. Takei said that people like Polito will supply him with the humorous photos, which the actor said he always states are from “a fan,” but that he himself writes the comments about them.

“The commentaries are mine,” Takei told Wired.

When he's away from home, the actor said others will re-post old status updates to his page.

Meanwhile, Polito said in a new interview with Romensko that he apologized to Takei.

“I don’t update his page,” Polito said. “I’ve had no direct contact with George. I’ve sent him some memes, as have other comedian types, and I was happy for the exposure.”

Martin Freeman (r.) stars in the 'Hobbit' film series. (James Fisher/Warner Bros./AP)

Smaug, the 'Hobbit' villainous dragon, makes his debut in a new trailer (+video)

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 06.12.13

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy – based on J.R.R. Tolkien’ predecessor novel to The Lord of the Rings – continues this December with the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug.

The film picks back up with the plucky hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the scruffy, yet noble and courageous, wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), the hard-edged Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and their merry band of dwarven companions, following their escape from the Goblin King’s underground kingdom and near-death at the (remaining) hand of Azog the Defiler, a.k.a. The White Orc. However, the greatest danger of them all still lies ahead – in the form of the dragon Smaug – awaiting in the treasure room at Erebor, the Lonely Mountain.

Bilbo and his fellow travelers encounter the Elves of Mirkwood – which includes King Thandruil (Lee Pace), Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and the lady warrior Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) – before making their way to the sparse and barren lands that surround the Lonely Mountain (a place known as ‘The Desolation of Smaug’). Meanwhile, Gandalf splits off from the company, in an effort to learn more about the mysterious Necromancer – who resides at Dol Guldur – and his connection to the forces of darkness (e.g. Sauron), long believed to have vanished from Middle-earth.

Bilbo’s up close and personal meeting with the eponymous scaly beast is expected to be one of the highlights of The Desolation of Smaug, similar to the exchange between Bilbo and Gollum (Andy Serkis) in the first Hobbit movie installment, An Unexpected Journey (a.k.a. the ‘Riddles in the Dark’ sequence). Smaug is voiced by Freeman’s Sherlock costar, Benedict Cumberbatch, but it’s unlikely that New Line Cinema will unveil the dragon in full during the marketing campaign for Jackson’s second Hobbit film (That would call back to how the studio kept Gollum mostly behind the curtain, prior to the theatrical release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.)

The newly-released Desolation of Smaug trailer does just that, by literally keeping the beast in the shadows (and voice-less). Similarly, we get a nice peak at some of the majestic landscapes and the new Middle-earth locales visited by Bilbo and his companions; storywise, the emphasis is on the new character additions – especially the aforementioned Mirkwood Elves – and that includes a brief glimpse at the human Bard the Bowman (Fast & Furious 6 star Luke Evans), who will play a pivotal role in events to come.

Overall, it looks as though The Desolation of Smaug will up the ante and better please those who were frustrated by how much of the first Hobbit installment was devoted to setting up future developments in the over-arching story.

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

'This Is the End' stars (from l. to r.) James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jay Baruchel. (Suzanne Hanover/Columbia Pictures – Sony/AP)

'This Is the End' is for 'raunch-com' fans only

By Sandy SchaeferScreen Rant / 06.12.13

This Is the End is the feature directing debut for co-writers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, based on their and Jason Stone’s 2007 short film “Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse.” The original horror-comedy short’s cast only includes Rogen and Jay Baruchel, but the full-length version adds several more celebrities – who, like the main actors, either play (semi-)heightened versions of themselves or riff on their well-known onscreen personalities.

Goldberg and Rogen’s feature debut starts with Rogen and Baruchel attending a party at James Franco’s house in Los Angeles, when a sudden – and unspecified – apocalyptic event strikes the city. Rogen, Baruchel and Franco hunker down in the latter’s home (along with Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson), in the hope of waiting things out until they are rescued. However, after a series of encounters with other celebrity survivors and the bizarre monsters residing outside, these five friends begin to wonder: could this really be the end-of-days?

Every script that Goldberg and Rogen have written to date feels like an attempt to top themselves (save perhaps for The Watch), and that trend continues with This Is the End. The final movie result this round is an outrageously crude and low-brow raunch-com that lampoons an eclectic mixture – and wide range – of pop-culture targets, often to very funny effect; unfortunately, the film’s skit-oriented structure gives rise to a series of comedic vignettes that are usually hit-or-miss. Meanwhile, the self-referential aspects can sometimes come off as too self-congratulatory in execution, and make this the least accessible of the screenwriters’ efforts to date.

Despite that, This Is the End is a solid debut for Goldberg and Rogen as directors, and an overall effective compilation of everything that people loved (or, if you’re a non-fan, hated) about their previous screenplays. The pair appear to have picked up a few useful tricks from their previous filmmaking collaborators; as a result, This Is the End has the (b)romantic heart of director Greg Mottola (Superbad) with the fanboy enthusiasm of David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) and the surreal pop art sensibilities of Michel Gondry (The Green Hornet).

Goldberg and Rogen aim to seamlessly blend these influences together, but fall just short of doing so (and establishing their own unique identity as directors in the process). Nevertheless, their love for the film medium shows through and helps to make This Is the End an idiosyncratic pastiche of genre elements that never fully runs out of gas – despite hitting occasional speed bumps (due to the uneven script) along the way – and best recalls their approach to Pineapple Express … on steroids.

Cast-wise, Rogen, Baruchel, and Franco play standard variations on their usual comedy roles (e.g. “themselves”), but aren’t really any more or less entertaining here than in their previous film and television roles. (So don’t expect this movie to change your mind about them being – or not being – enjoyable comedic actors.) Fortunately, Robinson gets to put his physical and verbal comedy skills to good use, and Hill is fun to watch because he plays against type – by portraying himself as an angelic and New Age religious-type celebrity (who, deep down, is really just another self-serving Hollywood actor).

Meanwhile, Emma Watson pops in and out, but the bits involving her fall a bit flat and mostly feel like setup for the inevitable Hermione/Harry Potter joke. Danny McBride, on the other hand, plays himself as a more obnoxious version of his Kenny Powers character from Eastbound & Down; the caricature he creates is not all that satirical, self-aware or otherwise witty, but McBride still manages to earn a few laughs. Finally, the majority of the celebrity appearances take place in the first act, but are split between amusing glorified cameos – like Michael Cera playing a drug-happy version of himself – and throwaway gags, which involve them dying in gruesome ways.

Much of the humorous subtext for This Is the End stems from the audience’s familiarity with the cult of celebrity worship and Hollywood’s self-infatuation, which is a subject the film doesn’t so much as skewer as it just playfully nudges in the ribs (figuratively speaking). Similarly, there’s a lot of pop-culture lampooning that will resonate with children of the 1980s/90s and longtime fans of the main cast – those who watched people like Rogen and Franco grow up on the TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared - in addition to in-jokes for cinephiles, who will best understand the parody scenes and references to famous horror titles.

Such elements make the film feel too self-involved and esoteric at times, but overall, the good outweighs the bad. Basically, if you feel that Goldberg and Rogen deserved high grades for their earliest work (on Superbad and Pineapple Express) – and you didn’t jump off the bandwagon after Green Hornet and The Watch – then you’ve done the proper amount of homework to appreciate This Is the End.

In conclusion: Die-hard fans of Rogen, Franco and their merry band of foul-mouthed misfits will probably be more forgiving of the film’s weaknesses and just relish in the sheer comedic insanity and madness of what transpires onscreen (especially during the take-no-prisoners third act). Everyone else, well… you were probably never planning to check this one out, anyway (if you’re even reading this).

Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

'The Internship' stars Owen Wilson (r.) and Vince Vaughn (l.). (Phil Bray/20th Century Fox/AP)

'The Internship': What do two real-life interns think of the movie?

By Contributor, Contributor / 06.11.13

“The Internship" stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and chronicles the adventures of two middle-aged salesmen who score internships at Google. It recently raked in a little more than $18 million during its opening weekend. Monitor critic Peter Rainer gave it a C-, noting that "there’s a potentially good comedy to be made about old-school guys trying to make a go of it in a youth-dominated digital marketplace" but that the movie squanders its promising premise.

But how would two real-life interns feel about the film? Two Monitor interns, Colby Bermel and Casey Lee, decided to check out the movie this past weekend. Here they discuss the film, life lessons as imparted by Vaughn and Wilson, and PB&J sandwiches.

Colby Bermel: I was very excited to see this movie. When I saw the trailer a few months ago, I cried tears of joy for two reasons. One, the return of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. And two, the whole premise of the movie, which really tickled my fancy.

Casey Lee: I don’t know, Colby. I wasn’t that excited when I heard about it. I don’t think Vince Vaughn is that funny. I also pretty much hated “Wedding Crashers.” I was excited to see Stiles from “Teen Wolf” have a movie moment! But it was good timing, seeing as I am an intern at the moment. Since a group of friends were going, I figured it was a good time to be social.

Colby: Yes, being social is always a good thing. Wait, who’s Stiles? And what is “Teen Wolf”? Apparently I'm unaware of what's on TV these days.

Casey: “Teen Wolf” was a movie in the olden days, like, when our parents were young-ish. But now it’s a show on MTV and I secretly LOVE it. Stiles is the best friend to the main character; he is brilliant and super funny.

Colby: Speaking of funny, “The Internship” was funny – somewhat. It had its moments, most of which were shown in the trailer. Gosh, why did I have to watch that trailer? They always use the best jokes for them.

Casey: Curse our curiosity! I agree, it did have funny moments. I’m not upset that I spent all that cash to see it, but it’s not one that I’m going to see again or buy.

Colby: But you must admit that the whole premise of the movie was excellent. Vince Vaughn penned it himself. Two buddies in an unfamiliar environment, especially that of Google, is destined for hilarity and life lessons. But it turns out there wasn’t much hilarity. And there were WAY too many life lessons; they were incredibly corny, to say the least.

Casey:  It is pretty impressive that Vince Vaughn came up with the idea. I felt that there was a fairly equal balance of corny and funny, so that worked out okay. Not to mention the bad guy got what was coming to him. That part definitely made me smile. He was extremely irksome. What did you learn from the film, Colby?

Colby: I learned everything there is to know about the life of a dancing girl from a Pennsylvania steel town. Still can’t remember what that movie’s called. Vince Vaughn really likes it, apparently, with all of his references to it. What’s it called, Casey?

Casey: We’ll have to Google it.

Colby: Casey! No! Don’t surrender to the movie’s product placement!

Casey: Too late. I Googled. Just what I thought, the multiple references he made was to the 1983 movie “Flashdance.”

Colby: Oh, thanks. Wait, wait, wait. Aren’t we supposed to be talking about “The Internship” in the context of our own internships here at the Monitor?

Casey: They're nothing alike. Google has free food. I have to go home and get a PB&J. The movie was very inspiring, though. According to Vaughn and Wilson, if you are nice to your co-workers and funny, you'll get a job no matter what, which I found comforting as a current college student.

Colby: Agreed. Case closed.

Colby Bermel and Casey Lee are Monitor contributors.

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