For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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It’s quite hard to think about our own mortality. As kids, we may have morbidly talked about how we thought we would go — but as time passes, the simple childish chatter that once filled our days becomes a closer, more chilling reality. The fact is we will all die at some point. Yes, it’s dreadful to think about death, but fate has a plan for each of us. A plan we can’t change. All we can do is pray that the dark angel will give us enough time to live and excuse us from this life in some sort of gentle manner.
For four seasons, we've bonded with Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) — a high school teacher who is dealing with the tragedy and humor associated with the fight against cancer — on Showtime’s The Big C. But it wasn’t until Season 4 that we learned that Cathy’s cancer was terminal.
The first three seasons were all about the humor surrounding the crazy life adjustments Cathy makes in coping with her cancer fight. But it was more than the comedy that made us love this show. It’s the way that Darlene Hunt, The Big C’s creator and executive producer, and her team of writers were able to evenly balance comedy with a investigation of a more serious topic: mortality. This balance demonstrated a beauty rarely seen in television. At one point, you were cracking up at an irresistible joke, and then the next moment you were moved to tears as the show delved into a sensitive topic like Cathy stocking a secret storage unit with presents for each of her son Adam’s (Gabriel Basso) birthdays that she would miss after she passed away. Or watching Cathy try to get her wedding dress back after she had tried to sell it at a consignment shop, only to see a bride trying on the dress and reminding her of the day she married Paul (Oliver Platt).
Last season, we were given hope as Cathy seemed to be on the path to recovery. But then, a cold reality swept in at the end of the season when she got news that her tumors had started to grow again.
This season, Cathy faced the toughest of all decisions: to continue to fight the losing battle against cancer or to drop out of treatment and enjoy her remaining time with her family. It was easy to connect with Paul as he lived in denial, only to be rudely awakened by a radio interview to the fact that his wife was dying. Or to feel Adam’s anxiety about his mother’s comfort levels in hospice. If you could have reached through the TV screen and put a blanket on his shoulders as he stayed up all night by her side, you would have.
This season was a lot less about humor and much more about truth. There were more tears and more emotional drama than ever before, and then Cathy died. It may sound strange to say, but there is no other way to describe Cathy’s passing: it was truly beautiful.
First, when Cathy realized that her end was near, she made the decision to put herself into hospice so as not to intrude on her family. She selflessly decided that she didn’t want her house to be haunted by her death.
And then, as previously mentioned, Cathy’s illusions were not haunting. She was instead guided to the light by familiar faces of those in her life who had already passed on including Dr. Atticus Sherman (Alan Alda) and Marlene (Phyllis Somerville).
Cathy's final goodbyes may seem a bit whimsical, but there was something magical about this scene. People don’t always get to say goodbye, and Cathy was able to do so with everyone she loved at a final meal. She was even able to find closure with her distanced father.
Finally, Cathy had one wish before she died. It wasn’t to beat death, but to live long enough to see her son graduate from high school. She had started to accept that she wouldn’t live long enough to see this happen, but then Adam surprised her by getting his diploma early and setting up a mock graduation back at their home.
This whole resolution may sound cliché, but there’s no denying that it was peaceful and beautiful. After saying her goodbyes and living to see her one wish get granted, Cathy passed away quietly in her home. She died knowing that she was loved and had lived life to its fullest.
And as if that concept wasn’t tranquil enough, The Big C took us and Cathy on one final journey. We were left with a pleasant scene of Cathy’s heaven or afterlife. Many of us hope that when we pass, we will find these a serene place filled with familiar places. For Cathy, that place was swimming in a pool with her friend Marlene and her late dog.
This ending provided the best closure any finale could provide.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
More: Death Comes Knocking at Cathy's Door'The Big C' Season Finale Recap'The Big C': The Darkest Day
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Going into the fourth and final season of The Big C, the biggest question on fans' minds was whether or not Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) would lose her battle with cancer? Before the season even started, a promo poster showed a black crow sitting on Cathy's head, hinting that death was upon her, but we didn't know if she would actually pass into the afterlife.
We are still left asking the same question going into the series finale Monday night. This season, we have watched Cathy battle her with a decision to move into hospice and also the emotional trials her family had to cope with in watching their loved one heading towards death. But, Cathy still has yet to pass away.
Hopefully, Monday night, all of fans' questions will be answered and they will be able to accept Cathy's fate, whatever it might be. "I just hope that they will maybe pour a glass of wine, grab a box of tissue, and get to a quiet, peaceful place, and just go on her journey with her," the show's executive producer and creator, Darlene Hunt, tells Hollywood.com. "And I hope they get to use the tissue. I hope we've done our job right and I hope they laugh and cry a little."
The Big C: Hereafter series finale airs on Showtime Monday at 9 PM ET.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com.
More:Death Knocks at Cathy's Front Door'The Big C' Ending After Season 4'The Big C' Season Finale Recap: Crossing the Line
From Our Partners:Zoe Saldana Strips Down For Magazine (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Simpson used vocal aid on SNL?
Singer Ashlee Simpson appeared on Saturday Night Live last weekend, but unfortunately her performance got attention for all the wrong reasons. When it came to her second performance of what was meant to be a her new song "Autobiography," music from her first song, "Pieces of Me," started playing on the loudspeaker--without her lips moving. Simpson promptly broke into a hoedown, dancing a jig around the stage before walking off as the show cut to a commercial after what Simpson's record label, Geffen Records, called "a computer glitch," AP reports. "I feel so bad. My band started playing the wrong song. I didn't know what to do so I thought I'd do a hoedown, said Simpson.
As the TV and Internet buzzes about the gaffe, Simpson fans are outraged. Comments on www.AshleeSimpson.net indicate many of Simpson's fans think that she was using a vocal aid and lip-synching her performance. The singer will have another chance to redeem herself and gain the respect of her fans, though; she is scheduled to perform in Las Vegas for NBC's Radio Music Awards, scheduled to be televised tonight at 9 p.m. ET. Simpson has now joined the group of unexpected musical performances on SNL. Elvis Costello can be remembered for changing songs mid-performance, and Sinead O'Connor for tearing up a picture of the Pope.
Kravitz sued for toilet overflow
Singer and four-time Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz is being sued for over $300,000 due to a toilet overflow that allegedly resulted in water damage to a neighbor's apartment, Reuters reports. The suit was filed and made public in a New York City court Friday, stating that the toilet in the singer's apartment "became blocked, clogged and congested with various materials" on Aug. 1 due to "negligence and carelessness." The former insurance executive is suing Kravitz and is expecting the singer to pay for the damages resulting from the toilet overflow.
Catherine Zeta-Jones sues club for topless photo
Yet more celeb lawsuits, and yet another one involving Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is suing a topless club in Nevada over the use of her photo alongside partially nude women on various pages of its Web site without permission, according a lawsuit filed last week in U.S District Court in Los Angeles. Kent Wallace, marketing director for The Spice House in Reno, Nev., told AP the site's designer had downloaded the photo from a German site and did not know it was the actress, but that "she should have been flattered, as far as I'm concerned." He added that the photos were removed as soon as the club was contacted by her attorney and calls the suit, in which Jones seeks unspecified damages, "frivolous."
Ford against Elk hunting
Actor Harrison Ford is taking a stand against the act of elk hunting on his property in Jackson, Wyoming, AP reports. The Fall Creek herd of elk has grown tremendously in what the Wyoming Fish and Game Department deems a huge problem. There are about 5,100 elk in the Fall Creek herd, exceeding Wyoming's max of 4,400. "The problem is that a lot of landowners don't allow permission to hunt," said Fish and Game spokesman Mark Gocke. "That's why this particular herd segment has grown so much." Ford has posted signs around his property warning any hunters that they will be turned in if they are caught hunting elk. State officials are concerned that if the herd continues to grow in record numbers, that the cottonwood habitat of the Snake River will diminish, and the transmission of diseases will increase among cattle.
In more conservation news...Anderson wants to save England's bears
PETA spokeswoman and actress Pamela Anderson sent a petition to Queen Elizabeth II urging her to stop the use of bear pelts in the making of prison guard helmets, according to the AP. In her petition, the 37-year-old actress included 200 signatures from London and a plea of urgency to use synthetic materials rather than animal products. "We the undersigned urge the queen to call on the Ministry of Defense to cease the use of real fur on the uniforms for the regiment of foot guards," the petition said. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Dick-Peter said that no appropriate synthetic replacement has been found at this time, but offered assurances that the army is working closely with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to find that replacement. He added, "No bears are killed simply for the caps. The bears are killed to control the population. Where we can use an artificial alternative, we do so."
90210 star joins the cast of Quintuplets
Former teen idol Jason Priestley has joined the cast of Fox's Quintuplets as an uncle to four teenagers, Reuters reports. Quintuplets follows Bob (Andy Richter) and Carol (Rebecca Creskoff) Chase in their crazy lives of being parents to four teenagers. Priestley is well known for his role as Brandon on the hit teen drama series, Beverly Hills, 90210 and is back on Fox for this show, playing a much different role. Priestley will star on the Thanksgiving episode and should have a recurring part.
O' Reilly considering a possible settlement
Fox News Channel commentator and host Bill O'Reilly is considering settling out of court with his sexual harassment lawsuit accuser, a former O'Reilly Factor producer, without going to trial, Reuters reports. Andrea Mackris is suing political conservative O'Reilly for $60 million, alleging he engaged in sexually explicit conversations and "pleasing himself" while talking to her on the phone. No information has been given to determine how long the negotiations will take or how a settlement might be structured. Mackris and Fox News had been hashing out a settlement before filing dueling lawsuits, but the 33-year-old accuser reportedly rejected a $2 million offer. O'Reilly has filed his own $60 million suit against Mackris and her attorney, alleging extortion.
Blake murder case jury selection begins
The screening process of as many as a whopping 1,800 prospective jurors for the Robert Blake murder case started today. The AP reports Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp will try the case and was quoted saying that she wants a pool of 150 to 200 prescreened jurors ready for questioning by lawyers on Nov. 15. Through a process called "hardship screening," potential jurors will be asked questions about everything from their jobs to their TV viewing habits. The 71-year old actor has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, two counts of solicitation of murder and a special circumstance of lying in wait. He was accused of killing his former wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley outside a restaurant on May 4, 2001.