August 6 was the last day for Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Based on the laments I see on Facebook and other social media, I guess I’m one of the few people who will not miss him.
Since I have never had cable, I never caught Stewart’s show regularly. In the last few years, as The Daily Show has been offered on streaming services and as clips on the internet, I’ve seen more and understand his schtick. He can be funny, yes. He can even be poignantly funny at times.
However, more often Stewart comes across as a smarmy, self-righteous comedian masking as an intellectual who makes fun of the people who are actually engaged in a debate, while offering no real solutions. Case in point: the Jon Stewart Popcorn GIF used on social media as both a way to ease a heated conversation and ridicule those involved.
I dislike Tom Cruise. Not Top Gun Tom Cruise, but the Tom Cruise of late; the couch-jumping, creepy-interviewing guy who plays “intense Tom Cruise” in every movie. It’s the reason why I decided not to go see Mission: Impossible III during its theatrical run (that and M:I-2 was a let-down).
What got me to see Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was the director. I’m a big fan of Brad Bird’s animated directorial efforts (The Iron Giant and The Incredibles) and I wanted to see how well his style translated to live action, and with a story he didn’t write to boot.
Well, the transition was seamless! Brad Bird has made a fun and entertaining film. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is, by far, the best installment in the series. Four movies in, this franchise finally understands what it is and embraces it wholeheartedly.
The film’s narrative contains interesting themes, and two jumped out at me quite a lot while watching. The motive of the villain reflected man’s sinful arrogance in deciding what is he thinks is good and evil. And to face off against this evil is a group of good people that have their backs against the wall – a well-worn narrative that reminds us of how God uses the underdog to accomplish the impossible.
Your mission awaits…SPOILERS AHEAD!