The Fox and the Hound

I've been having a lot of issues with hype lately. I try to begin any entertainment consumption with as few preconceived expectations as I can, but it's not always possible. We watch a movie with the weight of all of a particular actor or director's previous work directing our bias, or we'll start watching a television show because a reviewer we respect has praised it. Recently, I watched both a movie and a television show based solely on how much other people liked them, and came away from both a little disappointed.

In the movie realm, I got The Fantastic Mr. Fox from Netflix. I'm a casual Wes Anderson fan, in that I loved The Royal Tenenbaums and at least sort-of liked a bunch of his other films. I had skipped over The Fantastic Mr. Fox when it was in theaters, but when a bunch of people told me it was their favorite Anderson movie to date, I felt I had to catch up with it.

The story is a simple one. A fox that has built his life by raiding farms for supplies agrees to a less dangerous line of work at his wife's insistence, but can't help returning to his thieving ways when his staid life becomes too rote. When the farmers retaliate, the fox puts not only his life in danger, but all of the woodland creatures'. In a way, this movie would be the result if The Royal Tenenbaums and Chicken Run had a baby. What's weird is I love both of those movies, but couldn't really get into this one. It was fine, but certainly nothing I'd go out of my way to recommend.

In a similar vein, the entertainment websites I read are full of commenters rending their clothes and gnashing their teeth over the loss of Terriers, a show that lasted a mere 13 episodes on FX. Any discussion of show cancellation, whether it's premature or long overdue, is sure to bring the plaintive wails of the Terriers fans, bemoaning the little show that couldn't. Convinced that I had missed something really special, I was delighted to find that the show was available on Netflix Instant Streaming, and settled in for some amazing television. It never came.

Not that it was a bad show; it was perfectly fine. On the surface, it was about an ex-cop and an ex-thief teaming up as a pair of private investigators. The show delved a lot deeper than that somewhat fluffy premise, though, and got into storylines involving massive conspiracies and personal demons. I'm not sure if I can accurately gauge how much of my disappointment with the show stemmed from it just not being to my taste versus what I was expecting out of it, but it seems like a fair amount of the blame can be directed squarely at hype. Chances are, if I had just stumbled upon either of these properties, I would have enjoyed them as much as everyone else did. As it is, neither came close to matching the ideals they're held up as.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox: B-
Terriers: C+


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