she liked Imaginary Men best of all


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New Album Crush: Mumford & Sons

Before David Letterman retired he had Mumford & Sons on to perform from their latest album. I don’t know a lot about them other than I didn’t like much of their previous work and that they were vaguely associated with hipsters (this may be more my own judgement and less fact).

The song, “Believe” stunned me. I rewound about 4 or 5 times because I kept falling more in love with it. In the last few weeks I have been listening to the album Wilder Mind a lot and I absolutely love it. It is rare for me to find an album where I like each and every song and yet that is exactly what has happened with this one.

In doing some poking around I’ve found that perhaps the reason I am loving M&S so much is that this album sounds very different than their previous ones! I always thought of them as sort of folksy and twee but now they sound like a catchy hybrid of U2 and Foo Fighters which I know sounds totally bizarre but they have got the soaring anthemic guitars of U2 happening (“Believe”, “Tompkins Square Park”) and the slow burn to a loud crescendo “whisper to a riot” that Foo Fighters are masters of (“Snake Eyes”, “Only Love”)

The other thing is that there’s a lot of sad-relationship-bitterness-heartbreak in this album. The songs are all about painful realizations and last moments and it’s making me feel heartbreaky even though my heart is fully safe. THAT is a mark of good songwriting and songs if it’s making you feel something that you’re not actually experiencing at that moment. It’s evocative and makes me long for a good Cheesy Teen Drama to watch and then enhance with these angsty lyrics!

So I guess I’m one of those annoying johnny-come-lately-fans that hardcore fans always hate. Does liking Mumford & Sons make me a hipster now? Please advise.


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Female gazing at the boys of “Magic Mike XXL”

The PR campaign for Magic Mike XXL has been really entertaining so far.

There have been suggestive posters:

Appearances at Pride Parades:

 

Viral videos… (bonus points to the lady who point blank answered “NO” to the question, “would you say you care about the story?”!)

And a whole lot of abs-tastic eye-candy being put out there:

What has been the most interesting thing about all this is not even the sculpted pretty-boys flexing their oiled pecs for the camera but the fact that all the publicity is being aimed squarely at straight women and gay men, traditionally two audiences Hollywood doesn’t really give a sh*t about because they are not straight guys. This has been SO REFRESHING for a few reasons:

  • Straight men aren’t the only people who like movies OR are titillated by sexy body parts
  • The actors in the movies seem to be game for just about anything and don’t seem to care about how cheesy it may look so as a result everything about the movie and the press tour looks FUN!
  • They are totally on board with flipping the standard “male gaze”  (women as objects in film that exist for the pleasure of the male eye) which just about every other movie in creation is geared to – over to a “female gaze” in which the men in the movie become the objects

Look, I’m totally going to see this movie. I saw the first one and I’m a straight lady with eyes, I like a strong set of shoulders when I see them and male strippers are basically Boy Bands minus the nudity and singing. But honestly a major part of why I want to see it is because I want to support a press campaign that is actively courting at an audience who is usually ignored when a studio is trying to sell something.

Well done Magic Mike and your band of Merry Strippers, thanks for letting us objectify you as if you were actresses!


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We Want to Believe in X-Files Ice Cream!

Maybe you have heard that a little show called The X-Files is making a return to our entertainment world next year and it begins shooting today!

My friend Andrea (perhaps you’ve read about her Wall of X?) and I thought that this momentous occasion needed to be marked in some important way – and that way is through ice cream my friends. Specifically Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as they are known for making special pop-culture themed flavors!

To that end we have started a petition and we want you to sign it! It’s quick, easy, fun and hey, we may get some Mulder and Scully themed creamy cold tasty goodness out of it!

Find it HERE and please sign, don’t be left celebrating a new season of The X-Files with only tofutti rice dreamsicles to eat :-)

Kudos to Andrea for making this!

Kudos to Andrea for making this!


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An Ode to Dave

In my early teens I developed an obsession with Late Night with David Letterman. I’m not sure how I discovered it but it must have coincided with when we got a VCR which allowed me to tape episodes (given that 12:30AM was much too late to be up on a school night!)

For much of my teen years I was an avid fan and would record a week’s worth of shows and then spend the weekend watching them. I even kept a notebook with a dedicated pen to write down my favorite quotes and skits that the show did. There was “Bridget Jackson’s TV Nest Egg” where he had a staffer who was getting married come on and perform to earn different amounts of money towards her wedding (for example, $600 for doing a puppet show); during a writer’s strike Dave had a fountain built in front of his desk that he called “The Dancing Waters” and every night he’d introduce it and Paul would tinkle on the piano and they’d light up the fountain – and – that was it. That was the bit! When he tired of that they changed it up and added various other liquids (milk or Windex) and re-named it “The Prancing Fluids”; there was his crush on Connie Chung (one of my favorite bits was him spending the day running errands with her and deriding her need to get “shoe trees for Murray” – her husband and Dave’s romantic nemesis Maury Povich); there was the woman in the building opposite 30 Rock that he started calling randomly and chatting with; or yelling demented things through a bullhorn at an annoyed Bryant Gumbel as the “Today Show” tried to shoot.

Dave was absurd, irreverent, caustic, snarky, hilarious and sharp. He made me realize what made me laugh the most and what I wanted to emulate in my own humor were those very same qualities. I truly idolized David Letterman and that notebook was my way of keeping track of what it took to BE David Letterman. In all honesty I wanted to grow up and inherit his show when he retired. With that deadline looming TONIGHT I clearly did not reach that particular goal. I could have possibly come close at one point: in college I was looking for summer internships and found one on The Late Show. By then my Dave Worship had dwindled but seeing that there was a possibility that I could actually WORK on his show pulled me right back in. As I scanned the requirements I found I did not meet an important one: I was not a Communications major therefore I couldn’t receive credit which was required as part of the Late Show Internship program. Once again, my Dave Dreams were dashed.

So Dave was a big part of my formative years and he was also strangely a comfort during a particularly rough time in my life. When I was 15 and my parents told me about their separation I went numb and curled into a fetal position on my bed. I remember them gently asking me if I would like the TV moved into my room so I could “watch Dave” and I nodded and the TV was set up next to my bed where I watched with glazed over eyes and willed Dave to make me forget what was going on outside my door. I don’t remember anything about the episode other than being grateful for the familiarity of Dave doing his monologue when everything else had just been turned inside out.

But their eventual divorce did lead me to another grand plan and that was to get my mother to marry Dave and have him adopt me, therefore making me an actual, legitimate heir to his talk show crown. My mom however, didn’t warm to this plan citing Dave’s cigar smoking as a deal breaker (around the same time Letterman had an actual stalker who was always claiming to be his wife so it is likely this particular plan would not have gotten very far.)

Last year when he announced his retirement I realized that I probably wasn’t even going to fulfill probably the easiest Dave Goal to reach and that was to go to a taping of his show. The last few weeks I’ve been DVR’ing the Late Show and getting very nostalgic and even weepy about my youthful adoration of Dave and all his silliness. In recent years when I’ve caught the show he seemed bored at best, cranky at worst. In this home stretch he’s loosened up considerably and it’s reminded me how funny he is and how big a part of my life he’s been these last thirty years.

Late night TV is a changed landscape and now the entire point of a talk show seems to be getting a good clip that will go viral the next day – the Jimmy’s are the co-kings of this. But Dave is still old school and I’m sure CBS is a little relieved he’s decided to go and that the more viral-friendly Stephen Colbert is coming.

Just watching the final Top Ten lists has made me a little weepy so I fully expect to be a sobbing baby when I watch his final show. I truly feel it’s not just a man who is retiring but an entire form of entertainment – the last original late night talk show. He’s going out with a lot of accolades and deserved thanks from comedians and other hosts who would not have careers without the goofy and hysterical path he paved. But to me he’ll always be the guy who made me want to be as funny as he was when I was still finding out who I was.

Letterman Final

 


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“This is the story of four vampires who live in a flat and have their eternal lives taped…”

Last night I saw What We Do in the Shadows which is a HYSTERICAL “vampire reality TV documentary” (should such a thing actually exist!)

Here, just watch this:

I haven’t laughed so much at a movie in ages. It is so funny, so clever, so ridiculous that afterwards as I was trying to fall asleep I literally burst out laughing remembering one of the scenes. Just the idea of vampires having “chore charts” when one roommate isn’t pulling his weight or tricking people into thinking their spaghetti is worms because they learned it from The Lost Boys (!!!) is so brilliantly demented.

If my gushing hasn’t sold you – how about the fact that it’s by the same lunatics behind Flight of the Conchords? Or that Jemaine Clement stars and Rhys Darby has a supporting role as the alpha of a rival gang of werewolves (not “swearwolves” because they watch their language, OK?) Why don’t you watch this and remember how on-the-nose these guys are at parody and then go see the movie?


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Band Dynamic Documentaries

Tonight VH1 is premiering the Backstreet Boys documentary Show em What You’re Made Of and I think you should watch it. I say this not as a BSB fan but as a fan of anything that involves uncovering the fascinating world of band dynamics.

I recently read Mick Fleetwood’s autobiography Play On: Now, Then and Fleetwood Mac because for my money there is no band with more incredibly complex, deranged inter-band dynamics then Fleetwood Mac. Marriage between members? Check. Affairs between members? Check. Break-ups between members who then make the person they dumped sing songs about how awful their break-up was on-stage to thousands of fans? CHECK. Their episode of Behind the Music is well worth 45 minutes of your life.

Less romantically tangled but just as fascinating to this U2 fanatic is the near destruction of the band pre-Achtung Baby detailed in Bill Flanagan’s U2: At the End of the World and explored further in the band’s own documentary on the experience in From the Sky Down. Coming off of a decade of unparalleled success the members find themselves on opposing sides when it comes time to define themselves for the 90’s and nearly fall apart until they stumble into One.

And the king of all band dynamic documentaries is surely Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster which details abrupt departures, rehab stints, long buried animosities, and the band partaking in some of the craziest “group therapy” you’ll ever see. I am not a Metallica fan but I was enraptured by this film and the exploration of the complexities of being in a band and staying in a band, sharing your life, livelihood, emotions and talents with multiple other people who may not always have the same agenda or investment.

Which brings me back to the Backstreet Boys and their documentary detailing the making of their latest album In a World Like This and the subsequent tour. I watched it on VOD when it as released a few months ago and it hits all the sweet spots of a good band dynamic documentary: the camaraderie and frictions, the long-standing tensions and love for each other and the music. There was always a lot of backstage drama with BSB – the contract lawsuits, Brian’s heart problems, AJ’s addictions, Nick’s arrests – they were basically a documentary waiting to happen. The group visits to each member’s childhood home reveals a lot about each guy not just to the audience but to their other band members (the one to Nick Carter’s elementary school and his reunion with a teacher who supported him is heartbreaking as Nick’s very raw breakdown at the memory of what a lonely little boy he was and what kindness and faith this woman showed him is difficult to watch.)

So I don’t think you have to be a fan of a particular band to find their story and their relationships interesting. In some cases seeing the non-glossy, not-so-glamorous reality of what being in a band is actually like makes me appreciate them in a way I wouldn’t have if it was just about listening to their music. Check out any of these docs I’ve mentioned and you can start tonight on VH1 :-)


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Movies I Will Never Get Sick of

You know when you are flipping channels and you see a movie from the 80’s or 90’s and no matter how many times you’ve seen it you have to watch it again — or when you’re home sick and you want something silly and familiar to distract you — or just have that one movie that you can’t. stop. quoting? Well here’s a rundown of mine:

Parenthood: Steve Martin has a lot of siblings and a lot of kids. Wackiness ensues

Favorite quote: “I’m too young to be a grandmother. Grandmothers are old. They bake, and they sew, and they tell you stories about the Depression. I was at Woodstock, for Christ’s sake! I peed in a field! I hung on to The Who’s helicopter as it flew away!”

 

I Love You to Death: Kevin Kline cheats on his wife and she plots (badly) to kill him for it

Favorite quote:If we keep shooting Joey, don’t you think he might get suspicious?”

 

Postcards from the Edge: Meryl Streep is an actress in recovery with a challenging mother

Favorite quote: “Well, maybe I was an alcoholic when you were a teenager. But I had a nervous breakdown when my marriage failed and I lost all my money…Well, I got over it! And now I just drink like an Irish person.”

 

Soapdish: Sally Field is a soap diva whose life on and off her show is one big melodrama

Favorite quote:That’s depressing and it’s expensive, two words I hate. You know the words I like? I like the word ‘peppy’ and the word ‘cheap’. Peppy and cheap.”

Overboard: Goldie Hawn is a rich diva who gets amnesia and is led to believe she’s a housewife

Favorite quote: HOW CAN I CHOOSE!?!? As my mom puts it, “there’s an ‘Overboard’ quote for everything!”

“A falsetto child?”

“I’m a short, fat, slut”

“You shot a chicken?”

“It’s not us dad it’s Roy”

But darling, if you have a baby, you won’t be the baby anymore.”

“Eat your checkers!”

Oysters in a cold ocean at night? That doesn’t sound like me!”

Ahhh so many laughs — so many terrible trailers :-)

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