Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Problem with the American Office

As soon as I mention that the British Office is high on my list of best comedy shows of all time, you will most likely jump to the conclusion that I dislike the American Office because it suffers in comparison with its superior source material.  I may be in denial, but I firmly believe that I would have given up on the American version after two episodes if the original had never existed.  Among my list of complaints:

9 Good Horror Movies Made in the Last 10 Years

I am of the opinion that the late 1960s and early 1970s were the pinnacle of the horror genre.  The 80s and 90s definitely had some good entries, but the endless sequels and copycats drove the genre into the ground.  I have been patiently awaiting a rebirth, but the new trend seems to be producing sacrilegious remakes like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, which just makes me feel depressed (and old).  Yet, in the spirit of the season, I present a list of 9 good horror movies made since 2001.  Why only 9?  Because I honestly couldn't think of a 10th.  (Possible spoilers ahead)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hey, it's...David Patrick Kelly!

I noticed the voice first.  This was the first scene of the fourth episode of Louie on FX.  Louie CK was talking to his psychiatrist about his sexual problems.

"Listen," the shrink explains.  "Sex seems very complicated...and confusing, but it's very simple.  The man takes his penis, puts it into the woman's vagina, he ejaculates, and she dies."

"She dies?" Louie asks.

"Oh, no.  I was thinking about something else."

Pulling the Plug on House

I'm done with House.

House, M.D. was one of my favorite shows for the first 3 seasons.  There has been much written about Hugh Laurie's central performance as the brilliant and sardonic diagnostician, but it is true that when House debuted, there was nothing quite like him on network TV.  He wasn't exactly another anti-hero in the vein of Tony Soprano and Vic Mackey, but he was deeply disturbed nonetheless.  How many TV protagonists can you name who are drug addicts and frequent customers of prostitutes?  And he is a doctor- the venerable profession of such upstanding gentlemen as Marcus Welby and Mark Greene.  Laurie embraced these contradictions and made House eminently first.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Decaying American Family

In honor of Halloween, I wanted make an observation about one of my favorite genres: 70s horror.

Movies exist as a sort of window into the subconscious of the society in which they are produced.  They reflect people's hopes and fears - both purposefully and accidentally - just like every other form of artistic expression.  This has always been especially evident in the American horror genre where clear connections can be drawn between the subtext on screen and real-world events shaping American society.  When Universal released films such as Dracula and The Mummy during the 1930s, there was fear of exotic terrors from far-away places.  In the 1950s, at the height of the Red Scare, Americans were afraid that their neighbors could not be trusted.  Fear had moved to U.S. soil and films such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers came out.  Then, it the late 1960s, another shift occurred.  American horror films began depicting terror as coming from within people's own families.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hey, it's...Deep Roy!

 A little backstory....

In 2001, I was sitting with a cute redhead in the dorm lounge watching Blind Date in the middle of the night having a conversation about the pleasures of recognizing little-known actors in TV shows and movies.  I was born with a great memory for faces and names, but the skill unfortunately only translates to the faces and names I care about: people on screen.