SNL Turns 40

Alright, I finally got through the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special.  Yeah, it took a while.  Shut up.  I had other things I had to watch instead.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine was more important.  And as the week went on, Justified and Archer were more important.  Hey, I have my priorities.  I am not really sure what I expected the show to be.  But I was pretty disappointed in what it was.  How was it 3 1/2 hours long, and mostly filler material?  Am I the only one who seems to think this?

The Jeopardy sketch was beyond amazing.  It was always one of my favorites growing up.  I was so glad to see them bring that back and see Burt Reynolds appear.  And I gotta say, I haven’t laughed that hard at an SNL sketch in a really long time.  Maybe since the song “Do it on My Twin Bed.”  But this was so much better.  In fact, everything that was done live was pretty good.  Except The Californians.  I don’t see why that’s at all funny.  Maybe because it has Fred Armisen.  I haven’t seen the Rolling Stone list of all 141 cast members ever but I assume they put him way higher than I would.  Which is last.  Hold on, let me look…. 23?!?!??  Ridiculous list.  Chris Farley is only 15?!?!  The list is total garbage.  Tina Fey is 3.  I’m good with that.  Speaking of Tina, she and Amy doing a weekend update with Jane Curtin was done well until… well until it was totally ruined.  But a bit on that later.

Why did Eddie Murphy even show up?  I thought Chris Rock was giving a eulogy, and then he came out for five seconds to say hi, gee thanks.  Then that was it.  At least show one of his sketches in full!  At least show ANY sketch in full!  I would have much rather seen a few of the full sketches rather than 1 second of every sketch ever.

Now back to the worst part of the night, Melissa McCarthy.  How dare you.  First you ruin Ghostbusters, and now you go on SNL and ruin quite possibly my favorite character of all time?  Matt Foley is sacred.  You do not deserve to wear Farley’s clothes and play his roles.  This is you spitting on his memory.  Jon Lovitz is rolling over in his grave right now!!!

All-Star Saturday Night

Every year, the NBA All-Star weekend falls around Valentines Day.  Every year, I throw a party for all my friends for the Saturday night festivities.  It’s great.  Here in California, the events start at 5pm.  Everyone comes over, we do a potluck, the children come and play.  Then, at the end of the night, everyone can get their little ones back home to bed at a reasonable hour and everyone leaves happy and full of food and booze.  Until this year.  Thanks a lot NBA.

Falling ON Valentines Day, we decided to skip the party this year.  Knowing that most of our friends don’t celebrate the day with big extravagant activities wasn’t the point.  We just figured that even though we celebrated two weeks before, most people probably didn’t.  So we spent our Valentines Day grocery shopping, buying new shoes for our daughter (only one though!  The other didn’t need them this time, thank goodness!!) and ordering a pizza.  Hey, I told you, we celebrated two weeks before!!  Screw going out on Valentines Day.  Crap is too expensive and crowded that day.

So anyway, I had to record the NBA stuff and watch it after everyone went to bed.  After all these years of watching while sort of paying attention while eating and drinking, I hadn’t realized how incredibly boring the night is when you have to watch it alone and sober (ish).  Now, I knew the skills challenge was ridiculous.  It’s basically the best point guards who aren’t good enough for the all-star game doing a warm up drill.  It’s crazy boring.  Although, I was pulling for Isaiah Thomas to win the thing.  Former King and all that.

There was this competition called the Shooting Stars contest.  Each team gets an NBA player, a WNBA player and a legend.  They used to have each team be from the same city.  Now its all just completely random.  And it bugs me.  There was a team with an NBA player from Atlanta, and another team had a legend from Atlanta.  PUT THEM ON THE SAME DAMN TEAM!  Yes, I know this is the least of the issues.  Little things bother me.  But seriously, how is it enjoyable to watch players shoot half court shots, unsuccessfully, for 90 seconds?

The 3 point shootout was not bad.  Steph Curry was brilliant.  But ruined by the terrible commentary.  Which you never notice when you have a party with music in the background.  And Zach Lavine was pretty great in the dunk contest.  The dunks were pretty similar, but they were all really impressive.  I did enjoy the Space Jam jersey.  A nice added touch.

I couldn’t wait for the evening to be over.  Never again will an All-Star Saturday night go by partyless!  Especially since the next morning at our monthly football game, my buddy Chris couldn’t stop bitching about how he didn’t get invited.  We didn’t have the party!  Damn, YOU could have people over too you know!

Jon Stewart

“No f**king way.”

That was exactly what I said when I read that Jon Stewart was going to leave The Daily Show. I watch the show every day. Not every night, because I’m not staying up that late. Screw that, I’m sleepy. But every morning before my daughters wake up.

It’s funny, I was just thinking the other day that Stewart was still young enough that he wouldn’t leave for a long time. It’s not like theres an upgrade he can move to. Stephen Colbert took over The Late Show. John Oliver has taken HBO’s weekly late night show. This isn’t like when Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show after Conan O’Brien was screwed over. Yes, I’m still bitter. Although Conan’s comedy worked better at Late Night, that’s not the point.

I’m confused as to the timing of this. Had this happened a year ago, they had a perfect replacement in Oliver. Who knows if he would have taken the job with an offer like HBO on the table, but at least try. Maybe Stewart wasn’t ready a year ago (or whenever he came back from making Rosewater. Time seems to run together around here). It’s not my place to tell someone else when to go, but it’s just odd.

I will be curious to see what Stewart does next. I will be even more curious to see who takes over the desk. I don’t think there is an in house replacement. Larry Wilmore moved on to The Colbert Report time slot. Jason Jones and Sam Bee did a bit where they hosted and joked about how they were completely unprepared. Jordan Klepper is the new kid on the block, and I think he is hilarious. But I’m not sure he would be as funny hosting.

My guess is it’s an outside hire just as it was when Comedy Central hired Stewart all those years ago. It’s going to be really wierd when someone new is behind the desk. This makes me really sad. I have loved The Daily Show with JON STEWART. Will I love it as much without? Time will tell. But, Godspeed to you, Jon. You have definately earned a moment of zen.

Project Almanac

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I had the flu but couldn’t get any help because my wife couldn’t take time off work to help with our daughters because she had the flu a few days earlier and stayed home for three days. I then passed it on to my oldest, of course. She stayed home from school for a week, and we had to skip her gymnastics class too. The three of us (my two daughters and I) didn’t leave our house for almost a full week. Except to go to the grocery store. Which, with two children under 5 years old can be (and is) a horrible experience. Needless to say, when I started feeling better I HAD to get out of the house. Not that I’m complaining. Trust me, staying home and getting a checkup with the Doc McStuffins medical kit is way better than any real job. But you don’t leave the house for six days with sick children and tell me how gray you start going!!

Here in Northern California, we had the driest January since we became a state (September 9, 1850). In fact, San Francisco recorded ZERO rainfall for the entire month. So of course, the day I decide to go out.. Downpour. Not much in the theater, but I went and saw Project Almanac. Because there was no way in hell I was seeing Jupiter Ascending.

If those a-holes who walked in right as the movie was starting hadn’t shown up, I would have had the whole theater to myself!! Anyway, I get that I am not the target demographic for a teenage found footage movie. Still, I went in with an open mind. Knowing that I hate found footage movies. Because in any movie there are at least half a dozen moments where in real life everyone would yell “PUT THE F**KING CAMERA DOWN AND RUN!!” This movie at least has a plausible reason for recording everything.

The film is about David Raskin needing to get one more scholarship to pay for MIT, to which he has just been admitted. He is searching the attic looking through his fathers old experiments hoping to stumble across something that will be his money ticket. As his sister Christina joins him they find their dads old video camera. On it, is the recording of his 7th birthday party. In the reflection in a mirror, he sees himself.

This starts a chain of events that leads to digging through their dads private section of the basement and building of a time machine.  Christina is behind the camera for the entire movie, as she isn’t a young genius like the others.  David makes sure to tell her to record and document everything so they can go back and watch everything they’ve done.  See?  Valid reason for recording everything.  Although, there were still points when I felt like there was no need to have the camera on.

The movie is better than I thought it would be, but there is no reinventing of the wheel here. The same typical high school story lines are in place. Nerdy main character is in love with the popular girl who becomes a main part of the film. But guess what, he’s too shy and timid to tell her how he feels!  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil if they end up together or not. But I bet you can figure it out!!

Nor are any of the time travel plot points any real ground breakers. It’s all very butterfly effect. They do something in the past that changes the future and they have to rectify it and it only gets worse.

In fact, whether intended or not, I notice a lot of tip of the caps to the entire Back to the Future trilogy. The first object they try to send back is a red convertible toy car. They use a chalkboard to try and figure out exactly where they need to go back to make everything right. And like all good time travel stories, they decide that it simply isn’t worth it and the device must be destroyed. Okay after writing that, it all sounds coincidental. Maybe I’m a little too obsessed with the Back to the Future trilogy. BTTF has been on ABC Family like three or four times in the past month. I’ve watched it everytime. Yes, of course I own the DVD set.  Who doesn’t own the DVD set of Back to the Future?

Like I said, it’s all pretty paint by numbers. Maybe it’s the first found footage time travel movie? So maybe there’s that? I certainly didn’t hate it. But I’m glad I only paid $5 for it.  It’s a very innocent movie that probably didn’t need to be made. In a year, I will have forgotten everything about it. Unless of course I invent a time machine and go back to when I saw it! But I’m too dumb for that. I could be the cool friend!! Not cool enough? What a jerk thing to say! I mean, you’re right, but words hurt. Haven’t you seen that dumb commercial with the guy on the horse?

Playing to Win

I just wanted to show this off because I am super excited.  Phil and I have talked a few times about the battle to keep our beloved Sacramento Kings.  It was a long fight with Anaheim, then Seattle and a few teams in between.  We won, and this year there will be two documentaries made about our town and our team.  One is an ESPN 30 for 30, and the other is a local documentary made by the group who went on the cross country trip regaling people in NBA cities with our plight.  This one is coming out first, this spring.  The trailer was released today.  Here it is.  It has been a long two years, and a lot of memories are brought up:

http://www.playingtowindoc.com/

Breaking up with Gotham

There was no show I was more excited about when the new fall schedule was announced than Gotham.  I had been waiting for the show forever.  Even though Batman was going to be a kid, I was all over it.  It was appointment television.  The show started out like a roller coaster for me.  After the first few episodes, I felt it was still going up and up and up.  Somewhere in the middle of the first half of the season, it reached the peak of the roller coaster and started on the downward trajectory.  However, it wasn’t fun like a roller coaster.  And now we are done with the amusement park similarities.

If you were smart enough not to watch Gotham from the start, the show is the origin story of not Batman, but police commissioner Jim Gordon.  Supposedly, it is also the origin of all the super villains from the Batman universe as well, but so far it has been just The Penguin, Catwoman and the Riddler.  Barely the Riddler.  Mostly Penguin.  At this rate, they are going to have to make 50 seasons to get through the rest of the lineup.

My biggest problem isn’t with the lack of villains, or the story lines that seem to go no where.  I just cannot get past the age differences between Bruce Wayne and everyone else.  Admittedly, I am not a comic book fan.  I love Batman, but I am more into his story and the characters than the actual books, if that makes any sense.  So I don’t know what the age differences are in the books.  I can’t imagine the age gap is this large.  And I know it shouldn’t bug me, but it does.  Immensely.  I just keep thinking of these characters once Bruce finally does become Batman in 15 years or so.  They are all going to be senior citizens getting ready to retire.  Or die.

Of course, the story lines are also ridiculous and stupid.  So far they have very little to do with anything relating to Batman, or Gordon, or anything in the DC Universe.  It’s simply a mob TV show.  Is one of the mob bosses from the Batman world?  Yes.  But does the entire show need to revolve around these people?  Was it really necessary to call the show Gotham?  To me, it seems like a cheap trick to get the show on TV, when so far there’s been very little to keep me interested as a fan.  Just call it “Generic Mob Cop Show” and be done with it.  Then I would have never watched it and I could have saved myself a lot of TV time.

But at least now I know what I want in a Batman show.  Freaking Batman.

Mortdecai

Last weekend, the wife and I decided to check out this new theater in town.  It’s one of those fancy theaters with a bar and restaurant in the theater.  So you get to eat dinner and drink while you watch the movie.  So we head over with the intention of seeing American Sniper.  The problem with American Sniper is I had not heard the story of what happens.  When I told the story of where we were going to my dad, he explained how he thought the end of the story was really crazy.  Because he assumed everyone had known how the movie ended.  Thanks dad!!  Well, when we get there, since the theater is basically a month old, of course the movie is sold out.  Our choices were Mortdecai and Paddington.  As I said to my wife on the way home, we should have seen Paddington.  I was trying to think of the best way to explain how bad this movie is.  And I think I’ve nailed it.  If they asked me for a quote for the DVD cover, this would be it:

Mortdecai is SO bad, it makes me never want to see a movie ever again.

Now I bet you’re thinking, no movie is that bad.  And I know you didn’t see it, because the movie has only made $15 million or so.  No one has seen this movie.  But let me try and help you out.  Johnny Depp is Mortdecai.  He is an art dealer who is asked to look into a heist.  After that, I kinda faded in and out.  But it tries to be a little Austin Powers, in that it really wants to be a British spy caper movie.  And it also wants to be a little Green Hornet.  The title character is a bumbling moron who has an assistant who saves his ass over and over and over.  So, let’s say that The Spy who Shagged Me is a solid 7-8 of a movie.  By far the best of the Austin Powers films.  Which would put the Green Hornet at a 2-3?  It wasn’t great.  Mortdecai is a definite negative infinity.  It is one of the five worst movies I have ever seen.  I don’t know what else goes in there.  Gerry for sure.  Under the Skin.  And this is right with those pieces of garbage.

If you were considering seeing the movie, I hope I have deterred you.  If not, well that’s your own damn fault.