Thursday, October 19, 2006


If you haven't heard yet, the NYC landmark, CBGBs will be officially shutting down at the end of the month. The last show to ever grace the nasty, graffiti-covered stage took place last weekend. There is so much to say about the club and so much has already been written all over the web that I've decided to keep this very simple.

Its somewhat embarassing that people let this happen. The club was supposed to shut down last summer, but a group of artists rallied to keep the lease and doors open for one more year. I was fortunate enough to attend a Gorilla Biscuits reunion benefit show that blew my mind away. Its sad that a club that was so important to the development of so many artists and genres of music (punk, hardcore, indie, etc.) could close down due to financial reasons. I'm not blaming anyone. The owners of the property pumped up the rental price until it was just not affordable for Hilly Kristal. I probably should not be too critical, as I don't have all of the details, but I know that there are many extremely wealthy musicians, who should have set up some sort of fund to keep CBs open. Frankly, I think Mayor Bloomberg should have stepped in and done more to help.

Risa's Survey

I was in the middle of writing my next entry, but I was just catching up on my big sis' blog and saw this survey jammer that I thought fit well here. So, without further adoooooo, here are my answers:

1. The last movie you saw in a theatre, and current-release movie you still want to see: I just saw The Departed. It was very good, but I thought maybe a bit overhyped. I highly recommend it. However, I like the original Hong Kong flick on which it is based, Infernal Affairs. I thought the Americanized remake was extremely entertaining and the acting was on point. I also really enjoyed the scenes that were completely copied from the original. I will never understand the current fascination that American studios are having with Asian cinema. Granted, the movies are outstanding, but I have no doubt that thousands of American originals are being passed up for remakes.

I also recently saw The Illusionist. So good!

The next two movies that I want to see are actually not out yet. Nightmare Before Christmas is being rereleased in 3D. I hate to admit it, but I've never seen this Tim Burton classic. I'm also excited for Borat...what can I say?

2. The last movie you rented/purchased for home viewing: Millions. Believe it or not, I've actually stopped buying DVDs. After seeing half of this family film (directed by Danny Boyle) on cable, I had to go out and get the DVD to finish it. Good movie.

3. A movie that made you laugh out loud: A movie? Ugh! There are too many to name, so I'll go with Tommy Boy, the first one that came to mind.

4. A movie that made you cry: A Beautiful Mind - although its more complicated than it sounds...and a story for another time.

5. A movie that was a darling of the critics, but you didn't think lived up to the hype: Training Day has got to be the most overrated movie of our time. Its not bad, but its not all that good either. There is no way that Denzel Washington deserved to win his first oscar for his part in this flick. If anyone should have won, look to his co-star, Ethan Hawke.

6. A movie that you thought was better than the critics: Super Troopers. Man, nobody would go see this in the theater with me and now its a huge cult hit...go figure.

7. Favorite animated movie: The Incredibles.

8. Favorite Disney Villain: Jiminy Cricket was a mean one.

9. Favorite movie musical: This is a tough one. I'd have to say that right now, I'm still loving Labyrinth. Not only is the story amazing, but its so surreal and fun to watch asthetically. Plus, you get to watch David Bowie kick around muppets, while he sings! Can you get any better?

10. Favorite movies of all-time (up to five).In no particular order
1. fight club
2. army of darkness
3. clerks
4. goonies
5. a christmas story

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Things That Are Cool: Underappreciated TV Series on DVD

Now that the television DVD industry has absolutely blown up, I've found that (just like how I treat the music industry), it is possible to dig through hundreds of released TV shows and find some wonderful, underappreciated gems.

Everyone knows about 24, Family Guy, Seinfeld, and all of the other shows that may float your boat. What the average person does not know about is the fantastic new trend in which studios are releasing single season programs that did not succeed, but have garnered underground attention. Here are a few that I'd like to share:

Judd Apatow's Freaks and Geeks & Undeclared
Let me just start this off with a "holy @$*%"! How did these shows not survive? I mean seriously. They are ridiculously good. Intelligent humor with a good mix of drama. Imagine Apatow's neoclassic 40-Year-Old Virgin produced in a series form for television. I mean it, they are that good.

I didn't lump these shows together merely because they are products of Judd Apatow. They are almost a part of a series. Each show follows groups of friends (although both have a slight focus on a male character) and their misadventures through their respective school. F&G is the story of two groups of kids in high school: the geeks and the freaks (duh). The geeks are three freshmen boys, struggling to fit in, develop into fully grown geeks, and find themselves some lady friends. The freaks are the bad kids - the guys and girls who hang out outside in the "smoking section" and scare the other kids. The show follows a geek's older sister as she develops into one of the freaks. Trust me, this is good.

On the other hand, Undeclared focuses on a group of kids adjusting to college life. From the first episode, when the kids move into their freshman dorms, you will be laughing your ass off. Further humor unfolds when Steven's dad gets a divorce and decides to party it up with his son's friends (on a regular basis). I remember when both of these shows originally aired and it absolutely blows my mind that they were cancelled. As much as I liked Apatow's flick, I wish he could find a platform to develop further TV series.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
Ok, I admit it. I'm a HUGE Bruce Campbell fan. I'm not alone on this, but it blows my mind that so many people have no idea who this dude is. If you don't, do yourself a favor and rent Army of Darkness. Sure, you may think that I'd recommend anything that Mr. Campbell has appeared in over the years and, to some extent, you'd be right. He's incredible. If you are looking for other good movies, check out Bubba Ho-Tep or one of the other Evil Dead flicks (Army of Darkness is part 3 of the trilogy.) His books are also great, although I prefer "If Chins Could Kill" slightly over "Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way." He's known almost as much for his cameos in films (Spider-man) as he is for his own projects.

So, yes, I'm a fan. Still, Brisco County, Jr. is a great show. I'm not sure how to best explain this series. It follows the (mis)adventures of our man, Brisco, who is hired as a bounty hunter to hunt down a gang of outlaws (that killed his father, a US marshal). 40% tongue-in-cheek comedy, 40% western serial, 20% sci-fi, the show plays like many of the great late 80's/early 90's adventure series. It's extremely unique in that it is filled with Campbell's one-liners and clever twists. This set is 1385 minutes long and is a bargain if you are looking for some entertaining and relaxing TV.

Another Bruce Campbell series, Jack of All Trades, was also recently released on DVD. As I missed the show when it originally aired (I had no idea that BC was the star), I can't comment on it yet. Once I finish Brisco, I'll let you know what I think.

This is the only series that I don't remember originally airing. I'm extremely glad that I was able to discover this gem. Personally, I feel like summing up any of these series in a simple blurb is an injustice, but here I go again:

This show follows a girl who recently graduated from an excellent undergraduate institution only to end up back home in Niagara Falls, where she sells trinkets at a souvenir shop. Everything is slow and boring and somewhat depressing until one of the trinkets decides to give her some advice. Slowly more and more things begin to speak to her. As the story unfolds, the viewer is left to guess whether our protagonist is blessed with a special power or merely losing her #@$%. Unfortunately, with only one season, not all of the questions are answered. Overall, this is a great show and another one I highly recommend.

Others that I do not own, but I've heard good things about:
Life as We Know It - Same producers as Freaks and Geeks
American Gothic - Produced by Sam Raimi (director of Spider-Man, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness [see above]). I've heard wonderful things about this one. This one may be my next purchase.
Firefly - Huge cult following. Story continued in the film Serenity.
Greg the Bunny - Hugely popular show that briefly aired on FOX, featuring a cast of puppets and Seth Green. Found another home on IFC.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

With all this free time...

Ok ok ok...enough of this. I've been meaning to get a new entry down for weeks now. Pretty sad actually because I keep thinking of genius things that I want to share with everyone. However, if you know me well, then you also know that I sometimes get a little distracted.

As I said, enough! My Rosh Hashannah resolution is a promise to be more consistent with my blog entries. That being said, I've also decided not to fight my inclinations and I'm going to be making this blog a way to share my insights into the world of entertainment. This shouldn't surprise anyone, as this is how I've been using this jammy for the most part anyway.

Stay tuned...