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‘This is Us’ Chrissy Metz Stars in Upcoming Faith-Based Film

MOVIES
Miracles still happen. That is the message of the faith-based film, Breakthrough starring This is Us’ Chrissy Metz. Based on Joyce Smith’s book, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection, Breakthrough tells the true story of an event that happened just four years ago.

Metz plays Smith whose 14-year-old son falls through the ice of a Missouri lake. He was trapped under water for 15 minutes and even after he was rescued, he had no pulse for 43 minutes. All seemed lost and Smith was told to come in and say her goodbyes to her son as there was no hope for the boy. But Smith refused to give up and continued to pray for her son’s complete recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. Not only did her son come back to life, but he is alive today telling his story.

Directed by Roxann Dawson and produced by DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven), Breakthrough also stars Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter…

‘The Good Place’ Could Be a Better Place

Review of Ted Danson and Kristen Bell's "The Good Place."
Ted Danson and Kristen Bell in The Good Place. (NBC)
TV SHOW REVIEW
With what passes for comedy on TV these days, I often find myself wondering if I am even a fan of comedy anymore. I’m often stunned by the success of shows like Two Broke Girls or the latest iteration of The Odd Couple. But then, when I watch shows like Modern Family, The Middle and even the classic I Love Lucy, I remember that yes, I do like comedy. I like comedy a lot. It’s just that a lot of today’s comedies are either offensive or too simple that they need a laugh track to remind the audience to laugh.

I’ve heard a lot of great things about NBC’s new fantasy comedy, The Good Place and after watching two episodes of the Ted Danson/Kristen Bell show, I’m wondering why. It’s not a terrible show and the concept is sort of intriguing, but it really isn’t all that funny. In short, if you find yourself laughing out loud during the commercials where Bell is trying to swear and ends up saying things like “bull shirt” or that someone had royally “forked up,” then you’ll love The Good Place.

Here’s the concept of the show: Kristen Bell plays Eleanor Shellstrop (already a red flag) a woman who found to be such a wonderful woman on earth, that when she died in a bizarre grocery store parking lot accident, she was sent to “the good place” the show’s version of heaven. (Actually, the terms “heaven” and “hell” or not used but rather implied and are only known as “the good place” and “the bad place.”) She is immediately welcomed to her new home by Michael (Danson) who is the master architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood. Apparently, in The Good Place, there are lots of similar neighborhoods all designed by other people. This is Michael’s first and he’s thought of everything including many frozen yogurt shops.


In a matter of short minutes, Eleanor is shown her new little house that sits between two giant mansions. Each home represents the personality of the people living in them. Someone got the message that Eleanor likes clowns. 

Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper - review of "The Good Place."
Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper) (NBC)
Michael introduces Eleanor to Chidi (William Jackson Harper) her soul mate, her neighbors Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) a sort of “Siri” that pops in and out like I Dream of Jeannie when called upon. Everything is perfect except for one thing. Eleanor is convinced that the heavenlies grabbed the wrong person. So, while she avoids being found out and getting sent to the "Bad Place," Eleanor, with Chidi's help, learns how to be good. And then some giant shrimp come flying by at it starts to rain garbage on the neighborhood and the show gets weird.

Some will no doubt be concerned that somehow The Good Place will be making fun of Christians, or God or heaven, etc. It doesn’t really, at least not in the first two episodes. And the casting is pretty good. Danson is perfect as the giddy Walt Disney-like creator of this good place whose personality turns to insecurity when things begin to turn strange in this land of Oz. Bell on the other hand seems out of place. Nothing against the actress, I think she’s great. However, with her cheery smile and attitude with just about everything that she does (she voiced Elsa’s sister in Frozen for crying out loud), I just can’t buy that she was ever a bad person. Finally, I think the jokes are weak and a little too on-the-nose for my taste. At least it isn’t offensive. The Good Place is nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. (See what I did there?)

Check out The Good Place for yourself. A preview of the first to episodes will be shown back-to-back on NBC on Monday, September 19 at 10:00 p.m. The “official” start of the show happens on Thursday September 22 at 8:30 p.m. Let me know what you think.


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