Friday, July 30, 2010

Novelty Treats: Eloise Suite

The Plaza Hotel got wise and decked out a suite at the "tippy-top floor" in honor of Eloise, Kay Thompson's beloved children's book character.  Pink n' punk designer Betsey Johnson took out the decor task, giving the room striped walls, zebra floors, hot pink flourishes, chandeliers, and a pretty sweet neon sign in Eloise's scrawl.   

Naturally, staying in the suite will set you back some.  You can cram four kids into the suite for a party they'll certainly never forget (unless they're the most horrid, spoiled brats on the planet), but it'll cost you $995 a night.  The perks, though, are pretty sweet.  Eloise's suite comes with Eloise merch: a storybook bathrobe, a $100 gift card to the in-house Eloise gift shop, and (just like Eloise herself), kids are permitted to bring any cherished pet under 25 pounds to their hotel slumber party. 

I totally want to go. Seriously, how were they not doing this years ago?  Just think of all the Upper East Side budding gossip girls who missed out. 

Steve Carell on Between Two Ferns



I usually pass on posting 'episodes' of the Zach Galifianakis web short "Between Two Ferns", because at this point it seems like old news.  Galifianakis's career has exploded, and since that everyone seems to stumble onto the 'long-running' "Between Two Ferns" everywhere.  If, by chance, you're one of the folks who has yet to spend a good half hour or so viewing the dry comedic interview stylings of Galifianakis, you might want to start with the latest edition: a barb-swapping hate affair between ZG and his Dinner for Schmucks co-star, Steve Carell.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seen & Heard: Caribou


CARIBOU - Sun from Caribou on Vimeo.
I never expected to see a music video for Caribou's "Sun", so, the fact that this exists is a treat in and of itself.  "Sun" is (on alternating days) either my favorite or one of my favorite tracks from what is definitely one of my favorite albums this year, and this video gets it perfectly from costuming to dance moves.  It brings to mind the closing credits of Inland Empire (see below), and I'm all about that.  Let's all go dance in ecstasis, but with a bit of choreography here and there, yeah?

Review: The Kids Are All Right

Every summer all the little indie-darling production company offshoots (Focus, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Vantage, etc.) use some sort of twee cartography to map out the placement of their saleable wares amongst the squalor of superheroes, sequels, and gimmick comedies.  It's a quiet scramble to pin down a sleeper hit.  You want the comfort of a dark, air conditioned box, they serve you a refreshing, often spiked lemonade.  Before the dramatics of award season, we are given their comedic prelude.  These are the money makers that arrive - through word of mouth and expertly timed advertisements - with a glowing nimbus of praise.  First they're in that little city art house theater, then they start appearing in the suburbs, suddenly (a month in to the run), they're everywhere.  The first one I can recall consciously was My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and we all know what a runaway smash that was.  Not every low-budget indie gets its own short-lived network sitcom to fail miserably at.  The most memorable, though, is probably the reign of Little Miss Sunshine.  Since we met the Hoover family in 2006, every summer has brought with it a family-oriented indie dramedy touted as "this year's" model.  Well, ladies & gents, meet this year's model...


Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm So Psyched, So Very, Very Psyched

Ask anyone who's been sitting near me in a theater when the trailer has run and they'll tell you: I'm so so so damn excited about Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  Adding to the excitement?  The release of the Volume 6 finale to Bryan Lee O'Malley's series: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour.  It was rather epic.  Guys, if you haven't: read this comic.  Before the movie.  Get on it.  Go to the library.  In the mathematical ratio of fun quotient to pages consumed to time spent to humor to cultural relevancy to sheer, unadulterated cleverness, Scott Pilgrim is the best.  It wins all games and scores bonus lives.  It's that good. 

Of course, Scott Pilgrim does much in illustration that may be difficult to translate to the screen.  Expectations are high, dizzyingly so in a good many circles. When the raw source material already shines, the chance of disappointment in the adaptation is admittedly something like the 8-ball shake "it is certain".

No matter.  I'm keeping positive.  The trailer imagery seems to have captured quite a bit of the gamer aspect quite well, and unlike others, I don't think Michael Cera and Scott Pilgrim are entirely disparate characters.  Cera's not a mirror image, but Pilgrim's characterization is something he will likely embody quite well.   If it turns out to be dreadful?  Well, at least Jason Schwartzman's in it.*

Anyhow. The original reason for this gushing geekdom post?  The audio clip for a roughly 5 second song by fictional Sex Bob-Omb's rival band Crash and the Boys.  On the soundtrack, Sex Bob-Omb is repped by Beck, while Crash and the Boys has their material penned (deceptively and hilariously) by Broken Social Scene (The Clash at Demonhead is Metric).  It's short, very upset, and called "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very Sad".  [via Pitchfork]

Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene) "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad" by prefixmag



*shut up.

Seen & Heard: Kid Sister, HURTS



Music video double feature to get your Saturday started right. The first of our two scores instant points in the near and dear to my heart category simply because the bulk of it takes place in and around Chicago drive-thru mainstay Superdawg. If I didn't already have plans later, Kid Sister's super upbeat, colorful vid for "Big n Bad" would make me want to go to that fast food goodness pretty bad.  The song is off her Ultraviolet album from 2009, which is a fun time if you have yet to check it out, but really, this gets an instant post just for the featuring of those red-eyed anthropomorphic hot dogs.

"Wonderful Life", on the other hand, is a more somber affair.  What does it get points for?  Camera skillz.  It's rather pretty, is the thing. Pretty and elegant in a way that seems to merge a keen eye for fashion photography with a sort of stony-faced hybrid of 80's and 90's pop acts.  I'm thinking Duran Duran here, but something about the general appearance of HURTS that brings to mind a bit of "the look" some of the more dapper boybanders sported back in the day (I'm pretty sure this is supported by the earring). 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Novelty Treats: Incepcion



In which two disparate things are mashed together with fabulous results.

In Which "The Hills" Become A Holy Mountain...

Alright, it's not secret: I hated MTV's scripted reality dramedy The Hills and its unflinching insistence to not even try to be the least bit entertaining.  Seriously, I don't know how so many of you people sat through a single episode of this gratuitous exploration into vapidity, let alone whole seasons.  The Hills was boring.  It was boring for reality, and, if it was largely scripted, it was penned by the most uninteresting writers on the face of the Earth.  I've never seen so much sitting and staring.  I mean it, if these people are more exciting than your friends you need to find new friends, because living at all vicariously through Lauren Conrad or Kristin Cavallari is about as gauche as it is pathetic.  Yes, I may actually be trying to shame you right now.

Anyhow, MTV is clever.  MTV has always been clever, but it's clever in that frightening way where you're either in on the crude, ironically self-referential, culture skewering joke, or you're just sitting there killing brain cells in blind ignorance.  This isn't me trying to justify the reasons why MTV is my go-to station for those moments when the TV is "on in the background".  No, I'm serious.  I may loathe quite a few of the programs they broadcast, but I admit to a certain reverence for that remarkably effective way they have of cutting right through to the base, checked-out teenager in all of us.  That entire network is a huge, postmodern field study in self-aware hyper marketing.  It's brilliant.  They can sell you anything even as they mercilessly lampoon it.  Also?  The Hard Times of RJ Berger is a good show.  No, if you like teen comedies like at all, you should watch that

Where was I going?  Oh, MTV is clever.  The Hills was awful and bland and boring to watch but captured the attention of millions of girls who slipped effortlessly from The OC to Laguna Beach to a relatively adult celebrity culture.  Now, The Hills is over.  Honestly?  I didn't even know!  A friend told me.  At first I was just relieved to hear it had finally been put out of its misery, because I'm pretty sure Audrina Patridge was declared brain dead a doctor some time ago.  But then, see, they told me what happened.  Spoiler alert, I guess.  Watch this sort of cruddy version:



The Hills broke the fourth wall.  Basically, they did the exact ending of oddball cinematic gem The Holy Mountain.  Of course, it's nothing new and since, Lo Bosworth  (i have no idea what purpose she serves on the show) has since clarified that:
""Rest assured, we were simply poking fun in the way that our viewers have done since the show began to air," she continued. "Our show's undeniable production value sometimes made the validity of it all questionable, but in truth (and this really is the truth), the relationships with those on the show are real." [via MTV]
but...come on.  Let those who want to believe, believe.  This ending, for anyone with a modicum of intelligence who ever found themselves fascinated by the show, was like one big flashing justification for all those wasted hours.  It was the payoff, and in a way: I'm annoyed.   The Hills has gone and made itself relevant to classroom discussion.  It's meta.  Curses.  We'll be stuck with it forever!  Wink wink nudge nudge, whether it is or isn't totally staged (uh, yeah, it's definitely scripted.  "production values"?) is now much less important than the acknowledgement and the fact that MTV co-opted Alejandro Jodorowsky and fed him to label-mongering teen girls.  I'm impressed, and that makes me hate The Hills even more.  Now, Jodorowsky and Heidi Montag can be name dropped in a single sentence.  Do you understand how this taints everything I ever thought about The Hills?  Now, when I think of it, I will think of this:

Blerg!

Review: Inception

When Christopher Nolan isn't bothering with Batman reboots, he just loves to tackle the terrain of reality fluxing mind- fuckery.  Memento, The Prestige, all those little make-you-think moments of Nolan's celluloid "ah ha" trickery have grown up in the wake of The Dark Knight's spectacular payday to become high-powered action flick Inception.  Those who have experience with slippery cinema realities will see through Inception in its first few moments.  Without knowing the ins and outs of character and plot, a film embedded so firmly in a dream within a dream can really only end one of two ways (I firmly believe that that is not a spoiler), and if you know Nolan, the map of where you're headed should be drawn within seconds...

                                                                   finish this review @

Friday, July 16, 2010

Trailer: Due Date



Robert Downey Jr. + Zach Galifianakis + Todd Phillips (who directed The Hangover) = Due Date.  This is our first real look at the film that's been building up film blogger buzz since The Hangover hit last year.  Looks like fun, but, has anyone else noticed that there seems to be an excessive number of action comedies lately?

Monday, July 12, 2010

RIP: Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar, author of the cult autobiographical comic series American Splendor, died today in his Ohio home at the age of 70.  Pekar was found by his wife, Joyce Brabner and according to the Associated Press, Pekar had been ailing, suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, and high blood pressure, among other things.  Pekar, who was portrayed by actor Paul Giamatti in the 2003 adaptation of American Splendor, was known as something of a curmudgeon.  The comic series, an underground indie-phenom begat in 1976, showcased the drudgery of Pekar's everyday life in Cleveland through 2008.  Pekar approached storytelling with an oft self-deprecating wit and a rough-around-the-edges demeanor, always just slightly hinting at the humanity beneath the surface.  Pekar, and his contribution to the world of comics, will be missed.  

Novelty Treats(?): Vintage Misogyny

Vintage Ads has been building a collection of blatantly sexist advertisements for some time now.  They've made it into a contest; a search for the most offensive print those crazy ad men went and thought up.  The results have been narrowed down into the final five and believe me, there are some real winners (or should I say losers?).  This one isn't the most glaringly grimace inducing, but the copy on it is fairly hysterical.  I mean, can you brew bathtub gin and will you be the first on your block to own an ocelot?  Yeah. You should probably be clad in the Mistress collection.  Check out the worst of the contenders here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back in the Day #13: LaTour



My iPod has been a club scene lately, and everyone is coming to the party.  One of my friends informed me that my summer 2010 music tastes were aligned quite well with the gay clubs.  I would concede that this is likely quite true as this week I only set aside Uffie's "Illusion of Love" and a resurgence of the Scissor Sisters to pick up the entire Kelis album Flesh Tone and follow it with a heaping helping of our favorite pop sprite from down under: Kylie Minogue.  So, according to generalization and those in the know, my bass beat mantra this month seems to be glitter, glitter, and still more glitter with a hint of that early 90's house redux. 

In the midst of all of this, LaTour's "People Are Still Having Sex" started playing on shuffle.  In the wake of mentioning how childishly amused I am by slightly raunchy electro detritus like "Bad Babysitter", this was not something that could be easily ignored.  I'd forgotten that LaTour was on my iPod.  LaTour in general was not something I'd thought about in quite awhile.  The remembrance was, of course, pretty awesome.  "People Are Still Having Sex" was apparently a hit in 1991, but my earliest remembrance of the song was more like '98 or '99, in those crucial developmental years when a song titled "People Are Still Having Sex" was just about the funniest thing I'd ever heard.  This is one of those songs where, once you find it as an adolescent, everyone has to know.  First, you mention it to your friends.  They don't get it.  Then you play it for your friends.  Then you both play it for everyone else you know.  Or, at least, this was how it used to be.  Really, there's nothing dirty about LaTour's song.  It's just amusing in that it's essentially a sort of PSA that says the word "sex" quite a bit...which, let me remind you, makes it completely giggle worthy when you're in middle school.  What can I say?  I was very mature in some respects, but this wasn't really one of them.

Do kids still do that?  Snicker about pop innuendos?  I think they do.  I'm sure the words "disco stick" made many knowing children make that "I know what's going on here and I'm trying not to laugh" face. 

There's nothing else to say about LaTour, I just really wanted to share this with you.  It's Friday morning and you definitely needed to be reminded that "People Are Still Having Sex".          

Book Trailer: Super Sad True Love Story



Most of the time, when they make trailers for books they're remarkably dull, canned affairs.  This one, though, for satirist Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story, is brilliant.  Does it matter what the novel is about?  No. Because the trailer is hysterical without the book.  I was already planning on reading Shteyngart's novel, having heard some buzz a couple months back, but this sort of absurdity just makes me look forward to cracking it open all the more when it's released on July 27. 

Novelty Treats: Rachel Maddow's Class Picture

Guys, I'm not on the Rachel Maddow bandwagon.  She's alright and stuff but that's not why I'm posting this.  I'm posting this because you are on the Rachel Maddow bandwagon.  Why else? Because everyone likes photographic evidence that suggests there was a point in the past where something was very different than it was now. 

<-----Rachel Maddow is one of those things.  So blonde!  So pearly!  She looks like she'd like to play some tennis doubles with you at the club next weekend before lounging at the beach and making mimosas and then deciding that she'd like to be hooked up with a job at Fox News.

See, I look at my school pictures and wonder how it was that they managed to catch me looking the dorkiest ever each year between ages 11-17.  Dorkiest ever!  Messy, unkempt hair, glasses I would forget to take off, unhappy, vaguely dazed looking expressions, shiny nose, mildly autistic squint, overall bad.  Those pictures I'm just like..."oh no, that was a bad time, please don't show anybody."  Rachel Maddow?  This is those pictures for her.  She's like "Oh, how embarrassing...now you know that I was super blonde and healthy looking." 

Rachel Maddow!  Shockingly not awkward!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

2010 Emmy Nominations

The Emmy Nominations are here.  They're about as predictable as you might expect.  30 Rock, Mad Men, Modern Family, The Pacific, all that jazz.  The most surprising of acknowledgments comes in a whopping 19 nods to Fox's runaway hit Glee.  19, with an acting nomination in every Comedy category.  I'm sorry, but, say what?  Jane Lynch deserves it.  The rest of them?  Forget it.  I already wrote about the rapid self-induced decline of Glee's quality, so I won't bore you again, but I'm a little surprised that Glee was such an Emmy heavy hitter while the talented cast of Parks and Recreation received a nomination only for Amy Poehler, and NBC's underrated Community went completely ignored.   Ah well.  We'll see how it all plays out when the Emmy Awards take place on August 29 hosted by Jimmy Fallon.  Keep reading for the full list of nominees.




OUTSTANDING DRAMA
Lost
Breaking Bad
Dexter
Mad Men
True Blood
The Good Wife

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Mariska Hargitay (Special Victims Unit)
Glenn Close (Damages)
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights)

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Hugh Laurie (House M.D.)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Matthew Fox (Lost)

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Martin Short (Damages)
Terry O’ Quinn (Lost)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Sharon Gless (Burn Notice)
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Rose Byrne (Damages)
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

OUTSTANDING COMEDY
Glee
Modern Family
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Nurse Jackie
30 Rock
The Office
Curb Your Enthusiasm

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Lea Michele (Glee)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Toni Collette (The United States of Tara)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (The New Adventures of Old Christine)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Matthew Morrison (Glee)
Steve Carell (The Office)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Tony Shalhoub (Monk)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Chris Colfer (Glee)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Jon Cryer (Two and A Half Men)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live)
Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
Holland Taylor (Two and A Half Men)



OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW HOST
 Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) 
Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race) 
Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) 
Heidi Klum (Project Runway) 
Jeff Probst (Survivor) 


 OUTSTANDING REALITY SHOW COMPETITION 
Project Runway 
Top Chef 
The Amazing Race 
Dancing with the Stars 
American Idol 


 OUTSTANDING VARIETY, MUSIC, OR COMEDY SERIES 
The Colbert Report 
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 
Real Time With Bill Maher
 Saturday Night Live 
The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien 


 MINISERIES OR MOVIE 
The Pacific (HBO) 
Return to Cranford (PBS) 


 OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE 
Endgame (PBS) 
Georgia O’Keeffe (Lifetime)
 Moonshot (History) 
The Special Relationship (HBO)
 Temple Grandin (HBO) 
You Don’t Know Jack (HBO)


 OUTSTANDING VARIETY, MUSIC, OR COMEDY SERIES 
The Colbert Report 
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 
Real Time With Bill Maher 
Saturday Night Live 
The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien


 [via NJ]

Review: The Last Airbender

I am woefully unprepared to talk about this.  I mean it.  While I can judge the film as a film, I know that there's a gigantic amount of information that will be excluded simply because my exposure to the source material is limited at best.  Going into The Last Airbender, I was aware of the general outline of the animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender.  I knew there was a bald kid with a blue arrow tattooed on his head, and that he had magical powers of elemental control.  I knew that there were side characters who were slightly older and slightly taller, that there was a journey, and that people were after the bald kid.  That's it.  Mostly I just really liked Appa, the flying buffalo sort of creature who is so cute in the cartoon.  So cute.  That said, this is what I can tell you about the translation: Appa is not as cute as a CGI beastie. Ta da! M. Night Shyamalan seems to know this, and hides Appa's unnatural looking face almost every time he's on screen.  You should take this as a sign of much bigger problems.  They're there.  Based on the number of people with good taste I know who love the original cartoon, my educated guessing system tells me that it's ok for me to say, with 100% certainty, that the show is better than the movie, and that fans of the show will be hugely disappointed...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review: The Karate Kid

Let's turn through the pages in our pop culture photo album and look back on this project in its infancy. Ah, yes, I remember the days when the rumors of a Karate Kid remake/reboot were just a little rumor seed on the internet.  Oh, the outrage that came from those rumors!  For the love of god why tamper with a nostalgia classic?  How can Jackie Chan replace Pat Morita?  Is no one else questioning the obvious nepotism involved with casting Jaden Smith as a lead actor?  I was amongst those people, I have to admit.  I have fond memories of the entire Karate Kid series, even of Hilary Swank becoming the Next Karate Kid.  These films were the tools my father used when he pushed me into tae kwon do lessons.  They worked, and many were the times we watched them together.  Now, the plots of all of them run together into one massive martial arts epic.  I don't know when the parking lot fight happened.  I'm not sure which sequel took us to Okinawa.  What I thought I knew was that we didn't need a remake.   If you've been paying attention to the critical reception of the new, upgraded 2010 kung fu edition of The Karate Kid, you already know:  I was wrong.  The formula still works, and there was plenty of room for tweaking and small improvements...

Back in the Day #12: Princess Superstar



Writing the words 'Princess Superstar' in my brief and inconsequential pseudo-rant on Liz Phair's novelty album (did we decide? are we laughing with her or at her?)  was dangerous.  What it did was conjure Princess Superstar.  What it did was make sure that the song "Bad Babysitter" would keep playing in my head for at least 24 hours.  Literally, in every short silence I've subject to an opening beat and some voice in my head begins chanting "I'm a bad babysitter / got my boyfriend in the showah / woop! i'm makin' six bucks an hour."  Just like that.  Cuz, you know, "babysitting sucks, but whatever..."  i'll stop there.  I feel like most ordinary citizens have likely not been subjected to the flip-flop rhymes & harmonies of the overtly kitschy Princess Superstar.  "Bad Babysitter" surfaced in 2002 as part of the Princess Superstar Is.  This was at a time where everyone in pop music was all about highlighted hair and wearing sunglasses on their album covers and Princess Superstar fit into the picture just on the edges, in a grayish pink area where Eminem overlapped with Anastacia.  I quite enjoyed this song towards the end of high school, and I say that as someone who never spent a single hour of her teenage life babysitting.  I'm so serious on both counts.  1. I kind of fear children.  2. I tend to encourage obnoxious, bad behavior in children.  3. There are a lot of horror films involving babysitting.  4. This song kind of felt more overtly teeny-bopper than most actual teeny-bopper pop songs, and it was mildly dirty with absolute intention. 

For some reason, "Bad Babysitter" reminds me of all that time spent sitting around doing very little in yearbook class. Yes, my high school offered yearbook as a first period course option.  Yes, it was as ridiculous as it sounds.  I don't believe I ever actually listened to "Bad Babysitter" in yearbook class, so I'm not really sure why the image this song is conjuring is of me in a glitter Bebe shirt (remember when those were all the rage? I'm proud to tell you I got over it...) sitting at a desktop, fiddling with an outdated layout program and suggesting the cover of this year's edition be sparkly silver (it wound up looking more like duct tape).  We did a lot of idle internet surfing and photoshop collaging in that 50 or so minutes, so maybe it felt like I was somehow babysitting my own consciousness blending the face of Clay Aiken onto the body of Cynthia Nixon in Photoshop.  I don't know.  Beyond that, though, I had a tendency to find most any song that involved the killer combo of obscure remixable electronic bits with laughable displays of sexuality instantly amusing (please see The Herbaliser - "Sensual Woman").  Oh how we laughed when these things were burned onto cds to play in the car on the way to the mall. 

So, I liked "Bad Babysitter".  A hell of a lot more than I like that Liz Phair song.  The real question we need to ask, though, is what Princess Superstar is a princess of.  I don't know, but I can choose from a list of options: the club, PETA, flip-floppers, novelty record makers, Mensa (of which she is a member), dyed blond hair, superstars.  I'm pretty sure the answer is Mensa.  This is mostly because I don't feel like many members of Mensa stake claims on princessdom.  I could be wrong about this. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WTF? Liz Phair

I can't sit here and look back fondly upon Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.  There's no way I can pretend that album had any impact upon my adolescence whatsoever.  I mean, I wasn't at adolescence when it was released in 1993, and when I hit that period of angsty feminist soul searching or whatever the hell the period where I was bitter and broken out was (is?), Liz Phair meant nothing to me.  If I wanted grrrl rock I looked for PJ Harvey or at least Shirley Manson or some conflicted surface observations from Hole.  There, I said it.  I mean, I recognize that there was a point in the early/mid 90's where Liz Phair was battling top 40 conventions and fighting the good fight, but Exile isn't my thing, and from my perspective Liz is always the chick who sang that song that was featured in every single romantic comedy released from 2003 to 2005 ("Why Can't I Breathe").  I hated that song, man.  I hated it.  But you know what I might hate more?  Liz Phair's new, even poppier direction: Funstyle.  

See, apparently Liz Phair up and self-released an album on her website.  You can buy it for a few bucks, but before you do, you can also preview the single "Bollywood" and admire the 'prnt scrn' makeshift cover art.  I'm not sure what's going on here, but it feels embarrassing.  There's a lot of talking.  A lot of sound effects and strange conversation.  It's like Princess Superstar and Ke$ha collaborated on a project while stoned out of their minds snacking on Pringles and wishing it were 1998...except for I think both of those ladies might be aiming a little harder at camp.  Seriously. What is going on here?  Should I be cringing as much as I am?  Phair fans, speak!

Seen & Heard: Temper Trap


If gym class jogging had involved more choreography and firecrackers, I would have been way more into it.  Instead, gym class involved high water sweatpants, insect bites, and disaffected ex-tennis pros.  Temper Trap, your synchronized physical education may seem miserable, but you don't know the meaning of the word.  Bah. Who else had to write a paper because of a gym class absence?  Anyone?  Is it just the great state of Illinois that inflicts such torture?  Pfft.  Watch the video.  "Love Lost" by Temper Trap.   

Friday, July 2, 2010

Novelty Treats: 100 Greatest Movie Insults



In case you need something to hurtle at rude folks in fireworks crowds, unruly family members, drunks at a friend's BBQ, etc...Pajiba has collected 100 film insults into just under 10 minutes.  Go crazy you scruffy nerf herders.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review: Cyrus

Cyrus, unlike I Am Love, is a film with an impact that lessens with distance.  I correlate these movies now only because I saw them one after the next and where I Am Love suffered from an iffy beginning, Cyrus flickers out into a sort of mediocre end.  That's not a spoiler, it's just a fact.  Cyrus is a charmer of an indie-comedy that delivers all of its laughs, romance, and heart in a compact 90-minute package that's so easy to digest it feels as though the closing credits arrive prematurely.  With some films, you leave so enamored you just wanted more, but with Cyrus you feel like you've been deprived of that last piece of the narrative.  It ends too soon.  The climax came and went and you didn't even know it.  Still, if you can forgive a sub par endpoint in exchange for some genuine laughs, Cyrus is generally worth a look.


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