After a good night’s sleep (four hours) and a hearty breakfast of coffee and more →
KSR’s take on recent non sports related happenings
HBO’s Big Little Lies begins with a murder. Unlike most stories the mystery isn’t centered on who is the murderer, but who has been murdered. The series, based off of Liane Moriarty’s best selling novel, takes place in a small, affluent community. The show pits working moms v. stay-at-home moms, ex-husbands v. current spouses and assumptions v. reality. The book is the perfect beach read. Even though the roster for the series is stacked (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Adam Scott, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley) the series comes up short. The biggest lie from Big Little Lies is that the show is worth watching. Here are some of the little fibs that HBO’s newest series tells that turn into one big little lie.
Lie: The Cover.
The cover leads you to believe that there is a playfulness to this story. In reality, the image of a fragmented lollipop suspended in time contradicts the new-agey aesthetic that the story actually tells. The cover suggests fun and whimsy, but there is nothing vibrant and cheerful about the series. Even the children are more mature that the six year olds I know. Chloe (Reese Witherspoon’s daughter) has already made career plans and Shailene Woodley’s character’s son is named after a dead rock star’s famous song. It is all muted and mellow, the exact opposite of sugary sweets being blasted to smithereens. It goes without saying that these women would never eat a lollipop.
Lies: Everything that comes out of Reese Witherspoon’s mouth
Everything that comes out of Madeline Martha Mackenzie’s mouth tumbles out awkward and forced. As Witherspoon teeters around in her heels, her character’s words do not come across as believable. At one point Witherspoon says that someone “whooshed” by a while ago. When she said “whooshed” she meant hurried, but the damage was already done. Madeline Martha Mackenzie, the character with the worst monogram of all time, loses all credibility. Characters who are folksy and homely say “whooshed.” Characters who are not concerned with appearances and status say “whooshed.” Upper-crusty women named Madeline Martha MacKenzie don’t use the word “whooshed.” It is the most shining example of the disconnect between what MMM would say and what she actually says on the show.
The exception that proves the rule is when Mrs. Mackenzie tells one of her fellow characters that she “has no idea what she is talking about.” Ditto. Retweet. Preach.
Lie: How the teacher handles the conflict
According to the series, the murder would never have happened if it hadn’t been for the incident on the first day of school. Ziggy, Shailene Woodley’s character’s son, not Bob Marley’s kid, is accused of choking the daughter of one of the richest parents at the school. The teacher gathers up all of the parents and asks the little girl to point out the student who did this to her. The little girl points out Ziggy. Ziggy’s mom whooshes in and declares that her son would never do that to another student. The crowd gasps.
It literally could not have been handled worse. There is no way that a teacher would handle this type of incident this way. It is impossible to be committed to solving the murder mystery when the creators aren’t committed to creating a believable plot.
I really want to like this series. I love exploding treats. I love backyards that use large redwood trees as focal points in the center of patios. I love themed costume parties. A good “whodunnit” will always have space on my DVR. But, the biggest little lie is that all of these things are enough to make Big Little Lies the next drama worth watching.
By Josh Juckett on ©February 21st, 2017 @ 3:00pm
It’s been a busy week for Kyrie Irving. Over the weekend Irving’s Flat-Earth belief stirred up the NBA and the internet, prompting everybody from the KSR comments section up to the NBA commissioner to comment on whether the shape of the Earth. While this was certainly an entertaining aside to the All-Star weekend, the more interesting Irving story was the news that broke on Thursday. Irving’s Pepsi commercial character Uncle Drew is getting a movie. Reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell and confirmed by Pepsi, the movie is actually happening and already has a writer, a loose plot, and Baron Davis. In a weekend where Irving was on top of the ridiculous totem pole, this may actually take the cake.
First things first, it’s egregious that Uncle Drew is making the jump from commercial to movie when the greatest NBA pitch man never made it past the small screen. That of course would be Lil Penny who dominated the scene in the mid-90s. Fox Sports did a great Lil Penny retrospective last year which can be seen here , but in case you forgot…Lil Penny was a legit star. Superbowl commercials, music videos, and he was even designed by the company run by Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman. Uncle Drew is a good gimmick, but Pepsi went that route with a few sports figures (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Love) to create a sort-of “viral” feel to the ads. There was only one Lil Penny and he deserves his shot.
The next reason why this is so ridiculous is the extremely bad history of NBA players starring in movies. I’m not talking about Space Jam, it’s a classic which I will never disparage. It, along with He Got Game, are also anomalies. Along with their NBA stars, those two movies featured solid supporting casts and are entertaining. Other NBA player movies have not fared so well: anything Shaq starred in (Kazaam, Steel), Thunderstruck featuring Kevin Durant (and Mark Krebs)
, and My Giant (Gheorghe Muresan) all come to mind. Along with Irving there will probably many other NBA stars which jump in for bit parts in the Uncle Drew movie. Baron Davis is already attached and everybody knows Lebron likes to expand his brand when possible. Kevin Love will probably show up in his old man makeup as well. In any case, this has the makings of a pretty bad acting cast.
Ultimately, an Uncle Drew movie will serve the same purpose the Uncle Drew commercials serve: promote Pepsi. I can’t imagine how paying the cost of a feature film would be profitable, but it might work. Could a bunch of NBA players in old man makeup be a funny movie? Probably not on their own. If they wanted to do this as part of Grown Ups 7 then it might be worth checking out, but anything else will probably be pretty awful. In the meantime I think the KSR crew needs to start on their own Drew movie called Earned, Not Given. Don’t worry, I’ve already prepared the synopsis:
A young man trying to break into the world of sports journalism falls on hard times as his gambling debt causes him to miss his big opportunity. Just when he thinks his dream is over, an old curmudgeon sees a glint of talent and offers him the second shot he so desperately wants. As Drew starts this journey to redemption, it’s up to him to learn that success in life is truly…earned, not given.
The Creative Connection. Netflix’s Series ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ Speaks to the Artists, the Dreamers, and Me
By Matthew Mahone on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 12:09pm
ake a look around you—it’s ok, I’ll give you a second or two—what do you see? Whatever it is, it was more than likely designed by some “artsy” or “creative-type” person. Admittedly, I abhor labels. Maybe it’s my own insecurities about my own work—including the piece you’re reading now—or already stopped reading I assume. Or simply because I feel that those monikers are hackneyed and often misapplied—stereotyping and classifying individuals into the haves and have nots. Some would say I fall in the later. Regardless, ideas and ultimately the process of creating stuff—some of which you interact with daily—doesn’t happen by happenstance, nor is it a result of black magic. That’s not what the dark arts refers to. Rather it’s birthed out of an invigorating, thoughtful, systematic and at times painstaking process. In fact, as Hal Riney said in the 2009 documentary Art & Copy, “the frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, really. And especially, you don’t have any idea about where they’re going to come from tomorrow.”
While I believe everyone possesses uniquely primal creative traits, not everyone has the ability to successfully translate their ideas into actual execution, let alone create work, i.e. posters, logos, furniture, etc., that connects with and speaks to others in intimate and powerful ways. That’s evident to anyone who’s ever attempted, persisted or absconded any artistic endeavor. Truly great designers see the world different from most. Above all they’re curious. Drawing inspiration from both the present and the past, and from familiar and even the unlikeliest of places. Listening and always looking to solve pragmatic problems—they just do so in their own, sometimes unconventional—I’d even go so far as to say radical—ways. Great designs are all around us. Some have dramatically transformed and influenced our culture and many have made a profound impact on the world around us. But how did they get that way?
Netflix’s new documentary, Abstract: The Art of Design focuses on such designers, pioneers who are shaping the way we look at and interact with the world. Akin to Chef’s Table, the eight-part series, each episode focuses on a particular artist, exploring the genesis behind their work in the fields of: graphic design and illustration, footwear design, stage and runway design, architecture, photography, and interior design. It’s a fascinating and rare glimpse into the minds of some really unique “creative-type” visionaries, who are at the forefront of artistic exploration and cultural change—where art begets design and design becomes art. The series feels cinematic, and is aesthetically captivating and the approach is extremely winsome. Likewise, each 45 minute episode is singularly focused, fast-paced, chic, and as idiosyncratic as the designers it features. That’s not to say that each one will speak to you, but it’s certainly binge-worthy nonetheless.
Three episodes in particular really connected with me the most. First, the inaugural episode featuring illustrator and award-winning artist, Christoph Niemann, who’s known for his New Yorker covers and Instagram sketches. His quirky, inquisitive nature and playfulness shine through his eccentricities. Whether he’s toiling with LEGOs, explaining communication through design using the Abstract-O-Meter, or working on his Sunday Sketches where he combines traditional art mediums like pen and ink with everyday objects to make beautiful works of art, this episode will surely delight you.
Next, is actually Episode 6 which explores the world of typography, and showcases Paula Scher, who has been described as “the most influential graphic designer on the planet”. From her album covers to her recognizable logos, Scher does more than simply arrange letters, words, and images together: She creates an emotional connection through her work which finds ways to influence our everyday lives including what we read, how we process information, and even our buying decisions. There’s also a lesson in the episode on poor design—in this case, the 2001 Florida ballot fiasco.
Lastly, Episode 2, featuring a former athlete who studied architecture, but whose name ended up being synonymous with sneaker culture which continues to leave an indelible footprint on pop culture, footwear designer, Tinker Hatfield. Nike wasn’t always the brand that it is today, and its success can be directly linked to Hatfield’s designs. While he’s best known for his collaborations with Michael Jordan, Tinker is also a forward-thinker, developing revolutionary, wearable technology, turning sci-fi fantasy into real world applications. He’s a bit of a mad scientist—part Picasso, part rock star—and all around fascinating.
So take a look for yourself and let me know which moments or episodes speak to you.
Abstract: The Art of Design is rated TV-14.
By Josh Corman on ©February 16th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Music is awesome. We can all agree on that, right? I mean, we all obviously won’t agree on exactly which kinds of music are the most awesome, but that’s fine, since, for the purposes of what I’m writing at this particular moment, we only need to buy into music’s general awesomeness in the way that Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway does.
Song Exploder, which Hirway created a few years ago, has a deceptively simple premise: each episode focuses on a single song, which Hirway and his guests (almost always the song’s writer or performer, but sometimes producers and the like) deconstruct, putting each piece under the proverbial microscope before playing the song in its entirety at the end of every episode.
The best part about Song Exploder isn’t that Hirway books really compelling artists to talk about their music (though he does – Metallica, Iggy Pop, and Solange have all been recent guests), it’s that the podcast makes every song interesting, even when I don’t really like the song that much. In fact, I would argue that the show actually makes me like songs more, simply by exposing me to the ins-and-outs of its creation. For example, knowing that the shouted backing vocals on a Dropkick Murphys song (alright, every Dropkick Murphys song) come from a bunch of their non-musician buddies all packed into a warehouse makes listening to the song at the end of the episode enjoyable. even though I would’ve just skipped it if it just popped up on Pandora or whatever.
It’s a great concept that’s perfectly executed, is what I’m saying.
However, I recognize that stepping into a new podcast represents a sizable time commitment, so I’m gonna do you a favor and pick some of my favorite episodes in the show’s run, so you can decide for yourself if you want to subscribe. Consider it a podcasting PSA.
“Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” — Weezer
The best part about this one is that Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has this legendary bank of song parts that he’s culled from his decades as a Beatles/Beach Boys/Nirvana obsessive, and he cracks the whole thing open to trace this song went from single guitar riff to standout track Weezer’s most recent album. We like to think of musicians’ creative process as a mysterious combination of genius and inspiration, but this episode reveals how much of Cuomo’s approach is guided by a set of very clear principles. Maybe less romantic than the image in our heads, but way more interesting.
“Solemn Oath” — Band of Horses
This episode is notable because Band of Horses’ lead singer Ben Bridwell talks so openly about the personal story behind the song as he’s dissecting. To an extent, every episode of Song Exploder features artists pulling back the curtain on the intersection between their lives and their art, but Bridwell’s straightforwardness is especially endearing on this one. (Plus, the record this song is on is the band’s best in a long time, and after listening to Bridwell, I think I understand why.)
“Work Work” — Clipping
It’s pretty cool when a hip-hop group decides to make music by creating beats exclusively from objects that aren’t drums. But when that hip-hop group includes Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs (he plays Thomas Jefferson on the cast recording), it’s much, much cooler. Listening as the producers and Diggs break down the painstaking process they go through to create beats from little more than the environment around them is an engrossing exercise to say the least.
“Spring (Among the Living)” — My Morning Jacket
Jim James is a fascinating dude, and My Morning Jacket are the best band to ever come out of the state of Kentucky, so I was thrilled when I saw that MMJ had recorded an episode of Song Exploder. James’ reverb-heavy vocals have always been one of the band’s trademarks, and hearing them in isolation on this episode somehow makes them even more haunting.
Game of Thrones — Ramin Djawadi
One of the best things about Song Exploder is that Hirway, who has a band of his own and composes music as well, is only too happy to mix it up by bringing on guests who make wildly different kinds of music. This episode, where Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi explores his work scoring HBO’s hit series, is a case in point. Hearing how a composer works to serve a visual medium like TV gives welcome insight into music we hear all the time and enjoy, even if we don’t always stop to appreciate it.
If you love music, Song Exploder really is a no-brainer. These five awesome episodes are just the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favor and subscribe here.
The following recap is written by guest features writer Brad Morris for Funkhouser.
Everyone loves Tom Hanks movies, right? Or at least appreciates the mid 90’s run he had with Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13. There’s a scene early on in Apollo 13 where he and his crew are training. At the end, the moderators throw a problem at the crew, who handle it beautifully. Upon exiting the simulator, Hanks quips to the other crew that the training was 3 hours of boredom, followed by 5 minutes of terror. Well that’s what last nights Walking Dead felt like to me, and in a good way.
Our weekly post on the show is back, and I must say, I was a little thrown off with the episode. It didn’t feel like a mid season premiere, but more like a filler episode during the “in between big” episodes. So to combat the slowness of it, let’s talk about what saved the episode for me. And that is the Zombie kill of the entire series, the duel car limbo walker kill!
There have been countless Walker kills throughout the 7 seasons of TWD. Some that stand out:
The little girl Rick kills at the very beginning of Season 1
The Well walker in Season 2
Daryl slamming a rear door on a Walkers face
Rick killing the SWAT team walker at the prison
And after each walker kill, the image that pops in my mind is Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, asking everyone with him if his recent dispatch of a zombie was “Zombie kill of the week?” All of thee above are worthy, but last night has to take the brass ring. So let’s talk about the scene.
We start out with our group driving back to Alexandria, when they come upon a series of cars blocking the road. While some of them move the cars, Michonne discovers a steel cable on the other side of the road. It’s hung between 2 cars, and has a vast amount of explosives attached to it. Rick and crew realize 2 things quickly. The Saviors have put this up to stop/warn them of a herd of walkers, and Rick’s crew need the explosives for a future fight. The gang starts to gather the dynamite and get spooked, when a herd starts coming toward them (conveniently). Our group works quickly, and that’s when a plan is hatched to escape the herd.
Rick and Michonne each jump in to drive a car that holds the cable. And with a mighty push of the accelerator, we have a game of Red Rover! Josh Juckett and I debated on the Kentucky Deadcast how many walker kills would we have this week. I took the over of 10.5, and boy was THAT a safe bet. The amount of kills may have been between 200-400 within a matter of seconds, and in my opinion, will go down as the top dog of walker kills in the entire series. It definitely saved a very slow and drawn out episode.
As far as characters go, nothing was out of the ordinary, save for Father Gabriel. What the hell is he doing running off with all the food? In my opinion at first, he is ticked off that the Saviors will come back for their food. However, I believe his actions have something to do with the new group at the end, which is totally crazy for me! This group shown surrounding our gang at the end has no comic background whatsoever. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch. So for the creators of the show to bring them on board I think is a stroke of genius, and I’m giddy for next week.
We also got the Alexandrians arriving at the Kingdom and meeting King Ezekiel. This didn’t go as planned for now, but at least we’ve found Daryl a safe haven. Something tells me his presence will help push Ezekiel to come around on his decision not to fight. And at some point Daryl will find out about Carol, and they’ll have a big old hug it out moment.
I’m glad we’ve got our weekly gang back to follow, and I’m hoping that there will be more action next week. The first half of the season was very inconsistent in terms of storytelling, bookended by some great episodes. Let’s hope that with the arrival of a new group, and Rick’s return to being the Sheriff, we get some great scenes next week. Until next week, ta ta…
Review: ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Has All The Pieces, Paying Homage To DC’s Otherwise Jumbled Up Franchise
By Matthew Mahone on ©February 13th, 2017 @ 8:45am
As controversial as it may sound, The LEGO Batman Movie single-handedly just saved the DC movie franchise and will be remembered as the greatest superhero film ever made. Don’t believe me? Well, they say two Mahones are better than one, so here’s what my oldest daughter had to say after walking out of the theater: “It’s like my favorite movie. It was awesome. Way better than that olde tyme Batman (1989) movie you made us watch. I can’t say it’s better than Suicide Squad, because you wouldn’t let me see that—but everyone should see it. If you don’t like it, there’s something wrong with you!” Out of the mouths of babes come sage-like exhortation.
The film, in theaters now, is on pace to be widely successful, maybe slightly less so than its predecessor, The LEGO Movie, but certainly clicking with audiences nonetheless. Honestly, it’s hard to beat the uniqueness, silliness and sheer magic that the original film possessed. However, despite being singularly focused on the titular DC comicbook character this time around, it’s no less funny, grin-worthy, or resourceful than the original—just in it’s own distinct way. It was in 2014 when audiences were first introduced to Will Arnett’s gravelly-voiced, dark and brooding, egotistical, emotionally-stunted, Batman, and it’s that same angsty and dickish iteration we see in The LEGO Batman Movie, which is more of a spin-off than a sequel to the original film.
Simply put, The LEGO Batman Movie is the greatest DC film ever assembled—the crowning achievement, in an otherwise hodgepodge of a franchise. What makes the film so completely arresting and marveling is really three fold. Starting with its casting. LEGO Batman wouldn’t nearly pack as powerful of a punch if not for the boundless energy and charisma of its cast led by Arnett himself. Apart from Arnett whose clever boyish witticism absolutely shines in every scene—even when he’s free-stylin’ and beatboxing—comedian Zach Galifianakis, who’ll put a smile on that face, as The Joker, and Michael Cera, as plucky orphan Dick Grayson and sidekick Robin, likewise seem molded into their roles. All breathe new life into some long-established and iconic characters. Which is a tall order—no pun intended—considering the DCU has been a mixed-bag when it comes to casting, as evidenced by the construction, evolution, deconstruction, and eventual rebirth, as well as the endless revolving door of its live-action counterparts. Look no further than quintessential archetypical performances from Keaton (1989) and Ledger (2008), to down-right abhorrent and forgettable performances from Clooney (1997) and Leto (2016).
Secondly, the world of computerized animation is limitless and it’s suited for God-like powered figures—as well as tiny, yellow, mini-figured ones—who simply defy the laws of our natural world in strange and unbelievable ways. “Batman has no limits!” Well he does if he’s made of flesh and bones. Director Chris McKay (Robot Chicken) gets it, and that’s why he’s ideal at the helm. With live-action, studios are always having to up the ante with dazzling special effects, as well as pragmatic costumes and settings. It’s incredibly expensive and despite looking hyper-realistic now, many contemporary vanguard films, end up looking archaic and laughable to younger sensibilities and admittedly nostalgic adults. Look no further than: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Batman and Robin (1995), Catwoman (2004), Superman Returns (2006), Green Lantern (2011), and on and on. Alan West, the Batman of the 60’s understood this and may have predicted the darker tone the newer films would eventually take, remarking famously on The Simpsons, “I suppose you’re only familiar with the new Batman movies. Michelle Pfeiffer? Ha! The only true Catwoman is Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, or Eartha Kitt. And I didn’t need molded plastic to improve my physique. Pure West! And why doesn’t Batman dance anymore? Remember the Batusi?” The edgy realism of modern films is so dark, so humorless. That’s why it’s refreshing that unlike their ten digit, live-action coequals, the LEGO heroes and villains aren’t forced to waller in a pit of despair and hopelessness. There’s already enough of that in the “real world” to go around. So when a bunch of LEGOs have to save the day by literally and figuratively putting their heads together to pull a city back from the brink of utter destruction, you don’t blink an eye, because they can interchange their heads and bodies!
But more importantly The LEGO Batman Movie accomplishes what no other DC film has been able to do to date, which is to ultimately bring the entire DCU under one roof—just in this case it’s a interlocking plate with 4.8 mm x 1.7 mm studs. That’s no small task! Not just the main characters mind you—every character—even the Wonder Twins! And even more that might surprise you. Furthermore, the film possesses innumerable easter eggs—so many so that a single viewing isn’t enough to catch them all, along with a multitude of self-referential jokes, and homages which celebrate the nearly 80 year-old comic book character’s storied history as seen through the years in various mediums including: newsprint, television, and the movie franchises. LEGO Batman will entertain the most hardcore of Batman fans, as well as young kids, angsty teens, adults, weirdos, tyrannical alien rulers, people who hate dumb voices, #notmybatman protesters, mutants, anyone suffering from chiroptophobia or lateriphobia, Mawmaws and even the uninitiated. But we are initiated—aren’t we?
By Nick Roush on ©February 11th, 2017 @ 8:15pm
Can you feel that tingle in the air? A cold wind coming over yonder horizon? That’s not the north wind blowing… it’s the midseason premier of The Walking Dead! It’s been a couple of long months in between episodes and we’re excited to be back with the Walker gang. Brad and Josh are back to preview this Sunday’s episode. On the Deadcast we discuss:
- Placing Pop Bets for the rest of the season.
- Who is the mysterious traveler ?
- Is Shiva going to be back in all her glory?
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbay, or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By C.M. Tomlin on ©February 10th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Friends, I shouldn’t need to tell you that this upcoming Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, that day made for celebrating love in all it’s forms. While there’s not a lot of time spent here at KSR on the machinations of romance, if you’ve ever looked at the back page of this website you’ve likely noticed a number of classified ads taken out by our readers. We thought it might be worth highlighting a few this week in honor of the holiday. Here’s to you and yours on Valentine’s Day.
LOOKING FOR YOU. High-rated basketball team seeking grad transfer who can come in and knock down long-range shots. Also need rim protector who can catch lobs and rebound his spot. Can you complete us? Call Cats x54422
MISSED CONNECTION. Me: Handsome, wealthy athlete and spokesperson. You: the jersey I wore for the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Please come back? My supermodel wife wants to put you in a shadow box with my ring and MVP trophy. Tom x33222
LET’S GET HOT. Something about Valentine’s day just makes me want to get all hot and sweaty Also, going to the bank makes me hot and sweaty. And eating dinner. And coaching my basketball team. I may have a thyroid condition or I may just be ready for love. Call me. Bruce x98493
GET TO KNOW ME? Someone said you were asking about me, wondering who I am. My name is Mike White, I came from Louisiana Tech where I was 81-23 over four seasons. I’ve been in Florida already for like two years, it makes me sad that you haven’t bothered to learn my name yet. Mike x82234
DO YOU LIKE PAIN WITH YOUR PLEASURE? I’ll give you all the highs of a great recruiting class and a win over North Carolina but then punish you with a Tennessee loss. Feel the exquisite torture with a March climax. Cal x21233
GIRLS DIRECT TO YOU! Need some company? Are you a good defender with a solid FG percentage? Don’t be lonely. Let us take care of you. Don’t worry, no one will ever find out. Probably. Andre x23363
MISSED CONNECTION. Me: Saw you at the Knicks game. Shouted at you, trying to get your attention but you didn’t notice. So I poked a security guard in the temple and then I had to go to jail. Hit me up? Oakley x75434
LOOK TO THE STARS. What does your future hold? Let me look into the cosmos and determine what’s to come. Major credit cards accepted. Madame Lunardi’s Psychic Emporium x1432
By Josh Corman on ©February 09th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Near the beginning of Mr. Universe, his 2012 stand-up special, Jim Gaffigan mentions that he’s become a father for the fourth time and playfully laments that people have received this news with far more concern than excitement.
Then, he delivers the following joke: “You want to know what it’s like to have a fourth [child]? Just imagine you’re drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.”
I died laughing. I had to stop the special and rewind it because I missed a substantial portion of what Gaffigan said next. The joke accumulated its humor slowly, then paid off handsomely at the punchline. It was a perfect example of how stand-up works.
This was sometime in 2013. On the strength of that joke (which, even as I think about it now, brings a smile to my face), I came to think of Jim Gaffigan as funny. I might have used the word “hilarious” to describe, if not Gaffigan himself, then certainly some of his material. I’m sure the and McDonald’s bits gave me a chuckle, and I’ve always liked his periodic jumps into the mind of a dismayed spectator watching his act.
But then I turned on his most recent Netflix special, Cinco. I watched the first half hour and didn’t laugh once. I’m not sure the corners of my mouth flinched in those thirty minutes. It was so, so bad.
I thought back. Had I laughed much during his other specials? Not really. And, come to think of it, I tried listening to the audiobook of Dad is Fat, his 2013 memoir, thinking that he would bring a stand-up’s sense of performance to the recording, but his delivery was so bumbling and un-comedian-like that I never finished it.
Then Cinco sealed it. Jim Gaffigan just isn’t funny.
And yes, I recognize that this is about as subjective as a statement can get. Comedy, more than any other art form, seems to be as much about the person hearing the joke as the one telling it. Context matters.
My wife, for example, sat through her entire first viewing of Anchorman (which we both consider one of the funniest movies ever) and didn’t laugh once. It just so happens that I had made a stupidly insensitive comment right before we left to go see the movie, and she wouldn’t have found anything funny during that couple of hours. She thinks the movie is hilarious now, but the whole situation just proves that what’s going on in our brains has as much — if not more — to do with what we find humorous as the people coming up with the jokes.
So what does that mean for me and Jim Gaffigan? I guess it means that something has changed. It means I now find grating a delivery I once found charming. It means that jokes that once felt warm and fully-realized now feel flat and half-baked. What was once engaging is now boring and predictable. What was once funny is… not.
And that’s kind of disorienting, to be honest with you. Because it means that something I thought I knew about myself is suddenly no longer true. It’s like looking in the mirror and finding out my nose is a different size and shape than I remember.
We like to think that, as we get older, our identities — including the kinds of music, movies, books, and jokes we enjoy — get more solid. We like to think we’re immune from the sort of all-of-a-sudden moment that I experienced watching Cinco. And so the reason that suddenly finding Jim Gaffigan not funny bothers me in the first place is that it suggests that, even if it’s only in some small way, that I’m not exactly who I thought I was.
I’d be troubled if I woke up one day and suddenly didn’t like listening to The Beatles or thought the films of Alfred Hitchcock were outdated and hokey. I wouldn’t feel like myself.
And although, to be clear, Jim Gaffigan ain’t exactly The Beatles or Hitchcock, once upon a time he cracked me up, and now he doesn’t.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go think way too hard about what that means.
The following piece was guest written by special Funkhouser features writer Brad Morris.
Given the perceived lunacy of the past couple of weeks, (the travel ban, protests everywhere, Patriots coming back in the Super Bowl, Cats losing 3 out of 4, etc.) I felt this is the perfect place to welcome everyone back to the Walking Dead Season 7! This upcoming Sunday, February 12th at 9:00p.m. EST, TWD begins the back half of this years rumblings in the zombie apocalypse. Since the craziness that seems to be around us may point to the beginning of an actual apocalypse, why not compare characters from TWD to players and coaches that may mask similar traits in the real world? I’m not saying this is a literal translation, just a “let’s take a deep breath and laugh” translation. Sound good? Awesome, let’s roll. First in our lineup is….
Rick Grimes/Coach Cal
Both of these leaders have had it rough in the past. The Sheriff of 2 rabid fan bases. The fictitious leader Rick and our own Calipari have had hordes of followers calling into question their leadership lately. Rick for his blundering around after Negan kills 2 of his crew, and Cal for the lack of rebounding and scoring. But if history serves me correctly, both of these guys know what they’re doing. It’s looked bleak before, but Rick and Cal are survivors who always know how to right the ship. For Rick let’s hope it’s before Negan can find out he’s being hunted instead of being the prey. And for Calipari, let’s pray that the newest “tweak” is just a practice or dream away from changing the direction of this season.
Daryl Dixon/Malik Monk
The easiest comparison. The heartthrob sharp shooter of each group. In season 7 we’ve seen Daryl have a slump from his shooting prowess, what with being captured and forced to eat Alpo sandwiches at the Sanctuary. For Malik, it’s 47 points against UNC, then 15 points to the belly crawling Gators. The question has been asked, can this UK team win if Monk isn’t scoring? And like our survivors without Daryl, I don’t think the Cats can. So let’s see these guys get their shooting straight, and ride it out to glory for both seasons sakes!
Glenn Rhee/De’Aaron Fox
Ah, the reliable ones. With these 2, you can always count on them to deliver. For Glenn it’s finding food and medicine, being the guide to getting in and out of places quickly, and being a trusty leader in his own right when called upon. Fox has been that way as well. Not even 100% this past Saturday, with barely any practice time, no team seems to have an answer on how to guard Fox. With his improving jump shot, the SEC better be ready for the blazing Fox of the bluegrass. Unfortunately for Glenn, he’s sitting out for the rest of the series due to lingering effects from a concussion that occurred in the first episode of season 7, and his chances of recovery are grim because of a slight case of death.
This was a tough one, or rather these are the tough guys. Negan swings his mighty bat Lucille and has a silver tongue, while Bam swings his hammering dunks on opponents whenever he gets the space. But another fact they have in common is the need for help from other people. Negan can’t be his devilish self without his devoted followers. Bam can’t be Bam without his teammates getting him the ball. Now the difference in these titans are that we want Negan to fail, and we pray Bam will succeed. 2 sides of the same coin with this dynamic duo.
Merle Dixon/Isaiah Briscoe
Again, tough comparison here. Merle was a conundrum from the beginning. You knew he’d do anything for his little brother Daryl, you just a weren’t sure about the approach he took. From cutting off his hand, to aligning himself with the Governor, Merle made questionable choices during his time on TWD. But in the end you know he always had his brothers back. Same could be said about Briscoe. His brutality going to the rim gets him in trouble sometimes, both with the refs, Coach Cal, and the other team, however at times it works. There have been several games the last 2 seasons where the other team doesn’t have an answer for his wrecking ball style. And he’s on my team and he’s always watching out for his brothers.
The Governor/Rick Pitino
And last but not least, my favorite comparison of this crossover event. The Governor is nuts, and that’s a clinical diagnosis. Starting with his mosh pit of death, onto his shooting his own followers, and wrapping it up by decapitating Hershel with Michonnes sword. This guy is just begging for someone to axe him, which fortunately happens by that same sword. And his girlfriend had the decency to put him out of our misery with a cue de gra cap in his forehead. Now I’m not saying that’s what should happen to Pitino, far from it. But doesn’t it appear that his time seems to be coming? First Karen Sypher and 15 seconds of unfortunate business, to the grand finale of strippers in Minardi hall squirting to the ceiling. His legacy will be forever shrouded in controversy, and it’ll be a shame, because he DID bring UK back from the brink of death not 26 years ago, and we should be forever grateful he did.
I hope this parody was enjoyable to digest for you today. If you can’t wait to see Walkers digesting the living, then have no fear! We’re only 7 days away from The Walking Dead returning for the second half of Season 7, with 8 straight weeks of death and destruction in the zombie apocalypse to witness. You can catch it at 9 p.m. EST on AMC. This week also for the next Kentucky Deadcast to pop up with myself and Josh Juckett, as we debate and relive the first half of the season, and discuss what we think may happen the next few weeks. Until then, ta ta…
By Megan Suttles on ©February 08th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Drew Barrymore isn’t my cup of tea. My frustration with her lies somewhere between I can’t unsee her dancing with a pink feather boa in Never Been Kissed and her refusal to move the entirety of her mouth when she talks. It doesn’t help that her acting spirit animal is a mediocre drama student. Barrymore’s acting seems needy. She tries too hard and it’s is painfully obvious. It is like the Tom Green-iness never washed off of her. In Santa Clarita Diet she stays true to form. Barrymore plays Sheila Hammond, a suburban housewife who inexplicably turns into a zombie. I found myself liking Santa Clarita Diet despite Barrymore rather than because of her immobile jawline. The chasm between the cringe and the enjoyment made watching the recently released netflix series difficult. Until I found the perfect solution.
The Drew Barrymore Solution:
Tell yourself that a common side effect of being undead is frenetic neediness. Take all of the ticks and habits that make you want to turn off the show and tell yourself, “that’s how zombies are.” Bless their little black hearts. Make the paradigm shift in your mind to assume the personality change within the character. This theory works! For one, the format allows it. Barrymore is “normal” for only a few minutes at the beginning of the show. There is not enough footage to truly get a baseline read for what her character was like pre-zombie. As a viewer, we are safe to assume what her personality was like in order to tolerate what her character has become.
Without this helpful tool you will be stuck watching the rest of the show thinking, “What if they cast Christina Hendricks instead?” Don’t do that to yourself. It is bad enough that there is one more zombie show on TV. But seriously, what if they cast Cameron Diaz? Just kidding. That would be more of the same.
Without the Barrymore Solution in Santa Clarita Diet there are so many nuggets that you will miss. There is the incessant puking that is like Linda Blair with morning sickness at Six Flags. There is a fun thought experiment about who would you eat, if you had to feast on brains because you are a zombie (the answer is a young, single Hitler.) There is the literal good cop/bad cop setup built into the story because the Hammond’s house is sandwiched between a sheriff and cop’s house.
The best nugget is the Timothy Olyphant nugget. Olyphant and his charming whisper of grey hair is the best part of Santa Clarita Diet. He is always game to solve problems for his needy wife. He’s a terrible liar, but he lies anyway. Shelia’s jokes are terrible but he laughs anyway. He would literally kill a young, single Hitler for Sheila. He is way more attractive than that creepy stalker routine Christian Grey does.
The zombie horror genre has been tapped out. Before we put it to bed with one final knife to the earhole, give Santa Clarita Diet another try with a skewed perspective.
When the Superbowl does not have a team or storyline I’m interested in then the only thing that keeps me engaged is my annual prop bet challenge with one of my friends. Every year we pick 21 prop bets and it is easily the most exciting part of the increasingly over-produced game. As we turn the calendar past football season we have some things to look forward to, like the return of The Walking Dead this Sunday. Like many of you, I felt the show once again bogging down during its first half run. In true Superbowl fashion, I have decided to spruce things up a bit. Below are 11 prop bets for the mid-season premiere to help generate some excitement for an episode which could be great but could also end up being another hour of the waiting game. Remember, always bet responsibly and if you ever sing the national anthem at the Superbowl, wear something nicer than jeans.
- Number of settlements visited in this episode: O/U 4.5
- Number of walkers killed: O/U: 5.5
- Number of humans killed: O/U 2.5
- Length of time before first kill (walker or human): O/U 10.5 minutes
- Number of people who cry in the episode: O/U 5.5
- Times you want to personally punch Carl in the face: O/U 3.5
- Will Negan kill someone: Yes/No
- Will we see Shiva (the tiger): Yes/No
- Number of times Glenn/Abraham are brought up: O/U 3.5
- Which gets more kills: Guns or other
- Who looks more alive: the first group of walkers shown or the Falcons fans at the end of the Superbowl
By Matthew Mahone on ©February 06th, 2017 @ 8:30am
There’s no denying that Coach Mike Krzyzewski is one of the preeminent coaches in men’s college basketball. Under his reign at Duke, the Blue Devils have been quite dominating and down-right frightening, winning an impressive five NCAA Championships, as well as appearing in twelve Final Fours in the past thirty-seven years. Despite the success, Krzyzewski had to adapt both his coaching style and more importantly his recruiting efforts to match Kentucky’s John Calipari—one of his fiercest rivals—who ushered in the one and done phenomenon, which is being showcased in the upcoming 30 for 30 documentary One and Not Done on April 13th. For years, Coach K didn’t do much to hide his anger, demonizing Calipari’s system and tormenting anyone who refused to believe that Cal’s process, was doing anything but ruining college basketball. But after seeing highly talented kids choose Kentucky over Duke again and again, Coach K, who for years shunned the method, finally embraced Cal’s strategy, finding an eerily similar but uniquely bizarre and infernal recruiting practice that’s rarely been talked about—until now.
Krzyzewski is a polarizing figure to say the least. Fans adore him, while his opponents, and maybe even his players, fear and despise him. Yet, as we see in the documentary about him, it’s that very hate and vitriol which feeds him towards his relentless pursuit of perfection. Little is known about how hard he recruits, that’s because he’s extremely guarded about what transpires during these in-home meetings. Apart from a few individuals within his inner circle, no one really knows the one big secret he shares with every family that ultimately gets them to commit to Duke and not Kentucky. The new 30 for 30 documentary on Netflix, provides a very intimate look at the man, myth, and legend of the prestigious coach, taking audiences behind the curtain, revealing never-before-seen footage, exposing that he’s not only a master recruiter, but also that he’s actually a shape-shifting demon known simply as The Babadook.
As strange as this may sound, many simply scoff at the notion that Coach K is a Jungian-type shadow monster—the man is considered by many as “The Father of Duke Basketball” winning five championships after all. But there’s some evidence in the movie that proves otherwise. In fact, as we learn from the film, Coach K relishes in this moniker and asks families to affectionately call him “Papa Duke”. Because of his odd manner of speaking, this is often misheard, as “Baba Dook”, hence the name. Also unusual, during each official trip, he patiently stands in the doorway of the home and won’t enter until being explicitly asked inside. This is key, he MUST be invited in. Once inside, though, he never really leaves. After dispatching with the normal pleasantries and impersonal chit chat, Coach K abruptly asks the family if they’ve prepared his bowl of worms. While many families find this unusual, it’s actually tame compared to the demands of other suitors, so most oblige. Interestingly enough, on the other hand, Calipari is brutally honest with his recruits telling them emphatically: “You’re going to work harder than you ever have in your life. If you don’t want that, don’t come to Kentucky!” Nevertheless, once satisfied with the offering, Coach K presents the coveted Duke recruiting packet, which includes a customary campus map and some history on the program and school, various pamphlets on student services and financial aid, and finally a small booklet with a weird figure on the cover. It’s this booklet which always intrigues families the most. Many if not all, fixate on it. Sensing this, Coach K leans back in his chair and encourages the family to open the tiny book and recite the poem aloud.
“If it’s in a word or it’s in a look
You can’t get rid of Papa Duke
If you’re a really clever one,
And you know what it is to see,
Then you can make friends,
With this special coach,
A friend of you and me.
His name is Papa Duke
And this is his book.
A whistling, rumbling sound then,
Three sharp knocks,
pa-PA-pa DUKE! DUKE! DUKE!
That’s when you’ll know that he’s around,
You’ll see him if you look.
This is what he wears on top,
He’s funny, don’t you think?
See him in your dorm room at night,
And you won’t sleep a wink.
I’ll soon take off my funny disguise,
Take heed of what you’ve read…
And once you see what’s underneath,
You’re going to wish you were dead.”
It’s at that moment when Coach K reveals his true form to everyone in the room! As they scream AAAAHHHHHH DEAR GOD!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?!? PLEASE DON’T KILL US!! and recoil in terror, he seizes on the opportunity to use their fear against them and in their panic they sign their soul—I mean, commitment letter to Duke—and before the ink dries he turns back into his normal smug looking self. He immediately stands up, shakes hands, bids his adieu and leaves without another word. Could this ritual explain the reason why he’s recruited sadistic players who exhibit sociopathic behavior and the fact that former players rarely talk about him after leaving the program? The Babadook is a terrifying look at a complex and driven man, hell-bent on winning. Before the credits fade, Coach K says, “I think you’re not a human being unless you have doubts and fears.” Fear, that may sum it up, but that still doesn’t explain why parents and players continue to leave bowls of worms in their basements.
Each week KSR’s Funkhouser collects the best of pop culture. The Entertation Index collects the best of the week for your consumption.
Beyonce – On Wednesday, singer Beyonce announced that she was pregnant with twins. On Thursday – like one tends to do, the day after announcing pregnancy – she released an entire photo album of herself pregnant. Jay-Z could not be reached for comment as he was busy planning five year-long tours in a row.
Link: Beyonce Just Dropped a Pregnancy Photo Album
Depp, Johnny – After suing his management group for mismanagement of funds. actor Johnny Depp’s management team countersued with allegations that Depp refused to take their advice warning against the purchase of excessive goods including 45 luxury vehicles, $30,000 a month on wine, a Kentucky horse farm, multiple Los Angeles homes, a chateau in France and an entire chain of islands in the Carribbean. What does all of this mean for us? Mortdecai 2!
Link: Depp’s Financial Saga Deconstructed
Dog, Triumph the Insult Comic – Following the inauguration of our 45th POTUS, Conan O’Brien released footage of venerable entertainer Triumph the Insult Comic Dog chatting with both supporters and detractors in another great segment from the character.
Link: Triumph Attends the Inauguration
Gaga, Lady – Sunday night sees eccentric singer Lady Gaga hosting the Super Bowl halftime show, where she has promised to press will feature a “message of inclusion” meant to unite people. She has a long way to go if she thinks she can bring people together more than the 1999 Halftime show of Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and tap-dancer Savion glover did.
Link: Lady Gaga Hopes her Super Bowl Performance Will Unite People
Jenner, Kylie – On Wednesday model and Keeping Up with the Kardshians star Kylie Jenner kept her social media followers updated on her meeting with Hollywood’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, where the institution worked on the model’s new wax figure. Then, in a hilarious turn of events, the wax figure was accidentally returned to Jenner’s home while Jenner herself was placed on display, where she has remained for the past two days.
Link: Behind the Scenes with Kylie Jenner’s Wax Figure
Rogers, Mister – A Pittsburgh man has intitiated a petition to rename the city’s airport after Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, a seminal program from many adult’s childhoods. Though the petition would change the name of the airport, travelers would still be expected to remove their shoes and cardigans while passing through security.
Link: Pittsburgh Starts Petition to Rename Airport After Mr. Rogers
Schwarzenegger, Arnold — see: Trump, Donald
Trump, Donald – This week’s National Prayer Breakfast saw President Donald Trump asking attendees to pray for new Apprentice host Arnold Schwarzenegger’s low ratings of late. We haven’t seen a move like this since 1992, when George H.W. Bush’s request for prayers landed Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper a deal for three more seasons.
Link: Trump Digs in on Feud with Schwarzenegger The Hill
By Josh Corman on ©February 02nd, 2017 @ 9:00am
I have this friend whose daughter can make him cry almost instantly. All she has to do is sing the first few bars of some song from her childhood and he just loses it. His reaction is totally involuntary; the memory evoked by that song resonates with him so strongly that he just can’t hold it together when he hears it. The daughter is in her thirties now, and for years I watched and (I admit) laughed as she turned him into a sniveling mess in about four seconds.
Boy am I paying for it now. I have two kids, aged seven and three, and sometimes all they have to do is look at me wrong (right?) and I just lose it. Not only am I constantly perched at the edge of some kind of invisible emotional tipping point at all times, but having kids has also wrecked the way that I interact with pop culture — especially movies — in two important ways.
One is obvious: I have a really hard time watching movies involving the mistreatment or death of children. I remember seeing a trailer for that Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prisoners a couple of years ago and thinking, I bet that’s going to be pretty good; it’s too bad I’ll never, ever watch it.
I just can’t deal with it. Being a parent is frightening enough without having to suffer through fictional manifestations of my worst fears being played out onscreen. After my wife and I binge-watched the first season of True Detective, we watched New Girl every night for about two weeks just to stave off nightmares. One night, we decided to start watching the BBC’s Broadchurch while my son was out of town with his grandparents. The show is about the investigation of a young boy’s murder. We made it about six minutes before switching to Parks and Recreation for the rest of the night. Leslie Knope is a balm for the soul, after all.
The second effect is just as pronounced, but it doesn’t have the same kind of obvious 1-to-1 connection like the first. I tear up or flat-out cry all the time when I watch movies now. Sometimes, the tears make sense. Inside Out and Toy Story 3 (yes, my first examples are animated movies; what of it?) are movies about the end of childhood and the complexities of growing up. Of course movies like that trigger all my parent-y emotions. Same for stuff like Boyhood and Arrival.
But what about, like, Stranger Things (not a movie, but whatever)? Or The Office (and not even the Jim and Pam, tug-at-your-heartstrings scenes)? Or Chopped?
Ok, I haven’t cried while watching Chopped yet, which is not to say I won’t break into sobs the next time I watch it.
The reality is that having kids has pushed all my emotions right up to the surface, eliminating all the layers of abstraction that, in my younger days, would’ve allowed me to watch from a more detached perspective. All that’s gone now, replaced with nothing but raw emotion.
Which is fine, for the most part. It’s not as though I’m ashamed to cry at movies. But it’s also not as though I’m always eager to have my emotions put into a blender by what I watch on screen, either. Like, I want to see Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea and Fences because they’re both up for a ton of awards. But when reviews use words like “gut-wrenching” and “devastating” to describe them, I’ll confess that I hesitate a little. How long will it take me to recover from the beatings my already feeble heart will take while watching?
The long and short of it is that being a parent — which, yes, is an unmatched blessing or whatever — has made separating art and life has become more of a challenge. But that’s not entirely a bad thing. Sure, I miss out on the occasional movie that, in my younger days, I might have legitimately enjoyed. But on the whole, I have little doubt that being a dad has made my movie-viewing life richer. Like everyone of my major life experiences, parenthood has broadened my perspective and given me an important lens through which to view all kinds of art.
Even if that lens is sometimes all blurry ‘cause I’m crying while I’m trying to look through it.