Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Someone Has Been Sitting in My Chair"

Here's the first part of the "talentless fat fuck" episode for Larry Sanders. You won't find it on the new DVD set, but we have it here, in all it's glory:


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best of Larry, Volume 2

Not Just The Best of The Larry Sanders Show is finally out on DVD, and it's a must own. This despite the fact that the set "only" includes 23 episodes (never mind the fact that all of the episodes are currently available, unedited on Why only 23, when I found ten more that I absolutely can't believe aren't included here? Lots of reasons, but the main one has to be the extremely bitter feud between Garry Shandling and former producer Brad Grey, one that's obviously taken a physical toll on Shandling. So really all of those "reviewers" at Amazon should give Shandling a break. But still:
  • Of the 23 episodes, 3 are from season 1 (which is already available on DVD), and 7 are from the final season (which Grey wasn't a part of). Most of those 7 (except for the brilliant final episode, "Flip", aren't nearly as impressive as the ten we're listing below that aren't included. I'm sure getting the 13 others to come out was time consuming (therefore we had to wait ten years to get those in DVD format).
  • To make up for not including everything, Shandling went out of his way on the extras. As in, he goes back and interviews almost everyone who was ever on the show, including his ex-girlfriend, Linda Doucett, who was also a major part of the Grey lawsuit. That one alone is difficult to watch as Shandling and Doucett share everything regarding their breakup. And to make amends with Alec Baldwin, he and Shandling actually get in a boxing ring and fight (Seriously, this is one of the extras).
  • It's amazing how many people started on this show, including Jeremy Piven & Sara Silverman (both included in the bizarre Shandling interviews). For whatever reason, Shandling feels he needs to apologize to some for not giving a proper goodbye (to which Jeffrey Tambor says, "You have nothing to apologize to me for, you changed my life.").
  • Did I mention how the years since the show went off the air have not been a friend to Shandling? Nowhere is this more evident than on the recent HBO Special that honors Jerry Seinfeld with some comedian award. The guests include Chris Rock, Robert Klein, and Shandling. Poor Garry doesn't even try to look good, his hair's a mess, and he looks like he just rolled out of bed. He's still funny, but Seinfeld looks every bit the "Master of his Domain", dressed to the nine's with his two inch lapel and looking better than he ever did on his sitcom that ended the same time as Shandling's. But this DVD set, even with only 23 episodes, proves that The Larry Sanders Show was and is miles better than Seinfeld -- the most impressive part is how well the show holds up after all these years. Seinfeld the show is finally showing signs of being dated. Sanders simply looks ahead of it's time and would be a bigger hit if it aired today.
  • But don't gripe, there are still 23 episodes here of the greatest sit-com of all-time. Shandling does include the no-brainers ("Hank's Sex Tape", which has to be one of the all-time top 3 greatest EPISODES of any series, and the legendary "Penis/Vagina" one).
  • Finally, there's undeniable proof that HBO is responsible for the three greatest television characters ever: Tony Soprano, Hank Kingsley, and Artie (who's last name we never learn of).
Order this must-have set now. More importantly, I'm sure that if this one sells well, they'll come out with a Volume 2, which must include these 10 episodes that I can't believe aren't available on DVD yet:
  1. Off Camera: Not including this episode on a best of set is like the Rolling Stones not including "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" on their Greatest Hits. After Hank's Sex Tape, this should have been the first episode selected. It's gained legendary status because it features Warren Zevon, Gene Siskel, and John Ritter (who all died within a relatively short time of one another), but in many ways, it's the quintessential Larry Sanders episode. Features Siskel trying to explain The Crying Game to Hank and Rip Torn's finest hour, trying to keep an entire show together backstage.
  2. Hank's Wedding: A spoof on the Tiny Tim wedding from the old Tonight Show, even includes Ed McMahon in a cameo and Alex Trebek in charge of the wedding.
  3. People's Choice: One of my personal favorites. Larry and Hank argue over the line, "Mmm, tastes a little like chicken" and Artie tries to get Larry to host the People's Choice Awards show with Rita Moreno and Dean Cain.
  4. End of the Season: Not having this one is like going to an Eagles concert and not hearing "Hotel California." Larry is addicted to pain pills, and he's forced to lam it home with Roseanne to get clean. Includes this classic exchange:
    Larry: Somebody's been sitting in my chair.
    Hank: Maybe it was Mama Bear.
    Larry: You're a talentless fat fuck.
  5. Roseanne's Return: If for nothing else, proof that Chevy Chase has a sense of humor as he goes to a shrink to discuss the disaster that was his talk show. Also includes some of Tambor's finest work as he can't believe OJ would be guilty of murder because "He's always so nice to me." Hank also can't believe he can't park in a handicap spot. "It used to be you had to have talent to get good parking, now all you have to do is dive in a shallow pond."
  6. Arthur's Crises: Artie sleeps around with a CBS executive who wants him to come work in New York. Great comedy as Larry tries to run the show with Artie away.
  7. Eight: During the taping of the 8th anniversary special, Larry tries to take a piss to no avail. Great guest spots, including Hank demanding k.d. lang use capital letters for her name like everyone else, and another reminder that at one point in time, Rosie O'Donnell was actually funny. I can't believe I wrote that last part myself.
  8. Make A Wish: Larry wants to be on People Magazine's Top 10 Sexiest People in the World while some dying kid's last wish is to meet Larry. Hank smuggles in Cuban cigars, and when the feds come in, Larry immediately rats him out.
  9. The Young Intern: Also known as "0.409" for whatever reason. An emotional Hank tries to hug Larry during Shawn Colvin singing "Polaroids" (Good God did this show find talent early). Larry dates a much younger intern named Nina, and he's all excited to meet her sisters the Pita and the Santa Maria.
  10. The Book: Larry decides his memoirs would make for a best seller, but he locks himself in supply closet when he realizes his life is shallow. Everyone from Marlee Matlin to Brooke Shields tries to get Larry to get out and host, but the best exchange comes with Hank.
    Hank: Larry, come on buddy, we haven't missed one yet.
    Larry: Hank, is that you, can you hear me?
    Hank: I sure can buddy.
    Larry: Go fuck yourself Hank.
    Hank: Hey Larry, you didn't put that stuff in that book about me, did you?
    Larry: Buy the book Hank!

Monday, April 23, 2007

So It Goes

In a period of less than 2 weeks, two of my all-time favorite writers have died. The first being Kurt Vonnegut, who's most famously remembered for Slaughterhouse Five. And now tonight, more shockingly, David Halberstam has died in a car crash at the age of 73.

Nobody wrote sports books like Halberstam. His stuff was so in-depth and thought provoking that many of his books took on the feel of sweeping novels. Understand, Halberstam wrote many non-sports related books (perhaps the most famous being The Best and the Brightest. Here are some of Halberstam's better works you should go to the links at Amazon (highlighted below) and buy right away:
  1. October 1964: My favorite sports book of his, chronicling in-depth both the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals and 1964 New York Yankees. Great look at Mickey Mantle as his career was winding down (including a great story about the Mick up to his old tricks on a bus trip), and how Bob Gibson, Curt Flood and others helped integrate the Cardinals clubhouse (Tim McCarver telling Gibson that a guy was "colored", only to have Gibson stare his catcher down and say, "Really? What COLOR is he?"). And of course, it all starts with the Cubs trading Lou Brock to their rival Red Birds. So many subplots involved in the season (including the Phillies historic collapse, which I still can't believe happened). And the World Series itself was one of the greatest ever played. Go out and get it immediately.
  2. Playing For Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made: The best piece of work ever done on MJ, even though he himself had very little to do with it. But Halberstam does get what he needs from the likes of Dean Smith (who wouldn't let Jordan appear on cover of Sports Illustrated as a Freshman because "he hadn't earned it"), Roy Williams, and Phil Jackson. We learn why Jordan was the fierce competitor he was at everything he did, how he learned to become a businessman through his agent and Nike, and really why he took those 18 months off to play Minor League Baseball. My favorite line: After the Bulls win their first of 3 straight titles, Jordan, tired of hearing all the Phoenix writers writing about "Thunder" Dan Majerle, turns to be media table and screams, "Thunder Dan Majerle? My Fucking Ass!"
  3. The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship: As Ted Williams fights with death, Halberstam profiles four old friends from the 1940's Red Sox teams: Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr. The four remained friends for "over 60 years" as Williams says, and this fast read takes us on Pesky, Doerr and DiaMaggio's final ever visit with Teddy Ballgame. Before his head became frozen.
  4. Summer of '49: Yes, aside from October, 1964, Halberstam was like a lot of writers in that he used the Red SAWKS as his subject often. But this was a season that had to be documented in order to believe. Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams battling out a regular season that meant everything. Again, it's Halberstam's rich attention to detail that brings everything to life.
  5. Changing NBA Game, Greatness Passes Ewing: The article which made Mackenzie put a pox on Halberstam, and call today with joy of Halberstam's passing (Seriously, he called during the Yankee game and said that he and Patrick Ewing were going to have a beer together). Even though Mac loved the Jordan book as much as anyone, this article which Mac took a LITTLE too personal because it lambasted the Big Fella, made Halberstam persona non grata in Mackenzie's world.


Friday, April 20, 2007

A Few Kind Words

The thing that will be missed the most when The Sopranos stops making new episodes is that there's frankly no other television show or even movie that sparks such conversation after each episode. People are reading into every little detail of every last moment, trying to figure out where the series is going to end. There are two critics in particular who offer the best commentary, and we'll link to their stuff every week:

  1. Fellow Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz is too good to write for any mainstream publication. Even if you don't watch the show, you'll feel like you've seen each episode three times after reading his stuff.
  2. Gotta give Bill Simmons credit for this guy. Tim Goodman's The Bastard Machine is a daily blog about all things TV, not just the Sopranos. Here's the link to his weekly Sopranos takes, and it's as good if not better than what Seitz does.
It's difficult to find good film criticism since we lost Pauline Kael to here great reward and Roger Ebert's been out for over a year. But these guys at least offer quality shit on what's worth spending time watching. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Friday, April 13, 2007

It Wouldn't Be Time For Spring Football in Nebraska Without a Frank Solich Sighting

Fearless Frankie even seems to be a little more talkative then he used to be in his old press conferences here. There's not one "Without Question" remark from Solich in this entire article from the Omaha World Herald. Frankie had to clarify that this was his "only invitation" to come back to the state, Athletic related, since being fired in November, 2003.

Why do I have a sneaky suspicion that Lincoln Police will be out in full-force tonight? Solich best not be hiring Brent Musburger as his driver. If the Brass Rail has 25 cent draws, please be sure to let us know.

UPDATED: This story is causing quite a stir, as it's been speculated that TO has avoided previous outtings, and the distancing that the 1997 team in particular has towards the new administration (read: Stevie P, Billy C, Lil' Red). The big thing players want to have happen is a commemoration this fall of the 1997 National Championship team, a ceremony that the assistant head coach of that theam, one Frankie Solich, would have to attend. I mean, the guy's not Pete Rose here. He's not banned for life. At any rate, lots of tension over this event, as word is Stevie P is not happy about the Civil War brewing between the old school and NEW era corn. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One of Your Announcers: Billy C?

I think it's worth mentioning that not very long ago, the Husker Spring Game was filler on one of the local PBS affiliates. And I believe you could have gotten into the Stadium to watch to "practice" with just a bar of soap. Or maybe that was Full Metal Jacket, I can't remember.

At any rate, stay home Saturday and watch the festivities live in your living room or bedroom or playpen on the NFL Network. That's not a typo about who will be offering the commentary of the game. And here's a statement from Stevie P about why the world should be excited about this:
  • "This is a unique opportunity to showcase Nebraska on a network that is all football, all the time. We know it will be impressive for the nation to see a great crowd in Memorial Stadium for the Red-White Spring Game."

That's right, everyone will watch the game on TV to "see a great crowd." And it's not a game, it's a PRACTICE.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another List

I have a confession to make: I used to date a girl (and if this were, I'd provide full disclosure of her name, but our sites are fighting over copyright infringement) who would never listen to the band Rush because she said they were "bad luck." Ever since then, I don't think I've ever listened to an entire Rush song in it's entirety, although I have a sneaky suspicion that Marlon Lucky has.

Rolling Stone put together a list of the all-time guilty pleasure "rock" bands. The list is pretty accurate, although it seems the world has sadly forgotten about the late Karen Carpenter. Either that, or the Carpenters are now considered legit. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rolling Stone Provides Something Worthwhile

Before you get over the shock of that headline, it's worth noting that I subscribed to Rolling Stone for at least 15 years, and I've never once sued Jann Wenner for the money I wasted on at least three years worth of issues. I cancelled the subscription around the time they decided to make their articles shorter and fast food like. What Wenner has since failed to realize is that we all read the magazine because the articles were actually LONGER and contained substance. It isn't that magazines like Maxim and Blender proved that the world now had short attention spans. People will spend HOURS on things they like (take the next two hours on the can to read this old interview they did years ago with Johnny Carson).

So it's only fitting that the first thing RS has put out that's caught my interest of late comes from their website, and it's worth 30-minutes of your life, if only to prove that David Chase is the Quentin Tarantino of TV when it comes to selecting music to go with his pictures. This link includes an interview with Chase about his musical choices on The Sopranos, as well as music clips with commentary from Chase himself about why he picked certain songs. Good stuff, but I'm still not going to renew my subscription. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Guess Keith Richards Always Wanted to "Blow" His Old Man

In news that should surprise absolutely nobody, Keith Richards decided that just doing a little blow wasn't enough: He had to sprinkle in some remains of his dead dad.

Of course, his dad wouldn't have cared, according to Keith, and "it went down pretty good."

I may have to make this sort of request at my funeral. Cremate my ass, hand out tiny cups of my remains to everyone, and have them snort away. I'd have Mackenzie make the announcement, but he'll be "too busy" to make the service. CLICK TO READ ENTIRE POST!