When you find yourself in times of trouble, buzz magazine comes to you with words of wisdom. Just like many in our wonderful audience, I too find myself bored in isolation. Usually, I find myself debating whether or not I should once again watch “The Office” for the 20th time. However, I was struck with an idea! History is filled with amazing tv shows and movies. A lot of them make me wish that I had time to go back and watch the classics that have slipped through my fingers over the years. Well, there’s no better time to do so than in the present! Here’s what I’ve discovered in this first edition of Blast From The Past!
Movie: “Good Morning, Vietnam”(1987)
Robin Williams was a brilliant, hilarious, incredibly talented actor. That alone should provide all you need as an excuse to watch this 1987 war comedy. Now I know what you’re thinking… Vietnam? It doesn’t sound like the best platform for comedy in any scenario, and normally you would be right.
That’s the beauty of “Good Morning, Vietnam”. It presents the comedy both on and off the air in a way that encapsulates the absurdity of the Vietnam war, but, at the same time, isn’t afraid to confront the darker elements of the conflict. Racism, morality, military censorship and conflicted love are all explored in an honest and thought-provoking way just seconds after Williams has you laughing with his ridiculous news reports.
The film follows Adrian Cronauer(Williams), a radio funny man who was sent to Vietnam to uplift the spirits of the troops with his antics and music. At first, he takes the assignment as seriously as the class clown goofing off and ignoring the orders of his superiors much to their chagrin and our enjoyment. Soon though, he develops relationships with his fellow military personnel as well as both platonic and romantic relationships with some of the Vietnamese that have him seeing the strife and heartbreak that comes with the conflict, ultimately having him question which side, if either, is the “bad guys”.
If you’re a fan of Robin Williams, 80’s comedies, or just looking for a good film that you can both enjoy and feel something from, “Good Morning Vietnam” is an excellent way to spend your day in this post-apocalyptic world of ours.
TV Show: “Leverage”(2008)
Now, this pick is definitely out of the left-field, even for me, but bear with me and you’ll soon see why I choose this lesser-known show.
Picture, if you will, a combination of “Oceans Eleven” and “Person of Interest”, and “Burn Notice”. What you get is a blurry image of “Leverage”. This television show, which ran from 2008 to 2012, follows former insurance investigator Nate Ford and a merry band of ex-criminals as they travel the United States looking to help the under-dogs of America fight corruption and big-named criminal organizations.
The wonderful ensemble cast brings laughs and tension every episode. There is also a surprising number of tv legends that cameo in some episodes like Vincent D’Onofrio and Will Wheaton. These appearances will have you taken aback and enjoying some A-list talent in-between the usual grifts and cons. The added bonus is that there’s a satisfying conclusion to the series that was planned since its beginning. This means you won’t get to the end of this series only to be left with disappointments(cough cough Game of Thrones).
Every episode feels like a classic heist film interwoven, which is a fun and surprisingly authentic emotional through-plot as each member learns to face their former demons and together the group grows into a family. The episodes also give a chance for the audience to try and figure out just how the gang is going to pull it off while the twists and turns along the way leave you asking for more.
While the show may not be perfect, and, at times, even a bit formulaic, the good acting, fun plots, and four seasons worth of adventure is enough to provide just enough of a gap between “Friends” and “The Office” binges to keep things fresh.
And with that, those are my two Blast from the Past entries for this week! Comment below what you think of these diamonds in the rough of days gone by, and let me know what your favorite past tv shows and movies are on twitter @IlliniUpdate. Maybe your picks will be featured in a future video!