Yes, I admit it. I’m a Marshmellow.
I backed the Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter. I was a loyal viewer of Veronica Mars when it was on television. When I was pregnant with the Kid, and when she was just an infant, the husband and I used Veronica Mars as at-home date nights to make sure we spent time together while trying to figure out the whole new parenthood thing.
Since I’m a backer of the movie, I was emailed a few weeks ago, along with the 91k+ other backers that there would be a chance to see the Veronica Mars movie a day early in large cities across the US. I was lucky to be able to procure 2 tickets to the backer event at the Phipps Plaza AMC theater in Atlanta. Yes, that means I actually gave the movie even more of my money, and I was happy to do it. I was also lucky enough to be able to snag a pass to the one and only Veronica Mars movie premiere here in Atlanta through Metro Atlanta Geeks (y’all know I had to be a part of a group like that, didn’t you?).
I wanted to wait to publish my review when the movie hit the theaters, On Demand, and through iTunes. Yes, as of today, you all can get the movie in the comfort of your own home through On Demand (check your local cable provider), Amazon Prime, and through iTunes. Of course, I encourage you to actually go to your local theater. It’s amazing on the big screen and with a crowd. It would also be nice to have box office numbers encourage big wigs in the entertainment industry to realize that, in the end, it’s about the fans. It’s always been about the fans.
On Wednesday night, I headed down to the Parkway Pointe AMC theater to see the Veronica Mars premiere here in Atlanta. I was very sick for several days prior to the premier and was unsure if I could or should go. I really wanted to have the opportunity to see the movie with an audience that wouldn’t necessarily know much about the original television show. It was important to me to see if the movie could stand on it’s own with knowing little or no background of the characters.
It was a great experience. The theater was just below capacity, and Warner Bros. had a little trivia contest just before start time to reward the real fans that were there. Once that was over, we all settled into our seats. I met several people from Metro Atlanta Geeks at the premiere and several others in line and sitting next to me. Most of the people that I met had never seen any or only a few of the episodes.
The first two minutes of the movie are a quick overview of what happened in the TV series. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. <Vague spoilers ahead> We quickly find out Veronica has left Neptune, CA for the big city of Manhattan. Veronica is getting ready for a big interview at a high dollar law firm. We start to find out what she’s been up to for the last 7 years. She’s reconnected with Piz, her very nice, sweet, and safe college boyfriend. Veronica sees a breaking news report that a famous pop star (and old high school classmate) has been found murdered, and the main suspect is her old, brooding, bad-boy ex-boyfriend Logan Echols. Veronica quickly ends up flying home to help Logan avoid a murder wrap. Veronica’s high school reunion is happening at the same time, which give us all an excuse to see all of our beloved and love-to-hate characters from the original series <Spoilers end>.
Rob Thomas completely delivers the movie that I, as a fan and backer, wanted to see. It was a high dollar, complicated, two hour, larger-than-life episode. The soundtrack is really amazing. The original theme song by the Dandy Warhols is still there, but with a new twist. Thomas has always given us great Indy music that introduces us to amazing songwriters and new voices. His selections for the movie don’t disappoint.
Veronica, expertly played by Kristen Bell looking great mere weeks after she gave birth to her first child, still has a snappy wit and is covered in sassiness. Dick Casablancas, played by Ryan Hansen, has some of the best lines in the movie, and he just oozes entitled snark and sarcasm. Ryan Hansen is a genius in making you want to simultaneously punch and and pal around with him. Jason Doring, who plays Logan Echols, is still incredibly handsome and brooding, and he and Bell still have some of the most palpable chemistry ever shown on screen. Enrico Colantoni is still the best dad on television or in the movies. His relationship with Veronica is one that every parent wishes they could have with their kids. Stosh Piznarski, portrayed by Chris Lowell, is still the guy, as a parent, you want Veronica to end up with. However, as a fan of the show, you are hoping that you get that one more fix of Logan and Veronica.
Veronica’s friends and enemies are still expertly written and cast. My only question with the whole movie is the small sub-plot with Eli “Weevil” Navarro’s character (played by Francis Capra). It’s a little forced, but I understand where Thomas was coming from when he wrote it. As Veronica’s voice overs remind us, the theme of the movie is questioning the ability to move past who you really are to create someone new. Veronica likens it to an addict and their fix, but I see it more like owning your true nature. Can you really go home again? Veronica does, but at what cost?
On Wednesday night, there were plenty of laughs and gasps throughout the movie. There was only one cameo that was surprising to me, and I had to explain to the person sitting next to me what that character meant in the cannon of the series. It actually didn’t impact the plot of the story if you knew who this person was or not. However, there were enough jaws hanging agape that everyone knew that this was important to the old series fans.
When the showing was over, I asked the people who were newbies to Neptune what they thought of the movie. Everyone, without exception, really enjoyed the movie. I asked them if they felt like they missed out on any of the inside jokes or references. They felt like what they initially didn’t understand was explained enough for them to take away any pertinent information needed for the rest of the story to flow smoothly.
On Thursday night, the crowd was very, very different. These were backers. The true diehards. The backer t-shirts were everywhere, and even the movie theater staff was excited to see how excited the crowd was to be there seeing the show they brought back from the dead and put up on the screen. This was OUR movie. We all had a vested interested in making sure this was a new incarnation of the show we all loved to watch.
Of course, I was already sold, but this was the key showing. If these people didn’t like it, well, then Rob Thomas better run and hide. I took the Husband person along with me. He hadn’t seen an episode in 7 years. He was a casual watcher of the series with me back in the day, and I was interested in his take on the movie.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that THIS was the audience this movie was made for. There were cheers, gasps, laughs, and relief. The audience cheered at the end and were dancing in their seats as the original theme song played as the credits rolled. Just about everyone was going to receive an email within 24 hours giving us our link to our own backer download of the movie. We had already paid to have it made, but we all wanted the experience of seeing it where we put it…on the big screen. I didn’t hear any complaints at all coming out of the theater. Even the Husband person enjoyed it, and he commented how much he missed Thomas’s smart, dry, quick witted sense of humor. He lamented about missing smart, strong characters like Veronica and Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Capt. Mal Reynolds on television. The Husband is not a fan of most television. For him to keep repeating how characters like these were the reason he used to be entertained by television reminded me exactly how this show entranced its fans to raise millions of dollars to resurrect characters they love.
So, all in all, yes, go see Veronica Mars. Go back and watch or re-watch all of the episodes. If you get Pivot, they have been re-playing all of the episodes in order. iTunes is allowing a free download of the extended pilot episode through March 17. There is also a Veronica Mars book coming out in the next few weeks. Once you fall in love, or back in love, with all of the characters, you have many avenues of keeping Veronica in your life, and that is a good thing.
If you haven’t heard, there has been a phenomenon happening over the last year. Veronica Mars blew up Kickstarter. In March of 2013, the entertainment industry was turned on it’s head by a little, cancelled television show called Veronica Mars. Ok, so now you are confused. A cancelled TV show turned the industry on it’s head. How would one do that if it’s cancelled. Introducing Kickstarter.
Up until last March, Kickstarter was best known for funding Amanda Palmer’s latest CD and music tour. That in and of itself was impressive. She was able to, independently from a major record label, raise over $1 million over the course of 30 days to fund a new CD and entire tour. The money came from her fans, and in turn, she promised everything from deluxe downloads of her new music to entry into a “backer” party in the cities across the world. Ya see, this is how the whole Kickstarter thing works. You give money to the cause/event/project of your choice, and if they hit their funding goal, you get your backer reward (it varies depending on the project and amount of $$$ you pledged). The entertainment industry was floored that an artist was able to raise that kind of capital in such a short amount of time. Amanda Palmer is a brilliant business woman, huge supporter of her fans, and her Kickstarter campaign even inspired her TED talk (watch the talk, it’s worth your time). I’m sure the entertainment industry thought this was a rare occurrence never to be duplicated. They were wrong, and wrong on a major scale.
Veronica Mars was a small show on the UPN and CW networks (remember those?) that lasted three seasons from 2004 to 2007. It was a show about a female private investigator, Veronica Mars. Oh yeah, she’s a high school student in a very affluent part of southern California (zip code 90909) when we first meet her. Her father Keith Mars, former sheriff turned PI, ex-boyfriend Duncan Kane, best bud Wallace Fennel, biker Eli Navarro, and swoon worthy bad-boy Logan Echols all revolve around Veronica while she snarks and sasses her way through three seasons. It’s another story of a great show not really getting it’s due and getting cancelled too early. Due to Rob Thomas’s catchy and quirky writing, the characters became beloved and lived on as a cult classic, much like Firefly by Joss Whedon. The fans of Veronica Mars became Marshmellows.
Last March 13th, my social media feeds started blowing up about a Kickstarter campaign being launched by Kristen Bell (the titular character of Veronica Mars) and Rob Thomas, former show runner. They had struck a deal with Warner Bros. If they could raise $2.2 million then Warner Bros. would publicize, promote, and distribute the movie. They raised the $2.2 million in 24 hours. Not to be stopped, the fans upped the ante, and by the end of the campaign, they raised just north of $5.7 million and had the most backers in Kickstarter history.
So, then what? Well, then they made the movie. Rob Thomas apparently had several scripts outlined and drafted, but after realizing that the fans were, well rabid, for this movie, he has said (via Twitter) he went with the version that the fans would want the most. In the summer of 2013, the Veronica Mars movie went into production, and on March 14, 2014 it premiers!
Want to know what I thought of the movie? Check out my review of the Veronica Mars movie.
When someone asks what some of my favorite movies are, without hesitation I start to rattle off Ghostbusters, Caddy Shack, Animal House, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. There are always others thrown in there, and a lengthy discussion follows as to how I rank movies, why I love these particular movies, and the inevitable friendly debates about why a certain movie didn’t make my list or my friend’s.
Today, Harold Ramis died at age 69. Typically, I have little, if any, reaction when some random celebrity dies. Today, my reaction was more of a visceral one upon hearing the news of Ramis’s passing. The only other time this has happened was the day I found out that director John Hughes had suddenly passed away from a heart attack in New York. No, I didn’t know either one of them, but unbeknownst to them, they formed my sense of humor. Today, it felt like a small part of my childhood died.
Unlike today, when you can get any TV show or movie at the click of a few keys on your tablet or laptop, waiting for movies to come on cable, during my childhood, was a true waiting game. After a movie hit the movie theater, it would take a year or year and a half to see it on pay cable. Once there, however, it would play in a seemingly endless loop for at least a month. As a child of a single parent, we can safely assume that I watched my fair share of a television screen. Because of this, Harold Ramis and his movies became integral to a part of my entertainment education.
Ghostbusters is one of those movies I have seen somewhere in the 1000’s of times. It’s a movie that is quoted in our household at least once a week. My boss and I throw quotes around from that movie to alleviate stress or boredom. My children insist on watching it every time it’s on television, despite the fact we own it. Egon Spangler is the quintessential geek on screen. His glasses and awkwardness are obvious, but the strange answers to questions and quirky side comments make Egon my kind of geek. Bill Murray in Caddy Shack still makes me cry with laughter every time I watch that movie. Animal House lead me to believe that college was supposed to be toga parties and having an amazing time with amazing friends while smashing guitars of pseudo-musicians on the staircase in your fraternity house. Stripes was one of the first “grown up” movies that I was allowed to watch. Harold Ramis either wrote, directed, produced, or was a featured actor in all of these, and often was performing more than one of these tasks.
I understand these movies are far from Oscar winners, and I enjoy a good intellectual thriller or drama anytime. But…these movies are my humor foundation. Like John Hughes, Harold Ramis taught me key elements of entertainment to which I still respond. His humor showed that funny could be quick, dry, and witty. It didn’t have to involve pratt falls and spit takes. My husband can attest that it takes a LOT to make me laugh out loud. I rarely laugh when everyone else laughs, and I often embarrass him laughing when no one else “gets it” in a theater. Very rarely do I laugh at a movie the second time, and we won’t even get into multiple viewings. Ramis’s movies make me laugh harder and longer the more I watch them. I get more out of the subtlety the more I watch. That’s what he was; he was subtle. Whether it was his writing, acting, or directing, he had a subtle, smart, dry sense of timing and humor that still speak to me as a viewer and a fan.
In 2007, Ramis played Seth Rogan’s father in Knocked Up. I thought that it was brilliant casting by Judd Apatow. Ramis wasn’t in the movie much, but he delivered one of his better lines. When talking to his Rogan, Ramis’s character reminds his son that “Life doesn’t care about your vision. You gotta deal. You just gotta roll with it.” It was a really fast delivery and subtle, but it stuck with me. Today, I was reminded of this quote when I heard the news of Ramis’s passing.
Thank you, Harold Ramis, for showing a young girl that it’s okay to be a little geeky and humor doesn’t have to hit you on the head to make you laugh.