August 2008 Archives

This one's going to be weird, because Chevy gets tons of credit for his great work and tons of shit for his lousy work. He's probably rated just about where he should be. I get all of that, but when I woke up this morning, I realized there's literally a whole generation of children who don't know how awesome, funny and popular Chevy Chase was from about 1975 until about 1990. I find that incredible. 18 year old kids could be watching Caddyshack for the first time, looking at Ty Webb and say, "Who's that guy?" or "Has he done anything else?" Admittedly, they'd have to be not all that bright, but it's definitely possible.

This post is for those not too bright 18 year olds.

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You know the assistant in your office that's responsible for sending the e-mails out to the group, perky in correspondence but a total bitch otherwise? How about the douche who responds to it by hitting "Reply to All?" And the woman that's only still working at the company because she's shtupping the boss (or making him really, really want to)? e is author Matt Beaumont's brilliant homage to all of them.

The genius of this book lies in how well Beaumont captures every single mouth-breathing idiot with whom you work. Better still, it all unfolds through a series of e-mails exchanged between the employees of a major advertising agency in the UK, which means there's lots of the letter "u" and the word "bloody." Also, there's a ton in here about Filipino transsexuals (if you're into that sort of thing).

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Jeff Bridges stars as Jack Lucas, a former shock jock that's hit hard times because of an on-air rant that caused a listener to shoot up a restaurant. Robin Williams stars as a crazy, homeless guy named Parry (no last name, like Moses). Their paths cross when Parry saves Jack's life, and Jack gets sucked into his bizarre world when trying to repay him.

Both Daniels and Williams are brilliant in their roles and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam's direction is perfect. Gilliam's a highly underrated director (Brazil being one of the most underrecognized films of the 1980s). This film is his coup-de-grace: a wickedly funny, heartbreakingly sad and breathtakingly beautiful film. If there's a more perfectly shot scene than the Grand Central Station/rush hour scene, it hasn't been made yet. And watching a hairy Robin Williams dance naked in Central Park makes even your worst nightmare palatable.

With all that, its $41MM in box office gross equals the 30th highest grossing film of the year. Films that finished ahead of this one: The Addams Family, The Naked Gun 2 1/2, and Star Trek VI. UR: -23

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There ain't a whole lot that's good about our tax code. It's more complicated than that ridiculous Starbucks coffee naming system. Actually doing your taxes is a chore generally left for the last possible minute. And the very worst part is that while you slave over your stupid 1040, trying to extract pennies of your hard earned wage back from the government, some soulless corporate raider has a team of accountants figuring out a way that he can keep more money than you'll see in your lifetime.

It's Internal Revenue Code - Section 212 that made all of that possible.

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The Moon

For the record, this is about that big thing in the sky that comes out at night, not your ass.

Basically, life as we know it on this planet wouldn't exist if it weren't for the moon. In a sense, this would be a good thing. There'd be no war in Iraq, no bitterly divided country split along partisan lines and the constant threat of terrorism would be gone. Also, that fucking Billy Burke wouldn't be around anymore. God, that guy is fucking annoying, with his squeaky voice and those stupid fucking outfits he wears.

However, it would also be a very bad thing. There'd be no anything: no people, no dinosaurs, no tides, no plants, no apples, no clouds, no Saturday Night Live reruns (although E! has taken care of that), no limousines to take to prom, no scissors, no paste, no construction paper, no glitter, no arts and crafts projects and no kindergarten. In further bad news for humans, the moon is actually nearly 6 feet further away from Earth than it was the last time a human being set foot on it, due to orbit and gravitational issues that were read, but continue to escape a significantly limited intellect.

And don't forget: the moon turns ordinary human beings in werewolves, if they're genetically predisposed to such things and/or bitten by another werewolf.

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Years ago, when cable in every home in America was just a gleam in Bill Nye the Science Guy's eye, networks had a soft spot in their schedule. After The Tonight Show (and its competing late night programming) went to bed, but before The Today Show (and its competing morning programming) went on the air, there was roughly four hours to play with. Some networks went dark entirely (usually by playing the national anthem with a picture of the American flag on the screen), but most of them played the Late Late Show, which was usually a movie old enough to be out of the theaters (but good enough to watch again) or a movie so horrible that it probably wouldn't have ever or shouldn't have ever seen the light of day.

But that didn't stop anyone from watching (if they could stay up that late). The Late Late Show was the movie nerd's outlet, before arthouse went mainstream. It almost always exposed you to something that you would have never seen otherwise: 1950s-era horror movies, Peter Sellers films, 1970s-era TV movies (complete with stereotypical characters, such as OverprotectiveMom™, MolestingRelative™, and BadSchoolmate™).

it was almost better if the movie was bad, because you could sit around and just go to town on it with your friends. It's Mystery Science Theater 3000, except you're the snarky commentator! But no matter how good or bad the movie was, it was so much better than the alternative: bedtime.

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What Is It?

A sitcom about a sports show that's not exactly a sitcom, and not at all about sports. It was the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin and aired for two seasons before ABC stupidly canned it. It starred Peter Krause and Josh Charles (the straight brother from Six Feet Under and the gay roommate from Threesome, respectively) as the hosts of a SportsCenter-like show on an ESPN-like network. Also on board were Robert Guillaume (Benson) as their boss, desperate housewife Felicity Huffman as the no-nonsense producer, and Sorkin's trusty sidekick Josh Malina (the nebbish from all Sorkin projects) as the assistant producer. UR: -22

Why is it underrated?

Imagine all the wit, charm, and camaraderie of The West Wing without any of the politics or world-shaking crises. That's Sports Night. It had a complete lack of the shoegazing self-importance that makes Studio 60 so saggy and maudlin, and therefore was … what's the word? Fun.

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This Monday, August 11, at the Borders bookstore in Columbus Circle, the Yankee Pot Roasters will be signing books and helping readers determine with absolute confidence their underrated/overrated quotients.

Monday, August 11, 2008 at 7 p.m.

Time Warner Center

10 Columbus Circle
New York, N.Y.

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Lisa Simpson

Who Is She?

Lisa Simpson! Adorable nerdy daughter of the Simpsons clan. Voracious reader, precocious writer, brilliant saxophone player, and the great unrequited love of Milhouse Van Houten.

Why Is She Underrated?

Lisa is the heart and soul of the Simpson family. Not just the voice of reason among the absurdities of Homer, Bart, and Marge; she’s also as close to a “normal” person as you’ll find in Springfield, and thus the one character with whom the viewer can most identify (albeit unwittingly so).

Matt Groening has stated1 that lil’ Lisa is his favorite character because she is the only one with a chance of eventually escaping Springfield. (Of course, several episodes have revealed glimpses of possible futures, in which Lisa either becomes President of the United States or lives in squalor married to Millhouse.)

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The Book


The Yankee Pot Roast Book of Awesome Underappreciated Stuff
by Geoff Wolinetz,
Nick Jezarian,
and Josh Abraham

Published by
Citadel/Kensington Books.
On sale June 24, 2008.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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