5 Highlights From Last Night’s GIRLS Season Finale: Declare Independence, Lean In

Adam Driver, Lena Dunham, Girls, TV

LOOKING BACK ON SEASON 4 

It may be time for Girls to say goodbye for now, but looking back on the fourth season, it’s hard to say that it left much of an impression. Lena Dunham’s hit series began to seriously lack momentum this time around, with dramatic conflict shoehorned into all of Dunham’s pet obsessions: self-aggrandizing performance art, the lows of creative nonfiction, co-dependent relationships and antiseptic sexuality. All hot topics, to be sure, but the sense of a narrative seemingly evaporated. Remember how fast Hannah left Iowa? That entire episode about Mimi-Rose? What about Marnie’s jazz brunch gigs? Those now feel like distant memories (or dull callbacks) from the ten-week journey we’ve spent with these characters, and it’s because the show rarely hints at a world outside of its own bubble.

What once made Girls so unlike anything else on television was its defiance in never giving us the closure wanted, with a nearly anarchic subversion of any momentum its characters had going for them. It made newly trenchant observations of how petty and easily thwarted one’s ambitions can seem in a teeming, multicultural landscape like New York. But this attitude can only reinvent itself so many times without challenging the culture at large. Instead, Dunham favors her own depictions of lives marred by boredom and nostalgia, and as the world spins outside of our HBO GO accounts, her characters feel smaller and less significant the more we spend time with them. I think it may be time to meet some new friends.

Alas, here are 5 highlights from last night’s Girls finale.

RAY CHEWS DESI OUT

“Marriage is such an outmoded concept,” claims Desi to his new record producer, “but until they invent something better, this is the best way to express my devotion to Marnie.” Tired of keeping a straight face in light of his ex-lover’s recent betrothal, Ray is completely honest when Desi confronts him about any bad blood there might be between them. “I fucking hate you.” And no, it’s not the whole Pacific Northwest thing. Desi has always been an egomaniacal prick, and despite his horrible behavior, Marnie will always underestimate herself and take him back. It’s wild to see how much faith Ray still has in Marnie, and to think that he would spend his considerable ambition and intellect into keeping her happy. Love may be blind as ever, but Desi’s reaction to this takedown is to leave the episode and never come back.

SHOSHANNA LEANS IN

We finally had the gratification of watching Shoshana ace an interview for a marketing position, but there’s a twist: the job would outsource her to Tokyo. The most important question of the episode (personally speaking) became: is Jason Ritter really worth it? He implores Shosh not to take the job; to stay in New York and work for his company (the position she originally interviewed for, mind you). After all, he explains: “I’m going to be in love with you soon.” Love is conditional for the characters on Girls, but it’s a goal they’re willing to work around. She goes to Ray’s café to try and ask him for advice, but unfortunately, he’s not there. (Let’s beat the dead horse of Ray and Shosh’s relationship one more time.) Yet Ray’s migraine-fraught superior reminds Shosh of the tenets of Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller, and she makes what is clearly the right decision.

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SPIKE JONZE AND GABY HOFFMAN LAY ROTTEN EGGS

There were two guest stars this episode, both memorable for very different reasons. Spike Jonze played against his nebbishy nice-guy persona as the record label president repping Desi and Marnie’s band, giving too much personal information about his failed marriage and effectively souring any hope of Marnie and Desi’s long-term happiness (nice work!). Gaby Hoffman, fearless as usual, returned as Adam’s pregnant sister in perhaps the lengthiest nude scene in the show’s history, as Hannah and Jessa tried to get her out of the bathtub and into the hospital. The shouting match between her, Adam and her husband Laird played merely like fireworks, and the situation was a trite placeholder for Adam and Hannah’s long-overdue reconciliation.

 HANNAH REJECTS ADAM AND MOVES ON WITH HER LIFE

Looking over his sister’s newborn baby, Adam tells Hannah that it’s over with Mimi-Rose, and that he misses her. Too little, too late—she tells him he’s tired and that he’ll get over it. Ignoring his protests, it was a relief to see Hannah not give into Adam, and letting this rather played out, multiple-season-long drama end once and for all.

When Hannah calls her parents from the hospital, we find them in a negative state, with Hannah’s mom disparaging her “cowardly” husband as he sits next to her at the table. “You have your whole life ahead of you, and not to waste it on one man,” she says. But then a title card takes us six months into the future, only to find a well-adjusted Hannah with her new beau, Fran (Jake Lacy)— presumably having forgiven her crazy ways. Is this a muddled message for Girls viewers regarding the merits of monogamy, or is Dunham complicating her narrative on purpose? I’m frankly puzzled by this last bit of provocation, but I hope Dunham finds it in herself to give us a more coherent statement when she returns.

Hear James Murphy Cover David Bowie’s Golden Years

After having its New York premiere at NYFF back in the fall, Noah Baumbach’s latest film While We’re Young will head into theaters on March 27. Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, and Adam Driver, and Amanda Seyfried (with a score by James Murphy), the film centers around a middle-aged husband and wife whose lives spiral into an existential crisis after befriending a free-spirited younger couple. Comparing their own world to that of the spontaneous and youthful pair, their seemingly content lives are brought into question.

Possessing Baumbach’s signature wit and flair for bringing comedy into even the most dramatic of circumstances, the film’s tone is only enhanced by the work of musician James Murphy, who composed the original score for the film. Below you can listen to one of James Murphy’s tracks off the soundtrack, titled “We Used to Dance.” It’s a beautifully composed instrumental number that, with its swirling soundscapes, sends a shiver down your spine and a spark in your heart. And today, you can also hear Murphy cover of David Bowie’s “Golden Years,” for the film. Get excited for the film and enjoy the music below.

Listen to “We Used to Dance” HERE

Adam Driver Signs on to Star in Max Winkler’s Sophomore Film ‘Coward’

In more exciting production news of the day, Girls star Adam Driver has signed on to play the lead in Max Winkler’s upcoming sophomore effort, Coward. After the release of his Ceremony in 2010, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see what Winkler had up his sleeve next and this appears to be the perfect match for the talented young filmmaker.

Penned by Winker and Matt Spicer, Coward is a period comedy based on a play by Nick Jones that was produced for Lincoln Center’s LCT3. Driver, who we’ve seen recently in Lincoln and will be seeing again come May in Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, has finally landed his first starring role and I’m definintely excited to see him take on something of this size. But he’s a pretty hot accomodity nowadays, Deadline noting that he took the role in Winkler’s film over several other offers.

Driver is set to play Lucidus, “a nobleman who hails from a family with a track record of men who came out on the losing end of to-the-death duels,” in the film that:

..takes place in 18th century England and is considered a match between Barry Lyndon and Trading Places. Driver plays Lucidus, a nobleman who hails from a family with a track record of men who came out on the losing end of to-the-death duels. When Lucidus is challenged to trade pistol shots, he panics and hires a common criminal to take his place in the duel. Trouble is, that criminal decides the life of a nobleman is a step up and he steals his employer’s identity.

When I interviewed Winkler before the release of Ceremony we spoke about conveying emotion onto the screen, to which he said the trick was to just to, "cast really good fucking actors." And with the choice of Driver, I can see this going quite well.

Watch the First Trailer for Joel and Ethan Coen’s ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Whether you’re a fan of their movies or not, there’s no deny Joel and Ethan Coen have a unique style of filmmaking all their own . Like Tarantino, they draw on their vast wealth of influences to blend genres together and make films that are always fueled by eccentric, rich characters with a dry sense of humor and intelligence that’s often brutal but never emotionally vacant. Their films exist in a very specific world of their own making and with their latest effort, Inside the Mind of Llwelyn Davis, it appears people are already raving about the film, which looks to have a very similar aesthetic quality to Walter Salles’ recent On the Road.

Based on the memoir The Maymor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk, the film reunites Drive‘s Irene and Standard (Carey Mulligan and Oscar Isaac) as Llewyn and Jean to tell the story of the titular character, a song-songwriter making his way through the 1960s folk scene in New York City. Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, John Goodman, and Garrett Hedlund join the cast in what seems to be a more intimate film for the brothers. Inside Llewyn Davis should see a preimere at Cannes this spring and will hopefully hit theaters sometime next year. And from this trailer, we’ll definitely be anticipating a speedy release date.

Here’s The First Trailer For Season Two Of ‘Girls’

Are you ready to read a few hundred think-pieces about Lena Dunham and the new breed of feminism and Brooklyn and Millennials and sex and how women are mean to men sometimes and how race plays a factor in television shows that aren’t written by men and, oh, a few other topics I’d rather not get into? Well, strap in, folks, because here is your first look at the second season of HBO’s Girls. What’s in store? Will Hanna find a new boyfriend? Will her HPV flare up? Will she reunite with Adam Driver? Will Lena Dunham somehow make up for that disastrous season finale from earlier this year? Or will she just get more tattoos? I’ll tell you one thing: I definitely didn’t expect Rita Wilson to show up. Check out the trailer after the jump.

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