Saddle up for some Happy Endings

Blazing Saddles - Politically incorrect and relentlessly funny, Mel Brooks's take on Hollywood Westerns follows the tortured trail of freed slave Bart, who's elected sheriff of the racist town of Rock Ridge. He must foil a land-grabbing governor (Brooks) with help from a washed-up, pot-smoking gunslinger (Gene Wilder).

(rent/buy) Like most Brooks movies, this won’t be for all, but it does hit a pretty wide audience base. I’d seen parts of this one before, but only recently saw all of it in one sitting. Definitely worth the watch although Men in Tights is still my favorite. This is funny and offensive, and despite an unorthodox ending, it has a very satisfying story and conclusion. The sheriff and his gunslinger are a great duo and the two actors play well off one another. I’d recommend pretty much everyone seeing this, although I’d definitely say rent it first.

Happy Endings, Season Two - Dave and Alex have managed to stay friends, even though Alex jilted Dave at the altar, and they continue to reshuffle their feelings while Brad and Jane plan their second wedding, and singletons Penny and Max search for a Mr. Right to call their own.

(rent) I say rent only because it’s season two :) I’m not sure it was as strong as season one, but it definitely has its own strengths and story. There is slightly more plot in some of the characters and a fair amount of character development. That being said, this is comedy, so nothing too deep usually happens and the episodes keep with their fun, goofy story telling. I love that all the characters have their time to shine and their time to fail, and no one is always the idiot. Worth picking up if you saw season one, and I’d recommend Happy Endings to most open-minded viewers.

Trembling Before G-d - Two hot-button issues -- homosexuality and religion -- are thrust together in this revealing documentary by Sandi Simcha Dubowski. Gay and lesbian Jews who have been cast off by their families and by religious figures are interviewed in major metropolitan areas across the globe. Even in societies where homosexuality is gaining acceptance, many of those interviewed still struggle with balancing an intolerant faith with their sexual orientation.

(rent) I’m not Jewish (or religious at all) so this was incredibly educational about Jewish cultures and customs, although it seems to stick mostly to orthodox. I found the documentary to be well done and well handled. It was educational, and while the documenters obviously have opinions, I felt things were fairly balanced in portrayal. Religious persons may not agree with me, but I still think this is worth a watch (although some parts are better than others). Overall has a pretty positive feel about it, even if some of the content is disheartening.

Community, Season One - After his bachelor's degree is revoked, lawyer Jeff Winger returns to community college, where he forms a study group with a few oddballs, including the seven-times-married Pierce and perfectionist Annie.

(rent) This is an enjoyable comedy, but it definitely won’t be for everyone. It has a jaded/cruel humor much of the time, but never crosses the line of being too mean (I felt). It feels equally offensive to everyone, which is what lets it get away with the jibes. The entire premise is silly, which lets every ridiculous event that happens in the show be reasonable. This is pointless but enjoyable, and great for background noise if you want to multitask.

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World - (anime) Takeru is a typical high school student until he saves Hikari, an alien girl with no memory of her past. Committing himself to take care of her, Takeru's life is suddenly filled with aliens and monsters.

(meh) This 12-episode series has a very simple plot, minimal character development, and few interesting events. The aliens and monsters (the exciting bits) seem to take a backseat to a high-school-drama-esqe story. While this isn’t a bad show, it’s just completely lackluster and is forgotten five minutes after watching. People who want a story about a bunch of high schoolers and their new alien friend who has to learn all the interesting things about earth will probably enjoy it, but all others I’d warn away.

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