Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Living in the day of streaming, binge watching dramas can be exhausting. So if comedy is more your speed, look no further than Wednesday night’s comedy slate with IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA and MAN SEEKING WOMAN.
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
10/9c on FXX
Preston Barta // Editor
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY is no stranger to causing a ruckus that follows with uncontrollable laughter– a rare thing to say when a show is entering its eleventh season. Usually after a few seasons you will see major signs of wear and tear, and while SUNNY ran out of steam occasionally during its run, it never came to a full stop. And with tonight’s season premiere episode, it definitely shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Tonight brings back the beloved Chardee MacDennis, the crazy game of nonsense created by our friendly group of sociopaths (Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olsen and Danny DeVito) . This time, instead of playing merely for fun, they have the chance of going global with the game. They’ve managed to catch the interest of an executive from Mattel, played by guest star Andy Buckley (THE OFFICE), who may be able to help them break out of Paddy’s Pub. Filled with the usual craziness – including an IV drip full of wine, drugs and laxatives – the opener appropriately titled “Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo” is a solid return for the series.
From there, in the next few episodes we travel back in time to 2006 with Frank Reynolds (the always disgustingly great DeVito), we go back even further with the gang in a totally awesome ’80s ski trip (think a mix of OUT COLD with every ’80s dude-bro film), we see Dee (Olson) enter a smut film (otherwise known as porn) and Mac & Dennis try their hand at suburban life (the best episode of the new season).
For die-hard fans of the show, its formula will remain appealing. However, it’s also competing with MAN SEEKING WOMAN and the upcoming Louis C.K. and Zach Galifianakis show BASKETS. But, then again, SUNNY doesn’t need to change a damn thing. We’ve hung out with these characters for over a decade and they continue to prove their worth of keeping around.
So stick around for another season of charming and vulgar debauchery, even if it is a little more reserved than we’re used to (except for episode 4 and 5 of this season– I can’t stress that enough).
MAN SEEKING WOMAN
10:30/9:30c on FXX
James Cole Clay // Film Critic
Entering its second season, MAN SEEKING WOMAN is an even more isolating experience to watch. The show chronicles the misadventures of a hapless single gentleman Josh (Jay Baruchel) while he navigates the ever changing dating world.
Last year, the visual metaphors taken literal worked such as “dating a troll, or being on trial for boyfriend misconduct.” These concepts were able to be stretched to full episodes that were pretty damn funny. Simon Rich created a show that’s dark, funny and truthful, but with nowhere to go story-wise.
MAN SEEKING WOMAN is a good show, there’s no doubt there, but incessant cheekiness in the tone hold it back from obtaining the truth that’s sprinkled throughout each episode. The season premiere titled “Wings” has Josh with yet another coveted girlfriend of the week, only this time he’s gone “full-time” as his best bud Mike (Eric Andre) puts it so passionately.
This is the kind of truth that works in the favor of the series. We’ve all gone through losing time with a friend in favor of a significant other and to see that spoofed can go along way in terms of belly laughs. However, the writer’s room doesn’t seem to have any vested interest in moving the characters forward in anyway. Relying heavily on vignettes only has gone so far and while it’s entertaining watching Baruchel cross the frontier in numerous attempts to plant a flag down in a romantic partnership, the result is too detached to become emotionally invested.