Monday, August 13, 2012

Taking A Look Back At The Michael Cera Era

Remember the Michael Cera era? What, you don't?

C’mon, surely you remember that period, just a few years back, when it seemed like there was a new Michael Cera movie out every few months. Cera, who first captured our hearts as George-Michael Bluth on the cult TV show Arrested Development in the early to mid-aughts, was in a steady stream of movies, basically playing the same awkward yet lovable geek again and again.

The era began with the huge high school hit SUPERBAD in 2007, and ran through the audience favorites JUNO and NICK & NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, but started to wane when the caveman comedy YEAR ONE, which teamed Cera with Jack Black, crapped out in the summer of 2009.

Then the era officially ended when Edgar Wright’s action comedy SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, starring Cera as the title character, released in August of 2010, and flopped despite basking in fanboy praise when it premiered at Comic-Con earlier that summer. Cera hasn’t had a substantial role in a major movie since.

Feels like he just schlepped out of our lives.Around that time, rumors were swirling about a possible Arrested Development movie in the works. All the original cast members were said to be up for it, but Cera, remarked about the project: “I'd possibly play, I'd possibly put the script in my shredder.” Why would he have to go back to being a Bluth, when his movie career was riding so high?

In an episode of the NBC comedy drama Parenthood a season or so back, the rebellious teen Amber (Mae Whitman, also a Cera co-star in “Scott Pilgrim”) is helping her cousin Haddie (Sarah Ramos) with an alibi so she can go on a date unknown to her mother. They rehearse a scenario concerning seeing a Michael Cera movie - Haddie: “Well, I mean, it was okay. But Michael Cera was obviously hilarious.” “Obviously hilarious and cute,” Amber adds.

Even though that was only 2011, that dialogue has really dated. I mean, by then we had all moved on to Jesse Eisenberg. There were no new Cera movies in a multiplex near those girls anymore, right?

Cera himself addressed this when he went on the TBS talk show Conan not long after this, and joked about being constantly mistaken for Eisenberg. Conan O’Brien and Cera laughed about this, then when the next guest, Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, came out she said “Hey, you were great in ‘Social Network’” to Cera. Later O’Brien got a big laugh when he announced that the big guest the next night would be, yep, Jesse Eisenberg, to the comic frustration of Cera.

Tellingly, when Eisenberg visited Conan the following evening, Cera wasn’t brought up at all. Somebody put the kibosh on that. Perhaps Eisenberg, or his agent, beforehand said ‘no Michael Cera jokes, huh?’ If that was the case it sounds like a reasonable request to me.

Apparently Cera decided against the shredder option because he is currently reprising his role as George Michael Bluth in the fourth season of Arrested Development now filming in LA.

Whether or not this new Netflix-produced reunion series (a movie will reportedly follow) will put Cera back in the spotlight it just won’t be the same as his first time around.

I am reminded of a classic episode of The Simpsons, “Bart Gets Famous,” in which Bart Simpson has a burst of fame for saying the same catch phrase over and over. After his fame fades, Marge shows him a box of Bart memorabilia she’s collected (hats, dolls, posters, etc.) and says: “I saved these for you, Bart. You’ll always have them to remind you of the time when you were the whole world's special little guy.”

You can celebrate the Cera era, when he was the whole world’s special little guy, at the Colony Theater in North Raleigh on Wednesday night, August 15th, with a screening of an original 35 mm print of SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD at 7:30 p.m.

SCOTT PILGRIM joins the Colony’s Cool Classics series which means it joins the ranks of such beloved film fare as LABYRINTH, THE PRINCESS BRIDE, EVIL DEAD II, PULP FICTION, and annual showings of THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

So take that Jesse Eisenberg!

More later...

1 comment:

movies said...

The movie Scott Pilgrim vs the world was very entertaining and clever. A lot of teens can actually relate on it.