Arrival

I think it’s safe to say after 310 days of living here, I’ve finally arrived in Nashville.

It’s been a crazy year.  In that time, I’ve lost my job, my apartment, made a life-changing decision to move 444.8 miles from my friends and almost everything I’ve known, gone through a major job search that was at times frustrating, and at others, just downright devastating, felt bleakly alone more often than not and just was at times wondering just what the hell it was I was doing.

But you know what?  If this hasn’t been the best year of my life so far, I don’t know what would be.

I moved to Nashville – arguably the music capital of the world!
I’ve performed with the seventh-ranked Barbershop Chorus in the year!
I’ve seen some fantastic musical acts including getting a huge one off of my bucket list by seeing Paul McCartney!
I’ve gotten much closer with my family!
I’ve reconnected with God!
I’ve made some great friends and started some amazing relationships both personally and professionally!
I work for a great institution in a job I enjoy and can do!

I am, let’s face it, happy.  *gasp*

To that end, I’ve made the decision to relaunch my blog.  There’s no question I jumped the gun on this blog to begin with.  When I got down here, I was very doom and gloomy.  Looking back at my entries, they weren’t that bad in what I wrote.  My head space at the time?  Just not healthy.  In my mind, I had a dearth of depression and nothing more to talk about than that and movies and TV.  I didn’t want to share that with you.

Besides, how boring would that be for a blog that’s supposed to be about living in Nashville?

Particularly in the past six weeks, I’ve done so much and actually have stuff to talk about!  So as my life is slowing down just a smidge I’m going to have the time to put pen to paper and actually talk in more detail than my little Facebook blurbs.  So what to expect?  Well, I’ll be trying to do one or two entries a week trying to catch up with everything I’ve done down here (and there is a lot) and even some trips back up north and elsewhere.

Also I’ll be redesigning the blog.  This black/gray bleakness?  Yeah… kinda goes against the feel I want this to be.  I may even rename it.  It’s a little cumbersome.  Cute.  But cumbersome.

It’ll be a fun ride.  A lot more than before and I’m anxious to be sharing it with ya’all.

See that?  I even say ya’all now!

Stay tuned!

Review – The Price of Freedom – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (SPOILERS)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Studios, 2014)
Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Concept and Story by Ed Brubaker
Based upon characters created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Starring Chris Evans (Steve Rogers), Scarlett Johannson (Natasha Romanoff), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow) with Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)


Marvel is a relatively new film studio but to say they haven’t had their share of hits would be a misnomer.  Overall, the franchise (prior to this weekend) has brought in $2,362,030, 576 domestically and is the second highest grossing film franchise in history (closing in on Harry Potter… in fact, the Avengers will likely overtake the wizarding world this month!).  The series has had eight feature films with several more in various stages of production (and plans for films all the way out to 2028!  Insane!), a moderately successful television series with another series potentially on next year’s schedule and several series on Netflix in development.  To say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a success is quite the understatement.

The latest installment, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, takes the MCU in a different direction: a political thriller.  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of action and adventure to keep you entertained!  But this is something different.  This is a film that drew in Robert Redford to join the ensemble.  And let me tell you something… It’s worth it.

SPOILERS FOLLOW!
(Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
captain-america-2-poster-us-full

THE STORY
Two years after the events of The Avengers,Steve Rogers lives in Washington, D.C., continues to work for the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and struggles to adapt to contemporary society. After meeting and befriending former Pararescue war veteran and PTSD counselor Sam Wilson on a morning jog, Rogers is called to help save a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Algerian pirates led by Georges Batroc. Aboard, he discovers fellow agent Natasha Romanoff extracting data from the ship’s computers, something Rogers was not briefed on. At S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Nick Fury introduces Rogers to Project Insight, three Helicarriers linked to spy satellites and designed to preemptively eliminate threats.

Due to heightened encryption, Fury is unable to access the data Romanoff recovered. On his way to rendezvous with Maria Hill, he is ambushed by assailants disguised as police officers, led by a mysterious assassin called the Winter Soldier. Fury escapes, sneaks into Rogers’ apartment, and informs Rogers that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised. After Fury hands Rogers a USB flash drive he is gunned down by the Winter Soldier. Rogers gives chase, and his neighbor reveals herself as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Agent 13. Fury appears to die in surgery, and Hill recovers the body.

The next day, Rogers is summoned by senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce. When Rogers withholds Fury’s information, Pierce brands him a fugitive. Hunted by the agency, Rogers meets with Romanoff. Using data in the flash drive they discover an old S.H.I.E.L.D. underground base in New Jersey. There, they activate a supercomputer containing the preserved consciousness of Arnim Zola, who reveals that since S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded after World War II, HYDRA secretly operated within its ranks, sowing chaos across the world in the hope that humanity would willingly surrender its freedom in exchange for safety. Rogers and Romanoff narrowly escape death when a S.H.I.E.L.D. missile destroys the bunker.

They enlist the help of Wilson, and acquire his old “Falcon” winged-flight exoskeleton. After deducing that senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell is with HYDRA, they interrogate him until he reveals Zola developed a data-mining algorithm that can identify individuals who might become future opponents to HYDRA’s plans. The new Helicarriers will sweep the country, eliminating these individuals with their satellite-guided guns.

The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)

Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)

En route to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, they are ambushed by the Winter Soldier. In the fight, Winter Soldier loses his mask and Rogers recognizes him as Bucky, his old World War II comrade. They are captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. but are rescued by a disguised Hill. She leads them to a hideout where they discover Fury is alive and planning a mission to prevent Pierce from launching Operation: Insight by replacing a chip within each Helicarrier to override their satellite control.

After members of the World Security Council arrive for the Helicarriers’ launch, Pierce holds them hostage and reveals HYDRA’s true motives. Rogers and Wilson storm two Helicarriers and replace the controllers, but the Winter Soldier destroys Wilson’s suit and confronts Rogers at the third. They fight, with Rogers trying to revive Bucky’s memories. Meanwhile, Fury and Romanoff confront Pierce and force him to unlock access to S.H.I.E.L.D’s database so Romanoff can expose HYDRA’s motives to the public by leaking classified information. After a brief conflict, Fury shoots Pierce dead. Aboard the third Helicarrier, a wounded Rogers replaces the final controller, allowing Hill to override the satellite operation and have all three vessels destroy one another. The Helicarrier carrying Rogers and the Winter Soldier crashes into the side of the Triskelion, where Wilson battles compromised agent Rumlow, who had earlier tried to capture Rogers.

Rogers falls off the vessel into the river. Slowly remembering his past, the Winter Soldier pulls Rogers from the water before disappearing. With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, Fury destroys the last traces of his identity before heading to Europe in pursuit of HYDRA’s remaining cells under the cover of his apparent death. Romanoff appears before a Senate subcommittee and later gives Rogers a dossier on the Winter Soldier program. Both Rogers and Wilson decide to track down the Winter Soldier.

A mid-credits scene takes place in a HYDRA lab, where Baron von Strucker is keeping Loki’s scepter and two prisoners: one with superhuman speed, the other with telekinetic powers. In a post-credits scene, the Winter Soldier visits the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution to learn of his past. (Source: Wikipedia)

ANALYSIS
I like to look at the negative aspects of something I review first of all.  It makes it a little easier to get the criticisms out of the way first of all and then delve into what I loved about it.  Here, and I’m going to be honest, there’s not a lot to be negative towards.  My biggest complaint, and maybe I missed something, but how exactly was HYDRA able to operate within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D.?  It would seem that there would be background checks and that the people S.H.I.E.L.D.would employ would either have strong moral compasses or weak moral compasses and good intelligence gathering skills to prevent this for going on for sixty years.  I probably missed something.

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)

Natasha Romanoff  (Scarlett Johansson)

Going forward, I’m going to have to be a little nitpicky here.  I think that a flaw is that it could be a little more clear on who was fighting who in the battle scenes in the third act.  Unless they were shooting at Rogers, Romanoff or Wilson… or any of the other established supporting characters were on the screen, I found it a little difficult to know who I was supposed to be rooting for.  Not that it was that important, but it would have been nice to see it.  The action was also a little frenetic and again that made it a little hard to follow.  That also might have had something to do with seeing it on a frikkin HUGE screen.

I’m not familiar with the source material for the movie so I don’t know for sure but I’m not certain that The Winter Soldier was the best subtitle for it.  The subtitular (I may have made that word up) character was not the focus of the movie.  Bucky’s storyline here was far more of a B plot than anything else.  It informed the S.H.I.E.L.D./H.Y.D.R.A. plot a lot more than the other way around.  In fact, I feel like there might have been some things left on the cutting room floor from his storyline.  I think a more appropriate subtitle for this movie would be The Price of Freedom.  It’s part of a quote attributed to many, most notably Thomas Jefferson.  The full quote is “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”  It is actually uttered at one point in the movie, but I don’t recall who said it.  I think with the plot of the movie, it’s an excellent subtitle and far more fitting, in my opinion, than The Winter Soldier.  Anyone with more knowledge on the source material, please correct me if I’m far off base here.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)

Other than that, I think my other problem with the movie results in underuse of some of its stars: the plot dictated that Samuel L. Jackson sat out for most of the movie and it makes sense.  What he does have is great.  But Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill really just seems to be around to serve the purpose of bringing Rogers and company to Fury and then to call out the battle.  I think she’s a better actress than that and a more important character.  I also thought new character Agent 13, Sharon Carter (hmm… any relation to a certain Peggy Carter?) played by Emily VanCamp was also underutilized.

Before I get into the positive aspects, the ending puts some of the characters out in the cold and there’s a lot of follow-up demanded here.  S.H.I.E.L.D., well, what’s left of it, will get a lot of follow-up in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..  There is absolutely no way they cannot address the ending.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is more or less in shambles right now and if the last few episodes of the season don’t deal with the ramifications of what Rogers and his band of merry men did, it would be a hugely missed opportunity.  It seems that’s the way they’re going.  So hooray!  Natasha is on her own again but Scarlett Johansson is appearing in next summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it won’t be that long before we get some closure on that story… maybe.  Fury’s got an amazing story ahead of him and I really hope he gets a standalone in Phase 3.  Hill is apparently going to work for Tony Stark so she’ll be around in Age of Ultron, I’d imagine (but I’d think a return to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. anytime soon is out of the cards, which is okay because I’d rather have Bill Paxton join the cast full-time… with only two episodes left in his arc, it’s unlikely… but it’d be awesome).  Bucky had an interesting end in the post-credits scene and I hope that will be followed up on in the next installment of Captain America.  Sharon Carter though — going to join the CIA?  We may not see her again.

So… good things… Where to even begin?  I think the most obvious place to start is the performances.  Pretty much all across the board, these were A+ performances.  If I have one complaint there, while he did fine, Robert Redford really didn’t add much to the film other than the illusion of gravitas to the project.  (Gravitas, even in an illusionary state, is not a bad thing.)

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

Chris Evans continues to play what could be an extremely boring boy scout of a character with grace and aplomb.  He continues to show high morals in a very immoral world.  With a lesser actor, Steve Rogers could be far more of a Dudley Do-Right kind of a character and no one wants that.  He starts his journey in this installment as a fish out of water, but by the end, to say that Captain America hasn’t definitively landed in the 2010s would be a ball-faced lie.

Rogers’ relationships with the rest of the major players are solid.  Particularly with Natasha Romanoff and Sam Wilson… er, Black Widow and Falcon.  Scarlett Johannson and Anthony Mackie both do tremendous jobs in recurring roles.  Both are funny, great with the action and make you care about them and what happens to them.  The first scene in front of the Washington Monument as Rogers passes Wilson running several times with the simple line “On your left” is great and the exchange between the two of them is wonderful, particularly as Rogers is trying to catch up on stuff like Steve Jobs, Thai food, Star Wars, Rocky (maybe Rocky II?)and the soundtrack to Troubleman is a lot of fun.  And to get off of the topic of performances for just a second… his wings are awesome too.  Johannson gives her finest performance as Black Widow to date.  She has a lot to do in this movie and utilizes the sultriness that the actress is known for to her advantage.  But at the same point in time, there’s a lot of warmth to her character towards Rogers.  The two of them care about each other.  As the two of them spend much of the movie together, this is important.  Honestly, I was wondering (but not fully expecting) if there would have been a romance from them here.  I’m glad there wasn’t.  I’d say she is the brightest star in this cast and a Black Widow solo film really needs to be coming from Marvel in the next few years.

Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)

Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie)

As for Samuel L. Jackson?  Well, he misses the better part of the film as he plays dead.  Unfortunately, the soda that I had really was causing me some problems that needed relief so I missed his “resurrection” but I wasn’t surprised to see him alive.  His role is vital and he manages to have a lot to do in the time he is onscreen.  He’s the catalyst really that gets the story moving and in the end, he’s the only one who can go off and tie off some loose ends that need to be tied off.  Like I said, a Nick Fury movie now at this stage of the game would be epic.

Honestly, while Sebastian Stan isn’t given a whole lot to do in an acting capacity as Bucky/The Winter Soldier, what he does do is very good.  He manages to show a lot of emotion in the eyes prior to us actually finding out it is in fact Rogers’ old buddy and the look on his face is the perfect mix of emotion in the post-credits scene (all the way at the end… still shocks me when people leave right after the movie or the mid-credits scene… it’s a Marvel movie, dummies).  And although a lot if it is probably a stunt man, what he does there is in the action scenes is really good as well.

The rest of the cast is just as good: Cobie Smulders (after getting pummeled last week in reviews for the How I Met Your Mother finale) gives a solid performance in her third outing as Maria Hill.  A touching appearance by Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is a nice addition.  Emily VanCamp gives a serviceable appearance as Agent 13.  In a surprising twist, Toby Jones reprises his role as Arnim Zola in one of the most creepy computer sequences since HAL in 2001.  Jasper Sitwell makes his final MCU appearance played by Maximiliano Hernandez as a H.Y.D.R.A. agent.  (Interesting that I never would have guessed that prior to this movie.)  Gary Shandling also appears as Senator Stern, last seen digging a medal into Tony Stark’s chest in Iron Man 2.  Also, Avengers: Age of Ultron stars Aaron Johnson-Taylor and Elizabeth Olson make uncredited cameos as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch during the mid-credits sequence along with Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Von Strucker.  The best cameo (other than Stan Lee) is by Community’s Danny Pudi.  I might have yelled out “Abed!” when he came onscreen.

Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)

Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford)

Other than the performances, the writing is superb.  A lot of comparisons have been made to 1970s political thriller films and I don’t think that’s too much of a reach.  I give the writers tremendous credit for going down this road and going against the norm of a comic book movie.  It’s a fascinating tale of intrigue as Rogers, Fury, Romanoff, Wilson and Hill literally have to destroy their entire world in order to make the rest of the world a better place.  It goes back to the idea of the price of freedom.  And this fab five managed to be vigilant against an army.  I am a sucker for a good underdog story, and that is one aspect that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely managed to crush it on.

The direction, cinematography and particularly the stunts were very well done.  There’s a lot of action in this one and although I felt like the two action sequences that took place on roadways were a little repetitive, the almost parkour sequences throughout the movies were a lot of fun.  It was nice to see Cap almost get acrobatic with his fighting sequences.  Talking about Community, there was a lot of concern when the Russo brothers were tapped to direct this movie, having been primarily known for their work on the sitcom (which also explains Pudi’s cameo) but I think this has put any concerns about them directing an action thriller to rest.

I really feel like I’m just going to keep gushing over this film so I’ll stop.  You get the idea.  If you’ve seen it, you probably know what I mean.  If you haven’t, why not?  You spoiled yourself!  Just go see it!

SPECIAL: WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.?
There’s no question that Winter Soldier is going to have a huge effect on the entire MCU but Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.will most definitely feel a lot of those changes and much sooner than others.  With the reference to the film in last week’s AoS’s “The End of the Beginning” with Sitwell going off to the Lemurian Star and that mission taking place at the beginning of Winter Soldier, and apparently in the televised version, the scene with Fury’s SUV being overturned by the Winter Soldier was included as the tag (it wasn’t present on my iTunes copy), there’s no question that the events will have to be mentioned, ya know, soon.  Like, probably Tuesday’s episode “Turn, Turn, Turn.”  I mean, Rogers and company brought down the organization.  All of the secrets are on the web.  The Triskelion was destroyed.  Fury is “dead.”  S.H.I.E.L.D.has been dismantled and the name of the show is Agents of, um, S.H.I.E.L.D..  While “Turn, Turn, Turn” may take place concurrently with Winter Soldier, the producers of the show suggest you see the film before the show resumes.  Granted, that could just be an attempt to stir up ticket sales.  (As I finish this review up Sunday morning, the film has brought in $37 million Friday and is estimated to land around $90 million for the weekend.)

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Skye (Chloe Bennet),  Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Leo Firz (Iain De Cestecker), Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Skye (Chloe Bennet), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Leo Firz (Iain De Cestecker), Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)

The producers have also said that although the series has yet to be picked up for a second season, they do have plans for events into the third season.  My thought then is that the rest of the season will be cleaning up the mess that was left behind by Rogers’ war while discovering the true identity of the Clairvoyant and bringing him down while sowing the seeds of rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D..  It’ll be interesting to see the team do their jobs without all the resources of S.H.I.E.L.D..  I think that in itself could either make the show a lot more interesting or turn into more of and A-Team clone.  Time will tell.

WRAP-UP
It’s a fun addition to the MCU with a lot of great things going for it.  Where does it lie in this series for me?  I really want to wait to see it again before I really make a final call on it, but I will say it will land at either #1 or #2 with The Avengers right around there.  The scores are way too close to judge at this point.

Score: 9/10.

So, assuming you’ve actually read this far, I’m not sure what I might review next.  I am, however, open to suggestions.  Please offer them up!

REVIEW – The Big Moments – How I Met Your Mother – “Last Forever” (SPOILERS)

 

 

Goodbye to Old Friends

Goodbye to Old Friends

 

WHAT ABOUT THE DAMNED PINEAPPLE!?!

*ahem*

This is my first attempt at writing a review on this blog.  I’ve written reviews in the past but I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing them.  I think I’ll be doing a few more here and what a way to start with the extremely divisive series finale to How I Met Your Mother, “Last Forever.”  I did reviews of Lost the last few seasons and never reviewed the finale.  I guess this can be my answer to that.  My next review, barring some unforeseen circumstance, will be for Friday’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Really looking forward to that one!

I’d do a recap but there are plenty out there.  I don’t feel the need.  You are all capable adults who can go to Wiki and look it up yourself.  I will give you a link though: (Wikipedia)

Let me get the negative things out of the way first.  It was too short.  They crammed seventeen years into the finale and really, this should have probably been 90 minutes.  I hope (and wouldn’t be surprised to see) that the DVD has an extended cut.  I thought we were shortchanged on the time in the 2020s.  We didn’t get any idea of what Tracy was sick from and there is more to the story of Robin and Ted that is missing.  There was a promo picture of Ted and Robin that was never seen in the episode.

Ted and Robin in the future.

Ted and Robin in the future.

It seems to me here that this is either immediately following Tracy’s death or early on after they find out she’s sick.  Looking at the setup, how Robin looks as though she’s sorry and Ted looks as though he’s angry, it seems like an important, dramatic bit and just goes to show you how this was far too short.

It was also painfully obvious within the teaser of the episode, focusing again on Robin and Lily’s very foreboding line that Ted or Barney would need to marry her that this was where it was going.  But, it was nice to see the gang back in their season one personas, looks and garb.

Let me say: I don’t love that Ted and Robin ended up together.  I like it and I’m okay with it because this is what life is.  If you go back and watch this last season in particular, this is what the show was about.  They were setting you up for it.  Why did Ted get the locket?  Why did Robin have doubts?  Why did Ted give the locket to Barney and try to move on?  The sad fact is marriage doesn’t always work.  And it made sense that Barney would revert to his old ways, even to a new extreme.  You tend to overcompensate when something like that happens.  Did they need to spend a whole season on the wedding?  No.  That was a problem.  Did they rush through the ending without having earned it?  Maybe.  Would it have been better if they spent an episode on the wedding and the entire season going over the seventeen years leading up to this moment?  Absolutely yes.

I’m going to nitpick the transition from Bob Saget to Josh Radnor for the narration.  After nine years of hearing Saget talking to the kids and then suddenly not hearing him at all?  Yeah, there was absolutely no way to make that not jarring.  The interplay between the kids (shot back in 2006) and Ted (shot in 2014) was a little disjointed as well.  I think they did as well as they could and it would have been cheap had we not heard from Penny and Luke again.  Mixed bag on that one.

I did enjoy that Barney became a dad and that it truly changed him.  His scene with baby Ellie was adorable and it was great to see the change in Barney to be a tired daddy.  I enjoyed seeing the gang grow older and apart but come back together.  I really liked that we didn’t see Marshall’s horrendous future comb over.  I loved the references to licking the liberty bell, “Major Pleasure,” Barney’s Blog, er business, the cover of “Downtown Train”, “Daddy’s home,” and Robots vs. Wrestlers.  And the high infinity was amazing.  Also, nice going full circle with the Ghostbusters quote.  (OH!  And the cockamouse!  Damn cable cut out last night for a few seconds there and I missed that until my rewatch this morning.)

And I liked that it was true to life.

Ted and Tracy

Ted and Tracy

Ultimately, there are two morals to the story.  The first is: It’s okay to move on.  Ted did that with Robin with the wedding and meeting Tracy.  And he loved her.  He loved her deeply for eleven years.  They had two kids together and eventually got married.  She got sick.  She died.  It’s sad.  It’s real.  It’s not the happy ending everyone wanted.  He still loves Tracy at the end.  But deep down he wanted to move on.  Penny and Luke knew this.  They wanted him to move on.  Look back at the scene from “Vesuvius” a few weeks ago.  Tracy wanted him to move on too.

TED: I’ve told you this one before.
TRACY: A few times.
TED: Oh.  I’m just a boring old man who won’t stop spinning yarns.
TRACY: Hey, I love your yarns.  I hope you never stop spinning them.
TED: But?
TRACY: You’re the love of my life, Pooh Bear.  I just worry about you.  I don’t want you to be the guy who lives in his stories.  Life only moves forward.

One can make the argument (and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with them) that going to Robin wasn’t moving forward.  But it is the trajectory the show has always been moving in.  It was the story the creators wanted to tell, maybe not from the very beginning, but at least from season two (when they shot the final scene with the kids) on.  A lot of the complaints I’ve read say that Ted going back to Robin cheapens Tracy’s death — that he was just biding time until he could be with Robin.  That he settled.  I totally disagree with that.  Look at Ted’s face on the phone in the scene early on in MacLaren’s.  That’s love.  Not settling.  I think overall they could have done a better job showing that.  But, just because we didn’t see they had a happy life together doesn’t mean that they didn’t.  A scene after Tracy’s death showing him mourning may have played into that a bit, but that goes back again to my desire for an extended cut of the finale.

Edited to add: One other point I want to make about this is another reference to another episode, season eight’s “The Time Travelers.”  If the 45 days speech below doesn’t prove to you that he loved her and that he would always love her then really, I don’t want to know you.

 

The second moral, and deep down, I think this is the one that people have problems with: Life is not a fairy tale.  Life is real.  Life is hard.  If it were a fairy tale, well, then I’d be married, have kids and be a very successful TV writer.  I never watched How I Met Your Mother for the love story aspect.  I watched it for two reasons: the first was the characters.  These characters were great.  I enjoyed spending time with them on Monday nights for the past nine seasons.  These were people I wanted to know.  I would have loved to get a beer with Ted, Marshall and Lily and would think it would be so much fun to have Barney as my wingman.  But more than that, it’s because this show was relatable.  I’ve never been left at the altar, but boy do I know what heartache is like.  I’ve lost my job and I know how hard that is.  I’ve lost friends and loved ones.  The show resonated with me on so many levels.  It also gives me hope that even though life may be bumpy, things will get better.

Overall, I enjoyed “Last Forever.”  It wasn’t the M*A*S*H or Scrubs finale (the first finale, not Med School… *shudders*).  Those are perfect endings.  How I Met Your Mother never sugar coated things.  It never shyed away from the hard stuff.  The finale wasn’t any different.  I don’t love it, but I respect it.  And I respect the choice to end the series the way that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas wanted to.

It was always the way they were going with this series.  They never faltered.  They never gave in.  And that was obvious.  You may not like the ending.  I’m not trying to sway anyone here.  But you have to respect the creators for telling it their way.

I thought it was ambitious and true to life.  However, if you look at the show, it has always been leading to this moment.  Just like Penny said, it was never about Ted meeting Tracy (GOD, it’s so nice not having to say “the daughter” or “the mother” any longer), it was about Robin.  While I always hoped that they weren’t going to go this route – that Tracy & Ted and Barney & Robin would end up living happily ever after, that’s not what life is all about.  Life is about living the moments you have and savoring them with the people you love.

640px-Finalever

If you take one lesson away from How I Met Your Mother, it should be: Whatever you do in life, it’s not legendary unless your friends are there to see it because life is too short to not do awesome air kicks.

Score: 7/10.

Dealing With the Hand You’re Dealt

I’d be lying if I said this was the type of post I want to make on my blog these days.  I really don’t want this to be a place where I whine.  Unfortunately sometimes that’s where your head space is.  It’s where mine is today.  I promise I won’t be overly whiny about all of this but if you don’t want to deal with any of it, now’s the time to hit the back button.  I won’t be offended.  Next post, I’ll be a little more upbeat.

My move down to Nashville has not been easy thus far.  There’s been a lot of down moments while I’ve been here but for the most part I’ve handled them quite well.  However, I was truly hopeful by March 1st, I was going to be on my way out of this nightmare.  Well, it’s March 1st and I’m not.  I was close.  Didn’t happen.  But I’m still for all intents and purposes unemployed.  I’m still living in my parents’ basement.  What a winner I am!  Wooo!

It hasn’t been all bad.  My parents have been great.  I was very concerned there were going to be some issues here and while there have been a few bumps in the road, I think each of us have handled it extremely well.  I can’t say enough how lucky I am to have the parents that I do.  I’ve met some great people and some old friends are down here as well.  I don’t know what I’d do without my boys in the Music City Chorus, and some great friends both new and old who are down here.  Some of them in particular have gone above and beyond.  I also have worked which is such a plus and gets my head out of the depressing depths that I possibly could get stuck in all the time.  Dianne and the people at Counsel on Call have been great to me.  The fact that I’m able to work wherever on this contract job is fantastic.  Of course, catching a cold this week has kinda pushed me to just work at home.  Hopefully next week I can go hang out at a coffee shop or something for half a day.  That would be great.

Believe me, I know that there are people who have it a lot worse than I do.  However, I won’t deny that it’s been a rough three or four years.  I haven’t had a lot of things I can put in my win column in awhile.  (Yes, the whole “Ryan not having esophageal cancer” thing was pretty frikkin huge.)  It would be nice to have a victory that sticks.  I don’t put the blame on anyone but myself for where I’m at right now.  But its been four months that I’ve been in this head space and almost three down here.  I am so ready to start anew.

So, I’m recommitting myself.  By Tax Day, I will have a full-time position.  It will happen.  You can bet your sweet bippee on that one.  

Yeah, I went Laugh-In on your bippees.  Deal with it.

Now really, was that that bad?  Have a good one, friends!  (Or as my good friend Brenden would say, “Campenites, unite!”)