This Is The End (Of Comedy)


Chloe (aka my Supreme Muffin) and I saw This is the End a few days ago and were almost physically sick because…well, here are a few reasons:

1. Penis and ejaculation jokes. The amount of times I had to hear Danny McBride (who the hell are you, anyway?) scream about ejaculating all over James Franco’s house got a little over the top. Incredibly, annoyingly, overbearingly over the top.

2. Mindy Kaling disappointment extravaganza 2013. The only reason I believed it could be a good movie was that Mindy was in it for three seconds. I love Mindy Kaling. I idolize her, and read her book in the middle of the night with a flashlight, and I secretly want to be her, and now she’s in the crappiest movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The crappiest movie in which Michael Cera is in a bathroom having a weird threesome with two girls while high on coke. And she chose to be in the movie. Sure, I believe Rihanna would be in a movie like that because she’s probably actually insane, but Mindy is a smart woman who does smart, funny things. And she was part of this and it made me sad.

3. When I originally planned to major in Creative Writing in college, people told me not to. It’s a hard field, they said. There’s only so much room for talented writers. And then tripe like this makes millions of dollars. My first draft of the teen romance novella that I wrote in high school is higher quality and more intelligent than this script. And guys, there’s a really awkward kissing scene in that novella that nobody ever needs to read…I think it’s total crap, but it is so much better than this movie. The realization that something I wrote out of angst and confusion at age 17 contains more meaning and profundity than something that earned a bunch of people millions of dollars makes me want to vomit a little.
Some person sat down at a desk and vomited this script up and said, “A few more rape jokes and it’ll be perfect” and that is truly tragic, my friends.

4. I don’t want to have to be the person who is grumpy about these things. I don’t want to be the one who rants in the car on the way home because this is not what funny is. This is just inappropriate and nonsensical and people screaming and chopping penis statues in half. It isn’t that we all need to have the same sense of humor, because that isn’t how I want the world to work at all. But can’t we be smart? Can’t we think of jokes that don’t involve our genitals or the objectification of women or semen or our genitals or semen?! I’m tired of trying to make sense and seeming uptight, when all I ask is that we all stop being twits.

5. It was clearly made for the group of three idiotic guys sitting in front of us at the movie, who had a rollicking good time and were gasping with laughter when the weird demon with a massive penis (why why why) raped Jonah Hill (so much why). That makes me sad too. Those guys are the minority of the population (or at least so I thought) and should not be the only group that is marketed to. They laugh at stupid, immature things because they’re probably sexually repressed and aren’t intelligent enough to find humor in something that doesn’t involve farting.
Somebody needs to produce a good movie that makes people think about themselves and the human condition at least a tiny bit while laughing their sides off. Laughing is good for you. Penis jokes, on the other hand, slowly make my brain disintegrate.

I want my $10 back.

Advertisements

Come On, Comedown


2013TheStrokesPA-3734757210113Y’all muffins know how much I love The Strokes. I’m pretty sure that at one point I credited them for “saving me,” so they’re a pretty deep part of my life. Also I would like to marry all of them. Specifically Julian, but I’ll take Fabrizio any day of the week (except Sunday, that’s for Jesus).

Their sound has always been intense. Julian’s voice is deep and sometimes very dark, and I love that. Its full of feeling, and these days that can be hard to find. That anger and depth got me through high school, and I’ve swooned more than once to it… I don’t know if anyone else has felt this way or if I’m just nuts, but The Strokes make me feel so good I start to feel bad. So much amazing is happening in their music that I feel nauseated and want to throw up…so yeah I’m probably just nuts.

That all being said, what the hell, guys. Their 5th album, Comedown Machine, came out today (last night on iTunes) and I peed my pants in excitement and listened to it in bed and…I was initially severely disappointed. I still can’t completely decide how I feel.

Here’s an awesome question that really needs to be asked, as loudly and angrily as possible: “What’s with the falsetto, Jules?!” I liked your growl before. It was real, it was different, it was rock and roll. It was sex in music form, for more reasons than one. This falsetto sounds like every emerging band’s sound, and I don’t need to listen to another grown man sing like a lady.

I liked Julian’s solo album, Phrazes for the Young, and it had a lot of ’80s going on in it, but it was the loud ’80s, not this marimba-y, potentially sleep inducing ’80s shit that’s going on in songs like Slow Animals and Chances. It’s good if you want an album that’s “perfect for spring!” (as every magazine has said about Katy Perry’s “summertime” hits), but I remember a time when The Strokes were suitable for every moment of every day, all year long.

Why, then, is Jules singing about finding a dog and settling down, when at one point he was singing about getting 40s and getting screwed up? I understand “evolution and change” is necessary, but please don’t buy a house in suburbia. Either way, One Way Trigger is so disjointed that the lyrics are the least of its problems…whaaat is happening?

I’m okay with Tap Out, and All the Time is my favorite of the album (give me more of that!), but…I can’t handle Call It Fate, Call It Karma. If this is their last album, I will be severely disappointed and might personally demand another. I will find you, guys, and I will make you be a rock band again. Angles was pushing it, though I learned to love that sound, but…give me something to freak out to. Give me something to fall in love with, the way I fell in love with Is This It.

Give me something with a little life in it.

Jedgar.


I saw J. Edgar last night with my friend Chloe. It was…well, I am no Ebert, so I’ll give you some selected quotes from the cinematic delight and you can decide for yourself:

Jedgar met a pretty lady. “I’m gonna show her the card catalog system I invented on our date,” Jedgar said to his mother. Let me reiterate: She was pretty. He wanted to show her a card catalog. Then he tried to kiss her, got rejected, then proposed. Because that’s what normal people would do. Needless to say, he got rejected again. As Roger Ebert said, “She could tell nothing was stirring in his nether regions.”

Then Jedgar meets Clove, or Clive, or maybe Clyde. He instantly likes Clock, and asks him to be his new best buddy/awesome sidekick at the Bureau. Clint is a really attractive fellow who likes talking about suits and shoes and hairdos. He is, in a word, fabulous.

Then they go to a swanky nightclub in New York and sit with Ginger Rogers and her mother and her loose friend, who asks Jedgar if she can warm his bed up for him. Then Ginger’s mama asks Jedgar for a dance and he (awkwardly) declines. Then he leaves the club, goes back to his hotel room with his mother, tells her he hates–hates–hates dancing…with women. Because apparently he has homoerotic tendencies and a stutter. Mother makes him talk to himself in the mirror without stuttering, which is actually kind of heartbreaking, and then she says she’d rather have a dead son than a daffodil son, because that’s just not natural. And also impossible, because really, who ever heard of a human-flower hybrid. Then she picks her creaking body off the bed and teaches him to dance.

Cut. Clive shatters a glass against the wall in rage. He and Jedgar have just had a really weird conversation which started with Clover saying he loved Jedgar and ended with Jedgar saying he was gettin’ frisky with an actress. “Have you been physical?” Climb asked. “Yes,” Jedgar replied. That’s when the glass shattering began. “Pick that glass up right now, Clunk!” Jedgar shouted. “NO!” Klutz screamed back, his body language resembling that of a small child having a tantrum. He smashed something else. “You’re not wearing shoes, stop doing that!” Jedgar yelled, worrying for Clove’s safety. “Blahhhhh!!!!!” Clarence yelled. Then they started punching each other and fell to the ground in a writhing mass of blood and fists and (oh weird I totally didn’t predict this because it’s so not clichéd) then Clud held Jedgar down and they kissed and it was really weird.

Let’s please not forget that just moments before, the pair had been criticising Desi Arnaz’ alligator shoes and his “fake redhead wife’s” hat, which Jedgar skillfully reproduced with a bouquet of marigolds or some such flower.

And then Jedgar’s mother died. Throughout the whole movie his mother was in his ear whispering things like, “Have faith Jedgar, keep strong, hang on a minute while I lock your father in this weird closet.” So when she died, it came as a great shock to Jeddyboy, who proceeded to put her dress and necklace on, then rip the necklace off, then curl up in the fetal position on the floor and cry…because that is the beauty of cinema.

Cut. They’re old. Clove enters, all puffed up like a mannequin/robot/slug? Here’s a question: who did the makeup for this movie? For goodness sake… Anyway, Clink’s got a swollen, freckled face and then he has a stroke at the racetrack and Jedgar gets mad at him because he isn’t the young whippersnapper he once was. Then they eat eggs.

Then Jedgar dies. And his housekeeper leaves his body sprawled across the floor and invites Clink up. And he’s really sad, because they were bros for life, and it was actually pretty cute and super sad but also freaky because Jedgar was like…dead…

And that’s all I have to say about that. Because really, what else is there to say besides thank goodness that’s over. Because writing this involved reliving some of the scenes and I almost had a breakdown.

The Hypnotist: A Book Review


Who, me? I just read what NPR tells me to.
Okay, not exactly. But recently, yes.

I heard about Lars Kepler’s The Hypnotist on NPR last week. It sounded intriguing, if a little gruesome. And that’s exactly what it ended up being. Except for the part where I was totally disappointed with the ending.

The Plot: A family is murdered, no…slaughtered in Stockholm. The murderer leaves one of them, the 15 year old son, for dead, but he’s later found barely clinging to life. The detective on the case, Joona Linna, brings in hypnosis specialist Erik Maria Bark (who 10 years previous had sworn he would never hypnotize again) to question the boy, who is too far in shock to respond to police questioning. When they finally question the boy through hypnosis, they find…well, it’s really surprising, that’s all. 
But that plot line is all but abandoned about halfway through when Erik Bark’s son is kidnapped. And I still don’t really understand how the two lines are related.

While the book served its purpose to simultaneously freak me out and show me that life (and crime) is never simple, I was left wanting more, and not necessarily in a good way. It was incomplete; I wanted 25 more pages. Just 25 to help me understand the motivation behind all the crimes that take place. Just 25 to tie the pieces all together, because I know they’re supposed to be more connected than Kepler left them. I was disappointed, because I had been adequately intrigued by the gruesomeness of the book, though I usually can’t stomach those kinds of bloody descriptions. I had enjoyed the POV shift, the writing, the fact that most of the book was in present tense, the short chapters…everything about that book had been technically sound.

But it was just lacking. Things that had been brought up in the beginning and middle of the book that I thought would have some impact on the plot turned out to be completely irrelevant (such as Joona Linna’s flashbacks about an accident/his father, which I still don’t understand…and I was paying attention).

The authors (Lars Kepler is the pen name of a Swedish husband & wife writing “team”) wove an interesting motif through the book: most of the violence and crime was carried out by women and children. It threw me for a loop, and I was shocked, mortified, and TOTALLY into it. But then the authors seemed to add plot points simply for the sake of establishing it as a motif. For instance, at one point Erik and Joona come across a woman who has two naked boys in a room with a video camera trained on the bed. But why is that included in the book? I understand that it contributes to the motif and the shock value of said motif, but it literally carried nothing else out, and ended up making me look for the reason it was included. There wasn’t one, as far as I could tell.

And the ending seemed rushed, like the authors knew they needed to end it and knew people would want to know the resolution, so they just shoved it at us. But honestly, like I said before, it could’ve done with another 25 pages. It wouldn’t have bothered me, since I’d already invested hours into reading the 500 page book.

Maybe I just didn’t get it. I want to doubt that, because I like to think of myself as a semi-intelligent person who can keep up with a murder mystery, but I can’t be sure. And even if I did get it, and the gaps really are present, you should still read it.  Maybe we can feel indignant about its flaws together.

Born This Way Video: A Review


Gaga, you’ve outdone yourself.

There’s a lot to say about this particular video. If you thought Gaga had gone crazy in her Alejandro or Bad Romance videos, you thought wrong. This is Gaga gone crazy. Before I go on, you should probably watch:

Okay, now that you’ve got it fresh in your mind, here we go. This is the manifesto of Mother Monster. And it is. It’s the birth of someone, and though not completely new, she’s put out there in an entirely different way. It’s put out there, through a really creepy music video, to make us think.

You can go really in depth on this video. It may sound strange, but I think this thing’s pretty deep. It’s full of ideas we really need to think about. It’s abstract, and I don’t get a lot of it, but I think the most truthful thing I’ve heard all week was this line: It seems easy, you imagine, to gravitate instantly and unwaveringly towards good. But, she wondered, how can I protect something so perfect without evil? It’s so true. This woman, young and half naked, thought crazy by half the world, could teach us all a few things. The battle between what is good and what is bad will always be prevalent in our society. And while I don’t completely understand the connection between that statement and this video (I see a few threads, but not enough that I feel comfortable stating them as fact), I think it’s an important thing to remember: it’s never gonna be easy to know what to do.

While I could’ve done without the creepy birthing scenes and the goo in the beginning, I think that video conveyed the point she was trying to make. No matter what we may say about Gaga (that she’s way too out there, that she needs to put some clothes on, that she’s an attention hog, that she is a bad example for our youth), you have to admit: the chick has a point. We are who we are, we were born this way, we’re all out to do great things and nobody can stop us. We all want to be comfortable enough in our own skin to sing this and mean it; we all want to be comfortable enough to dance around in a bra and panties in front of a camera. And while many people may say that’s sinful, inappropriate, whatever, they’re missing the point. We need to celebrate the beauty inside of ourselves. We need to celebrate ourselves, naked (whether figuratively or literally) and organic, before we can go out and accomplish anything. This isn’t to say that you’d better be skinny and wear no clothing or you’re not worth anything. It’s the symbolism: think of your true self as what you need to bear, fully and truly, to the world. Your true self needs to come out in all its naked glory.

I think what scares people most about Gaga is not that she puts on costumes and meat dresses, not that she sometimes wears nothing but caution tape, not that she sings about sex, not that she came to the Grammys in an egg. I think what scares us most is that she’s not afraid to do all of that. She’s not afraid to just be who she is.
Personally, Lady Gaga is an inspiration to me. And she doesn’t have to be an inspiration to you, but she means a lot to many people in my generation. She gives us hope, she lets us dance, she says we can be anyone and anything we want. And though we have been told that halfheartedly by everyone else since our youth, when she says it, we believe it. Because she lives that statement. She was born this way.