Last night, TCM aired one of my all-time favorite movies, “Sullivan’s Travels.”
Tonight, TCM is airing perhaps my all-time favorite movie, “Casablanca.”
Tomorrow night, TCM is airing a marathon of Marx Brothers classics, all of which I love.
I doubt they have my tastes in mind, of course; in fact, tonight’s movie was picked by their “guest programmmer” of the night, Hugh Hefner. Please note that my agreement with Mr. Hefner on the value of “Casablanca” does not imply my agreement with him on various other topics!
By the way, I got around to watching “Waiting For Guffman” earlier today and enjoyed it immensely.
I love Christopher Guest’s “mockumentary” films “Best In Show” and “A Mighty Wind,” but I’ve never seen the first in that trilogy, “Waiting For Guffman.” I was discussing this fact with the choir director at our church a few weeks back. I’m not in the choir; we just happened to sit together at Wednesday night fellowship meal, and we were discussing our similar tastes in comedy.
Anyway, Jon brought his DVD of “Waiting For Guffman” tonight so that I could borrow it. I’ve been in a funk this week, and thought it would be just the thing to pick me up.
Of course, when I got home, I discovered that one of my favorite movies, “Sullivan’s Travels,” is on TCM tonight. I’ll finish watching it right now, and save “Waiting For Guffman” until tomorrow.
By the way, there is a connection between the two films: Guest and his frequent collaborator Michael McKean do a commentary track on the DVD of “Sullivan’s Travels”! I don’t own the DVD and haven’t heard this track yet, but I imagine it’s great.
Turner Classic Movies aired an absolutely mesmerizing documentary tonight, “The Adventures of Errol Flynn.” It really captured both the magic of Flynn’s performance and the tragedy of his self-destructive behavior. The interviews include frank comments from two of Flynn’s wives and his daughter, as well as from Olivia de Havilland, his frequent co-star and would-be paramour.
Most of the interviews were of people who knew Flynn, but there are also insightful comments from Richard Dreyfuss, Joanne Woodward and Burt Reynolds about Flynn as an actor. Reynolds also tells a wonderful story about Bette Davis, who feuded with Flynn when they co-starred in “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex,” watching the movie decades later (Reynolds, from his description, was apparently present) and realizing she had been wrong about him.
TCM will run the documentary again later tonight (after an airing of “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” one of Flynn’s best films), and it’s also included in a new DVD set of Flynn’s work.
TCM’s Robert Osborne just introduced “The Adventures of Robin Hood” by saying that “Hollywood movies don’t get any better than this.” I have to agree.
I watched an episode today of what has to be one of the most bizarre programs on television, “Craft Corner Deathmatch.”
This airs on the Style Network, which I don’t get (it’s on digital cable here, not basic). But its sister channel E! ran a “preview” of Style Network today which included several episodes of “Craft Corner Deathmatch.”
The show’s own web site describes it as a cross between “Martha Stewart Living” and “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.” (April Fool’s was yesterday — but I promise I’m not making this show up!) It’s a game show, hosted in shouting, over-the-top professional wrestling fashion by Jason Jones, who milks the “deathmatch” schtick for all it’s worth. The contestants are given a craft project — for example, re-tailoring and decorating men’s underwear into women’s underwear, decorating a glass trivet with items from a bag of garbage, or designing a superhero outfit for a Barbie doll. The results are then judged by a panel of experts and celebrities. After two such rounds, the winning player faces off in a third round against a professional artist, “The Craft Lady of Steel.” (They list some of her credentials but never mention her real name.)
Bizarre — but, I have to admit, fascinating.
“An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs.”
– Mitch Hedberg
Comedy Central re-ran one of Mitch’s standup specials tonight, and then after the end credits they had an “in memory” photo of him and played the snippet transcribed above.
Those of you who don’t normally follow the comments for particular blog posts might want to take note of the discussion that has erupted over the nomenclature for a particular web site maintained by one of my two brothers. The site is in what I would consider the format of a blog, but my brother doesn’t use that term because he posts to it only sporadically, not on a regular basis. The comment section contains several imaginative (read, completely unlikely) suggestions for how to describe such an enterprise.
Which raises the question, what constitutes a blog? How often must one post to a blog? And, as Michael and the other commenters have been discussing, what do you call something that isn’t a blog?
A lot of April Fools’ pranks today, but several I want to point out:
Star Trek.com has a complete April Fool’s site. Look around, and do not miss the opening credits for “Klingon Eye For The Starfleet Guy.”
The witty TV commentary site TeeVee.org has a funny site every April Fools’ — I especially loved two years ago, when they did a parody of the ABC network web site in which ABC (which was then in the doldrums) had switched to an all-reality format. This year’s site has completely made-up blogs supposedly by Dan Rather, Matthew Perry, and other TV personalities.
I received a copy of the The Wittenburg Door‘s occasional e-newsletter today, and it started with an item about Trinity Foundation selling the Door to the publishers of Christianity Today.
One of my all-time favorite standup comedians, Mitch Hedberg, was found dead in his hotel room this morning. He was only 37; cause of death has not yet been announced.
Hedberg had a wonderful comic persona. You might compare him to Steven Wright, but more whimsical.
Here’s a page of quotes from Mitch’s act. Some involve strong language. Some also involve drug use; I know Mitch mostly from TV appearances, where a lot of the drug jokes tend to be skipped. I had always hoped that his spaced-out persona was just an act.
My good friend and former co-worker Chris Oakes sent me this link about blogging and its effect on thinking skills.
This morning, I stopped by WLIJ / WZNG to tape a 60-second public service announcement promoting the Nashville Symphony concert in Shelbyville. Longtime readers know that I worked in radio during high school and for a year after college, so I always enjoy chances like this to dip my toe back in the waters.
Then, this afternoon, I taped an appearance on “Marilyn and Company,” a local public access cable TV program hosted by Marilyn Ewing. We talked a little about the symphony concert, a little about my mission trips and a little about the newspaper. The program will air weekend after next.
Tonight, I stopped by my alma mater, Cascade High School, to take photos for the newspaper of the cast of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” under the direction of Jan Hall, who hasn’t changed very much since she was my favorite high school teacher in the late 1970s. The choice of Oscar Wilde is a little surprising, however; Jan usually chooses huge-cast, no-name slapsticky things in order to draw as many parents to the theater as possible.