Saturday, June 10, 2017

For Your Consideration: Master of None

Outstanding Comedy Series
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Aziz Ansari
Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Angela Bassett, "Thanksgiving"
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series: "The Thief"
Outstanding Editing for a Single-Camera Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy Series: "New York, I Love You"

The first season of Master of None impressed me with its unabashedly romantic nature. I'd mistakenly assumed Ansari would provide a snarky or cynical voice. I was unprepared for how much more the show embraces and accomplishes in its second season.

Season 2 brings the sentimentality again, adds in an array of homages to indie and art films, tells stories of and champions people rarely represented by mainstream media, and showcases Ansari's genuine talent as an actor.

There is a confidence that permeates the season, and there's richness to be found in silence, in dialogue in Italian or sign language, and in the performances by actors who are rarely seen in network shows and would be lucky to have a single line of dialogue (I think you can watch any 8 episodes of Sex and the City, Friends, Will and Grace, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier without being distracted by a person of color saying too much).

And as with the first season, actors over the age of 60 get to do and say things that go beyond rapping granny (although the grandmother in "Thanksgiving" did play in the "granny who swears" trope).

The season eschews a consistent formula/format and that free form nature makes every episode more, I'm not sure what word I want here: vibrant, special, unique... any of those.

With last year's Emmy awards, the show's 4 nominations (including Outstanding Comedy Series) were rewarding. That it won for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series was a delight. I'm expecting more from ATAS this year, and I think the show's critical acclaim supports that expectation. Don't let me down...

Musical Theater Therapy: "Drive It Like You Stole It"

from the movie Sing Street.

Song of the Day: "Heart Break"

The title track from Lady Antebellum's forthcoming album.

Song: "Heart Break"
Artist: Lady Antebellum

Friday, June 9, 2017

Musical Theater Therapy: "Ring of Keys"

From the musical Fun Home.

Disappointing David Brooks, Part 408

David is disappointed

How are we disappointing David Brooks this week?

So many ways... but mostly he has to put on his "I told you so" rimless glasses so he can point out that, duh, nothing that came out during Comey's testimony represents an impeachable offense (no lying under oath in a civil lawsuit here) which may seem obvious to you since, if there was a smoking gun, things probably would be much further along. And if the smoking gun don't fit (or isn't present at that particular hearing), it probably doesn't even exist, which is fine because Trump himself is such a disappointment to Brooks that his future implosion will probably incur something like an exasperated orgasm.

Also Donald Trump lies. You probably didn't know that which is why Brooks is reduced to saying it so many times. Please pay more attention.

Also also, Donald Trump has this weird need for validation and attention (which may or may not be the same thing). You probably haven't noticed that yet either, so really, pay at least a modicum of attention please.

We live in an dignified society with an orderly, organized government so please be more like that polite, professional James Comey.

Summary of the David Brooks Hierarchy of Allegiance

Song of the Day: "The One 2"

!!! (pronounced "chk chk chk" and otherwise nearly impossible to do traditional database searches on) are back with a sweet track and video. Also they moved to Portland to be closer to me. Sigh.

Song: "The One 2"
Artist: !!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Song of the Day: "Blood Under My Belt"

The Drums are coming in concert. If I go will it live up to the homoerotic promise that I imagine based on their videos?

Song: "Blood Under My Belt"
Artist: The Drums

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Song of the Day: "Trick"

Matthew Sweet returns with a kickstarted album.

Song: "Trick"
Artist: Matthew Sweet

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Venn Screams U-S-A U-S-A

Those screams are a cry for help.

Wonderful Woman Is More Like It

I am very pleased with Wonder Woman, the long-awaited theatrical release bringing a bit of equity to the DC trinity. It's 1 out of 15 movies (since the 1978 Superman), but 1 out of 7 if you only go back to 2005 (14%). Not bad when you consider that the in-theater audience for superhero movies is usually only 40% female, because girls, amirite?

Wonder Woman is a character that suffers from weak editorial vision at DC (see also: Superman). DC tried rebooting her many times. They tried her as a blonde. They tried her in flats.

But they always stay true to her core character traits: bullet-stopping bracelets, a golden lariat that compels truth, and attire inappropriate for someone who intends to fight in any capacity. It's strange that girls don't embrace a culture that treats them with such dignity. I'm sure men wouldn't mention it if the situation was reversed.

Wow, this picture is straight out of a dream I had in 1982. And 1983 through 2005 and a few more times since then. This one is also pretty good.

Where was I? Oh, right, good movie. I am impressed with the direction from Patty Jenkins, whose other feature, Monster, I did not see. I compared a few scenes favorably with some scenes from Steven Spielberg (granted, I don't really like his movies) and wondered why she's been hiding her light under a bushel for the last 13 or 14 years. When I mentioned that to my mom she replied that it likely wasn't by choice. She made an Oscar-winning indie film that earned $60 million on a budget of $8 million, let's not do anything crazy. Who does she think she is?

And it's not like Patty did nothing between 2003 and 2017. She had a kid. And she directed the episode of Arrested Development with the show's second highest ratings of ever, ever; and two episodes of Entourage, so let's stop talking about her.

Gal Gadot, who was in some of the $1.5 billion (with a b) Fast and Furious franchise movies (or so I am told), is great in the role. She beat out Chippy Chapman, Toots Magee and Bimbo Billingsley for the coveted part of third fiddle in the Justice League movies movie. Chris Pine is perfectly adequate as Lionel Waggoner. Other people are in the cast and are pretty solid.

The story is solid with a slightly predictable plot twist (imagine if they'd gone a different way). I'm happy they used Ares and not Cheetah or Giganta. I'm sure Cheetah is coming.

If the movie has a flaw, it's that the urgency of the mission wasn't SO urgent that there couldn't be a shopping montage (chick flicks, amirite). If the movie has 2 flaws it's that and the score which seems to vary between combat, pensively combative and combatitively pensive.

I really enjoyed the movie. It was worth the effort to leave the house and deal with others. If Chris Pine appears in any future Wonder Woman or Wonder Woman-related movies, I will rescind this enthusiasm.

Song of the Day: "Dive"

In looking for a video I could embed, Google refused to believe I wanted "St. Etienne Dive" and kept returning links related to their live concert schedule.

Song: "Dive"
Artist: St. Etienne