Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Monitor Lizard

I haven't said much about the movies I've seen lately. Talladega Nights, like Anchorman, will hold up over time. Just today we were reliving three or four scenes at work, almost a month after release. Jacque Smith (not to be confused with Jackie Smith of the Cowboys) didn't like it, but it probably isn't for everyone. I liked it for the supporting cast probably more than Ferrell. Sacha Baron Cohen as Gerard is great and I'm really anticipating Borat. John C. Reilly is spectacular as "Shake" of "Shake 'n' Bake." The end of the credits with an explication of Faulkner's The Bear is worth the wait.

Nacho Libre achieved what it attempted. It draws quick comparisons to Napoleon Dynamite because of the common director. It uses a similar "dork chic" aesthetic. This works sometimes and fails many others. It didn't try to be more than it was (how profound), so it was fine. The key here is expectation management.

Little Miss Sunshine was a fine dark comedy/light dramedy. Alan Arkin is outstanding as the grandpa. Steve Carell becomes so much deeper with a beard. The directors have an interesting pedigree [I suppose this range isn't surprising given that the film's directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, also supervised episodes of the subversive Mr. Show, as well as the sweet video for Smashing Pumpkin's "1979," Korn's dark "Freak on a Leash" video, Jane's Addiction's bizarre "Been Caught Stealing" video, and the cheesy black & white classic -- Extreme's "More Than Words."]. Sufjan Stevens on the soundtrack doesn't hurt either.

Now for a quick rundown of the TV I watch. A friend once said, "Everyone is entitled to a couple of vices. I'll take TV for both of mine." I concur, and then I have even more vices than I'm entitled to.

No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain: I happened upon this one, and I'm very glad I did. Sweden, Indonesia, Mexico, Montreal, Edo, Peru, North Korea, and Beirut unfortunately when Israel started bombing. Raw reindeer, spit-roasted pig basted in coconut juice, foie gras, octopus, alpaca, and kim chee are just a few of the dishes he enjoys while smoothly integrating info about the culture and people with impromptu interviews with locals and guide friends. I just finished Kitchen Confidential by Bourdain, on recommendation from Ellen, and he really does a good job of keeping the same tone.

Project Runway: This is one of my favorite reality game shows. The casting brings a nice variety of personalities and socioethniconomic backgrounds. Plus they have a reliable and accessible format. Everyone wears clothes. I think I can tell what is a good outfit and what is a bad one.

30 Days: This one approaches social issues with the ol' walk thirty days in their shoes philosophy. I netflixed the first three episodes of season one, which includes the minimum wage episode, the HGH-testosterone episode, and the Muslim episode. I also appreciated the illegal alien and new age episodes.

The Venture Bros. Metalocalypse: These are my favorite Adult Swim shows. The innocence of Hank and Dean combined with the uber-machismo of Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton) is animated gold. The villians are great too: Doctor Girlfriend (smokin' hot with the voice of Guido the forty seven year old smoker), Phantom Limb, The Monarch (thinks that because monarch butterflies eat milkweed they are poisonous). Doctor Orpheus, the renter at Venture Industries is great fun too ("Necromancer, not necrophile!"). Metalocalypse is a cartoon about Dethklok, a death metal band. They have some pretty fun fifteen minute episodes. One of the creators is Brendon Small who also did Home Movies, another Adult Swim show I liked. Mark Hamill and James Hetfield do voice work for it as well. You can watch both shows at

Football: Meaningful games started Thursday night (the 31st) and the last meaningful one this season will be played the first weekend of February. Five months of football watching fun. Tonight I toured the $50 mil new Osborne Athletic Complex. (The lockers are carved out of maple and have individual ventilation systems.) To think that the university will get it back in football revenues in maybe three years. Crazy.

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At September 02, 2006 12:51 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

thanks for not linking to my blog.

At September 02, 2006 1:28 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

You're welcome. I figured the interested party could just go to your blog from my side bar links. And now they can get there from your profile in my comments on this post.

At September 03, 2006 1:33 AM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

And I would like everyone to know that the list of television programs is just a partial list (from memory) of shows that at some point I really liked and made an effort to watch every week (or every day once syndicated).

I'm embarrassed about several of them.

At September 03, 2006 3:56 PM, Blogger Buffy Turner said...

Oh, how funny: I didn't know until, oh, about two minutes ago that that little jeu d'esprit-- about everyone being entitled to a couple vices--was Michael's. I read it in admiration; I should have known (my applause referring, of course, to the quippiness therein, opposed to signified content).

And didn't that absolutely slaughter you to see the one solitary book beneath? Amusing Ourselves to Death? Oh, Daniel, you simply cannot know the death I died over that one.


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