Yeah, Obama was here and all, but man, who cares now that we've established ourselves as maybe slightly better than a couple of turnover-prone Badgers? This is great. This weekend was great. I even found a pair of sunglasses in McTrib. They were knockoff Wayfarers and I wore them and if they were yours I’m not sorry. Well, maybe a little, but my level of pleasure taken in wearing the sunglasses exceeds my level of guilt that someone else is missing out on wearing the sunglasses. You know what? Let’s talk about movies.
Biggest flick of the weekend box office was Gone Girl, and although NBN already has its massive book-and-movie combo-review, let me just say this: There are a difference between ambiguous endings and non-endings, and Gone Girl (both the book and the film) unfortunately suffers from a particularly unsatisfying state of the latter. An ambiguous ending is something like Inception – we still have a conclusion, but the fate of the characters is ultimately unknown. A non-ending has no conclusion – we are not even sure if the characters ever achieved their goals. Here’s to hoping that the rest of the fall movie lineup brings some more satisfying resolutions than we saw this week.
Trailer of the Week goes to the magnificent American Sniper ad. This might be one of the great teasers in recent memory, for the simple reason that the trailer itself tells a story. We have inherent conflict from the very beginning – shoot or do not shoot – and we understand the breadth of this conflict through the simple family-focused cutaway shots. The sound is some of the classic racing-heartbeat stuff you find in thrillers, but it has substance here because it relates directly to the story being told. This is a masterwork of advertising and a subtly brilliant way of introducing us into the conflicts set to rage throughout the film. We will see this movie because we want to see how the trailer ends – that’s impressive.
Being in the swamp of pilot season, it is kind of hard to find some interesting TV talk these days. Aside from Gotham and perhaps Black-ish, it does not seem like anything on cable has the quality or fandom to stay around for very long. However, the most notable thing of the week is the sudden rise of Amazon’s big play into the Original Series pool. Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor (George Bluth, Sr. from Arrested Development), is tackling huge issues with grace and sincerity. It is tremendously-acted, heartfelt in tone, and is sincerely funny. The show follows a family’s father figure as he reveals himself to be transgender. It is relevant, and handles the tough themes with a steady hand. Most of us should have Amazon Prime, and it is free with their service. Many call it the best new show of the fall.
Also, the cast of Sesame Street came together for a hilarious parody bit on various dark dramas in their spoof-tacticular short, “The Elmys.” Check it out.
The two most notable things in music this weekend barely involved music at all. For one, Katy Perry made a bizarre College Gameday appearance. There was something involving corndogs and the dismantling of an elephant mask – she just did not belong there. She did not even have a tie to Ole Miss or Alabama – she grew up in Santa Barbara. What was ESPN doing? I don’t want pop stars doing my college football analysis.
And I know that this is not really music-related, but there is this terrific new YouTube channel from Just for Laughs that features all this archaic footage of comedians doing never-before-seen standup bits. It is not a bunch of slouches either – Kevin Hart, Kevin James, Louis CK, and Jon Stewart all have videos on there. This is going to be a huge time suck this week. I’m pumped.
Aside from the much-talked-about Dogfight and the pizza-giving madness of Closed Sessions Live and the myriad of activity at WNUR this weekend, the whole NU Entertainment scene was overshadowed by a kickass football game. We beat Wisconsin and we shoved it down the throats of the nicest fans in college sports and dammit I could not be happier. I might have been guilt-tripped into not talking any trash after the game (a Wisconsin fan shook my hand after he saw my “Beat Wisconsin” t-shirt and told me how impressed he was – I felt bad for wearing the stinkin' shirt), but oh man, OH MAN did that feel great. I am still riding that high, and you should ride it too until you remember that midterms are coming up.