Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The End?

The eight-part comic miniseries Galavant ended on Sunday.  I found it mildly amusing, but since it wouldn't take that long to follow the hero on his quest, I figured I'd stick around till the end.

But that's just it.  There was no end, just a bunch of cliffhangers to taunt us until next season.  Somehow I got the idea they were going to wrap up the story, even if they planned to make more episodes later. Sorry, but I'm not going to stick around, and unresolved your unresolved plotlines do not tempt me.  I feel cheated.



(Not as cheated as I felt by Under The Dome, which I didn't even like..  I bailed on that show early, but tuned in for the finale out of curiosity.  I mean there's a big damn dome--where'd that come from?  But once CBS got some ratings they figured they had something, and it turned from a miniseries into a regular show.  So what was a mystery with promised closure became ongoing thing that will never get solved if people keep watching.  I got out from under immediately.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

All of a sudden I love Bob Dylan

"Why are you asking me these things?"

Move over, Joe Strummer.

(Er, not that I'm expecting Bob to go anywhere soon. Just talkin' bout my heart, here. Gonna have to replace Death or Glory with something from the Dylan catalog now, which I suppose implies I'll have to listen to it.)

Street Talk

I was standing outside a movie theatre over the weekend when I saw American Sniper was letting out.  I heard some people talking about it.  One woman said "that was, like, the best ending ever."

In case you didn't know, the film ends with Chris Kyle going off to be shot by a marine he was trying to help. So I couldn't help but think this woman was pretty cold.  Until I figured out she was referring to Whiplash, also letting out then. Now that film had a memorable ending.

By the way, with AS becoming such a phenomenon, I wonder if it's going to effect the Oscar race. It's by far the biggest hit nominated, and just as the voting is going on, everyone's talking about it. Mostly I wonder if Michael Keaton, who probably figured the Oscar was in the bag, is starting to wonder.  For that matter, are the Boyhood people starting to wonder if they're in trouble?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

You can't handle the truth

"Mr. Scorsese’s partly finished documentary about Mr. Clinton — which once seemed likely to be released as Hillary Rodham Clinton was navigating a presidential run — has stalled over disagreements about control."

Postulating that Obama is an anti-American socialist who will end up destroying the county, he nevertheless deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor for keeping these people out of the White House. At least if we go, we'll go honestly, more or less.

Insidious

I was driving behind a car with a bumper sticker that read "9-11 Was An Inside Job." If you're nuts enough to believe this, fine, then believe it.

But why would you broadcast it?  And not because you're worried that everyone will think you're a nut--after all, you're already a nut, and part of that nuttiness is a pride in letting everyone know about it.

No, what I wonder if about how the sticker shows us your level of paranoia.  You believe your government was in on the 9-11 attacks, perhaps even carried them out.  In other words, our government is so evil that they're willing to kill thousands of civilians to further their policies.  On top of which, they're able to pull the wool over the eyes of the public at large, who will buy their lies about the attacks.

So knowing that, what's to stop them from taking you out?  Each bumper sticker gives the government another target.  If I honestly believed 9-11 was an inside job, the last thing I'd do is tell anyone about it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yin and Yang

John Kasich is on a national balanced budget tour! Yay!

But hurry home soon, John, so you can protect your Medicaid expansion.

Don't we already know that?

"She has not yet revealed the name of the baby's father."

Life is full of miracles.

JB

Hard to believe, but John Belushi would have been 66 today.







Friday, January 23, 2015

Credit where credit due

Since I haven't hesitated to cast aspersions at people of color, I figure it's only fair to give Boehner kudos for his invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

That could be a big deal, and I hope Bibi steps up to it. It's been a long time since we've had anyone who could communicate a message of freedom, love and hope. I don't think I've watched an SOTU since 2002 or so, but I'll watch this.

(What am I saying? There's zero chance the nets will broadcast it.)

Last Quarter

Over at the AV Club they're naming the top 25 sitcom episodes of the past 25 years.  A daunting task.  The 90s was a great time for sitcoms and so have been the past several years.  Off the top of my head you've got shows like The Simpsons, Seinfeld, The Wonder Years, Cheers (the tail end), Friends, Roseanne, The Larry Sanders Show, South Park, Family Guy, Arrested Development, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory, The Office (British and American), Parks And Recreation, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Party Down, Malcolm In The Middle, My Name Is Earl, The Middle, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Louie and quite a few more. Just picking the top 25 series is tough, so 25 episodes?  You could pick 25 from Seinfeld or The Simpsons alone.

But let's see their list:

25. Modern Family "Fizbo"

I guess this is as high as Modern Family will be ranked--AV club seems to have tired of the show.  I admit no single episode especially sticks out, though if I had to choose I'd probably pick "Yard Sale" which is actually from the fourth season, after The AV Club said it was treading water.  Their choice is from the first season, and is certainly a fine episode.

24. Everybody Hates Chris "Everybody Hates Food Stamps"

Never watched the show.

23. Girls "Beach House"

This is from season three and I gave up after season one.

22. Louie "Late Show (Part 3)"

This is a good episode, but not its best. In general, I think its best are short bits, not long or multi-part episodes.

21. Spaced "Gone"

Never watched the show.

20. How I Met Your Mother "Slap Bet"

Never watched the show (except the finale)

19. Flight Of The Conchords "Yoko"

I liked the show but didn't love it. "Yoko" is a well-known episode, and features the wonderful Sutton Foster, though I'm not sure if I'd call it their best.

18. New Girl "Cooler"

This show doesn't do it for me.

17. Roseanne "A Stash From The Past"

A good episode from a good show, though if I made a list I'm not sure if anything from this show would make it.

16. Archer "Placebo Effect"

Never watched the show.

15. Curb Your Enthusiasm  "The Doll"

A good choice--maybe the choice. "The Doll" was probably the first episode of CYE that everyone called a classic.

14. The Larry Sanders Show "Flip"

This is the finale. I don't remember the finale as being especially great.  I could name several episodes that I prefer.

13. South Park "Scott Tenorman Must Die"

This may be the most notable episode of South Park, and it's certain powerful, but I almost find it  more disturbing than funny.

12. Better Off Ted "Racial Sensitivity"

If you're going to pick one from BOT this is probably the best choice.

11. Parks And Recreation "Fancy Party"

This is one of the most memorable episodes. Good choice.

10. Friends "The One With The Embryos"

A justifiable choice.  All Friend 's episodes start with The One With, but they misnamed this one, since fans would no doubt recall this show as the one with the contest for the apartment.

9. Party Down "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday"

Yeah!  Party Down is, along with Community, my favorite sitcom of the past decade, yet many lists would overlook it. And they chose the best episode, too.

8. 30 Rock "Rosemary's Baby"

A pretty good choice.  This one is best-remembered for Jack's multiple impressions of Tracy's family.

7. The Office (U.K.) "Training"

As good as the other episodes, I guess.

6. NewsRadio "Complaint Box"

What is this doing here?  NewsRadio was a mediocre show.

5. Arrested Development "Pier Pressure"

"And that's why you always leave a note!" This episode is often listed as the best, but the show generally kept up a high level so I'm not sure if it stands out that much.

4. Community "Remedial Chaos Theory"

Yes!  My other favorite show with its best episode (and there are a lot to choose from).  Sometimes you turn on an episode of TV and suddenly you realize you're watching art. My only objection is it's rated too low.

3. The Office (U.S.) "Dinner Party"

One of the best episodes (and like some other classics listed above, off-series).

2. The Simpsons  "Marge Vs. The Monorail"

As good a choice as any, but in a season that also includes "Homer The Heretic," "Mr. Plow," and "Last Exit To Springfield" it's hard to go wrong.

1. Seinfeld "The Chinese Restaurant"

You probably guessed this would be a Seinfeld, but I don't agree with the pick (in fact, I prefer "The Pick"). This is an early episode--famous, groundbreaking--but not its best.  I'd prefer "Bizarro Jerry" or "The Opposite," not to mention stuff like "The Hamptons," "The Marine Biologist," "The Contest," "The Puffy Shirt" and "The Soup Nazi."

Overall, a good list--especially the top ten.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuition Attrition or Shirley You're Not Joking

The premiere for the NBC-less sixth season of Community has been set.  It'll be available on Yahoo Screen starting March 17. (Note to self: get Yahoo Screen.)

Though Dan Harmon will be in charge, there are some serious problems. Most of them were visible in season five.  The study group had graduated so their reason for being was gone.  Getting together as a panel to help Greendale was never as compelling.  Worse, two of the original seven in the study group--Pierce (Chevy Chase) and, a bit later, Troy (Donald Glover)--departed.  The study group was the nucleus that made the show work, and removing even one changed the show's chemistry.  Two made it a different show.

Now we find out Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is leaving.  That only leaves us Jeff, Britta, Annie and Abed.  All fine characters, but with so much less to play off.  It's hard to still call it Community.  There will be some new actors, but the show has done that in the past and it didn't make up for those who left.

There'll be thirteen episodes.  Whether there'll be another season, or a movie, remains to be seen.  The new show could also have nudity and swearing if it wishes. The biggest surprise is, according the Harmon, the budget Yahoo's offering is bigger than what they had on NBC (at least by the last year).

Season five, where Harmon returned after being fired, was a comeback, but still couldn't match the glory of the first three seasons.  Nevertheless, at times it was as good as ever, so I'm still hopeful.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Something up my sleeve but it hasn't quite gelled yet

Tip of the tongue syndrome . . . there's something in common about these links from Drudge, some unrealized connection, an inchoate next step . . .

What could we put these robots to work doing . . . hmm dee dum dee . . . hmm . . .

100 robots perform synchronized dance routine...

Nearly half of Japanese adults 'not having sex'...

Drones' Next Job: Construction Work...Driverless bulldozers to replace workers...

Military cyborg biker presented to Putin...

I'll See You

No, it's not Irving Berlin's birthday.  Just felt the song fit.


Trendy

You constantly see pointless statistics when journalists are trying to discuss a trend. I usually ignore them, but I found this one in Variety pretty entertaining.

The article discusses the chances of Bradley Cooper winning a Best Actor Oscar.  Michael Keaton is considered the frontrunner, with Eddie Redmayne--who got to portray a wasting disease--as the closest competitor.  But with American Sniper going through the roof, some wonder if Cooper might not be the hot new voting trend.

It's possible.  The Academy certainly seems to like him, as this is his third acting nomination in three years.  But look how writer Ramin Setoodeh tries to stretch this fact into something deeper:

Of the 20 other actors who have ever received three consecutive (or more) Oscar nominations, 60% won a statue in the first three years. Two of the actors, Marlon Brando (1954’s “On the Waterfront”) and Elizabeth Taylor (1960’s “Butterfield 8”), won their Oscar on their fourth consecutive nomination. The last actor before Cooper to Oscar three-peat was Renee Zellweger (2001’s “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2003’s “Cold Mountain”), who won on her third try. It’s hard for voters to keep voting against an actor everybody in Hollywood finds so likeable.

Hmm.  So 60% of actors win an Oscar in one of their first three consecutive nominations.  Now how many are nominated in these categories again?  Oh yeah, five.  So you get three chance to beat five people, and win three out of five times.  Now there's a trend that tells you something.

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