Saturday, December 6, 2014

The top five reasons to watch Bad Santa

every year at Christmas, as I do.

5) John Ritter's performance

I was never a fan of Ritter's, but in this, his last film, he turned in an amazing portrayal of an uptight store manager caught in a very bad position.

4) The many great lines

If you haven't seen the movie before, I won't ruin it for you, but this one is full of wonderful lines. 

3) Billy Bob Thornton's performance

With a role this broad, it would have been easy to overplay the character and turn him into someone silly, but Thornton goes the other way and keeps his performance tight and, most of the time, low-key.  A picture of dissolution, he is never appealing, and yet ultimately he wins you over.

2) You have a great excuse to make sandwiches

If you have a granny who will make them for you, so much the better, but even if you don't, a make-your-own-sandwiches dinner is always a treat.  Buy great meats and cheeses and breads, and it's even better.

And, the number one reason to watch Bad Santa every year is,

1) The writing

The screenplay by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa tells a tight, fast-paced, darkly funny, often gross, and, in the end, ultimately redemptive story.  Jokes thread through the fabric of the tale, popping up at just the right times, so that even as the protagonist is crawling toward personal growth, you're laughing.  It's a beautiful piece of work. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lustworthy holiday objects: Any Blue Rodeo album

I will never understand why this group, which I have loved since December, 1987, is not huge everywhere.  Their mix of rock, folk, country, and pop sounds like nobody else, and it's often wonderful.

You simply can't go wrong with any Blue Rodeo album.  Their first, Outskirts, remains one of my desert island top 10 discs.  Their most recent original album, last year's In Our Nature, contains this lovely song.

This holiday season, treat yourself or someone you care about to a little Blue Rodeo.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lustworthy holiday objects: Taschen books

If you don't know the publisher Taschen, you should check them out, particularly during this season of gift giving (and getting).  They make consistently interesting, beautiful books.  I have a wall full of them. 

I'm particularly in lust right now with this book, which features the work of amazing photographer Annie Leibovitz.  Its price is crazily high, but with luck at some point Taschen will bring out a more affordable version.

When you're wondering what to get for someone special, you could do worse than checking out Taschen.

(I own no stock in Taschen, nor did they compensate me in any way for this.  I just love their books.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The perfect song for a particular kind of mood

I almost never praise the Rolling Stones, which is a mistake on my part.  This song hits absolutely the right feeling for a particular kind of dark mood.

Plus, you get to see that amazing 1973 hair!

1973 is 41 years ago, and yet it often seems so close.

Yup, I'm old as hell, and still I'm 16 inside, always 16.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You missed a great show

if you weren't among the sixty or so folks watching Stephen Kellogg perform earlier tonight in The Back Room of the Cat's Cradle.  Kellogg played songs from many different albums, added a few new ones, told a few stories, and generally put on a wonderful show.  With a drummer whose name I did not catch (but whom Kellogg nicknamed "Suitcase") backing him on most songs, Kellogg's show was not quite a solo performance but still far simpler than his concerts with the Sixers. 

Click the image to see a larger version.

I'd never been to The Back Room before, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it a much nicer, albeit smaller, venue than the main Cat's Cradle stage.  With a new sound system and new lights and a nicer finish than the older space, The Back Room was a great place for a show.  The speakers were clear, the mix just about perfect, and the resulting sound lovely.  I never had a problem understanding Kellogg; every phrase was perfectly clear.

His show ranged from humorous to genuinely touching.  I was pleased that he played one of my favorites, a song I've linked to before:

As I wrote in an earlier entry, we all should support the artists whose work we love.  I wish only that more people had done that for Kellogg tonight, but for those of us who did, he played his heart out and put on a great show.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The next new movie I'm actually excited about seeing

I fear it may end up disappointing me, but right now, I can't wait to see it.

Oh, yeah.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

When am I going to tell another story at The Monti's StorySlam?

Enough folks have asked me this question that I decided to answer it here:

I have no clue. 

Seriously, I don't.  I would have applied to the December 11 show, but I'll be out of town then.  I don't know when the next show after that is, or what my January will look like, so for now, I have no clue when I'll try another story there.

The next time I plan to go, I'll try to remember to post it here.


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