Sweet Dickens, I did not like THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD. And I don’t know why. Oh wait…yes I do. I’m tired of Charles Dickens adaptations. I’ve seen them all and no matter how many times you do a twist on this or….God forbid…A Christmas Carol..which has been done twice as many times…it still comes out too similar to the other adaptations. Too many copies with only slight twists that doesn’t justify their existence. IMDB called this version “A modern take on Charles Dickens’s classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.” The only thing that is modern about this one is that David isn’t white and some of the other characters aren’t white as well. It doesn’t take place in modern day. If they would’ve done both…that might’ve been interesting to see, something way different than what we’ve gotten before. Instead, it’s just Dev Patel as the title character and while is performance is extraordinary great (I’ve been a big fan of his ever since Slumdog Millionaire), the rest is still the same, albeit with more frantic energy to try and not put its audience to sleep. Well, I still almost fell asleep about 4 times (and I had a two hour nap earlier in the afternoon) and while writer/director Armando Iannucci does his best to put a little more pep in the movies’ step by adding some finely timed British humor (and some not finely timed), the film literally added nothing new to get me invested in a story which I’ve read before twice, and I’ve seen in countless other adaptations.

If you’ve never read Charles Dickens’ classic novel and have never seen an adaptation of David Copperfield, I suggest just reading the book and skip all other adaptations. The book is quite something. The movie adaptations, for me, fail to bring any emotional context from Dickens’ words from the page to the screen. While this was a more comedic version of the tale, I merely laughed only once at the very beginning of the film, and didn’t do so until the end credits, as it was more of a relief laugh that the 2 hours was over and I could go home. The reason I saw this in a theater is because I’ve seen everything else already because of this fucking stupid pandemic and it was the only thing left that I hadn’t. I love going to the theater, fuck all of you that are too scared too, unless you know someone that is immune compromised or you yourself are immune compromised. That’s the only two ways I’ll give you mercy if you ever reveal to me that you didn’t go to the theater until there was a vaccine. Otherwise, fuck you. Yeah I said it. I’m going off into a side rant because I really don’t want to talk about this movie anymore, it was THAT boring. And writer/director Armando Iannucci is known for creating and being the show runner on VEEP for most of its run. VEEP is a comedic masterpiece. He left before the last or last two seasons and made The Death of Stalin movie (which I haven’t seen but after this don’t want to), this, and the first season of Avenue 5…which was only okay.

I don’t think he can ever top Veep. Maybe he should’ve stuck with it until the end? It’s like lightening in a bottle for him, which I feel sad if it ends up being so. Everybody does a great job acting in this for sure, but there are some ill timed British humor moments that didn’t work for me (especially when Copperfield gets some bad news about his mother) and the film tries to speed through Copperfield’s life when it needed its time to breathe to be a completely faithful adaptation. This film could be nominated for three Oscar’s and I wouldn’t blink an eye and wouldn’t protest it. It could be nominated for Costumes (duh)…a Lead Acting nomination for Patel (only maybe though, depends what comes out the rest of the year)…but most deserved would be a nomination for Best Production Design. Some of the shots in this movie are absolutely gorgeous with its attention to detail with buildings around the characters and the many sets of the interior in places. Very intricate and well done, and that’s the only high praise you’ll hear out of me regarding this movie other than Patel’s solid acting. The rest was just the same slog I’ve seen before, only that this time the movie actually almost put me to sleep, which I haven’t been almost put to sleep in a theater in quite some time. This is definitely not one of the worst pictures of the year though, far from it. This movie was made with care and you can tell there was no slacking in production. It’s just that I didn’t care for it, plain and simple. David Copperfield’s personal history has been shown too many times, and doesn’t need to do so ever again. If one needs a reminder, don’t be lazy, and just pick up a fucking book.


Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: AVENUE 5 (HBO)

I watched the first episode of AVENUE 5 on HBO when it premiered after a new episode of what I will always keep continuing watching if there are any more new seasons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and I couldn’t even finish the pilot episode. It was unfunny and seemed like it tried to rip off the look and feel of The Orville, with more crude, crass, dick and fart joke humor combined with a Gilligan’s Island like overarching plot structure/device. I heard though, that the show is like the beginning of VEEP, and that you have to give the whole season a chance before you decide whether or not to give up on it. I gave Veep a chance, and ended up loving it to the point where I stuck with the whole show through the series finale. With Avenue 5, I’m glad I ended up going back and finishing all 9 really quick episodes, as I ended up really liking it (not loving though) and think it is ripe full of potential for us to receive a much, much better season 2, to the point where I could end up loving it. The reason I was interested in Avenue 5 to begin with was because creator Armando Iannucci had also created Veep, which I ended up loving mainly due to the excellent ensemble cast and that it played with both sides of the political coin and wasn’t as biased as I thought it was going to be. Avenue 5 is political in a different kind of way, and found it’s footing about halfway through the season, with some hilarious sight gags, plot threads, and incredibly funny and well written one liners. It does though has a way to go for me to say that it has an excellent ensemble cast (mainly due to my annoyance with one particular actor). I also wanted to watch it because I’m a big fan of Hugh Laurie, but I also didn’t want to watch it because of a previously mentioned actor who I will reveal and complain about more in detail a little later on in the review. Suffice to say in the end, I’m glad I went back and gave this quirky space comedy a chance.’s synopsis nails the whole thing right on the head: “The troubled crew of Avenue 5, a space cruise ship filled with spoiled, rich, snotty space tourists, must try and keep everyone calm after their ship gets thrown off course into space and ends up needing three years to return to Earth.” Three years? Three hour tour? You can start to see where my Gilligan’s Island like structure/plot device I described above comes into play. But Gilligan’s Island was, to me anyway, more focused on character development while trying to find a way out of their plight. Finding a way out of their plight was plot B, with a focus on character being plot A. Avenue 5 is the exact reverse of that. Every episode deals with different ways that the crew can get home sooner, say 6 months, and they try to execute said plans only for giant fuck ups to happen where they end up might even extending their time in space to a full 8 years. With all this, there is a giant sacrifice to character development here, in which there essentially isn’t anyway. Almost every character is unlikable and only Hugh Laurie (as Captain Ryan Clark) & Lenora Crichlow (as Billie McEvoy) showing very small shimmers of maybe moving past their selfishness in a future season. This lack of character development helps yet hurts the series, as it is in very close proximity to the characters of Veep, and at the end of that series, *spoiler alert* NO ONE FUCKING CHANGES. But they are all so despicably hilarious that the lack of learning lessons is forgivable. Compare Avenue 5 and Veep to Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia for a point of reference, where no character learns any lessons at the end of any of the episodes or seasons. It remains to be seen if Avenue 5 can successfully continue on that trend quite yet, but I really would like to see this show expand and have characters learn and be changed by lessons, even if it is only in a character or two. Doing this would separate itself a little bit from the pack of the others where NO ONE changes, and not end up being just another copycat full of despicable yet hilarious human beings.

Let’s get to the elephant in the room (not a pun, not referencing a body type, just a big problem with the series) and that is Josh Gad. There is no doubt that Josh Gad is talented. He was one of the main players when Book of Mormon first went to broad way, he is beloved as Olaf in Frozen, etc. etc. But EVERYTHING else I have seen him in, he just comes off as unlikable, loud, and annoying. To be fair, he is just being cast in these already annoyingly written roles, it’s not his writing at all, and if Mr. Gad were ever to read this, I would beg him to reconsider what scripts he chooses, don’t become a stereotype! In Avenue 5, he’s the one character who you don’t even love to hate, you just want to reach through the screen and choke that character to death so you don’t have to see him anymore. He plays the character named Judd, the character that made this space travel luxury thing happen. He is also a massive egotistical maniac, and also dumb as a sack of bricks. If the series wants to do any character development at all, I would suggest that Judd would be the way to go. But considering what happens in the first season, it just seems to me that Gad will get more annoying by the episode. And that is a shame. Everybody else though, while their characters you won’t like, they do a good job acting as them, and convincingly make you laugh at them as well. Zach Woods, who you know from Silicon Valley and Gabe on The Office, has some of the best faces and one liners you will see and hear on television all year. Basically, once you get past the first set up episode that doesn’t contain one real laugh, if you want to see a bunch of despicable characters bitch at each other for 9 episodes, HOWEVER that whole premise is combined with delightfully funny ways of all of them trying to get out of their awful predicament, I completely recommend Avenue 5 during our own kind of quarantine like hell we are going through. Very reminiscent of the times for sure. Will definitely make this a part of my television watching universe whenever season 2 set sails.