Wordy Wednesday July 2nd

Marc Guggenheim brought up some interesting points about Michael Bay in a conversation on Comedy Film Nerds this past week.  Marc thinks that MB has a good movie in him, and that Transformers: Age of Extinction might be a good summer getaway; into the air conditioning for awhile.  His points made me finally see MB as a three-dimensional person.  Until now, I've only heard him caricatured as the biggest joke in the movie industry, kind of a 2nd Ed Wood.  I also realized that I've never actually seen a MB movie, and so my low opinion of him is based solely on other people's low opinions.  Not a good foundation.  Think that it's time for me to see a MB movie for myself.  And so I tentatively intend to see Transformers: Age of Extinction this summer; it's 2 hours and 45 minutes.  What if it really IS horrible?  Am I really willing to spend over $10 on this?

The biggest question I have about Michael Bay is, who out there actually likes him?  Who is watching and enjoying these movies that are continually reviewed as dreck?  Like Nixon winning in '69 admist all of the anti-war protests, a silent majority slinks to the movie theaters to see Michael Bay movies, says nothing at all about it, and then all the MB haters tear him and the movie to shreds.  Or something like that.

Also saw David Sedaris this week in person for the 2nd time.  Didn't like him very much.  He used the word vagina about 50 times in a variety of contexts throughout a 30-40 minute presentation, amongst other quasi-vulgar topics and sounded suspiciously like the comedian who can't really kill and so has to resort to vulgarity or excessive use of foul language as a means to scintillate the audience.

And this isn't to say that all comedians who use foul language and extremely vulgar material are bad.  Not at all, imho.  Two of my favorite comics are Marc Maron and Mike Schmidt; I think that Schmidt's use of profanity in fact makes him funnier.  What I am saying is that Sedaris seemed to think that using the topics of vaginas or gynocologists in amongst themselves makes what he says funny, and I don't agree.  You need to actually make a joke; simply inserting 'vagina', 'penis' or 'fuck' in to your writing or shtick does not create humor.

So ok, yeah, I didn't entirely dismiss him; this week I listened to "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and it was actually pretty funny.  I laughed out loud a lot.  His career as a comic/writer is also interesting, from "SantaLand Diaries" he reveals how he mired through a sledge of mediocre jobs for several years--well into his 30s--before he broke out as a writer/artist.  I like how bizairre he is, his character profiles of family members related hilarious scenarios; such as Amy leaving David on a subway and shouting loudly as she walked off; "Good luck getting out of the rape charge."

He has a little bit of an edge; his topics in the short stories oftentimes involved putting a nasty person into their place.  In Picka Pocketoni he tears to shreds the rude Americans he meets on a subway in France.  (How much I wanted to have him SAY SOMETHING to them.  And he didn't say ANYTHING!)  And the entire last pages of the "Me Talk Pretty" story is him poking fun at his she-devil French teacher's mistake.   What is the point exactly of these tirades, except to somehow finally get back at some nasty people he's met?

Oh, and he's pretty snooty; for example, he said that will only participate in writing workshops in Europe.  Oh great idea, stick up your nose to your audience (this was a talk in the US).  Plus he's published over and over again in the New Yorker.....geez, I think I can live without this guy.  I'll give him about a 3 (on a scale of 5 or 10, depending on the day).

As a wonderful anti-dote, I watched Best in Show twice this week.  Wow.  Christopher Guest put together the BEST cast of comedians.  Including women!  Jane Lynch (this is really where she reached her peak, in his documentaries.....Glee is just too, well...), Jennifer Coolidge, Parker Posey, and Catherine O'Hara.  Awesome women.

k, nuf said.

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