We don’t often see death in comic strips and sit-coms. But on “How I Met Your Mother,” Marshall Erickson (Jason Segal) lost his beloved father Marvin (played by Bill Fagerbakke). And the title character in Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary of publication, lost his feisty mother Daisy. In both cases, the deaths occurred out of sight but the audience shared in the loss as we see the impact on the characters that to some of us feel like family.
Doonesbury has run a week of strips about the memorial service for Daisy, mostly focusing on the insensitive behavior of Mike’s ex-wife J.J. and his brother. In “How I Met Your Mother,” Marshall, who was very close to his parents, got the bad news in the last moment of the episode. I hope future shows will show Marshall and his wife Lily as they try to understand their loss and find a way to keep the best of Marshall’s father close to them.
I admire both Doonesbury and “How I Met Your Mother” for their willingness to bring the challenges of parental loss to their stories.
What’s the worst movie sequel you ever saw? I’d have to say the sequels to “Grease,” “Men in Black,” “Get Shorty,” and “The Whole Nine Yards” are tied for last place.
Many thanks to my dear friend and fellow critic Brandon Fibbs for sharing this excellent graph showing how well movie sequels hold up to the original films.
It’s a big moment in any movie when one of the main characters dies, whether in battle, by accident, foul play, or natural causes. The nice people at the information site ChaCha have done the math and figured out which actors have died most often in movies. They also point out some interesting patterns and coincidences — De Niro was killed by Pacino in “Heat” and then Pacino was then killed by De Niro in “Righteous Kill” and Bruce Willis had two movie deaths at the hand of his then-wife, Demi Moore.
This is sword-and-sorcery film named after a Donovan song that features a joke swiped from “Jaws” — a priest looks balefully up at a looming demon and actually says, “We’re going to need more holy water.” It is a hopeless mish-mash that feels like they were making it up as they went along. It’s also dull.
Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman play Crusades-era knights and best bros named Behman and Felson who like to engage in jocular banter as they mow down infidels. When the commanding priest sends them to kill unarmed civilians, telling them they are not allowed to question him because he speaks for God, they go AWOL. They come to a town afflicted by the black plague. The Cardinal (a pustulous Christopher Lee) orders them to deliver the witch they believe responsible for the pestilence to a distant abbey, where there is a book with the necessary incantation to defeat her powers.
And so, there is a journey, hauling the accused witch in an iron cage, guided by a swindler who says he knows the way and accompanied by a priest and an alter boy who wants to be a knight. They encounter a rickety bridge, demon wolves, and some beautiful Hungarian scenery while the girl in the cage (Claire Foy) runs mind games on them and we check our watches to see how much more before it’s all over.
The production design by Uli Hanisch and the cinematography by Amir M. Mokri are stunning. Sadly, the vapidity of the script overcomes their atmospheric effect.