Friday, May 26, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
It was the dumbest movie of all time and it involved a cop with super powers who would lose his abilities when he saw the color red
it was trite and illogical
and my twelve year old self was absolutely in love with it.
The movie was super fuzz,
A website devoted to it can be found here
Right click below to download the theme song.
Only I understand this.
pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The series finale of Malcolm in the Middle came on tonight and I have to say I was very impressed.
Malcolm in the middle was a show that was hinged on the suffering of Malcolm. Be it his social alienation at school or his brutal torture by his elder siblings. Malcolm’s life has been a series of laughable misfortunes at the hand of fate all task mastered by his strict drill sergeant harpy of a mother. Tonight, as the show took a bow, you discovered why that was. Malcolm, for all his whining and self pity is being groomed to be the next President of the United States. His mother, for all her discipline and strength had his life planned down to the minutia with a sense for detail that Malcolm himself could be proud of.
They even planned to see Dewey live a life of reckless monetary privilege. The family, held together by their misery and the hope that Malcolm for all his genius will finally make something, not only of himself but of the world. Reece is a lost cause, for all his malaise and violence his dream job is as the janitor at his high school. The eldest son Francis is stuck in a cubicle despite a life of mischief and free spirit roaming. His life of roaming from situation to situation and job to job brought him to the point where he loved the stability of soul drenching work. He has gleefully become his father and he is proud to wear the mantle. This last subplot was deftly handled as most Francis asides were, neatly packed away in the corners of the larger narrative.
And it all closed perfectly. Malcolm’s life was spelled out and looked neat and packaged beneath a layer of refuse that is his life. Forged in the mess of human existence he shall rise as a pearl to lead the unwashed masses in a way that only one humbled by strife can understand. And it all makes sense.
It was one of those episodes built on the strength of the human spirit. Malcolm confronted with the clarity of his fate could not argue with the reality that in the end his mother was right and she always has been.
The show always worked for this reason, when Malcolm, in all his intelligence and planning could not ignore the grim reality that his mother was always right and no matter how hard he fought this brilliant truth he always ended up a better person for it. One of my favorite episodes is when Lois, the mother, visits Hal’s family and is treated sourly as an outcast and has a breakdown where she cries on the floor. The boys, who should enjoy this felling of their ersatz jailer, instead become invigorated to protect their mother. They channel their dangerous pranks into one big blast that shocks Hal’s family and has them banished. I always loved the teamwork and control they could invoke to protect one another. No mater how mean or physically hurtful they could be to one another they would come together whenever there was any outside threat.
I bid you adieu Malcolm, Reese, Francis, & Dewey, your time was harsh and unforgiving, and it was well worth it.
Still it is damn entertaining television and each time I happen to catch an episode I am enthralled by what it has to say about character and moral ambiguity. I credit the show with being the catalyst for the fall of reality television. Lost is what survivor without the inane unscripted conflict. It is the real world with a director and a script supervisor. It is a show about a bunch of random strangers forced to live on an island and see what happens when people stop being polite and start being real.
By adding drama and true character development the show did something normal people and a bunch of crafty editors can not do, they got everyone who sits to watch the show enthralled by the mystery of it. I will swear till its eventual premature end that the show will go down as a social experiment. It reminds me of the news story I heard about psychologists who petitioned to join the cast of the first survivor on the island in order to learn about the human condition in such a harsh environment.
Watching the penultimate episode of this season's "Lost" I am more assured that the entire set up is some screwed up psychological experiment where the secret cabal of unethical scientists are taking notes on the lives of our beloved castaways.
The black lady with the crazy eyes and the twenty questions routine is obviously a doctor, probably a psychiatrist, you can tell by the cold demeanor. The biggest danger is making assumptions in television means you have to know all the rules, and it is obvious that we don't since sometimes there are monsters, other times hallucinations, and the like. You never know what to expect, which means you can never assume the rules at play in the universe.
Still Walt did say that they "test him," and threatened to throw him in "the room" when he blabbed about them pretending. The room is probably a Skinner box, or something to the effect.
My favorite moment in the show, Sawyer and Jack loading guns and Sawyer confiding about his last moments with Anna Lucia, revealing that he looks at Jack as his only friend.
Yeah, I'd expect that from a person with a severe personality disorder.
I also liked watching the lord of the rings dude throw all the heroin into the ocean. It is not so subtle how the island finds a way to confront each castaway with their individual demons to force them to make choices.
I liked watching Michael's desperate attempt to lure the four castaways into the thick of a jungle trap. I hated him the entire time. I am pretty sure the "others" would not have sanctioned him killing people to make it happen.
They seem to prefer subtle plotting to serve their ends.
I hate how guns make people killers in movies and television.
If Michael wanted his son Walt so bad why didn't he bite the witches nose off and spit it in the bearded guys face. That is what I thought to do. Never trust anyone who bargains with your freedom I say, just go psycho and remain cognizant enough to out crazy everyone in the area. Just do it to see if they will actually put you down like a dog, or will you surprise them enough to gain the upper hand.
But normal people don't think of things like that. Normal people don't read nearly as much crime fiction as I do and understand that a little concentrated crazy at the right time can really tip the scale. Fools gambit I know but crap there are no cops on the island, and playing it safe gets arbitrary innocents offed.
At least thats how I feel about this show, waiting for one of the castaways to think outside the box a little, sort of like Michael did in his swift and shocking murder of Anna Lucia and Libby. Imagine if instead of watching the bearded guy talk about lines in the sand Sawyer just went berserk and sprayed bullets in a wild circle. Tell me they would have saw that coming.
What do you have to lose, you are on a frickin island with these guys.
I am so waiting for next week's season finale.
I am in a bit of a morbid mood today. I am sick of hotel dial up and I need to see my woman. I am ready to go to home.
P.S. Random Spoiler
They killed the female ADA on Law & Order, and Mcoy pulled a bunch of theatrics. I had so much work to do but all these seasons are ending so gloriously that I would hate to miss them.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Sitting mouth agape as the credits role on what has gone down as my favorite show of the year, next to the Shield’s Rock & Roll season 6, Grey’s Anatomy turns the lights out on another season leaving the world in a tizzy as everyone goes to town on the acting front. Grey’s Anatomy is a show you have to know is written by women. All the men say magically romantic lines in soft tones and the women slip effortlessly into adulterous scandal.
I love ensemble shows, just a thrill I get to see personalities interact and team up. I love the moments where the cast is standing in one room each individually reacting to the mess they have found themselves in. Tonight’s 2 hour season finale episode provided me with more than enough examples of what works in ensemble drama
First things first, the cast of the show is made entirely of young and self involved crazy wads who on a weekly basis jeopardize not only their patients but the hospital’s licensing and insurance premiums with each new triumph and failure. I can not imagine a scenario where the entire lot would not have been washed out of the hospital for their shenanigans.
I should also say,
I still hate Meredith Grey with a passion that is only ignited in fervor on a weekly basis. Her capacity for pouty ineptitude is difficult to swallow, but makes perfect sense in a psychologically screwed up realistic sort of way. What friend hasn’t watch a woman opine mercilessly for a lost man who only dumps on her, all the while screaming inside for her to grow a spine and move on.
I am waxing philosophic around the issues at hand here,
Spoilers to follow:
Grey, the silly love happy trollup that she is sleeps with Derrick again after having the charmingly innocent Chris O’Donnell tell her that he sees a future with her. This means that Meredith has now struck down two decent men in her wake, although the final result is not actually displayed in the show it is obvious after her betrayal of O’Donnell’s Finn character that no good can came from what follows. Derrick has now actually cheated on his wife after a year of playing at working things out. Say what you must about Addison Shepard I really enjoy what she brings to the cast when she isn’t playing the needy lover of Derrick’s indifference.
Izzy’s little nervous breakdown finally plays out as she actually gets Denny the heart only to have a minor complication take him out within the same day. I will tel the story of my missing the first hour of Grey’s anatomy due to the hotel’s satellite being on the fritz, but it will convolute my ire. Long story short I could only hear the show while staring at a jumbled digital screen. (The Red Roof inn got several disgruntled calls from me about it and the problem was rectified on the morrow). I could only hear as Izzy began to hyperventilate in Denny’s arms about how he should risk his life to “take care of me, do this for me.” It disgusted me even more than my bile filled hate for the ultra needy Meredith Grey. As a person who is embarking on a career as a public servant vis-a vis Clinical Psychology I am beginning to understand the ethical concerns that arise from attachment to patients and why certain lines must be drawn in the sand to optimize care. Izzy demolished these lines as she sought to worsen the condition of her man in order to steal a heart for him.
The sad and horrible casualty of her action is the husband and father who missed out on the heart that Denny received due to her childish manipulations. When Izzy crossed into self service territory she gave up on what could have been acknowledged as an innocent loving relationship into a schizoid witch who was willing to kill for her goals, or at least one so arrogant to think that she could tempt fate at an opportunity to be happy. Her short life so mired in this event that it seems insanely short sighted. It is fritting that tonight’s episode featured a faux prom where the Chief, like an authoritarian father demands that everyone attend. The interns are all acting like high schoolers trapped in their own perspective, limited by their inability to see outside the walls of Seattle Grace much like many high schoolers deny the existence of life after high school. That limited perspective that leads to arguments over the keys to the car without considering important adult responsibilities like insurance and other drivers on the road. I am delineating the analogy so tell me if you don’t get it.
Even George was not safe from infantile behavior as he apologizes to Meredith for his attempting to sleep with her. I am in no way denying his complicity in the matter but I feel that Meredith never took responsibility for her ignoring George for so long, so
I felt it only necessary recompense that he ignore her. I don’t even think she wants him back as a friend so much as she does not want the burden of having to feel guilty for what she did to him. Georges whole “I love you” thing with Callie was irritating like a paper cut considering my strong love for George as the Ritch analogue in the show. I love how carefully he handled the moment where he held her firm and told her why he needed time. That was one of the most mature moments in the show. It was superseded by Dr. Burkes quiet liberation of Yang in telling her that he will not hold a grudge against her for her inaction.
My highest praise as always goes to the other love of my life Dr. Miranda Bailey who plays the mommy to Chief’s daddy. The panicked look in her eye when she realizes the possible ramifications of Izzy’s actions takes me back to the days when I put my own wonderful mother to the test with my trials. Call Bailey the Nazi bitch all you want to she is the only sane and selfless person in that hospital. While the others huddle and plot their next self involved escapade she has to swoop in and actually remind him that they are not there to play out their little dramas but to instead be about the business of saving lives. She is a powerful motivator in a room full of babies whose heads are so far up their own behinds to remember to do their jobs. I am reminded of the Mad TV parody of the show which featured impersonators all standing around looking interested and solemn while a fiery Bailey impersonator ran into the room every five minutes to yell for everyone to actually work, reminding them that people are dying here. It is Bailey’s most consistent drum and it saddens me that she has to beat it so hard on a weekly basis. I would have fired my intern doctor on the spot if I had to endure the narcissistic prattle they converse about within earshot of patients. It is surprising that the hospital isn’t besieged by lawsuits for their constant negligence.
The show was full of great moments that tugged at my heart strings and at times kicked me in the gut to make sure I still had feeling. I was LIVID and I mean LIVID with unceasing Vitriol when Meredith and Derrick did the grown people dance behind their significant other’s backs in the hospital. I was sad beyond repair to see Karev be the man and pull Izzy’s pathetic little self from the corpse of her pseudo lover.
I loved the Chief’s deft handling of the interrogation of the interns. He knew how to approach each of them and had they not been as riddled with personality disorders he might have made headway. I almost cheered when Izzy quit, wanting her dumb ass to get fired for a month now. And then there was the final scene with Meredith.
And lets not forget about the killing of the dog. Finn, the vet representing an undertaker of the Meredith Derrick estate as he tried to work his way into Meredith’s heart by taking care of the mutt she shared with Derrick. The dog that Meredith bought to get over Mcdreamy, that was scorned by her roommates until she had to give it to Derrick, who took it to keep a connection with Meredith, who then got mad when he found that it lead her to the charming vet who was trying to swoop her off her feet. And then the dog got cancer and had to be put down, much like the relationship between Derrick and Meredith that so screams Ellis Grey to anyone with an ounce of sense. Meredith is then standing at the closing of the show like the puppy in every bad sitcom gambit that is forced to choose between two masters as they each call her name beckoning her to come.
And then the credits roll and it is over, and another season is regretfully put to bed with so many changes to come in the pending year. Goodnight Seattle Grace. Goodnight Derrick and Meredith, you love sick masochists. Goodnight my beloved Geroge Omally, and my respected Drs. Burke and Karev. Goodnight to the borderline heifer that Izzy became, and the stilted Chief. Goodnight to the cluelessly lost Addison Shepard, and to the innocently in love Callie, who is weird enough for me to adore. Goodnight to the lovely Dr. Bailey, whom has stolen my heart. Goodnight you horribly watchable show, you glorious bastard of a drama. I hate you for making me love you so much.
Monday, May 8, 2006
Gnarls Barkley is a band spearheaded by Cee-lo, of Goodie Mob, (whose Perfect Imperfections album I played into the ground,) and Dangermouse (from my last favorite album Danger Doom’s the Mouse & The Mask a collaboration between him and MF DOOM,) but you may know him from the controversial Grey album, where he mixed Jay-Z’s Black album with the Beetles’ White Album.
Their new album St. Elsewhere is infectious. Techno like hip-hop style with Cee-lo crooning soulful over issues and ideas and of course lovemaking. I highly recommend at a listen. An important selling point is that despite the occasional adult theme there is no cursing in it, so there’s that.
I have liked Cee-lo since I heard him on Goodie M O B’s classic Soul Food song. I love his voice, craked and syrupy as it may be. Much in the same way that I get a good feeling when Nate Dogg drops a tune. Cee-lo is not the worlds greatest rapper, or singer, but he is a solid performer. I had the benefit of seeing him in concert at Bogart’s. He played before Musiq Soulchild (I refuse to drop the surname.) and he gave one heck of a show.
Dangermouse does a solid job on the boards. His eclecticism is an excellent match for Ceelo’s funkdafied unpredictability. The music is digital pings and chords over a heavy bass.
The album is full of great songs, with addictive hooks. Good songs to listen to are Just a Thought, St. Elsewhere, Transformer, and Who Cares. All great songs that seem nourish in their themes of isolation and alienation that seem to come from an elevated level of introspection and creative expression. They album is a killer.
I am currently addicted to the Song “Crazy.” The Video is included below.
The song seems to sum up my life where it seems like I am working against the world at large. To me the song seems to be about feeling crazy in a world that seems to keep moving when you know too much and feel like everyone else is ignoring the obvious signs of the times. One of my favorite versus is the first
I feel it when he talks about losing his mind “but it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough, I just knew too much.
Does that make me crazy?”
The video uses inkblots, which psychologists are said to use to test perceptual associations. I see it and think Gnarls is asking us the question of what we see when we see the world, and if we see different things who is crazy?
Me for knowing too much to know I am not in control, or you for thinking you are.
Maybe we’re both crazy,
St. Elsewhere is in stores May 9th.
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Saw Dave Chappelle’s Block Party the movie…
As you can recall I reviewed the Dave Chappelle Block Party All Star Concert experience here. I know it was too lengthy for most of you to read it.
I will say some “brief” things about the movie:
We saw it at the $2.50 show after driving around all day looking at wedding venues. For some reason the cheap theater started the movie 5 minutes early by my clock so we missed a few minutes of the opening.
There are very few things that can be said about this movie to those unfamiliar with the musical genius of such greats as Common, Mos Def, Kanye West, Talib Kweili, The Roots, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Cody Chesnutt and of course the incorrigible Dave Chappelle. These musical giants perform on the stage like legends while their performances are intertwined with Chapelle’s journey to bring the block party to life. Those who know what Quamir Questlove of the Roots crew look like will understand why that guy is pontificating about Dave Chappelle. Those with an idea on Mos Def will be shocked to see him tapping the drums as Dave’s straight man in a Jazz comedy routine. The whole experience is tied into a previous knowledge and love of the artists.
That is part of the frustration of the experience because as these people perform their songs and Dave’s clips jump in you get a little irritated because the songs are great, and you want to hear the whole thing. I found myself mumbling the rhymes as the music faded to the background.
The movie is good, I will own the DVD, a promise I do not make as often these days as my collection became very unwieldy some time ago and I had to purge. The movie is a solid flick for those with some inkling of who those artists I named are. Someone unfamiliar with the fugees will be more than a little confused as Wycleff begins the lyrics to Fugee-la from back stage. They won’t know to get goose bumps when they hear Lauryn Hill singing killing me softly, beyond the fact that it is a chilling rendition sung by the one time hip hop superstar.
One sad part of the film was my man Common’s lack of a solo performance. The man is literally in every scene as a hype man that would make Spliff Star jealous with his energy and intensity. He bounces into Kanye’s set like a man possessed and chills quietly on the stage as Mos Def does Umi says. See you have to know who he is to recognize that that smooth brother in the hat is the man who handed Ice Cube his ass in “For the Bitch in you” and told hip hop “I used to love her.” Otherwise you would be wondering who that brother in the cool tie and sweater combo is that keeps jumping up on stage.
The concert is a dream come true for hip hop heads like myself and Nicole who somehow missed our opportunity to attend the concert live. We found about it on the internet and tried desperately to get tickets but Dave Chappelle’s secrecy in not disclosing the location and providing tickets via secret email distribution on the day of made it impossible. Had we known to hang around Springboro
In the dimly lit theater all I could hear Nicole repeating was how jealous she was to have not been there. All I could say was that I was glad someone took a camera and filmed it for us to catch a glimpse of it.
Momentary Rant: PS.
One thing that annoyed me when the movie first came out was all the people who reviewed it with absolutely no knowledge of the artists performing. Their biggest deal was how they enjoyed themselves despite not knowing the music, a majority of them admitting that they would never buy the music.
My thing is, why the hell not? If you admit it is good music then why not pick it up for a listen, grab an mp3 on I-tunes or listen to the album on Rhapsody, whatever method you got of getting access to the music. That seems so much more encouraging than immediately dismissing the music after acknowledging the infectiousness of it.
It is good music, go out and get it. Here I will give you a link to some of the greatest hip hop released in the last 5 or 6 years.
My biggest problem is that these are the same people who secretly bought the 50 cent single or some other popular tripe because the zeitgeist influenced them to. You know, that mass move to buy popular tripe so that you can dance to it at wedding receptions or in your car on the way home?
In a world where crunk and chopped & screwed garbage get so many spins (I am not trying to offend anyone but most of that stuff is wack beyond most normal limits of wackness.) It literally makes me want to cry when I hear the kids singing D4L at the orphanage, and that is all they play on the radio now. Really who listens to the radio but poor people and kids under the age of 17? Can the radio really say it is for adults, who mostly rely on their mp3 players and car CD players?
GD viral culture.
My thing is if you are a middle aged white movie columnist and you hear some music you like pick it up instead of remaining sequestered in your little world where my music seems exotic enough to enjoy but not support.
As I am fairly certain that no middle aged movie critics read my blogs I must only rant cranky to you people.
Thank you for listening.
P.S.S. And turn off the radio,
It is trying to kill you.