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“Morning Glory”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, here it is. The review I’ve been dreading for almost a year now. I wish I could say the outcome was better, but sadly it looks like the studio suits have gotten their way once again. I’m sorry. I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me take you back to the first week of last December, when I got to see a test screening for Morning Glory. I didn’t really know that much about the film, as is the case with most test screenings. But, I do like Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford, so I was sort of looking forward to it. One of the first big shocks for me was the fact that J.J. Abrams was a producer on the film. It didn’t exactly seem like the type of project with which he’d be involved. I mean, it’s not like the movie was about a smoke monster, or a giant Godzilla creature terrorizing a city, but I’ve got to tell you it did give me a new respect for the man. However, it was quickly subtracted when the lesser version of Morning Glory was released into theatres, so I guess that puts us back where we started. I do love that he wants to put these kinds of movies out there, so he does get an A for effort. And, when I say “these kinds of movies,” I’m not trying to be vague; it’s just that Morning Glory doesn’t easily fit into a category. You might want to say romantic comedy, but it’s not a romantic comedy. You could just say comedy, but then it doesn’t feel like enough, because the drama gets left out. Also, you say comedy these days and you instantly think dick and fart jokes. Morning Glory is more of an old school comedy. Its story and characters exist in such a way they live and breathe in a way that most movies these days can’t seem to pull off. Now, as you read this, please keep in mind that I’m talking about the movie I saw in December of last year. Not the movie that is currently in theatres, although they are still technically the same movie.

In Morning Glory, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is a young up and coming producer on a local morning program in New Jersey, of course that is until she gets laid-off. Becky finds herself desperate to find a new job, and when a network offers her the chance to be the new executive producer on one of their failing morning programs, she quickly jumps at it. And, when the show needs a new co-host, but doesn’t have the budget to hire new talent, Becky recruits an ex-news anchor, Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to fill the spot. The movie definitely reminds you of Broadcast News and Network, but it reminded me more of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It just really gives you that honest and realistic look into the making of a daytime television program. I worked on one of these shows for almost seven years, and when a movie or TV show gets it right, I can’t help but get really attached to the sentiment of the subject matter, which is what I think clearly happened with Morning Glory when I first saw it. I enjoyed it so much the first time I saw it, that when later that month there was another test screening, I just had to take my wife this time to see it. There were a few minor changes, but it was basically the same movie, and she loved it. The movie just had this rhythm and flow to it that made you feel good. For weeks I was telling everyone I could how great this movie was, and that they had to go see it when it came out. This is where things start to take a turn. A few months later, I hear about another test screening for Morning Glory, and of course I want to see it again. I loved the movie so much the last two times that I couldn’t wait to see it again. Sadly, this third viewing would not be the same movie I once saw. The rhythm of the movie was completely off. They took things out to speed it up, and they added things to over Hollywood-ize it. One of the biggest changes, was a scene with Becky and her mother after she looses the New Jersey job. It’s just a crappy Hollywood type scene where the mother tells Becky that she’ll never get to work on a show like the Today Show. And guess what that sets up?! Sure, that payoff was in the first cut of the movie, but we didn’t see it as an unrealistic Hollywood moment until you threw in this scene with her mother beating us over the head with it. Another scene that got completely screwed up, is the scene where Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) tells Becky that the network is going to cancel Daybreak. In the first version I saw, Barnes tell Becky that he hired her because the network wanted the show to do so bad that they could cancel it, and that he was actually hoping that she’d be able to prove them all wrong. He’s even almost seems to be sorry that he put her in that position. But, in the third cut he blames her for being a failure. It just cuts the heart out of the movie and there really is no reason for it. Well, none that I can see. To be fair, the final cut of the movie hints to Barnes’ original intent, but I doubt movie goers will pick up on it. There’s also a classic comedic three punch joke that gets messed up in the final cut. When Becky is interviewing for the position on Daybreak with Barnes, he asks her if she’s going to sing. Then in a scene that was cut, Lenny the associate producer (John Pankow) is showing her the control room and, when Becky starts to give him a pep-talk he too asks if she’s going to sing. This of course leads to the third punch later in the film, which is still in the movie, where Becky cuts off Lenny and says she’s not going to sing. I know it’s not really a big deal. But, why loose the middle of that joke? Just because you can edit it out? The biggest problem here is that they edit the crap out of a perfectly good movie, and it shows. Even if I wasn’t telling you about all these changes, you would still be able to see and feel all the edits throughout this movie. I really did love this movie, and if there ever is a director’s cut version of this movie released, I would gladly buy it in a heartbeat. Sadly, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I’m not saying that the theatrical release is a bad movie. It’s good, but it was great! Now it’s just “fluffy.” Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to take my word on that.

Director’s Cut Rating:


(which you’ll never see)

Theatrical Cut Rating:


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Comic Con 2010

Well, another Comic Con has come and gone, but your old friend Darby is here once again to give you all the news you need to know, and 100% Nerd Flu free.


“Tron: Legacy”

Tron: Legacy was back at the Con this year, and this time Flynn’s Arcade was also able to transport you into the game itself! After you had your fun playing free video games, you are escorted to Flynn’s workshop, where you get zapped into the game and find yourself at the “End of Line Club” a haven for rogue programs. This re-creation of a set from Tron: Legacy was one of the most impressive things at Comic Con this year. I almost didn’t want to leave the room.






“Burn Notice”

It was announced at this year’s Burn Notice panel, that there will be a straight-to-DVD Burn Notice prequel, starring Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe, and will tell the story of Sam’s last mission before Miami.





“Predators”

Sadly, Robert Rodriguez announced Thursday, that 20th Century Fox will be releasing a sequel to this month’s new Predators incarnation. I know, not everyone disliked the new movie, but let’s be honest; it was crap, and I’m sure Predators: Electric Boogaloo isn’t going to be much better.




“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”

At the end of the panel for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, director/co-writer Edgar Wright announced that a surprise secret screening was about to take place. He then took a select few of the audience members from Hall H, and lead them Pied Piper style through the streets of San Diego to a theater not far from the convention center. Let me just say, that this is hands down the best movie of the summer! A review will be up here closer to the release of the movie, but take my word for it and buy your tickets now!




“The Walking Dead”

AMC‘s new series The Walking Dead, based on the Image comic, definitely had the biggest presence at the Con this year. You couldn’t go any where without seeing a horde of zombies, or footage from the upcoming show, stopping people in their tracks… Literally. At the panel on Friday we got to see some bloody amazing footage, and I mean bloody in both senses of the word. The cinematography on this show is going to blow you way. The sparkly vampires and teenage werewolves have had their time in the sun, well maybe not the vampires, but I do believe it’s about high time for the zombies. Long live the zombies! Can you say that about the undead?




“Saw 3D”

I was able to attend the press event/panel for the new Saw 3D, or Saw VII whichever one you prefer, and got to see the first eight minutes of the movie. They also unveiled the new eye popping poster, and also announced that this will be the final chapter in the Saw series.





“Green Lantern”

After thousands of people, along with Ralph and myself (Ralph was out there much longer than I), camped out all night just for the chance of getting in to Hall H for the Green Lantern panel, it was finally 11:45AM and thanks to Ralph and Lenny we made it in! On hand for the Q&A was Mr. Hal Jordan himself Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, and directory Martin Campbell. The panel wasn’t overly flashy, but we did get to see a few minutes of footage in the form of a somewhat trailer. It’s less than a year away, but I think I might just have to get in line now!




At the Warner Bros. booth, there was also a floor display of Abin Sur’s body.





“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

At the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides panel, the audience received a special message from Captain Jack Sparrow himself! Does this mean we can stop calling it a trilogy?




“The Stabbing”

Okay, so here’s where Saturday gets a little pear shaped. Two men started arguing over space, or lack there of in Hall H, just after the Resident Evil: Afterlife panel, and just before the Paul panel. It was at this point, that of the one guys ends up stabbing the other guy near the eye with a pen. When news of the event quickly made its way around the Con, the only thing that shocked me was that it doesn’t happen more often. You’ve got thousands of antisocial people all huddled together with other antisocial people, add to that most haven’t eaten or slept in days, and at some point the nerd-rage is going to fly. The best part of all this was the costumes that followed on Sunday.





“Cowboys & Aliens”

Thanks to the amazing Jon Favreau, for the first time in Comic Con history, Harrison Ford graced the Con with his presence, and in handcuffs no less. The handcuffs could have had two meanings; 1) that’s what it took to get him to his first Comic Con, or 2) it was trying to make light of the stabbing that took place earlier. Either way, the crowd erupted when they saw Han Solo being lead to the stage by security.




“The Avengers”

For the first time ever, the cast of the up-coming Avengers movie were assembled in one place, and that place was Comic Con! The video says it all!

Avengers Assemble!!!



But it’s not just all about the movies at Comic Con. One of the best reasons to go to Comic Con is to get your hands on the exclusive toys and action figures only available at the Con… Well that is until they’re put on eBay for five times the original price. This is just a few of them; there really are way too many to list.



Plastic Man

This one was a “Must Have” for me this year!



Attack of the Show

These Gentle Giant Comic Con exclusives, are mini-busts of the Attack of the Show hosts Kevin Pereira & Olivia Munn.



Doctor Who

This years Doctor Who figure is a two-pack of the Eleventh Doctor and one of those lame Dalek redesigns.



Venture Brothers

These old school action figure dolls of Henchmen 21 and 24, were almost impossible to get.



Mo-Larr vs. Skeletor

By far the funniest exclusive at the Con this year, based on the Robot Chicken skit, this two-pack features for the first time ever Mo-Larr and a gapped toothed Skeletor.



One last thing before I go. Every year the studios at Comic Con make these giant bags for people to carry their stuff around in while at the Con. Well the best bags this year, without a doubt, go to the SyFy Channel.

One side of the bag reads “Mega Tote,” and the other “Giant Backpack.” But the thing that makes it so great is that in the fold of the bag it reads “vs.” You’ve got to love that!



Well, that does it for another Comic Con, but Comic Con 2011 will be on July 21st to the 24th next year, so start making your plans now.