Saturday, January 31, 2009

Make 'em Laugh ... meh

Watched the last 2 hours of Make "em Laugh ... meh. I'm sorry, I just don't find Billy Crystal funny and it seemed like they HAD to feature him ... kind of like "hey, if you don't give me 'x' minutes, I'm not gonna do your little intros". I mean, this guy is NOT funny. He takes himself way to seriously to be funny. Billy Crystal is not a guy who will poke fun at himself, his overinflated ego, Mr. Oscar bullcrap (I liked it when Letterman hosted). I just couldn't imagine being in a room with him. I'm imagining the sound of a vacuum cleaner sucking all the air out when he arrives because he's the most important guy in the room, in his mind.

So ... yea, I don't like Billy Crystal.

I guess my biggest surprise was that Phil Silvers ... Sgt. Bilko, is a really funny guy, never occured to me. I'm happy that they featured Larry David, the anti Billy Crystal. But only giving SNL a paltry 2 minutes? Really? They should have given SNL Billy Crystals 2+ minutes we had to listen to him parody Oscar nominated movies !!! Ugh!!!! How can anyone NOT feature Belushi ... they didn't even mention Gilda Radner! And Kovacs, not one stinking mention of Ernie Kovacs! This guy was a genius! He invented some of the special effects used on television back in the 50's. They could have squeezed him in when they paid tribute to Your Show of Shows for heaven's sake! No mention of Barney Miller either, blasphemy.

I don't know, I understand that they had a set amount of time to cram all their material into ... I say they have another 6 episodes and dedicate 1 hour to SNL and one hour to Kovacs and Barney Miller and please, no Billy Crystal!!!!!! Keep Amy Sedaris and have her brother, David take Crystal's place. An emmy for sure!!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Southland Tales ... what the heck was that?

One of my alltime favorite films is Donnie Darko ... I could watch it, and I have, watched it over and over again. Each time I see it, I see something I missed. I cannot say enough about how great this film is and then I watched ...

Southland Tales

What the heck???? Richard Kelly ... what the heck??? He wrote and directed Donnie Darko superbly .. is that a word? He launched the career of Jake Gyllenhall and seriously, it's his best performance. So what the heck happened?

First of all ... the cast was horrible!!!! Just HORRIBLE!!! The Rock as the main hero? Are you kidding me? He can't act his way out of a paper bag, man, what a waste of a salary! Sara Michelle Geller? Really? Seriously ... really? And then here come the SNL people ... Poehler, Lovitz, Oteri, Nora Dunn ... now, they weren't bad, well, Lovitz was bad, but still ... lordy be what the heck? Bai Ling? What is she? Wallace Shawn? The only good casting calls were, believe it or not, Justin Timberlake and Sean William Scott. Timberlake did a cool song and dance number using the song that this blahg is dedicated to. I liked that scene.

The story ... this script probably could have been adapted for an HBO or Showtime miniseries. The movie was almost 2.5 hours long and it was still not complete. The editing was horrible and it was just incredibly hard to follow.

So why do I care?

I care because of Donnie Darko. Kelly needs to remake this film. It needs to be released in theatres a la the Kill Bill movies or, mentioned before, as a miniseries on cable. And most of all, A COMPLETELY NEW CAST.

Get Geller & Rock out of there. So please, Richard Kelly ... do it over!

Also watched a silly episode of Total Wrecklmation. Come on Jodi ... crying over an auction? That was really dumb. Dumb even after she threatened to take the kitchen out and sell it herself. Sorry, but crying really made her look like a total drama queen. No more crying, please!!!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Much better parts 3&4

Make Me Laugh was much much better this time around. They honored Chaplin ... well deserved. But I was thrilled to see them give Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges and Harpo Marx their due. I watched Laurel & Hardy movies before I ever watched Chaplin. Their story is just sweet and heartwarming. Even after they retired, unlike Abbott & Costello, Stan & Ollie remained close friends and when Ollie died, Stan was there and was affected by his best friend passing for the rest of his life . I wish they would make a biopic about these 2. I can see Mackie from The Shield playing Ollie (he's already played Curley), not sure about Stan.

Anyway, The Stooges ... I used to watch The Stooges on Channel 32 everyday after school and on Sunday mornings with my Dad. The Curley's were the best and I still consider Disorder in the Court a master of words/cadence and pure slapstick.

Lawyer: Drop the vernacular
Curley: Vernacular? That's a doiby


And Harpo ... I grew up watching Duck Soup every New Years Eve on Channel 9 (WGN). Harpo was the best and I don't mean that Groucho & Chico were slouches either. Groucho & Chico's monologues together are classics ... parachute, pair of shoes ... again, words & cadence. Harpo was a child, an ornery child who was a genius musician. I once gave a speech on how much Harpo Marx influenced my life when I was in high school.

Then onto a great segment. Political comedy. Lenny Bruce ... the man died so people like Richard Pryor & George Carlin could exist. Lenny's act now is tame ... said some bad words and I can't even remember how many times he went to jail ... 7 times maybe? And then Pryor. He made comedy personal. His material came out of his experience. He made growing up in a brothel ... FUNNY. He made torching himself ...FUNNY. He made having heart attacks ... FUNNY. God rest your soul Richard. Carlin. I got choked up because it's hard to believe that he's dead too. Sigh.

I also remember watching the Smother's Brothers and my Dad being ticked when CBS pulled them off the air. The thing I remember the Smothers Brothers for was Yo-Yo man .. hey, I was a kid!

Watched what may be a great show called Lie to Me. I love Tim Roth and he's the main character. He's a human lie detector. As I'm watching the show, I have to wonder how frustrating it would be to be on this show. The actors have to do certain movements and facial expressions to show they are lying. Ok ... say these lines and DO THIS with your face ... yikes!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Is it Inauguration Day?

Really? For real??? It's finally here? No WAY!!!

I started watching what will hopefully get better as it goes. It's a 6 part series called Make 'em Laugh. It's on PBS and the first 2 hours was so so. The first hour was fabulous! Starts out with Harold Lloyd, goes to Cheech and Chong ... I'm sorry, but I just laugh my butt off when I see their standup and the movie Up in Smoke. I remember seeing their bits when I was a teenager when no other parents would let their kids see it ... I have the coolest parents. It didn't turn me into a pot smoker either. I saw it for what it was COMEDY. Those 2 were making fun of people getting high, not glorifying them. I mean, you see then in a parked car, stoned out of their minds and Cheech thinks he's driving?

Anyway, they also did bits with Jonathan Winters, another comedian I grew up listening to ... and Bob Hope (yawn, sorry, I just don't think he's funny). And then there's Andy ... Andy Kaufman. A comedian's comedian. This is a guy who didn't care if you were funny. If he thought what he was doing was funny, he was fine. He was on the first episode of SNL back in 1975 and guess what ... I watched it. I was 8 and even better ... I thought it was funny! I got it, I got what he was doing ... here's the clip:

Link: Andy Kaufman - Mighty Mouse

To this day, I laugh at this bit. I spent most of the first hour laughing and then not so much during the second hour ... they spent it on family sitcoms, which, by and large, I do not find funny. Cosby was cute and cute is NOT FUNNY, as was I Love Lucy & Dick Van Dyke ... but then they ended with Seinfeld ... ah Seinfeld. The best sitcom in the history of television. It wasn't a family sitcom though. It was about 4 horrible horrible people and the horrible horrible things they did to each other and others ... seriously, there wasn't one nice person on that show and that is what made it funny.

They had better cover better topics for the next couple shows ... Chaplin, Kovacs, Bruce, Pryor ... Carlin ... hellllooooooo!!!! And if they completely bypass Barney Miller, I will be ticked. I do like that Amy Sedaris is the narrator. She can be raunchy and I adore her brother, David Sedaris. They have to cover Saturday Night Live and the Ernie Kovacs Show ... man, this show has a lot to live up to in my book.

I also watched the season premiere of Flight of the Conchords. It's hilarious ... the next day when you think about the episode, or watch it a second time. Jermaine and "Breet" are so incredibly dry and clueless. So between Conchords and Corner Gas, my dry sense of humor shows are pretty much covered.

I gave up on Damages. It's just too dark for me. I guess I'm just not into it this time around.

I think I forgot to mention how thrilled I am that Colin Farrell won a Golden Globe for his role in In Bruges. He completely deserved it!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Corner Gas

This show is hysterical! I hate to say it, but it's kind of like a Canadian Seinfeld. A show about nothing. Each show is independent of the other, no running storylines. Each character could be spun off on it's own, but as a whole, the cast is great. I read that they are going to stop production, but it's been on for 6 seasons, so I have a lot more to catch up on. WGN is going to start running 3 in a row in the early mornings, so my Tivo will be working hard!

Andrew McCarthy ... sigh ... what's happened to him? I tried ... really really tried to watch a movie he did called New World Disorder. I couldn't get through it! It was interesting at first because Rutger Hauer played a really fat cop and McCarthy played a bad guy, but he was really awful and it broke my heart, so I had to delete it before getting into it for longer than 30 minutes. Bad Andrew!

There's a song going through my head. You can hear it on the Toyota Prius commercial where a car literally is made out of sticks and grass and then decomposes back into the earth. The song is haunting ... here's the commerical:

The song is called Hometime by the band One EskimO. The entire song is fantastic and it is supposedly available on Itunes, but it's not :( the video for the song is on One EskimO's website and it's a haunting video too.

I forgot to mention that another reason why I'm digging Nip/Tuck is that the guy from Aliens In America, Raja, is in it as a young doctor. It really bummed me out that they cancelled Aliens in America, but at least one of the characters found work on another very cool show.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Already Overwhelmed

Where do I start ... I feel like I'll never keep up with my Tivo! I added a new show to the mix called Corner Gas. It's a Canadian show and it's freaking hilarious. Clean, dry and quirky, kind of like most Candians I know. It's probably one of the few shows I can watch with my kids present. It's on 2 times a day ... in the wee hours of the morning, so when I wake up at 5am like I'm likely to, I can watch 2 episodes before anyone wakes up. I've seen 3 episodes so far and it is definitely worthy of mention on this blog.

Flight of the Conchords starts this weekend! Again, another dry and quirkey show, only from Australia, or is it New Zealand, anyway ... this one can't be viewed by children.

Whatever Martha is starting to wear on me. It was funny at first, but now little miss Alexis and her attitude are starting to make me yawn.

Total Wrecklamation started up with new episodes and Jody auctioned off stuff from a great Lincoln Park house. What I wouldn't give to get in on some of those auctions. Front doors alone would be worth the trip. It's amazing, door that would retail in the thousands going for a couple hundy ... as long as I'm not part of it, I will never think it's fair.

In the dead rock star file, I started re-watching Stoned. It's about Brian Jones and his rise and fall and death. What a jerk he was. Seriously, he lived in a fantasy world. Obviously he didn't attend the London School of Economics like his bandmate Mick Jagger.

Watched the season premiere of Damages. I swore I wouldn't watch it. I liked last season, but wow, the opener was great! I love Glenn Close's character and Frobisher isn't dead, surprise surprise. William Hurt is in this season and I think he's fantastic. He was underrated in The History of Violence and I still see him breaking through glass to get at Kathleen Turner in Body Heat. The other main character, Ellen, seems like she's on ludes, but then again, she is still dealing with the death of her fiance (on the show). I don't see how they will ever be able to get a case going against Patty and I have a feeling that the cops Ellen is working for are actually working for Patty ... we'll see.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Post 101!

My Tivo is going to be filling up ... all my shows are starting up again. Last night was Nip/Tuck's season opener. It was great, but then again, I'm one of the few people on earth who is glad they moved the show from Miami to Beverly Hills. Miami has no interest for me whatsoever, especially after watching the documentary, Cocaine Cowboys ... nope, they can keep the place.

So Sean is in a wheelchair as a result of his being stabbed by Colleen and Christian has ... I'm sorry, but I think it's sinfully ironic, breast cancer. Last season, Christian was a complete moron and after last night, he's softening up and that makes me happy. But it looks like he and Liz are gonna ... well .. that should be interesting. Great season opener. And without a sight of Julia! Yea!!!! Never understood her allure at all.

Watched a movie called Stateside, it's part of my Val Kilmer film fest and I have to say that Val Kilmer was the only reason to watch this film. Val was great as a Marine Corps DI. He really wraps himself up in his characters, again, one of the best actors working today. In any event, it's supposedly based on a true story. The main girl's character is based on a former actress neamed Sarah Holcomb. She played a 13 year old girl in Animal House and the love interest of Michael O'Keefe in Caddyshack. She apparently fell into a bad drug habit and was Schizophrenic. It could have been a great story, but the main character was a complete putz, horrible horrible actor. Even though Val gives a great performance, I still won't recommend it.

There are a couple movies I'm excited to see when they finally appear. One is the Keith Moon biopic with Mike Meyers as Keith. Keith was a fantastic drummer, unfortunately, he's known more for the stupid stuff he did. Meyers is too old to play Keith. Keith was 32 when he died and Meyers is well into his 40's ... we'll see. I didn't think that Kevin Spacey could pull off Bobby Darin, but he managed to do it very well. The other one is Tarantino's new flick called Inglorious Basterds ... a WWII flick. Finally! Tarantino is working with Brad Pitt for real. Pitt was in True Romance, a really cool part too, but Tarantino sold the script and Tony Scott directed ... which was ok because Scott did justice to Tarantino's script, unlike Ollie Stone's complete f-up of Tarantino's Natural Born Killers ... please QT, do me a solid ... remake Natural Born Killers!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

more movie viewing

I found an actress who makes Dane Cook look like a good actor! And her name is Jessica Simpson ... wow, she's just awful. I'm now convince that the only reason she has a career is because of her ample busom and nice teeth because her hair didn't look that great ... oh, the movie is called Employee of the Month and is it ever a stinker. I remember all the hubbub being made about how this movie is going to show the world that Jessica Simpson is a multi-talented actress ... ha. I watched this movie primarily because it was filmed at one of my favorite stores, Costco and I can dig that. And then there's this equally stupid doofus named Dax Shepard .. who? He is to this movie what Dane Cook was to Dan in Real Life ... if this guy can be in the business, so can I. I think I need to see if he's been in anything else to see if his pitiful performance was a fluke. I will say though, it was nice seeing Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite in another film. He was actually good! As was, of all people, Andy Dick! He was funny. But this movie was just a stinker to end all stinkers.

And then I watched one of my alltime favorites, ahhhhhhhhh, To Live and Die in LA. That film is just a masterpiece and I can, and have, watched it over and over again. The only thing that bothers me is seeing how bowlegged William Peterson is .. then again, this film was made in 1985 and tight jeans were the thing I suppose. The car chase through the LA freeway system rivals the NYC car chase scene in the French Connection ... going down the LA River was awesome! This movie really launced careers ... Peterson, John Pankow from Mad About You, a chubby Jane Leeves .. heck, even Robert Downey Jr's DAD was in this movie. And Willem Dafoe was at his creepiest. See, I can forgive him for Boondock Saints by referring back to this film. And the soundtrack is magnificent. It's the best orignal soundtrack ever made for film. I think I had the soundtrack, by Wang Chung, before I bought the movie. I need to see if it's available in Blu-Ray ... seeing William Peterson get his head blown off in high def would be cool! I remember watching the movie when it first came out and being completely blown away by the twist.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Not There

Latent Dylan fan. And honestly, I'm only a fan of his electric period. I love how he gives the finger to anyone who dares to criticize him. I think one of the best documentary films ever made is Scorcese's No Direction Home. Penebaker's Don't Look Back was too hard to follow, color me stupid for that, but the time period of Penebaker's film is the era of Dylan that I love. I think that Like a Rolling Stone, note for note, word for word, is the best song in music history.

Anyway, I've been waiting forever for Todd Haynes film, I'm Not There, to finally show up on my Tivo. It was worth the wait. My goodness was it ever a great film. The cast ... simply amazing. But who in the world would have said no to being in this film. There was much ballyhoo about Cate Blanchett's portrayal of the ragamuffin/Penabaker Dylan and it was much deserved, WOW. She's simply the best actor working today, male or female. It wasn't just Blanchett though, everybody was amazing. The little kid who played Woodie Guthrie/Dylan, Richard Gere as Billy the Kid/Dylan ... David Cross playing Allen Ginsberg was awesome. And even Richie Havens!!! Richie Havens ... like Dylan, my Dad introduced me the genius that is Richie Havens when I was a pup.

The saddest part .. Heath Ledger played another persona of Dylan and it made me sad to watch. Stupid idiot shouldn't be dead dammit. We'll never know will we? But he was marvelous in this film. Even his ex, Michelle Williams played Edie Sedgewick better than the stupid Sienna Miller. Who knew Dawson's Creek could produce such a great actress? Not talking to you Katie Cruise. Christian Bale, who was in another Haynes film, Velvet Goldmine (way heavy film about Iggy Pop & David Bowie), played the converted Dylan. When I see Bale, I still see the little kid in Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (one of the best films ever made and Spielberg's masterpiece until Munich)

This film is NOT for casual movie goers who don't know anything about Dylan. You need to understand the Woodie Guthrie connection, the controversey from the Newport Folk Festival, his troubled marriage, his conversion ... anyone who doesn't know about Dylan will be completely confused by this film. Watch No Direction Home and Don't Look Back first, then watch I'm Not There. But you need to be a fan of Dylan first.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blame it on Fidel

I love foreign films. I don't watch enough of them to really speak to them on a level like I do the Coen or Tarantino films, but I do enjoy them for the most part. Maybe it's because I like reading subtitles, which stems from my love of silent films ... it's like going to the library while watching a film. I don't really like dubbed foreign films. There are a few good ones, but for the most part, I prefer subtitles.

Blame it on Fidel is a French film. Why do all the european films have the cutest kids? Bruno in The Bicycle Thief, the kid in Life in Beautiful ... well, Blame it on Fidel has Anna. She has well to do parents, lives in a beautiful house with a staff, a nanny from Cuba who destests what happened when Fidel took over, went to a hoity toidy private nun's school. Well, her parents decided to chuck it all away to become left wing activists. Leave the house for a small apartment. This movie is about how Anna must adapt and interpret what her parents are doing in the name of group solidarity. The little girl who played Anna was terrific. Her dad starts organizing revolutionaries to support Allende in Chile ... my history studies did me well in this instance ... Allende is the main reason that Henry Kissinger can't travel the world freely anymore ... interesting, the CIA wasn't even mentioned in the assassination of Allende, which was probably done to not open up another can of worms, ugh.

All in all, a great interpretation of early 70's Paris and all the political turmoil that was involved from a child's perspective and how even the adults don't have it all together ideologically.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dan in Real Life ... yawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnn

Flipped on this one last night. I wasn't HORRIBLE ... no, it wasn't fabulous, definitely not, it was just blah. I like that Steve Carrell, who I think is one of the funniest guys out there, tried to Adam Sandler himself and branch out (I'm one of the few people on earth who actually loved Punch Drunk Love). Carrell was worth watching, but who the heck is this Dane Cook dork? I mean, he's terrible! He's one of those "actors" who makes me think that if HE can get work, so could I. Even Juliette Binoche was awful. It was like she was more worried about covering her French accent than actually acting, which she is normally dynamite. I actually think if they would have made her character French, it would have been more interesting. His daughters were despicable and I never quite got why they would treat him so horribly given the circumstances. The whole climax was hokey. The best scene was the final one with the wedding. That was sweet, but predictable. John Mahoney wasn't even allowed to be his normal self. Dianne Weist was good, but she's always good. Can't wait for the new season of In Treatment. I will say that I did like Inaya Day's cover of Nasty Girl in the club scene. I'll add it to my playlist .... over there -------------------------------------------->

It's not one of those movies where I feel like I'm owed my 1.5 hours back (thank god it wasn't any longer than that), but it came close.

I ended up watching part of Knocked Up again afterwards. That movie is funny! I think that Seth Rogan should have played Dane Cook's part.