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Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

Ellen DeGeneres Isn’t Even the Funniest Talk Show Host– Why is She Getting the Mark Twain Prize?

May 15, 2012 5 comments

Mark Twain

You don’t have to look too hard to find an awards ceremony or a designation that reveals itself to be insincere or undistinguished. The Oscars, more often than not, honor the wrong film (no, it’s not always subjective), the Grammys have been a joke for as long as I can remember, and even awards with supposedly more cache, like the Nobel or Pulitzer, are tainted with political ambition and bias. Recently, an announcement came out revealing that Ellen DeGeneres will be the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s 2012 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. That’s right, a daytime talk show host who has an uncanny knack for convincing her guests to dance will receive an award that’s designated for contributions to American humor. What’s the deal, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts? Rosie didn’t shoot enough Koosh balls at her audience to make you giggle? Well, maybe that hacky loudmouth will have a shot at the Twain award next year.

Now, the first Twain Prize was awarded in 1998 to a very worthy honoree named Richard Pryor. Not all of the award recipients have been standup comics, but many of them are/were, Ellen included. Pryor is considered by many to be the standup who all other standups aspire to be. He’s king, and everyone else is just competing for second place. Not everyone agrees and some people are put off by Pryor’s vulgarity. I don’t really understand these people, but fair enough. The point is, however, that the majority of people who know about and love comedy recognize that Pryor is as important to American humor as Mark Twain. The same goes for other recipients such as Bob Newhart, George Carlin, and Bill Cosby. These are names synonymous with comedic greatness. I have listened to countless hours of comedians talking about which humorists Read more…

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Quick and Minor Update About ShortCuts the Podcast

Jordan and Devin recording an episode of ShortCuts

This is just a quick update regarding the state of ShortCuts the Podcast. Season 1 went quite smoothly and Devin Marble and I had a blast while recording. Even though we haven’t had the time to jump on Season 2 as quick as we originally planned, the wheels are actually in motion. We have one interview in the can and another planned in the coming week or so. With a little luck ambition, we should be going live with the new podcast episodes soon(ish).

In the meantime, go back and enjoy some of the interviews from Season 1. Additionally, Devin has started a blog of his own which he will also use to post various updates about the podcast. More importantly, however, he’ll be offering some insights, observations, and questions every Read more…

In Memory of Donald “Duck” Dunn

This is first and foremost a movie blog, but I wanted to write a little something about legendary bass player Donald “Duck” Dunn. He played in the band Booker T. & the M.G.’s, and he also worked on countless records recorded under the Stax music label and can be heard on some of the most famous blues, soul, and rock tunes that have ever been made. He was a frequent collaborator with my favorite singer of all-time, Otis Redding. Dunn died today, May 13th, while on tour in Japan with his friend, guitarist Steve Cropper.

He is prominently featured in the film The Blues Brothers, one of the funniest films ever and probably the only musical that I really, truly love. A clip from one of the film’s musical performances is above (you can skip over the advertisement in the beginning). Make sure to look for Dunn in the back, playing his bass and smoking a pipe like a badass. As someone who almost exclusively listens to blues and soul music, this is a sad day. Read more…

My 13 Favorite Horror Films: Unabridged

April 22, 2012 9 comments

Thank you for all of the kind feedback on the first half of my 13 Favorite Horror Films list. Now, here’s the complete countdown:

I think I’ve been asked, “Do you like horror movies?” more than any other film-centric question. People LOVE horror films of all kinds, but I’ve always felt somewhat out of the loop because I’ve never responded much to them. So when people would ask if I like horror, I generally responded by saying I just like good movies, some of which end up being horrific by genre; meanwhile, all I could think is how much I hate things like Final DestinationI Know What You Did Last Summer, or the Leprechaun films. Torture porn like the Saw or Hostel franchises don’t do much for me either. This overall judgmental attitude was wrong, however, because the term “horror” evoked the wrong feeling in me. I shouldn’t have thought of bad acting, hokey music, and goofy violence when thinking of horror. Just like anything else, there’s good and there’s bad, so I started to focus on what makes a great scary movie rather than what makes a bad one.

Maybe it’s years of systematic desensitization or maybe I’m a born sociopath, but I don’t frighten too easily anymore. Even if a loud burst of music cues while a mirror breaks onscreen, that brief moment of surprise doesn’t leave me feeling scared. I need Read more…

My Thoughts on ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ (*SPOILER ALERT… kinda)

April 12, 2012 2 comments

LACMA's program for 'The Five-Year Engagement'

Jason Segel is a funny man. I think Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of the standout comedies since the Apatow-style humor started to take hold after the release of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Segel stole every scene he was in throughout Knocked Up. He’s far more talented than that god-awful TV show he’s on, How I Met Your Mother (they must pay him a truck load). Because of his talent and likability, I expect that when he co-writes a romantic comedy with his writing partner/director Nicholas Stoller that it will exceed my expectations. The Five-Year Engagement (opening April 27th) does rise above most middle-of-the-road, brain dead romantic comedies out there… barely.

I went to see an early screening of The Five-Year Engagement at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The film is more comedic than romantic thanks to Segel’s and Stoller’s frequently hilarious screenplay. In the film, Segel plays a promising chef who follows the love of his life (played well by Emily Blunt) from San Francisco to the freezing Read more…