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411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV: Are We Looking Forward to Better Call Saul?

December 20, 2014 | Posted by Ben Piper

I would have like to have addressed Sony canceling all showings of The Interview, but alas the story broke too late to be involved in the proceedings. It is just going to have to wait until another time. Speaking of which, won’t turn out to be next week seeing as the 411 powers that be have graciously allowed me to take the week off. As such there will be no Fact or Fiction column next week. Look for the column to return in the New Year.

So here to help us out is Al Norton and Jeremy Thomas. Let’s get this shindig under way…

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies will be a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Al Norton: FACT Full disclosure, I haven’t seen a non-kids movie in the theater in almost two years but I have no reason to believe that the team behind The Hobbit movies would somehow lose their touch for the final installment of the trilogy. Someday someone will write an amazing book about Peter Jackson’s creative odyssey through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and at that point I will hopefully be caught up on all the movies but as far as the answer to this question, Jackson has already proved his ability to end a film trilogy with style, so I don’t see him dropping the ball on this one.

Jeremy Thomas : FACT I’ve already seen it and while it’s not perfect, it is quite the satisfying conclusion. I feel like the Tauriel/Kili relationship ultimately seemed unnecessary but they make dwarves look like badasses finally, the action scenes are all very well-done, Richard Armitage gives a hell of a performance as Thorin and the calls forward to the Lord of the Rings films are carried off very nicely. I don’t think any of the Hobbit films hit LOTR quality and I liked Desolation of Smaug slightly more than this one, but it was still quite good.

A 21 Jump Street/Men In Black cross-over movie is a horrible idea.

Al Norton : FACT In particular because it seems like someone throwing darts against the wall instead of any compelling reason to mix the two movies. 21 Jump Street is set in reality and Men in Black is science fiction (comedy sci-fi but sci-fi nonetheless). Is ANYONE dying for another Men in Black movie? I mean, if any movie were going to get turned into a TV show, Men is it as it’s basically a procedural in different clothing, and the TV audience LOVES procedurals, but I digress…This is the negative influence of the Avengers movies and DC’s planned superhero series of films, with companies clearly seeing the dollar sign and thinking it might work with other genres. Please. Don’t.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION It’s a weird idea, but I wouldn’t call it horrible. 21 Jump Street is the kind of strange, self-aware action comedy that could work paired up with the cheekiness of the Men in Black films. Now, this is key: you need the right talent. The idea could work, but it would have to be done just right to avoid disaster. That means someone who cam merge these two films together seamlessly. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who directed the first two Jump Streets as well as The LEGO Movie, could do it. But I don’t know many others who could. I think that if they are interested, I would be willing to give it a shot.

You’ll tune in to see Amy Schumer host The MTV Movie Awards.

Al Norton : FACT Amy Schumer is one of the funniest and most creative people on TV right now and it’s actually a particularly smart move on MTV’s part to hire a host who excels in sketch comedy to host a show that will likely feature multiple sketches/short films. Key & Peele would have been a good choice, as would Nick Kroll, but Amy is the best choice in terms of hoping to combine a quality product with multiple, “did she just say that?!??!” moments that will be all over the internet the next morning.

Jeremy Thomas : FACT I’ll tune in to watch her hosting stuff, but I’ll probably tune away after her monologue. Schumer is a remarkably funny comedienne and she would definitely be able to have some fun here. Once it gets to the awards though…welll, I can call the winners right now. The Fault In Our Stars, Divergent, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with a nod here and there to awards contenders that won’t be taking home the Golden Popcorn. I don’t need to sit through the rest of it to confirm that stuff.


A Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tombwill be the worst installment of the frachise.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION I’m not saying it’ll be great, but it looks moderately entertaining which is a height that Night at the Smithsonian failed to acheive. I feel like the first film was far better than it had any right to be and the second was an overcrowded, distracted mess. Here’s a chance to end it on a higher note and I don’t have a lot of concerns on that end; I think it’ll be just fine in comparison.

Al Norton: FICTION I mean, it might be, but the first two were more entertaining than they were good and I see nothing to make me think this third won’t be at the same level. The Night at the Museum movies are GREAT to find on cable, where you get sucked in by the special effects and the fun casting. I have never seen one on the big screen but I bet that would add to the experience. Ben Stiller does exasperation as well as any comedic actor out there and my guess is that Larry will find himself very frustrated by whatever secrets the tomb is holding.

You’re greatly looking forward to Better Call Saul.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT This is a pretty obvious one for me, and probably for most people who watched Breaking Bad. These days it is rare that you see a major TV series end on a high note and the fact that Breaking Bad pulled it off has engendered a lot of goodwill toward the prequel. Bob Odenkirk’s Saul is the perfect guy to focus on and as Al said, the supporting cast is very strong on this one. That AMC greenlit a second season months before the first season aired
doesn’t hurt either.

Al Norton : FACT I am not sure I could be looking forward to this more. The writers are the same ones who made Saul such a great character to begin with, and Bob Odenkirk has demonstrated he can do a lot more as an actor than just make us laugh (watch his monologue from Fargo about finding the missing African refugee). I am also very encouraged by them not rushing this project on the air, taking the time to get everything right, including a strong supporting cast. Better Call Saul is the new 2015 series I am most looking forward to.

The remake of Anniewon’t be very good.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT And for more on why I think so, you can read my review! But cheap plug aside, this is a terrible, terrible film. Will Gluck has no idea what he’s doing behind the camera, the singing is crap, the old songs were ripped to pieces and the new songs are forgettable pop, Cameron Diaz is agonizingly bad…there is very, very little redeeming about this film. Sorry guys. I actually agree that the original Annie is a bit overrated, but it’s West Side Story in comparison to this.

Al Norton : FACT And it makes me very sad. Truth be told, I think the original movie is highly overrated, and this comes from a guy who is a huge fan of the play (I just took my kids to see it last month here in Boston). There is certainly a lot of room to modernize the story and make a statement about the wealth gap in our country but it looks like they’ve settled for making a valentine to the rich. Now, despite my saying “FACT” here, I am totally seeing with with my kids the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s and will likely enjoy it greatly despite it not being very good. And I’ll do my best not to cry during “Maybe”, although that would be a first.

And there you have it. Al and Jeremy agree more often than not. Thanks to them both for playing, and see you all again in two weeks!