Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just Say NO

The 12th Annual S.F. SKETCHFEST was held January 24 - February 10, 2013 and I attended 23 shows in 18 days (still only a fraction of the over 100 available). My recaps are posted over at the AST message board in this thread and feature many photos. I was more aggressive than before in getting snaps and meeting performers. And I think my attempts at capturing comedic moments in writing have improved as well. 

Doug Stanhope @ Cobb's Comedy Club, 8pm
Host/opener Keith Lowell Jensen - smart material,  but only mildly funny 
Steve Poggi - slow start but got good with his Herbert the dumb baby / Sandy Hook story
Junior Stopka - great weird style, retard hillbilly but clever and absurd. Hedberg-ish

Doug Stanhope - told not so much jokes as rambling stories. Sounded completely off the cuff but I know there was prepared material. Each subject blended into the next: cancer update (he still don't got it despite his dissolute lifestyle), the late Chris Dorner (Doug is pissed that his name wasn't mentioned in the murderer's manifesto), drinking, attempting to enjoy the porno "Backdoor to Chyna," meeting Jake LaMotta, assisting his mother's suicide (true), how the Occupy Movement was worthless, cancer charities, and culminating in his on-the-playing-field rape of a football player. He was gruff, increasingly drunk (as the audience sent him shots throughout), but high-spirited and very intelligent. Hilarious. Cobb's was sold out, the balcony open - more folks on a Wednesday night than any of the Sketchfest shows I attended here on weekend nights.

Nicest looking and most spacious sounding headphones I've ever owned - Sennheiser HD 598. Ordered them from Crutchfield who have a lot of nice stuff and excellent customer support.

1/29 MacBook Pro to Apple Store. My trackpad crapped out after my 3-year warranty expired. The problem had been slight for the past few months but then went nuts, the cursor jumping and jittering on the screen. Could still type and select but with high risk and major hassle. Swollen battery was the culprit. Still, only $220 to replace both.

2/1 After a month a problems with some channels on our cable service, dozens of phone calls to Customer Support, missed appointments, and one unsuccessful technician visit who misdiagnosed the cause, Comcast finally replaced the actual coaxial wire connecting the house to the pole. No problems since.

2/20 Our Rheem Gas Furnace Heater (from the 80's) has gotten a big workout this colder than usual winter. It too has crapped out and I've struggled to understand how it's supposed to work. Taking it as a challenge, I have gotten it running again by installing a new Hot Surface Ignition Module, but still need an expert to fine tune it. Found a lot of useful advice in YouTube videos made by HVAC professionals. I now know more about gas furnaces than I ever thought I would. This guy's channel is one of the best…

Movies & TV
1/26 There Will Be Blood (2007) with audio commentary via "You Made It Movies" with comedians Pete Holmes & Paul F. Tompkins. This is Pete's favorite film and Paul appears briefly in it so this was a great excuse to watch this masterful film again while listening to two brilliant and knowledgeable fans talk over it. Inspired to me to see P.T. Anderson's latest again while still in theaters…

1/29 The Master @ Stonestown (2nd time) — serendipitous as it was playing at the mall where the Apple Store is located (see: Products, below). Loved this the first time, but admittedly baffled by some of it. This time was smooth sailing as I better grasped the themes and relaxed in its languid atmosphere. A visceral heady film, a romance between the two sides of man. 

2/04-09 The Wire (2002-2008) @ HBO all 5 seasons —- greatest TV series ever? Probably. Inventive blend of journalism and procedural crime drama, high-minded social critique and getting high with wanna-be gangsters. 

2/16 Breaking Away (1979) @ VOD
Comedians Jimmy Pardo and the Sklar Brothers frequently name this as one of the greatest sports movies ever. It is charming, uplifting fun, not at all the gung-ho jockfest I'd imagined. More an intimate portrait of class struggle in small town America (really!), bicycle riding is just the vehicle (ugh) used to tell the story.  

2/23 History of the Eagles @ Showtime  (3 hour documentary) — thorough, informative, at times moving (especially when sidemen are forced to quit the group). The lead guitar parts have fascinated me for years so I was glad to get some clarification on when Leadon, Felder, and Walsh were all in the group. Many high quality 70's era film clips in which figureheads Frey and Henley appear as humble geniuses, but self-important douches nowadays. Joe Walsh is damaged but glad to be alive. I dig a lot of their tunes, but recall trauma from The Long Run playing during a game of "truth or dare" at a birthday party of a gal I crushed on in 1980. Never forgave the Eagles for that. 

2/24 The Sessions @ VOD — Outstanding tearjerker, sexy, funny, and touching. Leads John Hawkes & Helen Hunt won Indie Spirit awards for acting the night before, which finally convinced me to see it. The trailers left me feeling manipulated by an over-celebratory indie rock soundtrack, but I was mistaken. None of that music appeared in the film itself which was more quietly dignified in its triumphs.

The Oscars (ABC) - had a good time with this as some of my favorites won (Django Unchained) but more did not (*boo* Hathaway - Hunt eared it with greater subtlety and way more screen time). Despite what mostly felt like a modern streamlined show, it was still bogged down with a misguided throwback tribute to recent film musicals that was as terrible as anything I've ever seen. And the whole thing still managed to run a half hour long. Strange. 

This series of videos helped put the nominations in focus, solidifying why certain wins felt right and others wrong. For instance, in acting lead and supporting, both Phoenix and Hoffman from The Master were outstanding, but since the film itself was not publicly embraced, it was unlikely either would get the trophy. They also make a strong case for Silver Linings Playbook deserving the Best Motion Picture award as it is the most relevant to modern life.

2/25 Warm Bodies / Side Effects @ Century Daly City 20
First an enjoyable "zom-com," Romeo & Juliet meet Sean of the Dead. Then the latest from retiring (?) director Steven Soderberg, a tawdry exposé of big pharma and insider trading via Hitchcock with a touch of Basic Instinct. Engrossing and twisty, found myself enjoying Jude Law more than ever (Contagion, Anna Karenina) and loving the heck out of the loony performance by Rooney Mara (Social Network, the U.S. Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo). 

2/27 Girls @ HBO - watched Season 2, episodes 1-7
Good stuff, perhaps funnier than first season, aided by further development of supporting characters. Now more clearly a satire of young people, an ode to bad decision-making. Before, it seemed like a fantasy. I was too busy getting nostalgic for being a dumb, horny, narcissistic twenty-something living in New York City, recognizing people I knew in characters on the show.

Happiness (1998) Netflix DVD (no extras) — enjoyed it. Clever interweaving storytelling, sad, funny, and gross. Can't say I'm a Todd Solondz fan. Must have seen Welcome to the Dollhouse back in the day, disliked it, and ignored him since, but this was a really good "feel-bad" movie. Manages to create empathy for unlikeable characters and to find humor in horrible situations.

Taken (2008) @ FXHD — As the movie was PG-13, I don't think much was cut for cable TV. Never seen it before. Impressed by how bad it was. 

The Americans @ FXHD —  Been hearing good things about this new spy show set in the cold war 1980's so I took advantage of the Friday night marathon running after Taken and caught up on the first five episodes. Excellent cast, conflicted characters, bursts of violent action, occasionally seedy and frequently suspenseful. Occasionally takes advantage of the historical setting to make commentary on current events. Sort of a "Homeland Babies," in that we see both sides of the struggle, sympathize with our morally dubious heroes, but with fewer histrionics than that show. Highly recommended.

56 Up @ Opera Plaza 
No @ Embarcadero 
Archival video overload. Two foreign flicks, one a doc, one than feels like a doc but isn't (technically). Both terrific. 


1/25 McBain — a terrible, terrible Rambo/A-Team mashup starring a sleepwalking Christopher Walken that no one should remember.
3/02 When A Stranger Calls Back — horror film that is not very scary but is unsettling in its treatment of the lead actress, not violent but embarassing emotional torture, lightened up by the wisecracking of the Mike, Kevin, & Bill. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Drop Dead Legs

1/01 - etc. 
Twilight Zone Marathon @ SyFyHD
On New Year's Eve I cleared my DVR to record over two days of episodes which I watched hours at a time over the next week or so. Really enjoyable, the first time I ever took to seriously learn the shows history, techniques, and influence (IMDB helped to navigate). Amazingly, this was not even the full run, there are still a few still to watch including the entirety of Season 4 which are hour longs, and thus not part of any syndication airings. Thankfully Amazon Prime and/or Hulu have them all available to stream.

Made a shopping trip to Haight Street with a couple goals in mind: 
Amoeba to sell DVDs (most were titles I had upgraded to Blu-ray), Dr. Martens to buy some new shoes (haven't worn DM's since my twenties - they are SO comfortable), American Apparel (for some shirts). Then back on the 71 bus downtown to catch a movie…

The Impossible @ Century Centre 130pm (1:47) Tense, thrilling tear-jerker based on a true story with a grueling performance by Naomi Watts (with some nasty leg injuries). And some stunning special effects of tsunami devastation.

Triple bill of films with strong female characters, two of which involve leg amputations.

Tristana (Bunuel, 1970) @ Opera Plaza 
Here's the whole darn thing on YouTube (be sure to turn on English captions)

Zero Dark Thirty @ Century Centre

Rust and Bone @ Embarcadero

Amour @ Clay
Amazing, sad, poetic. The bit with the pigeon… profoundly funny. Overheard a woman after saying it was a primer on taking care of the elderly. Not looking forward to it myself.

California Solo @ Opera Plaza -  Character study of a fallen former rock star. Right up my alley. Terrific performance from Robert Carlyle. Some very cool music on the soundtrack. Him selling his vintage Les Paul (instead of giving it to his estranged daughter) is a only a minor tragic moment in a story filled with much larger mistakes.

Showtime did their annual free preview weekend so I took advantage and watched all of Dexter Season 7 (12 episodes) and Homeland Season 1& 2 (24 episodes) via On Demand. This helped prepare me for Sunday nights Golden Globes during which Homeland won a few awards (again, at least this time I knew why). Even though, by many accounts, this second season was nowhere near as good as the first. I dunno, having wolfed down the whole affair in about two days, I enjoyed it all. Kinda made me forget about Dexter which was fun but seems to be running out of steam.

Had some drama with Comcast this month which I don't really want to get into all the details of right now (macroblocking). A technician finally made it out and seemed to have fixed the (minor) problem but now a week later, it's back. May be weather related. 

Around the same time our heat wouldn't work. After some tinkering with the thermostat and the gas heater itself I got it working again. A service visit from PG&E helped to confirm it.

Anna Karenina @ Stonestown - This was on my To See list from last year, but I ignored it after reading some middling reviews. A few Oscar nominations (cinematography, costume, score, production design) convinced me to go and I was pleasantly surprised how good it was (and how deserved those noms are). Looked and felt like a musical, but there was no singing. Kinda wish Les Miz had been more like this. Particularly impressed by the romantic score (Dario Marianelli) and supporting actress Alicia Vikander (who was so good in A Royal Affair).

Latest episode of The Todd Glass Show podcast is one of its finest, due to the guest participation of two of my favorite comics (and both fans of Todd's show) Paul F. Tompkins and Jen Kirkman.

The folks at Earwolf did a cool thing, signing up with the Video Podcast Network and video streaming a few of their shows (and others) live from Sundance. They were fun to watch and also awkward as the hosts had to deal with technical glitches natural for first-time efforts. Overall a success and good move towards the future. The shows aired (already among my favorites) were: Comedy Bang Bang (two episodes), You Made it Weird, Who Charted?, & Call Chelsea Peretti

NFC Championship - SF 49ers beat Atlanta Falcons (after a lot of effort). Fun game, only the second NFL program I've watched all season. Would have stayed home to watch the AFC (Pats v. Ravens) but had to go to see some live comedy…

The Sklar Brothers @ Cobb's Comedy Club, 8pm - I wrote about twin brothers Jason & Randy a few weeks back. First time I seen 'em was two years ago at SF Sketchfest doing a live version of their podcast Sklarbro County, which I had just begun listening to.* Now I'm a regular and despite not being a "sports guy" I find their takes on the Wide World of Sports  hilarious. Their standup act is fast, funny, and smart. They will sometimes literally complete each others sentences, play out scenes as characters, or pile-on tagging each other's jokes (what they call an "avalanche," or "laugh-alanche"). I met them after, bought a shirt, and complimented the heck out of them and they were both gracious and friendly. Their podcast turned me on to The Sheepdogs, whose recent video they directed.

*Second time was at a particularly chaotic Benson Interruption, also part of SFSF 2011.

The Rabbi's Cat @ Embarcadero 
This was an exotic delight, like Matisse's forays into Morocco. Based on a French comic series. Really enjoyed the character designs, backgrounds, and peculiar side trips into different animation styles. Also appreciated the high and low mixture of silly sexual matters with serious religious critique, with all characters yearning towards a place of acceptance.

Mama / The Last Stand @ Metreon 
Mama was creepy/scary. Chastain was hot as a punk and the kids were effectively freaky. But the sound design was overdone (like a lot of modern horror) and the CGI creature, once fully revealed, was weak and a bit silly looking.

TLS - I don't care about Arnold and never have, so he was not the draw for me, it was  director Kim Ji-Woon whose previous films I have enjoyed (A Tale of Two Sisters, I Saw The Devil, and The Good, The Bad, & The Weird). His U.S. debut is dumb as hell but fun to watch, though not nearly as stylish as his South Korean work.

All month
The Simpsons Season 5 (1994) 4 discs @ Netflix. I consider this period the peak of this long-running series for both its dense plots and fluidity of animation. These are among my favorites and they set the bar high for the subsequent nearly 20 seasons since. Each disc has 6 episodes each, all with commentaries by the creative team which are both funny and informative. I am so familiar with these shows that I am only renting them now for the extra behind-the-scenes insights. Currently watching Season 6.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Comedy Countdown

107.7 The Bone's 2nd Annual Comedy Countdown 
@ Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
Tuesday 12/31/2012 9pm-12:01am

Great venue, great show. Everyone had funny sets. 
Ticket was $100 for a great seat up front.

Band: The Lee Vilensky Trio (an excellent mellow surf band)

Intro by Nikki Blakk and some other radio DJ from The Bone.

The comics: 
Brendon Walsh (who also hosted), Kris Tinkle, Ari Shaffir, Arj Barker
Doug Benson, Amy Schumer, Anthony Jeselnik.

Countdown and balloon drop. Lights on, pics taken. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 31, 2012

One more for the road

Some odds and ends before the end of "two-ocean's twelve."

Django Unchained / Les Misérables @ AMC Van Ness
Moved right to top of the list of my most enjoyed movies this year. DU seemed both warmer and more humane than any Tarantino film before, especially considering the subject matter (slavery). Spike Lee is a dummy for denouncing the film without seeing it. 

Les Miz was a treat. Looked splendid, sounded at times glorious, other times strained. Male leads Jackman and Crowe were not vocally up to snuff for this material. But the great supporting cast and fantastic sets made up for it. 

Both of these flicks were over two and half hours long, a disturbing trend this year (Hobbit, Lincoln, Dark Knight Rises) as few really deserve their length.

Kennedy Center Honors w/ Led Zeppelin, David Letterman, etc. @ CBSTV
Nice to see some icons get their due, but painful to watch lesser folks pay tribute through pale imitation. Heart's rendition of "Stairway To Heaven" was pretty cool, cutting the length of the original in half, but retaining most of the memorable bits.

Rifftrax - Marvel's The Avengers
This was a quality comic book movie, but there is still silliness to be mined. The uselessness of Hawkeye and Black Widow are easy targets, but picking out Agent Coulsen's cellist girlfriend who moved to Portland (actually spoken of in the movie) is a primo comedy nugget.

Super Troopers (2001) BD Netflix
Never seen it before. Liked it a lot. Blu-ray has a bunch of good features, cut scenes, commentaries. Usually not a fan of "frat-boy" humor but this one worked.

Not Fade Away @ Metreon 
Now here's a movie that should have been 2 hours 45 minutes instead of barely 2 hours long because I loved hanging out in this world. Having once been a naive musician in my teens, twenties, thirties, I related to the narrative, even though this takes place in the 60's. Great soundtrack (picked by Little Steven) and terrific performances (James Gandolfini, from director David Chase's Soprano's series, appears as the gruff dad). Both inspirational and bittersweet.

United Stats of America @ H2 (History Channel)
Hour long program hosted by the Sklar Brothers. There were only six of these made but they are great. Funny and informative. Bunch of short videos here, none from the actual show.


Before and after at an exterior in the Sunset



A pain-in-the-neck glaze that took two-and-a-half attempts to get right (this is one of the bad ones but I like the picture)

Awesome view of the Sutro Tower (from another pain-in-the-neck job)

And it was a pleasure to build these utility shelves with Rob for his workroom

Again, adored this movie. Great way to end the year…

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

CULTDUNG Post-Apocalyptic Revue

Nah, I ain't dead. Just a bit overwhelmed. Been keeping track of my consumption (the TRUE purpose of this blog) over the last 3 quarters. Some dates are lost to the ages. Opinions are scarce, but if you want I'll write a custom review for you. Categories are more mixed-up than ever, but bear with us. We made it through…


HBO - Boardwalk Empire Seasons 1 & 2 watched On Demand in two days (9/15-16) just in time for the premiere of Season 3 (which recently ended). Greatly enjoy it, but admit it might have peaked near the end of S2. Worth it for the sets and costuming alone. And any scene with Michael Shannon. Or Paz, or Gretchen…

Newsroom - frustrated by the highs and lows of this Aaron Sorkin project. Brilliant political fantasy blended into a limp soap opera performed by a fine cast. Love to hate it. Much more consistently great have been Game of Thrones, Veep, and Girls

7/04-7 John Adams (2008) mini series on HBO. Nice Independence Day prelude to this year's Lincoln movie.

Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! @ HBOGO - 6 episode series documenting the ups and downs of an eccentric comic. Funny and troubling. Also really enjoyed The Ricky Gervais Show - Season 3 and caught up with a bunch of old episodes via HBOGO.

Totally Biased w/ W. Kamau Bell is good, as is Wilfred, The League, and of course Louie. All on FX.

8/05-8/09 The Golden Girls on HCHD - 8 episodes from 1989: 8 from end of season 4, last 4 of season 7 (finale), first 4 of season 1 (incl. pilot by Susan Harris). A running joke on The Todd Glass Show this year has been the guy who always talks about "The Golden Girls," dispensing trivia both true and untrue. After looking into the show I learned it was a well-respected and very popular show in it's time (1985-1992). So I watched a few from the beginning, middle, and end of it's run and was pleasantly surprised by how funny and charming it was. But 16 episodes will do me fine for a while. 

Being on the Hallmark Channel for the first time in my life I saw promos for The Good Witch Marathon (starring Catherine Bell from JAG) which I ended up watching way too much of. Really watered down occultism and saccharine family drama. But somehow watchable…

AMC - Hell On Wheels Season 2 - spun its wheels (ha!) mid-season but really picked up steam at the conclusion. Felt like a series finale. The Walking Dead Season 3 was much improved this year. And Breaking Bad was superbly dark.

London 2012 Summer Olympics  - July/August

Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko
London 2012 Women's Marathon, 5th Place

For whatever reason ended up watching a lot of this, for the first time ever: running, weightlifting, even some skeet shooting. All the American hype got me to enjoy female gymnastics (the rhythmic portion was actually my favorite - no U.S. team there), but the swimming bored me. Opening and closing ceremonies were artful spectacles with a lot of good music. But perhaps the best thing to come out of it was this internet meme.

Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Floor Exercise finals: 
Aliya Mustafina Russia, Aly Raisman USA, Catalina Ponor Romania

U.S. Open 2012 @ Olympic Club, Daly City. Sunday 6/17 (Father's Day)
Watched over 6 hours on TV. Finally learned to appreciate golf.

Also watched the SF Giants win the World Series. That was fun.


Live shows

8/02 Greg Proops: The Smartest Man In The World Podcast Live taping @ Punch Line (2 hours!)
8/03 Comedy Bang Bang Live  w/ Scott Aukerman, Kurt Braunohler, Paul F. Tompkins, and James Adomian @ The Herbst Theatre
8/31 Brian Regan @ Cobb's
10/05 Patton Oswalt w/ Chris Garcia, Kumail Nanjiani, and Mike Drucker @ Cobb's
11/29 Pete Holmes, Kyle Kinane, Natasha Muse, & Ian Karmel  @ Cobb's
12/02 You Made It Weird w/ Pete Holmes live podcast. Guests TJ Miller, Doug Benson, Moshe Kasher, Alex Koll, & Kyle Kinane @ Cobb's

The 12th Annual SF Sketchfest is coming up in January and I have tickets for 23 different shows over 3 weeks. Some three a day. I consider it a vacation of sorts in my home city. No Spanglers or Jen Kirkman this year, but plenty of other delights. Had a Sophie's Choice to make between Jimmy Pardo and Doug Benson for one date… 

Specials & Documentaries

Burning Love - scathing and sexy parody of reality dating shows, 14 episodes. Second season is coming soon.

Comedy Central have aired a slew of quality new hour specials from comics I admire: Amy Schumer, Demetri Martin, Kyle Kinane, Gary Gulman, and Eugene Mirman. Paul F. Tompkins had a great release with Laboring Under Delusions of which the DVD has extra material and a commentary by PFT in character as legendary director/producer Garry Marshall. 

6/15 Eddie Pepitone: The Bitter Buddha - great doc about a great comic only now getting his due (thanks Capone)

8/04 Comedian (2002) Netflix DVD - Great doc about Jerry Seinfeld's return to standup, contrasted with a cocky up-and-comer who is driven but less talented. Many fun bonus features on the DVD. The soundtrack features a bunch of great jazz, rock, and R&B. Some fan made a YouTube playlist that is worth a listen.

11/04 Punching the Clown (2009, Henry Phillips in a self-made film about the struggles of a standup comedian) Netflix
11/07 Todd Glass has a new one out, a Netflix streaming exclusive
11/30 Maria Bamford's Special Special Special @ (filmed before an audience of just her parents. Amazing)

SCTV re-watched all 5 of the DVD sets. Still holds up - prefer them to SNL from the same period (early 80's). Enhanced by a lot of useful info gleaned from SCTV Guide. Official channel 

Been watching the Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist show (1995-2002) which I'd never seen the whole run of. Great stuff but after about 3 of them at a time I get sleepy. A clip from when cartoon Louis CK still had hair…


Sometime in April I re-watched the first four Batman and first six Star Trek movies (some with Rifftrax accompaniment) and realized the Tim Burton Batflix are better than I remembered. And that the Trek films were never very good, esp. compared to the original TV series.

4/29 Natural Selection @ Lumiere 
5/05 Marvel's The Avengers 3D  @ Regal Chicago 
5/06 The Innkeepers / Mansome  @ Capone's
5/11 Dark Shadows / The Five Year Engagement 
5/18 God Bless America / The Dictator 
Freak Dance VOD (Matt Besser of UCB's parody of 80's dance flix - I hated it)
5/20 Sound of My Voice  @ Stonestown
5/29 The Princess Bride (1987) HBO
6/06 The Aristocrats (2005) Netflix 
6/03 Bernie @ Embarcadero / Moonrise Kingdom  @ Metreon
6/08 Prometheus XD-3D @ Century 20 Daly City 
6/09 Raising Arizona (1987) / The Ladykillers (2004) Coen Bros. DVD
6/16 That's My Boy 
6/23 Safety Not Guaranteed / Prometheus (2D) @ Metreon

also, Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap
Directed by Ice-T, with some nice aerial photography of NYC, Detroit, and L.A., and lots of great raps and knowledge dropped. Intimate interviews and, despite the high-powered guests, not at all corporate. Loads of of beloved artists were omitted, but I loved it nonetheless. 

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory HBO VOD conclusion of the West Memphis Three saga I wrote about a year ago
6/24 The King of Comedy (1982) DVD
6/26 Your Sister's Sister @ Embarcadero / Brave 3D @ Century Centre 9 
6/27 Win Win (2011)  HBO/DVR - bit part by Melanie Lynskey who I am crushing on real hard now
July? The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) - MGMHD - a Powell & Pressburger masterpiece.
July? CQ (2001) DVR
7/01 Ted / Magic Mike @ AMC Van Ness 14
7/04 The Amazing Spider-Man 3D - XD @ Century Daly City
7/20 The Dark Knight Rises / Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D @ Century 20 Daly City
7/28 Beasts of the Southern Wild @ Cinearts Empire
August? For a Good Time, Call... @ Metreon
8/01 The Loved One (1965) Netflix DVD - brilliant satire on the funeral business starring Robert Morse (Bert Cooper from Mad Men), Jonathan Winters, and a young Paul Williams.

8/02 Ruby Sparks @ Metreon / Farewell, My Queen @ Embarcadero 
8/03 Killer Joe @ Embarcadero 
8/10 Searching for Sugar Man / Celeste & Jesse Forever @ Embarcadero, Metreon
8/12 The Campaign / Hope Springs 
8/19 Paranorman 3D / Painted Skin: The Resurrection @ Metreon

8/25 Premium Rush / Hit & Run @ AMC Van Ness
8/27 Robot & Frank @ Sundance Kabuki / Compliance @ Bridge
9/23 Dredd 3D / End of Watch / The Master @ AMC Van Ness
9/30 Pitch Perfect / Looper @ Century 20
10/13 Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 (terrible adaptation of a book I once loved for reasons I can't recall) /
Last Days Here (excellent, depressing biopic about the leader of obscure Maryland heavy metal band Pentagram) @ Netflix Instant Watch
10/14 Seven Psychopaths / Frankenweenie 3D / Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 (a little better than part 1, but still bad) @ Metreon
10/15 Sinister / Argo @ AMC Van Ness
10/20 Smashed / Tai Chi Zero / Fat Kid Rules The World / The Selling @ Embarcadero, Metreon, Opera Plaza

10/24 Stunt Rock (1978) DVD (ordered this and the soundtrack from the drummer of the band)
Black Dynamite (2009) Bluray Netflix 


10/27 Cloud Atlas / The Perks of Being a Wallflower @ Daly City
11/04 Wreck-It Ralph 3D / Flight @ Daly City 
11/10 Lincoln XD / The Man With The Iron Fists @ Century Centre 9
11/11 Skyfall XD @ Century 20 Daly City
11/14 The In-Laws (1979) Netflix 

11/17 Holy Motors @ Embarcadero (Before the movie I banged into a wheelchair accessible seat and fell to the ground, spilling half my popcorn. Knee was sore for a while after. Might have affected my mood but this film is a true work of art)
Silver Linings Playbook @ Century Centre 9
11/21 Starlet @ Landmark E St DC
The Queen of Versailles DVD @ Pat's
Hello I Must Be Going DVD @ Finn's - Melanie Lynskey again, starring this time
11/22 The Ambassador DVD / Bad 25 (Spike Lee) ABCTV
11/23 Argo DVD (w/ family after our day trip to Philly, my second time)
11/26 Life of Pi / Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 2
11/29 Chasing Ice @ Embarcadero
12/08 Hitchcock / Killing Them Softly @ Metreon (no fountain sodas, had to pay 4$ for a 12oz bottle, no ice)
12/09 Liz & Dick - Lifetime (HDTGM podcast did an episode on it so I went in knowing it was terrible)
Midnight Run (1988) - Netflix
12/15 The Hobbit pt.1 3D @ AMC Van Ness / A Royal Affair @ Opera Plaza
12/21 The Hobbit HFR 3D / This Is 40 @ Daly City

That is, films that evoked in me a particularly strong aesthetic or emotional reaction: 
Holy Motors, A Royal Affair, Chasing Ice, Fat Kid Rules The World, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Starlet, Dredd 3D, The Master, Farewell My Queen, Magic Mike, Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus 3D, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Comedies (with both "dram" and "rom" qualities) I liked a lot were:
Ted, This is 40, The Five Year Engagement, For A Good Time Call, Your Sister's Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed, Pitch Perfect. 

The big budget hero/fantasy and animated blockbusters entertained me mostly, but rarely hit my sweet spot. Sorry, Hollywood.


My fave Donna Summer track from Bad Girls

Just got the new Big Boi - it's a good one.
New to me this year: Alabama Shakes, Little Dragon, Santigold, The Sheepdogs, Sleeper Agent, Talib Kweli (who I always thought of as merely Mos Def's sidekick but turns out has a lot of great albums of his own). My favorite song of the year:


Some new ones and discoveries have been Call Chelsea Peretti, a silly, sarcastic call-in show with a comedienne I love, and Tolkien Professor, whose Riddles In the Dark and Hobbit lecture series helped me re-discover the wonder of that book, and prepared me for the inevitable differences in the film adaptation. Stopped listening to film review shows entirely, but do like Filmspotting SVU (Streaming Video Unit) from the hosts of the now defunct IFC News podcast. Also, more comedy with Pete Holmes' You Made It Weird, The Dana Gould Hour, and The Long Shot Podcast (now in it's sixth season).

After having some dramatic overages on my data plan, I reset my iPhone, deleting all my apps. Found a new podcast streaming app called Instacast that I love. Still using iTunes for some shows, but this way I'm not collecting mp3 files that I only listen to once, and can get new episodes without syncing to my Mac.


The boys were busy this year with more video on demand riffs of obscure schlock than ever before, augmented by a handful of live broadcasts and current movie riffs:

The Curse of Bigfoot / Mutant / Prisoners of the Lost Universe / Brainiac (1963) / Bloody Pit Of Horror / RT Presents: Flatliners (w/ Cole Stratton & Janet Varney) / Future Force / Neutron the Atomic Superman vs. the Death Robots / 
Live: "MANOS" THE HANDS OF FATE - Fathom event (new riffs of an old MST3K favorite now in in restored print. Still a baffling mess, it's more of a "worst movie ever" than any by Ed Wood) / 
The Hunger Games / The Guy From Harlem / The Bermuda Triangle / The Revenge of Dr. X / 
Live: BIRDEMIC - Fathom event (a great riff of a new bad movie classic, but a poor audio mix marred my enjoyment) / 
Tourist Trap / Nightmare At Noon / Future Zone / Christmas with RiffTrax: Santa's Village of Madness


Took two trips this year, one to Chicago in the spring and another at Thanksgiving to Maryland. Both good times but marred but foot/leg pains that crippled me for a day each time.

12/22 Had a nice pre Xmas pork loin dinner with Rob, Nancy, & brother Paul. Fish house punch was consumed, gifts were exchanged, laughs were had. I was mega late because electrician Mike Umble graciously replaced an outdoor light, outlet and indoor switch for my home. 

And it's true what they say about asparagus pee…