Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Favorite Things: The Avengers Get Jolly

While raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens are splendid in their own right, there is a multitude of awesome things that we all can enjoy. As Christmas approaches, I thought I'd take a look at some of these in a series I'm calling My Favorite Things.

Last year, I posted a splendidly seasonal video made by James Covenant which featured a supercut of my favorite Enterprise crew singing Let It Snow. James has engaged again this year with a delightful video of Avengers getting into the Christmas spirit with some tried and true carols. There's even a special surprise!

Check back for more of My Favorite Things!

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Trailer Tuesday - The Last Five Years

We've been graced with a lot of great entertainment news over the past week or so. We got the Star Wars The Force Unleashed and Jurassic World trailers. We found out that James Bond will go up against Spectre in the new film. And there was a rather remarkable image released of Sherlock and Watson wearing period clothing in the Sherlock special due in 2015. So, yay for all that! But on today's Trailer Tuesday, I want to talk about something completely different.

Anna Kendrick has 3 movie-musicals coming out within the next 6 months. Three. Uno. Dos. Tres. We start with Stephen Sondheim's modern twist on the Grimm Brothers with Into the Woods in just a couple of weeks. Fast forward to Valentine's Day and we're delivered what is sure to be a heartbreaking look at love and loss in The Last Five Years. Then, we get pitch slapped by the Barden Bellas in May with the sequel to everyone's favorite musical about college a capella groups.

Aside from Cups, which was overplayed and lost any charm that it had in Pitch Perfect, I'm glad to see so many musicals on the scene. Annie is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and a hit at the Christmas box office. I was a little apprehensive about it since Jamie Foxx is hit or miss with me, but the more trailers I see for it, the more jazzed I am. Though, bless their little hearts, the kids who appeared on the float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, including Quvenzhané Wallis, were a bit off their game.

But yes, the real reason for today's Trailer Tuesday post. Yesterday, a new official trailer for The Last Five Years hit the web. The Tony Award winning musical by James Robert Brown stars Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick as Jamie and Cathy, a young couple whose story is told through the music of their love. Cathy's part of the tale begins at the end of their relationship and Jamie contributes the beginning. It all leads up to the moment that Jamie proposes. Still Hurting, which is heard in this new trailer, is Cathy's response to the situation in which she finds herself. The vocals by Kendrick sound great. Still Hurting was the first song from the show that I heard before I knew the plot. It's a hauntingly beautiful song and I think that both Johnson and Kendrick are going to be fantastic in their roles.

The Last Five Years will be released on February 13.

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

I think my whore is dead: Garth Brooks on SNL 15 years later

I hadn't planned on blogging today, but I had a spark of inspiration thinking about Garth Brooks performing at Rupp Arena this weekend. He and his wife Trisha Yearwood (one of my all-time favorite performers) are playing four sold-out shows, which means that roughly 80,000 concert-goers are expected to flood downtown this weekend. So many were expected, LFUCG had to issue a traffic warning, urging all who didn't have a reason to come downtown to stay away.

From what I can tell, Garth Brooks appeared on SNL as host twice in the last 15 years. The first time he hosted, Robert Duvall made a special guest appearance and the second time he was around with Chris Gaines as the musical guest. I've scoured the Internet trying to find clips of both of those episodes, because I really think that there are some strong sketches. Garth is a really funny guy and I think that during that particular era, he had some good material to work with. Tina Fey was writer and there were cast members like Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, and that crew who supported Brooks in the best way.

My absolute favorite of Garth's sketches from his two appearances is a parody game show titled "Old French Whore!" where Cheri O'Teri and Molly Shannon play French prostitutes paired up against high school honor students. Brooks plays a prostitute named Coco, who was apparently personal concubine to Ravel, who knows a lot about Chemistry. Chris Katan, Tim Meadows, and Ana Gasteyer play the high school students with Will Ferrell as the host. Coco shares a tragic story of how she wanted to study chemistry, but it wasn't proper for a young lady to do that back when. Sadly, I can't embed the full video here, but here's a small clip. You can find the full sketch at this link.

In Brooks's first monologue, he talks about this life before country music and shares that he was actually a member of a psychedelic rock revival that had appeared on SNL in the early 80s. Garth also had some interaction with Mango, Chris Katan's biggest character, who drove male guests crazy every week. I can't find the clip of the first sketch that featured the two together, but it's mentioned in Brooks's second monologue where Mango makes an appearance and says that he's excited to meet Chris Gaines, Brooks's rock singing alter ego.

Garth Brooks also appears in a sketch with the Boston Teens, played by Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon. The two visit the mall and encounter Brooks in Hickory Farm where his character is an Assistant Manager. As per usual, the two get pretty touchy-feely and Brooks's character speaks out against kids today.

And, of course, who can forget Nadine, the Simmah Down lady? Garth is actually in the first sketch which features Nadine, whose only response to anyone is to tell them to Simmah Down Now. I say, Sih-muh Dahn Nah. In this sketch, Brooks plays Nadine's superior at a department store who tries to defuse problems between her and her customers. The sketch is repetitive, but hilarious all the same.

Here are the only two actual videos I was able to pull. I'm not terribly impressed with this sketch where Will Ferrell plays the Devil. I honestly thought that Jim Lovitz did a better job in the early 90s.

Saturday Night Live - Garth Brooks - Will Farrell - Deal with the Devil from Illogically Sound on Vimeo.

Silly, but still fun is this NBC take on The Smurfs. 98-99 was still the time in which NBC was producing epic mini-series events. I absolutely loved The Odyssey, Gulliver's Travels, and Merlin. Rachel Dratch as Helena Bonham Carter was a bit random and there wasn't really even any sort of reason for Horatio Sanz as Meatloaf. Regardless, I really liked Garth in this one.

SNL "Smurfs" from John Young on Vimeo.

What was your favorite sketch with Garth  Brooks? Should he host SNL again with one of today's stable of characters?

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