Wednesday, November 30, 2016

LOVABLE DUDE AND GRAVY-HERO GETS ENGAGED



Local boy makes good.

THE MINDY PROJECT S4/5 (2016)


A combination of attrition and gradual cast shifting/improvement (I'm particularly fond of Jody and Colette) has made MINDY my favorite live-action sitcom right now.  It is kind of a throw-back to sitcoms of the past with plots that don't especially matter and shameless guest stars, but it adds so much verve with modern, ADHD pacing and killer comics hitting double-time jokes.  I think it has gotten even better on Hulu, but the audio is a little off.  Had this problem when COMMUNITY went to Yahoo--seems like the actors aren't mic'ed well, or somebody in post is missing the mark, but there are legitimately jokes that can't be heard no matter how much you pump the volume.  I probably haven't given this show enough credit the last couple years, but now it is legitimately one that I look forward to every week.  It's off until Valentine's Day 2017, so I'll be catching up on those I missed in seasons 1 and 2.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SEARCH PARTY (2016)














Equal parts GIRLS and VERONICA MARS, with a dash of TWIN PEAKS.  I can't get over how tonally perfect it is.  Resonant in the face of mystery and tragedy, sharp as a tack about our urban(e) generation's strengths and weaknesses.  John Early is hilarious and Alia Shawkat has a lot more range than I gave her credit for.  It is weird to be this high on a TBS show, and weirder that they actually handled it correctly--so much smarter to release it in one go and keep momentum, rather than let people lose track of it in the cable hinterlands.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

WESTWORLD (2016)



Thrilling, enthralling, brainy and ungraceful. I've been happily along for the ride the whole time, but 100% would understand and not fight someone who hated this show's guts.  I think it is incredibly meta-textual and meta-contextual re: exploitation, dehumanization, and perversion.  Anthony Hopkins is doing what only he can and elevating the cast with his strange basso-soul, like an operatic villain.  I'm not sure what greatness the show has in its bones, but right now, at this velocity, it doesn't matter.

PS How bad are the opening credits? So bad!  Is there some study on American opening credits behavior I don't know about?  Like, is it exactly as long and boring as it takes to reheat nachos?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Leonard Cohen's YOU WANT IT DARKER (2016)



The title track is a hymn for the ages, and the absolutely perfect song for the end of this fucking year.  What a grace note to leave on. (Speaking of which, I would go to a church that just played Leonard Cohen's music.)  The rest of the album is minor key majesty, a fond farewell to a friend. Godspeed, goodsir.



I want to believe we deserve better, but paying taxes and accepting shelter from a corporo-fascist permawar surveillance state means we probably don't.  Saving up for expatriation. haha /rant

Human history is a mostly fucked enterprise, and those particular conditions led to Raspberry Beret, so I guess I'll just compromise.


Raspberry Beret from HA Animation on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bruno Mars 24K MAGIC (2016)



I'm so glad that Uptown Funk and Mark Ronson changed the Bruno trajectory.  Dude is undeniably talented but was serving up treacly, condescending garbage that was interchangeable with whatever Ed Sheeran, Andy Grammar, and other traffickers of blue-eyed-dead-soul were foisting on the radio.   24K MAGIC captures a sound that it is absolutely lacking on the radio, but it isn't simply retro--bumping the soul-funk BPM up saves it, makes it more accessible and visceral.  Mr. Peter Gene Hernandez also has a talent for inventing goofy cool dance moves and seems inspired, after working with Mr. Chabon, to make lyrics half the fun too.  The album starts with four very strong songs before detouring into Side B sexy times RnB which doesn't offer anything you haven't heard before a thousand times. Still, I'm happy with the singles we got and encouraged to keep an eye on this guy, where I'd written him off before.  We could do worse than the Weeknd, Drake and Bruno setting the goalposts for us.  Also, Kanye hates how pretty he is, which makes me happy.  Petty heroes for a lesser age, but it is the age we've got.  How much of our thirst is just for new wedding floor funk? Aging such sweet sorrow; school dance anxiety turns weighty, loaded, the punch spikes itself.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Weeknd STARBOY (2016)



Mr. Tesfaye has an increasingly good ear for production, is writing more memorable lyrics, and in general is an idiosyncratic force on pop radio with his own formula for hologram soul music that works more often than not.  It seems to me to be music from the future we imagined in the 80's, like it is exploring an alternate present. At a bemusing 1h8m, he hits the wall halfway through.  The collaboration with Daft Punk is a perfect pairing, and I hope it's not the last. Future and Kendrick show up and the force of their personalities are a welcome diversion--Tesfaye needs to ask for help more often. His spiritual girlfriend Lana Del Ray shows up for such a brief interlude I'm not sure why they bothered.  They need to duet.  Likewise, Sam Smith and Justin Timberlake lent backup vocals but should have been given more work.  They could have lifted and brought some of these songs into relief, where they now disintegrate back into the electro-pop ether.  Thank heaven for small favors: The Weeknd is not MJ like he wants to be, but he is light years better than Chainsmokers and their ilk.   I guess the lesson this year is that we're already in Westworld, and sometimes the androids are safer allies than the humans.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

EPISODE 505: AFI FEST 2016 w/ SCOTT NYE

EPISODE 505: AFI FEST 2016 w/ SCOTT NYE

This was a really great episode and had some vintage Scott-argument-winning. Are you subscribed?  WHY AREN'T YOU SUBSCRIBED?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Had a good time seeing this in a tiny theater on opening Friday with a happy crowd. I harbored secret hopes that Harmon was more involved than a pass-over, but you couldn't really detect his touch.  I don't know jack about Doctor Strange but seeing it has me interested in picking up the Ditko run.  I don't think I sighed once during the movie and Steph tells me I sigh many times during most Marvel movies.  I am unaware of this and ashamed (and secretly proud) of my autonomic nervous system.  I am not sure they gave BenCum (I just ruined your day) enough meat to chew on--dude was astonishing in HAMLET (2015) and I hope he gets pushed to his limits.  Then again, I still need to see THE IMITATION GAME (2015).

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Carly Rae Jepsen EMOTION SIDE B (2016)



I wish my ancestors had stopped their emigration in Canada.  My low center of gravity would have been a tremendous boon in hockey, and maple is a top 5 flavor.  

GOTHAM CENTRAL omnibus (2016)



My favorite version of Gotham is the noir minimalist version here, with Batman as ancillary, with his efforts the black-hole like pull on every aspect of the city.  Up there with my favorite Batman graphic novels: DARK VICTORY, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER, YEAR ONE, HUSH, THE LONG HALLOWEEN, and THE DARK KNIGHT
RETURNS.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pallbearer FEAR AND FURY (2016)

Not really a doom metal band, more Southern Gothic writ large: huge and majestic, dark and wounded.  I suspect this will hit the spot this week and if so, go check out their phenomenal first two albums. Black Sabbath indeed.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Ten Thousand Favorite Songs, v. 144 NEIL IS ON SPOTIFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! REJOICE, YE WEEPING



-first song to absolutely blow my mind, and make music an obsession.  playlist is up to 1,338 on this joyous news (yes, I've been cheating.)



--i'll always be driving through the west hills when that guitar gets going



---probably my theme song senior year of high school



----danny, fever, barn



-----so glad neil stuck with coke

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Ten Thousand Favorite Songs, v. 143



-i prefer this jackson



--the 90's obsession with white tees and levi's ruined me for most of college.  also, white tees are horrible attire for the coffee-addicted slob.



---I aspire to Janet backup dancer-level happiness



----it needs to be really loud you guys



-----i guess the drums aren't aging well to everyone's ears and that is totally fair, especially when they are 50% of the song.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Ten Thousand Favorite Songs, v. 141 and Michael Ian Black's NOTED EXPERT (2016)



His best album in my opinion and I'm a man who actually owns VERY FAMOUS



-every time i hear this it will be 4 a.m. in the frozen food aisle, stocking ice creams.  those fucking little pints are harder to stack than they look, especially when your fingers freeze and ice has built up everywhere.  i got beef with ben and jerry.  anyways dying in someone's arms sounded like a nice alternative to wage slavery.



--it me.



---so unfortunately she's not on spotify in the US as of earlier this year, making this especially helpful of old Ben.  the 3rd Puett child will thank me.  Truly a godfather for the ages.



----any dude that references Patsy is alright by me.



-----he gets a Cornball pass from me, King Cornball.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Ten Thousand Favorite Songs, v. 140 and Chris Garcia's LAUGHING AND CRYING AT THE SAME TIME (2016)



Really terrific and empathetic set from a guy I'd never heard of.



-what a weird career



--i like timberlake's voice, and often the production, i just think he perpetually works with some pretty weak songwriters.  no reason he shouldn't be making classics à la Uptown Funk



---did i tell you about the thanksgiving we got in an altercation with JT's security guard?



----I thought *I* was the most over-earnest male of the 1990's...nope!



-----private planes are way worse than sharks you guys