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New Sincerity Classics


Here are some things that are totally New Sincerity, and don't you forget it...

Best Friends

High Fives

Lemonade Stands

Ron Popeil


Catapults & Trebuchets

Forty Water Banned in Visalia?


Mike Osuegeda of the Fresno Bee exposes the Visalia Police Departments (succesful) efforts to prevent E-40 from performing a charity concert there. Luckily the Fresno Convention Center stepped in to help.

This is 2006... we're still dealing with this anti-rap-concert BS? Gimme a break.

More blogging from Aspen


More blogging from the Aspen Comedy Festival... Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere is among the folks blogging on behalf of HBO. Improv Everywhere's Chris Kula is blogging it, too, and he's bringing back reports on some of their "scenes." Even Jon Favreau's in on the action. Everyone agrees that New York's The Whitest Kids U Know are the hot ticket, and guess what? They're blogging too. And of course Dead Frog and The Onion's AV Club are there as well, offering choice Damon-Wayans related anecdotes.

I'd be there myself, but my job doesn't offer vacation days. Or enough pay to cover visiting the world's most expensive place.

The Sound of Young America, with guest Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere (MP3 Link)

Werner Herzog: Hero of The New Sincerity


Stupidity is the devil. Look in the eye of a chicken and you'll know. It's the most horrifying, cannibalistic, and nightmarish creature in this world. - Werner Herzog

This is somewhat old news, but that makes it no less spectacularly New Sincerity.

Also: Werner Herzog on Fresh Air

Why can't something funny be good?


This post is a follow-up to this one, about why there's no comedy training for actors.

This whole business is a symptom of a broader culture in which things that are funny can't possibly be good, and vice-versa. Think of this year's Oscars. "The Squid and the Whale," Noah Baumbach's wonderful serio-comic film, received the only comedy nomination in any of the major categories. The only one! Out of like 30! If you want to find any other comedy at all, you have to look at the animation category. I guess if it's funny, it isn't art.

Of course, this is self-reinforcing. If a funny prestige film gets no prestige, then why try to make funny prestige films? And if you're not making a prestige film, why not just aim for the bottom of the barrel?

Even the best comedies of the last few years, films like "School of Rock," "Rushmore," and "High Fidelity," are ignored. "Sideways" slipped through, but it was about hoity-toity stuff, which pretty much gives it a pass. I remember watching the good-but-not-great "In Good Company," and being shocked. Not because it was a shocking film, but simply because I realized I was watching a comedy that was trying to be a good film.

When no one's trying to make something good, the cream of the comedy crop ends up being semi-improvised mish-mashes like "The Wedding Crashers." There's a place for movies like that, don't get me wrong, but the pile-of-jokes thing gets old after a while. I mean, I liked "Old School," too, but I feel like I've been watching it over and over for five years.

"The 40-Year-Old Virgin" was a problematic film, but at least they gave it a shot. The main character had some dignity, the romance was somewhat credible. It was a bit bloated and a bit formulaic, but at least it didn't abandon all hope of being a story, with characters we care about.

At this year's SF Sketchfest, David Cross & Bob Odenkirk of Mr. Show pointed to the sketch-iness trend in recent comedies. Why bother with story, the asked, when people just want to see a bunch of jokes? Why not just make a sketch movie?

Ways to make America a better place...

| 1 comment

A) Eliminate Poverty
B) Understanding between the races
C) Give Chris Elliott a family sitcom.

Would You Rather Answer: Dino Vs. Brunch


Last week, we posed a Would You Rather from the Master Of Would You Rather, Jim Real. Jim asked: Would You Rather be a crime-fighting dinosaur, or have free brunch for life?

Debate in the comments thread was hot and heavy, with many important points being made. Andrey set the tone with a thoughtful essay which began “This set of choices is deceptive, at first. One one hand, you have a choice that incorporates both dinosaurs (awesome) and crime-fighting (if not awesome, then certainly b'dass.)”

Jeff T asked an important question: does this dino have a dino brain, or the brain of a man? The answer was the brain of a man. His crimefighting is as effective as Batman.

An anonymous poster and David Lifton agreed that while free brunch was tempting, let’s face it, a dino can get whatever it wants.

It was a compelling debate. Now, it’s time for the answer.


Why? Jim explains it thusly:

…the most critical downside of dino crime fighter is this: you're a dino living in a man's world. Although bringing the heavily padded/clawed foot of justice to wrong doers will make you generally well loved and respected, as the only dino you may also (probably inevitably) become lonely and feel alienated, leading to depression and detachment, and not to mention you'd be generally illsuited at every other aspect of daily life (besides crime fighting).

There would you find friendship and love? The life of a crime-fighter is lonely, and the closest friends you could hope to have are the irrascible commissioner of police and the government scientists. All you have is the dino-cave and your work, and when it comes down to it, that’s just not enough.

Or as Matt put it eloquently: "Which comes with melon? Once you answer that, there's really no question at all."

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