Today it was announced that J.J. Abrams will return to the directing chair for the final (for now) installment of the Star Wars saga, following the recent parting of ways between Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow (or, as some would say, after he was fired). Frankly, I’m excited. I loved Episode VII: The Force Awakens and I’m a big fan of his work. From Lost and Felicity to Super 8 and, yes, even Regarding Henry, Abrams has a knack for compelling storytelling and strong character development. Heck, he brought an epic franchise back to life after a tumultuous and CGI-ridden trilogy of prequels. He deserves some respect, as he often gets chastised for the fact that for some die-hard Star Wars fans (a categorization that I include myself in) he didn’t deliver a perfect movie. Look, not sure we’ll get anything more perfect than Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, so let’s not be so harsh. Other misgivings included that Force felt like a carbon(ite) (sorry!) copy of Episode IV: A New Hope. Well, to me, he handled the film with such care, affection, and general badassery I could feel it oozing from the screen—and as that die-hard Star Wars fan, I couldn’t ask for much more than that.
I only just started watching Downton Abbey over the winter break and subsequently became OBSESSED. I watched the first and second season just in time to start the third season when it debuted here in the US. I know I’m a tad late to the game (even more so considering when it started in the UK), but with Season 3 in the thick of things [Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen the current season!] there is a bit of Downton Abbey fever going on. And no, I am not talking about the Spanish Flu or whatever the hell Sybil got. But because of this fervor, there have been some great DA parodies and tributes. Firstly, Sesame Street just posted yesterday a lesson in learning about ups and downs, starring the uncanny muppet incarnations of Mr. Carson and the Dowager Countess of Grantham in “Upside Downton Abbey”:
Then there is the hilariously accurate modern-adaptation of transferring all the drama from Downton to Facebook. Yep, Facebook threads as episode recaps. The little nuances are so spot on, you will bust a gut laughing if you even remotely like the series [Season 3 Spoilers!]:
Then there’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon‘s take on DA with “Downton Sixbey” which is pretty funny. I mostly love Fred Armisen’s cameo (perfect casting!) and the later use of Whoopi Goldberg in a following sketch.
And just when it couldn’t get better, Stephen Colbert and his team concocted a spectacular mash-up of Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad. That’s right, I give you “Breaking Abbey.”
In light of the previous post, I will vouch that the best Christmas song is, without question, Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas.’ Heck, maybe even one of the best songs. No other song captures that longing for an old flame to see you better off with someone else, yet at the same time you yearn for them and what you miss. There is something about the way George Michael sings that pulls at my heartstrings. Maybe it helps that I feel like I’ve lived this song (well, I think that helps in making any song that much more relatable and powerful). The song is so bittersweet, which I’ve witnessed as I get older, is a more and more appropriate summation of the holidays. At least when you’re single, anyway. Huzza!
A few notes on the video:
-May be one of the best songs, but may be one of the most anticlimactic music videos?
-It defines the 80s. The hair. The fashion. Gondolas. Everything about it.
– Why would that lady give up Georgie’s irresistible good looks? Oh wait, right…
-I want to be a guest at that Apres Ski party! Who’s with me?!
In light of the holiday season now in full swing, I’ve finally re-checked all of the holiday songs on my iTunes library. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, I am a holiday music fiend. Yes, I’m one of those people. But I like a lot of the unconventional songs and the constant barrage of creating modern-day covers of classics. I also like me some good ol’ humorous fun. I grew up as an avid watcher of Saturday Night Live (I’ve been a night owl from an early age) and while there are many great classic sketches associated with the holidays (Dan Aykroyd’s ‘Consumer Probe’ and Alec Baldwin’s Schweddy balls in ‘Delicious Dish’ come to mind), I’ve also loved the silly and weird songs that have been produced over the years.
The recurring sketch of ‘Tarzan, Tonto, & Frankenstein’ and their ‘Seasons Greetings’ from the early 90s is just ridiculous. But something about this super short sketch, and the mix of Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, and the late great Phil Hartman, makes me laugh. Maybe it’s Hartman’s grunting?
Of course, Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song, which produced two sequels, has become a holiday mainstay, and is probably one of the only Chanukah-related songs that gets mainstream airtime on the radio. As far as I know, anyway. I love seeing the original version on Weekend Update, but I really love how much people get into the song during this HBO special.
I love the silliness of the ‘Season’s Greetings’ with Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan. All four make me laugh at different points, but I think Morgan’s repetitive but completely serious swaying is what always does it for me. http://www.spike.com/video-clips/3ag6mo/snl-christmas-song
‘D*** In a Box’ is not only a holiday classic, but it goes down in SNL Hall of Fame. From 2006, it’s probably one of the most referential, memorable sketches in recent history. Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake have incredible chemistry, which has clearly been milked for further Digital Shorts, and I love Maya Rudolph’s and Kristen Wiig’s supporting roles – their expressions kill me every time.
I’m really excited about Conan O’Brien’s new long-form interview web series. Conan is an intellectual guy (and history buff!) and sometimes I think his shows have restricted his natural inquisitiveness and his ability to actually have a serious, or at least truly insightful, conversation with his guests. I also love it when two comedians talk. It’s not only a comical time, but it always seems to lead to philosophical debates. Such is the case with Conan’s interview with writer/director/producer Judd Apatow. I love them both. I love their shared love for Steve Martin (and The Jerk!) and their very honest, retrospective feelings about the effects of being a professional funny person.
Watch it here: Serious Jibber Jabber: Judd Apatow
Ahhhh. The London 2012 Olympic Games are finally here. Spending the last year in London was especially exciting (and frustrating) because of the upcoming quadrennial event. There was LOTS of construction. And the city only seemed to get more crowded. I visited the Olympic park in May, and by that point it still had a long way to go (see my personal pics below). Part of me is glad I’m not there (did I mention the crowds??), but the other part of me is also sad that I’ll miss out on the global camaraderie that comes out of the games. That’s the main reason why I love the Olympics – it’s a truly global event, and we can find inspiration by some amazing people, many of them overcoming unimaginable obstacles (let the underdog stories begin!). And I love me a good Olympic montage, complete with a John Williams’ score. You see the tears of pain, but you also see the tears of joy. The Olympics show us people in these incredible moments. How can anyone forget the moment the USA men’s swimming team won the relay in Beijing? I specifically remember where I was and who I was with when I watched that – my friends and I replayed it over and over again since it was so thrilling and just made us so happy. I can’t wait to watch and see what memorable moments this year brings. And I really hope that Danny Boyle and his team can bring us a spectacular opening ceremony…it’s not like the Chinese put them under pressure or anything…
Views of the Olympic Park
How fantastic is this poster for the Flight of the Conchords Australian tour? It works on so many levels. I’m really digging the artist’s other work, here.
(the moment I was introduced to and fell in love with Aziz Ansari)