Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: Horizons – WWW (Review)

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Only from the pen of Douglas Adams could this sort of weird, wonderful and wacky (WWW) event be produced. Not quite “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe,” Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, or just “Dirk Gently” if you have read the books, is over the top action, characters and situations.

“Horizons,” the first episode,  is a hit-the-ground running introduction to the eight segment mini-series on BBC America.

Show creator Max Landis says, in an after episode interview on the Beeb American channel,  that if “you are not confused, you probably were not watching properly.” The series premiere is hectically busy. Based around the premise that everything is interconnected, the episode features a incredible amount of coincidences and odd characters.

A millionaire, or just incredibly rich business tycoon, is murdered in the penthouse suite where Todd works.  The bellhop is sent up to check a drunken woman in one room and then told to check on the suite.

Using a borrowed skeleton key he enters to find a bloody crime scene. At the start of the episode, Dirk Gently is called and told to hurry up.  Todd has his car wrecked by his drug dealing landlord and he gets fired from his job.

Todd and his landlord
Todd and his drug dealing landlord

Character’s introduced are: A small group of tattooed bald men, the “Rowdy 3” (a gang made up of four men), the FBI, two cops, two men from some clandestine organization, a corgi and a kitten.

(Pause for breath.)

Dirk Gently, Todd, Todd’s sister Amanda, the drunk lady, a murderous young lady with a machete – who is a holistic assassin, the murdered man’s daughter, a woman handcuffed to a bed above Todd’s apartment, and a computer hacker.

Everything seems to be revolved around Todd. On the day his car is trashed and he loses his job, Todd discovers the murdered magnate, Spring. He also sees himself on another floor of the hotel.

The “other him” he sees is wearing a fur coat and little else, and is yelling at someone just around a corner.

Dirk Gently is caught breaking into Todd’s apartment and tells the recently fired bellhop and he will be perfect as his new assistant.

Coincidences include: A military sniper shooting through Todd’s window and the bullet ricochets up through the ceiling killing the man who kidnapped the woman on the bed. Todd’s landlord shooting his pistol in the apartment and the bullet ricocheting off the microwave. The flying piece of lead hits the deranged man in the forehead killing him.

(Pause for breath.)

Before the concierge for the hotel is killed a bald headed man asks about a kitten from the murdered man’s room. Later Dirk is found to have a kitten in his bag as well as a gorilla mask. (The mask is seen on a man entering the penthouse suite before the murder.) The corgi was also at the crime scene and Todd sees it several times. He returns the dog and behind the animal’s owner stands the murdered man’s daughter who was reported missing.

And…

A lottery ticket that Todd finds has the winning numbers on it. He wins $10 thousand. Dirk tells him at the start of the episode that Todd’s money problems will be sorted.

Gently is a cross between Dr. Who, sans the Tardis and the whole Time Lord thing, and the Mad Hatter. Todd is the hapless “everyman” whose luck has just taken one heck of a downward turn.

Dirk Gently _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/BBCA
Dirk Gently

Adapted from the Adam’s books, the series follows the author’s ability to deliver the most absurd of situations in a way that is not only palatable but addictive. Max Landis has served up a feast of comedic occurrences and connected events that are clearly on steroidal speed.

Elijah Wood is the perfect match for Barnett’s fast talking detective. Fiona Dourif (offspring of Brad) proves herself  to be “like father, like daughter.” It was lovely to see Michael Eklund chewing up scenery in a part somewhat different from his role in the SyFy cult hit Wynonna Earp.

Fans of Douglas Adams will want to tune into BBC America and catch Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which airs on Saturdays. Viewers who cannot recite from memory great chunks of  Adams’ “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe,” may want to give this one a miss.

Cast:

The Faculty (1998) School Hard

Cover of "The Faculty"
Cover of The Faculty

 

Directed by Robert Rodriguez The Faculty is a great picture that pokes fun at the relationships and politics in an average American high school. Even the location of the school is set in a state that is synonymous with average, Ohio.

The cast list for The Faculty is impressive, Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Clea Duvall, Selma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Robert Patrick, Piper Laurie, and Jon Stewart. Despite the heavy calibre of actors that Rodriguez worked with, at no time does the film lose its ensemble feel.

Rodriguez’s film has a very tongue-in-cheek feel to it from start to finish. And the film has not only aged well, but, it doesn’t lose anything with repeated viewings. I estimate that I’ve seen this film at least ten to twenty times and still get a kick out of it. Of course that could just be me.

The film opens with the football coach throwing a fit at his practicing football players. He shouts demeaning things at them as they depart the field to hit the showers. The coach (Robert Patrick) then turns the water bench over and stomps on one of the field’s water sprinklers. He kneels down and we see the shadow of someone approaching. “Yeah?” Coach asks snottily, “What.”

The next time we see the coach he is acting much differently. He corners the principal in her office, after asking her for a pencil, he then shoves it through her hand. After he takes it back out, he murmurs, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Piper Laurie says the same thing when she stabs the principal later with a pair of scissors. As the title suggests whatever is going on at this school, it started with the faculty.

The rest of the film deals with an alien parasite invasion that completely takes over the school staff and is in danger of taking over not only the school, but the entire town. This film is a perfect example of why Rodriguez is such a good director. The story doesn’t lag and the pace is not so fast as to leave you gasping. Everything dovetails together perfectly.

Each character in the film is presented in a way to pull us, the audience, in. We feel an immediate empathy for these school kids who all remind us of kids we went to school with. The same can be said for the teaching staff. This is one film that has that perfect mix between script, actor and director. It is an eternal favourite in our house, in fact we just finished watching it again.

So if you haven’t got anything better to do, pop yourself some corn, open up a Coke or any other drink of your choice and watch it again.  I’ll bet you still enjoy it as much as the first time you watched it, or it you haven’t seen it before…What are you waiting for, go watch it.