Sunday, December 27, 2015

Swiper... No swiping?

Dora The Explorer. Okay... his name is "Swiper" but he is not allowed to swipe. I feel like that is his job in life... to swipe. That has to be a demoralizing way to live your life. Constantly trying to do the only thing you know how to or deem worthy of doing. And a small Latina girl and her blue monkey friend are constantly interfering with your duties.

One would have to question God at this cruel and ironic cycle of living. What else does Swiper do with his free time? He has to be swiping from other people besides Dora and Boots to get his fix. Because he has to swipe. It's his name and everything he stands for as a being. 

Imagine what Swiper does when he goes home... He opens the door to his mother making a casserole in the kitchen. And his drunk father sitting on the couch watching sports...

 Mom: Hi Honey, how was your day today?

Swiper: Not great mom.
Dad: Let me guess, you've made a mockery of our name yet again.
Mom: Don't say that Harold. It's okay that you don't swipe honey.
Dad/Harold: No it's not! We're Swiper's, that's what we've been doing for centuries, and our son can't respect that! He's a pussy!
Swiper: I'm sorry Dad, I wish I could.
Harold: You would if you had any balls!
(HAROLD STANDS UP, AND STRIDES ANGRILY TO HIT SWIPER.)
Mom: No don't hit him.
(MOM TAKES THE BLOW FROM HAROLD, SHIELDING SWIPER.)
Mom: Run honey, run!
Dad: Shut up bitch, let me hit my son!
Swiper: Stop it Dad!

You could imagine what that does to a child over time. His father ashamed and embarrassed to have a weak son that does not honor his ancestry. And his poor mother stuck sacrificing herself for the sake of her son's inability to perform.

There really aren't any alarming repercussions for swiping either. It's only a small brown girl and her overly kind and helpful primate pal verbally warning him. Swiper could easily run away quickly with their belongings, or just beat them up.

What is Dora the Explorer really teaching us? Not to be true to ourselves? Only to listen while your wearing gloves and a protective mask. That's not right... That's not American... And Dora the Explorer is not American, but you all already knew that. 



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

MOVIE: Magnolia

I had been hearing about this movie for a few months now on different podcasts and interviews. I'm also a big John C. Reily fan, who is just one big name in this movie. Along with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy and others.

A three hour movie is a hard thing to watch with a short attention span, but this movie flew by. What's so cool about this movie is all of the separate story lines that eventually interweave throughout this one day. It is basically based around two old men at the end of their lives, and their legacy of people they've influenced negatively over time.

For example, an estranged misogynistic son (Tom Cruise) runs a seminar for men who want to get lots of women. And the old man's caretaker (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) tries to get a hold of him so he can see his dying father (Jason Robards). And his junkie wife's downward spiral (Julianne Moore). If this makes any sense...

The other old man, (Phillip Baker Hall) a game show host, goes to his his cocaine addicted daughter (Melora Walters) to tell her he has cancer, she doesn't care. She is later met by a cop (John C. Reily) on account of a noise complaint. They form a weird bond through out the movie that really show cases John C. Reily's amazing vulnerability.

And (William H. Macy) was a boy who won the game show the other old man runs, and his story takes place years after the game show, and his self disintegration. 

This is getting very bunched up in my attempts to explain everything that is going on. But there are some really amazing themes that stream through out the movie, all scored by appropriate music. I really enjoyed everyone's performance, and the payoff at the end of the movie is fantastic. It is a drama, but there are some small doses of black and necessary comedy.

Everything is wrapped up extremely well, and it all comes full circle. Regarding the first images of the movie, and the character's development through out... Just watch the movie!

It's on HBO, or you could also try DVD. It is a  good reflection on life, death, and deep regret. The final song by Aimee Mann "Wise Up" plays on the radio, and all of the characters sing along simultaneously. It's a really moving and intense scene to bring some kind of closure to this one eventful day.

Also, the director Paul Thomas Anderson is married to Maya Rudolph!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

COMEDIAN: Marc Maron

Marc Maron has gained supreme success from his WTF podcast. And has received his own show Maron, on IFC. I have watched the first two seasons on Netflix many times. It is such a funny show with so many great elements of his life in it. It is like Louie in the sense of stand up bits becoming scenes along with touching moments of humanity. I have recently watched the third season on Netflix, which is also amazing.

His book Attempting Normal is another great piece of his work. It's filled with jokes and a heartfelt and funny speech at the end. He does a great job of putting emotions into words, and relating to the reader.

He has a lot of great stories, about Sam Kinison and the Comedy Store. Coke and alcohol fueled adventures are very fun to listen to, and to pull some wisdom from them.
So many of his interviews on WTF have influenced me positively, and given me great insight on comedy and life.

I saw him about a year and a half ago at the Athaneum Theater in Chicago. I can remember one line that struck me was, "Come on, we're all adults here, we've all had cum on us at some point!" The crowd exploded and so did I. Because probably a day or two earlier I came on my stomach after jerking one, and it hard me so close to home.

I can't think of other things to say about him, talking nicely about people is a lot harder than I thought.... You get the idea. Go watch his show on Netflix and his amazing Podcast.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

SHOW: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It's safe to say that almost EVERYONE loves this show. It is so hilarious and comes out of the gate swinging with every episode. Their pilot The Gang Gets Racist displays their fearlessness in attacking un PC topics. Showing the gangs ignorance to race and insensitivity to homosexuality.
Along with Tina Fey, the gang approaches the white guilt factor rather than ignore it. And to me that shows a lot about the real tension of white guilt towards black people.

The reason that Mac, Charlie, Dee, and Dennis are able to take on these taboo subjects is because they are the butt of the jokes every time. They are shown as narcissistic ass holes oblivious to their fellow people. This is a formula for any type of satire, Louie does it too in his show. Making themselves look like dicks for the greater good. To point out this type behavior in humanity.

This show really helped me get through High School. It was one of the few things I could count on to make me feel better. The chemistry that Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, and Charlie Day have creates a group of mind of amazing comedy. Then adding a strong female comic presence who is willing to be the butt of the joke within their small society. They were forced to grab a big name, and Danny Devito was a truly fantastic choice.
Charlie will often make me laugh hard, but Frank Reynolds is so god damn funny. Danny Devito is just such a great actor that he commits so hard to the comedy.

Their supporting characters are all great too. The McPoyale brothers with their incest and warm milk, are often a tasty treat. Gail the snail is always bizarre. They have a cool way of bringing back all of their fun characters through out the series that all tie together.
Rickety Cricket's homelessness is heightened through out the series. Ben the Soldier's popping up, Da Maniac, and Bill Ponderosa is amazing. All of these characters are either referenced earlier and then brought to life, or are met and their back story is revealed.

It is about to go into it's eleventh season, and it has remained just as funny as all of the other seasons. It has not gone stale, the characters are too grounded and hilarious to get rid of. I hope they make more and more.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

COMEDIAN: Bill Burr

Bill Burr is another East coast comedian who pushes boundaries, and has a unique voice. He talks about a lot of different things (race, women) and defends himself regarding these issues that are viewed as opposite in pop culture. As a white guy, he's figured out a funny way to talk about white guilt and 'gold digging whores' in a way that appeals to the people that he wants to appeal to. He has carved out his own niche in show business and has become one of the best comedians working today.

He is also the reason that I started watching Breaking Bad... Finally. I had been putting it off because I saw an end to a season, that spoiled a main characters death. But after listening to him talk about it with Jim Norton on his Monday Morning Podcast, I had to check it out... I watched the whole series in eleven days. Here it is below.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jim+norton+monday+morning+podcast

It was so exciting to see his name come up on the credits later in the season! He was great in that show, he had such a cool little role as one of Saul Goodman's henchmen, Patrick Kuby.

I have watched his specials many times Emotionally Unavailable (2007) Why Do I Do This? (2008) Let It Go (2010) You People Are All The Same To Me (2012), and his latest special I'm Sorry You Feel That Way (2014).

In his latest special he covered some new and intriguing topics, he did a bit on religion that basically trumped the entire "God" belief in one sentence. If he were to go to Heaven and he misbehaved, what would happen? "What are you gonna kick me out?

He just returned to the Nerdist Podcast, and I saw a totally new side of him. He discussed getting his pilot license, and how F is For Family is actually about his child hood, and a bunch of other stuff that showed his kindness. My perspective was totally renewed on Bill Burr after that interview. He's a very dynamic guy and ya gotta love 'em.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

COMEDIAN: Jim Norton

I first discovered Jim Norton through watching Louie on FX. He was completely himself, and that's what I love about him. There is no stone un turned (or whatever the phrase is) in his life.
Everything in his life has come out through his humor some shape or another. From misadventures with prostitutes to other misadventures with prostitutes. He gives everything he has to his audience in hopes for inevitable laughter.

I fell in love with his stand up, but for the past few years or so I have been indulging in his work on The Opie and Anthony Show. Out of all the stand up comedians, Jim Norton has to have the widest range of astounding characters. Lyle 'Chip' Chipperson with his hilarious tsts commas. Ted Sheckler's vast variety of money making emporiums. Uncle Paul's many misunderstandings with children. Edgar Mellencamp's dry teeth. Turk February. And of course Helen Bergeron's amazing tag lines and telling it how it is. He creates plenty of other characters through combining characteristics and his ability to commit and hang onto key phrases that define them.

One thing in particular that makes his characters so concrete, is the language he uses for each of them. And the catch phrases he gives them. He can even overlap them and/or use them both in the same bit. But the phrases he gives for them are so individually unique and incredible.

He also has an amazing ability to twist the language of any characters including himself. Simple pronunciations like "Ahppie" and "Remahtley" for "Opie" and "Remotely", for Edgar. He has such a good grasp on the nuances of human dialect and he makes me gut laugh in admiration.

He is truly fearless in his opinions, and his ability to point out his own flaws allows him to compare himself to humanity's ridiculosus behavior . His troubled upbringing really does not display a future for success. But his intelligence and his comedy are too good to prevent from the world.

I can't get enough of his characters, but he has never had to do a stand up special as one of them... He has used them for the stage to make them better characters, but he still has the capacity to create new material in his own voice. Of relevant and necessary issues from Donald Trump to Bill Cosby. I for one would love to see a 'Chip Chipperson' stand up special, but Jim Norton doesn't need them to succeed, he is an amazing comedian.

American Degenerate (2012), Please be Offended(2013), and Contextually Inadequate (2015), are his newest specials, and so close together. He's insanely prolific and these all hold up as great Comedy Specials.

I read his book Happy Endings, it was amazing. I've never laughed so many times reading line after line. Every page is jam packed with funny comparisons and one liners. The whole book is laced with cringe worthy and offensive jokes.

He is a necessary force for giving politically correct douche bags a kick to the groin on any topic. His complete honesty is extremely noble, which makes him a Stand up superhero.