Apple TV+ continues to grow. The streaming platform of the technology giant has been running for almost two years and its original catalog is still one of the scarcest on the market, but little by little attractive new series are being added to its offer that are helping to put it on the market. the map. It is clear that Apple has embraced the philosophy of “Quality over quantity” and it starts to bear fruit.
Ted Lasso with his 20 Emmy nominations, The Mosquito Coast, Physical, ¡Schmigadoon!… With the odd exception (the failed Lisey’s story), Apple’s fictions are imposed by their quality proposals and to them is added the new series by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mr. Corman, tragicomic portrait of a professor who addresses, among other things, mental health, loneliness and modern anxiety from the perspective millennial.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but he is a solid presence in the world of cinema, slowly building a respectable career as an actor and creator. The actor, who rose to popularity as a teenager thanks to the sitcom Martian things (3rd Rock from the Sun), He has an eclectic and not inconsiderable filmography, with more than one cult film to his credit: Mysterious Skin, Brick, (500) days together, Source, The Dark Knight: The Legend Rises, The Chicago 7 Trial …; also debuting in the direction of feature films with the notable Don Jon.
Mr. Corman it was the next natural step in his career, an ideal vehicle for its display, in which Gordon-Levitt acts as creator, producer, screenwriter, director and protagonist. The orchestra man. The series chronicles the vicissitudes of Josh Corman, a frustrated musician who works as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles. His dream of dedicating himself to music vanished, his girlfriend has left him and now he shares a flat with his friend from high school. Despite his problems, Josh knows he is privileged and has much to be thankful for, but still You can’t help but deal with anxiety, depression, and a lack of self-confidence, which constantly threatens to bring you down..
Like most of the author comedies that have come down to us in recent years (Framework, Fleabag, Better Things, Master of None, Atlanta), Mr. Corman blends drama and comedy, blurring the lines that separate them in a work that finds humor in the most difficult situations and emotion in the most unexpected corners. Despite this, I have to admit that his first episode did not convince me in his presentation of Josh, an ordinary man to whom it is difficult to justify dedicating an entire series. I think we have overcome the need for these kinds of privileged protagonists whose self-indulgent perspective has flooded all of fiction in recent decades.
The American critics agree that the start of the series is somewhat disappointing and does not offer anything new: “Mr. Corman barely stands out above the other not-so-funny comedies with film sensibilities indie” (The Guardian); “Spending more than five hours watching a regular guy become more and more self-aware is not the most powerful television experience” (IndieWire). However, once the first episode is over, the series begins to find its voice in the second, a shocking portrait of anxiety that makes it clear that Mr. Corman She is not going to be easy, but Gordon-Levitt intends to tell something transcendental with her.
Yes, it seems that this second chapter comes too early, since normally this type of series saves the “special episodes” for later; but it seems that Gordon-Levitt wanted to make his intentions clear from the beginning and I’m glad, because that half hour was the one that convinced me to continue watching the series.
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The chapter, titled ‘Don’t Panic’, shows Josh having a panic attack and going through all its phases. Through the use of camera, montage, and sound (a bell rings periodically throughout the footage to increase viewer unease) and Gordon-Levitt’s excellent performance, the series externalizes Josh’s inner process as he descends into a spiral of fear and anxiety, leading to a final scene of the most emotional that I have seen on television this year.
‘Don’t Panic’ is a powerful episode that works as the true cover letter of the series and a clear statement of intent. Of course, it will not be like this all season, but at least thanks to him we know that, under the facade of the umpteenth author’s comedy about an unhappy and unlucky normal guy, hides the desire to address a very important issue, and of which Fortunately, there is more and more talk in fiction and in the media: Mental health.
We are going through a difficult time: pandemic, social unrest, economic crisis, violence, tension in social networks, and above all, an uncertain future that only exacerbates fear and insecurity, especially in young people. Y Mr. Corman reflects all that through the experience of a thirtysomething failure who watches the world around him crumble while trying to find purpose in a futile existence and increasingly shallow culture. It may not be the most luminous and optimistic series for this moment (judging by its first chapters), but at least it can make more than one feel that they are not alone in this, sending the message that taking care of our mental health is essential in The world in which we live.
Mr. Corman It is above all the series of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a more than competent actor who deposits here the accumulated experience of his previous works. In fact, the series seems at times a spiritual sequel -something more gray- of one of its greatest successes, (500) days together; a continuation in which we follow the protagonist, Tom, after his breakup with another girlfriend, trying to return to the dating scene in a world that has changed a lot in the last 10 years. The series even uses fantastic sequences to manifest Josh’s inner world, daydreams reminiscent of the music scene from (500) days together, with which Gordon-Levitt experiments visually and narratively to characterize Josh and his relationships. It is clear that the DNA of that film is still inside him. And we see it again in the third episode, where Josh and his mother (Debra Winger) star in an imaginary musical number very along those lines.
Of course, it is too early to draw definitive conclusions. The series has given me reason to think that it could soon fall into the mediocre, but also an episode that shows its possibilities and the solid creative spirit of its author from very early on. If I have been taught something all these years devouring series without stopping, it is that, often, let a series breathe and give it a little time to find its way.
Mr. Corman it flirts too much with the conventional and at times it feels outdated in its perspective, but it also has the raw material necessary to become something really good and it is obvious that its creator has personally turned to it. I don’t know if it will be because I have seen him grow on the screen and I feel like I know him, but I trust Gordon-Levitt and hope that he will be able to make the most of this great opportunity made for him.