Tag Archives: comedy

‘Eighth Grade’ About as Bad as You Remember

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Comedian, and now writer/director Bo Burnham has released his first feature Eighth Grade, starring Elsie Fisher as awkward, in-between Kayla Day.

Kayla is trying like almost anyone her age to be cool and fit in in the fast paced, technology-laden world of teens today. We watch, many times, as Kayla creates videos for her YouTube channel: advice on things like being yourself and fitting in. These videos highlight the ways in which Kayla makes an effort to find these things in life and within herself.

Throughout, we are privy to awkward conversations with Dad (Josh Hamilton), the muted sharp glares to and from ‘popular’ girl Kennedy and a handful of awesomely socially tragic clashes with equally awkward and removed teen boys. Everyone in their own world amid a sea of extremely thick atmosphere that feels all too familiar, compressed and leaves you gasping.

A note here on the score: It comes far too often, too loud. The chosen songs sound hastily made and are in such jarring contrast with the film itself, it further warps whatever is left to be gleaned from on screen. There is no matching of emotion or intention, merely blaring beats better used elsewhere.

The direction style doesn’t favor glamour shots, opting instead for a well lived-in feel. The costumes and scenery are muted, everyday colorful: very grounded in reality, glittered with iPhones and punctuated by so many uhms and ahs.

Burnham clearly has an adept feel for the material, but this is also his downfall. The strangest bit comes during an active shooter drill (yes, of course) followed almost immediately by an earthquake preparedness drill. This evasion tactic practice leads to some reaching attempts at innocent flirting tinged with a hint of the salacious, terrifying trouble it could bring. On many occasions we are set up with something that pushes beyond the grainy film of the movie into interesting and gripping territory, only for it to be deflated moments after; this uneven rise and fall gives the movie a meandering feel that never quite reaches the apex of understanding it needs to drive home just what is important here.

To say this movie has merit is to say a lot, outside of style and deadly accurate tone, the structure crumbles in on itself and the message, if there is one, is lost. Moments of reflection and success are muddled through and perhaps that is the point, however, this makes for a trying and very painful watch that doesn’t seem to know which audience it wants to pull in.

Is this meant to be a burdened nostalgia cringefest for those that have grown through the struggles of young adulthood? Or is there a message amid the noise for the ones coming up in the now? This film is rated ‘R’, so the latter seems a stretch at best. Presenting the dredge of middle school without resolve is certainly bold, but this film stumbles more than it strides.

If the idea of a mostly accurate depiction of the slow ache of growing pains sounds intriguing, give this one a watch when it comes to DVD or the streaming service of your choice.

A24, highly regarded production company, and noted comedian Bo Burnham have taken us to school, and it isn’t pretty.

 

Justin Roiland (Rick & Morty) Recieves Half-Gallon of Szechuan Sauce

It happened, Morty! We got the sauce! That delicious Mulan Szechuan chicken sauce!

You're seeing this right. McDonald's sent Rick and Morty co-creator, Justin Roiland, a half a gallon of their Szechuan sauce. It came in a very hazardous looking container with the label "Dimension C-1998M".

The label on the bottle says:

"For use only in McDonald's restaurants (C-1998M) during limited promotional window, and then maybe again twenty years later. DO NOT SERVE to mad scientists traveling with their teenage grandson; potential non-scientist versions of mad scientists from alternate dimensions; and/or Jerry."

McDonald's also included this letter address to Roiland himself:

Rick & Morty season 3 premieres at 11:30PM ET on July 30th 2017.

Going Sane in a World Gone Crazy

The Tick is back, finally. After a stint as a mascot, spanning comics, different television iterations, both live action and animated, we have a new take on a perhaps forgotten favorite hero. Amazon Prime has graciously given us a taste of what could become a brilliant new addition to the current trend of superhero-centric television. Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of the Dead, Star Wars: Episode 1) is The Tick made flesh and rubber. Peppering his performance with touches of Adam West as well as his own brand of slick delivery of dry wit and obtuse similes. Found through the eyes of Arthur Everest,  as played by Griffin Newman (Vinyl, Cop Show), we join our new Tick as he scopes out shady dealings and the possible return of an old nemesis. 

This pilot really captures the feeling of what makes The Tick a stellar choice for a revival. 

Have you seen Amazon’s The Tick? Let us know if you’re as excited as we are to see more of this version? Do you also feel warm like the inside of bread? Get into bread with us.

More importantly, if you have seen it, please take the survey found at amazon.com/pilotseason to let them know you want more Tick in your life. We certainly do.

Stick to Nerd Hall for all things Tick, as well as the usual pop culture, comics, movies and music news you’re used to.

Half-awake Track Review No One Needs

by Anthony Wetmore
(GhostConch, @TheMisterPipes)

Do you ever just wake up in the middle of the night almost all
the way but not quite enough to get hit with the hard facts of your general
known reality? Of course you do. Rarely do you remember the contents of those
small moments in the darkness where you may finally figure out how to put
together that over-complicated furniture, rework the last few pages of your
certainly award-worthy book, or perhaps where you left your retainer in fourth
grade. I’m rambling, but you understand what I am saying.

Early this morning for no
reason at all the song “Foxtrot
Uniform Charlie Kilo”
 from
the barely remembered Bloodhound
Gang 
was
rolling around in my head, and with it, an epiphany of small scale struck me.

With it’s quick and brightly colored beat and seemingly stream
of consciousness flow of nonsense words, the song is fairly innocuous on the
surface. Just under that shiny surface we are privy to an array of fun and
amusing word-pairings that are not traditionally innuendo turned on it’s ear to
a suggestion of bluer intent. Each pairing more ridiculous and perhaps more
obvious than the last paints a broad picture of what else but sex.

A few noted examples:

“Batter dip the cranny ax
In the gut locker”

“Marinate the nether rod
In the squish mitten”

Of course it goes on from there with more abstract imagery for
intercourse and the culmination of the intentions with the catchy and
not-so-subtle hook found in the songs title. Foxtrot, uniform, charlie, kilo
(F.U.C.K. for those uninitiated.) not only gives us the genesis of the song,
but also another double entendre in it’s use of the coded alphabet suited
usually to military purposes. That in itself seemed superiorly (not a word)
profound to the very half awake mind I inhabited at the time.  

Jimmy Pop you brilliant sonofabitch, get out of my
half-made consciousness and stay out. I do not know if we learned anything at
all here today, perhaps that wasn’t the point of this, maybe it’s more along
the lines of strange memory and my general interest in the way we use words to
form ideas and opinions as well as playing with the sounds and colors of
meaning to define, deal with, or effect the world around us. I should probably
stop carrying on now, I don’t want to beat around the bush. (See what I did
there?)

You can listen to the song above and see if you agree with what I’ve found in the between world of sleep and wakefulness considering this dumb song about fucking.

Hefty Fine, the album the song is featured on came out ten years ago and no one cares any more, find it on amazon? Don’t? 

Whatever you decide to do, stop reading this and keep checking back with Nerd Hall for more inane thought-pieces, pop culture news, reviews and so so much more. We’re also on the twitter: @nerdhallblog

Thank you, I’m sorry.

The Return of Rick and Morty

by Anthony Wetmore (@TheMisterPipes, GhostConch)

Last night saw the return of the polarizing Rick and Morty, the warped science fiction themed cartoon from the minds of Justin Roiland (House of Cosbys, Channel 101) and Dan Harmon (Community, Harmontown). Rick and Morty premiered it’s second season on alt. comedy channel Adult Swim with an episode that defies standards and promises an even better second run. 

The strange dynamic we see between Morty Smith and his alcoholic, narcissistic, devil may care scientist Rick Sanchez is challenged once again as chaos ensues in a way only they could manufacture. From the first few minutes, we’re at a standstill. Time has been stopped to clean and fix the house in order to keep peace within the Smith household. Only when time begins again does the problem arise, of course. As time begins to literally fracture and split, creating first two realities, then four, then eight… Rick and Morty along with sister Summer must try to set things right.

I don’t want to give away too much more, as the episode is a true spectacle in terms of animation, concept, and depth. In this return to prime time, we see not only another wacky, crude adventure punctuated by Rick’s belching and Morty’s incessant nervous whining. There is also a redefining of the relationship between the two titular characters through the strangeness. Despite irrefutable mathematical evidence that Morty and Summer are actual, literal shit, Rick finds himself deeply incensed to both, grandfatherly love projected through a broken prism to rain down on Morty.

The clear Doc Brown/Marty McFly parallel is ever present but consistently takes a backseat to deeper, more clearly defined unique characters. Going back to the future is nothing at all for these two, neither is changing the present. Whether or not Rick and Morty becomes the next mammoth adult-oriented cartoon to take television by storm remains to be seen, if it doesn’t,  the outlandish approach to long-standing conventions will remain a legend spoken of in hushed tones in the hallowed halls of cartoon reverence.

Rick and Morty airs on [adult swim] on Sundays at 10 PM 

[Image courtesy of: www.idigitaltimes.com]