Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Robot & Frank - Absolutely adore this movie.  I am even contemplating putting it in my top 10 from 2012 when I re-evaluate my list (after I've seen everything that I want to see.  There is still so much - Les Miserable, Rust and Bone, Amour, Lincoln...).  Set in the "near future", the story is about an elderly man suffering from dementia.  The beginning we see him confused, disoriented and stubborn, but instead of focusing on the depressing facts of getting old - the story takes a twist when his son buys him a "health care aid" not in human form, but in the form of a very amusing robot.  This robot is meant to give Frank stability, ensuring his health and safety, but instead Frank uses the robot to his own advantage and they form an undeniably sweet friendship.  I was surprised by how warm and fuzzy the film is, without being overly saccharine.  I was even more surprised by the humor in it ("Warning: Do not molest me".).  Then, I was in complete shock at the surprise little revelation at the end; was not expecting that at all.  Such a refreshing story about love, family, friendship and the importance of our memories. Also, a fantastic performance by Frank Langella.

2. Nobody Walks - Completely forgettable film.  I watched it a few weeks ago and I am struggling to remember anything about it.  OH YEAH - Olivia Thirlby has a terrible haircut in it - that pretty much distracted me for the whole movie.  I like her, but she (and the rest of the cast) are much better than this movie.  I love John Krasinski but I am concerned that I still loved his character even though he was a complete asshole.  I hope it is just because I love the actor so much and not because I have a sudden affinity for assholes???  That's a scary thought.  The only other thing I remember about the movie is that there is a scorpion sighting. Absolutely terrifying.  Also, I was bored to death.

3. Safe House - Was not expecting much, but was definitely expecting more than what I got.  Denzel Washington can usually hold my interest - even in mediocre movies.  In this film, however, he really had nothing to do.  His character was described as one of the best CIA agents, with excellent interrogation and manipulation skills, however we never see any of this.  Ryan Reynolds is on my list of "terrible actors who are famous for no reason" (I don't actually have a list, but he would likely be number one if I were to make one).  I agree with several critics that this is his "best role", but that is really not saying much.  It's my way of saying "he wasn't horrific".  The film could have easily been a decent story about psychological manipulation, but instead it was just one boring action sequence after another.  We don't really know anything about either of these characters, other than Reynolds character is in love (with a very annoying girl), which I think was meant to give him some sort of emotional depth, but "love" hardly equals "depth" - at least not in my book.  I predicted the "bad guy" within the first 15 minutes of the movie, which I would like to think is impressive (I must be a GENIUS!!), but sadly, I think the film was just that predictable.  The narrative was just too cut and dry.

4. Men in Black 3 - I don't remember the second Men in Black movie.  Like at all.  Not one thing about it comes to mind.  However, the first one?? I can recite the entire thing.  Plus, anytime I hear the name Edgar, I say "Edgar, you're skin is hangin' off your bones".  It's instinctual.  I can't really say that I liked this third film, but there are two reasons that make it awesome.  First, Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones is absolutely mesmerizing.  I actually forgot that it was Josh Brolin and not a younger Jones.  So perfect. Second, the ending actually took me by surprise. The question remains as to whether it was actually done that well, or if I was just not paying close enough attention (??). Either way, I really enjoyed the way it wraps the entire "Men in Black" story together.  If you are a fan of the first one, I think this one is worth watching.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I sort of knew that I would hate this movie, but I didn't really know how much I would hate it.  After all of the glorious reviews, I was willing to give it a chance, but it turned out to be exactly the kind of movie that I thought it would be.  If the trailer made you want to vomit, then you will likely not enjoy the movie.  It felt really inauthentic and sappy (like the trailer did).  The film deals with a million "issues" like domestic abuse, homophobia, bullying, suicide, mental illness and other things that I won't reveal.  It was like a really depressing and boring episode of Glee (I'm comparing the way it handles the "issues" not the production value).  The biggest problem with the film is that this kid is supposed to be an outcast, but he seems to make friends rather quickly - at no time did I feel bad for him.  Maybe that makes me a bit cold-hearted but honestly, I think this kid lives a rather good life.  He's got a family that cares about him (a family that seems to get along and be financially secure), he's smart, good-looking and he has friends. It could make for a great statement on mental illness and how depression can effect anyone (whether that is because of genetics, chemical imbalance, etc.), but that isn't the case here.  Instead, the character suffered from some tragedy which causes this depression - but for me, it just doesn't work.  Suffering from tragedy (or two) doesn't make ones whole life tragic.  Then we have the "profound" message from the one teacher that cares (I'm sure you are all familiar with this character) who states: "we accept the love that we think we deserve.", which is pretty fucking depressing for people who don't think they deserve love.  Then the film ends with this positive message of "it gets better".  That's a nice thought, but really?  Come on.  Do people really think it gets better?  I hate to be so negative, but I think the message should be: It will only get worse, so you have to learn how to enjoy the little moments of happiness. We need to prepare the youth for what the world is really like, instead of encouraging them to live inside this little bubble of hope.  As someone on twitter pointed out, television shows such as Freaks and Geeks and My So-called Life have done the whole coming-of-age/teenage outcast thing much better.  I do agree with the critics about the acting in the film, all 3 of the main actors were really good (although Ezra Miller is just sooooo creepy, no matter what he does).

Monday, February 25, 2013

3 Thoughts on Warm Bodies

1. I didn't hate Nicholas Hoult - I usually do.  I thought he was the most annoying little kid ever to grace the screen in About a Boy and oh, how I loathed him on Skins.  Then, he played a few small roles in a few big movies (X-Men: First Class, Clash of the Titans) and he still annoyed the fuck out of me.  Someone is intent on making him "a thing" with his starring role in this film and the upcoming Jack the Giant Slayer (which looks horrendous).  I really wanted to see this movie, despite his starring role and I am glad that I did.  He wasn't as annoying as usual, because this role was better suited to him (you know, as a lifeless zombie).  I laughed quite a bit at his awkward zombie-in-love bit ("Don't be creepy".).  The rest of the cast is equally enjoyable, especially Dave Franco!!  How great would this movie be if HE was the starring role???

2. It's smart, but also sooo stupid - Always a smart idea to capitalize on a trend, but also put a spin on it.  Zombies are a trend right now (again), and will likely remain a trend with the upcoming film World War Z (I am looking forward to it, even though it could be terrible).  It's also smart to make it a rom-com with a twist (and to release it around Valentine's Day - someone had their thinking cap on).  However, the film isn't very intelligent or cohesive.  One minute the zombies are slow, the next minute they can run.  One minute they can't do more than groan, the next they can talk coherently.  I understood the concept that "love" is changing them, but why is one zombie being in love, changing all of the zombies??  It really makes no sense.  It's hard to critique things that don't actually exist as not making "sense", but I think the writer, Jonathon Levine, should make decisions about his version of what a "zombie" is and stick with it.  I suggest as an audience member, in order to fully enjoy the movie, you must turn your brain off and just go with it.

3. It should be funnier - There was some really funny dialogue, but it could have been better, more consistent and less repetitive. Even though I would recommend it, I am a little bit disappointed that the film didn't take full advantage of its amazing concept.  

6 Thoughts on The Oscars

1. The Host - I am a fan of Family Guy and of Seth MacFarlane, but as an Oscar host, I was a little worried.  It was a surprising choice, for sure (especially after the Anne Hathaway/James Franco disaster - I thought that the Academy would stick to "boring" for at least a few years).  The problem is that most of MacFarlane's jokes are crude and inappropriate, which is much better fit for, say... the MTV Awards.  As the show started, I realized that it was actually a great choice - he is charming, he can sing, he has that old-school Hollywood presence to him; He pretty much embodied a younger, hipper Billy Crystal and guess what??? It wasn't very funny.  There were some enjoyable moments, but for most of it, I couldn't even bear to crack a smile.  He wasn't a bad host and I think he will likely be asked back.  I just didn't see anything special about it.

2. The Show - Such an awkward show, if it weren't live I would blame the editor.  It was just so all over the place.  Nothing really worked 100%.  The opening was far too long and way too much of William Shatner (no thank you.).  There were cute moments like Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum dancing and of course, JGL being adorable, but those moments also confused me greatly.  WHY?  What does this have to do with the Oscars?  The sock puppet version of Flight was probably the most relevant skit.  The theme of the show was "musicals", which meant that we got treated to performances from great musicals of the past decade (all 3 of them).  Just because one musical comes out (and might be good. I still haven't seen it.), doesn't mean it should be more celebrated than the other films.  And I know I have a bad memory, but Dreamgirls and Chicago were not that long ago, why pay tribute to them now??  The only song that sounded good was the Les Mis song (Catherine Zeta-Jones lip-syncing was unacceptable and Jennifer Hudson can belt out those notes better than most, but I've seen her do it a hundred times. Can we move on now?).  Then there was the "Bond tribute" which was lame. Why not do "Skyfall" after this tribute? Because that would make sense?  I'm not a huge fan of that song, but Adele deserved better (whoever did the sound mixing during the performance should be fired).  The show felt like it was on for 5 hours (was it?) and there was a huge chunk of time, where I forgot I was watching the Oscars.

3. The Presenters - It's hard to watch presenters bomb, which is why I think most people just stuck to the script.  But man, Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy were so terrible. I could feel the audience cringing in pain. We all knew that Ted would make an appearance with Mark Wahlberg, but I was really impressed with the effects for that. I also enjoyed Wahlberg's "No B.S., it's a tie" (good job censoring yourself, Mark). No one else really sticks out in my mind, except Jennifer Garner and Jessica Chastain - now that is an inspired pairing (Sydney Bristow and Maya!  Terrorists beware!!).

4. The Winners - Even though some of the people I was rooting for didn't win, I still can't really complain.  I guess my biggest upset is Jennifer Lawrence (over Jessica Chastain).  Lawrence was great in Silver Linings Playbook, but I don't feel like it was an Oscar-winning performance, while Chastain was sublime in Zero Dark Thirty.  Speaking of sublime, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master is honestly, some of the best acting I've ever seen, ever.  I would love to be angry about his loss, but when Daniel Day Lewis is the winner, I can't really complain (and how cool was Meryl Streep announcing it??  She didn't even pause for a second, causing speculation over whether she even opened the envelope.).  I still haven't seen Lincoln, but if people say DDL deserved the Oscar, I have no reason to question that.  I would have loved to see Benh Zeitlin win for directing the stunning Beasts of the Southern Wild, but Life of Pi was also a beautifully made film (not my cup of tea, but I appreciate the technicality of the film).  We all know that the Director statue really went to Ben Affleck and I am happy that the producers of the film recognized that and let him speak (as the Director) when Argo won.  I am incredibly happy that Argo won.  While my favorite film of the year is Seven Psychopaths, I can't deny that Argo is definitely a better made film (I can think of a total of zero flaws).  It's been a long time since I agreed with the Academy on Best Picture (since 2006, with The Departed).  We also agreed on Supporting Actor (Waltz), Original Screenplay (Tarantino) and Animated Feature (Brave).  The fact that I'm not even that upset over some of my favorites losing, just proves how great 2012 was for film.

5. The Speeches - Not only did Jennifer Lawrence fall, but she acknowledged that she fell and that is the only reason anyone stood up for her - causing anyone who wasn't already swooning for her, to now swoon for her.  The only other speech really worth noting was Ben Affleck - he was speed talking (I would be too, considering Jaws was apparently attacking people for talking too long.  Fucking hilarious.  Inappropriate, mean-spirited and FUCKING HILARIOUS). Affleck's speech was reminiscent of his speech when he won for Good Will Hunting, which was one of my favorite Oscar moments ever.  He seems like someone who is genuinely happy just to be making movies.  I think we are going to see him up on that stage quite a bit, over the next few decades.

6. The Fashion - You know how little girls imagine what their wedding dresses will look like?  Well, I never did that.  I did, however, picture what I would wear to the Oscars.  It is statistically more possible that I will attend the Oscars than get married (although, I've succumbed to the fact that I might be there as someones date.  Wow.  Did I really just write that?  That's a pretty depressing statement and not like me at all.  I seriously need to get out of this funk that I am in.).  If I were to attend the Oscars, I would be fighting my conflicting instincts.  My first instinct is that it is the Oscars and since I am someone who is interested in fashion, the dress needs to make a statement.  My second instinct is that I hate being the center of attention, so I need to blend in.  Quite a predicament, isn't it??  There weren't really too many exciting dresses on the red carpet.  I think Jessica Chastain looked divine - I would probably crown her "best dressed".  I always hate the wedding dress trend at these events (doesn't everyone realize how ugly wedding dresses are?), and Jennifer Lawrence takes the cake on that one (because she looks like she belongs on the top of a cake).  I think the only dress on the red carpet that I would actually wear is the one that Stacy Keibler was wearing.  It's modern, glamorous and sexy (and no cleavage!).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - I don't really have anything bad to say about this movie, but I don't have anything good to say either.  It's a cute story with a bit of a "magical" fairy-tale feeling and I appreciate a genuine live-action family film, but this just wasn't good enough to fit into the classical family film genre. I love, love, love (LOVE!!!) Jennifer Garner - (aka Sydney Bristow, my favorite female character ever, from one of my favorite shows ever), but I haven't seen her shine in a movie since 13 Going on 30 (one of the very few "chick-flick" movies that I adore, also can be considered a family film, as it has a wonderful message for young girls).  I want her to move away from these sweet roles and take on a bit more challenging roles (she can do it. Sydney Bristow is a tough role to play and she nailed it).  Joel Edgerton is an actor who has been around for a while, but people are finally taking notice of (thanks to an amazing performance in Warrior), but I found him awkward in this role.  The movie is probably more effective if you are parent.  I can't really relate to a film where the importance of a child scoring a winning soccer goal is stretched out for like an hour (ok...it was probably 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour. Is it really that important?).  I also think the film would have benefited from cutting out the whole "let me tell you a story" bit - just tell the story.

2. Premium Rush - I wasn't expecting too much with this movie, but I was fully satisfied with it.  It's a fun, little action movie that zips through the plot quickly and concisely.  I hate to admit it, but bikers in the city drive me crazy.  Not the sane ones, the ones that put other people's lives at risk because they think they don't have to follow the rules because they are on a bike.  As the main character says in the film "most people wish we would just get off the street".  Um...fuck yes, if you can't follow traffic laws, then yes, you should get off the street.  Sorry, for the rant, but while I am at it, here's another one: Why would anyone open their door for someone who claims to be a cop (like the stupid girl does in this movie)?  Are people really that stupid? Yes, I realize that people are, in fact, that stupid.  So, just in case this applies to you: call your local police station before you answer the door. They can verify the officer's identity and tell you why the officer is there. Any legitimate police officer would cooperate with you doing that.  Anyway, back to the movie, I loved the constant action and appreciated how much of a nightmare it must have been to coordinate the production.  I loved the narrative and how it went back and forth in the timeline to explain the plot from different view points.  And I loved, loved, loved the way it showed JGL's character imagining different scenarios consequential to which direction he rides his bike in.  Really cool.  The film suffered a bit from some convenient storytelling (like how he just happened to walk into the exact precinct that the cop works at - there are at least 50 precincts in NYC), but overall it was smart and coherent.

3. 10 Years - I sort of liked this movie.  I liked that it felt honest, the friendships seem real, there are some solid awkward moments, and even though there are some surprises and twists, it still is a quiet film. There are a shitload of likeable actors: Channing Tatum, Lynn Collins, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Ari Graynor, Aubrey Plaza...the list goes on.  I guess my issue with the movie, is that a film like this is made for an audience that can relate and I just can't.  I didn't go to my 10 year reunion and I honestly don't even know if my school had one.  I don't talk to anyone from high school, not on purpose, but I just moved around a lot and I am really bad at keeping in touch with people.  There is really no way anyone from my high school would even be able to contact me - I'm not on Facebook (!!), I have a twitter but it's not my real full name, and if you google me, there is another girl who has my name (even the same middle initial), suspiciously lived in several of the places that I have and is my age.  She's a lawyer, so that's the only way I know she isn't me!! I actually like being under the radar, almost non-existent. (Another rant, I know, it can't be helped).  My point is that I just can't relate to people that like to reminisce about the past.  It's weird to me that someone would harbor feelings for someone they haven't seen in 10 years.  It's past my point of comprehension.  I did appreciate that it showed that many people exaggerate how great their lives are, when in reality "we all have messes".   

4. Hope Springs - What a depressing fucking movie.  It certainly solidifies my decision to never get married.   It's about an older couple, Tommy Lee Jones as the cranky, emotionally unavailable husband and Meryl Streep as the loyal, but emotionally unfulfilled wife. He is also a bit of a bully (and slightly emotionally abusive), but she has been complacent about it for 30 years, so how can she suddenly ask him to change?  I can solve all of their problems with one word: DIVORCE.  Instead, they seek help via marriage counselor, played by Steve Carrell, who was oddly dull in this role. I really didn't root for them to stay together, so the whole movie is irrelevant. I don't know about you, but I really have no interest in watching Meryl Streep learning how to give a blow job (and this film officially ruined cookie dough for me.  Banana's were expected....but COOKIE DOUGH??  Why?), and it is really difficult to watch her talk about sex (and..um... masturbate).  I realize that is ageism at work, but I can't help it.  I don't want to see it.  Also, Elizabeth Shue is in it for a second (which is pretty depressing - I want her to score a solid role in something).  One more "Also", Meryl's name in the movie is "Kay", which constantly reminded me of Tommy Lee Jones as "K" in Men in Black.  Unnecessary distraction, but a distraction nonetheless.

5. Celeste and Jesse Forever - Another relationship movie, but this one is a little different, in that it's about a couple (played by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg) after they divorce and still remain "best friends".  I adored the beginning scene - the song, Lily Allen's "Littlest Things", is perfect for the setting and the relationship between the two main characters is established really quickly.  I think the whole "friends with your ex" thing is totally possible, but I am constantly proven to be wrong.  It's clear in this movie that these "friends" are not completely over each other.  The problem begins when he starts to move on, and she goes bat-shit crazy.  I tend to think that films that portray women as "crazy" in (and out) of relationships is part of the problem in reality.  Not that films are responsible for human behavior, but films tend to "normalize" this "craziness" in a way; making women feel like it is completely acceptable to be jealous, insecure and weak- instead of promoting a healthy attitude towards relationships (like trusting your partner, accepting when things don't work out, and having the strength to move on).  But then again, maybe it is normal and I am just the odd one out.  If you love someone, you should want the best for them - even if that means it's not you.  Seems pretty logical to me.  I am on a ranting role today!!  The film redeems itself in the end, with their very honest blowout argument.  Other thoughts I had during the movie:  1. Rashida, please take off the hipster glasses - you are playing a "trend forecaster" not a "trend follower".  2. Why is there always a running joke about putting together Ikea furniture?  I've never had a problem putting anything together (and I literally have had every piece of Ikea furniture that exists).  3. Who is the woman that plays his new girlfriend?  She is stunning.  4.  Why can't anyone use Ari Graynor correctly?   She was hilarious in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, but has consistently been underused since.  Shameful.

3 Thoughts on Side Effects

*Warning* *MAJOR Spoilers* *All of them* *Sorry*

1. It's amazing until the end - I was so happy watching this movie.  Impressive twists and turns, adult themes, fascinating characters, morally ambiguous subject and stunning performances from Jude Law and Rooney Mara.  I was so invested in the plot, trying to figure out how it would end (knowing full-well that it would end with a twist) that I was practically giddy.  It's been so long since a film really, truly surprised me.  Then, the twist came and my giddiness came crashing down.  The twist did surprise me, but only because it's ridiculous.  Not the "we did it for money and revenge" twist, but the "surprise! we are lesbians" twist.  It was a completely unnecessary turn of events and it felt like it was only put there as a true "surprise" for those that figured out the rest of the twists on their own.  I enjoy some girl-on-girl action as much as the next guy (yes, I am a girl), but Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones???  I am not a fan of Zeta-Jones, she was the weakest link of the film (seriously, her presence in this film was an embarrassment compared to her co-stars), so maybe, that explains why it was so horrifying and cringe-worthy. But really, these two characters barely share any screen time together and they had no chemistry at all. The last 20 minutes really ruined the entire movie, for me, although I would still recommend it.  It's definitely my favorite Soderbergh, since the Ocean's films.

2. The "side effects" - I guess my bigger problem with the final twist, is that the whole film builds up this commentary on America's obsession with pills, and questions who is responsible for this obsession, then it takes all that build up and flushes it down the toilet.  With the pharmaceutical companies paying doctors to perform drug trials, the doctors prescribing these pills that have known (and dangerous) side effects and the patients who willingly take these drugs - who do we blame, when it all comes crashing down? Can you really find a person guilty of murder, if they weren't even conscious at the time of the murder? In the bigger picture, we are all really to blame. Americans have become so dependent on drugs, that it is part of every day conversation - and I often encounter people bragging about how many pills they take.  This obsession with pills is causing a societal "side effect" of its own - it's causing a blurred line between people who actually need this medication and people who just don't like feeling depressed.  Being depressed isn't fun, but it is a part of life - instead of feeling all the ups and downs of life, people are walking around zombified and devoid of feelings.  How can a doctor really tell the difference between who is in need of help, when everyone thinks they need it? The big slap in the face, in the movie, is that she was never even taking the pills - so all the complicated questions that are asked are completely ignored and become pointless.  All for the cop-out of a "big twist".

3. Rooney Mara and Jude Law - I'm going to try to forget about Catherine Zeta-Jones and really, Channing Tatum is in a forgettable role.  However, Rooney Mara and Jude Law are exceptional.  It's a shame that the film will likely be forgotten about come next awards season, because they both deserve some recognition.  I am a fan of Jude Law, but I haven't really thoroughly enjoyed his work since 2004 (Closer, I Heart Huckabees, The Aviator).  This film reminded me just how good of an actor he really is.  I wasn't as enamored by Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as everyone else was, but I see her talent here (I still prefer Kate Mara, though).

Thoughts on 4 New Television Shows

1. Deception - Described as a "Revenge-like" drama, but it doesn't come close to the intrigue and fun.  Deception is more like The Killing, except that with The Killing it took a whole season and a half of searching for a girl's murderer before I got bored.  I got bored after 2 episodes of Deception.  I keep watching it, hoping for it to find its groove, but sadly, after 7 episodes it is still rather weak.  I love half of the cast - the male half.   Tate Donavon (aka Jimmy Cooper from The O.C), Victor Garber (aka Jack Bristow from Alias) and Wes Brown (aka the super hot guy that was recently on 90210).  The female cast is significantly weaker, which is a problem since the main character is one of them.  Meagan Good, as the undercover cop, is really awful (and her drawn-on eyebrows are distracting).  I think my biggest problem with the series is the flashbacks - they could give us the same information using dialogue.  There have been a series of really cool plot twists (some of them were obvious, but still interesting), but the pace, the main actress and lack of fun are responsible for bringing the series down.  I can't imagine it lasting much longer.

2. 1600 Penn - One of the most painful comedies I have seen in a while (granted I haven't watched many of the new comedies, because they all looked painful - but this one actually seemed promising).  I'm going to blame it all on Josh Gad, since he is one of the creators and the least funny character on the show.  None of the actors are used to their full potential.  I watched 3 episodes and didn't laugh at all...not even once!  I think that 3 episodes is more than enough time to establish humor for a television series.  I could see if there are other kinks to work out, but the first thing that a comedy sitcom needs to be is FUNNY.  Also, I never hear anyone talking about the series, which can't be a good sign.  It's like it doesn't even exist.

3. The Following - Completely satisfying so far.  The pilot episode was fantastic.  The show is creepy, gory, fast-paced and all-around entertaining.  Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are perfection.  I am not as impressed with the supporting cast, but I think Bacon and Purefoy make up what the supporting cast is lacking (charisma).  The twists and turns of the show are mostly predictable (just assume everyone is lying), but I think that is part of what makes it fun to watch - even if you know how it will end, it is still interesting to see how it all unfolds. And even though it is completely different subject matter - it reminds me of 24.  The way each episode moves really quickly, no one can be trusted and the main hero doesn't always win.  I loved 24 (even when it went from ridiculous to over-the-top super ridiculous), so I think I will feel the same with this show.   The whole cult aspect is done really well - I was pretty skeptical about this whole plot point, but I love it. I love to be scared and it happens pretty rarely, especially with TV shows, but this show definitely creeps me out.  I get asked all the time "Isn't it scary living by yourself?" and my answer is always "no", but after I watched the pilot episode, late at night, I had trouble sleeping.  I checked the locks on my doors like 5 times and I even opened up all my closet doors, that's how creeped out I was!! Now, I will only watch it in the middle of the afternoon - that way it's not on my mind when I go to sleep.  

4. The Americans - LOVE. The pilot episode was one of the best pilot episodes I've seen in a really, really long time.  There was so much information given and all of it was fascinating.  Now, after 3 episodes, there is still so much revealed with each episode, yet it never feels over-done.  The story line is quite revolutionary for television, considering that the main characters (that we are definitely supposed to root for) are Russian spies infiltrating America during the 1980's.  That is quite a controversial stance, and I could see why it would turn some American audiences away.  However, the American FBI agent (who happens to move in next door, which is described by the characters as a "coincidence" - HAHAHA!), is also a favorable character which creates for a nice, complicated television show.  Keri Russell kills this role - her performance in the pilot is Emmy-worthy.  I am really happy that Margot Martindale has joined the cast (one of the best television actresses around).  It's also really interesting to have the show set in the 80's, I didn't really think about how fun that could be - watching spies work before all the advanced technology of today.  Some parts of the show have been a little dumb, but if you look at early episodes of Alias (and even some later ones), there were several dumb plot points - and Alias is still one of my favorite shows ever.  I am really excited about this show, I hope more people start watching it so it lasts a few seasons, at least.