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 @ Chill.com (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…

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