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86. Mister Smith Goes to Washington – Independence Day 2018 (#147)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, an Independence Day treat. Frank Capra’s Mister Smith Goes to Washington.

Local activist and unlikely politician Jefferson Smith finds himself appointed to represent his great state in the United States Senate. However, while trying to ensure a fair deal for his constituents, Smith soon finds his faith in democracy threatened as he figures out how the institutions actually work.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 147th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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The Simpsons – The Springfield Files (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

A young network hungry to find its place in the American television market, Fox managed to produce two of the television shows that defined the nineties. Both The X-Files and The Simpsons were bold and innovative television shows that captured the zietgeist perfectly. Both shows offered an insightful, innovative and occasionally subversive look at American pop culture in the last decade of the twentieth century. Both have endured quite well, speaking to a generation that came of age in the nineties.

While The X-Files wound itself up in 2002, The Simpsons endures. The show has been running for almost a quarter-of-a-century at this point, and there is no sense that it will ever let up. While there are stock criticisms to be made about how The Simpsons is not as funny as it once was, the series has continually and perpetually reinvented itself. The success of these various iterations has varied. The Simpsons was a different show in 1989 than it was in 1992 or 1996 or 2000.

"Mulder and Scully. FBI."

“Agents Mulder and Scully. FBI.”

However, the show was in the middle of an incredible hot streak in January 1997. The show was in its eighth season, and on the cusp of overtaking The Flintstones as the longest-running prime-time animated series in the United States. This was a phenomenal accomplishment, and there was no indication that the show was in decline. Although fans will argue about exactly how long the so-called “golden age” of the Simpsons actually lasted, the series was still in the middle of it by January 1997.

So The Springfield Files makes a lot of sense as an obvious overlap between the two most important weekly shows airing on Fox at this moment in time. The Springfield Files was treated as a big deal at the time. It aired two weeks before Superbowl XXI, which would help give The X-Files its highest-ever ratings with Leonard Betts. It was sent to the press for review before it aired, to help generate word of mouth. The result is a delightfully satisfying intersection of two massively successful and influential shows.

Reading the scene...

Reading the scene…

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My 12 for ’12: The Raid (Redemption) & An Action Aesthetic…

I’m counting down my top twelve films of the year between now and January, starting at #12 and heading to #1. I expect the list to be a little bit predictable, a little bit surprising, a little bit of everything. All films released in the UK and Ireland in 2012 qualify. Sound off below, and let me know if I’m on the money, or if I’m completely off the radar. And let me know your own picks or recommendations.

This is #12

It’s a bit of a stereotype that critics don’t like action movies. It’s one of those handy clichés that gets trotted around whenever some mega-blockbuster brings in a ridiculously large number at the box office after a thrashing from the pundits. I can’t speak for the critics, of course, but I can tell you that the reason I disliked The Bourne Legacy or Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon had nothing to do with an innate dislike of action movies as a genre. I’m a big fan of action movies. However, like any other genre, an action movie needs to be done right.

The Raid does an action movie right.

theraid1

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The Simpsons Myth: Was It Really That Much Better in the Past?

It’s one of those things that, repeated often enough, becomes the truth. The Simpsons were funnier in the old days. In fact, limping into its twenty-first season, there are probably die-hard fans out there looking for what they might deem a “mercy killing” from Fox, and the vast majority of us have just really stopped watching. However, as I went back this week and re-evaluated all the Futurama movies, it got me thinking: is it really fair to make the argument that The Simpsons aren’t as good as they once were?

It's a tough balancing act...

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TV Movies…

It surfaces every now again. Talk of a Sopranos movie. It’s the same deal-io with the oft-requested Veronica Mars movie or a sequel to Serenity. It seems that the big screen has become the desired home for any number of TV shows – whether they ended before their time (as Firefly did) or as planned (per the Sopranos). I’m a little surprised, though, that everyone seems to think this is a good idea.

Seeing red...

Seeing red...

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Machine Steals Giamatti’s Soul; Simpsons’ Plot…

The first clip from Cold Soul, the upcoming movie starring Paul Giamatti as… Paul Giamatti, were released yesterday. And, hearing the plot summary, I couldn’t help thinking that The Simpsons already did it. Basically, Giamatti has his soul extracted and then discovers he misses it and then embarks on a quest to win it back, discovering that it has been sold on the black market. If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s also the plot to the cleverly titled Simpsons-episode Bart Sells His Soul. I’ll wait to see how it turns out, but the movie’d want to be something really special to top that vintage piece of American television.

The similarities are astounding...

The similarities are astounding...