Thursday, April 26, 2007

Weekend recommendations

As I wing to Chicago for the weekend, here are a few entertainment suggestions.

Not sure if it’s playing in your city but if so, check out a lovely romantic comedy called THE VALET. It’s a French movie, and you know the lines are genuinely funny when they get big laughs just from reading them. The writer/director is Francis Veber, who also did THE DINNER GAME and THE CLOSET. He’s kind of like the Woody Allen of France but didn’t marry his step-daughter. The premise is simple and funny – a billionaire (Daniel Auteuil -- pictured -- in his 4 billionth French movie) is photographed with his supermodel mistress. In order to salvage his marriage he tries to convince his wife that the other guy who just happened to be in the picture was the supermodel’s real boyfriend. That guy, a schleppy parking valet gets to spend a month living with the supermodel. Along the way there are many laughs, very funny quirky characters, and an intelligence you rarely find in US Hollywood studio factory romantic comedies. No pratfalls. No one falls into a bucket of urine. No one’s toupee flies off when someone farts. However, I hear the Farrelly brothers have optioned it for an American remake so expect all of those improvements as well as used condoms and a few retards.

I know I’m late jumping on the bandwagon, but if you haven’t seen DEXTER on Showtime you’re missing a thoroughly engrossing show. If you’re going to welcome one sociopath into your living room every week, make it Dexter. (I've only seen a few episodes so please, no spoiler comments.)

Showtime is starting to gain on HBO in the interesting original series race. They’ve come a long way since FAT ACTRESS. (Let’s hope there’s not a FAT ACTRESS 2 with Valerie Bertonelli.)

A good new book out is THE TRIGGER EPISODE by Tom Straw . It’s a mystery set in the world of sitcoms. It moves like a shot and has a lot of funny moments. Tom Straw is a veteran of sitcoms having survived both Bret Butler and Bill Cosby. So for him this must be his SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE.

A terrific kick-ass internet radio station is GREAT BIG RADIO. Good driving rock n’ roll from the last four decades. It’s what JACK thinks it is and is not.

Have a great weekend. Daily posts will continue during my getaway to the Hog Butcher of the World.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here is a suggestion for a movie I happened to catch on TCM. A King In New York. From 1957. Starring Charlie Chaplin. Being a Buster Keaton fan, I wasn't expecting much. But it was funny in a Jerry Lewish Cinderfella kind of way. Satires on TV ads. A hot actress. Broad frustration situations like he's seated in a restaurant next to the band and waiter can't hear his order.
The plot is a deposed king in exile gets called before a suspicious Congress. That's not especially funny. But what is funny is some of the media objects of ridicule are still around.
WK

Dwacon said...

I've been harping about DEXTER for many moons, Ken. Glad you finally caught up with us!

Throttleback said...

Between Dexter, This American Life and late night movies like Styricon I have to say, we have dumped HBO and decided to stick with Showtime.
And that was a shocker to us.
Even Sho's entree to the late night reality sex genre "Debbie Does Dallas.....again" was more fun and entertaining than Cathouse, which just looks like a pandering ad for Dennis Hof.
Go Showtime!

Tallulah Morehead said...

"But it was funny in a Jerry Lewish Cinderfella kind of way."

In Comedy Heaven, the late Sir Charles Chaplin is weeping, I think with joy over the highest praise he could ever receive.

WK, if you liked that picture, you should really watch some of his GOOD films, like "City Lights", one of the finest masterpieces in the history of film, or "Modern Times," or "The Gold Rush." Hell, I even love "Monsieur Verdoux," but I wouldn't go to that one next if I were you.

Chaplin was no Jerry Lewis, and I should know, but he's good anyway. The French think Jerry's a genius. Everyone else knows Charlie was one.

andrew said...

ken mentioned pratfalls..

im a writer working in singapore, and i actually think the art of the pratfall is something that has been lost. I was watching an old preston sturges comedy with henry fonda and barbara stanwyck and that one had henry fonda falling over sofas and slipping on mud. Hilarious stuff, because it was so unexpected and made his stuffy character human.

im now trying to introduce as surreptitiouly as i can, a pratfall, into a character, when i want to take a mickey out of him or her. i hope i am not selling out. haha.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Tom Straw on both those series, as did someone else in the news this week, though tragically, for a much less noble reason: he murdered his wife: See http://crimeblog.us/?p=385

Anonymous said...

Of course "City Lights" made 21 years earlier in 1936 was Chaplin's masterpiece. "A King In New York" in 1957 was his last starring full length comedy. And it was funny with gags hold up today. They reminded me of Jerry Lewis gags at their funniest. It was an outright comedy in contrast to the earlier "Limelight" from 1952. It made fun of the targets of 1957. Teenagers, rock and roll. Hidden camera TV shows. Stupid TV ads. In addition to satire about the HUAC. It's worth checking out. WK

Anonymous said...

Sure Showtime has some nice shows, but nothing anywhere can come close to "The Wire". Nothing. Period. End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Dexter's my boyfriend, Ken. Hands off! ;-)

Stacey

Anonymous said...

I've now listened to Great Big Radio at work for two days. I'm really enjoying it. But man, those transitional jokes are awful!

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Anon...at last! SOMEONE gets it! Thanks for listening (and thanks for the plug, Ken. I now have more listeners than I had on regular radio).

Anonymous said...

Please bring back the CBS Sunday night movie,and what have the networks done to Saturday nights? all re-runs for the most part.
I was hoping for more "Jesse Stone" movies with Tom Selleck that are so good! Good writting,good acting.

Jennifer Aguiar said...

this show has had a hard time following up Season 4, and the final image it gave us, in general. And while I didn't have a huge problem with Season 5 and the character of Lumen like some fans did, I didn't like the way she conveniently left the show, leaving Dexter miraculously healed; guilt over Rita's death assuaged. Likewise, last year's 12-episode journey of "I'm afraid I'll raise my son to be a monster/I guess it's enough to just love my son" also felt like it was leaving us with no permanent or meaningful change to the series. But that all changed at the very last scene of the Season 6 finale when Deb caught Dexter in the act of stabbing Travis, freeing up the writers' room to dig in like never before.Season 7 was filled with surprises galore, and I can only hope that the next year's final run gives us as much macabre glory.