As Scott Weinberg has already noted elsewhere, Nathan Fillion just can't catch a break. His career is littered with cancelled TV series and movies few people have seen ... but that doesn't mean he doesn't have fans. Me, I love this guy and everything he does; in fact, when we named our celebrity crushes a while back, Nathan Fillion was mine. Who knows, maybe I like him because he hasn't hit it big yet -- and because his choices, while maybe not so commercial, are never less than interesting. (Also, I'm fascinated by his goofy hair.)
Serenity was the first thing I ever saw Fillion in. I went in knowing nothing about Firefly, the TV series on which it was based, except that it was the brainchild of Buffy creator Joss Whedon, upon whom many of my (straight) guy friends had developed crushes of their own. And I was delighted to discover a hidden gem of a film, a smart, funny, quirky sci-fi movie that sacrifices nothing to action, pace or intergalactic adventure. It's also a Western. Yes, just roll with it. Fillion plays Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, who leads a ragtag crew across the civil-wartorn universe as a freelance pilot and thief. (Sound like anyone else you know? Rhymes with "Dan Schmolo"?) Grand adventures ensue, which involve the crew's transport of brainwashed ninja chick River (Summer Glau), Mal's rescue of pseudo-girlfriend and courtesan Inara (Morena Baccarin), the discovery of a drug that wipes out civilizations, and some badass fight scenes. I was surprised to like a genre film quite so much, and I championed it as such ... that is, until six months later, when I found a new genre fave in Slither, which also starred Nathan Fillion. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Rent or buy the DVD | Watch the trailer
Bonus Points: This two-disc collector's edition isn't just some hastily glommed-together retread. There are over 60 minutes of new features (most of which were on an Australian edition of the DVD, now offered to U.S. fans in response to demand) including extended scenes; commentary by Whedon, Fillion, Glau, Adam Baldwin and Ron Glass; and various featurettes on the TV show, the ship and River's past. So you'll have plenty to occupy yourself -- if you're a sci-fan, until Battlestar Galactica starts, and if you're a fellow Fillion fanatic, until the Waitress DVD comes out (and don't get me started on how much I love that movie.)
The Lives of Others
Who says German spies aren't lovable? This drama justly won the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, despite how hard I was rooting for Pan's Labyrinth. (Check out the indie DVD post on Lives of Others.)