A whole bunch of stuff I wrote last week:
Writings from throughout last week:
- At Philly Post, I looked at the NFL draft and how much it demands from fans.
And at the new EntertainmentTell:
- I review "The Five-Year Engagement"
Everyone in Minnesota in panicking this week, because the latest Vikings stadium effort failed in the state legislature, and this morning Zygi Wilf's plane was spotted in Los Angeles. Sid Hartman is fearmongering about an imminent departure, while Mike Florio is snarking about it.
I say now what I've been saying since the Vikings stadium debate started:
1. Sid-driven relocation fearmongering is B.S. 99 percent of the time. (Remember this?)Here's what'll probably happen: the Vikings won't leave, this year or next year, and the stalemate will continue. At some point, they'll announce a tentative deal to move to L.A., everyone will go nuts, and then the legislature will convene and approve the stadium. That scenario is far, far more likely than a move, next year, to a nonexistent L.A. stadium.
2. L.A. has their stadium act even less together than Minnesota does
3. The Twins came closer to leaving, about 15 different times, than the Vikings are now, and they didn't leave
We're almost through the first full week of EntertainmentTell, and it's going pretty well so far. Here's what I've written:
- A review of "The Lucky One"
- The story behind Jack Black's crazy new movie "Bernie"
- Ron Paul: The Video Game
- The "Friday Night Lights" digital book sequel.
And outside the mothership, here's my Philly Post column on why sports announcers aren't really as biased as you think.
I'm happy to announce the arrival of EntertainmentTell, a new website of which I am the editor-in-chief, which officially launched on Wednesday. You can check out the site at this link.
Highlights (from me) from the first three days:
There's MUCH more to come, so enjoy.
Noah and Jonah blog about their first month as brothers in a new post at their blog.
Here's an amazing post by Drew Magary, on the recent birth of his third child, that made me nod and say "I've been there" about 15 different times.
The great show finished another excellent season last week; Grantland had a great recap of all of this year's deaths.
Matt Zoller Seitz does the honors, probably because he's best in the world at it.
I recommend my favorite cable news show, "Up With Chris Hayes," in my newest Philly Post column.
In honor of my son Jonah's turning one month old, here's a new video of the two brothers' first month together.
In my latest Philly Post piece, I look into whether or not President Obama really supports same-sex marriage, and what difference he could make.
"American Reunion,' the fourth film in the series that began with the 1999 sleeper comedy hit "American Pie," is a pretty transparent nostalgia exercise that never veers from formula and takes no risks. But it's still exceptionally funny and enjoyable.
The first film, coming a year after "There's Something About Mary," took that film's combination of gross-out sex gags and earnest romance, and applied it to the "Porky's"-style teen sex comedy. The formula was replicated in the year's afterward by two sequels, several more direct-to-video spinoffs, plus various imitators that mostly forgot to include the heart part while jumping straight for the penis-and-boobies gags. (The Onion memorably parodied the phenomenon soon after the first film's release).
"American Reunion" brings the action back to the Michigan suburb where it all began, as the characters return for their 13-year (?) high school reunion. Nerd hero Jim (Jason Biggs) has married band-camp girl Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) and they have a two-year-old son and not much of a sex life. Oz (Chris Klein) is a sportscaster who never shook high school love Heather (Mena Suvari), while Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is now married and bearded. Also still around are Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Stifler (Seann William Scott) and, of course, Stifler's Mom (Jennifer Coolidge.)
Looking over those names, you may notice that most of them- with the exception of Scott and Hannigan- don't have much of a career anymore, and even Scott and Hannigan have pretty much been playing their "American Pie" characters for the last decade.
In some cases its understandable- neither Suvari or Tara Reid has much of an on-screen presence, while Nicholas' career peaked with "Rookie of the Year." Biggs, though, probably deserves another crack at a comedy movie career, while Eddie Kaye Thomas, in his adult incarnation, has promise as a weird supporting actor. I'd love to see him play a bit part on "Breaking Bad," or something.
The new film follows the formula of its predecessors to the letter: there are a few farcical, centerpiece gags, mostly centered around the sexual humiliation of the Biggs character, including awkward sex chats with his dad (a never-better Eugene Levy) and a nubile neighbor (newcomer Ali Cobrin) who's throwing herself at him for some reason.
The only difference this time is that there's growing acknowledgement that the characters are well into adulthood and the days of carefree partying are just about over. And while obsession with sex and boobs are perpetually at the forefront, the film is clear about its underlying values: love, monogamy and male friendship are what is truly important in life.
"American Reunion" is directed by Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz- the team that wrote the first "Harold and Kumar" and directed the second- and they mostly handle the material well. The big set pieces are mostly hilarious, and the dialogue is always pretty funny too- there's a joke about Ricky Martin that was the hardest I've laughed at anything in quite awhile. And the Klein character is a veteran of a "Dancing With the Stars"-like reality show, leading to a running gag- every middle-aged woman he meets wants to jump his bones- that never stops being hilarious.
And speaking of which, there's a very funny callback about the word "MILF" which, in case you forgot, was coined by the first movie.
No, not everything works. One sequence, in which two characters slip off to have sex at a party- and change into bondage gear- makes no sense at all. And there's a joke about someone walking in on gay sex in a sports team's showers that, in light of the Penn State scandal, absolutely should not have stayed in the movie.
The producers swear "American Reunion" is the last "American Pie," and if that's the case it's a fitting ending. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but the film is funny enough to justify its existence.
This made me laugh for a long, long time.
Tommy Christopher on the Trayvon Martin backlash:
While The Daily Caller, the Bigs, and Fox News filthify the waters, decent conservatives are not keeping up their end, and the result is a distorted picture of a right vs. left divide that isn’t actually there. This is about a few racism-denying dead-enders who hate President Obama more than they hate the gunning down of black teenagers. For the first few days, these folks were barely interested in the case, aside from some nipple-hardening at the involvement of Rev. Al Sharpton and the New Black Panthers… So far, the only “division” in the Trayvon Martin story is between a handful of conservatives who want to beat their bogeymen (President Obama, Al Sharpton, the New Black Panthers, and “thuggin’” black youths) over the head with this, and everyone else. Decent conservatives should rise up and tell these people to shut the hell up.
Alex Pareene is worth reading on this as well.