Monday, February 27, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Dancing Turk makes me happy.
Makes me wish I could dance:
I needed someplace to store it so my people could view it.
Monday, February 13, 2006
What I learned to respect about these two comedies was their age level, and how they deftly seemed to balance burgeoning maturity and immaturity. These were stories about manhood and how it proceeds from boyhood.
It is an archetypal love story. There is the typical misunderstanding where the guy has to make a big emotional gesture. In this movie Andy is hiding the fact that he is a virgin, and it backfires because his woman thinks he is a serial killer or something because she finds a box of porn. This is weird as far as “big mix-ups” go. I could not imagine how many calls the Cincy PD would have gotten if all the women who stumbled onto my porn collection thought I was a serial killer.
Andy, through the process of the movie makes friends with the guys he works with. The social boundary is let down and the curtain is pulled back. In the process of teaching him how to bed a lady they go to bars with him, they hang out at his house and play video games. One aspect of the movie that is forgotten in most reviews is how this movie slides into male bonding effortlessly and a friendship evolves in the process. Andy goes from being the outsider to being the guy these three will break into an apartment to stop from making a mistake. You see a friendship grow, and these men open up a little to their own flaws as a result. They some to see Andy as a reflection of what they want out of their relationships, and what they thought they wanted.
The movie seems to run with the premise of The Wood, American Pie and before that, Porky's. It is the age old, teenage loss of virginity story, only fast forwarded 20 years. Andy doesn’t have parents, like the absence of parents in all teenage movies. Parents in the movie would raise questions as to how Andy got the way he is. Andy learns everything he needs to know about sex from his new guy friends, who of course know nothing. And then he relearns in his actual relationship with Trish (Catherine Keener), the girl who runs the EBay store across the street. She sells stuff on EBay, which sounds like a metaphor for helping him strip away the layers of his childhood so that he can enter the world a man. It is no surprise when she actually takes on the task of selling all his toys, which he no longer needs because he has a woman to occupy his time
I am reminded of a time when I was a preteen and I was playing GI Joes in the yard with my brother. Some girls I didn’t know came walking up our street and I instinctively tried to hide the toys, knowing it would render me infantile in their eyes. My brother, two years my junior at the time had no such meter and he protested exhaustively until the girls passed.
This movie is about maleness, with all its lusty bravado, and the maturity of womanhood that tames that rampant desire and helps you grow into a man. Trish has kids, and Andy’s childlike nature allows him to cozy up to the daughter causes him to gain the ire of the older daughter. The older daughter has an oddly telling moment where she calls Andy on his Virginity. She says she is around boys all the time and she can tell who has done it and who hasn’t. In the movie it speaks to that inner foresight women have over men in that they can secretly tell the man’s desires even if the man himself does not know. It rings false that the daughter, who has never had sex can spot a virgin when all the countless other women who come in contact with Andy are none the wiser, particularly the mom Trish who is intimate with him all the way up to heavy petting. That and I know 15 year olds and they don’t know jack about jack, let alone how to accurately judge the sexual prowess of a 40 year old man. In reality older men don’t even register on their radar let alone get judged for sexual efficacy. It stands to reason that she sees the childlike innocence and awkwardness in Andy that parallels boys her age, but for the daughter to be so narcissistic in the rest of the movie and to have this suddenly empathetic moment does not flow from the previous scene where she is yelling at the mother from the bathroom about wanting birth control. Interestingly after this scene the daughters fall off the screen to give Andy and Trish a chance to work up to their big misunderstanding and eventual romantic gesture.
So the themes continue to play. Women as the tamers, men as the wild passionate beasts that want to unleash sexual fury. Women as the holders of the keys to the magic of intimacy, and maturity in the grown man-boy. Andy and Trish get married before they do anything, and the movie ends in a huge dance number that makes little sense. Then it cuts back to 5 minutes later where Andy has gotten his first squirt out of the way and they try again for the big finish.
So much about this movie rings tender and true. That humanness and vulnerability in Andy’s eyes in those eerily innocent Virgin posters is what made the movie a hit. My biggest fear is that
Now if only we can get everyone past that predictable “misunderstanding, leads to a big romantic gesture” plot.
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
I stumbled onto the Shield late one Thursday night in Season one. My first few minutes was of a cop show in a Church with no men's bathroom
By the end of the show I had seen Mackie crack a child molester in the face with a phone book and I found myself cheering for him.
I remember the look on Aceveda's face when he had to ask for Vic's help, wanting to close the case and knowing he needed a man like Vic to do it.
Since then I have not missed an episode of the show in 4 years.
I won’t spoil it but Season 4 does step away from the procedural cop type drama of the first season. In season one you got more of a back door sense that you were looking into these guy's lives, whether you wanted to or not.
Season 4 is more political maneuvering.
Glen Close MADE season 4. You watch her saunter her way in, start slamming doors on some people and kicking Mackie in the Ass to get him back on the ball after all that money train BS (The money train was a plot I was all but sure they were never gonna pull off. While watching it I could not help but think of Priest's money train in THE CREW. When they did succeed in robbing it I was kind a relived when Lem burned the stash because then I didn't have to spend the next season worrying about who was going to get shot in the face over it. ((I spend every episode of the shield worried which cast member is not going to make it. I am not satisfied till the credits role Shawn Ryan's name and the music comes blaring in.))
Season 4 was a little off the other seasons but to watch all the detectives, who had heretofore lost their mojo, kick and scream to get it back, you had to love the struggle for redemption all the while making bad choices.
I still have some problems with Tavon being dismissed from the show. I believed Aceveda when he said there should be a minority on the strike team. The idea of an all white unit kicking in the teeth of Latino’s and blacks disturbs me on an internal level. Still every week I cheer for them.
You have to see season 4. I taped the entire thing and I still plan to get the DVD set for my collection.
I love the set ups in the show. There are all these moments where you are watching two people who just need to sit down and have a conversation, instead they are punching each other in the teeth.
Often ignored is Wyms’ partner Dutch, who has always been my favorite.
If Wyms is the moral center then Dutch is the brains, the cold, socially inept sad sack milquetoast who gets called in to break the cerebral cases but can never get the respect he deserves. I hated when David Mamet directed Dutch strangling that cat. Yet I sort of understood why he would explore it with his almost maniacal desire to get into the mind of a killer. I remember that in season one it was mentioned that Dutch wanted to become a great detective that broke big serial murder cases. I think he has gotten away from that motivation lately. He has this affectionate bond to Wyms that is as pathetic as it is endearing, and for that I love the character. Him crying in his car after breaking that case really hurt me to my heart. Vic yelling at him in season 3 “You go back to being a joke around here!” Yeah, good TV.
That is another reason I love the show, I feel like it has a real heart to it. These characters piss me off, I mean really make me mad sometimes. I know the writing is good when it knocks me out of my comfort zone and has me yelling at Shane “Why in the hell would you do that?!” And yet I can't turn my eyes away. Once it gets up and running I dedicate myself to the hour of TV.
Season 4 is it, Oh, and I forgot Anthony Anderson as Antwon Mitchell. I had really low expectations for him after his turn in Barber Shop and kangaroo jack (I work with kids so I have seen it, but even they hate that movie.) He really brought a classy brutality to the role. Scene to watch: him and Vic nose to nose after “signs of a break in.” You can feel steam coming off their backs. Another scene that will sit in your mind: Antwon and Shane: "When I say... I want you to ask…?" I can’t give it away but you will know it when you see it.
At first I was a little annoyed by the plot because the addition of yet another drug kingpin mirrored the plot of the last 3 seasons but this year was a doozy, You will literally spend every minute of the show wondering who is going to shoot who in the back.
A little side note, every season the big drug kingpin usually gets taken down by episode 10 to make way for Mackie and the crew trouble in the last two episodes. I watched season 1 and 2 on a drive down and back to
I can’t say anymore without giving away the spoilers. I would not want to do that, you have to see the show for yourselves. There is no way I could do it justice, but I want to sing the praises of this wonderful show that has eaten up at least 52 hours of life, and that does not count reruns and multiple viewings.
Check it out for yourself
The Shield Season 4