We got it all on UHF: An oral history of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s cult classic. By Sean O'Neal (SLAVClub)
AVclub.com asked Weird Al Yankovic, "If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?" His answer:
I’d say a fire-roasted eggplant, some roasted red peppers, diced heirloom tomatoes, some thin-sliced red onions—maybe double up on the onions and have some caramelized onions on top of the sliced onions. A little basil, some arugula, some chopped and marinated mushrooms, maybe a slice of fresh avocado, some alfalfa sprouts, a dose of hummus, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and put it on a warm toasted French roll lovingly sprinkled with some truffle oil.Challenge accepted.
Tom Petty knows what many don’t—that appropriation and originality can’t be separated.
Chicago's own Jan Terri offers up her version of "Ave Maria" paired with an interpretive video for your Xmastime enjoyment [more inside]
For their annual contribution to the AV Undercover series, GWAR has their way with Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls". New singers Blothar and Vulvatron (the ass-kicking, blood-spewing-from-her-bosom new female face of GWAR!) then transition the song into a weirdly moving, personalized take on Jim Carroll's "People Who Died" in tribute to fallen comrade, Oderus Ungerus, aka founding member Dave Brockie. [more inside]
The closest a film has ever come to adapting King’s internal-horror aesthetic is a film King himself has publicly lambasted: Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s the most artful, scary, and beautifully directed of the King adaptations, and even excludes some of the novel’s more overt (and potentially silly) visual elements, such as the hedge animals that come to life and stalk the family in the yard. Yet, the film never tackles the serious human horrors that infect Jack Torrance throughout the novel, specifically his alcoholism, along with the themes of cyclical abuse and mounting financial pressure. King’s criticism of the film is that Torrance, as played by Jack Nicholson, is portrayed as unhinged right from the start, whereas the novel slowly unravels the man’s sanity, the haunted house he occupies pushing him deeper into madness and violence. [more inside]
William Hughes writes movingly about the death of his partner and how it has changed how he reacts to the portrayal of death and resurrection in media.
"Longings and Desires", a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.[more inside]
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
A hypnotic video merging every actor who's played Doctor Who into one average face. [SLYT] (Laughing Squid via)
A.V. Club compiles a list of 30 foreign series that need immediate legal import to the U.S.
I killed At The Movies. The dueling critics format outlived Siskel, the more natural on-air presence of the two. So why didn’t it outlive Ebert?
"I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to pop culture: I’m sorry for creating this unstoppable monster. Seven years after I typed that fateful phrase, I’d like to join Kazan and Green in calling for the death of the “Patriarchal Lie” of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. [more inside]
Ed Brubaker on Velvet (his new comic book series with Steve Epting): “I loved the idea of flipping the typical male-oriented spy story, and doing one about a woman who was also a mature, middle-aged woman.” [more inside]
"I had been creating languages for 10 years. But everybody else applying was equally skilled. So I figured the edge that I had was pretty much an endless amount of time—I was unemployed. I just decided: Well, let's just try to create the whole thing. In those rounds of judging, I created about 90 percent of the grammar—which is ridiculous for two months. Then I created 1,700 words of vocabulary—which is equally ridiculous for two months. Overall, I produced about 300 total pages of material. I figure that was probably what put it over the top."
What that Louie episode got right and wrong about fat women. After Sunday night's airing of Louie, some thoughtful, angry, interesting articles about how the show dealt with the issue of female body-shaming have popped up. But should the issue of fat-shaming women really be brought up by men?
The A.V. Club asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker? which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
Todd VanDerWerff at the A.V. Club is in the process of reviewing the 2001 HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Episodes reviewed so far: Currahee --- Day of Days --- Carentan --- Replacements --- Crossroads --- Bastogne.
From AVClub's TV Club 10, Advanced Introduction To Community (in 10 [representative] episodes) [more inside]
Parks & Recreation shook up the show's status quo in their season finale. Producer Mike Schur discusses next season - likely the show's last. Alan Sepinwall's review of the two-part finale.
Are you a fan of inventive, black-humored sci-fi/fantasy animation? Desperate to fill the Futurama-shaped hole in your heart? Look no further than Rick and Morty, the superb new Adult Swim series from animator Justin "Lemongrab" Roiland and Community darling Dan Harmon. Inspired by a (terrible and very NSFW) Back To The Future knock-off, the show pairs a naïve young teen (Morty) with his cynical, alcoholic, mad scientist grandfather (Rick), each episode exploring a trope -- dreams, aliens, innerspace, parallel universes, virtual reality -- and turning it inside-out with intricate plotting, eye-catching art, and dark, whipsmart humor (with plenty of improvisation along the way). A ratings hit already secured for a second season, the show returns from an Olympics-induced hiatus tomorrow -- in the meantime, why not sample the six episodes aired so far: Pilot - Lawnmower Dog - Anatomy Park - M. Night Shaym-Aliens! - Meeseeks and Destroy - Rick Potion #9. Want more? Promo/highlight reel - AV Club reviews - TVTropes - Reddit - Rick & Morty ComicCon panel - Storyboard Test - Soundtrack samples - Play the "Rushed Licensed Adventure" point-and-click game
Deciding on a career in the real world is hard enough, but for those who live in the fictional realm of romantic comedies, the prospects are even slimmer. (SLAV Club)
As the big-haired frontman of one of sludge metal’s longest running acts, Roger “Buzz” Osborne has earned all sorts of goodwill. Melvins inspired acts like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Tool, and Mastodon, creating an army of hard-rocking, appreciative Melvins fans working the nation’s clubs and arenas on any given night. Now in their 30th year, the Melvins are still plugging away: The band’s 21st album, Tres Cabrones, came out last November. In commemoration of that longevity, The A.V. Club asked Osborne to put together a mixtape framed by the theme of his choice. Ever the shit-starter, he picked “bands that were good, but blew it.”
The AV Club interviews Nicole Michalik about her experience as a fourth season contestant on NBC's weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser [more inside]
Ben Wyatt's Star Trek Fanfiction. Since last October, Pawnee, Indiana's most adorable curmudgeon has been writing stories about his favorite fictional characters that happen to dovetail neatly with his nonfictional life. Starting with Parks and Rec episode How a Bill Becomes a Law, his fiction extents week-by-week to comment on his life, his girlfriend-slash-wife, and the adventures of all the crew of the Starship Enterprise. He also wrote his own Star Wars remake to counter Patton Oswalt's filibustered proposal, and occasionally drops a Lord of the Rings love letter as well. His hobby is sometimes mocked by fellow co-worker April Ludgate. More fan fiction beneath the fold. [more inside]
One year ago, the face of music changed forever. Today, it has changed foreverer, again:
GWAR covers Billy Ocean's Get out of My Dreams (Get into My Car) [more inside]
GWAR covers Billy Ocean's Get out of My Dreams (Get into My Car) [more inside]
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
Nathan Rabin reviews the Kiss autobiographies for the A.V. Club. The memoir of Kiss drummer Peter Criss is endearingly needy and sleazy: "Makeup To Breakup positively vibrates with rage toward Criss' former bandmates, Kiss' management, and everything Kiss represents." Gene Simmons' Kiss And Make-Up lets The Demon speak for himself: "To critics who ask how he could have treated core members of his group so coldly, he responds, "Would you want to be in a group with Criss and Frehley?"" Spaceman Ace Frehley offers his bland version of Kiss’ story in No Regrets: "For better or worse, No Regrets, Frehley's curiously underwhelming 2011 memoir, is the product of an author who can also now assure himself that no matter how debauched or crazy he might get, at least he isn't Ace Frehley-in-the-'70s-level debauched or crazy."
Byegone is a lovely, minimal music video by Michinori Saigo, from the new record Repave by Justin Vernon and Collections of Colonies of Bees collaboration Volcano Choir.
Watch the Melvins (with Jeff Pinkus) play a Butthole Surfers tune while giving kids free Ice Cream.
It goes back to honoring Thomas Harris and imagery we have in the books, in the Hannibal Lecter books. So we knew that we had to have fantastic imagery that you wouldn’t see on another crime-procedural show. Being competitive and wanting to be completely different from what you see on other shows, which is usually, on a crime procedural you see a body in a room splayed out and blood, but you rarely get to see people covered with mushrooms or impaled on severed stag heads or blood eagled and the totem pole. We would sit in the room and say, “What is the image? What is the death tableau? What are we going to see that’s going to be so striking and cinematic and beautiful at the same time, but will actually be a horrible crime scene?” So every crime scene that we have has to have this element of beauty and art to it.Bryan Fuller, showrunner for NBC's Hannibal (previously), discusses each episode of the first season with the AV Club. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.
Badass Digest and the A.V. Club both have some choice perspective to offer concerning Orson Scott Card's public statement about the boycott of the "Ender's Game" film.
Embrace the mystery: Is repeat viewing the best way to approach complex TV?
Who was your first pop-culture crush? (single-link AV Club)
"Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers. The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about." McGinley discusses his roles in 42, Platoon, Wall Street, Point Break, Car 54, Where Are You?, Office Space, Seven, Mother and Scrubs.
"The Yellow Album isn’t an album so much as the most dramatic test of a true believer’s faith since God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The album dares Simpsons diehards like myself to make it through a harrowing 48-minute gauntlet of ill-considered covers, train-wreck collaborations (Lisa and P-Funk All Stars: oh, it happened), generic synth-pop grooves, and jokes that would be killed in Jay Leno’s writers’ room for being insufficiently edgy. " - My World OF Flops on the bizarre, unloved Simpsons cash-in, "The Yellow Album. " complete with sample tracks.
If you're a fan of Star Trek, you likely already know of The AV Club's reviews, currently focusing on Deep Space Nine. But perhaps you have missed, throughout the comment threads for each review, the poetic stylings of Rappin_Jake_Sisko. (Last link is an anthology, with annotations.) [more inside]
AV Club discusses "Fleetwood Mac's weirdest hit" in a feature called Hear This.
“Tusk,” which is featured prominently and often in the première of FX’s The Americans... is a work of strange savagery, overlaid with jungle sounds and a thudding, endlessly repetitive drum riff that drives everything that happens in the song.[more inside]
Rhinoceroses are purple, they have rounded faces like hippos, they have long, curved stinging tails like scorpions, and they have flashlights in their mouths. Oh, and when those lights are activated, they make pig noises. This is actually a great toy for a kid who’s afraid of the dark and also afraid of conventional, non-cute, non-noise-making flashlights. Or for someone who needs a primer in the genetic-engineering technology of 2075 and how it will be used to create monstrous hybrids to serve our every need, including our need for rhinoceroscorpion light sources. It's time for the A.V. Club's annual Cheap Toy Roundup.
The A.V. Club have just released their annual list of noteworthy/insane/ridiculous band names.
"From the beginning, we thought that everything about the show should be painfully, painstakingly real."
My friends and I weren’t popular in high school, we weren’t dating all the time, and we were just trying to get through our lives. It was important to me to show that side. I wanted to leave a chronicle—to make people who had gone through it laugh, but also as a primer for kids going in, to say, “Here’s what you can expect. It’s horrifying but all you should really care about is getting through it. Get your friends, have your support group. And learn to be able to laugh at it.”The Oral History of Freaks and Geeks [more inside]
The Onion AV club looks at 13 movie opening title sequences that are far better than the movies they're attached to.
For about three years, the A.V. Club ran Sawbuck Gamer, a regular column reviewing the week's most notable free and cheap games across all platforms, from web games to handhelds to console downloadables. It's a treasure trove of content, especially since more literary sister site The Gameological Society took the helm, and it's publicized great desktop projects like the luscious platformer Frogatto (previously), feature-rich Super Mario Bros. X (previously), the evocative faux-web Digital: A Love Story (previously), interactive fiction gem Rover's Day Off, and the hyperkinetic RunMan: Race Around the World (previously). But if you're in the mood for something more immediate, why not start with a list of all the original column's free A-rated online titles? [more inside]
The Onion's A.V Club has posted their list of the fifty best films of the '90s (part 1)(part 2)(part 3). [via]
"Kansas was a big part of a big part of music where bands were often named after geographical locations."
"The world of entertainment still, all too often, values women only as objects of beauty to be placed on screen and ogled. [...] [T]he world is full of other women who have profound, intelligent, often hilarious things to say, and Dunham is very quietly making a space for those voices on TV, in a way that’s revolutionary both in terms of the show’s gender politics and in terms of its presentation. - AVClub critic TodVanDerWerff on "how [the HBO show] Girls challenges the masculine expectations of 'good TV.'" [more inside]
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
Archer (official genre: Global Espionage cartoon) creator Adam Reed talks through season 3 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) about Archer’s Atlanta based and stream-lined creative process, its guiding aesthetics, eschewing writer rooms (“It’s like being in a staff meeting—a funny staff meeting.”), and Jessica Walter’s general classiness. [more inside]
The AV Club: "Why it’s time to stop using “white” as a pejorative"
At the Gameological Society, John Teti eulogizes Dick Clark the game show host by waxing rhapsodic about Pyramid, including his all-time favorite run in the Winner's Circle.
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