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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:


“The Switch”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It might not be the most believable or plausible storyline of the year, but the new Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman movie The Switch just might surprise you. It’s a rom/com that deals with artificial insemination, and a situation that would definitely make Three’s Company proud. In The Switch, Wally (Bateman), a full blown hypochondriac and self saboteur, finds out that his best friend, Kassie (Aniston), wants to have a kid, but also doesn’t want to have to wait any longer for Mr. Right to come along. So, of course she decides to go the artificial insemination route, and her friend Debbie, played by Juliette Lewis, decides to throw her an insemination party where the actual insemination will take place. Who needs a hospital, right? Well, an inebriated Wally manages to lose Kassie’s “sample,” and he ends up replacing it with his own special blend unbeknownst to her. This is kind of where you need to suspend your disbelief a little bit, but the movie is so well written that it doesn’t even really seem to matter. The movie is based on the short story “The Baster” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides, who also penned The Virgin Suicides. The other thing that really helps this movie is Jason Bateman’s performance. It’s not ground breaking by any means, but it is Bateman doing what he does best, and the chemistry between him and Aniston is fantastic! Not to mention the outstanding performance by young actor Thomas Robinson, who plays Kassie’s son Sebastian. At times you forget you’re watching a 6-year-old kid. I really enjoyed this one. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a big fan of good rom/coms, and I’ve got to tell you we’ve got some really good ones coming out before the end of this year, and The Switch is definitely one of them. Sure it’s predicable and a little unrealistic at times, but it’s got a nice heart to it and plenty of laughs. Jeff Goldblum also gives a great preference as Wally’s boss and good friend. I’m looking forward to seeing this one again, and if you get the chance to see it, I’m sure you’ll find that it’s well worth your movie watching time.