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During its rocky first season, Parks and Recreation faced much criticism for being too similar to The Office – Leslie was just a female Michael Scott, Ron Swanson was the new Dwight Schrute. Setting it in the vibrant and weird Indiana town of Pawnee instantly assuaged some of these fears. Even during that first season, it was clear from the town hall meetings where Leslie and company had to defend themselves against the many residents of Pawnee that Michael Schur and his writers had dreamt up one of the most vivid communities for a sitcom. So, in honor of Parks and Recreation’s final episode, here are the ten best recurring characters on the show. Here’s to hoping they all make cameos during the finale.
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a film that has perhaps garnered the most hype this year at Sundance, and you should believe every word of it. By the end of the screening, there was hardly a dry eye in the entire theater. Following a teenage outsider, Greg (Thomas Mann), who makes cheap and funny remakes of classic films with his friend Earl (RJ Cyler), as he befriends a classmate, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), who has just developed leukemia. With a logline like that, it’s hard to not understand where all the tears are coming from. It sometimes feels cheap for filmmakers to use cancer as a way to garner emotion from the audience, but trust that when the tears do come, every single one has been earned.
In lesser hands, the overtly meta nature of 22 Jump Street could easily have become insufferably smug. Directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, though, have been proving themselves to be kings of manic, self-aware comedy, and their more consistently strong follow-up to 2012’s 21 Jump Street might be the best comedy sequel since Joe Dante’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
The Kings of Summer is a coming of age film born from the spirit of the American sitcom. Built on the public’s enduring obsession with what it means to be a man, the film undercuts the self-seriousness of this notion through its use of sitcom-branded comedy. The film depicts the story of three teenage boys who are tired of their oppressive parents, so they find an isolated pocket in the forest to build themselves a house where they plan to live off the land.