‘A.P. Bio’ Has a Striking Amount of ‘Community’ DNA

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CREDIT: NBC

Over the past few months, the delightful high school-set sitcom A.P. Bio has become one of my favorite shows on the air, but then NBC went a little cuckoo and cancelled it. There’s been some effort on the part of the cast, crew, and fans to find the show a new home, but unless that happens, we will have to be satisfied with two short-but-sweet seasons.

One of the reasons I love A.P. Bio so much is because it shares a lot of DNA with my favorite show of all time, which would be Community, another former NBC sitcom that was constantly on the brink of cancellation (though unlike A.P. Bio, it kept beating the renewal odds). Their premises and central characters are strikingly similar. In Community, Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) is a high-powered lawyer who gets disbarred and must enroll at a community college. Meanwhile, A.P. Bio stars Glenn Howerton as Jack Griffin, a disgraced Harvard philosophy professor who is forced to take a lowly part-time teaching job at a high school in Toledo, Ohio.

As I watched and grew to love A.P. Bio, I kept noticing more and more Community similarities, to the point that I could detect analogues for all the major characters. So I’ve assembled below a side-by-side comparison of the Greendale Human Beings and their corresponding Whitlock Rams. Enjoy, and let me know if you need help reacting to riding that ram.

(Thank you to my fellow commenters at the AV Club and Disqus for helping me out with these comparisons!)

Jack (Glenn Howerton) = Jeff (Joel McHale)

CREDIT: YouTube

The protagonists who try to act above it all but eventually embrace the crazy scholastic ecosystems they’ve become an integral part of.

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Movie Review: ‘The Lego Movie 2’ Has Some More Valuable Lessons to Teach Us With Bright Colors and Peppy Songs

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CREDIT: Warner Bros.

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman

Director: Mike Mitchell

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Rating: PG for Traumatizing Lego Destruction

Release Date: February 8, 2019

Where does a sequel go after the original makes such a definitive statement? This is the conundrum facing The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. (That subtitle is infinitely unnecessary, but not indicative of the movie’s humor as a whole, and also this title would have looked rather naked without a subtitle.) 2015’s first part summed up in cinematic form the whole ethos of the iconic Danish building blocks: in a world that often favors rigidity and conformity, you cannot give up on your individuality, because everyone can be and is special. Childlike imagination and wonder are what fueled The Lego Movie to be as successful as it was. Those values will get you pretty far in life. So why do any more statements need to be made?

It turns out that while The Lego Movie offers a philosophy with wide-ranging applicability, it is not quite a grand unified theory that covers absolutely everything. It spoke to the power of a singular creative vision, but The Second Part demonstrates how collaboration is equally vital. Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) and his Lego friends are now living in the wasteland Apocalypseburg, because in the human world that is controlling them, a little sister has invaded the playspace of her big brother. So Emmet, Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), and company head out to broker a peace with some differently designed block-creatures. This leads to permanent bachelor Batman becoming engaged to a sparkly shape-shifter voiced by Tiffany Haddish, while Superman (Channing Tatum) lives happily alongside General Zod in a Stepford-esque perfect suburb.

Sizing up the situation, Emmet believes that his mission is to free his friends from the brainwashing of strangers. But while it may seem that all is not what it seems, it turns out that that particular mystery trope is not being played as straight as you might expect. The Lego Movie taught us to be skeptical about a constantly smiling world insisting that everything is awesome, but it also taught us that awesomeness sometimes really is awesome if it has genuine feeling behind it. The candy-coated invading milieu of The Second Part initially appears to be fundamentally suspicious. But sometimes a bright, peppy outer layer is only covering a bright and rewarding core. Sometimes a catchy song that jams itself right in your head is so buoyant that you’re happy it’s stuck there. Belief in yourself is important, but don’t forget to be open-minded about everyone else.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is Recommended If You Like: The Lego Movie and its spin-offs, Playing with your siblings

Grade: 4 out of 5 Catchy Songs

This Is a Movie Review: The Post

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CREDIT: Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox

I give The Post 3.5 out of 5 Sealed Documents: http://newscult.com/movie-review-defense-journalism-mounted-post-admirable-often-rousing-almost-quaint/

This Is a Movie Review: The Disaster Artist

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CREDIT: Justina Mintz/A24

I give The Disaster Artist 4.5 out of 5 Doggies: http://newscult.com/movie-review-disaster-artist-james-franco-tommy-wiseau-star-inside-us/

This Is a Movie Review: The Little Hours

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I give The Little Hours 3.5 out of 5 Rolls in the Hay: http://newscult.com/movie-review-naughty-nuns-little-hours-raunchy-sweet/

Best Film Performances of 2015

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OscarIsaac-ExMachinaDance

Here is a rundown of the excellence in individual performances in films in 2015, starting with my choices for the 2 best and then the rest in alphabetical order. At the top are a fellow who talked and talked his way through a freaky-cerebral premise, and a lady who cracked her buoyant starting point into a heartbreakingly complicated interior.

Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina
Alison Brie, Sleeping with Other People

alison-brie-sleeping-other-people-dance

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
Angela Bassett, Chi-Raq
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Josh Brolin, Sicario
Steve Carell, The Big Short
John Cusack, Chi-Raq
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Robert De Niro, The Intern
Deanna Dunagan, The Visit
Joel Edgerton, Black Mass
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Walton Goggins, The Hateful Eight
O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Straight Outta Compton
Michal B. Jordan, Creed
Brie Larson, Room
Peter McRobbie, The Visit
Jason Mitchell, Straight Outta Compton
Daisy Ridley, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Smith, Inside Out
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lily Tomlin, Grandma
Stanley Tucci, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

This is a Movie Review: Sleeping With Other People

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SlepeingwithOtherPeople

Imagine, if you will, a romantic comedy in which two friends want to prove that they can prevent romance from getting in the way of their platonic status. You don’t have to imagine it – there are already plenty. So what does Sleeping with Other People have to add to this subgenre (other than a strong cast, fiery wit, and Alison Brie dancing to “Modern Love”)? Because even with all the fun on display, you figure that at its core, this is still the same old tale. But there actually is a twist on the formula: where sex is usually what gets in the way of the friendship, this time friendship gets in the way of friendship.

Despite their history of emotionally unhealthy sex, Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Brie) understand the importance of a deep personal bond in a relationship. They also recognize how strong a match they are for each other. Therein lies the conflict: it would be so easy if they were to only kind of like each other, or if they were to not realize how strong their attraction is. But at the same time, it is not easy to just stop spending time and sharing everything with a soul mate. This particular rom-com concept has inspired groans because of contrivances; Sleeping with Other People gets it right because of honesty.

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