Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rocktober and Shocktober are fast approaching....

As in, they are coming tomorrow. As in, tomorrow is October 1st. October is great for a variety of reasons. One of them being, hopefully, that the Fall is really and truly here. Temperature-wise this week has been in the 70's and 80's and muggy, and when I get back from North Carolina it looks like it will drop precipitously into the 50's. When it goes below 60, it is officially time, for me, to retire the shorts for the year. Albeit very reluctantly.

Rocktober starts in earnest next week, there seems to be a whole bunch of shows this October. It usually happens this way, for whatever reason, touring bands are either starting up tours or ending them and coming through the area. Maybe because everyone's finally back in town and they are hitting it at just the right time. It starts early for my wife, who has tickets to see Mos Def and Talib Kweli on Sunday night, which I unfortunately won't be around for. But Tuesday night, we're going to see M.I.A. and Wednesday I am going to see The Hold Steady. And, I am not sure if this counts but I am going to see Paul F. Thompkins, stand-up comedian on Saturday night, in a very small local theater.

Last, but certainly not least, it is of course, Shocktober. Why? Because its the creepiest month of the year. Halloween time, when things are especially spooky. My original idea was to watch a scary movie a night for all of October and writing about them here. I am going to still try to watch as many as possible, but I am already going to be a bit behind because of my small trip away this weekend, but I can try to make up. We already have a bunch loaded on the old Roku/Netflix watch-instantly queue. Maybe I can even get the Mrs. to guest write a couple things.

So, you might say, I am very excited.

Two things before I wrap this up and try to get some sleep:

I would usually never do something like this but I have a book suggestion you should check out in honor of Shocktober: World War Z: An Oral History of The Zombie War

This book is so much better than it has any right to be, really. Its basically a cross between George Romero and Studs Terkel, the historian that perfected the idea of the oral history.  In World War Z, Max Brooks (Mel's son!) plays the role of a post-apocalyptic UN agent trying to piece together the stories of the key players during a worldwide zombie outbreak. Seriously, its sad, scary, exciting...not only of the best horror stories I have ever read, but probably one of my favorite books to come out in the last decade. 

And since we are talking about zombies and horror movies and stories, someone put together a fan-made opening credits sequence for the upcoming The Walking Dead AMC show. The guy that made it is Daniel Kanemoto. He's actually an animator for the Travel Channel, Nickelodeon, the USA Network and even his own short films. He used artwork that comes from the original graphic novels by Robert Kirkman. The music is "Fresh Blood" by the Eels. AMC would probably be smart to go ahead and buy it because I doubt they would come up with anything as good as that.

THE WALKING DEAD "Opening Titles" from Daniel Kanemoto on Vimeo.


Just One More Unfortunately

I seriously didn't mean to turn this blog into "Grim Reaper Illustrated" today, but I guess thats what happens every so often in life.  Character actor Joe Mantell died at the age of 94, of being 94 years old. Obviously you can't control when these things happen, but its too bad he died around the same time as Arthur Penn and Tony Curtis, I mean being a character actor he certainly wasn't as famous, but he deserves to be recognized.  He not only was in some great movies in his own right, but, in one of them he got to deliver one of filmdom's most famous lines.

Here are just a taste of his bigger roles:

1) Marty (1955)
In the Oscar-winning Marty,  he played Angie, Ernest Borgnine's best loser friend (above on the right). His most oft-quoted line there was, "Well, what do you feel like doin' tonight?" He said it a lot. Of course, in context it sounds better and makes more sense.

2) The Birds (1963)
In Hitchcock's The Birds, he has a small but memorable part as, "Traveling Salesman at Diner's Bar"

3) Chinatown (1974)
And last, but not least, the role that would make most famous, he played Jack Nicholson's partner, Walsh, and got to speak the film's most famous line, "Forget it Jake. It's Chinatown."


Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon's History of Hip Hop Medley


In Memoriam

Sheesh...this week. Part of me feels that there is something vaguely weird about lumping three people's deaths together on a pop culture blog. For one thing it doesn't do real justice to the life that was lost. I guess we could say we were "honoring" them in a sense. But, then again, I am about to go ahead and do it anyway.

Arthur Penn

Arthur Penn died earlier this week at the age of 88. His career began in the late forties, and he started in theater, and from there worked on live television before getting into the movies in the late fifties. I have to admit, I have only seen two of his movies, but they are his most famous ones. The first being The Miracle Worker in 1962, which garnered both the leads. Patty Duke and Ann Bancroft, Oscars.

His other big movie was Bonnie and Clyde, made in 1969. The influence of which would be far reaching, particularly in the next decade and the younger generation of directors that were coming up. For the time, it pushed the boundaries of depictions of sex and violence, as well as being decidedly counter to the Hollywood conventions of the time. Basically, a lot like Hitchcock with Psycho at the beginning of the sixties, he helped change the game for the next generation at the end of the sixties.

But now that Arthur Penn as passed away, people have been talking about other movies to check out, like his first collaboration with Warren Beatty, Mickey One, or The Chase with Robert Redford and Marlon Brando. Although it seems that he wasn't able to capitalize on the era he helped usher in. 

Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis passed away last night at the age of 85. Tony Curtis, born Bernard Schwartz. Some might say he had it all: he was good looking and he could act. I know of Tony Curtis a bit better than I know Mr. Penn, so here I will give you my five favorite Tony Curtis movies/performances:

1) Some Like It Hot (1959)
There is a reason this movie is going to be mentioned when everyone talks about Tony Curtis: its really THAT good. The writing and repartee here between Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis is just ridiculously good. And this might just be Marilyn Monroe's best stuff too.

2) Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Honestly, this, for me, is a close second to Some Like It Hot. And two movies could hardly be more opposite. It evokes the downtown, New York atmosphere of the late 50's in an amazing way. And it is pretty dark. Tony Curtis plays the unscrupulous press agent, Sidney Falco, who runs afoul of Burt Lancaster's broadway columnist, J.J. Hunsecker. Which doesn't sound like he would be a completely soulless villain, but thats pretty much what Lancaster makes him.

3) Spartacus (1960)
This is probably more Kirk Douglas' (or even Stanley Kubrick's) movie, to be sure, but its a great one. I mean, look at those eyes. Might as well put him in sandals and throw him into the desert.

4) The Defiant Ones (1958)
This is probably the other movie people will be remembered for. Its interesting because it was for this he received his only Oscar nomination. Here he is a convict chained to another convict, Sidney Poitier, who have to learn to work together to survive. I think its a pretty neat concept.

5) Operation Petticoat (1959)
A solid Blake Edwards comedy where Curtis is cast alongside Cary Grant (someone he would impersonate in Some Like It Hot) as a conman executive officer on a ship in World War 2. He has to contend with the ship being painted pink (don't ask) and with a bevy of army nurses that have to come on board. Here he gets to lampoon his image as a Hollywood playboy.

Greg Giraldo

Sadly, you might have heard that Greg Giraldo passed away suddenly this week too, at the young age of 44. You've seen Giraldo all over the place on Comedy Central, on their Roasts, doing standup, and I believe he was a judge on last comic standing. On nearly all of these things, like Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn where he got his first big break. The thing about Giraldo is he was alway reliably funny and smart, and at these sorts of events with a group of comedians, he was nearly always the funniest and the smartest of the bunch. It's too bad he had to go too soon.

When I found out he had passed away, I went and watched my very favorite moment of his, when he eviscerated Larry The Cable Guy on his roast. Well, I should have grabbed it then because now its nowhere to be found, on youtube or anywhere else unfortunately. So here is the Moment Of Zen from last night's Daily Show that was in honor of him:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Our Moment of Greg Giraldo
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

R.I.P. Sally Menke

Quentin Tarantino's longtime editor, Sally Menke, was found dead in Los Angeles. She was 56, and the cause of death is still under investigation. She apparently went out last night to walk her dog and never came home. The Police are seeing whether or not the heat was a factor, apparently the temperature reached 113 degrees yesterday.

I was going to say she worked with Tarantino on all of his hits, but she worked with him on everything he has put out. She was like what Verna Fields was to Steven Spielberg or what Thelma Schoonmaker is to Martin Scorcese. They worked very closely together, and apparently had a great working relationship. (And I don't know if this is exactly a trend, but there could be a piece in there about great directors working with talented, female editors). She was nominated for two academy awards for Inglorious Basterds and Pulp Fiction. She won the Hollywood Film Award for Editor of the Year in 2004, as well as the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Editing for Kill Bill Volume 1.And she has been nominated for all sorts of other awards. And, I am quite sure Tarantino will find someone else talented to work with, but it must be hard on a personal and professional level to find someone after working so closely with one person for the past 16-17 years.

That being said, R.I.P. Sally, you were amazing.

On a sidenote (there's always a sidenote), just reading about her, I found she had a hand in a movie that I absolutely loved in the 7th grade. Her first editing job was on the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie.

I don't know what it was about this movie, but when it was in the theatres, I saw it 7 times! No joke, I must have been an idiot, I was so into this movie. (And maybe I watched it on video or something later, but I probably haven't watched it, for good reason, a whole lot since then. (Sam Rockwell has an early role as a bad guy in to too! One of the Foot Clan!)

The only other movie since I have seen 7 times in the movie theater? An actual classic, one of the movies Sally Menke was nominated for for an Academy Award: Pulp Fiction, of course:

I hope thats a good representation of just a bit of her work (on Pulp Fiction, not TMNT)

Probably, besides my Dad, one of the things that really got me interested in movies really.


Excited! The Teaser Trailer For the Coen Brothers' "True Grit"

True Grit Teaser Trailer
Uploaded by ThePlaylist. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.

So I am going on a brief trip to the South this weekend to visit a couple friends of mine. I only mention this because just this morning I was trying to find a book to read on the trip, and after seeing this trailer, maybe I should try and find a copy of True Grit just so I can be a nerd and compare and contrast when this thing comes out. If the Coen Brothers can come close to matching the atmosphere that is created in this trailer in the actual movie then this is going to be amazing. It looks amazing, and the little girl, the narrator, Hailee Steinfeld, who they found out of nowhere looks perfect. I have to admit that 1) I love the Coen Brothers and I especially love their genre movies the most, and 2) I really like Jeff Bridges, especially all grizzled here in the title role, and, as I mentioned in my Wall Street review, I really like Josh Brolin, especially playing the bad guy. And Matt Damon is no slouch either (I actually didn't recognize him at first even though I knew he was in it). I feel like if anyone could pull off keeping this as haunting as the trailer it would be the Coens. It'll be interesting too because people will see this as a remake of the 1969 True Grit with John Wayne in the starring role. But, like I said, above True Grit was a novel first, so this is just another adaptation of the novel, not a straight-up remake of a movie. (Adaptations being something else that the Coens do well.) So yeah, I am pretty excited about it as you might be able to tell.

Oh, and that song used in the trailer there, is a song called Where No One Stands Alone by the Peasall Sisters, which, as far I can tell are young sisters (naturally) who tour the country/christian music circuit. But, man, this song works so well here, I wonder if they are eventually going to sneak onto the soundtrack.

It's also kind of cool to get a double dose of Bridges in December!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

I can't believe this movie was tops at the box office this weekend. Sure, I'm one of the people that made it #1, and maybe it was a particularly slow weekend movie-wise but I still find it surprising. Were we all really clamoring to find out what became of Gordon Gekko in the past 23 years (23 years!?)? Wall Street, the original, was an entertaining little movie, back in the day, and even garnered Michael Douglas an academy award for playing Gekko the first time around.

 I have to say I wasn't on the edge of my seat but I was hoping that Oliver Stone might bring something entertaining to the table at the very least. Because, to be perfectly honest, besides what Stone tries to claim about capturing the zeitgeist again, like he did with the whole "greed" angle in the go-go eighties Wall Street with the recent financial meltdown and what have you...The whole endeavor just seemed so weird and off, and because it was so weird it was somewhat entertaining, but by the end I found myself mostly bored really. That might be my fault, since they throw the financial mumbo jumbo fast and furious at you, and at some point I just found it sort of exhausting.  Oliver Stone is much more subdued here than he was in say, something like Any Given Sunday, which looked the byproduct of someone who is just completely coked up. But, that doesn't mean that he doesn't take the chance to illustrate/animate everything here somehow, from how some green technology works, to how a stock rumor is spread, its somewhat interesting to look at, I guess. (Its not like its all THAT subtle, considering all the shots of falling dominoes he uses.)

Ostensibly, though, the movie is as much about relationships as it is about Wall Street and money. Shia LaBeouf is getting married to Gekko's daughter, he is in need of a mentor afte rhis original mentor commits suicide, Gekko is estranged from his daughter, and they both want revenge on an oily stockbroker (I don't even know what his proper title might be) who destroyed LaBeouf's company and sent Gekko to jail many years ago. Surprise, it wasn't Bud Fox. Brolin is probably the best here. And Gekko's motivations seem to change from scene to scene, partially because the writers seem to want to keep people guessing, but you pretty much know how everything's going to end up. So there's a lot about family and loyalty, and none of it really gels. Because here's the thing, besides Carey Mulligan, as Shia LaBeouf's fiancee and Gekko's daughter, running a liberal website and LaBeouf trying to hook up with some green technology endeavor that involves lasers (seriously). I can't shake the fact, and this might have been Oliver Stone's point, that these guys are all jerks that had some part in bringing about this economic meltdown to the U.S. and the world. I mean great, you are trying to make money and screw other people out of money and "take revenge" but in the back of my head, everyone is just kind of an a-hole. I found that there is actually very little as far as characters to root for, because either they are actively jerks, or they are uninteresting, and in the end they all were or are playing on the same field that caused such a catastrophe. I dunno, maybe Oliver Stone hit the zeitgeist in the wrong way. In that, right now, we don't want to root for any of these people to make any more obscene amounts of money. Not the right time.
In the end, its talky and really only tangentially interesting. I mean, if you are into it, there is no reason to run out and see it right away, honestly. Wait to some rainy day when it happens to appear on TV or arrives in the mail from Netflix.

Also whats weird is that there are at least two different scenes that make the original Wall Street and what happens in it seem really insignificant, especially in the lives of these characters. And in the original movie, he played it up to be such an epic story (sort of like with this one). It just seems like on odd way to go to me. Maybe its a commentary on the passage of time or what not.

One night thing is that they filmed at scene at my alma mater, Fordham, on their main campus up in the Bronx. Shia LaBeouf's character apparently went to business school there. Holla. Speaking of LaBeouf, he and Carey Mulligan (his fiancee and Gekko's daughter) both look way young for their roles, which isn 't entirely their fault, but they also don't come off as very convincing. I do not get how LaBeouf has gotten this big, or gets these roles. He's never been that convincing. A friend and colleague of mine have a theory that he is Steven Spielberg's illegitimate son, and he is secretly pulling the strings of his career behind the scenes. Just a thought.

Also, just because its funny, he's not too bright:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Quintessential Rock n' Roll Band

Most of those who know me understand the fact that if you engage in a conversation with me regarding music, invariably I will assault you with several assertions, the most pertinent and significant one of all is the identity of the greatest band to ever grace the face of the planet, The Beatles.  I’ve felt this way ever since my sophomore/junior year of high school which also marked a significant time period in which my musical tastes broadened and I started to develop a critical ear.  Before this time, I was much more interested in a genre of music that has disappeared from the mass consciousness but is still alive and well amongst just about everyone who even comes close to matching my age.  It is this oft neglected but never forgotten genre that consumes my mind this evening as I was treated to a superb performance on one of the greatest channels on television today, Palladia.  I never heard of Palladia until I moved to Port St. Lucie and started receiving Comcast cable and realized I was fortunate enough to have access to a channel that devoted 70% of it’s airtime to live concerts from around the world.  There is no musical bias as it has included such amazing artists as Springsteen, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, Silversun Pickups, The Roots, and amazingly shitty artists the worst of which might be a joint concert of Kenny Chesney and Steve Miller.  If there is a concert festival held in Hell, those two would be at the top of the bill.  But lucky for me, tonight they showed nothing that can be remotely considered shitty.  In fact, they showed a performance by one of my first musical loves and what I believe to be the greatest hard rock band of all time, Motley Crue.

I say this not because they have the best hard rock music in and of itself.  For me, that would undoubtedly go to Guns n’ Roses, if only for Appetite for Destruction.  But if you look at the stereotypical Rock n’ Roll band, you have to equate sex and drugs with it and no band did, has done, or ever will do that better than the Crue.  The performance I witnessed tonight only convinces me more that this is the case.  But let me start from the beginning.

Initially, I was drawn to 80’s pop music and………well……….all right………if you must know……Neil Diamond.  My first tape was Duran Duran’s mostly live album Arena and I loved every second of it.  I also loved The Cars, The Police, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and any other 80’s pop band that hit the airwaves.  But the first musical expansion came to me when I first heard Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home”.  Actually, it was probably the video that I was most transfixed by which has come to be one of the greatest videos I've ever seen.


I found it strange, amazing, beautiful, scary, and even arousing (seriously, the one guy nearly pulls that one chick’s shirt off, but the camera cuts out at the last second.  I remember a friend telling me he saw the video late at night once and they showed that part all the way through so that you got to see a brief shot of that fan’s boobies.  I now know that was totally not true, but I believed it for years).  I still feel today that this their greatest song and that the guitar solo is one of my all-time favorites.  Particularly because of the complimentary nature of Sixx's bass playing which forms a stellar foundation for Mars' guitar licks.  It never gets old and only gets better.

I loved this band right away and had to have their album Theater of Pain, but my mom would have nothing of it.  This was the beginning of the mass censorship that would go down in my household, culminating in me purchasing a VHS copy of Pulp Fiction despite the fact my mom told me I couldn’t get it.  I was 18 at the time and thought since I was an adult; I could make my own decisions.  I was wrong.  My mom got pissed and made me take it back.  I traded it in for a copy of the Beatles’ Help and subsequently bought Pulp Fiction on DVD a few years later.  True story.  Now, every time my mom comes over, I have to hide that DVD for fear she'll make me return it.  False story.

Anyway, I told my mom I wanted this tape by the Crue and she would not let me.  The best I could muster was having my brother dub Home Sweet Home and Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room on a mix tape.  I’m not sure where he got a copy of the very album that was banned from my house, but nevertheless, I had the two songs I wanted most.  To this day, I’ve never owned a copy of Theater of Pain.  A part of me feels sad about that, but another part thinks it’s one of those things that make the whole thing so intriguing.  The one album I could never have, and I still don’t know what’s on it.

A few years later I got into a big argument with my brother while visiting our family in Florida.  He was put in charge of me and my little sister as our parents went out to dinner.  I don't remember what the fight was over or why I was so upset but I eventually said something to my brother in the likes of "Why do you hate me?”  Then he went off.  "Oh, I hate you do I?  If I hated you, would I have bought you Motley Crue's Girls, Girls, Girls for your birthday?!"  He made a good point.  I stopped crying immediately and looked up at him in shock.  He bought me what?   It couldn't be true.  I thought I couldn't own anything by this band.  After all, they worshiped the Devil, or at least, that was the rumor and was the reason I figured my mom didn't want me listening to them.  I could not own their music, but here my brother was telling me that in a few short weeks, I would own my own copy of forbidden material.  And he wasn't lying.  I still don't know why my mom allowed this gift, for the theme of it was far more detrimental than Theater of Pain, but for some reason she did and I was the luckiest kid alive.

Hair Metal was now my thing and I couldn't get enough of it.  Poison, Cinderella, Skid Row, Slaughter, Tesla, Quiet Riot, Warrant, and Def Leppard were all I cared about.  Hell, I even dug Nelson and Christian metatlheads, Stryper.  I remember people chastising me for liking it so much but I thought it was great. This was all before I owned a CD player so all those albums are on tape.  It's actually interesting if you compare my tape collection with my CD collection.  Not because of the number of CD's I own, but mostly because of the first CD I owned, Pearl Jam's Ten vs. the last tape I owned, Tesla's Five Man Acoustical Jam.  There was a distinct break with the direction in which my musical tastes went. 

The only other Crue album I ever owned (aside from their Decade of Decadence CD compilation) was Dr. Feelgood.  After that, they started loosing their luster to me.  The 90's were upon us.  Nirvana and Pearl Jam were right around the corner, Hair Metal was dying, my tastes were evolving, and Vince Neil was kicked out of the band.  I've listened to those tapes again and although they bring up a lot of memories, they're still not as good as the stuff I'm listening to today.  But that doesn't mean I've lost my respect or affinity for them, for as I mentioned before, they're the best hard rock band ever.

A few months ago, a co-worker loaned me a copy of a book called The Dirt which was written by the members of the Crue along with their managers, producers, and roadies to give a first hand account of their careers.  It's absolutely mesmerizing.  The numbers of stories involving ridiculous amounts of drug and alcohol consumption are too many in number and too unbelievable to describe here, but just know that the fact that these four dudes are still alive could quite possibly qualify as the eighth wonder of the world.  Their sexual escapades are equally as amazing as they plowed through every strip club (and woman) on L.A.'s Sunset Strip.  In the book, the band members proudly talk about sleeping with some of the most disgustingly ugly women they've ever seen, but because they were all hopped up on coke and Jack Daniels that made it OK.  They met, slept with, and married porn stars.  They got into fights, got arrested, went on week long benders and accomplished feats that no human being should be able to do.  Vince Neil killed a passenger in his car while driving under the influence and only served a few months in jail while Nikki Sixx's heart stopped for nearly five minutes in a heroin overdose while he recounted being able to see the whole ordeal through his spirit above the ambulance.  Sixx was treated at a nearby hospital, but he was so amped to get more drugs that he escaped the hospital, was picked up on the road by a couple of female fans, and proceeded to shoot up with him only a few hours after his overdose.  If that isn't rock n' roll, I don't know what is.

And amidst all the drugs and sex and fighting (which according to their book seemed constant) they still created some great rock songs with amazingly good riffs that still resonate today.  A few months ago I chaperoned a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando with my school's senior class and had the best roller coaster experience of my life.  I waited in line for 45 minutes with a colleague 15 years my senior.  When I got to my seat in the coaster, I pulled the lap bar over and locked it in place.  I looked down and found a small computer screen looking up at me asking me to choose a genre of music.  I was perplexed to see this as I wasn't quite sure where it was going, so I went ahead and chose "Rock".  I was then asked to select a song from what appeared to be about eight choices, but after seeing the top choice, I knew I needn't look any further.  For that choice was the Crue's Kickstart my Heart.  I think my exact words were "Oh, hell yeah!" as I selected the song.   The next thing I knew, the opening riff of Mick Mars imitating a manual transmission shifting gears started blasting in the headrest behind me and I laughed the whole time as one of my favorite songs from my childhood took me away on an amazingly awesome roller coaster.  When the ride ended I looked over at my elder colleague and asked her what song she played, to which she replied "The same one you did".  I'm pretty sure she saw me get all excited when I selected the song and she just followed suit.  And she didn't seem disappointed in the slightest.  So the next time you go on a roller coaster that asks you to pick a song, go with Kickstart my Heart.  You'll thank me later.

But back to the concert I saw tonight on Palladia.  It only reinforces my assertion of the Crue's kingly status in the pantheon of rock and roll greatness.  First, the concert opens with two half naked women, who appear to be little more than glorified strippers, crawling out of a box.  One proceeds to lay the other one down, spread her legs, and lightly tongue kiss her at which point Vince Neil appears from under the stage.  How can a show start off better than that?  The Band plays some of their best songs including Looks That Kill and Shout at the Devil which have some of the best Hair Metal riffs ever.  The most notable part was also one of the most rock n' roll things I've ever seen.  Neil, Sixx, and Tommy Lee all ride out on the stage on motorcycles revving their engines as poor Mick Mars stands there weakly due to his medical condition known as Ankylosing Spondylitis which is a pretty painful degenerative back disease.  I always felt bad for Mars, for while Lee, Sixx, and Neil all went out to drink their faces off and sleep with half of L.A.; Mars hung back as kind of the outcast of the group.  In fact, he's barely shown in any of their videos and gets a fraction of the pages in The Dirt compared to the other three.  It's kinda like that Sesame Street sketch where they give you four pictures and ask you which one of the four is not like the others.  There were always three people at the beach and one in a rainstorm.  Mick Mars was the dude in the rainstorm for the Crue.

Anyway, the band ride their motorcycles on the stage, take their places, and Neil walks up to a particularly slutty looking "dancer", grabs her leg, extends it up and out, licks her leather boot, and then smacks her on the ass.  Mars plays the intro to "Girls, Girls, Girls" and two strippers, sorry, "aerialists" descend from above wrapped in stripper clothes hanging by chains.  The band plays their famous ode to strip clubs and the lovely ladies who are employed by them while Neil sings (quite well, actually.  After all these years, the guy still has the pipes) to the first stripper as she humps him and grabs his crotch.  Along with the airborne strippers, neon lights, crazy good guitar riffs, and shots of the crowd I was treated to arguably the most rock n' roll performance I've ever seen.  

The only thing that could have made this more Rock n' Roll is if before the song the band funneled a beer and did a few lines of coke off the stripper's ass.  Everything else is in there.  Incidentally, the shots of the crowd were fascinating as the entire concert consisted of constant shots of middle aged scantly clad women drinking large cups of beer while pressing their chests towards the camera with their tongues sticking out, or dudes raising their hands up in the double horn rock and roll salute with their tongues sticking out.  This all made for a much more enjoyable viewing experience.  It was just so ridiculous, it was lovely, and it was so Rock n' Roll.

As you can tell, I could write about Motley Crue for a long time, for there is much to say.  But I will end this here with the reminder that Hair Metal is still a viable musical genre and should not be forgotten.  I'm also pressed to recognize this four piece outfit as one of the most important and influential bands for me in my musical evolution and I will always hold a special place in my heart for them.  Also, if you want an amazingly entertaining read, pick up a copy of The Dirt.  You won't be disappointed in what is the quintessential account of the quintessential Rock n' Roll band.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Whenever the spirit moves him, friend of Three tha Hard Way E4 will chime in with his thoughts from the depths of suburbia. Please enjoy in moderation:

Weddings rule.  They do, and for many different reasons.  Allow me to back up.  I have yet to meet anyone as qualified to write this blog as myself.  My wife and I have attended 52 Weddings in the past 8.5 years, and at one point 37 in 4 years (and in one year, 4 consecutive weekends in 4 different states!). 

Why do we go to weddings?  Well, really bad romantic comedies would lead us to believe we only go to weddings to show old flames what they are missing.  Really boring people would tell you “I can’t wait to see how everyone is doing and tell them about what’s going on with me!!”  Here’s a tip, NO ONE CARES!!  The worst part of a wedding is the happy hour, when everyone fights for ‘air time’ to tell what is going on in their lives.  If anyone was really that interested, they would have called you, or e-mailed you, or twitted you, or pony expressed you, long ago.  If this is your goal, invest in pigeons and stay home or risk being remembered as “that guest.”  If you tell people how awesome your life is, they think you’re lying.  If you say how bad it is, you are downright depressing; and if you say “oh, same old thing, nothing special” then you are boring.  The only way to save yourself is to get past this right away and start talking about the time you all got thrown out of Taco Bell.  Reminiscing is perfectly acceptable because this could be a great time to remember some of the funniest times of your life which have been ‘magic erasered’ out of your history by time, or activity, or cranky spouses/dates (always best to arrange beforehand to run a rotation on cranky spouses, so as to give your friend a chance to be his/her-self and spend some time away from said spouse).  If dates/spouses/others don’t enjoy the reminiscing, it is your fault for bringing them, and politely ask them to go wait in the car (your relationship will end, but it’ll make for a hell of a blog later!).

So again, why do we go to weddings?  Because they represent a new chance, a new hope, and hope in your heart that is The One…  look if you think I’m talking about the newfound bond of love for the couple you don’t know jack about me.  No, I am talking about the hope that this is going to be “the greatest wedding of all time.”  Every wedding has that chance, no matter how boring the couple, how bad the food or how bad the argument about how many times are appropriate to call home and check on the kids.  This is true because no one person, event, element controls the overlaying awesome potential of a wedding.  It’s kinda like the Super Bowl.  No matter how big a favorite the 18-0 team is, it has to be won on the field.  Well the awesomeness of the wedding has to be played out for those 4-6 hours before we ever know.  Some weddings with the absolute worst prospects end up being the best for all the wrong reasons.  Venture with me now…

What constitutes a good wedding?

Great question, you’re glad I asked it!  Here it goes, good crowd, good times, awesome moments and a defining theme.  Here’s the breakdown:
  • Good Crowd:  Big or small does not matter at all for weddings.  I have been at ceremonies of both sizes that were boss and bogus (HELL YEAH I WROTE IT!!).  Usually the crowds that work the best are the ones where it’s been a little while since they were together, but not too long; the comfort level is reached quickly and the guard comes down early.  The crowd doesn’t even need to know each other provided they have easy personalities and common ground.  If that common ground is “hey, we both have a 1-year-old, and mine has been walking for 2 months and can say 4 2-syllable words!!”, then it’s just not working.  When one party feels comfortable enough to say “oh we have a 2 year old too… he’s in the coat closet” and it is received well, you’ve got a chance. 
  • Good Times: This is where it matters how quickly people get past “I’m an operating room assistant for the 4th largest hospital in Southern Iowa!!” to “That’s a great blazer, my grade school used that one too!!”  Sometimes it takes a long time to get to the good times, sometimes it happens immediately.  Rumor has it some weddings utilize the consumption of alcohol as a performance enhancer for good times.  If you ever hear of this happening, it is imperative that you immediately write a strongly worded letter to someone who cares.  Alcohol is nowhere near as necessary as you may feel… no really this isn’t me being sarcastic, I just feel… stop snickering, there’s no punch line, I’m serious damnit!  Alcohol helps, but I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the good times flow before the good booze… and to some where it was bad booze (Yeah Pat, there is such a thing…  lush) (Editor’s note – I, Pat O’D, do not drink alcohol but was once pulled over for suspected drunk driving. What happened was that I drove across three lanes on a deserted road to make a left turn. I passed all the sobriety tests and the cops let me go without a ticket, but they did ask my friends why we had a baseball bat in the car, to which we answered, “because we were playing baseball.” Which we were earlier that night. The cops were not amused – End note)
  • Awesome moments:  Not all awesome weddings have awesome moments, but it is so much better when they do.  Most awesome moments are jaw droppers, and crowd stoppers.  This can come in many forms, some good, some bad, but mostly bad.  They can still qualify for “awesome” so long as you were in no way involved. There are the obvious ones (the cousins from West Virginia who are fighting over the 14 year old girl in the tube top… which is especially awesome if you realized the inevitable tomfoolery early in the evening and got to watch it play out, all the while providing play-by-play for your table).  One of the key times for an awesome moment is the Best Man Speech.  Why?  Because it is done so poorly with such frequency that odds are, every 5th wedding will have a major gaff (I realized it has become PC for the Maid of Honor to give a speech too, but all too often this becomes boring tearfest that relives moments you would have hated to be at the first time, and have no idea why you’re being forced to relive it now… there have been a few good ones in my day, but very few).  When giving this speech, you have 2 jobs, and 2 jobs only.  Make the bride cry (for a good reason) and everyone else laugh.  Accomplish these things in an orderly fashion, thank the parents and be on your way.  Everyone will applaud, eat drink and be merry.  This doesn’t always happen.  Here are 2 such instances:
    • The time the groom’s drunk brother mumbled in complete deadpan: “When I met Jen, I thought she’d be just another 2 week girl, but she got pregnant…. So…. I just want to say I love my brother… (starts drinking, WASP crowd in petrified shock)… (stops drinking looks around)… That’s it”
    • The time the Maid of Honor called the groom’s daughter from a previous relationship “a major obstacle” that they have “had to overcome” while said 12 year old daughter was sitting at the sweetheart table with the couple (one of my favorite all time moments by the way.  Somewhere there is a picture of her giving the speech, with the gaping crowd standing open-mouthed in shock, and me in the middle, grinning from ear to ear and toasting heartily).  And yes, I absolutely referred to the daughter as “the obstacle” the rest of the night, often making quips like “watch out for the obstacle on the dance floor.”
  • Defining Theme:  there is a lot that goes into this and it is hard to control  It can be a “young” wedding, a “loud” wedding, a “raucous” wedding, a “lllooooong” wedding, an “active” wedding and many more defining themes, many of which are unfit to print.  The theme can be determined by the pace, by the food, by non-traditional activities, by the DJ, by the venue and more.  The more it is mixed up, the better it usually is.
  • **Special extra, as a fat guy I would be remiss if I didn’t say, although food quality is usually not a make-break proposition, it’s great when the food rocks (don’t ever go to a vegan wedding, or as I like to call it “Lucifer’s recruiting seminar”).

Wedding Etiquette (Quick Shots)
  • How much should I give?
    • Well, acceptable standards for gift giving is to give the amount that the dinner would have cost you and your date ($75 a head, you give $150).  That’s crap.  It always comes down to the same thing, you give the absolute most you can possibly afford, while giving the absolute least you can manage without seeming cheap in comparison to everyone else.  It’s a cold hard truth.
  • What about gifts?
    • My wife loves to give Waterford Crystal at weddings.  It’s “her thing”.  Personally, I’m tired of arguing with her.  Someone we don’t know gave us a crystal candy dish and she hasn’t stopped feeling “touched” by the gesture (they probably found it in a dead old woman’s attic).  Of course, I can’t use that dish to subscribe to Sports Illustrated or to purchase a new snow blower.  Whatever, moving on.
  • How much time do I have to spend talking to people I’m not interested in hearing from?
    • 0
  • How should I go about trying to catch the bouquet or garter?
    • Let’s cut to the chase, only a chick would ask that because men never try to catch it.  We’re pissed off at the whole idea of it.  So we’re only asking about the bouquet.  The answer is.. Have at it!  Go nuts, nothing bad can happen if you elbow the slut in the red dress who was creeping up on you… at least not as far as the men are concerned and maybe we would show a mild interest if we thought it would get physical.  As far as men go, try not to hurt yourself when you dive out of the way (I have seen numerous times where the entire phalanx of men step back and away as the that damn thing goes airborne, followed by it landing on the floor and awkward glances back and forth for more than a moment before someone reluctantly picks if up like the roadkill your dog brought you).  A fantastic theory is to stand in the back, push forward, reach up, and stuff it into some poor unsuspecting schlub’s pocket in one motion… all the better if the schlub brought a date who will be annoyed by this.
  • Do I have to tip the bartender at an open bar?
    • As an ex-bartender… HELL YES!!  $1 per trip and if you get more than 2 drinks, an additional dollar for every 2 thereafter.  You are drinking for free, only lonely people stay up there to talk to the bartender so the crowd sucks as far as they are concerned, and they need to make enough in tips so they can buy a new power tool without their wife knowing… sorry, flashbacks.  Honey, I would never do that…. Unless you’re cool with it, in which case I saw this great belt sander at Home Depot….
  • Do I have to tip the Valet too?
    • Not if he spills bong water in your car, but yes if he spills it in your old rival/flame’s car (if you plan this with him in advance you may be able to do it for $10 and a cracker). 
  • Can I politely ask the camera man to stop hawking me every time I turn around?
    • Just do something really inappropriate or return the favor by standing very close to him and staring at him intensely.  If you make him uncomfortable enough, he’ll stay away.
  • If I really want the center piece, what should I do?
    • Make a show of spitting in it a few times and explain that you are having a real bad “snot thing” going on and there is no other place to do it.  They won’t hand it to you, but it’ll be yours.

What happens when wedding paralysis sets in?

 My sister has a friend who is getting married this fall.  I would bet my second daughter that this particular friend has gotten married every fall for the last 6 years.  I swear my sister has been planning the shower since my 8 year old was born.  This is a fantastic idea, especially if you are the “wayward friend.”  Plan your shower every year, and only invite those who didn’t come (think of it as a pyramid scheme, as soon as they agree to attend, take them off next years invite list).  The ones who don’t come are the best because they will just blindly send stuff every year and wonder why you have registered for things like “Avatar” and “Scotts Turf Builder”. 

So there it is, an experts insider guide to weddings.  Drive safe and remember to tip the author.

Fare Thee Well

La Di Da Di

So just yesterday a friend of mine, Dawn in her Facebook update mentioned that she thought that Slick Rick was underrated. It made me think of something that the Mrs. and I had been talking about just a few weeks ago when Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh's classic, La Di Da Di came on some playlist we happened to be listening to in the car. I mean, beyond classic funk and soul artists like Lyn Collins or James Brown, has another artist, and in this case song been sampled as much as La Di Da Di? It would be hard to argue, you seem to hear snippets of it all over the place. It even has a classic story behind it: being that it was actually released as a B-Side to The Show in 1985, but arguably became a bigger classic than that song.

I mean, depending on the cut of it you hear, the song lasts four and a half minutes to nearly five minutes, and you could make a whole mixtape just based around the idea that these songs have sampled, in some way, just this song. Check out where parts of La Di Da Di shows up, and this list isn't even definitive:

-The hook of the song Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G. revolve around Slick Rick's lyrics.
-The words "hit it" were sampled by Ini Kamoze in the song Here Comes The Hotstepper. 
-Also I am pretty sure they use the same "hit it" in the Beastie Boys' Hold It, Now Hit It  from License To Ill
-In the Mos Def song Perfect Timing (from True Magic) he repeats the line, "cause this type of shit happens everyday"
-L.L. Cool J uses the "There Is No Competition" line at the end of Jingling Baby
-De La Soul loved this song: they sample the word "emcee" in the song Supa Emcees in their album, Stakes Is High.
-they sample the phrase "can't be a love" in the song Talkin' Bout Hey Love from the album De La Soul is Dead
-they also use the phrase "slammed the child on the hard concrete" in the song My Brother Is A Basehead also on De La Soul Is Dead.
-Das EFX samples the words "just some men" in the song Jussummen on their album Dead Serious.
-2Pac sings the final hook on the song Lost Souls, which revolves around Slick Rick's phrase, "All of ya'll keepin ya'll in health..."
-Black Sheep samples the phrase "on and she kept on" in their song La Menage (which features Q-Tip) off their album, A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing.
-And, to me, one of the more amazing ones: none other than Color Me Badd samples the phrase, "to the tic toc you don't stop" on their hit I Wanna Sex You Up (from their album C.M.B.)

Like I said above, that list is by no means definitive. All in all, for a song that was originally was a B-side to become such an influential classic is pretty amazing. Lastly, an interesting factoid, I guess, with how much sampling either in turns of phrases or actual sampling of this song, their is no actual sampling on the song. Its just the amazing sounds of Doug E. Fresh's human beatbox that supplies the beat.


Go Get Your Shinebox.

Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read GQ's excellent oral history on the making of Goodfellas. There are some amazing anecdotes in there, including some interesting nuggets on who might have been cast in the movie. It's really great.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Wright (2010)

Listen, I'm not made of stone. I'm not "against" romantic comedies per se. It's like I say about musical genres, from time to time, it's pretty much like any other human endeavor: there's good and there's bad. Unfortunately, for the Rom Com there has been a lot more bad to excruciating of late. (As a measuring stick, when I think of a "good" romantic comedy, I am thinking of say an Annie Hall or When Harry Met Sally.) Not to say Just Wright is excruciating. In fact, its probably the nicest and most amiable movie one would see in a long time. I'm serious. It stars Common and Queen Latifah, Common plays a star basket ball player who gets hurt, and Latifah plays the physical therapist who helps him both physically and mentally and spiritually. Even from that description you can guess what happens. The lead couple is just very nice, as are her parents, one played by Pam Grier, and even her cousin who provides the only "obstacle" in their relationship is a gold digger, sure, but is hardly the worst you've ever seen. I mean what can you say about a movie that offers so little dramatic tension that even the climactic scene where Common comes back on the basketball court just lands with a thud, because there is absolutely no question of what is going to happen. So, I don't know, there's just nothing there, but a nice portrait of a nice couple who eventually (SPOILER, I guess) rises above very small odds to be together. I will say though that Queen Latifah actually is good at this sort of thing, but I think she needs to find another outlet for her talents. Common, on the other hand, while being amiable enough here, is a terrible terrible actor. So, yeah, in the end, this is a movie that is basically like cinematic tapioca: it goes down super smoothly, seems a touch long because there is zero surprises, and is filling enough, you guess. I'll put it this way, besides my wife and I making jokes, the most excited I got was when they used a Mos Def song in one scene.

On a sort of side note: I have to remind mediocre to bad movies of something. Don't put things in your movie that remind me of better things. At one point Common puts on the television and they watch Romancing The Stone. Yeah, I'd MUCH rather be watching Romancing The Stone, that might quicken the pulse a whole lot more than this movie ever did.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Casey Siemaszko

In a weird, coincidence I was watching the pilot episode of The Event last night (being an introductory episode I found it intriguing enough to come back to. Could be good. Oh, also I have no real idea what was actually going on).  Watching the show wasn't the coincidence, but the sort-of coincidence was, in the opening scene, playing an air traffic controller was none other than Casey Siemaszko. You might not recognize his name but he supporting parts in some of the biggest, and best, movies of the eighties. One of which our guest writer, E4, already wrote about passionately. Talk about synergy!

Anyway, who is Casey Siermaszko? Here is in a few roles from the eighties, you'll remember him.

He played 3-D, one of the members of Biff's gang in Back To The Future (and Back To The Future Part II).  He, of course, was the guy always wearing 3-D glasses, so clever nickname there.

There he is all the way over the right.

He was a part of another gang in 1986. He played Billy Tessio, Vern's older brother, and friend to Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me.           

There he is, all the way to the left

1987 was a big year for Casey. He had what looks like his first starring role in a major motion picture and what has become sort of a cult classic. He plays Jerry Mitchell, the dork who runs afoul of the school bully and is challenged to a fight after school. Its a teenage High Noon, appropriately titled, Three O'Clock High.

1988 was also a big year. Nothing where he carried a movie, but he was in a movie with Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken, Biloxi Blues. As per usual, with Casey, here is he is peering over Christopher Walken's shoulder.

And, last, but certainly not least, in 1988, he played Charles "Charlie" Bowdre as a part of Billy The Kid's gang in Young Guns.

He's the one to the right of Emilio Estevez, with the beard.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Forgot One!

In the interest of being totally complete as far as my thoughts about the upcoming television season, I forgot a show. I knew there was something going on on Wednesdays.

Modern Family

Ah, that's better.  This will be Modern Family's second season , and you may or may not have heard that it won the Emmy this year for best comedy, uh, show. But since the Emmy's are largely horseshit, we won't worry too much about that. Suffice to say, this show is generally really funny. I have to admit that, at times, the overly saccharine endings of many of the episodes-where people learn lessons and what not-used to rub me the wrong way. Sometimes it seems that things are wrapped up too neatly. But this show is able to warm this cynical heart, because, for the most part it is really funny. I also think the whole "documentary" conceit of the show doesn't really work either, but I guess without that they wouldn't have people talking to the camera in "interviews".  The cast is good, Ty Burrell as the goofy head of one of the families is a particular favorite for me. Overall, despite some minor caveats, it is really well written, and I will say it again, funny.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Around The Dial

(Before I begin I just wanted to say that I am watching Red Dawn as I write this. Did I just incept your mind!?)

By the way, is there a more original title for a post about television than "Around The Dial". I doubt it.

So, for me, the new television officially started this past Thursday. I am excited for the return of shows I like and, of course, to discover some new ones. To wit, here is what I am watching and what I am thinking about watching. Because, you know, thats fascinating. I suppose things got kicked off on Thursday for me, but I think I will start with Sunday and move forward in the week so:


Mad Men

So, I have actually been watching this since almost the beginning. And, quite honestly, not only is it one of the best shows on television, it always looks amazing too. Its one of the shows that people bring up, with good reason, to point how some shows currently on television that are better than a good portion of whats in the cinema. So complex and so crazy good.

Eastbound and Down

This is going to be starting its second season next Sunday night (see poster). I might have to catch it on On Demand since it seems like it will conflict with my Mad Men watching (I know, life is hard) but that's okay. I know I sound like a 70 year old man with a pocketful of Werther's when I say this: but technology has pretty much made it so nothing is appointment television anymore. You can pretty much catch anything even if you are a little late to it. Which means someday I will catch up on Deadwood, Breaking Bad, and Battlestar Galactica. Anyway, Eastbound & Down,  was one of the funniest shows on air last year and hopefully will remain so this year. One could argue that the end of last season, 6 episodes, which was basically like one long movie was perfect, with him  (SPOILER) driving away and leaving his high school sweetheart at the gas station, and should have been left alone. I can see that. Then I saw the "trailer" for this season and he gets a job playing in a Mexican baseball league, and he seems to be the only returning character-well it still looks pretty amazing. Danny McBride is so great. I can't wait.

Boardwalk Empire

This actually starts tonight and was sort of the impetus for this post. This looks like this could be yet another HBO classic show. Atlantic City. Prohibition era. Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon, Michael K. Williams (a lot of Michaels) a lot of guys who are actually British but are playing Americans. First show directed by Martin Scorcese, and the rest produced by him. It looks so amazing.

The Walking Dead

Even though I still haven't seen Breaking Bad AMC has a pretty good track record as far as original programming goes. This miniseries starting on Halloween, of course, is about a zombie outbreak (uprising). And might be only interesting to me because I have read a good deal of the graphic novels that its based on. Also it is being produced by (and possibly the first episode is directed by) Frank Darabont who directed The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. So I am excited for this.


Here's two shows that are just starting this year that are definite maybes right now for me. I am intrigued, but who knows if they are going to stay on the regular rotation. They might be awful, they might be good timewasters. Here's to taking a chance and coming up with something good:

The Event

Ever since the success of Lost (Still kinda sad you're gone, buddy) every network, including ABC, has been trying to come up with another serialized drama/mystery whatever show that captured that sort of, shall we say, magic. But most have really missed the mark. And The Event just might as well. I have to admit that I might have been clubbed into submission by the advertising. When I first saw a commercial for this every other piece of dialogue was someone talking about "The Event", i.e., "What's the event", "Tell me about The Event", "Wanna speak about the Event" etc. etc. And it was extremely annoying. But at some point they changed up the advertising, and made it so I might tune to find out about this "event". We'll see it might be another Flash Forward where I can only take it for a few episodes before tuning it out. We'll see I guess.

Hawaii 5-0

Now, this could potentially be ridiculous, but its been far too long since there has been a cop show bases in Hawaii. It might as well be a remake of the original Hawaii 5-0, I guess. The first show is directed by Len Wiseman who directed Live Free or Die Hard so he knows his way around a ridiculous action show, so this might be entertaining. I also like how Daniel Dae Kim was able to extend his time living and working in Hawaii for just a little while more. Hey, he owns a restaurant there, something has to pay the bills.



Thanks to the magic of DVD, a few years back my Dad started buying DVD sets of some of his favorite shows. One being the old school detective show starring James Garner, called The Rockford Files.  I started watching too since he was so into This show, Terriers, has actually started already, and it reminds me of The Rockford Files, in that it features two almost down-an-out dudes, instead of one, living close to the beach and solving a different crime and working for different people each episode. It's pretty straight forward, but the two leads have an easy chemistry and its pretty fun. FX has emerged as another place for quality programming, this is a nice amiable cop show. Justified, is another good, pulpy cop show, and Louie  pretty much rewrote the rules of what can can't be presented as comedy on television, an ostensible comedy show thats so challenging, even after its first season, which is now over, is still being dissected and argued about. Anyway, it might not be rewriting the rules of television, but as far as detective shows go, you could do worse it seems than Terriers. Donal Logue put in a lot of effort to lose weight for this, so I figured I owed it to him (no I didn't.)


The ol' Thursday Night Laugh Factory. I just made that up too. Feel free to use it.

Thursday nights, for me, pretty much belong to comedy and to NBC and FX. Which to me, have the best comedies on the air right now, besides Eastbound & Down. 

The Best:

30 Rock

There's a contingent of people that have turned on this show. But, honestly, I still don't see why. Maybe I have lost my critical eye, I guess but I still think this is one of the funniest shows on television. I do think it takes an episode or two each season to really get rolling, but when it does, it really does. Hopefully this season will be more of the same.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Fun Fact: Wait, does Matt Fullmer even read this because this is the second time he is going to be mentioned in under a week? Anyway our friend Matt Fullmer went to high school with one of the creators of this show,  Rob McElhenny (all the way to right up there in the green tie). It is described by said creators as being "Seinfeld on crack" which is a pretty apt description. On the plus side, the first episode this season was already hitting on all cylinders. The only thing odd is that they are clearly trying to to shoehorn things in for their sponsors which sometimes is a little too obvious (breakfast at Subway!?) It doesn't detract from things too much but it is...obvious. Listen I know, we are all adults, and people making shows need to get paid somehow. Shit, 30 Rock did the same with McDonalds, among others, and it didn't detract that much. I guess in my naive mind I just wish they didn't have to. Which, of course, goes without saying. Now, I have to say too, It's Always Sunny... isn't for everybody, breaking it down its about assholes being assholes to eachother and, at times, it can get pretty uncomfortable. Some people aren't into that sort of thing, just saying.

The League

Honestly, this show shouldn't have worked. When I saw this was coming out and was a show based around a fantasy football league. I was like "ugh" there's no way this would work. But it worked for a few (obvious) reasons: it's funny and well written, and the actors in it are also funny and likable. The fantasy league basically is the framework of the show which allows these men to hang out with eachother and, well, not to put too fine a point on it, be terrible assholes to one another. But in a more friendly way, if that makes sense, that guys tend to do. Now, I have heard the complaint that only people that are actually in fantasy football leagues would enjoy this. I'm not sure I agree, although I am in a football league and one of the guys, Taco, all the way to the left up there, who has no idea what he is doing in the league, I was like it's just like me! Anyway, so I am looking at it through those eyes, but the only other eyes I have are my wife's who isn't in a fantasy league but still loves the show. (She likes football too, I don't know if thats a factor, I'll ask her) But the fact of the matter is is its super funny and well-written, and so it transcends what I originally thought it was going to be. Even in the opener, from this past Thursday, Chad Ochocinco guest stars and he is really funny in it too. But thats sort of no surprise.

The rest:

The Office

At some point I wouldn't have imagined The Office  falling into the Thursday night "rest of" category. I seem to be watching this show nowadays out of obligation more than anything else. That has been supplanted this year by being curious how they write Michael Scott (Steve Carell) out of the show. And I will admit that if they do come back for another season, which they shouldn't, if Danny McBride or Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords are brought in it might just keep me watching. Hey, I'm easy. Also Amy Ryan and Timothy Olyphant might be around this season so I am intrigued. So I am divided, really, it needs an infusion of...something. Something new, I guess, or it needs to be mercy killed, because a lot last year it just seemed sort of tired. Which is super sad because it was really great once.


This one I actually find pretty funny, but I don't know, I'm just not over the moon about it like some other people are. And for the life of me, I'm just not sure why. But I will stick with it because for the most part I find it enjoyable. Which, I know, isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but its a good enough timewaster, and you never know it might be even better than that so maybe I will be rewarded. I actually liked Parks and Recreation better but NBC saw fit to use that as a mid-season replacement and instead decided to put what looks like a racist nightmare, Outsourced on the air. Way to hit the zeitgeist, NBC.