Blog Archives

Rubber

Rubber seems to have a more interesting concept than its creator/director, Quentin Dupieux, seems to acknowledge throughout the film. The idea of a sentient tire with psychokinetic abilities that can cause people to explode is fun for unabashed fans of the absurd. Unfortunately, in its 82 minute running time, it’s not allowed to be just that. Read the rest of this entry

Community: Remedial Chaos Theory – Watch the full episode now.

Hulu – Community: Remedial Chaos Theory – Watch the full episode now.

I’m sharing this on the off chance that you somehow missed this. I’m both pleased (due to the quality) and displeased (because no proper scifi show has reached the level of storytelling of this sitcom’s scifi episode) to report that this, so far, is the best episode of science fiction television of the current fall season. Why do I say it’s so good? Because while superficially the episode is all about the gimmick, the episode is really a brilliant character study made possible by analyzing the current state of the characters but in different situations at the same point in time. Think about it.

Super

Super is the kind of film that critics of comic book movies say they want to see but dismiss when they are actually made. James Gunn created an almost entirely realistic look at what it would take to make someone decide to become a masked vigilante and the horrific results of those choices. Frank D’Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is basically Bipolar, and his wife’s (Liv Tyler) leaving him for drug lord Jacques (Kevin Bacon) is the first in a series of psychotic breaks that drive the film toward its resolution. Individuals comment that Bruce Wayne must have been driven insane by the loss of his parents at the hand of Joe Chill, and that’s why there is a Batman in Gotham City. Super is basically a take on that theory. Read the rest of this entry

Paul: The Realization of Conceits

This film didn't quite make its original release date...

To be as blunt as possible, there is very little to say about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s film Paul. If you enjoyed the parodic sendoffs in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz but also appreciate science fiction films, then you already plan on seeing Paul. You no doubt already plan on enjoying the film as well; you will not be disappointed. Like the other two films, the beats of parody hit quite soundly while a very solid heart beats beneath. The main difference between those films and the new release are the American setting, the higher budget, and the more local (or recognizable) cast.

What further differentiates this film in my mind from the other two films, not to mention the science fiction and comedy worlds in general, is that it made me reconsider the conceits we make when indulging in media. Fiction is a form of entertainment that requires the audience to suspend its disbelief. People talk about this all the time, often when defending the more ludicrous aspects of a media property when someone mentions a suddenly misguided spark of logic that has come to mind. “It’s a movie! You’re supposed to suspend your disbelief!” There’s no need for logic. There’s no need for realism. This is a movie! Read the rest of this entry

Donald For Spider-Man

The link below leads to a video of Donald Glover performing stand-up, specifically his discussion of the “Donald for Spider-Man” campaign in which he starred but did not fully participate. I appreciate his response to someone’s saying that maybe Michael Cera should then play Shaft. My response: Why not?

Donald For Spiderman (HD) on Vimeo on Vimeo

via Donald For Spiderman (HD) on Vimeo.

Community: I won at Dungeons and Dragons – and it was Advanced!

Few shows effectively walk the line between affectionate parody and cruel ridicule of subcultural subjects. Some topics are pointedly ignored because acknowledgment grants some sort of power. Fortunately for Community, there is no topic in the multimedia world that is worth ignoring. What amazes me is the creativity displayed by the writers to make each topic work. In the first season they managed to make a post-apocalyptic action episode work. In the current season, they have already pulled off parodies of both zombie and space shuttle launch films. Bear in mind that this show takes place at a community college and the parodies are appropriately grounded in some level of reality.

Which brings us to the recent Advanced Dungeons and Dragons episode. In order to instill a classmate with self-respect after realizing he was exhibiting the warning signs of a severe depression, the study group convince him to play a game, his favorite game, with them. What would normally happen on television series in such a circumstance would be the transportation of the cast into the magical world they were imagining. Instead, it kept true to the nature of the game. Every person described what they were doing or attempting to do, and to make it even more funny a narrator (speaking in the tone typical of fantasy films) spoke over them – to describe the characters as they described their actions. This simultaneously pointed out just how ridiculous playing role-playing games can appear to outsiders but reinforced to those with experience in these games the majesty of these curiously indescribable worlds.

This does not come without some criticism. The previous week’s episode featured an anti-drug play in which Pierce paid Annie off in order to get a larger role, but this had the poor effect of making his role, that of drugs, the most appealing to their audience. Pierce already played antagonist, and in the AD&D episode he played antagonist again. It does not sit well as a viewer because it seems like there is no break for the cast in dealing with him, which begs the continual question of why he is always part of their study group. I guess that is the ongoing joke, but his continually disappointing behavior sometimes stops being funny and becomes something worth avoiding. (Bear me no mind, though. I also think this of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. One-note characters both me. When depth is only given once every seven episodes, it does not work for me.)

Click this link to watch the episode on Hulu.

I admit to being shameless about this show. It is one of the few shows that I can say has consistently been one of my favorites airing on television. It does not fail to make me laugh.

Couples Retreat – funny but lukewarm, aimless, passable

There are posters featuring the African American couple. I swear I never saw them.

Couples Retreat somehow pulled off what otherwise should have been a bad idea for a comedy. Going on a week long therapeutic retreat because a couple are considering divorce due to their inability to conceive is not usually considered funny. Dragging others into it who are not having similar difficulties and discovering that beneath the surface there is definitely tension is hackneyed, and of course it all gets resolved in the end. However, there were some genuinely funny moments in the film. I definitely enjoyed myself until the final act in which everything was resolved a bit too quickly.

There are certainly some things that stuck out, though: Read the rest of this entry

GameStop hilariously and cleverly promotes 3-for-2

GameStop’s business practices generally cannot be defended. Accounts of employee mistreatment are reported on the web almost weekly, and video game companies loathe the fact that used games net absolutely no profit for them. Up until now, their television commercials have been pretty boring, as well. Like I said, up until now…

The commercial may not say anything about their business, but it does effectively promote the idea of three and an association with two. (The symbolism is easy to follow, but I will explain it anyway: The three games deal stands out because the three arms were unexpected, and we remember the idea that it is for the price of two games because we only expected two arms.) Very clever, quite hilarious, and the shock value makes it memorable. What also made it work for me, and I may very well be alone in this, is that I expected the dad to give the kid a game and walk away with two for himself but got this commercial instead.

Easy A

After watching Easy A, the new teen comedy starring Emma Stone, my friend cried BS because it features a house party full of rampant teenagers. He said that in this day and age parents would not allow their children to have such large parties. I quickly pointed out that some parents are negligent, and in addition this story takes place in sunny California where big parties are simply expected. Read the rest of this entry

Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress | Indecision Forever | Political Humor, 2010 Election, and Satire Blog | Comedy Central

Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress | Indecision Forever | Political Humor, 2010 Election, and Satire Blog | Comedy Central.

I remember reading classic political satire in my high school English classes. We discussed the value of the satirical approach in bringing to light important issues, as well as the subversive nature of the humor sometimes involved. (To be fair, some people fail at it.) The masses receive the satire these days on television. The most popular forms are The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Some people confuse these shows for real news shows, which is disappointing. They are opinionated and they are quite pointed. More importantly, they point out the flaws, hypocrisies, and stupidity of the people in our political world. I see value in that.

I also see value in Stephen Colbert stepping up the satire and delivering his message in person before Congress. People say that takes chutzpa, but it is easy to have bravado when you have money and supporters behind you. Still, he had a message to deliver and he did so in a memorable way. Whether or not he was taken seriously while he was sitting there, he remained in their heads afterward. Now it is up to them to do something about it.