Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rest without peace

"Yeah, I could use some good drugs right about now."

Continued family health problem continue to cause Schmoker blog problems.  I just do not have the time to blog at the moment (and I am devastated, as that means BP continues to get off without my yet calling them the scum of the earth and explaining exactly why that is so), so I'm hitting you up with yet another link.  This one, however, is likely one you have probably never run across before.  It's a podcast done by a couple of television writers named David Simkins and Marc Zicree.  It you ever wanted to know how television shows get made (and, to a lesser extent, movies), then this is an enjoyable peek behind the curtain, as they talk the hows and whys and what-the-fucks with a wide variety of writers    young and old, male and female, good and bad    over the course of what is so far thirty separate podcasts. I particularly recommend the editions with Lee Goldberg, Larry Karaszewski & Scott Alexander, Mark Fergus, and Brad Kern & John Wirth.  But they are all valuable, and there is also an excellent repost of an old and interesting interview with Stanley Kubrick that was originally conducted during the days of 2001.

And if you fancy that you may one day wish to write for television or film, then these podcasts are more than simply interesting.  They are, in fact, a must, as they are as edifying as anything I ever learned while studying theater and film at a prestigious college program which shall remain nameless. 

So check them out.  Thank me later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Use The Force (of capitalism)

 "My God, am I glad there are still memories left to rape!"

It's been a hell of a couple of weeks.  Since I am loathe to put up two sentences and a link in lieu of a blog entry, I've just gone with mostly nothing for a while.  However, I still don't have the time to do anything proper (and lucky for BP that is so, as I'd be tearing them a new asshole if I had the time), so instead I'm going to put up a couple of sentences and a link.

If you hate Star Wars (or if you more rightly love Star Wars but hate the prequels), and if you have yet to stumble upon the Red Letter Media reviews of the Star Wars prequels, then this will be a treat for you.  And if you have already stumbled upon them and watched them before, watch again.  They only get funnier with age and repetition.  The home page linked above also has a number of hilarious Star Trek: TNG reviews as well, and I'll embed Part One of the Phantom Menace review here.

Why watch a review for a crappy movie that came out nearly fifteen years ago?  Well, because this particular video review is just that funny.  It is so damn funny, in fact, that it almost makes the original suffering I endured while watching the Phantom Menace worth it.  And it is so damn funny that it definitely makes bearable the fact that we live in a world where George Lucas sodomizes his own creations (were they really his creations???) in order to line his pockets Gordon Gekko-style.

On top of that, the anonymous author of this review obviously put more time and effort into it than what George Lucas could be bothered to put into the writing of any of those lousy prequels, so I think attention must be paid (especially when I don't have the time or inclination to do a proper blog entry).  Our phantom mess of a reviewer properly eviscerates the movie and Lucas, but he always does so in a manner that is completely high-larious and appropriately profane.  With each succeeding part (there are seven in all), the review just gets funnier and funnier.  If you hang in for the full 70 minutes, you will find it very much worth your while. 

Especially if you once wasted over 120 minutes watching the crap-fest extravaganza called Phantom Menace.

So, enjoy:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Working Vay-Kay

Not just a fuck-buddy anymore!

I've been pretty swamped lately (work, family medical fun, work, avoiding work, personal medical fun, more work, and more avoiding work), so I've taken a break from blogging since the Lost finale left me emotionally bereft.

Expect more ranting and raving soon, but not today.  Today I'll just point out that if you ain't watching Glee, then you should be, if for no other reason than the fact that the above pictured Jane Lynch, whom you may remember as a potential fuck-buddy for Steve Carell in The 40-Year Old Virgin, is doing some of the funniest and cruelest work on television.  Even if fully staged versions of Bohemian Rhapsody are not for you, Lynch's portrayal of Sue Sylvester, the woman you love to hate (and eventually just flat out love) is for everyone.  And in addition to giving voice to lines so harsh they could lacerate a kidney ("You're hair looks like a briar patch.  I keep expecting racist animated Disney characters to start popping up and sing songs about living on the bayou."), Jane Lynch also sticks the landing on those rare occasions when Glee  includes a scene intended to give her character depth (from her Down's Syndrome soft-spot, thanks to a Down's sister, to her total gonzo commitment to the students at her school, which the show makes completely believable on those rare occasions when they need to demonstrate it).

In fact, of all the characters on Glee, Lynch's Sue Sylvester, author of I'm A Winner and You're Fat, is the only one who never seems a caricature even for a moment.  That's more about Lynch's portrayal than anything else, and major props to her for it.

So, I'm here to put in plea to you and to Glee.  No matter what type of music you like, each week they probably have something for you.  They jump from Gaga to Madonna to Streisand at the drop of a hat, and they work in rap and funk right alongside power ballads and rock anthems.  From a football team doing Single Ladies, to a version of Proud Mary with everyone in wheelchairs, to an affecting rendition of Lulu's To Sir, With Love, Glee's musical numbers hit every age group, every demographic.  And they are exceedingly aware of the modern world we live in, as this season they found a way to work in a flash-mob scene (which, if you do not yet know, is the modern phenomena of seemingly normal people bursting into dance and song in public, a la this T-Mobile video, before dropping right back into walking through their humdrum lives).  The flash mob number was one of the show's best sequences, from it's new take on an old song (The Safety Dance) to the way it played into some heartfelt drama by allowing a wheelchair bound character to express his dreams of dancing via a fantasy flash-mob sequence that was one for the ages.

They don't all work, and sometimes the drama itself can go right off the rails, but there is always the music and the funny (and Jane Lynch) to bring everything back around when things gets shaky.

So, here's my plea (and if know someone involved with the show to whom you can forward this, then let's get to it, peeps):  I want a LipDub show. If you are unfamiliar with this video trend, LipDub cannot be described, it can only be experienced.  You can find two of the best examples here and here.  Basically they are amateur music videos, only they are done all in one extremely long and complicated take, involving hundreds and hundreds of people at a time.  Generally they are done by college and high school kids, and some of them are more fun to watch than anything else you can do with your clothes on.

If anything was tailor made for Glee, it's the LipDub experience.  So if you are a Gleek like me, then let's starting beating the bushes and make this happen.

And if you aren't a Gleek like me, then here's what you missed on Glee!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

When I finally cried

Of all the Lost deaths, this one finally broke the dam.

I've been watching Lost for six years now and, if you include DVD rewatching, I've cried more than any forty year old dude ever should while watching a television show.  Certainly quite a bit more than I've ever cried during my adult life while not watching a television show.  

And yet during this final season of Lost, despite the brilliance of its execution and delivery, I found myself exceedingly dry eyed all throughout.  I'm not exactly certain why this was, although certainly my only complaint, the ham-handed handling of the deaths of Sun, Jin and Sayid, did remove what would have been the single greatest motivator for letting a couple of eye rivers flow.  Also, my blogging about the show has made me so analytical, and so obsessed with trying to remain analytical at all times, that I'm sure I was not always in the detached immersion state the show has so often prompted me to assume during previous years.  And so, while I was moved early and often this season, and while I found myself misty at various times all year, and especially during the finale, the waterworks just never flowed.

Then Nunu died.  

Nunu was Jorge Garcia's dog, and you probably saw Nunu during Everybody Loves Hugo (she was the cute little babe in Hurley's arm during the slide show presentation that opened the episode).  A great deal of my enjoyment of Lost this season came via Jorge's blog, which was often funny, and which always presented us with a thoughtful dissection, via podcast, of each and every episode the day after it aired.  Through Jorge's blog, I met Nunu long before Everybody Loves Hugo, and I feel for her immediately thanks to both pictures and descriptions of her deeds (the thing with the shoes rewrote the definition of the word funny).  Being a dog lover who has had anywhere from one to four of them living with me most of my adult life (although, oddly enough, not during my childhood), I'm just the sort of douche who would bond to a picture of an extremely cute dog I'm never going to actually see in  person.  After all, I can almost be moved to tears during those pet rescue commercials, so that's how over the damn bend I am for animals.

And then today I clicked over to Jorge's other blog and learned that Nunu had been struck by a car and killed on Jorge's last day in Hawaii.  And the dam broke.  I was just devastated.  All the pent up emotion I had been suppressing over the end of Lost finally came bursting through.  I cried for Nunu, and I especially cried for Jorge and Beth, as no one should ever lose a pet this way, and then I even began to cry for Jack and Sun and Jin and Sayid and Shannon and everyone else who had been dealt such a shitty deal over on Craphole Island.  All the emotions I had been subconsciously suppressing the past few months came out in spades.  Real people, pets, fictional characters, they all merged in my mind, and I cried.

I guess it shouldn't have surprised me, as the closest I came to really letting go during the finale was when Vincent came busting out of the bushes and lay down next to Jack as he lay dying.  Seeing Vincent doing something so amazingly dog-like (as opposed to fake Hollywood dog-like), just got to me more than Jack's actual death itself did.  I was so busted up that I had to make a joke about it to myself, turning Vincent into a hungry dog just waiting for Jack to hurry up and die already.  In fact, that was going to be the picture and caption I used on my first real post about the finale right up until I changed my mind moments before posting it.

You'll never read this, Jorge, but I am so sorry about what happened.  I've lost a number of pets well before their time, and it hurts as much as losing anything in your life, I know.  But I thank you for sharing Nunu with us while she was still here.  And I thank you for sharing yourself with us in a way that so few people of fame ever try to do, and which they couldn't do in a genuine manner even if they tried.  I always keep celebrity in a box, never letting it get out of control or affect my opinions of people I don't actually know, but you managed to break into that box.  You always felt like a friend I just hadn't actually met yet, as ridiculous as that may sound, and Nunu was a big reason why I felt that way.  In fact, meeting her was probably higher on my list than was meeting you.  Meeting you would have just been a gateway to getting to meet Nunu and watch her drag all your shoes under a table to keep you from going to work.  Here is to hoping we all see her again in the great sideways world in the sky.

Nunu Garcia Shady, rest in peace.