The High Five Podcast Episode 53 – Winter Olympics Flicks Part 2

Carrying on from last week’s episode, I’m continuing my examination of winter sports movies in honor of the now-done Winter Olympics! Today we get into ski and snowboard flicks (which are really just newer ski movies!).

For the record, I say towards the end of the episode that I think people should be able to do whatever they want. I meant to add the caveat “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” Unfortunately, too many people these days only believe in the first half of the sentiment and not the second.

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Great New Show: Traffic Lights

I had to start leaving the room during Glee because the show drives me nuts and I don’t want to ruin it for the missus with my wise-ass comments. But, Fox makes up for that by putting on the wonderful Raising Hope on at 9:00 PM and then the brand new comedy Traffic Lights which had it’s fifth episode tonight (check out the previous episodes on the Fox site). I was skeptical of the show at first because the basic premise is everywhere right now: old friends deal with life and relationships as they get older. That sitcom subgenre can be done quite well–and is with How I Met Your Mother–but also seems to be the default, go-to scenario for every crappy show that mercifully disappears after a few months. Thankfully, Traffic Light isn’t like that. The key to the show’s success, much like that of HIMYM, is a combination of clever writing and performances that make you really believe that these three guys played by David Denman (Roy from The Office), Nelson Franklin and Kris Marshall (who had a bit, but awesome part in Love Actually) have been friends for a long time. They have such a natural chemistry together with their conversations about things like the greatest American rock band and whether communications should or shouldn’t be broken off with exes. The women are no slouches either. Denman’s married to Liza Lapira’s (21, Cloverfield) character and Franklin’s dating Aya Cash who has a less intense Isla Fisher quality to her (think Wedding Crashers). While the guys tend to talk to their friends about their problems with their women, the show doesn’t get into Everybody Loves Raymond territory where every single episode revolves around the man being a bonehead and learning a lesson about what it means to be in a relationship. Sure, SOME of the episodes revolve around that, but not all. Aside from being funny and well performed, Traffic Light really benefits from one of the hardest things to capture in a half hour comedy show: heart. It might sound cheesy, but all my favorite comedy shows have a good deal of heart involved and Traffic Light has that in spades. The first episode keeps mentioning a thing with another friend that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but eventually reveals itself to be the dedication of a baseball field for their friend who passed away. I think they really earned that moment and did well with it by having breakout star Franklin deliver a killer speech that was equal parts funny and touching. I’ll tell you what, I didn’t think I’d be this into a Fox sitcom, let alone two in a row!

Fanboys (2008)

Before I start getting my post-Wizard World Philly post together (here’s a preview, Skeletor karaoke) together I just wanted to say a few words on Fanboys, which Em and I just finished watching. Maybe it’s because I just experienced fanboy-ness to the extreme this weekend and my inner fanboy was all over the place, but I REALLY liked this movie.

The story’s about four (eventually five) lifelong Star Wars fans in 1999 who are anxiously waiting for Episode I to hit theaters, but the problem is that one of the guys has cancer and they don’t think he’ll last the six months until the premiere. So, they go on a road trip to break into Skywalker Ranch to watch a rough cut of the movie before it opens. Of course there are plenty of hijinks along the way and TONS of guest appearances and geek injokes. There was a lot of trouble getting this movie into theaters because the powers that be weren’t sure whether they wanted to keep the cancer plot in the movie. Well, I was excited about this flick since I first heard about it and can’t imagine how bad it would be without that element behind the plot. It really is the heart of the movie and I’ll be honest, the end got to me. Even more so than Darth killing the Emperor. Now, you know that’s serious.

I was worried that I wouldn’t like the movie because the guys on the Totally Rad Show didn’t like it very much. Our tastes don’t match up perfectly, but I do respect their opinions and ours match up a good deal of the time. I think the wait hurt the movie and it really is kind of a big injoke, so I can see why your big audiences wouldn’t have wanted to check it out. Em’s seen all the Star Wars movies, but she’s nowhere near the geek I am, so she didn’t necessarily pick up on all the things I did, but she still dug it. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, it’s probably not the best flick for you. It’s kind of like how you might be able to enjoy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, unless you’ve seen all of Kevin Smith’s movies a bunch of time. By the way, Kevin Smith makes a cameo I didn’t know about that had my laughing like crazy. But, in the end, I really liked it and recommend it to all my Star Wars brethren. Plus, it makes fun of Trekkies, so that’s cool.