18 Oct 2008

Peter Kay - (Is this the way to) Amarillo

Peter Kay is one of the most famous comedians in Britain. His multi-award winning shows include Phoenix Nights, Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere and the new Britain's Got the Pop Factor and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice, a parody of the current crop of reality competition talent shows.

Of course, I think he's fantastic. His shows are hilarious and his stand up is even better.

Every two years, the BBC gather together all of the UK's top funny people to put on a Comic Relief telethon to raise money for Africa and for homegrown issues such as homelessness. And every two years a Comic Relief "song" is released as a way of raising extra money. In 2005, Peter Kay came up with the following single which not only got to #1 on the UK charts and raised huge amounts of money for Comic Relief, but also has been admired, honored and parodied ever since. If you're not from the UK you won't know who most of the people are, but I think it's funny anyway.

I include it here today becuase I was watching Peter Kay's new show the other night and it made me remember how great this is...

16 Oct 2008

A sneak preview of tonight's debate

Here's a sneak preview of tonight's debate, courtesy of TheAtlantic.com (original link here). On the bright side, at least John McCain can play the part of Mickey in any subsequent Rocky sequels...

Isn't it amazing how closely he resembles an old, awkward-moving, villanous, short, super-criminal? The Penguin, I mean...(har, har)

12 Oct 2008

Classic scenes from the movies part 4

This is a special Spike Lee race edition of classic scenes. Spike has been in the news recently due to the release of his new film Miracle at St Anna, which is based on a true story of an incident involving some African American soldiers in WWII. He's also been in the news, more infamously, for a spat he had with Clint Eastwood regarding the lack of black soldiers present in Clint's two WWII films, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.

I've been a huge Spike Lee fan since I first saw Do the Right Thing back in 1989. While he's more famous for the racially-charged nature of most (not all) of his movies, he is an extremely underrated filmmaker who counts Scorsese (the all-time master) as his major influence and it shows through in his work.

A NY director in the classic sense (along with such Big Apple luminaries like Woody Allen and the aforementioned Scorsese), Spike's movies are often just as much about the city itself (and, in some ways, America as a whole) as they are about race.

Having said that, the two clips I've included here are from his most famous (and incendiary) work, Do the Right Thing, and from probably his second-most critically-lauded movie, The 25th Hour, and are both racially-tinged.

In the first, we see a hilariously uncomfortable scene from Do the Right Thing. Set on one extremely hot summer's day in the Bedford-Stuyvesent borough of Brooklyn, DTRT tells the story of the denizens of the street including Mookie (played by Lee himself), a young African-American male who works as a delivery boy for the local pizzeria, and Sal (Danny Aiello) the Italian-American owner of said pizzeria.

DTRT is a bonafide masterpiece, telling the story of race in late-eighties America from the perspective of all NYC's citizens - black, white, hispanic and asian alike. As the day draws on and the temperatures get higher, so does the racial tension and anger of the people. Lee masterfully uses the camera (photographed by longtime Lee cinematographer Ernest Dickerson) to emphasize the growing tensions, his shots getting closer and closer to the faces of the characters as the day wears on.

A serious treatise on race with a controversial and deliberately ambiguous ending, this scene allows for one of the film's comic moments as a member of each of Bed-Stuy's races has a chance to say what's really on their minds...

The next scene is from Spike's post-9/11 work, The 25th Hour. It's ostensibly the story of a drug dealer (Edward Norton) who was one last day of freedom before he's incarcerated for seven years for his crimes. Based on a novel by David Benioff written some years before 9/11, Spike changed the crux of the film to represent NYC's post 9/11 attitudes.

In this scene, Norton talks to himself in the mirror, letting out his anger at every possible permutation of New York citizen. This scene isn't strictly from the book, as it was written mainly by Lee. It's classic Spike, delivered with a conviction that only Edward Norton among this generation's actors, could muster. Of course, it's a treatise on the fears and anger many New Yorkers felt after the attacks and is probably Spike's best-written scene from any of his movies (which is no small boast). In the background, trumpeter Terence Blanchard's (a frequent composer of the scores of Lee's films) music accurately conveys the pain Norton's character is feeling as he comes to the realization of his own waste of his life. Classic.

11 Oct 2008

The best picture of Finn ever!

We went to get Finn's passport photo the other day at my place of work (we do multimedia functions as well as public affairs). Our staff photographer, Adam, managed to capture Finn perfectly...


Anchorman - The Legend of Rod Sergeant

Here's me in my first anchor position as I present the Keesler Air Force Base 3rd Quarter review...(original link found here)