Saturday, November 05, 2011

TV Report

Some thoughts on TV and suchlike.

Yes, there are reasons besides the sexy ghost maid that I like American Horror Story on FX, she's just my favorite reason.

It's actually a pretty interesting show. I say that having no idea what the hell is even going on, but it's incomprehensible in a way that makes me want to comprehend it. I just want to find out what's going on in that house and who's really a ghost and who isn't. Becca and I watched the first four episodes in a row this week and were pretty wrapped up in it, and I like the way it keeps homaging and even straight-out borrowing from horror flicks (particularly in the music).

:: As the weeks go by, I love 2 Broke Girls more and more. Yeah, it's a dopey show (what sitcom isn't these days?) and it's raunchy as all hell, and of course a lot of this is just me loving that I now have a weekly Kat Dennings delivery system considering that I've been fawning all over her since she was inappropriately young a decade ago when she was on that awful WB sitcom Raising Dad... but ANYWAY, I've gotten to the point where I just enjoy the characters and the humor. Again, it's mostly because of Kat, because she has a natural delivery that doesn't seem forced and a lot of jokes she's given wouldn't even connect if it wasn't for her.

I've been noticing it's women who dig 2 Broke Girls more than any other audience. The studio audience seems more into the show now, and it's mostly women I hear laughing. Online, too, I notice it's women. The thing is, Kat's character Max is like a lot of the girls I've known and enjoyed hanging out with over the course of my life. You should hear the mouth on my wife, for example. But what I think is more interesting is that a lot of the people talking about how terrible the show is--and they never say it's bad or that they don't like it, but that it's atrocious or awful or an affront to the viewer--are men. The same guys who love Two and a Half Men hate 2 Broke Girls. I don't want to call sexism on it, but, you know, if it talks like a sexist duck...

:: The Halloween episode of Castle was exactly the kind of silliness I was hoping for. Not enough shows do Halloween anymore in a fun, silly way (at least not a ton of the ones I watch). The bank robbery episode this week was fantastic, really great television.

God I just love Clone Wars. I also love how pissed off so many "fans" have been with these season, what with all the Gungans and C-3PO and little cute guys, and that's just gravy for me. I've said it before, and I'll say it now: the tears of Star Wars fans taste the sweetest.

:: I have five episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place on my TiVo right now that I haven't watched. I guess it's safe to say that I'm pretty over that show.

:: The Halloween episode of Parks and Recreation did a smart thing putting Ann and Ron together in the home improvement storyline. Ann is seriously the most extraneous character on the show--she adds nothing, and as pretty-but-plain as she is, Rashida Jones isn't funny--and it was kind of refreshing seeing her and Ron bounce off of each other. Earlier this season, too, when she was trying to have a conversation with him. It's like they've finally found a good dynamic for her. I wonder if it'll last.

:: I don't know what point Trey Parker was trying to make with this week's South Park, but damn this show's been limping for the last three years or so. I think it's because Trey Parker took over as the show's sole writer and director. Seriously, they need a staff again.

:: I actually have yet to watch this season of Boardwalk Empire. My old TiVo was malfunctioning and we couldn't watch the recorded episodes, and HBO is just not giving me any opportunities to catch up here. I upgraded to an HD TiVo, but it replaces my cable box so I don't get On Demand anymore, which I never really used anyway, so whatever there. I'll just watch it on HBO Go or something. It's not the end of the world if I have to wait to see it on DVD or anything. I do love the series, though. I loved the first season, and I hope the second one is as good.

:: I have been watching Enlightened, Hung, and Bored to Death so far. And while none of those shows is really a great show, they're all okay in their own way. Not much to say about them.

:: Hmm, petered out, I guess. Two words, then: Kat Dennings. I just love her. She may end up replacing Kristen Bell as the Patron Saint of this blog...

Cynthia Myers 1950-2011

I'm quite saddened to hear that Cynthia Myers, one of my favorite Playmates, passed away. She was only 61. There are no reports of how she died, only that she died yesterday. It's very sad. I've always been such a fan of hers. She posed for Playboy when she was just 17, appearing as Miss December 1968. She was my third favorite Playmate; her pictures are stunning; milestones in pinup photography. And of course she's one of the stars of one of my all time favorite movies, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Very, very sad to hear this.

Friday, November 04, 2011

I Think I've Always Needed This

Daffy Duck the Wizard

I haven't made it a point to see The Looney Tunes Show, but I really dug this. It's not really in the Looney Tunes style so much, but it is funny, particularly if you're a sword-and-sorcery geek.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

THE KEEP (1983)
Pretty, well-shot Michael Mann movie. Great score by Tangerine Dream. Also incomprehensible, boring and a waste of a good cast. ** stars.

Fucking fantastic. I really wasn't sure what to expect here; reading Comics Scene and Wizard so much when I was younger, I just remember every potential Captain America project getting bogged down in the symbolism of what Captain America means. Where this movie succeeded the most for me is that it was more interested in who Captain America is. I used to read Captain America when I was a kid, because there was always something about him that I could identify with, but I could never really articulate what it was. But there's a moment in this movie when Dr. Erskine asks Steve Rogers if he wants to kill Nazis, and Steve answers "I don't want to kill anyone; I hate bullies." I wanted to cheer at that moment. That's it. That's who Captain America is. That's what Marvel Comics seems to have forgotten. This movie lives up to that declaration, and there are so many pleasures along the way (especially for Marvel nerds like me; particular highlights were the existence of a cosmic cube and Neal McDonough being generally awesome as Dum-Dum Dugan). Director Joe Johnston gets to revisit some of the feel of The Rocketeer with the 1940s sets. This may be my new favorite Marvel movie, to be honest. Love this. Love the hell out of this. **** stars.

CARS 2 (2011)
Well, it's more enjoyable than the first movie, which I'm not much of a fan of. I really felt the loss of Paul Newman here, but I liked the spy stuff. It's what saves the movie for me, because this one is more interested in the spy comedy stuff than in John Lasseter's continued fellating of the folksy Americana that only exists in dreams and old Disney movies. Like the first movie, it looks great; there's real texture and the way the light plays is beautiful. I guess I like this one better than the first because it's more of a cartoon; it's like a feature length version of one of those Mater cartoons they show on Disney Channel. I still don't care about the Cars universe beyond how much it frustrates me--seriously, how do cars make flags and tie headbands and eat wasabi?--but it's at least cute and has Michael Caine. **1/2 stars.

Lovely and charming, and extremely well-animated and told by the people I consider Disney's real stars (including Burny Mattinson, who worked on the first Disney Pooh cartoons). I didn't experience the Milne stories until I was older; I experienced the Disney version first, so this movie brought back a lot of warmth that was inherently there in me. Most of the voice cast is spot on (Tom Kenny as Rabbit, Jim Cummings as Pooh), others have new variations that are surprisingly nice (Bud Luckey as Eeyore, Craig Ferguson as Owl), but I realize that only Paul Winchell will ever really be Tigger for me. Still, I adored this movie; it's slight, maybe, but it's beautiful. **** stars.

RANGO (2011)
More fun and enjoyable than I expected. I'm not crazy about the character design, which just has "trying way too hard" screaming from every painstaking detail, but I liked the animation. Cute story, despite it being way too complicated and still very predictable. I especially dug the rattlesnake. I also appreciated that, with the exception of Johnny Depp in the lead, the actors were actually acting instead of playing their easily recognizable personae, like in a lot of American animation. *** stars.

Not as smarmy as I expected, but there's still a bit too much of the "aw, shucks, ain't we cute?" in there for such a predictable storyline. Anne Hathaway is still very good when she tries, playing the beautiful, perfect girl with Parkinson's, though it's movie Parkinson's, which is like what Roger Ebert calls Ali McGraw Syndrome, where she just gets more beautiful and fragile without ever really displaying the more horrible effects of her illness. Jake Gyllenhaal is good, too, but I was more interested in his skills as a business hustler than I was in him being the stand-up guy. I don't know, it's a cute time-waster with a pretty, talented cast, but nothing special. *** stars.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Everyone have fun and stay safe today!

:: Do I?
:: Mutts
:: Happy Halloween (for all of my old Halloween posts from years past)

Enjoy the day, everyone!

Halloween: Pumpkin Smashing at the Brookfield Zoo

Damn, I need to go to the zoo...

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween: War of the Worlds

I'm pre-empting Song of the Week this week to instead bring you the complete 1938 broadcast by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre. A Halloween favorite of mine, for sure. I've had this on a CD since I was in high school, and I listen to it every couple of years.

Halloween: Mutts

Happy Halloween from Sam

My dear friend Sam went to a Halloween party last night as Magenta. I think she pulls it off rather well.