Weekly Roundup: Who Could Remember Her Edition

I’ve seen altogether too much of Jason Segel. Not just because the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, CONSOOMED by your humble author last night for the first time just thirteen years after its 2008 premiere, both begins and ends with full-frontal scenes of Segel’s personal equipment, but also because he has appeared in seemingly fifty percent of the random media serving as background noise in this house. He was part of How I Met Your Mother and is a reliable bet to appear in any of the “Apatowverse” movies.

About those films, which have woven themselves into the fabric of American psuedo-culture the same way Seinfeld and Friends did two decades before: Some of them are very funny (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), some are uncannily perceptive (Superbad) and one of them verges on being genuinely artistic (Get Him To The Greek, the only Apatow film that would have piqued the interest of Joseph Campbell or Robert Bly).

There’s always been something about the entire oeuvre that has annoyed me, however, and after seeing Forgetting I believe I can now articulate it in reasonable fashion.

(NB: I’m not going to bother with character names for this, because I won’t remember a few of them and as is usual with the Apatow films there’s a huge amount of potentially offensive-to-someone whitewashing going on, not least with the Jewish Segel being cast as “Bretter”, which literally means “Briton”.)

The plot in a nutshell for the five people who haven’t seen it: Jason Segel is the background musician for a “CSI”-style showing featuring his girlfriend, Kristen Bell. She dumps him for famous rockstar (and blithe British idiot) Russel Brand. Through a series of wacky coincidences, Segel ends up staying at the same Hawaiian resort as Bell and Brand, where he falls in love with the desk clerk, played by Mila Kunis. After an endless string of cringeworthy interactions, Brand dumps Bell, who then tries to get back together with Segel, who then confesses the incident to Kunis, who breaks up with him. A year later, Segel’s artistic passion project, a vampire puppet musical, is a raging success. Kunis shows up to see it, and the couple is reunited.

Three of the four central characters are utterly without redeeming virtue and are consistently played for laughs at their own expense. Only Russell Brand (as “Aldous Snow”) possesses what the kids call agency nowadays; after an episode in which Bell hears Segel and Kunis having sex in the next room and then insists on pretending to have massive orgasms on top of a half-awake Brand so the other couple will hear, he tells her that he’s going to leave in the morning. Seeing Segel in the hotel lobby, he describes his trip with Bell as “For me, that one week of it was like – sort of like going on holiday with, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say Hitler but certainly Goebbels. It was like a little holiday with Hitler.”

The audience is continually pilloried with reminders of how worthless the characters are. Bell is an empty-headed, envious moron who is also a poor actress in her “CSI” show. Segel’s creative product isn’t very creative (he repeatedly refers to how little talent is involved in making the soundtracks) but his lifelong dream, the vampire puppet show, is also obviously stupid and only worthwhile if your tolerance for ironic enjoyment rivals Jimmy Page’s ability to process heroin. Even Kunis, the “meet cute” heroine of the story, is both violently obsessed with her street-trash ex-boyfriend and openly dismissive of Segel; in one scene, where Segel doesn’t want to jump over some rocks into the ocean, she does it and yells afterwards, “I can see your vagina from down here!”

The conventions of the Apatowverse dictate that there has to be some obvious disdain for Christians as well; in this case, it’s a newlywed evangelical couple where the husband is morally rigorous but the wife hopes desperately to be sodomized and abused on her wedding night. Their sexual incompatibility is played for laughs for three-quarters of the film, at which point Russell Brand takes the husband aside and instructs him on how to “fuck like a rockstar”. When we next see the couple, he is aggressively kissing her and she is clearly thrilled. This is probably meant to be a callous commentary on how Jesus freaks are better off getting a bit of real freak in their lives, but for someone who is familiar with the Bible in actuality and/or tuned in to traditional story archetypes it actually comes across as Brand’s character, who is the only morally consistent person in the main quartet, serving as a “second King” for the young man straight out of the Iron John story. Another likely unintentional lesson of the film: these virginial-but-dirty-minded Christians are the only couple to finish the film in complete satisfaction with each other.

For everyone else, there’s nothing but a sort of deeply misogynistic misery. After Segel plays a sort of head game with Bell intended to make her unhappy, he tells his friend “If I know her, that’s ruined her whole day.” We then immediately cut to a montage of Bell having acrobatic and kinky sex with Brand minutes later. The messages:

0) Segel didn’t know Bell at all, even after a long relatonship;
1) Bell is basically a slut who is dead inside.

A subplot involves Kunis’ regret at having posed topless for a photo that was then posted on the wall of a bar; Segel has to get that photo off the wall in order to prove his affection for her. Again, there’s a clear set of implications: In previous relationships with her tatted-up boyfriend, Kunis was dirty and promiscuous, but Segel is going to clean her up and “upgrade” her into long-term relationship material. There’s no reason for this subplot to exist; like the continual closeups of Uma Thurman’s feet in a Tarantino film, the topless-photo conceit is a degradation fetish enabled by artistic power.

After seventy minutes or so of being dragged through the vacant, sordid minds of these characters, the viewer would be forgiven if he desperately wants to join Russell Brand on his limo out of town. Brand’s last line is characteristic: he sees the limo driver, an older woman leering seductively at him, and he declares to Segel and no one in particular: “I’m going to fuck her.” We are meant to laugh and shake our heads on this — rockstar doing rockstar things! — but there’s a greater lesson here. Like the Christian couple in the film, and like various examples observed by the title characters in Voltaire’s Candide and Johnson’s Rasselas, Brand’s character is following a normal and productive, a human, course of life. His view of sexuality, while not pious, is healthy and straightforward. He sees attractive women, and he wants to have sex with them. End of story.

Not so for our remaining trio. With Brand’s departure, Bell wants attention from someone, anyone, and Segel is willing to oblige. She wants to have sex, not because she desires Segel but because she wants validation. So we have an episode, not quite played for laughs but also not quite played for pathos, where they try various means for Segel to get the necessary erection. She ends up blowing him for a period of time later described as “10-15 seconds” but there’s no response from the boiler room. They part company, both dissatisfied.

In the plot, this off-putting episode is intended to show us how Segel has finally “forgotten” Bell and is now focused on Kunis. Yet this falls flat, because the obvious subtext is too obvious: these are two irretrievably broken people, whose approach to sex is as broken and unnatural as Brand’s is straightforward and the Christian couple’s is human. And how could it be otherwise? We’ve spent an hour and a half being dragged through a dark mud thick with depravity and dysfunction, with the occasional sight gag or Russell Brand quip so we can pretend we’re having fun. The scene is merely the second of three in the film where Segel confronts women with a less-than-erect penis; the script was written by Segel himself, so presumably there’s another subtext there.

The relentless limpness of these scenes, in all senses of the word, drains Forgetting Sarah Marshall of any value it might otherwise have. Except for this: as with the “fart scene” in an infamous Judith Krantz novel,

It takes bad art to teach us how good art gets done. Knowing that the dithyrambs have gone on long enough, Mrs Krantz has tried to undercut them with something earthy. Her tone goes wrong, but her intention is worthy of respect. It is like one of those clumsy attempts at naturalism in a late-medieval painting – less pathetic than portentous, since it adumbrates the great age to come. Mrs Krantz will never be much of an artist but she has more than a touch of the artist’s ambition.

In this film, and in all their others, Segel (et al.) and Apatow have the artist’s ambition to produce something more than a mere sketch comedy, and that’s why we get these earthy moments. They never succeed, whether it’s the “period blood” scene that threatens to derail Superbad or the hugely unpleasant impregnation scene with Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. Shame, really. It’s not enough for Apatow to make people laugh; he also wants to make people think. But he doesn’t have the chops to make it stick.

Which is a shame, because when this sort of thing works, it really works: think of the scene in Snatch where Tyrone is tortured and abused into revealing the identity of his partners in their abortive bookie heist. Tyrone is one hundred percent played for laughs up to that point: he’s grossy fat, he’s a terrible driver, he’s slow-moving and slow-witted with just the occasional flash of perception, which is funny because you don’t expect it.

Yet as soon as Brick Top gets him in the pit with the dogs, all of the humor disappears for thirty brutal seconds and Tyrone becomes an undoubtedly real person. We are encouraged to believe that Tyrone will be fed to Brick Top’s pig farm while he is still alive, a fate worse than immediate death. Yet the next scenes warp right back to comedy, with Avi and “Bullet Tooth Tony”. The end result of the Tyrone scene is to sharpen the edge of the humor that follows, a deft trick played a second time at the end of the film when most of the killing happens but Turkish becomes unexpectedly rich thanks to his willingness to get medical help for a sick dog.

Perhaps I’m being too unkind to Apatow and his cronies. He does have one successful attempt to integrate pathos with comedy, in Get Him To The Greek, the considerably superior sequel-of-sorts to Forgetting Sarah Marshall. At the end of that film, Russell Brand is threatening to kill himself by jumping off a hotel roof, but upon being talked out of it he decides to indulge his ego and perform a stunt jump into a pool… which ends with him breaking his arm on the pool’s edge. His assistant wants him to go to the hospital, but the man has a show that must go on:

They’re all here to see me. I feel nervous, it’s good to feel something. I love this, it’s all I’ve got… and you. I owe you one mate. See you on the other side.

The problem with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and a plurality of modern comedy cinema, is that it is designed to make you feel nothing. The humor is dead, vacant, inhuman. Furthermore, in the service of our modern catechism there is maximum effort put into stripping everything of meaning. Of course the sexual interactions between our various main characters are drained of blood and passion and interest: if we let them mean anything, then it would get in the way of whatever arrangement they found themselves in next.

Which is how we get to the crumbling keystone of today’s sexuality and relationships: We desperately want whatever we have with our person-of-the-moment to be deeply, truly special. That’s a human desire, and normal. But in our heart of hearts we know that we are just another customer in the service line, and in any event we are not that special, so how could this be? So we search our past, and that of our partners, to ensure that their past fumblings were no more spiritual, no more ecstatic, no more human, than what we have with them now. If you do this right — if you get your head around the modern belief with the same facility demonstrated by the plusgoodthinkers in Brave New World — then the fifty previous bedmates of tonight’s Tinder date will amount to nothing more emotionally significant than the fifty trips a Honda Civic will make to the Jiffy Lube in the course of a 200,000-mile lifetime.

Ask anybody who’s worked in a Jiffy Lube, and they will tell you: they only remember the disasters, the missing drain plug, the blown engines, the crumbling oil filter. So these Apatow movies are merely documents of a sexual Jiffy Lube in which the characters are both clients and workers. It’s no wonder the films feel so empty. It’s no wonder so many of us feel so empty.

Incidentally, and to extend the metaphor here, there’s a factory service manual available if you want to avoid this kind of misery. Like most service manuals, it’s obscure in parts and confusing in others, but if you follow the instructions to the best of your ability you’ll get a solid result. As is the case with most cars, you’ll want to get on that manual as soon in your lifetime as you can manage it, to prevent wear, tear, and damage. You can find it on Amazon, in your local bookstore, and in most motel nightstands. It’s called the King James Version. Not all of you will have seen it. We are in the process of erasing this book, and its thorny, uncompromising message, from our collective conscious. We will see how that goes. In any event, you are not yet prohibited from picking the KJV up for a while. It is harder to get to know than Sarah Marshall or any of her analogues. Happily, it is also harder to forget.

* * *

Did I really write about Miatas again this week? Sort of.

73 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Who Could Remember Her Edition”

  1. Tom Klockau

    My primary takeaway is: Dont watch that movie. Maybe I’ll watch The French Connection tonight…

    Reply
  2. Ryan

    Thanks for this, it hit pretty close to home.

    Have you watched Caifornication? As hedonistic as that show was, I found that it ultimately sends a similar message. The only redeemable character in that show was Hank (David Duchovny).

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I’ll start watching it at some point, largely because I’ve been the target of many unflattering comparisons: “You’re like an ugly version of Hank.”

      “Uh… thanks?”

      Reply
      • Tom Klockau

        My cousin John bears a striking resemblance to the guy who used to be on Man vs. Food. Its been off the air for years but you’d still be better off not mentioning it, ha ha.

        Reply
      • CJinSD

        “You’re like an ugly version of Hank.” That’s short hand for, ‘you have sexual options that I don’t, and I resent you for it.’

        Reply
      • hank chinaski

        I got through the first episode or three, but TV is what it is and Hank starts simping like an onlyfans addict.

        Reply
  3. Ronnie Schreiber

    I think a regular guy who looks like Jason Segel getting with Mila Kunis after being with Kristen Bell qualifies as science fiction. In real life, they’re way out of his league. How many actors who look like Segel are hooked up in real life with women who look like Bell and Kunis?

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Regular guys or even ugly guys can easily hook up with hot women – all it takes is good combination of fame, power, and loads of money and they will throw themselves at you and/or let you do whatever you want with them – Trump was correct on that point, which is why the feminists were so upset after his secretly recorded tape was released in the 11th hour of the 2016 election.

      Of course the movies rarely offer an accurate representation of such hypergamy reality. Instead most movies show very average guys with no real assets or smooth moves ending up with great looking women who just want a nice guy who treats them nice even if it sometimes take the full 2 hours for them to realize it. Or for variety they have a great looking guy who spends most of the movie pursuing shallow and uncaring hot girls while rudely ignoring the spunky but average looking girl next door or in the office until he finally realizes his mistake and falls in love with her spunk only to be amazed as she turns into centerfold material when she switches from the frumpy clothes, glasses, and hairstyle she has been sporting for the first 90 minutes to some more flattering styles as they walk into the sunset. In either case, the guy is usually pathetic and/or shallow and/or not too bright, and the heroine is strong, wise, caring, considerate, and one way or another physically attractive, which is why they call them chick flicks.

      Reply
        • dejal

          Saw some news story, Bob Kraft who owns the NE. Pats, Bob is 79. Just bought a $43M house in the Hamptons. Bob is worth $6B. Bob, when he was looking at the property had an unknown younger woman with him with a diamond ring the size of a golf ball.

          Reply
      • CJinSD

        The really ugly truth is that if you had enough Adderall and cocaine to close your fist around, the youth and beauty of the women who would magically find their way onto the business end of your dick would shatter your hypergamy illusions and all of your other illusions simultaneously.

        Reply
    • Ice Age

      From my point of view, Kunis has the same problem Rihanna does: That tiny, “concentrated” little-girl face makes her very unattractive.

      Honestly, the problem you have in real life is the reverse of the movies. Everywhere I look, I see average-looking men with hambeasts.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        Him: “I think you’re fun and pretty. I’d like to get to know you better.”

        Her: “How tall are you? Are you hung?”

        Him: “How much do you weigh? Do you have a pleasant disposition?”

        Her: “What difference does that make? I’m not here to live up to some man’s standards. I bring a lot to the table.”

        Him: “I can’t do anything about my height and endowment. You can control your weight and how pleasant you are.”

        Her: “Sexist, misogynist dick. Men are pigs.”

        Reply
      • CJinSD

        During an event in San Diego a dozen years ago, I was at Landmark Aviation and was told that Mila Kunis was on the jet that was taxiing to the terminal. Keanu Reeves and Mark Wahlberg had already arrived. I was interested to see Mila Kunis, and thought that I was paying enough attention to notice her in the small crowd on the tarmac. When I gave up and asked someone if they’d seen her, it turns out she was less than ten feet away from me. I wouldn’t have guessed it was her if she’d been wearing a nametag.

        Reply
  4. Widgetsltd

    Movie Review Time! OK, next do the “Cornetto Trilogy” of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

    Reply
    • dejal

      I’d prefer “Hardcore Henry”. Currently 720P and free on Youtube. Many time 1080P. Very simple film, if you have the stomach for it.

      Reply
  5. Widgetsltd

    Regarding the Miata: It’s worth noting that my team was beaten to the C-class checkers only by an NC Miata at the Lucky Dog endurance race last Sunday. After a quick look at the specs of the NC, I suspect that they didn’t even need to try that hard: more power, more grip and maybe about 100 pounds more weight than my neon. If they had a fuel cell in the car rather than the 12.7 gallon stock tank, then it was an easy slam-dunk.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      There is an SCCA-prepped STL NC Miata and my 2.4-liter, stock-cam Neon in my garage. I estimate the Miata is 3-4 seconds faster on a two-minute track, EASY. And that’s when they are both on fresh tires and brakes. Let the nose-heavy Plymouth run 6 hours and let’s see what the consumables look like compared to the balanced Miata.

      If someone put an NC in my Lucky Dog class, I’d respond the same way I would if they brought a Consulier.

      Reply
  6. toly arutunoff

    I recommend a ‘peshitta’ bible–an Aramaic-direct to English translation that has several interesting differences from the kgv. I have 2 by different translators. look into them–in both meanings of those words!

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      My personal favorites translations of the Hebrew bible are The Living Torah by Aryeh Kaplan for the first five books, and the Jewish Press editions of the Prophets and Writings.

      Reply
      • NoID

        Several years ago I purchased the “Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’Rit Hadashah (New Testament)” by David Stern, as a gift for my wife. It’s one of the best literary purchases I’ve ever made.

        Reply
        • Ronnie Schreiber

          David Stern and the “Messianic Jewish” movement are intellectually dishonest. Selling a Christian text as a “Complete Jewish” anything is fraud. Messianics ascribe christological significance to the rituals and texts of the rabbis whom they explicitly reject as authoritative and further say are hiding the truth from Jews. So the rabbis are wrong, and evil, but somehow they crafted rituals and teachings that secretly held the truth of Jesus. Give me a break.

          I don’t have a problem with you telling me that I have to accept Jesus to be righteous in God’s eyes. I just think you’re theologically wrong. However, if you’re going to tell me that the most authentic way to be Jewish is to embrace evangelical Christianity, which is what “Messianic Judaism” is, I’m going to say that you’re factually wrong.

          Reply
  7. John C.

    Makes me glad I avoid Apatow,. Will be watching “Mr. Moto’s Last Warning” from 1938 tonight. Costars are John Carradine, George Sanders and sexy Virginia Field. Too bad Peter Lorre can’t pop up in an Apatow film and throw the souless naked people off the balcony using jujitsu

    A little surprised by your take on the modern 124. I would have thought the small, low rev turbo replacing the DOHC 2 liter, both the Miata’s and the real 124’s would have been anti Italian, even if stronger in American style driving. Like putting an MGB engine in a 1.4 liter 124 in 1968. But I guess when cars don’t have a national identity any more, no one notices.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Hard to have national identity in car design when fuel economy and emission standards around the world are all based on a common belief that we will all die in 10 years unless every car get 50+ mpg or runs on windmill generated volts.

      Reply
      • John C.

        In 10 years we will be eating our worms over ramen, locked down in our cells, streaming our pornography and wearing a fentanyl patch. The cars will all have been stolen from our police free streets for their scrap metal value. A majority of the country can’t wait.

        Reply
        • One Leg at a Time

          I hope you are wrong, but I am afraid you are right.

          Maybe you are a little aggressive on the timeline; but the cells will be completely voluntary.

          With entertainment pumped directly to our phones, and a government “stimulus” check meaning that there is no need to work – why would anyone ever need to leave their residential cubicle? Travel ovf any kind only increases your environmental footprint.

          Reply
          • John C.

            I think there is a real terror out there among the young for responsibility. So renters who won’t reproduce. The thugery problem among our new brown neighbors and older black ones will be solved by attacks on testosterone. The way public schools handled it with ridalin. The younger females still have pets. I suspect soon we will discover that they fart a lot and must die.

  8. Ice Age

    I’ve always hated Judd Apatow’s films, mainly because I see him as a far worse influence on society than Tarantino.

    My reasoning is this: In a Tarantino film, there are ninja assassins wielding katana. There are cartel hitmen. There are sadistic monsters and nasty, fiending people of all sorts. And those are THE HEROES of the movie. People you’ll meet in real life so rarely that they may as well not even exist. There’s a grand disconnect from reality that’s easy to perceive. It’s obviously a fantasy.

    But Apatow’s productions are full of slackers, potheads, manchildren and lovable losers. Dudes with curly hair desperately in need of a trip to the barber, that sort of thing. You know, people you actually do meet in real life all the time. In Apatow’s movies, THEY’RE THE HEROES.

    The ancient principle of human nature that no one wants to acknowledge is that if you don’t condemn something you’re condoning it. Apatow’s films – which are loved by millions – send the message, in ways both subtle and gross, that it’s okay to be a slacker, a pothead, a manchild or a lovable loser. I think even just the fact that Apatow’s movies exist at all gives people permission to be garbage human beings.

    And that’s why, in part, there are SO MANY 35-year-old manchildren and slackers and potheads infesting America today.

    Reply
    • hank chinaski

      That’s because Apatow’s inspiration likely begins and ends with ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’.
      Speaking of ‘Bad Jason Segel’, try ‘I Love You, Man’. Segel populates a sort of ‘schlub brat pack’ with the untalented Rogan and the underrated Rudd (try ‘Diggers’, a respectable indie vehicle before he went for big-capeshit-cashmoney),

      Flying Miata sells a conversion kit to put an NC gearbox in the ND. I don’t know how well it will play with the 2.87 rear.

      Reply
  9. stingray65

    It is interesting how hostile the broader entertainment industry has become to Christians, who are invariably portrayed as sexual prudes, not very bright, bigoted against non-Christians, non-heterosexuals, and foreigners, and intolerant of social justice ideas and policies, which means they are either miserably unhappy with their miserable little sex-free lives or stupidly cheerful and totally blind to all the misery and problems around them. And as usual the evidence suggests that such portrayals are just another example of Leftist projection with research regularly finding that Christians tend to have more children, happier relationships, are more generous with their time and money in supporting a wide variety of charities, are much more tolerant to the rights of others to espouse viewpoints they disagree with, and optimistic about the future, which would suggest they know something about sex, and are reasonably tolerant, kind, and forgiving, productive, and happy. Meanwhile, those who are hostile to Christianity as usually lonely, angry, unhappy, and very intolerant of anyone who isn’t equally miserable, and as the recent Oscar ratings show are increasingly finding it difficult to find audiences to watch their misery/anger/woke based “entertainment”. In contrast, the golden age of TV and movies occurred during the time when large portions of the major stars, directors, producers, and studio heads were religious Republicans residing in a reliably Republican California that would never send police raids to shut down church services, which were sponsored by reliably Republican run major corporations who would never fund programs that portrayed their religious customers in a negative way. Get woke – go broke.

    Reply
    • Tomko

      Stingray: What’s with these Old Testament sentence lengths? Last time I thought it was a rage boner. This time I’m thinking you need to get your medication adjusted. Seriously… writing a 64 word sentence, followed in succession by sentences of 82, 42, and 68 words, does not make you sound intelligent. It makes you sound unwell.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        I’m amazed you care enough to not only count the words of my sentences, but also offer a free psychiatric evaluation. Thanks for caring (3 words).

        Reply
        • Tomko

          You’re slipping here, stingray.

          I read your stuff thoroughly because I make best efforts to understand what you’re communicating. This is a gesture of my respect to you and your opinions.

          If your reading comprehension was better you’d realize that I did not offer you a psychiatric evaluation, as you erroneously assert.

          In fact, if your reading comprehension was better you wouldn’t be posting these James Joyce novels. Because I don’t think you can fully understand what you’re writing.

          What I’m observing, stingray, is a marked change in your posting behaviour. I feel that it may be evidence of new or emerging cognitive symptomology.

          Please know that you are not my patient, stingray, and that this is not a diagnosis: It is an observation that something may be amiss for you. So please accept a friendly suggestion to get yourself checked out.

          Reply
          • John C.

            Tomko, stop trying to shut up Stingray. The comment section of this website would lose a great deal. We all have our struggles but we don’t need some sort of dime store diagnosis from afar based on sentence structure of all things. A comment is not a carefully edited presentation but rather a free thought flow generated by the original article. It is best with minimal editing so the article author and fellow commenters can know actual thoughts that he generated. We are all adults here and can handle it.

    • Newbie Jeff

      “It is interesting how hostile the broader entertainment industry has become to Christians…”

      I find it fascinating just how far out their way the progressive Borg hivemind of writers will go to land a punch on conservatives/Republicans during a movie or show now. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago, there was partisan virtue signaling, but it was subtle… sometimes even clever, in a way that you might give the writers some credit for… Now it’s pathetic, as though the Democratic Party viewership is basically retarded, so the writers must make it VERY CLEAR where their political loyalties lie lest the viewer miss the message.

      I stumbled on a new show where a professor, engineer, and cop have to travel back in time to “fix” major historical events that are being changed by a time-traveling criminal. The first episode featured the Hindenburg disaster, so I got sucked in… well, the engineer is a black guy and they traveled back to the 30’s (after he proclaimed, “There’s literally no time in American history that’s going to be awesome for me!”) …”here we go”, I said as stood by the TV remote. Sure enough, the heroes are apprehended by 1930’s NJ police, and the writers blow their wad: the black guy goes on a tirade about how he hopes the 1930’s cop lives long enough to see “Obama, LeBron James, the…” Click.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Sounds like a woke rip off of Quantum Leap, but perhaps you didn’t give the program a proper chance to show its political balance. I’m sure that future episodes would go back to the Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) administration and stop his segregation of the civil service bureaucracy, or the FDR (Democrat) administration and stop his internment of Japanese Americans, or FDR/Truman (Democrat) administrations to stop the Communist infiltration/spying that gave Stalin the plans for the atom bomb, or the John Kennedy/Joe Biden (Democrat) campaigns where they stop the dead from voting and other voter fraud schemes in key states. Or perhaps they could do some international episodes and go back to stop the Muslim/Black dominated African slave trade so that LeBron James’ ancestors could have stayed in Africa rather than be shipped to the racist US/British colonies, or to post-WWI Germany where they could convince atheist-socialist Hitler to see German-Jews as allies rather than enemies and keep Jewish scientists such as Einstein in Germany, or to atheist-communist Mao to convince him that his great leap forward was actually a leap backwards, or to the Clinton (Democrat) administration to convince Bill to use his balls to take out Muslim Osama Bin Laden rather than harass office interns. Thus I’m sure you missed a lot very interesting episodes in your hasty clicking of the remote, but we can all look forward to seeing what my sentence word totals are in this comment.

        Reply
        • Newbie Jeff

          “…but we can all look forward to seeing what my sentence word totals are in this comment”

          Ha! Bizarre, isn’t it? Oh well… I certainly enjoy your rants. Every now and then I’ll pull up the thread, see a new “Stingray” comment, pour myself a drink, settle back on the couch, and then dive in… carry on.

          Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      It is interesting how hostile the broader entertainment industry has become to Christians,

      I think it was Jeffery Lyons who pointed out that when most of the major Hollywood studios were actually run by Jews, many of them immigrants or the children of immigrants, the studios were quite solicitous of traditional American values, including Christianity. Not everything was reverent, to be sure, but there were biblical themed movies like The Robe, and Give Us Barrabas!.

      You think Sam Goldwyn or Jack Warner wanted to risk offending Christian Americans?

      Things changed by the 1970s when big businesses started taking over the studios.

      Reply
      • John C.

        I think they might have changed earlier than the 1970s. Note the shift in the late 1940s when the Soviets switched quickly from ally to rival. Suddenly a lot of people to blacklist. Fighting the Nazis was fine, less so with Japan, notice there always had to be Chinese as good Orientals. By the Cold War, suddenly American leaders are Manchurian Candidates and Dr. Strangelove.

        Reply
  10. JMcG

    I’ve never seen any of those films. Once a year I’ll watch Local Hero and most of Fandango. That’s usually enough for me for twelve months.

    Reply
    • dejal

      I’m another. Jack says 5 people haven’t seen this movie. F’ing amazing 2 are posting on this site.

      I wonder who the other 3 are?

      Reply
          • John C.

            I watched the trailer. Looks like it would benefit from a Russian setting and better looking, younger and more real Russian ballerinas. The Jewish production, with the inevitable no production code sex freakshow distraction ruins. How far lost are they when a pretty girl in a form fitting getup showing off her youthful grace and range isn’t enough to entrance.

          • Bark M

            I would agree with you but I don’t watch anime. I was forced into watching “Spirited Away” by an ex, and swore that I’d never do THAT again.

          • MD Streeter

            Anime is definitely an acquired taste, and the vast, vast majority of it is trash. So far as Black Swan/Perfect Blue go, apparently Darren Aronofsky owns the American rights to Perfect Blue (originally so he could use a scene from the anime in Requiem for a Dream), and he ended up lifting quite a bit from the anime for Black Swan, like basically the whole plot. Satoshi Kon, the director of Perfect Blue, directed another weird anime movie called Paprika, but the ending wasn’t very good and ruined the movie for me. Like I said, most anime is trash, but Perfect Blue was one of the legitimately good ones.

      • Eric H

        I’m one of them.
        Characters acting stupidly just to be the butt of jokes annoys me. This describes most modern comedies.

        Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      Fandango, the one with a Costner and Judd Nelson, is one of my all time favorites.

      Reply
  11. Newbie Jeff

    What does it mean that I didn’t get past the picture of K-Bell in the bikini? Did I miss anything?

    Side note: Russell Brand has some interesting and credible YouTube content… none of it is particularly mind-blowing, and I’m definitely not aligned with him politically. But his format isn’t the holier-than-thou lecturing and elitist condescension that defines virtually all left-wing content now. I get the sense that I could have a conversation with Brand, and if I challenged him something rare would happen: he would actually stop and think about it, as opposed to just regurgitating a progressive bumper-sticker diatribe usually deployed to salvage a wounded leftist ego.

    Maybe. I’ve never met the guy…

    Reply
    • Bark M

      I have listened to quite a bit of Brand’s podcast on Spotify. He’s sort of a classical liberal—he’s willing to hear and even adopt thoughts that run contrary to his own beliefs, and he doesn’t shout down people who disagree with him.

      However, he’s kind of an anti-Semite. So there’s that. But his Aldous Snow character, particularly in GHTTG, is brilliant. And I non-ironically listen to some of the Infant Sorrow music. “Going Up” and “Furry Walls” are quite good Queen and Oasis impersonations.

      Reply
      • Newbie Jeff

        “Classical liberal” is exactly what I thought watching some of Brand’s content. I have much more common ground – or at least patience – with now extinct American Liberalism as opposed to the progressive authoritarianism that has replaced it.

        A good example is Brand’s recent video on vaccine passports… while he made the distinction that the power to implement, enforce, and eventually control people via “vaccinated status” was inherently different between the US and Europe (“corporate healthcare” in the US vs “public healthcare” in the UK), the conclusion was still the same and one I ultimately agreed with: that it’s an infringement of personal liberty to have to get jabbed with a vaccine to access huge sectors of society. There is the common ground that simply doesn’t exist anymore in American society…

        I haven’t seen enough to stumble across anything antisemitic, but it wouldn’t surprise me. You can’t be as close to the orbit of the Bernie Sanders/Jeremy Corbyn left-wing outerworld without getting at least some of that stink on you. But overall, the point is that there’s a little more to Russell Brand that meets the eye… which is probably more than you can say for co-stars Jason Segel and Kristin Bell, who surely live in constant fear that the Hollywood progressive hate machine will eventually come for them, too.

        Reply
  12. Tyler

    I have nothing to add except that you could have posted lyric sheets for Fire Inside and Beautiful Loser and possibly arrived at the same destination. Seger is massively underrated as a societal observer.

    Period blood notwithstanding, the whole 20-something party sequence in Superbad is an interesting commentary on the kids’ trajectory. And i will admit to laughing my ass off at Cera’s rendition of These Eyes.

    Reply
  13. Bridgeguy

    I would recommend the NKJV just for ease of understanding.

    I don’t think the worlds best selling book for over a thousand years running is going anywhere either. You see, the kingdom of God is advancing. The kingdoms of man? Ever waning….

    Reply
  14. NoID

    Any specific reason why the KJV is your go-to? Or are you really just using the KJV as a representation of classic / accepted / academically derived translations (KJV/NKJV, NIV, etc.), as opposed to some of the low-effort / whitewashed translations out there today?

    Reply
    • Bon Ivermectin

      Not Jack, but in addition to controversies about doctrine (i.e., “maiden” versus “virgin” in Isaiah), KJV remains a top seller and is also the translation that people actually read.
      https://web.archive.org/web/20140530005014/http://www.raac.iupui.edu/files/2713/9413/8354/Bible_in_American_Life_Report_March_6_2014.pdf
      https://opened-heart.com/2019/03/04/the-1-preferred-bible-translation/

      The articles give several reasons (the people who actually read their Bibles are often old and conservative and read the KJV), but one issue that Leland Ryken has written extensively about is that many modern translations lack literary artistry in the service of being “easy to read / understand”.

      One very popular modern translation, the NIV is “dynamic equivalence” (thought-for-thought rather than word-for-word), and was actually inspired by the success of the paraphrase “The Living Bible”. It also tends to take a viewpoint on vague passages (over-translate) that may spark interesting discussion at a Bible study groups.

      A brief booklet that covers some of these issues and more:
      http://theredbrickchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/why-our-church-switched-to-the-esv.pdf

      Some examples of the “literary artistry” angle:
      Several of the modern translations by policy remove inversions in negation, i.e., “fear not” becomes “do not fear”. But even JFK knew that “Ask not what your country can do for you…” made for better oratory.

      And here are a couple of specific examples:
      Luke 2:10 KJV:
      And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

      Luke 2:10 NIV
      But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

      Luke 2:10 CEV
      But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy.

      Gal 5:22-23 KJV
      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

      Gal 5:22-23 NRSV
      By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

      Note the almost gratuitous flatness of the final sentence.

      Reply
      • NoID

        I’d never considered the literary artistry angle, but I suppose it has some merit. After all, if all scripture really is God-breathed then I’d like to think style counts for something. Otherwise we’re dumbing down the greatest writer of all time, the Word himself.

        I was helping my wife do some research for a psychology paper, and one article we came across was entitled “Cognitive Issues in Bible Translation: The Biblical Text in the Context of Human Experience.” I know, the title sounds like it could be ultra-woke, but what follows is actually a very interesting look into the importance of understanding how an audience or culture thinks when translating the Bible into their languages, especially considering “word for word” is a near impossibility depending on the languages we’re dealing with. But even if its possible, how a people group understands and processes certain words is important as well. If the purpose of a work of literature is to convey ideas to an audience then I’d expect thought for thought to take precedence over word for word, but to your point not at the expense of the art itself. Otherwise we’d just publish the CliffNotes and burn all the original works in the name of efficiency.

        Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Well, as someone who read the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in school and continues to read them today for pleasure, I find the language preferable to the modern “Church Of What’s Happening Now” versions.

      Reply
  15. NoID

    Regarding the Fiata, there were (completely unfounded, of course) rumors for a time that when Fiat-badged automobiles exited the shores of (two thirds of) North America, that the Fiat 124 Spider would be badge-engineered into the Dodge Spider and continue to soldier on here in an effort to both maintain the economies of scale and plant utilization that the dual-car strategy offered Mazda, and to further the re-branding of Dodge as the performance division of what was then FCA.

    I was a big fan of the potential fruit of this rumor, but now that we’re here in 2021 and there are no Spiders of either the Fiat or Dodge variety sitting on showrooms, I have to believe it was all wishful thinking. Which is a shame, because love it or hate it, we now have one less pure two-seat sporting car with a manual transmission for sale here. And I can blame myself as much as “the market” or “the automakers” because I don’t have one sitting in my driveway. My primary excuse is that my four-child household doesn’t leave room for a three-car stable, so both of our household vehicles need back seats (or at least a single bench seat, which puts another dying breed, the entry level regular cab pickup truck, back on the menu I suppose).

    Reply
    • stingray65

      I think they dropped the plans for a Dodge 124 Spider when they found the 392 Hemi and Viper V-10 wouldn’t fit.

      Reply
      • NoID

        Actually the Hemi will fit, just not under the hood. The Viper V10 is probably short enough to fit, but the length might be an issue.

        Seriously though, making that a Dodge and letting SRT get their hands on it could have been fantastic. In my alternate reality the Abarth becomes the R/T, and the SRT gets the new 2.0L Hurricane.

        Reply
        • Jack Baruth Post author

          I may get burned on this, because I don’t have all the information ready to hand, BUT… The engine in the FIAT 500 Abarth was largely an SRT/Mopar product that drew on the lessons, and used certain technologies, of the Neon SRT-4 engine.

          It’s NOT the 124 Abarth motor, which was the standard overseas MultiAir 1.4T.

          The 500 Abarth motor can take a LOT more boost. So it’s no hassle to envision a 240hp Dodge SRT Spider using that powerplant.

          Which would basically be a lighter S2000. Lighter by at least 200 pounds.

          Reply
  16. Compaq Deskpro

    I get the same vibe from Quentin Tarantino movies. It works excellently in Inglorious Basterds because you expect Nazi’s and those trying to fight them to be ruthless and cold and uncaring and kill and betray at a moment’s notice, in light of what they have done. It was cool when Pulp Fiction did it, it something new and unexpected, and many of the characters redeemed themselves or were humbled, for some character development. Then there’s the Hateful Eight. Every scene is a character doing horrible things to another, while snowed in at inn, for apparently no good reason. I manage to sit through the “big black anaconda” scene, then I was rewarded with everyone projectile vomiting poison for what felt like minutes, I said fuck this and walked out. John C rails against “gonzo” journalism, and this is why. This is where it gets us. But we have also gone from Elvis’s hips to the Beatle’s drugs to satanic metal to hedonistic rap to miserable drug addled rap, and we have enjoyed every minute of it. This cognitive dissonance between a meritocracy based professional life and debaucherous entertainment has been coming to a head for a while now.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Tarantino has a sexual fascination with black men. It’s submissive and it’s violent. I wouldn’t want to spend five seconds inside that dudes head.

      Reply
  17. toly arutunoff

    you people really think ‘environment’ will have much of an impact on people in those days? while china builds a few dozen coal-fired plants and the sun enters a cooling cycle? jeepers!

    Reply
  18. Carmine

    Great mention of the Tyrone torture scene in Snatch, I always like the scene just before where the intersect cuts of Turkish and Tommy “Lerching” watching the hounds chase the hare, while Brick Tops goons chase after Tyrone in their XJ6.

    Reply

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