It may be "a show no one asked for," but new Internet series Bros is going to smack you in the face with the same saucy ingredients that makes Girls so lovable: honest one-liners, shaky relationships, and a unique kind of rawness among twentysomething friends. The kind of rawness everyone seems to relate to, in one way or another. The Girls parody finds a smart — and quite hilarious — way to illustrate a world where guys call their dads "bro," work out in subway cars, experiment with odd fashion, and ultimately struggle to make a living in New York City. Though they're blessed with all the cheap beer and "chicks" Murray Hill can offer, these dudes are still attempting to figure out how to act, thrive, and just plain be without steady jobs or any true accomplishments — unless you count being in the top one thousand on Call of Duty a victory (which, apparently, many do). We also get some solid advice, like the type of outfit that will "get" Williamsburg girls, how to escape a shady texting trap (trick: tell her you love her), and what it is exactly bros talk about behind the closed doors of their frat-like apartments.
Anthony DiMieri, the creator and director of the series, didn't start getting familiar with Girls until around the middle of the first season, when his friend said he reminded her of one of the characters. "In retrospect, I guess she was referring to the lame boyfriend," he said. After binge-watching the entire series, the idea just dawned on him. "I knew there would be an audience, so I spent all of my money producing the trailer and the first episode." As DiMieri began writing the script, he looked at the friends around him for inspiration. "A friend of mine, a very real-life bro, once told me that he thinks he's going to marry a girl that hates him. And that really struck me," he said. If the series extends, DiMieri hopes to examine bros on a more psychological level. For starters: "I think the whole bro mentality has to do with daddy issues." But he'll get into that more down the road.
DiMieri, who doesn't quite consider himself a bro, but instead, a "broster" (a combination of bro and hipster), realized what Girls was seriously lacking: a true depiction of NYC nightlife. "I don't think Lena Dunham got it when she did the coke episode at Greenhouse. It's like, Greenhouse doesn't look like that." What Bros will tap into is the Meatpacking bottle service scene, as well as what goes down in the dub step world at venues such as Webster Hall.
As far as mirroring the much-beloved Girls characters, DiMieri explains that aside from the central throughline of one bro searching for a job, it's more the larger concept that draws parallels. "We're focusing more on the generation and situations of a post-college life. You're sort of an adult and you live in the city, but bros still act like they're in college." — he said it, not me — "Sometimes they have money to do things because they actually have a job, sometimes they don't." But DiMieri does wish he had more time to develop the characters, like Girls is able to do. With only around five minutes per episode (as opposed to Girls' 30), "the characters are more cartoonish. So, there probably won't be as many tears or major dramatic moments." In fact, the most dramatic moment we're going to get is when a bro gets caught snapchatting. "We really what to illustrate what relationships look like from a bro's perspective, because they mostly operate like they're at a seventh grade dance."
Each episode will be around five minutes, providing just enough snark, beer chugging and bro-ness to keep us interested, rather than revolted. But so far, the team's only got its first episode, titled "Williamsburg," set to air. According to DiMieri, there's a laundry list of ideas ready for production as soon as more money comes through. Working with the Bros' production "dream team", including DP Mike Berlucchi and camera operator Jason Ano, DiMieri wishes he could quit his day job to work on creating additional episodes.
But bro-ness and bro-dom aside, there is heart and soul at the core of this web series. There are subway kisses (between men!). And feelings. And real, albeit immature, love. And if the trailer is any indication of what the series will be like, Bros may have just mastered girls better than Girls.
Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
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In the political thriller The Ides of March – George Clooney’s adaptation of the stage drama Farragut North – Ryan Gosling stars as Stephen Meyers campaign press secretary to Mike Morris (Clooney) a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Savvy self-assured and blessed with a preternatural ability to spin a story in his candidate’s favor Stephen is a fast-rising figure with a dazzlingly bright future. Unlike his more seasoned – and cynical – campaign-manager boss Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) Stephen all of 30 years old still boasts something of an idealistic streak. He believes in Morris not just as a meal ticket but as someone who just might make the world a better place.
Stephen’s idealism and ambition come into conflict when in the feverish days leading up to the pivotal Ohio primary he suffers a series of judgment lapses that threaten to derail his promising career. Teased with the prospect of a job offer he’s lured into a meeting with Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) the campaign manager of Morris’ main Democratic rival – a major no-no in a business that prizes loyalty above all else. Later he beds a beguiling young intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) who unwittingly drops a bombshell that could very well bring down the entire Morris campaign.
There’s nothing particularly revelatory about Ides of March. Our eyes were long ago opened to the amorality and viciousness of electoral politics. And goodness knows we’ve witnessed political scandals far more salacious than anything depicted in the film. Ides of March’s strength lies in the power of its storytelling in the way that Clooney brings together several distinctive headstrong characters and sets them against each other in a riveting game of intrigue. It helps compensate for the been-there done-that familiarity of the topics explored.
Clooney is very much an actor’s director and Ides of March is a testament to how absorbing it can be to witness skilled performers operating at the peak of their powers. Gosling is particularly fascinating to watch as his character awakens to the severity of his predicament. When Stephen is dismissed from the Morris campaign after Zara learns of his meeting with Duffy the firing triggers in him something akin to a fight-or-flight instinct. His livelihood endangered he scrambles to outwit his former colleagues seizing upon tragedy and scandal to worm his way back into the fold. All pretense of idealism vanishes and his expression betrays the slightest hint of derangement. The game has claimed him.
At the time of Scream’s release in 1996 the state of Hollywood horror was at a pretty low-point. For every Dracula there was a Frankenstein. For every original idea there were dozens of painful sequels. There were some truly terrifying films released during the decade but there wasn’t a lot we hadn’t seen before. Then along came Wes Craven’s now classic slasher pic a revisionist take on the genre that simultaneously dissected its tropes while embracing them. It was equally hilarious and horrific thanks to the auteur’s precise execution and Kevin Williamson’s sharp sardonic script that dynamically pooled the characters’ points of view with those of the audience. Scream’s self-awareness was a true game-changer that has carved a very nice place in film history for itself. Fifteen years and two sequels later the franchises’ principle players have all returned to Woodsboro to catch up on cinematic commentary and thwart the sadistic plans of yet another Ghostface killer in Scre4m.
In how many ways does this bloody new chapter differ from the others? Not many. The story begins when Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott now the best-selling author of a self-help book returns home on the last stop of her promotional tour. There she meets up with Dewey and Gale Weathers-Riley (David Arquette and Courtney Cox) her friends and mutual survivors of the Woodsboro Murders though there’s precious little time for a warm reunion because someone has inherited the mantle of Ghostface and begun taking out the town’s well-endowed teenagers. The trio along with a young and attractive cast of victims and suspects including Emma Roberts Hayden Panettiere Nico Tortorella and Rory Culkin attempt to stop the killer despite an escalating body count.
As with the original Williamson’s screenplay is the most valuable part of the production. He employs the same narrative formula he did in ’96 but puts it in contemporary context riffing on cinema’s current trends (namely sequelitis and the torture-porn craze the latter which the filmmakers are clearly not fans of) his own franchise (the opening self-deprecating sequence is absolutely riotous and perhaps the funniest in the entire series) and America’s social media obsession (Twitter Facebook and YouTube references take the place of pagers and other outdated cultural staples further separating the film from its predecessors) which plays a larger part in the story and its characters motivations than you really want to know. If there ever was a film for and about the been-there-done-that post-modern generation it’s Scre4m.
While Williamson is at the top of his game Craven’s direction doesn’t appear to have evolved much since helming the original (a sad fact considering his creative growth with Music From The Heart and Red Eye). A few eerie shots aside he doesn’t take any risks with the material resulting in a monotonous merry-go-round of murders that’s consciously grislier but noticeably less effective than those found in the earlier entries. Thankfully his enthusiastic cast is more than willing to go over-the-top and beyond to sell the (few) scares; Panettiere particularly stands out as the confident Kirby Reed as does Alison Brie as the slimy PR girl Rebecca Walters. They’re all archetypes fitting into the film’s modus operandi of amusingly adhering to conventions and making it relatively easy for you to predict who’s going to die without spoiling the fun.
Still with so many preconceived notions about what Scre4m should be it’s hard to imagine all moviegoers loving its throwback premise and downright silly tone. What was once clever is now contrived; what was once refreshing and exhilarating for horror buffs is now exploitative of their common knowledge and passion. As a horror-comedy hybrid it brings some funny but not a whole lot of fear; in other words it’s very much like the original. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…