Skip’s Quips: Turn Off ‘Girls,’ Please; I Can’t Stand It!

Blog Sketch 082813Count me as one of those who dislikes the TV show Girls.

I’ve tried watching it, albeit sporadically. The verdict: Yuck.

Creator Lena Dunham has talent; there’s no doubt about that. I don’t always care for her work; Tiny Furniture was, in my opinion, tedious and unconvincing. But she does have a certain style and, well, je ne sais quoi. She can write.

If only Girls used her talents better.

There’s something about the program that seems off-the-cuff, in a bad way. It feels forced, uninvolving. I’m not invested in the characters, who generally aren’t compelling. And the whole thing smacks of navel-gazing, to the extent that it’s hard to watch. I may be in the minority on this, but I strongly believe in what I say. Girls, to me, is artificial, plastic. I bounce off it, as a viewer, rather than get absorbed by it.

So why am I watching it? Well, it’s a not-so-long story. My wife enjoys it greatly, and when it’s on, I tune in. Then tune out just as fast. Without an engaging storyline, it doesn’t drive me to stick with it. I invariably end up checking out clips of wacky animals on my cell phone.

A good TV show won’t give you the chance to do that. A good TV show will force you to watch and avoid those charming YouTube videos.

I need a good TV show in my life. I don’t need Girls.

Skip’s Quips: Picking Apart ‘The Oranges’

Blog Sketch 082813There’s a lot of good stuff in The Oranges – so much that I wonder why it got such a low rating on IMDb.

This tale of adultery with your New Jersey neighbor has a pretty tight script, some good direction by Julian Farino and fine casting that results in sparkling turns by the likes of Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt, Alia Shawkat, Catherine Keener and Allison Janney. The plot features some not-so-credible points, and I feel everything wrapped up in an all-too-pat manner, but there’s humor and drama in hefty amounts along the way, plus sensitive treatment of a familiar subject.

And no, I didn’t turn it off halfway through. That’s something in itself.

OK, it’s not a great film. I don’t think it tries to be, though. Surprisingly, it’s quite unpretentious; I think that’s partly why I enjoyed much of it.

Director Farino has done a lot of TV work in the past. Perhaps that’s one reason why it felt so crisp. Maybe the ending was a little TV-esque, too, but there’s potential here.

Good show.

Skip’s Quips: Spreading the Love for Gilliam’s ‘Munchausen’

Blog Sketch 082813I’m still sad about the fact that Terry Gilliam’s The Adventures of Baron Munchausen flopped when it debuted about 25 years ago.

I’m sadder, however, that it seems to be overlooked when people talk about overlooked classics. They might mention Gilliam’s other great film, Time Bandits, but Munchausen? Pshaw! That one flies under the radar of the everything else flying under the radar.

It’s too bad, too, because Munchausen is a terrific movie. There’s hilarious, Monty Pythonesque comedy. Rollicking adventure. Fine (for the most part) acting. A lovely score. And gorgeous art direction, exemplified by a brilliant set piece involving Robin Williams as a truly loony King of the Moon whose head detaches from his body in search of metaphysical pleasures.

That’s wild stuff. And I love it. If you like Time Bandits (which I do as well) and haven’t seen Munchausen, I encourage you to do so. It’s hardly shown on TV for some reason, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Plus, you can play “Spot the Famous Actor/Actress” while watching it, so that should provide added value. Enjoy.

From Skip and Setter’s Creator: My Interview Hits Town

Blog Sketch of Me 092213Hi, everyone! Just letting you know about an interview I did for James Curnow’s wonderful, cinema-oriented CURNBLOG with former Saturday Night Live writer Ferris Butler (yes, that Ferris Butler) and legendary songwriter Beverly Ross, she of “Lollipop” fame. Incidentally, Ferris and Beverly are also my uncle and aunt and were gracious enough to field my questions. If you’d like to read it, the interview (which covers everything from their careers in the entertainment industry to the story behind Ferris being the inspiration for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) may be found on this CURNBLOG page:

http://curnblog.com/2014/01/28/interviewing-beverly-ross-ferris-butler-skits-films-rock-n-roll/

Enjoy!

Setter’s ‘Spectives: A Modest Small-Screen Proposal

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Any reason why we can’t have the all-Kurosawa channel?

We have action on demand. Drama on call.

Well, I want to snap my fingers and have The Seven Samurai appear on my TV instantly.

I get hankerings all the time for this glorious, seminal movie. And it seems to be rarely on. When it is, it’s often at a time when I’m not available–like at three in the morning or 18 billion, trillion o’clock in the afternoon.

Why don’t I just get the DVD and stop complaining? OK, I’ll tell you. There’s something really organic about turning on the telly and finding a movie you like. It’s satisfying.

Satisfying in the way that getting up to put a DVD in the player isn’t.

Fine, I’m lazy. But it doesn’t change the fact that I adore this Kurosawa classic. Which means I also scoff at the 1960 American remake, a poor imitation that removes the vital class distinctions pervading the original (samurai versus farmers) while adding more guns–weapons that make such a difference in its Japanese progenitor–and subtracting most of the character development.

If I could have The Seven Samurai broadcast to my brain personally on a 24-hour basis, I’d do it.

An all-Kurosawa channel, admittedly, might not make financial sense. But maybe … an all-jidai geki station? Bring me the popcorn.

I know I wouldn’t be the only audience member.