Saturday, July 30, 2011

COME OUT OF THE CUPBOARD, YOU BOYS AND GIRLS:  Of all the songs to choose to promote London in advance of the 2012 Olympics, are they really using the one about "zombies of death" and "phony Beatlemania"?

Friday, July 29, 2011

THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION, SIR, AND I WOULD COUNTER WITH MY OWN QUESTION, WHICH IS—WHY IS YOUR FACE ALL SWIRLY?  The folks at Gold Derby have compiled the acting performances submitted for Emmy consideration by each nominee along with the six episodes selected for each nominated series.
  1. Glee is an aspirational show celebrating people unfairly maligned as losers by people who profess to be cool.
  2. Glee is a work of art made by an incredibly cool group of talented artists, all of whom are really popular and beloved by everybody who is cool, and all criticisms of Glee are the gripings of uncool, uncreative losers, like that loser Jew nerd perv on our show, what a loser.
  3. If you do not like Glee, you are opposed to arts education.
  4. Reporters must accurately report what I mean, not what I say, even if I refuse to say what I mean because it is a secret and the public is not allowed to know it yet.
  5. If I offer you a spin-off and you refuse it or are really resistant to it and then I tell a reporter you are not returning to Glee and I am terminating all discussions of any spin-off, you have not been fired and you did not just read in the newspaper that I fired you. You just read an accurate quote in a newspaper saying that you will be unable to continue in your current or any other job as a result of a decision that I made.
YIPPEE KAY YAY, MOTHERSMURFER: In "honor" of today's release of The Smurfs (seriously, has there ever been a movie with more people I like that looks worse?) please provide smurfed up versions of famous quotes. Smurfed David Mamet can be quite amusing--"What's my name? Smurf you! That's my name!" There's also "I was born ready. I'm Ron Smurfin' Swanson." Be smurfy, y'all!
TIN ROOF, RUSTED: Apropos of nothing at all, and mindful of the ALOTT5MA Prime Directive, this week's Friday Playlist request is for songs about ceilings, floors, walls and roofs.  (Or rooves).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

REGARDING A THING YOU CAN ONLY THROW FROM OUT OF BOUNDS, OR IF YOU'RE THE KEEPER:  I'm hoping to gain some insight from the ALOTT5MA Hive Mind as to who should be the next United States Men's National Soccer Team head coach.
HURDY GURDY, GURDY HE SANG: I've said a bit already about my love of David Fincher's Zodiac; today, Scott Tobias inducts it into The New Cult Canon:
There may be arguments over which David Fincher film is the strongest—the existential noir of his endlessly imitated serial killer movie Seven, the plugged-in portrait of modern masculinity in Fight Club, the Rashomon-like complexity of Facebook’s origins in The Social Network—but there’s no question which is the most Fincherian. That would be Zodiac, his 2007 recounting/reinvestigation of the unsolved Zodiac killer case that gripped the San Francisco Bay area in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then tapered off as the trail went cold. All the qualities associated with Fincher—his dictatorial command over every aspect of the production, his Kubrickian habit of forcing his actors to do dozens of takes, his rigorous attention to detail—are epitomized by Zodiac, an obsessive movie about the nature of obsession.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WHAT IS THE BREAKING AND ENTERING OF A DWELLING AT NIGHT WITH INTENT TO COMMIT A FELONY THEREIN? Alex Trebek was burgled late last night at his San Francisco hotel, and in the process of pursuing the female perpetrator ripped up his Achilles' tendon.  Mugshot here, and if your first instinct was "robbed by a hooker" I'm not sure you're right.
LADY WOWZA: I had held off previously on discussing the racist Summer's Eve talking vagina ads because we tend to prefer our douche in metaphorical or bagged metaphorical forms rather than as an actual hygenic product, but now that Stephen Colbert has weighed in and the ads have been pulled today (but are still online here), well, sure. Seriously, who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?
AND A BAG OF CHIPS? What do viewers ages 18-34 really want to watch at night? Apparently, reruns of old Nickelodeon shows. Heck, 600,000 people tuned in to watch an hour of All That and Kenan and Kel at midnight Monday night. That beat (among other things) Lopez Tonight and Lifetime's HIMYM and Old Christine repeats, and isn't that far behind what Conan has been doing at 11.
PETER KRAUSE IS CRAIG KILBORN:  Go ahead and cast the movie they're making from the Shales/Miller oral history of ESPN.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Y'ALL'S THE ONLY-EST FAMILY I GOT. I LOVE THE 54TH. AIN'T EVEN MUCH A-MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW,'CAUSE WE MEN, AIN'T WE? WE MEN:  As you may have already seen on the Internets today, scientists determined in 1988 that Jon Voight's death in front of son Ricky "Not Yet 'Rick'" Schroeder in The Champ (1979) was the most reliable sadness-inducing film scene to-date.

My question is: what's the saddest scene since? I will start the bidding at the first ten minutes of Up.

(Please spoiler-protect appropriately.)
BECAUSE I INTEND TO SQUEEZE YOU: G.D. Spradlin was a Hey! It's That Guy! before the meme was created. If you needed an oily authority figure, he was your guy -- as Sen. Pat Geary in the Godfather films, in War of the Roses, Ed Wood and so many others. In Apocalypse Now, he was the general who sent Willard up river by explaining that "there's a conflict in every human heart, between the rational and irration, between good and evil. And good does not always triumph. Sometimes, the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature."

Spradlin started off as in-house counsel to an oil company, then became an oil producer in his own right. By the age of 40 he was wealthy enough to retire for the first time, until his daughter asked him to accompany her to a theatrical audition. He was hooked. Spradlin passed away today at the age of 90.
REGIONAL DIALECT TUESDAY (LIKELY A ONE-TIME FEATURE): Is this a Bott's Dot?. Or something else?
WHAT, BEHIND THE RABBIT?: If you read just one series of blog entries about a nearly fatal case of Pasteurella Meningitis, a disease so rare that there have been fewer than 20 reported cases in the English language medical journals in the last hundred years, and an attempt at the long road to recovery while still cooking and his way through Jose Garces restaurants and cookbooks, be sure to read this series by my good friend Ted Fristrom (and for the Philly contingent here -- an English professor at Drexel):

Food is supposed to stay in your stomach for two to four hours. That is if you have a normal stomach. As the doctor switched from talking about gastroparesis to tachygastria, a slow stomach to a fast one, I had to do a double take. How is this not new information? How is this not the opposite of everything? The doctor explained, somewhat sheepishly, that people can have both conditions. Basically, the stomach is controlled by pacemaker tissue, much like the heart. If the contractions in my stomach are too fast, the stomach can’t keep up, so it may skip a beat, slow, or stop temporarily. But he’s less concerned with whether my stomach is going fast or slow. He’s more concerned about the symptoms, and the fact that he still can’t explain the underlying cause.

I thought on this for a while. No. It still seemed significant. Through all my diets and diagnoses, gastroparesis was a constant, and the treatment was eat less fat, smaller servings, and more fiber. For the last eight months, I spent forty-five minutes every morning stirring a pot of steel-cut oats. I’m not a morning person. I don’t deal well with the world until I eat or drink coffee, but there I was abstaining from both, stirring my oats and thinking good healthy thoughts. I not only endured this ascetic ritual, I came to embrace it as a righteous cause. I was doing what’s good for me, and steel-cut oats are so rustic, so earthy, so utterly devoid of earthly pleasures, that I can easily imagine monks in sackcloth eating it during prayer. Please God, I would whisper to the pot. Please Jesus or Allah or Buddha or that bearded guy from Hogwarts. Please accept this offering of my time and trouble and make my stomach better.

But God didn’t want me to eat oatmeal.

He wanted me to eat French toast.

Preferably made from brioche or challah.

Start here. Then move on to Better, Better II, and Better III

Monday, July 25, 2011

I HEARD WHAT YOU WERE SAYING! YOU KNOW NOTHING OF MY WORK! YOU MEAN MY WHOLE FALLACY IS WRONG. HOW YOU GOT TO TEACH A COURSE IN ANYTHING IS TOTALLY AMAZING! As the world pauses to reflect on his intellectual legacy upon the centennial of Marshall McLuhan's birth, I'll go in a different direction—name your favorite cameos by non-actors portraying themselves on screen.**

Three films with which I'll start: Bill Murray in Zombieland; James Taylor and Eminem in Funny People; and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. ("You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friends says you owe him.")

** Okay. I totally went away from "non-actors" when it came to constructing the list. Oops. Pretend I listed Kareem Abdul-Jabaar in Airplane! and Jann Wenner in Almost Famous instead.
HIS PAYMENT FOR THE INTERVIEW? ALL THE BACON AND EGGS YOU HAVE: Following up Dan Harmon's epic dissection of Community Season 2, the AV Club kicks off today its four-part tour through Season 3 of Parks & Rec with showrunner Michael Shur, touching on the cast's various improvisational styles (including an alleged 20-minute improv from Rob Lowe that I'd love to see on the DVD), which cast member is actually a really big Twilight fan, and what the show's relationship with the camera is.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION DESK: I was eating fast food yesterday, and a man came in wearing shorts, sandals, and a vest without a shirt beneath it. The restaurant's manager took the position that this attire violated the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy. While I did not get involved, it strikes me that this poses an interesting question--does said attire violate the policy, or not?