Friday, January 04, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

The first Roundup of the year and still no particular book to speak of. I'm even on vacation this week. Probably next week.

We watched Superbad, and I expected it to be more like the other offerings from people associated with this film (Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin) and was disappointed. There was much less of an overall point and a lack of heart to this excuse to make a bunch of sex jokes. Maybe it's unfair to lump those movies together, but it still wasn't as good as I thought it'd be. Plus, the basic plot ("Let's try to have sex with girls way out of our league") has been done before. They attempt to counter this with a focus at times on the guys' friendship (or co-dependence, whichever), but for me it seemed forced. I'm hoping for better from Michael Cera when we go see Juno today.

We also watched Little Miss Sunshine, which had much more heart to it. Here is a very quirky family that all ends up in a Volkswagon bus together in order to see their youngest member compete in a beauty pageant. Before their trip even starts, we learn that Uncle Frank (an excellent Steve Carell in a more serious role) tried to commit suicide and that Grandpa enjoys heroin. Once we begin the trip, other characters find things out that derail their dreams, and Grandpa's hobby catches up with him. The beauty pageant itself is portrayed with just enough creepiness and absurdity to successfully send up the entire enterprise, and by the end a vanful of people who have each experienced grave disappointment try to save their youngest and most innocent from one of her own.

Of course I watched the Capital One Bowl, and in case you missed it, Michigan beat The Heisman. It wasn't always pretty or even watchable, but a national championship, multiple Big 10 championships, and regular victories over OSU pre-Sweatervest is nothing to sneeze at. Thank you, Coach Carr.

I got Scrubs Season 5 for Christmas, and finished watching that the other day. I actually cheated a little and skipped some of the episodes that I'd already seen and didn't like. This season has some of my favorites, though. It includes the Mandy Moore guest appearances as she plays J.D.'s female equivalent, Dr. Cox losing three patients and going into a deep depression, and Michael Learned as a patient the entire staff comes to love. We're also introduced to Kim, who plays a major part in J.D.'s life for the rest of the series.

I picked up A Momentary Lapse of Reason the other week, and there is a distinct difference between Pink Floyd with and without Roger Waters. First off, they should have left the saxophone at home, because in this context it just yells, "Yeah, this was made in the 80s." That, and there's a strong presence of synthesizers. David Gilmour had a much different approach once he started handling most of the songwriting, one that at least for this album lacked some of classic Floyd's ethereal quality and more edgy creativity. One notices this on The Division Bell as well, but by then they'd shed the 80s feel and regained some of Floyd's signature spaciness. But one thing remains, and that is Gilmour's guitar playing, which is at the very least every later Floyd album's saving grace.

Around the web, Sarcastic Lutheran has been added to the blogroll.