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New to Your Queue

Scene Staff Report | Monday, March 26, 2012

“Psych” season 5

Season 5 of this USA comedy didn’t hold back any punches. Shawn (James Roday) faced his fear of commitment, only to stumble in chasing his dreams. Gus (Dulé Hill) explored his love of tap dancing. Despereaux (Cary Elwes) returned. And in the case of Yin (Peter Weller) and Yang (Ally Sheedy) was finally resolved, though not without drama. Despite the action-packed season with lots of guest stars, the show retained its typical, offbeat humor, and even surpassed expectations from previous seasons.

“Wet Hot American Summer”

This 2001 summer camp parody wasn’t a big hit with the critics, but like so many critically panned comedies before it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t hilarious from start to finish. It’s the last day of camp and the end of summer, which means the last chance for a summer romance for a cast brimming with comedic stars in the making. The whole movie is worth it just to see Christopher Meloni (seen in a more serious role on “Law and Order: SVU”) as a deranged Vietnam veteran cook.

“Primal Fear”

Edward Norton is known for the colorful range of characters he’s played over the course of his career, but this film introduced him to the world, and his portrayal as a young altar boy in the midst of a murder scandal instantly established him as a serious star. Richard Gere stars as a cynical defense attorney trying to unravel the controversy, and the movie thrills throughout, all the way up to the stunning finale.

“Saved By the Bell”

Bayside High was the how-to guide for the ’90s. Premiering in 1989, the gang led by cool troublemaker Zach Morris and the object of his affections, Kelly Kapowski, showed us how to live the decade right. Think of the fashion advice Lisa Turtle can give, about Slater’s pecs, Screech’s nerdiness and Jessie Spano’s smarts. Hanging out at the Max and getting called into Mr. Belding’s office are essential ’90s experiences that need to be relived. The original show is streaming, but unfortunately we’ll just have to wait for the new class and college years spinoffs and “Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style/Wedding in Vegas.”

“Art & Copy”

Even as modern media and technology are changing, the power of good advertising remains true. From the Budweiser frogs to Nike’s “Just Do It,” there are certain ad campaigns that stick in our memory as stubbornly as a first kiss or the best slice of pizza you’ve ever eaten. This documentary goes behind-the-scenes of some of the world’s most successful advertising campaigns, interviewing the creative minds behind famous taglines and characters and giving an insider’s look at the world of advertising. Pair it with “Mad Men” and some Super Bowl commercials on YouTube for a complete view of the importance of advertising.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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archive

New to Your Queue

Scene Staff Report | Monday, March 19, 2012

“Best Food Ever”
This six-episode miniseries on TLC went across the country to find the best places withthe best food ever in six different categories ⎯ sandwiches, bakeries, food carts, diners, cheese and barbeque. Instead of falling into the cliché trap of having a celebrity chef taste all the food, the show instead opts to simply let the chefs and customers display the food in all its glory, allowing for maximum airtime for the unbelievable feats of culinary excellence. Plus, John Goodman narrates the show, and if any person in the history of food looked and sounded like they knew where to get a good meal, it’s John Goodman.

“South Park”
When Matt Stone and Trey Parker made their “Spirit of Christmas” short films in the early 1990s, they probably had no idea the cultural phenomenon the crude comedies would eventually become. But now, 20 years after “Jesus vs. Frosty,” the two men helm one of the funniest and most influential animated series in television history, and almost every episode can be found on Netflix Watch Instantly. How many times can Kenny die and it still be funny? At least one more.

“The Larry Sanders Show”
Gary Shandling starred in two sitcoms that helped bring the genre into the modern era, the second being the critically-acclaimed HBO series “The Larry Sanders Show”. Shandling stars as late-night talk show host Larry Sanders, and the series follows the events leading up to each night’s broadcast. Also starring Jeffrey Tambor as sidekick Hank “Hey Now” Kingsley and Rip Torn as the show’s bombastic producer, “The Larry Sanders Show” is a great comedy for a sophisticated audience.

“Kissing Jessica Stein”
With the return of “Mad Men” this weekend, Jon Hamm is already the talk of the town. With the success of his long-time partner Jennifer Westfeldt’s new indie film “Friends with Kids,” in which Hamm also stars, she should be too. If your interest has been piqued by the unique comedy of “Friends,” check out Westfeldt’s feature writing debut, “Kissing Jessica Stein.” The film follows the unconventional story of two young, straight women who decide to try to find love with each other with uproarious results. The script is razor-sharp, equally hilarious and charming, presenting the truths of real-world relationships not often seen on screen.

“Life in a Day”
This remarkable documentary is truly collaborative in every sense of the word. A mass call went out for home videos taken on July 24, 2010 via YouTube. These clips were then painstakingly edited together to present as true a vision of life ⎯ from the exciting to the everyday ⎯ as possible. 4,500 hours of footage from 80,000 submissions from 192 different countries were whittled down into this 94-minute film. While “Life in a Day” is absolutely a traditional documentary, its unique embrace of new digital technology is a game-changer for the medium of film.