Following suit of director Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises star Christian Bale has released a statement in response to the tragedy that undertook the midnight showing of his film in Aurora, Colo. on early Friday morning, Bale, who is presently in Europe, states (via Deadline), "Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them."
This follows a small phenomenon that has overtaken social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, asking Bale to pay a visit to Aurora, in costume and character as Batman, to meet with hospitalized children who suffered injuries in the shooting. An idea pioneered in this Facebook post, the writer Emily Sanchez expresses the following sentiment: "They need to know that Heroes can be real too, not just the bad guys." Ever since, Bale's name has been trending on Twitter, due to a mass of fans asking the actor to undertake this task.
[Photo Credit: David Edwards/Daily Celeb]
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S07.E09: Because I’m obsessed with the three act structure, I’m inclined to look at this week’s and next week’s episodes as the close to the first act of the seventh season. And as such, The Office is finally wrapping up the introductions before throwing us into predicaments and later coming to resolutions. And honestly, it's about time. I’m not saying that The Office is spinning its wheels, but something has to happen soon. There has been a severe lack of emotion in the show since: a) the novelty of Jim and Pam getting together wore off and b) Michael found and then lost Holly. Additionally, anything involving Andy, Dwight, or Angela has just become stale. They’ve tried to kick it back up with the Gabe, Erin, Andy triangle, but it just seems hollow compared to the emotional roller coaster that was the saga of Jim and Pam.
So hopefully things will turn around with Michael’s departure drawing nearer. Taking a sneak peek at the episodes ahead, Holly is set to make a return so maybe The Office’s heart will start beating again and Steve Carell can leave on a high note.
With that said, let’s get to the cold opening. In a surprising-they-haven’t-done-this-before bit the office’s power blacks out because Michael was using a space heater and an electric fan at the same time. This causes the network to be rebooted as well, which requires a password for logging back into it. A great little call back with Jim when he tries to remember the IT guy’s name but they trace back the IT guys of the past and eventually remember that the password made Michael laugh but offended Pam. Which means that the password protecting the entire server of the office was “bigboobz.” Gotta love modern day security.
If you’ll indulge me for a second, this cold opening could be viewed as a deconstruction of the modern office environment’s reliance on technology that most people don’t understand. With the network down, the whole company came to a screeching halt and they could literally not do any work until they guessed this password. But what would’ve happened if they couldn’t guess it? I’m pretty sure none of those characters would have known what to do. I mean, I work for a website and our entire business revolves around the internet yet I know absolutely nothing about what goes on behind the scenes here. I have to leave that to guys and gals much smarter than me (after all it takes way too many braincells to think of different words for “boner” and memorize coding language). So while this was a subtle (and probably unintentional) bit of satire regarding the corporate reliance on advanced technology that most people don’t understand, it was a fairly funny opening. Which is probably the important thing.
The main story of this week’s episode revolved around someone we haven’t seen much of in the past few seasons. Ryan has quietly become a tertiary character despite the fact that BJ Novak is one of the main writers and co-executive producers of the show. Feeling a bit inspired by the post-Social Network way of looking at the post-Facebook world (I think that makes sense, yep, it does) Ryan is shilling out for his website WUPHF.com which was first introduced last season. He has rounded up a bunch of investors from the office including Michael, Pam, Andy, Darryl and the bunch. However, things aren’t going quite as well as Ryan had hoped (which, considering he thought he would be a billionaire in like four months, might not be a shocker) and his investors are calling for him to sell the site before it goes belly up and bankrupt in nine days. His only lead for the sale is the Washington University Public Health Fund, who only needs the site for its acronym.
Pam confronts Michael about his delusional relationship with Ryan and calls him out on how one sided the friendship goes. This dynamic has worked well throughout the series because it's usually just a line thrown in for comedic effect. But now Ryan has other people’s money at stake in this venture and it's up to Michael to finally recognize that his relationship isn’t as special as he thought. He confronts Ryan and almost gets him to change his mind, but not quite. Then all the investors confront him and Michael stands up for Ryan with a rather inspired description of him. Ryan is image obsessed and selfish but he does aim high and have ambition coming out of his ass. But that doesn’t quell the fears of the investors, so Ryan eventually caves and sells to Washington University.
The next storyline involved Jim, who discovered to his unfortunate shock that Sabre has enacted a commission cap which he reached last week and thus removes all incentive for him to work. Thus he retracts to old-school Jim and begins to look for new ways to goof off. With Pam knee-deep in work, he has to look for other sources of amusement. This whole bit felt slightly off, except when Creed asks him how long he “can hold that pretty little breath of yours.” Old Jim slacked off because he was fighting the man, this Jim slacked off because the man basically gave him permission to do so. It didn’t feel right until he started seriously messing with Gabe using some audio editing. He leaves Gabe scrambling to keep up with Jo’s audio book which Jim manipulated into a phone call. It was that bit of inspiration that set this prank above the others in the episode.
Our final story line of the week was another adventure involving Dwight's ownership of the building. His own description of what he did is far too succinct and clever for me to try and sum up so I'll just share it with you: “Did I truck 300 bales of hay to a parking lot to rectify some childhood disappointment? Yes.” So he created a world of hay for all those to enjoy, just as long as they paid him. Angela made another slutty move to get Dwight in her pants, but he was having too much fun making money off of hay. She eventually meets another dude and they hit it off well so she decides to give him the goodies. Dwight is shocked by this, of course, because he never expects anything to go anywhere but according to plan. The only redeeming things about this bit was Dwight’s hay king outfit at the end (which looked a little like Max’s costume in Where the Wild Things Are) and Kevin being completely befuddled by the maze. A little broad and unrealistic, but alas that is the Dwight of recent seasons. I’ll take it.
So all in all, a decent episode, not terrible, but at this point it feels like we’re just shooting the shit waiting for Michael to leave. However, there was this gem when Jim talks about how good he is at getting his child to eat real food: “Let’s be honest: If I can make mushed carrots seem better than a boob, I can pretty much sell anything.” This is an interesting statement because you have to remember, in the world of the show, Jim is basically using his face and voice to turn a child against Pam’s boob. Thinking like that, it is fairly impressive. Needless to say, I gladly submit myself to test out which is more persuasive. Oh the sacrifices I am willing to submit myself to in the name of science. You’re welcome bitches.
The story of the late great Johnny Cash depicted in Walk the Line is not quite all encompassing. The film dramatizes just one moment in Cash's life: his tumultuous 20s and rise to fame. The young Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) married and straight out of the army struggles with his music finally finding his patented blend of country blues and rock music. Haunted by a troubled childhood Cash sings songs about death love treachery and sin--and shoots straight to the top of the charts. On tour he also meets and falls for his future wife June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) whose refusal to meddle with a married man only further fuels the fire and contributes to his eventual drug addiction. Their cat-and-mouse love story provides the film’s core but unfortunately can’t quite overcome Walk the Line’s formulaic nature. Biopics are generally good to actors. Phoenix and Witherspoon could easily each walk away with Oscar statuettes for turning in two of the most jaw-dropping spellbinding performances since well Jamie Foxx in Ray. Neither actor had any musical background whatsoever but they both underwent painstaking transformations for the sake of authenticity doing all of their own singing as well as guitar-playing for Phoenix. The actor's performance is purely raw and visceral; his vulnerability is aptly palpable at first but then he becomes the Cash with the unflinching swagger. Witherspoon's Carter is Cash's temptress and she'll be yours too by movie's end. She eerily reincarnates Carter as if she was born to play the part. If Walk the Line is the ultimate actor's canvas then Phoenix and Witherspoon make priceless art-and music-together. While good for the actors biopics can prove to be difficult for the director. It’s hard to highlight a person’s life without it coming off like a TV movie of the week. Unfortunately director James Mangold (Copland) plays it safe with Walk the Line. The duets between Johnny and June on stage are about the only electrifying moments of the film. The rest is pretty stereotypical. And it isn’t because the film only focuses on certain years of Cash's life. It's simply not possible to fit a lifetime into the short duration of a film. The problem instead is that Mangold's presentation of Cash's life would lead one to believe that Cash actually exorcised his demons. But in reality his lifelong demons are what endeared him to the layperson. There was nothing cut and dry about the Cash story--and adding a little grit would have given Walk the Line the edge it needed.