It’s baa-ack! After getting our hearts smashed into millions of itty-bitty pieces in "The Break Up" and enduring 35 days of boring music-free programming, Glee is back! Unfortunately this episode did not show the New York storyline whatsoever, but chin up Glee-bees! There are some familiar faces strutting down the halls of McKinley, and Wemma fans get some much-needed loving from their favorite star-crossed teachers.
So Here’s What You Missed on Glee:
Finding his Place: While Finn is working hard in the body shop— complete with cute grease-stained jumper—Artie rolls on in to give his much-taller friend a much-needed pep talk. Finn is once again feeling lost, but also a tad bit melodramatic when he says he’s hoping to get crushed by one of the cars he’s working on. (Side-Note: Please smile, Finn. You’re a thousand times more attractive when you don’t pout.) Artie asks Finn to help him co-direct the new McKinley musical Grease, and after listening to Artie threaten to blow up Olivia Newton John (Gasp!) he reluctantly agrees. Finn is seriously doubting his directorial skills, so Artie reveals a special surprise. Just then the original New Direction reinforcements arrive and Mercedes and Mike walk down the hall (in slow motion of course!) and gleeks everywhere let out a slight squeal of delight upon seeing these familiar faces.
Relationship Woes: Over in the halls of McKinley, Blaine explains to his vice-president Sam that he is a complete and total wreck. “Since Kurt and I broke up I haven’t slept, I’ve lost my appetite and I don’t even gel on weekends.” Klaine fans then got a glimpse of what the future was supposed to hold for our beloved couple: “Kurt was my soul mate. We talked about spending the rest of our lives together. About retiring in Provincetown and buying a lighthouse together and start an artisan colony.” Unfortunately all those dreams are shattered right now because Kurt wont even answer his calls or texts, and he sent back Blaine’s peace offering gift: a boxed set of Gilmore Girls. (Side-Note: I’m obsessed with Gilmore Girls, so this only reaffirms the fact that Blaine and I are destined to be best friends and we need to go shoe-shopping together immediately) Blaine then breaks into a lovely rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted To You” whie reminiscing on all the good times he shared with his now ex-boyfriend and walking in slow-motion through a football practice. (Side-Note: Ugh, having to type “ex” when describing Kurt makes me feel nauseous.) Blaine ends his song on the auditorium stage and right on the spot Artie offers him the role of Danny Zuko. But Blaine tearfully declines and scampers off the stage like his heart has been broken all over again. (Side-Note: Noo! Come back! I'll give you a hug!)
Will and Emma are having some differences of opinions regarding the move to Washington while sitting in an impromptu therepy sesh with Coach Beiste. (Side-Note: Yay that Beiste is back! Yuck that Wemma is fighting!) Will pleads, “This is not just a once in a lifetime experience for me but for both of us.” Emma makes a fantastic case stating the she refuses to “play the part of the dutiful 1950’s housewife” and drop all of her dreams and pack up her life to follow Will’s quest for his dreams. Will quickly concedes once his sees how upset his fiancé is and then tells her the sweetest thing ever: “Emma I love you with every fiber of my being and no matter where we go or what we do, I want us to always be together.” Emma agrees to leave with Will, but coach Beiste can see the faint glimmer of doubt in Emma’s eyes. (Side-Note: It’s about damn time that Wemma graced our TV screens! I’ve desperately missed this adorable duo.) Beist confronts Emma in her office about lying to Will. She clearly does not want to go to Washington, but Emma says that she really wants to support her fiancé. “I can’t get in the way of his dreams, that’s what Terri did.” (Side-Note: I wonder if Terri ever became manager of Sheet-N-Things?)
Where in Lima is Tina? Luckily Mercedes has the answer! The forever dive says that Tina refuses to audition for the musical because she can’t stand to be in the same room as Mike. Burn. Mike later finds his former high school sweetheart in the halls and demand to know why she has been avoiding him. She snaps, “I was fine with our break up, out of sight, out of mind. But maybe you could’ve called and asked if I could handle you choreographing the school musical.” Mike practically begs her to audition for Gease, but Tina flat-out refuses. (Side-Note: Something tells me that Rachel would be proud of Tina’s dramatics, but she should never let an awkward situation stop her from stealing the spotlight.
The Newest Newbie: Although there are plenty of hopefuls for the role of Sandy, finding someone to slip into Danny’s leather jacket is proving to be a tricky task. So Finn decides to stalk the students of McKinley high and Coach Beist introduces us to our newest newbie. “Ryder Lynn, sophomore. I think he flunked out of his old so they transferred him here. Sweet enough kid but he’s a loner and can’t learn a play for his life and if you ask me I’d say he’s got a last streak.” Finn sends and extra gullible teacher to leave the classroom and he then takes the opportunity to introduce himself to Ryder.
Finn encourages Ryder to follow in his footsteps and audition for the glee club promising that it will somehow open up his brain and let him get better grades. (Side-Note: I love Finn, but I so desperately wanted someone to stand up in that classroom and yell, “He doesn’t even go here!”) Ryder arrives at Grease auditions and he and Finn share a rocking duet—complete with air guitar—to “Jukebox Hero.” (Side-Note: Welcome to Glee Ryder! I think you’ll fit in quite nicely, but mostly because you’re like a baby Finn.)
Over in the hallway we see Marley and Ryder having the cutest conversation. She compliments his end-zone dance moves, he compliments her mom’s generosity and for a brief moment I was just as giggly as Marley watching the two newbies interact. (Side-Note: Don’t tell Jake I just said that.) Oh crap I think he heard me! Jake is brooding down the hall as he seethes with jealousy watches Marley and Ryder talk. Cue Kitty to enter the scene and make matters bajillion times worse: Kitty goes off on one of her attack-Marley rants and Ryder promptly calls her a bitch. (Side-Note: Santana’s monologues were hands-down better, but I can still appreciate a longwinded verbal slap in the face when I see one.)
NEXT: The Auditions!
The Auditions: Over in the ladie’s room, Unique tells Marley that she so desperately wants to play the party Rizzo in the musical, but just as Marley was in the middle of her pep-talk, Coach Sue arrives tries to squash their spirits. No worries, Marley and Unique with a audition a kickass rendition of Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”
Jake and Kitty decide to team up for their Grease audition and give a brilliant performance of Neon Tree’s “Everybody Talks.” (Side-Note: Hands down this was my favorite performance of the night and it’s not just because the former cheerleader in me was beyond impressed with Jakes beautiful layout step-out.) But of course in true Glee fashion, Marley was watching the entire performance off stage and she is crushed to see that Jake is so handsy with his ex-girlfriend.
As their call-back song the group performs “Hand Jive” and it was fantastic to hear Mercedes’ diva-licious voice again. The performance was filled with lots of pushes and shoves from Kitty and she tried to dig her claws into the part of Sandy, but it’s clear that the “Summer Loving” chemistry is between Marley and Ryder. (Side-Note: This is the part where I reaffirm that I ship Jarley so y’all don’t need to freak out.)
Finding his Voice: Finn decides he wants cast Unique in the part of Rizzo but almost like magic, Sue enter the choir room an demands that Principal Figgins wants to see him in his office. (Side-Note: But he’s not a student!) Sue explains, “We’ve become somewhat of a progressive bubble here at McKinley High and I think that’s due to the fact that the glee club is being run by a strange weepy man child who has lotion in his hair but no adult friends. We live in Ohio and if you choose to cast Rizzo with a naïve gender-confused boy boy in a dress, I guarantee someone is going to raise a very public stink about it.” And by “someone” she means Sue.
Finn finally finds his confidence and stands up to the cheerios coach and… holy freakin crap. (Side-Note: I’m typing all this as I’m watching and just now hearing Finn refer to Sue’s newborn daughter as “a retarted baby,” has made my stomach tie up in knots. This is so not the Finn we know, and I’m honestly baffled as to why this just happened) It’s clear that Finn has just unleashed hell-hath-no-fury Sue and New Directions need to buckle down for the wave of terror that is surely headed their way. (Side-Note: Okay honesty time: Although we are all shocked that the writer’s would have Finn blurt that out, we can’t quite call it out of character. Remember when he called Kurt the three lettered “f” word in way back when? It’s just unfortunate that the writers would exploit Finn’s blunt tendencies like this. He's a good one!)
Over in the library, Finn offers Unique the part of Rizzo and says that if anyone has a problem with his casting choices, he’ll handle it. The look on Unique’s face when she gets the part makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. She the gives us some insight into the challenges she faces everyday stating. “I don’t feel right when I go into the men’s locker room, but I can’t go into the girls. I don’t feel right in men’s clothing, but I can’t wear dresses everyday. It sucks to never know your place. It’s just nice for once to feel like I’ve finally found one.” (Side-Note: Squee!)
The Final Five: Emma is cooking up a storm their kitchen and it only takes about 2.5 seconds for Will to realize that she’s upset. Emma admits (for the second time) that she does not want to go to Washington. “For the past three years, all I wanted was to be your wife but when I really stop to think about it I have no idea what that means to me.” Emma explains that she is terrified to go with Will because she does not want to end up resenting him for dropping her dreams. They once again show up that this is what a real couple should be and after listing what being a husband/wife really means, they agree to switch off visiting on weekends. (Side-Note: Who else screamed out loud when the Wemma wedding was mentioned?) Over in the choir room Will tells his former student that he is leaving the glee club for a few months and he wants Finn to take over for him. Just as Finn was done pondering and about to say “yes” or “no” the episode ends. Not to worry glee-bees we all know he’s going to say yes...
Grease Call Sheet:
“Rizzo”—Wade “Unique” Adams
“Cha Cha”—Brittany S. Pierce
“Teen Angel”—Blaine Anderson
“Patti Simcocks”—Kitty Wilde
Most Heart-Warming Moment: The look on Unique’s face when she got the part of Rizzo.
Most Heart-Breaking Moment: Seeing Finn’s remorse for his outburst with Sue.
“As president and vice president we can pretty much decree which ever parts we want right?”—Sam “Grease Lightening is my cell phone ringtone and I’ve been knocked out by a car door before so I was really looking forward to recreating that moment on stage.”—Sam “I sit when I pee.”—Unique
“You Urethra Franklin, you are a boy and you are fooling no one. You are smuggling more kielbasa under those gowns than and homesick Polish lady trying to sneak through customs.”—Coach Sue
“Dreams aren’t free.”—Unique
Vote it it out!
&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/6676315/"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;What was the best song of the night?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Are you beyond excited to have Finn back on our TV screens and finding his place? Do you agree with the Grease castings? Who are you rooting for: Jarley or Ryley? Did you miss me? I sure as hell missed you! Sing out all your thoughts in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: FOX]
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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Though ostensibly successful 2009’s The Final Destination represented to many a horror franchise on its last hackneyed legs. Rote uninspired and humorless it scored a (modest) hit only by virtue of the novelty -- and added ticket price -- of its 3D transfer. Two years later Final Destination 5 arrives with a slightly tweaked formula a beefed-up storyline actors you might actually recognize and genuine honest-to-goodness 3D. It’s still schlock mind you -- but artful schlock and a marked improvement over the preceding entry.
The story begins in familiar fashion with a cursory introduction to the characters followed by a grisly premonition that sees them perish wholesale. An assortment of cubicle-dwellers at a paper factory are being bused to a corporate retreat when one of them Sam (Nicholas D’Agosto perpetually bug-eyed) dreams of a massive bridge collapse in which he and his co-workers are impaled beheaded bisected crushed by cars singed by tar -- however many ways a suspension bridge can kill a person the film’s opening set-piece explores it gruesome detail. Sam awakens duly horrified and demands the bus be evacuated. Seconds later the employees watch in horror from the sidelines as Sam’s vision comes to fruition.
You know what happens next. One-by-one death stalks the survivors who meet their fate in a series of elaborately-staged incidents. Some are relatively straightforward; others involve fiendish head-fakes and red herrings. The range of victims is older and more colorful than in previous Final Destination films in which death preyed exclusively on attractive nubile teenagers but the end result is invariably the same. (Not to give anything away but those considering acupuncture or laser eye surgery would be wise to avoid the film entirely.) As death’s scheme becomes achingly evident Sam his lachrymose girlfriend Molly (Emma Bell) and his increasingly unhinged buddy Peter (Miles Fisher) become increasingly desperate. Enter the ever-ominous Tony Todd returning to the franchise after (wisely) taking the previous film off offering a potential way out. But is it genuine or just another of death’s cruel tricks?
Director Steven Quale a James Cameron protege hired principally for his 3D expertise takes full advantage of the added dimension delivering some of the most vivid and immersive 3D sequences in recent memory. Unlike The Final Destination which seemed little more than a amalgam of crude one-liners Final Destination 5 feels like a real movie one with a discernible plot an element of suspense and a handful characters who are more than just punchlines. Most of the actors are surprisingly competent save for Fisher a credible doppelganger for Tom Cruise (he parodied him 2008’s Superhero Movie) who imbues every line with couch-jumping intensity.
Final Destination 5 ends with a twist that while genuinely unexpected feels like a Hail Mary for a franchise that can’t forestall its inexorable descent into stale irrelevance despite the best of efforts from Quale. Its trademark formula has simply lost its potency -- a problem no amount of cosmetic upgrades however welcome can fix. That the film is bracketed by two pointless and time-consuming montages -- the first an animated sequence that hurtles various hazardous objects at the audience the second a greatest hits compilation of memorable kills from previous Final Destination films -- is a telltale sign that the saga’s creativity is on life support. Perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.