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Community was a well-loved show for many reasons, chief of which was the fact that in the midst of all its oddball genre-bending and crazy twists of fate, it never lost sight of itself as a truly character-driven show. And as such, five seasons (though sadly not the infamous "six seasons and a movie"... yet) saw the members of Greendale's favorite study group through the ups and downs of quite a lot of personal growth: now, without further ado (and in chronological order) here are some of our favorites!
1. When Troy gets the courage to get up on stage in "Interpretive Dance"
Early Season 1, Troy was still wrestling with his ultra-masculine identity as a former high school sports star, struggling (with the help of Abed) to get in touch with his creative side. Well, here he found it with dance, and Britta provides him with the perfect opportunity to be masculine and a dancer.
2. When Annie finally stands up to Troy in "Football, Feminism, and You"
Yes, it's a tad lacking in terms of social graces (she terrorizes Troy and his date as she takes back her grandmother's quilt, all whilst wearing an open-backed hospital gown), but it was still a real development for the love-stricken Annie.
3. When Annie and Britta make peace with their mutual jealousy in "The Psychology of Letting Go"
After competing for donations for oil spill clean-up (a competition which involved impersonating each other and some light oil wrestling), Annie and Britta are finally able to clear the air re: their Jeff Winger-induced rivalry.
4. When Troy embraces his nerd side in "Epidemiology"
Caught between the carefully constructed Aliens homage and a desire to appear cool, Troy is finally able to eschew all notion of coolness, and storm into that infamous zombie-riddled Halloween party in cardboard armor, armed with fake weapons.
5. When Abed accepts the group as his new family in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas"
Abed's mother abandoning him took a huge toll on him, but a fantastical claymation adventure helps him realize that there are a lot of people who really care about him.
6. When Pierce puts each study group member to the test in "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking"
Jeff finally admits he has unfinished business with his father, Shirley lets go of some of her insecurities about her status within the group, and Britta is able to make peace with the disparity between her aspirations to be selfless and her actual self-centeredness. Oh, and Troy meets Levar Burton!
7. When Annie helps Abed realize that he'll always have a place in their group in "Virtual Systems Analysis"
It's actually kind of a beautiful scene – she's able to convince him that he can't retreat to his Dreamatorium in lieu of the real world; that, like her, he can't try to control everything. She also reminds him that he'll always be able to find acceptance somewhere: that he'll never find himself stuffed into someone's locker again.
8. When Pierce makes peace with his half-brother in "Digital Estate Planning"
Pierce was always a petulant man-child, so his attitude towards Gilbert (A.K.A. Gus Fring!) after learning he was his half-brother was surprisingly sweet.
9. When Jeff stands up to his father in "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"
Jeff's emotional reunion with his father tugs at the heartstrings, but at the end of the episode, he realizes he's found his true family in his study group.
10. When the group (along with a pill-induced G.I. Joe hallucination) help Jeff make peace with turning 40 in "G.I. Jeff"
We've always known Jeff was vain, but taking "Age Reverse Life Extend Power" pills? The group knew how to get him to laugh about it with a "It's a OLD boy" mug, courtesy of the hospital gift shop.
There are countless more instances of character breakthroughs on the show – what are some of your favorites? Share in the comments!
First thing's first: Magic Mike delivers on the eye candy. Club Xquisite the wildest male strip club in Tampa sports an ensemble of muscled men ready to flash their ridiculous moves in even more ridiculous dance numbers (this crew has never seen a pair of assless pants they didn't like). Bringing a few dollar bills to the movie is recommended — Magic Mike is shot up close and personal enough that flailing them about will come naturally.
But between the codpieces air humping and penis pumps Magic Mike tells a surprisingly relatable funny and poignant parable centered on a character all too familiar to anyone with an ounce of ambition. Mike (Channing Tatum) leads a triple life: By day he's a roof tiler; by night an exotic dancer; and in his dreams he's a furniture craftsman and entrepreneur. When Mike first crosses paths with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) his worries about the future are dispelled slipping right into mentor mode to show the 19-year-old the wonders of sex drugs and rock and roll. Adam's broke and without direction — the perfect state of being for a stripper-in-the-making. Mike's sales pitch is irresistible and when Adam unwillingly takes the stage for the first time he feels the rush of a dozen woman screaming groping and stuffing singles down his jock strap. There's no question: A stripper's life is a journey worth embarking on.
In his typical fashion director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic Erin Brockovich) defies conventions sticking with Mike's ups and downs rather than transforming Magic Mike into a Goodfellas-esque "newbie in over his head" story. Between playing protector to the mesmerized Adam and attempting to strike up an actual relationship with Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) Mike finds himself for the first time looking inward. Does a job define a man? He's convinced it doesn't but as Adam loses himself to the profession becoming the Xquisite's cutthroat owner Dallas' (the wonderfully slimy Matthew McConaughey) right-hand man and parlaying the gig into more dangerous ventures Mike realizes breakdancing in thongs may be more poisonous to his dreams than he ever realized.
Exploitation Magic Mike is not. The film's dance sequences are sexy and sleek but only to clue the audience into the job's allure. Backstage is equally important; Soderbergh does an amazing job constructing the boy's club atmosphere that keeps Mike and Adam coming back. Lively characters like Ken (Matt Bomer) and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) say little but speak volumes in the background of every scene. They're palling around and when they finally do reach out to Adam to profess their friendship it makes perfect sense. For a guy without a family the dancers are a perfect replacement.
While the cast is stellar Tatum continues his streak of star-making performances in the role of Mike. Obviously the man can dance — and he blows any memories of Step Up into oblivion. Beyond that he's perfectly in tune with Soderbergh's naturalistic style cool on his feet with the comedy and devastatingly subtle in the drama. His rapport with Horn who is equally striking in her casual approach is sweet and real a constant reminder that even a guy who lap dances in a fireman costume for a living has feelings too. Soderbergh enhances each of his performers with spot on photography: His Tampa is gritty and yellow-tinged the interior of the club a safe haven from the blase nature of reality. Magic Mike carries a full package.
Magic Mike hits all the right notes of comedy and drama that's completely unexpected in the summer blockbuster surroundings. Come for the stripping stay for the high-caliber filmmaking. Magic Mike is one of the year's best.
In 1977 Harvey Milk (Penn) was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. While this would not normally be an earth-shattering phenomenon in this case Milk became the first out-of-the-closet gay person to win a major public office in the United States -- and was assassinated in 1978 along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Based in part on the Academy Award-winning documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk the film focuses on the last decade of his life as he moves from New York at age 40 to San Francisco with lover Scott Smith (James Franco). Using his experience as an entrepreneur as a catalyst he suddenly becomes more politically involved making a couple of runs for office and finally getting elected. With a new lover (Diego Luna) and agenda Milk takes on some major issues -- including lobbying against California’s controversial Prop 6 an initiative to fire gay schoolteachers. But his activities anger another supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin) and soon their destinies will collide. It’s not an overstatement to say that Sean Penn’s performance here is a revelation. As Harvey Milk he not only perfectly embodies the late politician but exudes a certain kind of warmness and humor we rarely see from the star. His immersion into the persona of Milk is truly remarkable and winning. A large supporting cast includes: standout performances from Franco as Milk’s true love and friend Scott who eventually can’t compete with Harvey’s increasing ambition; Diego Luna hilarious and annoying as Milk’s lover later; and Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones a young activist and Milk protégé. Brolin as the unlikeable White perfectly captures the frustration and simmering jealousy the man he feels steals his job. It’s a risky role and there is little room for audience empathy but Brolin makes this loser understandable if not acceptable. As the lone woman among the principal players Alison Pill is bright and appealing as Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg. Gus Van Sant’s odd directorial career encompasses a series of ups and downs with the highlights being Drugstore Cowboy and his Oscar-nominated work on Good Will Hunting. The absolute nadir of Van Sant’s resume is undoubtedly his ill-advised shot-by-shot remake of Hitchcock’s untouchable Psycho. It’s nice to report he’s back in form now with the warm funny and moving Milk a film that doesn’t quite escape the clichés of the biopic genre but still finds its own beats thanks in large part to the piercing performances. Getting such mature and joyful work from Penn a brilliant but distant actor is impressive indeed. He also imbues the movie with a documentary feel appropriate since much of the source material comes from the Oscar-winning docu. Milk paints us a triumphant and inspiring life one that won’t soon be forgotten especially with its parallels to current California circumstances. The state’s recent anti-gay marriage initiative Prop 8 could not have come at a more significant time in making Harvey Milk’s crusade seem more relevant than ever.