Aziz Ansari-Right Now

            With the release of Right Now, the largest comeback attempt yet of the #MeToo moment has been enacted.  Yes, Louis CK has popped up at comedy festivals, and Kevin Spacey releases weird videos into the internet’s void, but Aziz Ansari’s new special is a Netflix-cosigned release where Ansari is trying to rediscover himself in a post-Babe.net world.  The previously larger-than-life comic’s return to the stage with a candid, casual, and most importantly thoughtful special that is second most importantly, his best.

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Swallow (dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis)

Comparisons will be drawn between Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ Swallow and the films of Yorgos Lanthimos and Todd Solondz, with its showcasing of the most grotesque and depraved parts of humanity using very clean-cut, sanitized and symmetrical imagery. But apart from some absurd and darkly comic dialogue, at no point does this film become untethered from reality, and perhaps that is what makes the viewing experience of Swallow so stressful. Lanthimos and Solondz might push the limits of horror, absurdity, and magical realism for the sake of satire, but Mirabella-Davis tip toes right up against the line. Exaggerated, sure, but never unbelievable. Continue reading

Thoroughbreds (dir. Cory Finley)

Thoroughbreds is only a mildly exaggerated representation of the elite of suburban Connecticut, or Westchester, New York. Greenwich is filled with beautiful yoga moms and their children dressed in matching blazers, designer-bred show dogs and cars worth more than your house. This is an expose of the young and privileged, who both comfortably occupy the bubble they’ve grown up in and desperately long for freedom from it. They’ve grown up financially secure but emotionally neglected. Privilege is a necessity and empathy is a weakness. Continue reading

Fred Armisen-Standup For Drummers

Fred Armisen’s Standup For Drummers is the personification of your hometown “DRUMMERS IN THE [Area code]” Facebook Group without all the ads for local gigs or bands in need of a gig.  Armisen isn’t particularly funny; it seems like his only knowledge of standup comedy comes from movies and TV.  He isn’t really interesting either.  It’s full of in-jokes that can’t really provoke laughter.  The boneheaded drummer who’s unintentionally funny is one of the easiest tropes, but Fred Armisen is a hyper intelligent musician who can’t come up with a decent joke. Continue reading

A Futile and Stupid Gesture (dir. David Wain)

It’s not surprising that a biopic about National Lampoon founder Doug Kenney (played by Will Forte) would come out right now.  With Netflix’s dedication to weekly comedy specials, the importance of SNL, and the evolution of social-media to share comedy, of course, it’s timely to release a movie about one of the most influential forces in comedy.  A Futile and Stupid Gesture is both hilarious and dramatic, bringing to life both the excitement and burden of living in the comedy world.  While easily watchable and very entertaining, there are certain aspects that leave the audience a little confused and unsure of how they’re supposed to feel.

Spoilers[i]: Continue reading

Introducing the Burger-A-Day Podcast: 1. School of Rock

Welcome to the inaugural Burger-A-Day podcast. On it BurgerADay.com contributors James Crowley and Marisa Winckowski discuss music, movies, and pop culture. On this debut episode, they discuss Richard Linklater’s 2003 musical comedy School Of Rock-its lasting impact, mass appeal, later adaptations, and how the view towards it changes with age.

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Top 10 Podcasts from 2017

It almost feels like every day someone tells me that they want to start listening to podcasts, and since it’s become a regular medium, you can find podcasts about literally anything.  I’ve listened to podcasts about everything from tech to crying.  There really is a podcast for everyone, whether you need information, a laugh, or an emotional reaction.  Here are some of the best new podcasts and veterans that have kept up the good work:

 

  1. Swipe Out

Alix McAlpine’s podcast is simple enough on the surface, and it’s certainly not the first dating podcast.  The premise is Alix goes on first dates, then discusses them with her friend, while creating a list of qualities she’d like her ideal partner to have.  Occasionally, it’s funny, but McAlpine is doing more than just gossiping about her dates.  She’s really exploring what it’s like navigating the dating world, as a millennial, with dating apps, and as a young adult.  It’s a mostly transparent look into the dating world, and it provides so much insight to those single among us.

Standout episode: Connor/Slim Thicc Continue reading

Happy Death Day (Dir. Christopher B. Landon)

I can’t say Happy Death Day is particularly frightening, nor is it particularly funny. The plot twist is pretty contrived, it gets frustratingly repetitive and there are moments that just don’t make sense even within its own fantasy universe. So why did I enjoy this so much? This is a case in which so many of the moving parts are messy and dysfunctional but they inexplicably come together as a cohesive whole. It’s like being on one of those giant carnival slides over and over again, or watching a fidget spinner. Continue reading

Marc Maron-Too Real

            Only Marc Maron could get away with telling the same joke twice in a row.  It’s easy to be sick of Maron’s rote display of emotional honesty, because he’s been in comedy for decades, and he brings one of the best podcasts to listeners twice a week.  He’s been bringing listeners a manic energy regularly for years now, and Too Real is a perfect culmination of all the best aspects of Maron. Continue reading