Nerd Alert! Kingsman, Fifty Shades of Crap, Saturday Night Live, Valentine's Day movies!

By Christian Carvajal on February 10, 2015

In a van down by the river, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.


This weekend brings two movies I think are worthy of your attention, and one that is worthy of your derision. First, let's talk about Kingsman: The Secret Service, a nutball actioner from Matthew Vaughn of X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass fame. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as its over-the-top villain (because the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision Jackson v. Rickman decreed every movie has to do that now) and Colin Firth as a swanky British superspy. It's been screening and earning raves around the Western world for months. It's kind of like 20th Century Fox knows it has a good thing going. So why, then, is Kingsman debuting in February? Why not? Are you complaining? Would you rather see Jupiter Ascending? I thought not.

The Last Five Days is a musical romance debuting in select U.S. markets, though probably not in South Puget just yet. The advance word says Anna Kendrick is terrific, the movie itself maybe better as a play. Still, if you've never caught this charming two-hander in a theater, perhaps Kendrick's appeal and actual vocal chops will pull you on board.

Or hey, maybe you have zero taste and you're drooling for Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah. I hate it that much. "Mr. Grey will see you now!" Not if I see him first. Variety reports it's the fastest selling R-rated movie in Fandango history, while film critic Kim Kardashian tweeted, "OMG it's sooooo good!!!!! (sic)" If the movie is anything like the book, however, nooooo, it's not!!!!! It's fifty shades of crap. By way of elucidation, check out my 1783-word dissection of the book, helpfully entitled "Fifty Shades of Crap." Do you understand what I'm saying? This book is crap. I hated it THAT MUCH. And if you go see its unwarranted film adaptation, and GOD KNOWS YOU WILL because TAKE THAT, CIVILIZATION AND RATIONALITY AND BESIDES, BY THE WAY, THERE IS NO GOD, then you'll get exactly what you deserve. Also, have fun being eaten by your cats Mr. Pawpaw Patch and Jeffrey when you die of cookie dough consumption and Al-Qaeda-level sexual frustration.


Dozens of Not Ready for Prime Time Players past and present will assemble for Sunday's 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live on NBC, well within prime time at 8. Producer Lorne Michaels says a significant portion of the show is devoted to new performances, instead of the clips and highlight reels E's been running every weekend. Frequent guests Alec Baldwin, Jon Hamm, Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken will return, and Eddie Murphy makes his first SNL appearance in three decades. Even Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson and the much-maligned Chevy Chase will show up. You can bet your Schweddy Balls it'll be a good time.

I've often felt "SNL cast member" would be my dream job, but when I reflect on the talented people who've auditioned and failed - Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Geena Davis, Zach Galifianakis, Kathy Griffin, Kevin Hart, Lisa Kudrow and Aubrey Plaza, among many, many others including 13-time guest host John Goodman - I think I'd have a better shot if I tried out for Chippendales.

Finally, a word on that Whitman's-Sampler-scented, Hallmark-approved celebration known far and wide, to those who can still stomach it at least, as VD. I for one have been dumped on two different Valentine's Days, which took me a few decades to overcome. I'm fine now. Thanks for asking. The point is some of us are still leery of making a big deal of February 14th, even if we happen to find ourselves consciously coupled at the time. So to you, my fellow star-crossed lovers, I offer sweet, romantic movies to throw on your Netflix queue and watch at home. Take a breather from the Nora Ephron-penned standbys this year. Instead, order a heart-shaped pizza and check out The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a pastel-hued '60s musical in French starring quite possibly the most beautiful woman who ever acted in front of a camera, Mlle. Catherine Deneuve. Speaking of French, perhaps you've never seen Amélie or La Belle et la Bête - quel dommage! His Girl Friday boasts a killer script, and multiple Oscar winner It Happened One Night is a must-see for any self-respecting cineaste. My wife and I nestled into (500) Days of Summer and Silver Linings Playbook, and Say Anything ... has aged as gracefully as Deneuve. If you really want an excuse to drag out the fur-lined handcuffs you received at your bachelorette party, Secretary leaves Fifty Shades in its disciplinarian dust.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and doggone it, may people like you.