Friday, September 11, 2015


Year 7, Day 253 - 9/10/15 - Movie #2,145

BEFORE: Well, I've fallen behind in the count again - I watched my Thursday movie late on Thursday night, instead of early on Thursday morning, as I would prefer to do.  I'll have to pull double-duty this weekend to get back on track - because I allowed myself to skip two days last week, so there's no more give in the schedule if I want to hit horror films right after NY Comic-Con, and finish them in time for Halloween. 

It's not just because I'm back on a 5-day work week, though - my BFF Andy came to town and secured tickets for Stephen Colbert's 2nd "Late Show" taping, and I think that was worth getting off my regular schedule for.  Andy and I went to see Letterman tapings several times over the years, let's say 6 or 7 times, and we were very curious what things would be like with a new host.  The verdict - it's a completely different animal.  

I can't imagine it's easy for anyone to take over a show from anyone who had a 30-year record of hosting, but if anyone can handle it, it's Colbert.  I think it might be even harder for Colbert's band-leader, Jon Batiste, to fill the shoes of the flashy, out-spoken Paul Shaffer, who had a giant friendly personality where Letterman was often irascible, even grouchy (but that's the way we liked him).  Based on what I've seen, Letterman took about 20 years to become relaxed and friendly with the audience, whereas Colbert is starting out that way - so I think he's got a great shot.  Now I have to decide who my new late-night talk provider will be - I still can't stomach James Corden, so perhaps next week I'll ditch Conan for Colbert, but keep Seth Meyers in the rotation as well.  I'll know more after I watch a full week of Colbert's shows.  

Seeing the show live was a new experience for us as well, since the Worldwide Pants staffers, who had done so many shows together that they functioned like a well-oiled machine, are no longer employed there (though the CBS staffers, like cameramen and prop guys are still there) and have been replaced by Colbert's people, who are still working out some of the kinks.  We were held in a line for a couple hours as usual, but then once we were seated, there was about a 45-minute period of complete inactivity, followed by the warm-up comediean, some music from the new hipster-oriented jazz band, and then Colbert taking questions from the audience.  Once they got rolling, it took nearly two hours to record an hour's show, so my advice is that if you go to see the new "Late Show" live, you should really block out the whole day, at least until they get a few more shows under their belt.  

Then we had dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner, where the waiters and waitresses are all young Broadway hopefuls (OK, some maybe aren't so young) who get to audition for shows during the day and work flexible shifts at the diner.  It's a place where if someone quits, it usually means that they've landed a part in a show, and that's encouraged and celebrated, rather than frowned upon - and the waiters perform show tunes from "Grease" and "Les Miz" throughout the whole evening, so you get a free show with your dinner.  Then when we finally got home, we had to record a podcast about our experiences at the new Colbert show, so a movie on Wednesday night was really out of the question. 

Dennis Miller carries over from "Murder at 1600".  

THE PLOT: A computer specialist is sued for sexual harassment by a former lover turned boss who initiated the act forcefully, which threatens both his career and his personal life.

AFTER: As always, I have to take the year that a film was released into consideration when I start to give my thoughts - because every film, of course, is a product of its time.  A window into the current events of that year, if you will, so watching this film now, there's no way to separate the film from the year 1994, when sexual harassment was the hot topic of the day.  So you would expect this film to either be a reflection of, or a reaction to, the events of that time with regards to that issue.  Seeing as they flipped the script and made the woman the aggressor and the man the harrassed victim, I'd go with the latter. 

The only problem with that is, when you flip things around like that, it's very easy for a filmmaker to lose sight of the original topic, and that seems to be what happened with this film.  This film is about sexual harassment in the same way that "Jurassic World" is about amusement park management.  Maybe a better analogy would be to "Horrible Bosses 2", a film that started out being about 3 guys trying to stay employed, but went off on so many tangents related to kidnapping, sexual addiction and just overall dumbness that by the end, it's hard to understand what the original point of the exercise was supposed to be.  

If this film had JUST been about a sexual encounter, and the resulting legal situation stemming from it, it might have been easier to take it seriously.  But instead we get bogged down in the inter-office politics of a technology company right before a merger, plus the problems caused by manufacturing products in Malaysia, and even our hero having a sex dream about his male boss.  Any point that was going to be made about sexual harassment, hostile work environments, whether "no means no", the difference between men and women with regards to sex, etc, didn't stand a chance with all this other stuff going on.  

Worst of all is the company's file-storing system, which needs to be access via a virtual reality system that involves a glove, a headset and a trampoline (!) and places the user in an environment that resembles an ancient Roman basilica, where a helpful VR angel (literally an angel, WTF?) can assist you in preventing the file you need from being deleted by another user, if you get there in time.  This was a joke, right?  This is some production designer in 1994 predicting that in just a few years, every company will be using VR to access all of their files, because just listing them in a directory on a computer screen would be just SO early-90's.  This seems like a LOT of work just to find a file, when a couple of keystrokes and a password probably would have sufficed.  

There are probably a ton of NITPICK POINTS to be made about other technological issues, like the quality of video-conferencing with Asia in 1993, or the recording abilities of cell phones and answering machines back then, but I'm probably not the best person to talk about them.  I don't think I even had a cell phone back then, I was still working with a fax machine on a daily basis.  What a pain in the ass those were...

Anyway, it's a good chance to reflect back on simpler times, back before we got that whole sexual harassment thing worked out - I'm glad it's no longer a problem, men and women are now treated 100% equally, and we have more time and energy in the workplace to solve other issues, like transgender restrooms and same-sex partner benefits. 

Also starring Michael Douglas (last seen in "Last Vegas"), Demi Moore (last seen in "We're No Angels"), Donald Sutherland (last seen in "Klute"), Dylan Baker (last seen in "Random Hearts"), Caroline Goodall (last seen in "Cliffhanger"), Roma Maffia (last seen in "The Paper"), Suzie Plakson, Nicholas Sadler, Rosemary Forsyth, Donal Logue (last seen in "Miami Rhapsody"), Allan Rich.

RATING: 3 out of 10 family photos

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