Category Archives: comedy

Unexpected gems

A work colleague loaned me her copy of Eve’s Bayou. Somehow I missed this when it made its debut in movie theaters back in 1997. Although, I suspect I wouldn’t have appreciated it nearly as much as I did now.

Set in a bayou in Louisiana, it’s about one particular summer in the life of a wealthy family who have several issues come to fore in a suitably dramatic manner. Gothic but not unduly so. Great cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, and a young actress named Jurnee Smollett.

The family and the rest of the characters are all African-American, but race never plays any kind of a role in the movie–and it shouldn’t. That’s not what the movie is about. It’s almost a coming-of-age story.

Also caught Transamerica with Felicity Huffman and Kevin Zegers. Didn’t have the highest expectations of it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Huffman plays a transgendered individual about to have surgery to become a female, who discovers that she’s got a son (Zegers). Zegers has some problems and is looking for his dad to get him out of jail.

Delicate subject matter, but it was handled really well. Funny and touching movie. Huffman managed to convince me that she was a transgendered man–hard task to accomplish.

For your consideration

I went to the movies this weekend. It’s been ages since I did that. Somehow I usually can’t muster up the interest to go spend too much money to get to the flicks. But I like Christopher Guest and his wacky stock company so I took the time to go see For Your Consideration at the theatre. The plot is pretty simple. During the making of an independent film (“Home for Purim”), the veteran lead actress (Catherine O’Hara) learns there’s been some Internet buzz about her performance and a possible Oscar nod. Before long Oscar fever has swept the cast and the entertainment world.

There are some sidesplitting scenes–any of the footage of Home for Purim is worth the price of admission. I didn’t love the movie though and I came in prepared to do that. All the actors are incredible performers, but there is some unevenness in this movie and I’m not sure why. Catherine O’Hara really shines as the aptly named Marilyn Hack. There’s depth and pathos in her performance. I wonder if that’s the problem. She took her role to the next level and no one else did? Or perhaps it was out of place in this kind of film? I’m not sure. Worth seeing, but nowhere near as cohesively brilliant as Best in Show.

And the point would be…

There I am Sunday morning watching TV and one of those commercials for a kitchen gadget came on. This one is for Pasta Express which promises to cook your pasta in just minutes! As always, this too can be yours for only $19.95.

Well, I’m watching the commercial and I don’t get why anyone would pay $20 for a monofunctional piece of plastic crap. Their instructions are interesting (if you’re watching the commercial “elapsed time 8 minutes” flashes briefly). First of all you have to boil water. Then you pour the water into this cylinder with the pasta and wait 7-10 minutes. Then you upend the thing over the sink and drain the pasta. Let’s review how you make pasta in a pot–the old fashioned way: you boil water. You put the pasta into the pot. You wait 7-10 minutes depending on the cooking time. Then you either pour it into a colander or you lift out the insert from your stock pot and drain.

How exactly is this gadget an improvement?

At the same time, I have something of a soft spot in my heart for these intrepid inventors. Every summer, my family would go to the county fair. My dad used to love going into the building where the vendors would be hawking these gadgets. There they’d be throwing spaghetti sauce on tile samples and mopping it up. There was the man who used a stick blender (back before they were considered an essential kitchen tool) to make whipped cream out of skim milk or peanut butter from a handful of peanuts. I remember how years later I invested in one by Cuisinart and Dad was convinced I’d be taken.

Seen: Busting Out and the 40-Year-Old Virgin. The former is a documentary–I’ll link to the review when that’s up. The latter was a freebee that I wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. The first half is your typical moronic aging jock movie, but it morphed into something with actual depth by the end.