Friday, March 14, 2014

Veronica Mars

Exactly one year ago 'Veronica Mars' creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell started a one month Kickstarter campaign to raise $2M to finance a long desired reunion film for their short lived high school private eye mystery show that only lasted three seasons from 2004 to 2007.  In their eyes it was a Hail Mary.  In actuality, they raised the money they needed in just 12 hours, and over the month they raised a total of $5.7M from 91,585 contributors.  (For those with particularly poor math skills, that's an average contribution of $62.24 per contributor, but I'm guessing the median and mode were probably more along the lines of $20 and there were some big $10k contributions on the upper end driving up the mean.)  This shocked not only Thomas and Bell, but all of Hollywood.  Is crowdfunding the new future of film financing?  And from the perspective of us TV geeks, is there hope to revive all those shows we always wanted back, for a nominal contribution?  These are exciting times people.  Exciting times indeed.

I came a bit late to the Veronica Mars party, as it seemed in 2004 like just another teenybopper high school show for which I was too old to care about.  And it really wasn't until I had seen Bell on the talk show circuit, and then in person at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006 that I became instantly smitten by her charms.  (Read: Infatuated in a non-dangerous stalker kind of way.)  This girl (who was actually in her mid 20's by this point) came out of nowhere and I immediately saw greatness in her.  So I binge watched seasons 1 and 2 of 'Veronica Mars' and it, largely due to Bell herself, quickly won me over.  The fast talking, joke quipping, smart ass character fit so well into her wheelhouse that, even though she's a bona fide movie star now, still remains her best and most fitting role to date.  And that's probably why (unlike a lot of TV-turned-movie stars) she longed to return to the role that made her famous rather than run from it.  And lucky for us, because for fans of the show this is exactly what the doctor (or P.I. in this case) ordered.  It's a reunion of everyone (and as far as I can remember it's truly anyone who was anyone in Neptune) that doesn't feel forced.  Some of the characters have grown up (e.g. Veronica is now a graduate of law school, applying to a hotshot law firm in New York City, and seemingly closer to her character on 'House of Lies' than when we last left her.)  Other characters, like Ryan Hanson's Dick Casablancas, have remained just as juvenile as in their high school days.  And it's fun to see all the rising stars that came out of the show like Krysten Ritter and Max Greenfield.  Basically, like the kickin' Dandy Warhols theme song states, it feels like a long time ago we used to be friends.  But fortunately the show itself, while remaining true to what it was, has matured just enough so that us folks who are now in a different age bracket than we were when it first aired can still feel as much at home as you can tell it feels for Bell, et al.  To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at the beginning that this was going to be another forced reunion movie, but by midway through, and certainly by the end I could tell that it was the right thing to do to make it.  This is where Kristen Bell belongs ... as a fast talking, joke quipping, smart-ass private dick.  Long live Veronica Mars.

So, while the mystery contained in this reunion film wraps up nicely, a few mysteries still remain.  Is this the finale for Veronica Mars or is it a rebirth for the series, either on TV or on the big screen?  And even more exciting, will the unexpected success of this Kickstarter campaign result in more of our favorite-yet-prematurely-demised TV series being resurrected by crowdfunding?  I certainly love the concept and am surprised it hasn't happened already over the last year.  Well let me get the ball rolling with a feeler for a 'True Detective' season one Kickstarter!  I'm in for $100 to get 8 more hours with Matthew and Woody.  Who else is in???  OK, OK I can do $250.  Fine, I suppose I could go as high as $500.  Pretty please?!?

'Veronica Mars' is now in theaters in limited release but also available from the comfort of your own home for a mere $6!  Just do it, if only to kickstart the resurrection of more great TV that just might be more up your alley.  Isn't that worth $6 to you?

Grade: B+

Who is this movie for?   Marshmallows, of course.  Duh!

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