Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Like You, Man

I've taken a long break from blogging here, so here's my first shot at getting back on the horse. Been watching a fair amount of television and without realizing it became a fan of a specific actor: Jason Segel. I just think this guy is funny, often playing this sort of sincere buffoon character in a variety of shows and movies. Even looking at photos of the guy to put on this post has me chuckling and all he's doing is standing around (not the pic I eventually picked though). The first time I saw a performance by him where I paid specific attention to his acting was in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Marshall funnily enough is his name on How I Met Your Mother but i'm getting ahead of myself). He played his character with the right amount of pathos and humor to keep the film rolling. Next I saw him in I Love You, Man where he was a bit more antagonistic but in a nice way (and also revelled in another recurring theme for this actor, a bit of Rush worship like his character in Freaks and Geeks but again I'm getting ahead of myself).

Anyway, one tv show I've been checking out is reruns of the much acclaimed tv series Freaks and Geeks. It was one of those high school shows from ten years ago that was set around 1980 or so. It was also one of those shows that would gain an American Graffiti / Fast Times At Ridgemont High aura of being a hot bed for young actors that would break big later. F&G included Linda Cardenelli (ER), Seth Rogen (tons of movies), James Franco (Spider Man) and yup, Jason Segel. Having watched about ten episodes I could see why critics still cry at the mention of this one season wonder. It's deftly written with healthy doses of realistic characters, teen drama and nostalgia.

At the same time, How I Met Your Mother has hit syndication giving me an opportunity to catch up on this great show. As scatalogical as it is focused, the five characters clown around and bounce off each other the way a group of friends would. Reruns have let me see the character's rich history of inside jokes and epic events like the Pineapple, the time Aunt Lily kicked Asian Elvis in the nards and a couple's first "I Love You" stemming from a bag of Funions. A fun lightweight show.

I'd say I can't wait to see what Segel does next, but it looks like his next major project is a Muppets movie. Can't say I'm really into Muppet movies (though the first one was OK) but if anyone is gonna make me like it it's probably this guy. Count me in as a fan, bro.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Grace Is Gone...


So I jumped on the bandwagon of looking forward to a new release from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They rode in on a heavy buzz with support from Rolling Stone magazine and a nice push for their video "Tiny Lights". I liked the new song and went online to check out this group. And I liked what I heard, 70's boogie rock with a singer that could wail strongly while playing organ like an Allman sister. Then, I saw on tv a recent concert performing many songs from the new album. The band's shaggy 70s rock aesthetic came over nicely and they weren't bad tunes.

So I bought the album and found it to be competent and dull. What's sad is it's not necessarily the songwriting, about half the songs I would say are good which isn't really the ratio of good:bad songs you want but I've sat through worse. No, what sucked was the production. All of the rambunctous energy and ragged fun had been taken out, replaced with clean smooth sonics. It was like Grace Potter had become one of those prehistoric insects trapped in amber. You could look at her and imagine what she was like back when she was alive. Not that I wish she was dead or anything of that ilk, just talking talent wise here.
So out of this overproduced disc there are a few winners: the song "Paris (Ooh La La)" sounds ready for a reality tv montage with it's saucy delivery and surging guitars. And there is some quiet ballad song that I can't remember the name of. That's about all I got.

So I jump off yet another bandwagon promising glory while giving me a drink coaster. Better luck next time kid.