These past few weeks have been hectic weeks of travel, but I still got a fair amount of TV in, so now, sitting on a plane ride home from Costa Rica at the end of my journey I start my rant.

Two weeks ago I headed to home sweet home for Thanksgiving as most Americans do, only to be reminded that it's not always sunny in Philadelphia. My ride from the airport was basically a rainy version of the opening credits of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia minus the shot of Market Street. Despite being a native Philadelphian I was a late bloomer to the show; I just recently finished off the season 1 + 2 DVDs. I never thought a show about 4 evil idiots could work so well, but I've laughed my way through every single episode.

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I'm generally not a fan of a repeated formula joke but I love It's Always Sunny's opening format. I've always been a fan of funny episode titles, but I generally don't get to enjoy them until I'm selecting an episode on a DVD, but no more! It's Always Sunny starts every episode off with a quick scene, a pause, and then a flash of the episode's title. Not only do these openings guarantee a good laugh, they also set up the plot for the rest of the episode. Kudos to the writers (who coincidentally are also the cast members) for coming up with an original idea that really adds to the show.

The crew is made up of twins Dennis and Dee, their two friends Mac and Charlie, and the twins' father played by an insanely wacky Danny DeVito. Apparently all the members of the cast had to do some serious convincing to get Danny Devito to return for season three, check this out: Danny Devito & The Contract. Every now and again we the viewers get glimpses of the twins' intelligence or morality only to have these presumptions dashed by the end of the episode. Both characters are completely self centered and inherently evil. Mac and Charlie don't come off as devilish as the twins, but that's only because they're much simpler minded, maybe from huffing all that glue... I don't know; I'm not a doctor.

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After Thanksgiving I headed back to St. Louis for a couple days of work. On Tuesday afternoon I decided I deserved some relaxation so it was time for some media. Some of you may or may not be aware of Futurama's reestablishment as a series of straight to DVD movies, the first of which was released last week entitled: Bender's Big Score. Strolling through my local Blockbuster it was clearly the choice and it didn't disappoint one bit; In fact, it exceeded my expectations in almost every way.

We live in an age where studios attempt to squeeze every penny out of their intellectual properties, so movie versions of TV shows are pretty commonplace. Some have succeeded (Borat, Mission Impossible), some have disappointed (Reno 911!: Miami), and some have been flat out awful (Scooby Doo, and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas are few of many). I like that these Futurama movies, unlike their predecessors, are being released straight to DVD. If I rent a movie for $4, grab a Snapple from my fridge and some snacks from my cabinet the movie simply doesn't have as big of shoes to fill compared to if I spend $9.75 on a ticket and $25 on nachos and giant soda that will almost definitely give me indigestion. Don't get me wrong, I love going to the movies more than most, but the movie has got to be satisfying. I can't say for sure, but I'm almost positive that Bender's Big Score wouldn't have disappointed even with the over-priced nacho induced indigestion. It felt like more than just an extended episode. It was epic, funny, and even a little heartwarming when all was said and done. For all those out there who have enjoyed Futurama in any capacity in the past, you're in for a treat.

The second leg of my travels took me to Costa Rica which involved more than 24 hours of travel time, but thanks to lovely technologic I had season 3 of It's Always Sunny on my iPhone. I sat down at the terminal in Atlanta waiting for my connection and glimpsed up at a TV showing CNN. Being the hipster college student that I am, I get all my news from the Stewart / Colbert duo, so it had been a long time since I caught a CNN afternoon update. The girl dishing out the news was pretty attractive so I held off on whipping out my iPhone for battery conservation purposes. The segment I happened upon was 'The Word of the Day'. When did CNN become Pee-wee's Playhouse? Weak sauce CNN.

After a disappointing word (it wasn't truthiness) I dove right into season 3. I haven't seen every episode yet, but oh my, has it been uproariously hilarious so far, completely eclipsing the previous two seasons. They've taken the secondary characters from previous seasons, like the McPoyle family and the twins' real father Bruce Mathis, and woven them into ludicrous plotlines that wouldn't have been as funny without the previous character development. "Dennis & Dee's Mom Is Dead" had me cracking up uncontrollably out loud on a plane, much to my neighbor's discontent. When Bruce (played by the reverend from 7th Heaven) told the family that they are "the most horrible people alive," it seemed about accurate, which made it all the more comical. I really can't sing high enough praises for season 3. I can only hope the Philly boys can keep the good times rolling in season 4, which I'll be waiting for with high hopes and dire anticipation. Let me know what you guys think about It's Always Sunny and Bender's Big Score with some comments. Until next time...

- Rich

Cinemark Movie Club