RSS Feed

Intelligent Comedy: The Internship

Posted on

The-Intership-300x171An intelligent comedy is hard to find. Despite the fact that most critics dissed The Internship, I found it hilarious, socially relevant, and full of heart.

Vince Vaughn is one of my favorite celebrity guys, and The Wedding Crashers, his first comedy with Owen Wilson, had me rolling on the floor every time I watched it (3). I actually didn’t expect that much from The Internship, thinking they couldn’t pull it off a second time. But this movie is more than a comedy: it’s a hilarious send-up of the way we live now—attached to our technological gadgets—and a way of life—basically, experiencing the world and other people first-hand—that’s rapidly fading.

The critics didn’t think it was funny, and they slammed the movie as being gaga for Google. But in fact, Google probably is the best workplace on Earth—and I’ve known people who work there—with its free food, nap rooms, and other unheard of perks. Of course the place borders on being cultish—but this was clearly on display in The Internship.

My guess is that those trashing The Internship just didn’t get it: either they’re too young to relate to Vaughn’s and Wilson’s aging characters, or they’re older and resent their portrayal as clueless geezers. That these guys are tech and pop-culture clueless is indisputable: but as an even older person, I didn’t understand tons of references thrown out by the Google kids. Vaughn’s and Wilson’s characters were entirely believable to me—and not insulting.

Of course, this is not the first time I’ve been wildly at odds with the critics: Ishtar, a 1980s comedy that’s still held up as the lowest form of film creation, had me laughing my ass off. And in another genre, I recently saw Gravity, praised to the skies for its “amaaaaazing” scenic effects, but which had a totally lame “plot” ; when it was over I thought, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” (And hey, you don’t kill off George Clooney midway through a movie!)

vince-vaughn-picture-3But I digress; back to The Internship. Just about every movie I’ve seen with Vaughn is loaded with heart—not sentimental drivel, either, but a depth of love and caring that can pull any story through. He not only co-stars in The Internship; he co-wrote the script. On a totally irrelevant note, most people know VV only as a comic actor, but before he became funny he acted in serious films; anyone who has not seen Return to Paradise should. It’s a moving drama about friendship, love, and personal integrity.

I am intentionally saying almost nothing about the plot of The Internship because it’s unnecessary; the movie is two years old and anyone can Google up the story. Just don’t believe the idiotic comments and negative reviews: this film is well worth seeing if you want to laugh and learn.

 

Poverty

Posted on


Poverty

 

When you’re poor
you live on the highway.
Every stop
looks better than the last.

You learn to decipher
blessings in disaster,
relate deeds of devastation
in six amusing voices,
cultivate several zany images
and one of deprivation.

Shielding your eyes from the sun
one day, you look down the highway
trying to see the last dangerous curve
you traversed and discover that

the highway has become
your permanent habitat.

English: Typical Indian National Highway.

Wikipedia

 

 

Baseball Players’ Superstitions

baseball heartBaseball just might be the sport with the most superstitious lot of players. Bleacher Report lists the top 50 strangest. Here’s a sampling:

jason-giambi-1-sized

Jason Giambi puts on a gold thong whenever he’s in a slump.

Moises Alou pees on his batting gloves, supposedly to make  them tougher, when he is in a slump.

Mark Teixeira  developed a recent superstition when a sock of CC Sabathia’s  accidentally ended up in his locker, Mark had unknowingly put on one sock with the correct  #25, and one with the #52, and didn’t notice until the game had started; after he had one of the better games of his career—two home runs and six RBI’s—he decided to don two different sox in all future games.mark-teixeira-540x370

Hitters often like to get close to their bats. Occasionally this will occur with pitchers as well. Pitcher R.A. Dickey takes his choice of bats very seriously, naming  each one of them with creative monikkers.

Turk Wendell, who signed a contract with the Mets in 2000 for $ 9,999,999.99,took 99 as his player number.

Tim Lincecum wore the same cap his first five  seasons in MLB.210px-Tim_Lincecum_2008

Wade Boggs would take batting practice at precisely 5:17 when plating at night. He would also take  150 grounders, no more and no less, during warm-ups.

 BaseballFanBy the way, we fans are just as superstitious: I’m not the only one who worries my team lost because I failed to watch them, or is sure when I’m on the case they’re apt to win!

Everything I know I Learned From Art

 

Having just watched No God No Master, a 2012 film about the Palmer Raids of the 1920s and, peripherally, the railroading and execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, it occurs to me that everything I know about history I have gleaned from movies, novels, and song lyrics. Before seeing

Sacco & Vanzetti (Photo: Wikipedia)

Sacco & Vanzetti
(Photo: Wikipedia)

this movie, I did not know that Emma Goldman was deported from the US, never to return. I had no idea what the Palmer Raids were, and though I knew about Sacco and Vanzetti, I was fuzzy on the details (though I knew a bit from Holly Near‘s song Two Good Arms.)

This is not the history they teach in American schools—at least, it’s not anything I was taught.

Thanks to Doris Lessing I know something about colonialism in Africa. I learned about the French Revolution from Marge City of DarknessPiercy‘s City of Darkness, City of Light. I know the history of India from dozens of novels by Indian writers, most notably A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and, to a lesser extent, the film Gandhi. Recently I’ve gotten a dose of Nigerian history from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Lest anyone think I’m swallowing works of fiction or Hollywood productions whole, I almost always look up the facts online afterwards; even before the Internet, I did my homework, especially when writing book reviews: I compared Piercy’s details in the abovementioned book to those of historians Will and Ariel Durant—Piercy, who does exhaustive research for her novels, was remarkably faithful to the facts.

When I was in my teens, my twenties, and beyond, I read so many books and saw so many movies about the holocaust and slavery that they no longer fascinated but enraged and depressed me, until I finally swore them off; besides, I could probably write up a syllabus for each. Recently I added domestic violence to the list; having worked in a battered women’s shelter some years ago, I don’t need anymore painful education in that department either.

I don’t listen to music, read literature, or watch movies in order to learn, but because it’s what I love to do. Still, it makes me furious that I wasn’t taught important historical events in school, where they just threw dates of wars and generals at us, not to mention lies about our country. It just goes to show that in the end, as Virginia Woolf noted, it’s the artists who’ll save us.

 

Standin’ ‘ With Sly

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone fo...

Promotional photo of Sly & the Family Stone for Rolling Stone, 1970 (Wikipedia)

Stand! by Sly and the Family Stone (1969) is one of the best songs on one of the best albums ever recorded. Tomorrow night a bunch of Bay Area bands will pay tribute to Stand at the Fox Theater in Oakland, following a day-long symposium at which Sly himself will speak; the latter is billed as the first annual convention of The Family Stone. If that sounds grandiose, consider this: The Family’s members were black and white, male and female–a first in rock ‘n’ roll.

Undercover, the extravaganza’s organizer, has produced similar events for outstanding albums since 2010, covering such classics as Paul Simon’s Graceland, Dylan‘s Highway 61 Revisited, and Joni Mitchell‘s Blue. According to their website:

UnderCover Presents is a small grassroots collective that gathers musicians from every corner of the San Francisco Bay Area’s music scene to celebrate the broad influence of classic albums. The concept is simple: bands are invited based on their enthusiasm for the album from a range of musical genres that reflect the diverse styles and cultures that make Bay Area music unique. Each band picks a different song from the album and infuses it with their distinctive sound and personality.

Stand! (the song) epitomizes the times in which it was created more so than any single song of its era. The lyrics, with multiple meanings on the personal, political and spiritual levels, speak for themselves:

Stand! In the end you’ll still be you
one that’s done all the things you set out to do.
Stand! Theres a cross for you to bear
things to go though if you’re going anywhere.

Stand! For the things you know are right
It’s the truth that the truth makes ‘em so uptight
Stand! All the things you want are real
You have you to complete and there is no deal.

Stand! Stand! Stand! (Everybody)
Stand! Stand! Stand!

Ooo-ooh Stand
You’ve been sitting much too long
There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong
Stand! There’s a midget standing tall
and a giant beside him about to fall.

Stand! Stand! Stand! (Everybody)
Stand! Stand! Stand!

Stand! They will try to make you crawl
and they know wht you’re sayin makes sense and all
Stand! Don’t you know that you are free—
Well at least in your mind if you want to be.

Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana
Stand! Stand! Stand! Na na na na na na na na nana

 

As you can no doubt tell, this is no preachy piece of jargon, but a highly danceable, singalong rocker. The opening drum roll is immediately recognizable, and worth a listen in itself. But hey, don’t take my word for it: if you’re too young to have dug Sly back in the day, check ‘em out now; and if you’re as old as I am, you can come back baby, rock ‘n’ roll never forgets.

And everybody, don’t forget to Stand!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 652 other followers