Welcome to Pawnee, Indiana. We are located 90 miles from Indianapolis and we are the state's seventh-largest city. We are a city of kind citizens, green places, and a deep love and respect for the land. For the care and protection of these public outdoor spaces, we turn to the Parks and Recreation Department, headed by the honorable Ronald Ulysses Swanson. In order to ensure that the parks, pools, and public spaces of Pawnee remain in their tip top condition and able to provide good, clean fun for the citizens of Pawnee and their guests, the Parks and Recreation Department asks you to follow the following pertinent rules and regulations. Please and thank you, rest in peace L'il Sebastian.
WooooEEEEWooooEEEE! Hear that? That's an alarm! A state of emergency has been declared in Pawnee, and it is now up to our municipal employees — with Councilwoman Leslie Knope leading the charge as our Emergency Czar — to get our fair citizens out of harm's way. There may be casualties, but if we all stick together (and follow the rules and regulatios, as outlined below) Pawnee will rise again! (Just to clarify, in case there's some confusion, this is only a drill. Where's Jerry going? Will someone please tell Jerry?)
10 Rules and Regulations for Responding to an Emergency
1. Classify the emergency. Before we can tackle the situation head-on, we must first classify its degree of severity. It looks like, despite all your hard work and chutzpah, Councilman Jam is going to get to build his Paunch Burger on your empty lot after all? That's pretty bad. All hands on deck! Can you pass a fry?
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2. Devise a plan. We can only beat this thing if we are organized, systematic, and calm. So, let's think. What must we do to jam Jam's plan? Let's examine the facts: We need to raise $50,000 to fill the gaping hole in our budget that is currently pushing the powers that be into Paunch Burger's greasy, lard-covered arms; and we need to do it in one day. Eureka! Let's throw a black tie fundraising gala!
3. Unfortunately, hot on the tails of one emergency we often find another. Just when you thought you could dive in to fixing your problem, you're thrown a curveball. In this case, it just so happens that the Department of Emergency Preparedness has scheduled your state-mandated emergency response evaluation for the same day you are faced with responding to a real-life emergency of your own. Ironic, no? To respond efficiently and appropriately, one must improvise.
4. Reevaluate, make a new plan. Lucily for you, you have the Mission Im-Pawnee-able Knope Protocal guide to hold your hand every step of the way. You know what we say to the avian flu in Pawnee? Boo hoo, avian flu! You don't scare us.
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5. But now that you are stuck buried beneath a mountain of red tape, you must delegate your tasks for resolving Emergency No. 1 to those close to you. Ben Wyatt knows his way around a clipboard, he can be your point man. Self-professed foodie Tom Haverford can surely find a caterer, Donna Meagle can be put on chair duty, and leave it to Ron Swanson to spread the word.
6. Enlist help through the media. Ron Swanson can speak in full sentences and won't cry on TV — get him a spot on Joan Calamezzo's talk show. He can talk up your gala while simultaneously saving a man's life by teaching a young boy how to perform a tracheotomy. Plus, have a question about woodworking, novels about tall ships, or meat? Now's your chance to get a professional opinoin. Just remember, "Any dog under 50 lbs is a cat, and cats are pointless."
7. Plan for the future emergencies by getting a man on the inside. Andy Dwyer is just two steps away from becoming a full-fledged officer of the Pawnee Police Department — only a written test and personality evaluation stand in his way. We know a genius like Andy don't have to worry about no multiple choice Scantron exam, but can he withstand the grueling polygraph test that has been known to ask such complex questions as, "Is your name Andy?" Trick question! Andy is a nickname.
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8. What do you do should you learn that this isn't your average emergency response drill? That, in fact, you have been set up for failure by your slimiest foe? You improvise... again. Your new objective is not to save the town from the avian flu but to get out of City Hall has quickly as possible. CPR those chickens, stat! Everyone dies on your watch!
9. Be sure to celebrate a job well done. Your friends will have of course come through for you and succeeded in throwing the swankiest gala Pawnee has ever seen. And, what's more, you have achieved your fundraising goal! (Of course you have, you're Leslie Knope.) The only thing missing from this perfect picture is a wedding band on your finger and a husband on your arm. Wait a minute... who said you have to wait another three months to get married? All your friends and neighbors are present, lookin' foxy, right now! What better time than the present to have a surprise wedding?!
10. To be continued...
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[Photo Credit: NBC]
At first glance The Family Stone appears to be yet another silly romp about family dynamics. But the Stones a vivacious loving liberal-minded New England family are more than just cardboard cut-outs; they’re as real as any dysfunctional family can be. The film begins with the Stones getting ready for their annual holiday gathering. Matriarch Sybil (Diane Keaton) is especially anxious to meet her eldest son’s (Dermot Mulroney) girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker). The family has been warned Meredith is a controlling neurotic New Yorker with very little redeemable qualities. And when Meredith arrives she certainly does nothing to dispel the notion meeting her potential eccentric in-laws with a mix of awkwardness confusion and hostility. Yet oddly enough the disruption brings about some needed changes within the family Stone allowing them to come together and realize their extraordinary capacity for love. Everyone in this stellar ensemble rises to the occasion and truly paints a very vivid picture of a family devoted to one another--but who are less than approachable to outsiders. As mom Keaton turns in yet another genuine look at a complicated woman dealing with some insurmountable obstacles while Craig T. Nelson as her loyal husband does a nice job conveying a warmth to their marriage. Playing their grownup children is Mulroney as the straight-laced “suit” Everett who isn’t all that priggish; Luke Wilson as the laid-back Ben who seems to have strayed the most from his family; and Rachel McAdams as the passionate if rather acerbic little sister. But the real revelation is Parker as the uptight highly unlikable Meredith. It’s quite a departure from her fun-lovin’ Sex
and the City days and the Parker--who truly is one of the better comedic actresses we have today--easily handles the unpleasant chores of playing someone suffering with chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome. Like many newbie filmmakers writer/director Thomas Bezucha--whose only other credit is the little seen indie Big Eden--has the advantage of having that certain fresh quality to his work. Stone’s dialogue is snappy poignant and spot-on as the Stones interact with each other in all too familiar ways. The whole Meredith scenario will perhaps have many of us remembering similar situations--from both sides of the fence. It’s just as painful to have to meet the family of someone you love for the first time as it is dealing with a family member’s poor choices in mates. And what makes
The Family Stone stand out even more is how Bezucha truly defines the term “dramedy.” From the trailer the film seemed to be a balls-out slap-sticky comedy which in many ways it is but you may be surprised to see how The Family Stone’s more serious tones will touch you.
Heaven. Hell. Us humans in the middle. It's all very complicated. But John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) seems to have a handle on it. Born with a gift he says no human should ever have he has the ability to see what he calls "half-breeds"--angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin (and apparently there are a lot of them). Of course the horror of it is too much to bear and Constantine tries to take his own life. But he fails. Now having been to hell and back again quite literally Constantine is marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life. He patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell acting as an exorcist of sorts. Of course the guy isn't doing it because he feels empathy for the human race or anything. It's for purely selfish reasons. He hopes that if he sends the devil's foot soldiers back to the depths he'll gain some kind of redemption a free get-out-of-jail card so to speak. Constantine's attitude changes however when a skeptical police detective Angela (Rachel Weisz) enlists his help in solving the mysterious death of her beloved twin sister. They end up uncovering a twisted master plan brewing between the demons and angels which could bring about a catastrophic series of otherworldly events. Perfect.
John Constantine is a little like The Matrix's Neo--an ultra-cool but tormented man of little words with a sardonic fatalistic outlook on life who kicks a myriad of nasty-looking demons (instead of a myriad of nasty-looking machines) back from whence they came. Yes Reeves has done this before but that's because he's good at it. You can't blame him for sticking with something that works. Weisz also holds her own as the devoutly religious Angela who nonetheless has a hard time believing there are actual angels and demons running around among us. That is of course until she spends about 10 minutes with Constantine and sees just how real they are. As far as the rest of the humans in the film Shia LaBeouf (Holes) does a nice comical turn as Constantine's sidekick and protégé while Djimon Hounsou (In America) works his voodoo mojo as a witch doctor who has a long-standing if strained relationship with Constantine. The not-so-human counterparts are equally intriguing. Peter Stormare (Fargo) delivers a somewhat over-the-top but devilishly eccentric performance as Satan. Tilda Swinton (The Deep End) dons the wings of the arch-angel Gabriel to whom Constantine is always asking for a reprieve but who has got her own agenda.
Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo comic-book Hellblazer Constantine is demonic eye candy. Obviously inspired by the many music videos he's helmed in the past director Francis Lawrence making his feature film debut paints a pretty dark and moody world with shadowy wet rat-infested (or cockroach-infested) corners that hide the horrific demon half-breeds as well as all other kinds of terrible baddies. Then when we get into Hades itself where the demons and seplavites--a sub-genre of the damned who are sightless mindless soul eaters--prowl it's an apocalyptic landscape. Lovely place. Unfortunately the script isn't nearly as stimulating. It must be an arduous task adapting a series of comic books so to his credit screenwriter Kevin Brodbin does do a nice job introducing us to Constantine and his world. But Brodbin seems to have incorporated too much. As the action escalates more and more plot points and characters are thrown in complicating matters. By the time the long-winded climax is over you're exhausted.