Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Norm Macdonald is doing cool things on his own terms

Lately my go-to thing on YouTube--and the only thing I've been actively searching for and pursuing on YouTube, because I'm weird and in a weird place mentally, what with my enjoyment of entertainment media--has been Norm Macdonald Live.

I've been going back and forth chronologically within the series, watching season 3 videos, season 1 videos, season 2 videos, whatever. I'm pretty sure there's just three seasons.

Norm's just a no-frills guy with a unique sense of humor and it's been hitting me in the right place lately. What I watched today, which touched my ear and my eye and I wanted to share, is a full hour of Norm's own standup from after Tiger Woods was busted and outed for having sex with ladies and after O.J. Simpson went to prison for stealing his own clothes back. My point is it's relatively new, and also that when he talks about those things, it's pretty dang funny to me. And also his bit about gay pride. It's critical without being insulting. Truly observational humor.



Norm's show resonates with me because he says what he wants, he's independent apart from a few sponsors for which the show does their own Norm-orated advertisements, he's smart as a whip, he loves history, and his knowledge of comedy and entertainment is vast. He's also older now, at 50 I think, and he's had a lot of time to hone his craft. He's solid in front of any guest. Mike Tyson in season 1 of his show made him visibly nervous (just for a few minutes), while Jim Carrey in season 3 made him visibly annoyed. Larry King in season 1 made Norm visibly irritated, and he mentions it in several subsequent episodes. It's fun to make fun of Larry King. He can take it.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return (S3E1-18) has left me

SKAEP NIWT FO SEIRES ERITNE EHT ROF WOLLOF SRELIOPS

with a mind-bogglingly weird set of questions and few answers. Lynch loves to keep us guessing. The way this guy makes TV is really unique. I hear that he doesn't read what people say on the internet about his work. That certainly makes sense. Also, it's a little bit cool.

For the past few months, I've been thinking about this show every day, going to r/TwinPeaks daily to discuss fan theories, and reveling in the beauty that Frost and Lynch have created. Many fans and writers credit only Lynch for the show's attractiveness, but without Frost, there would be no Twin Peaks. The show would suck without either of them; together, they are the force.

Today, the sky is yellow in Seattle. Ash has been slowly falling all night. Wildfires burn close to home, within Washington. Not D.C. Washington State.

Wildfires burn in my heart about the ending. Now that it's over, and Frynch have vaguely answered half the questions they've posed (in my estimation), I don't know what to think. I'm left kind of empty. Horrified, feeling Laura's horror. Seeing her scream in the last scene was really brutal. The lights go out. Done. It's over. We're left with the image of Black Lodge Laura whispering in Dale's ear. What did she say?

Some people have enhanced the audio to hear her barely-mixed-in whispers. It sounds like "Ask your son Sonny Jim about me." But it probably doesn't matter. What Frynch want you to know is that she said something secret--why else would she whisper it in his ear? I doubt Frynch would have had Zabrisky actually say some huge revealing thing when filming. Who knows, tho. He can manipulate audio in weird ways, that Lynch guy. He's responsible for most of the sound editing on this show, I assume. And he's a fucking genius about it. The slowed-down Moonlight Sonata is my favorite part. It seems to be the character theme for the Dugpas/Woodsmen.

When I saw the ending scene a few nights ago, I at first felt empty. Angry, even. I scoffed at Frynch from the comfort of my couch. I was the fan I have always said has the wrong mindset to watch Twin Peaks: one who expects to get what he wants. I didn't get resolution, but only more questions. However, resolution wasn't what Frynch were trying to give me. That was never their intention, I see that now.

And you know what? After reading lots of others' analysis of what it meant, I feel complete--like I'm in a good place with this show. It respects me enough to not give me all the answers, to not treat me like an idiot who couldn't figure it out for himself, to not spoon-feed me the answers. No! Frynch are really on to something here with this whole not-revealing-all-the-secrets thing!

Now that I think back on several elements within the show, e.g. Mike constantly asking, "Is it future, or is it past?", I realize there's more resolution to this story than I originally thought--it's just hidden WITHIN THE SHOW I ALREADY WATCHED!! Now that's some genius shit right there.

All in all, 5 fucking stars out of 5. Fuck you too, Frynch. Fuck you too. I love you.

For further reading, here's a great A.V. Club article:
There Should Never Be Another Episode of Twin Peaks, by Clayton Purdom for A.V. Club
Once again, great analysis by AVC. Keep knocking it out of the park, you guys.

Here's more great Twin Peaks analysis from IGN:
Why Twin Peaks had the Perfect Ending, by Chloi Rad for IGN

It's slippery in here.

Monday, May 15, 2017

James Rolfe's 50 Favorite Movies vids got me excited about movies again, and my #1 Favorite Movie of All Time

Wow--Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Wayne's World, and a treasure trove of movies I've never seen, but need to, and never knew it? And none of them newer than American Movie (2000)? Man I like this guy. I'm constantly reminded that I'm aging, though. I saw him doing Angry Video Game Nerd videos when I was younger, and then I had kids. Then he had a kid. And he started branching out, doing all kinds of videos, all under the Cinemmasacre moniker. And these videos show a more mature, practiced James Rolfe, doing his thing, talking about a subject that he knows best--film. It's what he's spent his entire adult life doing, and he's good at it. So I trust his judgement. Plus, his tastes are mature. He's seen it all, and he's not fooled by bullshit. Good job on these videos, James, if you ever end up reading this. By the end of it I could see your eyes moving down to the cue card, though--my only criticism. 😅 Sorry.

James' personality and career trajectory aside, this all made me want to talk about my very favorite movie, and about favorite things in general. Because one thing James said about his #1 favorite movie of all time is that you don't choose your favorite--your favorite chooses you. And it made me think many things. One is that my favorite movie of all time continues to be Lost Highway (1997)--and I don't know why the fuck that's the case. It just gives me this certain perfect feeling. I've seen it so many times and it took that many to really understand it.

And when I felt I did, I felt as if I had climbed a mountain, like--and this is going to sound shitty--I was on a higher plane of understanding than the general public. Like I had achieved a thought triumph and could hold my head high; be one of a select few. That thought of exclusivity really appealed to me then, and still does today, but to a lesser degree and a different angle. When 1997 began, I was halfway thru junior year of high school. Suffice to say, my understanding of the world and myself have changed, but overall--and this is something I've learned that gives me peace--my tastes have not. I don't want to say this exclusivity feeling was pure selfishness, but it's just that, to my own personal memory, there's no one I've spoken to about this movie who understands it on a deep level. But who else has seen it as many times, I wonder? And why would they? It's weird af, really supernatural, and it explains nothing along the way. It's off-putting, to say the least. You need patience and a big love of darkness and shadows. Right up my damn alley. I haven't counted, but I think I'm between 10 and 15 views.

Mulholland Drive came after, and I think the plot was more or less the same as Lost Highway, just more palatable. Lost Highway was a more intense, dark approach.

Back to the subject of favorites--when I was watching Rolfe's videos today, as he was getting down to #1, I had to think about what mine would be. Lost Highway popped into my head immediately, which made me think--why that one? I started questioning my own intuition, with questions such as: 'Why?' and 'Is it because you've just told yourself that's your favorite, and are forgetting some other movie that's had as strong an effect on you long-term, maybe because you're such a dumbass pot smoker, you idiot?' Or is the reason more simple, less guilt-trippy? Is it that I've just told myself that it's my favorite movie throughout the years, and kept reinforcing it, and that's the main reason?








Well I'm happy to say I got an answer to those questions when I schmoogled 'lost highway movie' and got the old pwickapedia preview on the upper right, with the logo and stills of the actors. All these scenes came flooding back to me--the ending in the desert, the prison cell sequences, Bill playing that sax live, meeting Patricia Arquette for the first time, and who he becomes later, a literally completely different person. And if I could say one thing in answer to myself, and also to just sum it all up--why it's my favorite movie, why I've been saying that for 20 years, why it gives me that perfect feeling, why it's something I never forgot, why no movie has toppled this one in my mind yet--it's this: "I'm in your house."

Then you're Bill Paxton, and you go, "What do you mean, you're where in my house?"

Then I, Robert Blake, hold up this obnoxiously big 90s cell phone and I go, "I'm there right now." And then my face gets really dark and my tone turns sinister and I say with a slight, furious growl, barely contained among my perfect composure, "Call me."

Okay, I got it wrong, but that's how I remembered it offhand. The memory was powerful. It actually goes like this:




The scene is exponentially more powerful than my memory. That's the one quintessential scene in the movie, and it's really all I feel I oughtta say about why Lost Highway is my #1 favorite movie of all time.

Hey, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kevin Hart, Louis C.K. and The Rock made me laugh so hard today

Found these randomly on YT today. Never seen Secret Life of Pets, but these interviews with Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart together are hilarious. The chemistry between these two guys is amazing.




Buddy cop movie starring these two. Lethal Weapon-style, but Kevin is Riggs and Louis is Murtaugh. The best thing about Lethal Weapon was the chemistry between Gibson and Glover. Hart and C.K. have that rapport.

Plus they're both excellent comedians of different styles, the combination of the two resulting in mass hysteria in me laughing too hard.



Let me also say that, as a journalist and PR dude, I really like these styles of interviews. The interviewers are being really cool, it doesn't seem like there's a PR person off to the side, saying, "Don't answer that."

Then I saw this and it made me laugh the hardest: Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson impersonating one another:



Friday, April 15, 2016

YouTube's Most Watched Videos 2016

I was just wondering, what are YouTube's most popular videos? Which vids have been most watched? This one by YouTube channel Top Trends goes in depth about each video, and does a good job not spending too much time on each one.



So this video was published January 13, 2016, and I wondered if it's outdated by now, in April. Not so much, it turns out—as you can see in this mercifully short video from last March (couldn't readily find stats for April by searching YouTube, what's a google search?):



Saturday, March 5, 2016

John Stamos Reads Negative Fuller House Reviews

This made me happy. These guys have fun with negative criticism, and John Stamos takes everything in stride. Full disclosure: I found this video thru the A.V. Club emailer to which I'm subscribed. Of course they wrote about it, because Seth Myers, below, mentions them and the stellar title of their Fuller House review, "Fuller House is like a porn parody without the porn."



The whole time, I was thinking about this:



"Where'd they print that? You can't print that!"

I have not yet watched Fuller House, but I have the same feeling about it that I have when I see, e.g., a celebrity endorsement advertisement. My thought it, "You go, celebrity. You make that money. More power to you. Be a slut. Slutting is fuuuuuun!"

If D.J., Steph, Kimmie, Rebecca, and those three impossibly old gentlemen can come together to make some moolah and make some people laugh, why not?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#watchthis: Pound House

Doug Lussenhop, I believe, was the editor for Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and Pound House is Doug's post-all-that-show, featuring Tim in some eps, but not Eric.

Doug gets to be the straight man, while co-star Brent Weinbach, portraying a genius duality of character, steals the show. The co-stars are all awesome.

The show stays true to itself and follows a solid theme throughout—if I were to give an elevator pitch for Pound House, it would be that it feels like Tim and Eric, less spastic, mixed with David Lynch, starring comedy insiders, with great editing, great acting, and featuring at least three memorable, new characters (Doug, Brent, and the rapper/stick guy)—while breakout episodes like "Skate" take it in unexpected, even uplifting directions.






























"You just got sprayed."

Pound House 14, "Balls," just came out three days ago. Haven't even watched it yet. There it is, right there. Boom. Eat it.