Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So Long, Summer

As far as I was concerned, this last summer, with a few exceptions, was pretty much of a wash-out. Without the last push in August, this last season might as well have not existed at all. Maybe it's just me. I do feel I've been spinning my wheels for the last little while, but then again, I've been in the midst of finishing not one,but two major projects that I am way too anxious to release to the world. I'm also still reeling with the loss of my dear friend Goldie. Her granddaughter just sent me some pictures that Goldie had in her possession that I've never seen. The photos contained some fine shots of a much skinnier version of myself than I remember being, as well as a couple of shots with curly hair (!!!!!!!!!!) and a lovely shot in a cap, looking like Hank Hill's drinking buddy Dale without his aviator shades. Nice. Just call me Cooter.

Then there a few from that fabled Labor Day weekend that I mentioned in a previous post. I'm so grateful Stacey sent these to me and if you're reading this, kiddo, thanks again.

Still in all, I've been pretty bored and a bit disheartened. I stayed away from the cinema this year, only because there was nothing that lured me in their general direction (Paprika and Day Watch not withstanding). I din't want to see the threepeats or anything else for that matter. I have a fleeting interest in Ratatouille and The Simpsons, but honestly, what's the rush?

Even TV this summer, the best time to watch in the last few years, has been rather blah. The Sopranos finale kind of put the kibosh on things initially, but other favorite series have been floundering as of late. Big Love, always highly watchable, was all over the map this season, trying just a little too hard. Rescue Me has gotten tired as well, as has Entourage, which I begrudgingly enjoy (except Kevin Connelly as "E", the Cynthia Nixon of the group).

But I did get a bang out of Jekyll on BBC America, a re-do of you know who and Mr. Hyde. The show had a lot of problems but the performance of James Nesbitt (from Paul Greengrass' Bloody Sunday) as the title character is abosolutely the best of the year. His Hyde stands alongside the stellar ranks of Frederic March and Jack Palance as one of the finest portrayals of Stevenson's character ever. Don't have BBC America? Check it out On demand like I did. Don't have that? Well, you're screwed then, aren't you?

I join the critical concensus on AMC's new series, Mad Men, the early sixties period piece revolving around the world of advertising. Damn well-written and subtle in a way that is unlike anything on American TV, this show is a sensational recreation of a time that has gotten short-shrift in our history and is great fodder for excellent drama. They do go overboard on the smoking and drinking. I halfway expected to see little kids firing up butts and plying themselves with martinis in a recent birthday party episode. Regardless of this quibble, Mad Men is well worth checking out.

Thanks to my friend Bob Gossett who generously treated my wife and I, we were fortunate enough to catch Monty Python's Spamalot on its run-through Portland. Fortunately, this was the Broadway touring company, so that the production values were higher than most, right down to the Terry Gilliam uinspired set-pieces and special effects. Spamalot is Monty Python kind of dumbed down for the masses, a virtual stage adaptation of The Holy Grail with new material, most of it just as hilarious as its source. Sure, it panders a bit here and there, first to the Python fan who applauds every greatest hit, then cuts to the cheap laugh for the uninitiated, but finallySpamalot becomes a glorious celebration of one of the finest comedy acts of all time.

Thanks, Bob. You rescued summer.

Remember, always look on the bright side of life.

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