The past few months have been rough. Vegas zapped a bunch of funds, some work fell through, other work has been delayed, and just this week I had oral surgery to remove my four wisdom teeth. Ouch. This means I have exactly zero money to go out and do things, you know, see movies, concerts, buy books and games. Nothing, nada. I’ve been sitting in my bed with a Vicodin induced zombie stare and old episodes of Batman: the Animated Series looping for hours. So if I haven’t been talking about anything recently, there you go. And if I don’t talk too much this whole winter, well, same story. I’ll try. I really will, but I also don’t want to be posting pointless entries (like this one) just to feel I’m “keeping up” with this blog. This is my blog, and I’ll slack if I want to, dammit!
Wait, who am I yelling at? Sorry. Everyone who reads this with any kind of regularity is the reason I keep it up. So let’s see, stuff to talk about, stuff to talk about…
This is easily one of the best new shows on TV right now. It airs on HBO, which means I have to watch it online and risk computer viruses, but for Jason Schwarztman, I’d do anything. Anything. He stars as Jonathan Ames, who is actually the creator of the show, an author suffering a mild crisis after his girlfriend dumps him. Instead of writing the new novel everyone wants from him, he goes out as a unlicensed private detective. Hilarity ensues.
The rest of the cast is great too, Ted Danson is as funny as ever, playing Ames’ friend and sometimes employer. Zach Galifianakis also stars as another friend of Ames, a comic book writer with relationship problems of his own. All of the characters are perfect, they interact so naturally and so brilliantly. There’s also a good number of cameos, like Jim Jarmusch riding a bicycle around a warehouse, and wacky cases to investigate. All together, it keeps the show just off kilter enough, just bizarre enough that we never question the insanity of these characters.
Schwarztman has been something of a hero figure for me ever since I saw Rushmore as a fourteen year old. And Galifianakis is pretty much the best and fastest rising comedian in America right now, so it’s just amazing to watch this all go on. Of course the plots are ridiculous, but you’ll never roll an eye. You’ll be too busy laughing out loud.
Lastly, the story takes place in New York, and having never been there myself, I want to go more now than ever. All the little shops and cafes these guys hang around just feels so right. I don’t know. There’s only been a handful of episodes so far, but I am hoping this keeps up.
This show is a little harder to swallow, but still not without its merits. It stars Joel McHale, who has been the best part of the entire E! network for over 5 years now. As the host of the Soup, McHale is always great, but here he seems a little stilted, unsure of where he fits into an ensemble comedy rather than being the only guy on screen for 22 minutes.
There are some other great actors here, most notably Chevy Chase. That’s right. Chevy fucking Chase. The man is a legend, whether you want to admit it or not. You can deny it in your comments, but your heart knows better. From classics like Fletch and Caddyshack, to masterpieces like Three Amigos and National Lampoon’s Vacation series (well, most of it anyways), the chevster is synonymous with funny. And really, he delivers the goods here too. He may be the funniest part of the show. I crack up everytime he’s on screen, like when he dresses up as Beastmaster for Halloween and then trips out on pills. Classic.
The story is basic. McHale gets disbarred from practicing law, and goes back to community college. He meets up with some people, has some laughs, takes Spanish for some reason, and learns a little bit about himself along the way. The show is decent enough, but it definitely has more of those eye rolling moments that Bored to Death steers clear of. It’s a network comedy, it is what it is. It’s one of the better network comedies out there, so it’s not exactly Two and a Half Men or According to Jim bad. It’s just very bright and shiny and wraps up nicely at the end of every episode. Take it or leave it. I don’t really care.
This is a film in the sub genre known as Mumblecore. That means the characters are young, dumb, and ugly. The dialogue is mostly improvised obviously, and the camera is held shakily and zoomed liberally around the room. This trend came about as struggling filmmakers decided, “Screw it. We don’t need budgets or actors or any of that high falutin’ movie crap.” And they’re right. You don’t. But it helps.
Spoilers abound: The story of Hannah (who by the way never takes any stairs that I could see) is one of confusion and awkwardness. She dumps her boyfriend, even though he really likes her and is super nice, presumably because he is broke and directionless. Cause she has it all going for her. She then promptly takes up with co-worker #1 and sleeps with him. She doesn’t actually seem to like this guy, and who would? He’s dull. Enough said.
So she gets to know co-worker #2 and he’s totally cooler. He talks in audible phrasing. He doesn’t look fourteen. He’s a catch. So she does him and dumps numero uno. Too bad they all three share an office space, as in one room, one table, one couch. So the film ends without resolution or any real conclusion. Hannah is a selfish little girl who rather than reflect on her life decisions and their consequences before she makes them, just goes for it. Breaking hearts and fouling work environments.
Lessons learned? Don’t sleep withthe girl in your office who just got out of a bad relationship. It will not go well.
That’s enough for now, thanks again to everyone who reads this stuff. It means a lot to me.