Friday, May 20, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

Update: Earlier today, former WWE and WCW wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage died in a car accident. I can't let that go unacknowledged in today's Roundup, as his passing brought back childhood memories of watching him on weekend mornings, and later on Monday nights. Savage was incredibly entertaining, and a legend in his entertainment genre. So here's a brief video featuring clips from his career complete with his WWE theme, "Pomp and Circumstance:"



Still reading Eugene Peterson's The Pastor, still planning to write a review.

We watched Dinner for Schmucks this week, starring Paul Rudd as Tim, a guy with prospects for landing an executive position at his company who is invited to an annual dinner his boss holds. The unique feature of this dinner is that each executive brings an idiot along to be made fun of. Tim runs into Barry (Steve Carell), an oblivious IRS agent who stages scenes with dead mice. Along the way, Tim has to deal with his girlfriend thinking the dinner is cruel, the apparent overtones that his girlfriend's client is making on her, and a clingy stalker. Barry unwittingly makes all of these situations much worse. The movie's humor is mainly of the awkward, uncomfortable kind: Barry is incredibly unaware of how his repeated attempts to help Tim with his problems are the direct opposite, and it was painful at times to see Tim have to try to make things right in the midst of Barry's ineptitude. Barry does manage to be a sympathetic character as we learn more about him, and the movie has a certain outcast empowerment message, albeit in its own twisted way.

We're big fans of Phineas and Ferb in the Coffeehousehold. For the uninitiated, Phineas and Ferb are stepbrothers who want to make every day of summer count. They do this by building things like a rollercoaster, a rocket to the moon, a haunted house, a chariot race, and so on. Their pet platypus Perry is a secret agent who does battle with Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and those battles inevitably cross paths with the boys' inventions, usually destroying or removing it before the boys' sister Candace can show their mom what they've done. Good enough explanation? Okay. One of the better ones recently features the boys making a supercomputer to help them figure out a nice thing to do for their mom. The computer's answer seems weird at first, but the writing on this show is so good that you have to let the episode play out in order for everything to make sense, as is frequently the case to see how the boys' invention will be eliminated by whatever Perry is doing.

News came out this week of a reunion performance by the living members of Pink Floyd. Oh please oh please oh please let there be more.

One of my favorite songs of the moment has been "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, to the point where I want my organist to play it as the prelude some random Sunday when nobody expects it. So, here it is:

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