Tag Archives: cloverfield

Talking about My Generation (on ABC)

Hello, fellow TV Watchers!  Welcome to Fall!  It’s a time for Back-to-School Sales, cooler temperatures, and multi-colored leaves that crunch beneath your feet while you walk.  But, more importantly, it’s time for the networks to bring back all the Good Ole’ Television Shows you became obsessed with last year  — thereby, preventing you from doing anything remotely productive between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. (at least, until winter hiatus).

Fall is also a time when networks try to sneak new shows into their preexisting program lineups, in hopes that you will stick around, and watch them too.  More often than not, this “little scheme” fails miserably, resulting in a sizeable percentage of shows not making it past the Pilot stage, and a significantly larger percentage of new programs not surviving the first season.

Having been burned a few times by shows that were canceled, just as I was starting to warm up to them, I’ve become a bit more picky about which new Fall shows, if any, merit a coveted spot on my television viewing roster.  Yet, as luck would have it, the ONE new show I deemed worthy of an “audition,” just so happens to air opposite my absolute FAVORITE show, The Vampire Diaries.

Faces (and bodies) this beautiful simply MUST be viewed in “REAL TIME.”

Of course, I am “talking about My Generation,” the new hour-long mockumentary-style drama, which is set to air Thursday nights, at 8 p.m. on ABC.  (Just in case, you neglected to read the title of this post.)   The show is actually based on a successful Swedish television program, entitled God’s Highway, which had a similar format and premise.  For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you can catch the latest promotional trailer for the show here:

As you might have noticed from watching the trailer, My Generation focuses on nine fictional characters, all of whom graduated from the same high school in Austin, Texas, during the year 2000.

Not surprisingly, all obligatory high school stereotypes will be showcased, in their two-dimensional glory.  Prepare to make snap judgments about the following archetypes:  the Brain, the Beauty Queen, the Jock, the Nerd, the Rich Kid, the Overachiever, and the Wallflower (Ummm . . . Wallflower?  Did anyone actually use this word in the year 2000?  Has anybody actually used this word since 1952?  Let’s just call her “Shy” and be done with it, OK?) 

In short, it is a cast of characters that would be at home in any John Hughes movie.

(R.I.P. Mr. Hughes.)

Using a compilation of interviews, photographs, and live-action shots, the show then chronicles the characters’ lives in present day.  Ten years after their high school graduation, these native Texans, now facing down their late 20’s, are forced to grapple with war, worldwide recession, and other unique challenges that characterize the 2010 American Experience.

In terms of the show’s cast, you will find a lot of suitably attractive, and vaguely familiar — if not immediately recognizable — actors and actresses.  Quite a few times, while I was watching the trailer, I found myself squinting at an actor I thought I recognized, only to look him up later and learn that he played “Guy at the Bar” in a movie I watched on HBO the week prior.  

However, in the actors I DEFINITELY recognized column, I would include Michael Stahl David . . .

. . .  who starred in J.J. Abrams Shaky Cam Extravaganza, Cloverfield.

Michael plays Steven Foster on the show.  Steven starts high school as “The Overachiever,” the kind of guy who, even at 17, wore a suit to school everyday, carried a briefcase, and owned a Blackberry LONG before everybody else did.

10 years later, he’s become Sam Merlotte from True Blood . . .

Oh, how the mighty hath fallen . . .

Learn more about Steven Foster here:

I also recognized Mehcad Brooks . . .

. . . he of the INSANE abdominal muscles.   You might remember Mehcad as the tragic Eggs Benedict (Yes, that was actually the character’s name.) from Season 2 of  True Blood.

Mehcad plays Rolly Marks, a high school jock, who enlists in the Army post 9/11, and ends up fighting on the front lines in Iraq.  You can learn more about Mehcad’s character here:

Additionally, I WAS VERY happy to see Julian Morris’ name on the cast list!

For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Julian played the adorable (and WAY  TOO SOON departed) cradle-robbing, sister-swapping British med student, on ABC Family’s summer smash hit, Pretty Little Liars.

That’s him with the magic fingers on the left.  As for the girl on the right?  Well, I like to pretend that’s me!

Julian plays Anders Holt, a “Rich Kid” who, from the looks of it, becomes a “Rich Adult.”  Listen to what Julian has to say about his character here:

Rounding out the rest of the main cast are:

Daniella Alonso,

Kelli Garner,

Jaime King,

Keir O’Donnell,

Anne Son,

and Sebastian Sozzi.

Refreshingly enough, age wise, all the show’s cast members are actually within three or four years, of the characters they are playing.  (Unlike we’ve seen in similar shows about 20-somethings, Grandmas and Teenagers  needed not apply for this casting call.)  As a twenty-something myself,  it is particularly nice to see a show — which is supposed to be about people I could have gone to high school with — where the characters are played by actors that I could have actually gone to high school with.  You see that so rarely nowadays!

Though early reviews of the show have been mixed,  for me, My Generation stands out, as one of the most promising new programs of the fall season.  The show has the potential to be a daring portrait of the trials and tribulations that face Generation Y (which is, after all, MY GENERATION).  And while I may not necessarily be watching it LIVE (see The Vampire Diaries comment above), I will still most certainly be watching it.

My Generation premieres Thursday, September 23rd on ABC.  Will YOU be watching?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under My Generation, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks

Anatomy of a Trailer – Super 8

Say what you will about J.J. Abrams, but the man is a Viral Marketing Genius!  Back in 2007, he orchestrated a very effective “candy for nerds” series of trailers, videos, and websites for his “Aliens Attack NYC” film, Cloverfield.  Talk of the film spread through the country, like a virus; even though, at the time, the film wasn’t due out for another YEAR! 

The movie itself received mixed reviews.  But even its detractors would give the marketing campaign for it a solid A+.  For a trip down memory lane, check out its website, which features the corresponding trailer for the film, here

That same summer, Abrams promoted the upcoming season of his hit series Lost, by using an online “game” of sorts.  The “game” was indirectly advertised through television commercials airing throughout the summer.  It promised to give fans who played an inside scoop into the mysteries of the island.  It didn’t.  But the concept was interesting, in a sort-of geektastic way . . .

 Plus, the “game” rewarded players with a lot of tangential island-related information that they could brag about to their friends.  ABC has since disabled most of the sites related to the game, but you can get the Cliff Notes version here.

Well, it appears that Abrams and Co. are at it again.  Any of you out there who have seen Iron Man 2 in theaters, have probably already seen the trailer, which airs directly before it. The film is being directed by J.J. Abrams (duh) . . .

 . . and produced by . . . get this . . . STEVEN SPIELBERG! 

But even if you’ve seen it already, it’s worth watching again . . . . (and again, again . . .)

(Special thanks to MyIdealsPrecious, for the HD version of the trailer, and the ability to embed it in this post.)

Now, I may be going out on a limb here.  But something tells me that those “materials” they are referring to, never made it to that “secure facility” in Ohio.  Just a hunch . . . 😉

Of course, even before the trailer ran in theaters, it was leaked online.   And, inevitably, the speculation ball got rolling.  Regarding the “plot” of the film, there were three main schools of thought, which were not necessarily contradictory to one another.

1) The movie is intended to be a homage to popular Spielberg films of the ’70s, most notably, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

2) The movie is meant to be some sort of Cloverfield 2 or prequel to Cloverfield.

3) The movie involves a group of midwestern kids, growing up in the 1970’s, who are playing around with an old school Super 8 video camera, when they accidentally catch on film some disturbing alien footage.  (Hence, the film’s title, Super 8.  This would also sort of explain the old school rapid- display video camera sequences that are shown, toward the end of the trailer.)

J.J. Abrams quickly stepped in and debunked “school of thought #2,” claiming that this film was in no way related to Cloverfield(Smart man.)

A picture of what J.J. Abrams might look like in about 20 years . . .

What initially struck me about the trailer (mindblowing special effects aside) was how few “words” were in it.  Aside from some garbled “walkie talkie” talk at the 18, 27, and 37 – second marks, respectively, and the terrified “Oh my god,” at :42, the almost two-minute long trailer was essentially void of human language.  (Note, I said “human.”)

Fans have already begun to break the trailer down frame by frame.  And, for those of you who are into this sort of thing, apparently, the real “goodies” can be found during the last 20 or so seconds of the trailer.  That time frame is more or less comprised of the footage from the Super 8 camera. 

 On first view, I actually got very little from this footage.  This is most likely because the strobe light effect on that part of the trailer, made me a little nauseous.  (I was sitting in the third row of the theater, after all.)  However, apparently, there is A LOT there.  And thanks to some intrepid computer geeks, we can see it all.  Over on the message boards down at IMDB, someone was clever (and generous) enough to provide us with frame-by-frame screen shots of this portion of the film.  You can find them all here.  I was particularly creeped out by this one . . .

 . . . which appears in the trailer around 1:24, and pretty clearly shows a child’s face.  The rest of the shots were a bit less clear, to me, anyway. 

The other major little goody provided by the trailer, came at around 1:26 on the clock, when words appeared across the Super 8 screen.

(Thanks Super8News.com for posting this . . .)

Well, I still couldn’t read it, but apparently it says “scariest thing I ever saw.”  And lo and behold, there is now a website called www.scariestthingIeversaw.com.  Much like the site for the original Lost game when it first appeared on the web, this site, at first blush, features little more than an old fashioned computer screen, and a lot of techno jargon.  I played with it for a while, but didn’t get very far.  Plus, with all those “download” screens running in sequence, without prompts by me, I kept worrying that it was somehow installing a virus on my computer.  It wasn’t.  (At least, I don’t think it was.) 

Anyway, given my own ineptitude and impatience, it was nice of the folks over at Super 8 Film News, to do the heavy lifting for me, by walking me through the site and its purported “easter eggs.” 

To be honest, there’s really not much there . . . yet.  But, I am willing to bet that the site will continue to be updated, as the time clock ticks closer to the film’s release date.  Until that time, us nerds will just have to continue to speculate . . .

Super 8 invades theaters Summer 2011.  Will YOU see it?

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Filed under Movie Trailer Recaplets, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks, Super 8