Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Slideshow Sundays! 10/17/10

October 17, 2010

Hello, chidlers!  I wanted to start assigning days to certain posts to keep me posting on a more regular basis.  So welcome to Slideshow Sundays!  Much like people-watching at the mall, the internet is great for viewing random images that will do you no good in the outside world.  Slideshow Sundays will be my showcase of my favorite images that I have found over the past week!  The pic above is easily my recent favorite, depicting Regis Philbin and Paul Reubens robbing the M&M’s store in Times Square.  Amazing?  Of course.  ANNNNNDDDD we’re off!

What’s the report on this? (See what I did there?)  I gleaned this from The Comedy Store’s Tumblr.  It’s everyone’s favorite fashionably-biased pundit, Stephen Colbert, in his early years.

Bill Murray at the Scream Awards.  I took this from Suicide Blonde’s tumblr.  It feels as though Murray is trying to make a statement, maybe about what a Ghostbusters union over twenty years later would look like…

I’ve got Matt Smith and Doctor Who on the mind.  The sixth season is currently in production and should be airing on the BBC in the Spring.  (!)

Russell Brand.  Oh the man-crushes I have.  There is a mish-mash of entertainers who I want to base my career upon.  This man, for his style alone, is in that category.

I honestly wish I could remember where this pic came from.  I THINK I found it on someone’s DeviantArt, but it’s easily one of my favorite fanpics I’ve ever seen.  Great representation of two of my ALL-TIME favorite antagonists.

I have often woken up to this picture when I open my laptop first thing in the morning, and it seems to always comfort me.  Alice Glass has become more of an enigmatic figure than an actual person in my mind, much like Audrey, only the exact opposite.  Alice reminds me to hustle, hustle, hustle, with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a total disregard for my body and/or future.

Advertisements

Koldcast’s 15 Most Under-Appreciated Comedians

July 26, 2010

Koldcast.tv is a great site for digital content of all sorts, but today I found a simple blog post that I found incredibly interesting.  As a MONSTROUS comedy nerd, I tend to value and follow certain comedians that most people don’t care at all about, if they’ve ever even heard of them.  Which is quite a shame.  Because for every unfunny JB Smoove and Pauly Shore character out there that has struck enormous mainstream success, 30,000,000 other MUCH-funnier, MUCH-more-cerebral, MUCH-more-deserving comics are still struggling with a fan base not much bigger than their immediate friends and family.  That’s why this list of the Under-Appreciated made me so happy!  And while certain people on here have just recently blown up (or are just about to) the list still mostly rings true for these funny people.  First, here’s the actual link to the post itself.  Below I have quickly and succinctly gone down the list and analyzed Koldcast’s suggestions.  If for nothing else, it would be a small victory if just one of these artists received a smidgen of recognition off of this list.  So, without further ado:

1.  Andy Kindler

While Andy Kindler IS great, he just recently landed the VERY cushy, coveted title of being a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.  Kindler has been doing comedy for YEARS and after all the writing gigs and stand-up, it is extremely refreshing to see him in such a great position.

2. Matt Berry

Berry is actually one of my favorites from this list.  I fully agree that his voice is like a soothing chorus of angels against a light thunderstorm in the background of my mind.  He is absolutely hilarious on Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and exceptional, as well, on my favorite, The Mighty Boosh.  American audiences need to wise up to this man’s incredi-mazing-ness right quick.

3. Peter Serafinowicz

Another incredibly talented Brit who seems to appear all across the board, but still hasn’t achieved that massive name success that so many comedians bank on to further their careers.

4. JB Smoove

This entry I outright disagree with (as referenced above).  His style of EXTREME over-the-top comedy punctuated with random yells and the most trite, predictable comedy I have seen in years, keeps you rolling your eyes and groaning through his entire set.  To add insult to injury, Comedy Central just recently gave Smoove a half-hour special to MC.  While I love Comedy Central dearly, they do have a problem with just handing loud, overbearing, unfunny people money (i.e. Carlos Mencia).

5. Andy Daly

Andy Daly has been plugging away at the comedy scene for years now.  While he’s not quite my brand of ha-ha, he has been at it for years continues to weave in and out of random groups and circuits with relative ease.

6. Aisha Tyler

Tyler is hilarious and represents a demographic with almost zero representation in the comedy world, the demographic of fangirl.  Tyler’s comedy is hilarious and generally tends toward the nerdy side, which usually leaves audiences either scratching their heads or simply disregarding what she says as not true, because the woman looks like an Amazonian.  She’s incredibly tall and gorgeous, to boot, so when she starts on a Slave Leia Cosplay story, many have trouble imagining her going to lengths to perfect the tin bikini.  Content aside, she is INCREDIBLY deserving of greater recognition and more roles in front of larger audiences.

7. Michael Hitchcock

Hitchcock I, myself, have not heard of, yet I have seen Waiting for Guffman.  That being said, an acolyte of Guest’s is usually not right up my alley.  His humor is generally too dry for my tastes (and as an avid fan of Stephen Wright, that’s TRULY saying something).  What I’m trying to say is that I can’t pass judgment, though I would like to.

8. Jessica Walter

Walter is someone I know when I see her, but, once again, I don’t know enough to comment!

9. David Pasquesi

Ditto.

10. Terry Crews

Terry Crews has always been hilarious.  With his Old Spice campaign and his role in the upcoming move The Expendables, I don’t know if this man needs much more exposure.  Mr. Crews may be right where he needs to be.

11. Molly Shannon

While I do dearly love Molly Shannon, I will say this, she has had more than her time to shine.  Shannon was a formidable presence on SNL during its third most popular streak, in which Tina Fey was writing and Will Ferrell was still performing every minute of.  Shannon even had multiple engagements after SNL, with movie and TV deals (remember Kath and Kim, anyone?) yet simply couldn’t capitalize.

12. Kristen Schaal

Schaal is an all-around talent, more-often-than-not actually taking to the stage, rather than the screen.  Her work transcends SO many different formats, however, and it would be lovely to see what she could do on a larger scale.

13. Nick Swardson

Swardson is hilarious.  His illustrious stand-up career has never seen a lull and he has consistently had his hand in Happy Madison’s productions, either writing, performing, or both.  In the Fall, however, Swardson will finally get his own sketch show on Comedy Central!

14. Amy Sedaris

Sedaris seems to have been everywhere and seems to have done it for the last 15 years.  I first came across her on Stranger’s With Candy, but between hawking her book and just making guest appearances, she pervades ALL FORMS OF MEDIA.  She even narrated a PBS special on the history of American comedy.

15. Robert Smigel

Smigel has written for SNL and Conan and is responsible for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, and DAAAAAAAAAAAAA BEARS!  In some form or another, people know Robert Smigel.  They just don’t know…Robert Smigel.  I’d be very interested to see what the man is up to currently, and what he has in store for the future.

Johnny Depp Slated to Play First American Dr. Who

July 2, 2010

Hello, my pretties!  It’s been so long since I’ve spoken with you (all three of you), but this Summer has easily been the most hectic of my life.  So I’m currently trying to readjust.  While doing so, however, I wanted to fire back up the rantsite and dish on some Who-news that I just received word of via Twitter (I don’t care what anyone says, that site is just plain genius), hopefully I’m not too rusty at wringing my fists in the air while attempting to type words.  I have only recently fallen under the spell of the Dr. Who-nomenon (See what I did there?) that has dominated the BBC on-and-off for the better half of the century, and after falling for it, it has become impossible to revert back.  David Tennant is my current favorite portrayal of the good Doctor with Matt Smith following closely behind (It takes a LOT of work to make bow ties cool).

Long story short, I’m just starting to get into the show and TRY to understand the YEARS of backstory that come with the character.  Part of the appeal of Dr. Who, for me, anyway, is that it is a thoroughly British show with the most strictly British writing teams, fan bases, producers, and talent.  It appears to exist much like the Doctor does himself, in a microcosm outside of the norm.  For the Doctor, that norm is time and space, as he can transcend either.  For the show itself, that norm is Hollywood and hyper-mainstream-American production.  Of course, if a product is garnering money, buzz, and cult attention, Hollywood will never be far behind.  Just today, news broke of Johnny Depp being in talks to star as the first American Dr. Who in one of the film installments to the series.  While multiple bloggers have already weighed in on the obvious casting, my favorite points have still been made by Tom Chivers at the TelegraphHere’s the article.  Basically my problems are as follows:

1. Hollywood will see Depp interested/starring in the role and automatically consider the series to be viable, at which point they will acquire it with their boatloads of money and ruin everything the series has ever strived towards, all in that order.

2.  Depp is an American.  While I may seem like a Benedict Arnold by renouncing my own American people’s ability to play British, I would submit that we do it all the time.  Much flap was made about the casting behind The Last Airbender (which I hear is a really great flick, BWAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAAA), and I myself have decried the crime that is remaking Let the Right One In a year after the original simply because American audiences don’t fancy subtitles.  So I would further like to submit that an American Dr. Who could only work with an extremely adept actor (Depp does pass this qualification relatively easily) who has as expansive a knowledge of the Who-niverse as any British citizen would (Which I doubt Depp has).  Dr. Who is so thoroughly ingrained in British culture that you can find references to the series throughout the last 6 decades across all different forms of pop culture.  What I’m trying to relate is that a British actor, born and raised in the United Kingdom, will arguably bring a working knowledge and informed relationship to the Doctor that any average American will only be debriefed on in rehearsals and table-reads.  Unless, of course, Depp has had a life-long love affair with the series of which I did not know about.  I’m always open-minded!

The bottom line is that Dr. Who exists outside of the sphere of Hollywood influence that has SO oftentimes ruined the nearest and dearest characters closest to our hearts.  Dr. Who represents a foreign commodity that is not ours.  Almost a cultural natural resource of the United Kingdom.  And in the last 50 years or so, Hollywood has managed to become a major colonial force in the cultural world.  Exploring and acquiring foreign entries into pop culture and twisting them to become thier own.  Look at Kath and kim, Death at a Funeral, and Dragonball, just to name a few (This is a great list of roughly 17 total entries from the AV Club).  With a penchant for ruining franchises that have experienced great runs on their own, I am extremely trepidatious of this deal, to say the least.  That being said, it would be interesting if former Who showrunner Russell T. Davies got all the elements right, properly brought the Doctor overseas and then exploded the phenomenon onto American soil, making the Doctor the most popular he’s ever been.  Man, I play a great devil’s advocate.

Punchline Magazine

April 30, 2010

Maybe I’m just REALLLLY behind the times, but the other day I stumbled upon punchlinemagazine.com and ended up losing entire hours of my life in the videos, top 1o lists, and rampant interviews that inundate the site.  I realize that this feels like a complete ad (despite the fact that I’m getting paid in 100%, pure, NOTHING) so I’ve just compiled a list of the best things that I managed to happen upon during my first visit to this site.  Do with it as you please.

1.  Top 10 Best Stand-Up Comedy DVDs

2. Interview with Dov Davidoff

3. Interview with Nick Swardson

4. Comedians of Chelsea Lately Share Their Holiday Memories

Cartoon Network Making Some Good/Some Not-So-Good Decisions

April 21, 2010

I realized the other day why the blog of Shway has been neglected recently (That almost rhymed).  On top of the fact that my life has only accelerated at three times the normal rate lately,  I have ALSO become an avid twittererererer.  You should find me at twitter.com/thealexhluch. Anyway, I found THIS news on twitter this morning, which is basically a breakdown of Cartoon Network’s upcoming line-up.  Interspersed throughout are some interesting tidbits, such as an awards show for sports stars (?), another DC Justice League incarnation regarding younger superheroes (Teen Titans, anyone?), and a cartoon sketch comedy show which has donned the moniker of MAD magazine (This, I actually support).  However, the most startling/jostling/frightening news is the rebooted Looney Toons franchise.  The concept behind which is that the show will now focus on half hour, fully-fleshed-out ideas between the classic tunes, who have now been moved to the suburbs (see: Tiny Toons).  As the article points out, this seems counter-intuitive to the entire Looney Toons model and especially dense considering today’s audience of Youtubers used to clips under a MAXIMUM of ten minutes.  Of course, Tiny Toons worked (fifteen years ago, with the brilliance of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini behind it), so SURELY the WB knows what it’s doing.  Right?  RIGHT?!?

THR: Bugs Bunny Returns

Top 10 Craziest Casting Conundrums

April 19, 2010

Hello, my little chickadees!  After ANOTHER ridiculous hiatus I am back, and better than ever!  I simply couldn’t let 2/3 of April go by without a post so I will phone-in this quick link that I found on Cinematical, which is just a phoned-in link from Josh Spector over at comedy.com about the tumultuous world of Hollywood casting that has the ability to change at any minute, up until the finished product.  This Top 10 was fascinating as it included casting FAILS regarding Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Jim Carrey.  If you look at nothing else, however, check out the entry on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Matthew Broderick beat out some of the biggest names of the last twenty years to play hookie on screen.

The Internet, Porn, and Chat Roulette

March 16, 2010

Technology is RAPIDLY changing our everyday lives, and it is no more prevalent than in the realm of entertainment.  As technology becomes more and more advanced, one would think that the need for liver interaction and community would be completely eradicated in exchange for the glossied, hyper-air-brushed, pristine world that film, video, and new media can give us through editing and cinematography.  I’m not even adverse to this direction, but the simple fact is that it is not completely accurate.  I was on Current.com the other day when I watched their episode of Vanguard (an EXCELLENT documentary program, btw) which was on Porn 2.0.  The intent was purely research, OF COURSE…*ahem*…Anyways, the creator of Kink.com (I know, it’s hard to keep a straight face for ME, I can’t imagine how you guys reading this are doing it) which is one of the leading pornographic hubs which has embraced the digital age, said that piracy and the rampant availability of content on the internet was DESTROYING their profits, so they knew that they had to turn to different strategies of entertainment to retain customers and continue to be viable enough to draw out a buck from the everyday consumer.  Ironically, the format that Kink has decided to go with is that of developing their live community.  Kink has invested in developing a sense of communion amongst viewers that can only be established by presenting live, original, exclusive content to their paying customers, which additionally provides an outlet for group interaction.

As creepy and far-fetched as the above trist may have seemed, it has been festering in my mind the last few days and became even MORE apparent when I found this video online of someone messing with others on Chat Roulette.  For those who don’t know, Chatroulette.com is a site where you interact with other webcammers on a totally random basis.  You have no idea who you will get and you can skip to the next person at any given time.  Kind of like speed dating only with even LESS commitment.  The overwhelming complaint of Chatroulette is that it is almost entirely comprised of lonely guys looking to show off their packages.  This, however, opens the doors wide open to an entirely different, improvisational use for the site and further makes me wonder if live performance is, in fact, not dead, but simply being reformatted to fit the newest parameters of our digital society.  Check out the video below and give Pianochatimprov some HUGE support on the Youtubes.  He deserves it!

Best Films of 2009

February 9, 2010

I realize how late this is, and I apologize.  But with the Academy Award noms in full swing I am finally being forced to lay decree to the year of 2009.  To tell the truth, it has taken me AT LEAST this long to catch up on most of the material in 2009 (and I’m still quite behind).  While I was initially going to give in to the popular kids and stack-rank, I decided that this year had too many excellent selections from extremely broad-ranging categories.  So, I decided to list the best picks that fit together and then list my number 1 and 2 favorite movies of 2009.  Yay for experimenting with narrative!  This list is of my absolute favorite flicks of the last year, complete with basic defenses of each selection. In the year that ended up being dominated by a record-breaking work of spectacle over ten years in the making, I seek to highlight some of the very positive advances in story that may have been overshadowed, both at the box office and overall.  So, without further ado…

_In the Realm of Innovative Story and Character:

Adventureland, (500) Days of Summer, Up in the Air,

Adventureland holds a special place in my heart.  While Mottola’s story is nothing revolutionary by any means, the overall style of the narrative itself along with the sincerity and charm that he managed to bring to the  characters all combined to create an encapsulating story about love and post-grad fears.  The acting is quite spot-on with Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Ryan Reynolds, and Martin Starr playing post-teen angst and confusion with actual commitment and conviction.  Adventureland really plays like what a John Hughe’s movie would exist as in the decade of “returning to naturalism.”  While Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Matt Bush play more slap-stick roles in an effort to keep the movie buoyed between overwhelming depression and light comedy, the characters are overall so well-written and played so close to life by the actors that sympathy can be garnered for any, one character at any given time.  Despite infidelity, lying, false bravado, and apathetic sexual encounters, every character is so completely engrossing and thoughtful that the audience identifies with them and keeps from objectifying them.  An early win in the year for character and story, Adventureland did poorly at the box office and failed to garner an abundance of critical praise.  While skimmed over for its simplistic plot whimsical style, the piece is a great character study in the lives of young, idealistic people at a cross-roads in their lives.

Marc Webb’s first feature, (500) Days of Summer, is an awesome example of how narrative can be the crux of the story.  And while that may seem like an obvious statement, the point I’m trying to make is that Summer’s story is best told through the seemingly random sequence of narrative segments that we view to discover the rise and fall of the story’s main relationship.  I don’t want to give anything away, but everything about Summer is perfect.  The characters are completely attainable and relatable while still keeping enough of an essence of individuality to keep you guessing as to how the story will pan out.  Summer also takes full advantage of surrealist storytelling to make a common romantic rendezvous into something that both genders thoroughly enjoy.  Elements of the surreal keep most detractors of the genre ensconsed while the heart of the affair provides more than enough drama and romance for the die-hard followers of the style.  Summer may be, in effect, the first truly unisex romantic comedy.

Initially, when I was stack-ranking this list, I had included Up in the Air as the number 3 film of 2009.  Reitman constantly impressed me with a gorgeous story and an intriguing message that added the perfect piece of punctuation to the end. Clooney’s performance was dazzling, as well, as he carried the story on his back and managed to upend the “anti-hero” archetype by story’s end. As it is, Reitman ends up displacing all archetypes in Up in the Air, opting instead for turbulent characters that accomplish more in 109 minutes than most characters do in entire television seasons.  Expertly written and expertly directed, Up in the Air helped me wash the taste of Avatar out of my mouth as they were released around the same time.

_In the Realm of Imaginative Storytelling and Experimenting with Narrative:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Where the Wild Things Are, and Moon,

Let me preface this entry by stating two things, outright.  Number one, I have a GREAT affinity for Terry Gilliam’s style and vision.  And number two, like every Gilliam picture, The Imaginarium has some MAJOR flaws.  That being said, the story is FABULOUS.  Gilliam has managed to weave another fantastical fairy tale together involving some of the greatest actors of our generation.  Despite a huge crisis in the way of Gilliam’s lead, Heath Ledger, passing away in the midst of filming, Gilliam had to forge ahead and finish his work with some revisions to the script and the entire story, as a whole.  The characters are magical, the story is quite fun and imaginative, and, overall, Gilliam manages to remind us what CGI should be regulated to for the time being: Images and moments that we all understand to be completely surreal, anti-realistic, nightmarish, or absurd in nature.  Not to recreate life.  While the future will eventually bring about this technology, we just don’t have it yet.  AND THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO, CAMERON!  Er…*ahem*…Sorry, allow me to get down from my soapbox…Anyway, this breed of absurdist fantasy combined with a stellar cast of actors and a director who can pull it off, really hit the mark that 2009 was otherwise devoid of.  While the third act does COMPLETELY fall apart and actually ends up being quite dreadful, the rest of the movie made me smile so wide it actually made up for it.  Oh, and did I mention that Tom Waits is in it?

There’s nothing that I can say in praising Where the Wild Things Are that hasn’t already been said.  Jonze characterizes childhood as expertly as possible with what is, in my humble opinion, the most fitting narrative form, absurdism.  Jonze’s use of language and plot structure don’t matter nearly as much in Wild Things as the raw emotional tone of the film matters.  I have often read that the film’s emotional core drives the narrative and acts as the crux of the film, rather than any concrete plot structure or story arc.  And I couldn’t agree more.  Along those lines, I would love to see a subset of cinema better explore this exercise, as it seemed to truly work for almost all audiences and I would love to see this largely unutilized technique become a more prevalant aspect of the industry.  Just think everyone!  Wouldn’t it be great if all films endeavored for an overarching catharsis!?!

Moon was another film that was largely overlooked last year but that deserved much more attention.  Again, there is much in this movie that I DO NOT want to give away, so I will merely say that the flick’s driving force is its adherence to the importance of its tone, above all else.  Like Wild Things, Moon’s emphasis is on the tone that it establishes with its audience early on and its experimenting with its tonal shift.  While Moon’s plot is quite exciting and original, it still is not as unique as the movies overall feel and it’s emotional bearings that it constantly shifts, forcing its audience to re-assess and re-evaluate what has occurred.

_In the Realm of “Just Plain Fun” Films That Kept Me Captivated While Adhering to an Excellent Structure

Zombieland, Star Trek, District 9, Taken, and Sherlock Holmes

An uncharacteristic amount of films came out in 2009 that didn’t exactly leave me awe-struck from a technical standpoint.  Nor did they inflect any sort of reverential admiration in the way they were written or produced.  While these films weren’t exactly revolutionary in any premiere way, however, they did still manage to evoke a visceral infatuation from me that the rest of 2009 failed to:  In other words, these films were a TON of fun.  Zombieland was a simply awesome romp following Woody Harrellson at the top of his game acting like a bad-ass tutor to the likes of Jesse Eisenberg as Eisenberg experiences his coming-of-age during a zombie apocalypse.  While fairly color-by-numbers the very criticism that detractors can take against Zombieland is the main reason I adored it.  Though you know every move that’s going to be made before they make it, the characters are so enduring that you desperately WANT to see these characters make those said choices.  Nothing shocking appears in this story and that’s exactly the way I wanted it. 

Taken was much the same way.  While extremely over-the-top and ridiculous at points, Taken fully understands the realm its playing in and unapologetically pushes it forward.  Liam Neeson spends the entirety of the movie kicking ass and taking names and the movie brilliantly succeeds because of it. 

Sherlock Holmes was fairly campy (adding martial arts to nineteenth century England usually incurs the wrath of the word “campy”)  but it truly was fun to see Downey battle it out with English degenerates while matching wits and solving capers.  Honestly never thought I’d say that.

District 9 actually WAS revolutionary, but only in the way it accomplished everything it set out to, and more, with a meager budget.  While still a simple sci-fi statement on imperialism, District 9 produced results MUCH MORE efficiently and creatively than James Cameron came close to…

And, of course, Star Trek.  Everyone’s favorite and the film that is receiving the most sympathy for being snubbed at the Oscar nominations.  An incredible reboot of the franchise with a fantastic Chris Pine helming the endeavor, Star Trek was EVERYTHING I wanted out of the film, a simple-yet-exhilirating and fun ride.

_Most Underrated Movie of 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs along with Where the Wild Things Are proved that all you need are a handful of sentences and some childlike imagination to take an audiance on a wonderful adventure through storytelling.  The film was EXTREMELY loosely based on the children’s book in that food did, in fact, fall from the sky in both productions.  Going into Meatballs I was extremely skeptical, as I have qualms about rendering stories from pre-existing materials, especially when those materials are darling of children’s literature.  Meatballs quickly shut me up, however, with its lovely array of characters that proved to be both charming AND complex.  Each character had its own arc and structure and it truly reflected the care that the writers put into the film.  Meatballs easily made its money back, but did so gradually, and without much more than a peep from critics.  It deserves to sit as a distant second, but still tangential addition to the likes of Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are as proof that adaptations can take both successfully take artistic liscense, as well as actually produce entertaining cinema.

2. Up


Pixar rarely fails to awe, and Up is no exception. In addition to the small task of producing one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, Pixar managed to market this endeavor without giving away ANY crucial plot turns, WHATSOEVER.  Short of the “elderly citizen reluctantly takes kid on adventure in flying house” clips that we were shown, nothing that is central to the plot can be surmised from the entire advertising campaign. And the end result was a movie choc-ful of surprises.  Within the first 20 minutes of the movie I was welling up with tears, and by the end credits, my eyes were bleary again.  Ed Asner delivers a wonderful starring performance and proves that a narrative revolving around a senior citizen, a boy scout, and a flying house can captivate audiences better than any blockbuster revolving around giant, killer robots.

1. Away We Go


Completely underrated and unbelievably snubbed by the academy, critics, and end-of-the-year-list-makers alike, Sam Mendes’ latest directorial treat was absolutely wonderful in every cinematic aspect.  John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph both brighten up the screen in their melancholy world.  Conquering the mid-mid-life crisis, Kransinski and Rudolph’s characters both carry Mendes’ film as it explores our position in this life and how we, as people, come to find our meaning.  There is so much truth in this movie that it made me complete reassess Rudolph and Kransinski as actors.  After only seeing them in comedies on TV, it was so refreshing to come away from a film with MORE respect for actors,rather than less.  And while the acting is what fully sold me, the story, pacing, and overall style of the film are impeccable, as well.

Now, before anyone starts screaming about how many wunderbar flicks I left out, remember, these are my PERSONAL tastes.  It’s is SO hard to delineate what makes one film better than another.  I loved Zombieland, of course, but I feel Mottola hit more cinematic buttons with Adventureland, and besides, they are two COMPLETELY different films.  To be fair, however, I’m going to keep a tab of films that, as of January 13th 2010, I have not seen and therefore could not qualify in my list, however, I do recognize that they were regarded as “good.”

ANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND the embarassingly long laundry list of flicks that I have yet to see:

Movies I Have Not Seen So I Cannot NOT List Them:
_The Princess and the Frog
_Invictus
_A Single Man
_A Serious Man
_Brothers
_The Bunny and the Bull
_The Road
_Fantastic Mr. Fox
_The Box
_The Men Who Stare at Goats
_Precious
_A Christmas Carol
_An Education
_The Hurt Locker
_Big Fan
_The Reader

Nathan Rabin’s “Why Some Comics Aren’t Laughing at Jay Leno”

January 17, 2010

This is an amazing article about the recent backlash against Leno and how it’s been a long time coming, at least in the Comedy world.  The author, Nathan Rabin, makes great points throughout the article, but none struck me quite as significantly as when he points to the fact that Leno represents the comedy of mediocrity.  Big Chin seemed to cash in all his credibility and chutzpah from the 80’s when he took over The Tonight Show from Carson.  Now, we have seen him pander to the lowest common denominator night after night, in an effort to maintain his ratings and vice-hold on the market.   What I didn’t necessarily agree with was the entire section diagramming comedy writer’s innate jealousy for other writer’s success.  While I am an EXTREMELY jealous, catty person, and I COMPLETELY fall into this category, I’m not certain that the whole of the comedy collective does.  In some circles, comedy is still very communal and viewed as a sort of team sport, with groups trying to make it and bring their team with them.  Also, while I do detest Leno’s success, I hate it because I feel that he hasn’t earned it.  Every night that Conan has a hit show, or every post I read in defense of Conan, I revel in, because I WANT to see Conan succeed, because I love his work and respect him so greatly.  Overall, however, the article is FANTASTIC, and made it onto The Wall Street Journal.  You may have heard of it. 

Why Some Comics Aren’t Laughing at Jay Leno

Letterman Comes to Conan’s Aid and Bashes Leno

January 13, 2010

Remember when the late-night wars were about ratings, and generally between the stations?  Well, not anymore!!!  Jay Leno is REALLY ruffling the feathers of talk show-hosts nation-wide and his old friend Mr. Letterman is finally speaking out on it.  While I am in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, a Letterman fan, I actually quite enjoyed these two clips that I was sent on Ain’t It Cool.  Maybe out of all this insanity, Craig Ferguson can emerge and finally get the recognition he deserves.  Enjoy!

Clip on CBS.com!