Terrain: A deep cut in the days and nights of a teacher at a public school in the San Fernando Valley.
Meet again: During his career, Joseph Gordon-Levitt went from being a child actor (3rd rock of the sun, angels in the outer field) to my independent darling (500 days of summer, looper) to the big budget prodigy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises). Through all of this, he has also been successful in doing comedies, fostering an entire online community through his HitRecord website, and leading the much-loved Don Jon. Now, at age 40, Gordon-Levitt has created a series that epitomizes all of his creative talents in a chronicle of an average man searching for meaning in a world of boredom. M. Corman is a showcase of his skills as a writer, director and actor, although not as funny as he thinks he is.
The association of Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the independent power plant A24 comes with expectations that this series largely meets. Funded by Apple, M. Corman benefits from a much higher budget than if it were a feature film or on any other streaming platform. Spread over 10 episodes, it is a rather intimate collection of moments from the life of a man struggling to find his place in the world. In each chapter, we learn a bit more about who Josh Corman is beyond his failed music career, his day job as a college professor, and his general lack of romantic outlook. It’s all paired with some fantastic elements including animation, musical numbers, and even an impending asteroid representing his anxiety.
M. Corman presents the quintessential characters played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Contrasting the manic pixie dream girl motif, Josh Corman is a depressed and anxious millennial man who deals with everything from absent fathers to online dating, from erectile dysfunction to mental health, failed ambitions And much more. This series could easily be seen as centered around a whiny, privileged white man complaining about his life when others are in much worse pain, but rather it should be seen as a portrait of an average person dissatisfied with his position in the world. struggling life. blame someone other than himself. Her journey to sanity and acceptance takes her on a roundabout journey to understand her place in the world and whether or not everyone really matters.
What could have made a quaint independent film is stretched to over five hours, which some may find overwhelming, but I really enjoyed it. Not much happens during this story with plenty of footage focused on everyday moments in Josh’s life like a child’s birthday party, phone conversations with call center operators. and interactions with friends and family. What helps is the overall cast of Gordon Levitt, including the ever-great Debra Winger, Hugo Weaving, Juno Temple, and Jamie Chung. The star is Arturo Castro who plays Josh’s roommate, Victor. Castro has done a great job on shows like Narcos and Silicon Valley but shines like a mirror of Josh’s loneliness but for many different reasons. The scenes the two actors share are a highlight, but Castro shines in the fourth episode which is all about his character.
Or M. Corman mostly succeeds in realizing the story that Don Jon failed to tell. Gordon-Levitt skillfully inhabited both characters, but Don Jon made him physically transform into his character while Josh Corman seems much more of a natural performance. All of the actors here feel like real people having real conversations, punctuated by moments of authenticity that mingle with fantastic and surreal accents. The first episode features a scene in a nightclub where a conversation takes place in a long take that revolves around the characters in a beautifully executed moment of filming. Later in that same episode, an argument ends with a sudden change in an animated sequence that moved the viewer so much that it fits perfectly into the tone of the whole series.
Serial, M. Corman requires some commitment on the part of the viewer, as watching it in the weekly episode release format used by Apple can feel like things are dragging on. Being able to watch the series in one sitting gave me a more consistent experience of what Joseph Gordon-Levitt was looking for. Individually, these episodes have a lot of ideas going on. Like HitRecord projects, Mr. Corman is a combination of a lot of great ideas that work independently but don’t always equal a whole project. There’s a lot to like here, especially the performances of the entire cast, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s a story that conjures up memories of the actor’s other work, especially 500 summer daysr et Don Jon. It works like a collection of moments and ideas, scenes and feelings, but overall it just isn’t as good as it could have been.
M. Corman premieres on August 6 on AppleTV +.