Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What Women Do You Find Funny Today?

In other words, comedians that are currently making jokes. Either on TV or in the movies?

For the first time, maybe ever, I find a lot of women funny. The two women on BROAD CITY are funny. Tina Fey, although making too many bad movies, is funny. Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer are funny. Now the rap on all of them might be that they are vulgar. But so are most male comedians so I don't credit that. Although I don't find Lena Dunham as personally funny-she writes funny so that counts for me. Kristen Schaal (LAST MAN OF EARTH) works for me as does Sarah Silverman. Julie Louis Dreyfus is perhaps the best of them all. Also Anna Chlumsky from VEEP.
Sharon Horgan from CATASTROPHE is great. So too Melissa McCarthy,. Ellie Kemper from THE UBREKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT. There are a lot.

Now supposedly a lot of men don't care for funny woman but I bet you can name currently funny woman. 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Favorite Episodes of Favorite TV Shows





“Abyssinia, Henry” (season three, episode 24):

 I am sure there were moments over the years before this when I was stunned by an episode of TV,. However this is the first one I remember. In this third season finale, Henry Blake gets his discharge papers and is going home. The episode gives a lot of detail about leaving, ending in a drunken party with the gang. In the last scene, which was apparently a surprise to everyone, Radar comes in with the news that Henry's plane back to the US has been shot down. The looks on the actors' faces reflect their real surprise at hearing this news. Sadly I can't find their faces, only Radar telling the news.




Thanks to my brother, Jeff, for rounding up these stills.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Saw This at La Jolla Symphony with the brilliant Lisa Moore



 The La Jolla Symphony Orchestra was a huge orchestra, perhaps eight cellos and dozens of violins and violas. Four basses. Several drums including kettles. So Lisa Moore had to play fiercely to be heard. Which she did. Brilliant. It brought tears to my eyes. Their performance rates better than this one to me.

COEN BROTHERS

Here is how I would rank their movies. Haven't seen HAIL CAESAR yet.

FARGO
MILLER'S CROSSING
BARTON FINK
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
TRUE GRIT
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
BLOOD SIMPLE
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?
RAISING ARIZONA
A SERIOUS MAN
THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE
INTOLERABLE CRUELTY
HUDSUCKER PROXY
BURN AFTER READING
THE LADY KILLERS

What are your favorites?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday's Forgotten Books, February 5, 2016

DON'T FORGET RUTH RENDELL week in a month. 

THE REVENANT review

(From the archives)

GHOST TOWN, Ed Gorman (from the archives)

It's been of some embarrassment to me that despite the many readers and writers of Westerns who contribute to Friday's Forgotten Books, I have not read one. Okay, I did read Lonesome Dove, but that's about the only one.

I've always suffered from the mistaken impression that Western novels resemble the TV westerns of my youth. The plots were about cattle rustling, bar fights, women depicted as all good (schoolmarms and wives) or all bad (saloon girls and hookers), shootouts, Indian fights, cattle herding, lynchings, etc. Everything seemed painted in black and white to match the day.

Ed Gorman took pity on my misconceptions and sent me two of his Westerns, saying he thought I'd be surprised at the modern Western and how it bore more a resemblance to noirish crime fiction than I might think.


I read GHOST TOWN and it was surprisingly like current crime fiction, but more than that, it was a terrific novel, regardless of its genre-leanings. GHOST TOWN was a great story, well-told, with interesting characters in an unfamiliar (to me) setting.

The book takes places in a small Wisconsin town overrun by both malaria and a few suspicious types who run the bank and the town. It's the story of Bryce Lamont, who comes here to get his share of the take from a jewelry theft that put him in prison. What he finds in that Wisconsin town will lead him down a bloody trail, jeopardizing himself and the people he loves.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot here, but let me say this--nearly every character in Ghost Town is complex--neither all good or bad, and this includes, of course, the protagonist. Although there is a lot of action in the novel, it never feels overdone. There is plenty of time to look around at the scenery, the clothes, medical practices, woman's issues, the news of the late 1800s in a small mid-western town. Despite this, the book is succinct, fast-moving and exciting.

Its greatest asset is-- this book has heart. You can feel it beating on every page. And that's not easy to pull off in any genre of writing. Grit and heart in one slim volume is a gift.

I will certainly read more Westerns after this one. It hardly hurt at all. Thanks, Ed.


Sergio Angelini, LULLABY, Ed McBain
Joe Barone, A THOUSAND FALLING CROWS, Larry D. Swearzy
Elgin Bleeker, UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, Stuart Woods
Bill Crider, HAIL STORME, W.L, Ripley
Scott Cupp, BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, Bill Crider
Martin Edwards, LOBELIA GROVE, Anthony Rolls
Rick Horton, THE GINGER STAR, Leigh Brackett
Jerry House, CAPTIVE, the Gordons
Nick Jones, Desmond Quarry's Mr. Pilgrim 
George Kelley, THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON: A 35 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
Margot Kinberg, MAXIMUM BOB, Elmore Leonard
Rob Kitchin, SLOW HORSES, Mick Herron
B.V. Lawson, HARBINGERS OF FEAR, Dorothy Sumpson
Evan Lewis, CONAN, THE DEFENDER, Robert Jordan
Steve Lewis/Walter Albert, JO GAR'S CASEBOOK, Raoul Whitfield
Todd Mason, THE LITTLE MAGAZINE IN AMERICA: A MODERN DOCUMENTARY HISTORY edited by Elliott Anderson and Mary Kinzie 
J.F. Norris, SO BAD A DEATH, June Wright
Matt Paust, THE COLD WAR SWAP, Ross Thomas
J. Kingston Pierce, BLACK WINGS HAS MY ANGEL, Elliot Chaze 
James Reasoner, HELL ROARIN TEXAS TOWN, Robert Denver 
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, KILLERS ARE MY MEAT, Stephen Marlowe
TomCat,LATE,LATE IN THE EVENING, Gladys Mitchell
TracyK, TRUST ME ON THIS, Donald E. Westlake 
Prashant Trikannad, THE CASE OF THE INVISIBLE CIRCLE, Erle Stanley Gardner

Thursday, February 04, 2016

On revisiting SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Costume dramas are hard to pull off, I think. I loved this movie at the time but on rewatching it, I think several of the actors didn't work well in their roles. Hugh Grant, doing his fluttery eyelids and stuttering routine seemed unworthy of Emma Thompson's affections. And Emma herself seemed to be too 20th Century for the part. Kate Winslett was perfection, however. So too Alan Rickman. And so too the secondary roles, which the British always cast right.

Does this happen to you on revisiting a movie you loved? Sometimes it works but sometimes....And although Emma captured the character in RETURNS OF THE DAY perfectly, this was a century earlier and she did not have the face and form for it for me. Something else too...can't put my finger on it.

Also, what happened to Hugh Grant? He has not made a major movie in a long time. Did he never recover from his escapades of the late nineties. And, strangely he now has four kids under five with two women, neither of whom he married.