Something hidden -- go and find it;
Go and look beyond the Ranges
Something lost behind the ranges:
Lost and waiting for you. Go!

-- from Guy Maddin's CAREFUL

Being a periodic meditation on some of the more obscure outlying regions of cinema;
regarding movies that are inadequately publicized and hence, easily overlooked --
and by cinema, it is meant in the larger sense of films/tv/DVD/internet --
that might be worthy of your interest, but perhaps has escaped your notice.


Friday, August 24, 2007


       The sitcom is as old and as venerable an institution as the medium that spawned it. So it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first forms to be reinvented for web-based video entertainment. There are a number of websites out there that offer this type of content -- Channel 101 probably being the most entertaining of the lot -- but a recent addition to the roster is Clark and Michael: a 10 web-isode sitcom that is distributed on the internet, and stars Clark Duke and Michael Cera (of Arrested Development fame) as two wanna-be Hollywood moguls, trying to get their careers -- and pretty much every other aspect of their lives -- off the ground.

       The conceit of the show is that the two “stars” have hired a camera crew to document their attempt to pitch various TV show and movie scripts to the numerous Studio Heads who guest star each week (played by a variety of performers including Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt and Andy Richter). Predictably, but usually entertainingly, their efforts don’t often work out -- but laffs and hi-jinks ensue in the course of their misadventures -- and that’s the reason to watch. The show is very L.A.-centric (much like IFC’s The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, starring the very funny Laura Kightlinger), and episodes tend to revolve around typical Southern California concerns -- cars and driving in and through Los Angeles, the annoyances of apartment living and which of the ten bistros which line the block offers the best cup of coffee -- but the main attraction of the show is the interaction between the show’s leads.

       Clark and Michael are apparently best friends in real life (they both appear in SuperBad as well), and that shows in their exchanges; they’re comfortable with each other and you like them, even if they are both completely dweeb-y. There’s also the usual cast of characters that you’d find in any sitcom -- a goofy neighbor (the creepy-but-always-funny Eric Wareheim, of Tom Goes to the Mayor fame), a couple of pals who seem to be just as ungainly and inexperienced as Clark and Michael -- but somehow more successful, nonetheless, -- and an assortment of ingenues that Clark and MIchael attempt to date; all to no avail, of course. Each web-isode runs about 9 to 12 minutes, and the relatively short running time of the individual segments is to the show’s benefit -- what would be tiresome at a full half-hour is just fine at 8 minutes 47 seconds.

       You can’t buy Clark and Michael -- and you can’t rent them -- well, maybe you can, but you’ll have to work that out with them personally -- you can, however, watch all of their web-isodes for free, on their website, provided you have a relatively fast internet connection, that is. The show doesn’t redefine cinema or have any ambitions of doing so, for that matter; but it is more fun than that 9 to 12 minutes of work that you were planning to do instead.

Next post -- 08/31/07

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