Friday, December 24, 2010

Idiot Box 2010

I suppose that title is a misnomer. Yes there are thousands of dumb shows on television, but why watch swill when there is also quality, textured progamming? This post isn't about the swill either, so chalk the title and this opening bit to my goats-mandated compulsion for obfuscated attempts at meta-comment.

Yes, well, recently-aired television in the form of a list of the shows that are programed to record on my digital video recording machine. I will mourn that machine briefly when I soon do not have it. That's what I was getting at. It's straightforward.

The Walking Dead
Why I watch: The first episode is pretty much amazing. Zombies are cool. Post-apocalyptic imagery a la top photo.
Quibble: Only 6 episodes of this exist, still gets mad slow toward the end.

Boardwalk Empire
Why I watch: It's the Sopranos in prohibition-era Atlantic City. Offers perception of 1920s American life and politics. Good to great acting performances from the four major characters. Omar from the Wire plays a character named Chalky White. Paz de la Huerta could be the Joe DiMaggio of televised nudity.
Quibble: Can get a bit heavy-handed with the metaphors.

30 for 30
Why I watch: Documentaries about different subjects by different filmmakers hit and miss, with the best transcending sports and exploring modern humanity. The Iverson one (No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson), the OJ chase one (June 17, 1994) and the Colombian soccer one (The Two Escobars) spring to mind. June 17, 1994 is one of my favorite pieces of media that I have consumed, like visualizing part of a Don Delillo novel.
Quibble: Some of them aren't as good, like the one about the origins of fantasy baseball.

Sons of Anarchy
Why I watch: Motorcycle gang members do their thing, run guns, fight the enemy of the week (Aryans, IRA, Feds, etc.) but with hearts of occasional gold. Not unbelievable characters confronting each other and their legacy. Peggy Bundy and Ron Perlman (HellBoy) as the motorcycle mama and daddy respectively.
Quibbles: Muddled at times. One of the main character's name is "Jax".

Why I watch: Louis CK is funny as hell. Provides a good mix of stand-up and horrible situations. Sometimes both, like this confrontation with a heckler.
Quibble: Darkly hard to describe.

Doctor Who
Why I watch:This mostly.

Quibbles: British. Nerdy.

Mad Men
Why I watch: Don Draper et al doing Don Draper et al things. The dialogue. Pete Campbell's wide variety of blue suits. Hipster cred.
Quibble: Can devolve into idealized, if imperfect, vision of history.

South Park
Why I watch: Al Quaida crashing jet-liners into people from New Jersey, and in the process stopping the advancing horde of New Jerseyites.
Quibble: Kind of shitty these days, you know?

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Why I watch: Philadelphia is in the name. It's grotesquely funny and quotable.
Quibble: Not enjoyable while stoned.

Why I watch: Along with Louie, a half-hour comic show with smarts that is hard to define. Chevy Chase in a wheelchair. Probably all the characters.
Quibble: Could be described as dramedy.

Top Chef
Why I watch: Bunch of crazy good food. Host Padma Laksmi. Fulfills weekly recommended intake of reality show drama.
Quibble: Hyper-kinetic cuts in editing.

The Venture Brothers
Why I watch: Cartoon satire of heroes and villains. Brock Sampson. Horribly inventive.
Quibble: Half the time I don't know what's going on, plotwise.

Other shows in the DVR that I don't feel like writing about right now because they are off-season or cancelled or whatever, but still I would watch them maybe: Treme, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Futurama, Terriers, Archer, Better off Ted.

So there you have it. If I were to put a gun to your head and tell you to watch one of these, it would be June 17, 1994 or Louie or Community depending on my perception of your sensibilities.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bagger 288

Here's the AV Club's of the best films of 2010, which I endorse, having seen only number 4. Next is Exit Through the Gift Shop because it is on Neflix streaming. Score! Although I would like to make in-the-know jokes about something called "Winter's Bone".

"Half of its users use Twitter as like a sort of digital closet that they go into once in a while to mutter to themselves, with no one else listening."

This essay on a video game is notable if only for the introduction of the term BFCockPOOT (Brett Favre's Cock Principle of Ontological Transference).

Great moment in sour grapes journalism? Or greatest? Cliff Lee=1893 World's Fair=9/11 Health Bill blockage=All My Children.

That's it. Merry Christmas from Lamar Odom and family.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

RIP idealism

A few notes on giving peace a chance:

There is a scene in the possibly underseen "In Bruges" where Colin Ferrell beats the hell out of a American tourist, telling him "That's for John Lennon, you Yankee fuckin' cunt!" Later Farrell is dismayed to learn that his beating victim was actually Canadian. Humor!

Some reporter here just told me that the "real infamy" is there is more media coverage Lennon's death today than there was of the bombing of Pearl Harbor yesterday. This is the same guy who didn't understand why a "White Student Union" at the local university is a terrible idea. A king of merit-less arguments.

For some reason this reminds me of a Hunter S. Thompson quote about Richard Nixon representing the "dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise." On instinct I find this to be true and think that anyone who disagrees is either lying to themselves or has willed themselves into ignorance, if those are two separate things.

How can one compare a musician who wrote songs about peace and love with the bombing of a Naval base? It's completely infuriating, these two things could not be any more different. Maybe there is some fundamental comparison as reflections of opposing forces that make up human nature, the urge to both create and destroy. Later we could discuss the relative merits of David Bowie and the Battle of Antietam.

A better comparison would between Lennon and Nixon, or better yet Lennon and J. Edgar Hoover. At least then it would be between two people, and not a person and historic event. Also possibly acceptable: Some connection between Lennon's murder and the bombing. Two sides of the same coin, yin yang, etc.

I'm not sure if I'm making much of a point here and I'm already tired of trying to explain myself. The plan was simply to commemorate the 30 anniversary of a guy's death that affected many millions of people. Best intentions turn foul and bitter, again. So I'll just end this with a recommendation to go listen to Happy Xmas (War is Over).

Monday, December 06, 2010

Strong men also cry

Burning someone with hot tea out of nowhere to early 90s synth-riffs. It just works for me, I don't know why. Later the viewer and Daniel Craig are filled in on why this happens; it is something about napping on the job and a prison term. "It wasn't until Capitol leaked "Ordinary World" to a radio station in Florida in the autumn of 1992 that it looked like Duran Duran mania might yet hit again." A welcome diversion, in any case.

The other day I was driving and thinking about what stylized violence could go along with The XX's Intro, or perhaps Neon Trees' Animal. The latter was playing on either the top 40 or "alternative" local radio station at the time, in between sultry-voiced commercials for a Linkin Park-brand iPad. But all I could think of was a terribly violent fight between a terminal cancer patient and her elderly mother, with cricket bats. They could easily be tricked into fighting, because of the mutually severe brain rot. Still, that may be too weird, personally. But I do like the idea of cricket bats. Talk to you later!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Get rich quick