Friday, February 4, 2011

Best of the Week - First week of February

Best TV show I saw: My brother told me about this new show on the Science channel (I didn’t even know there was a Science Channel). The show is called An Idiot Abroad. I’m not sure if any of you out there watch the Ricky Gervais Show on HBO (but you should). That show is just an animated version of his podcast that he has been doing for years with Steve Merchant and a friend of theirs named Karl Pilkington. Karl Pilkington is really the star of the podcast, and as a result, Ricky Gervais decided to produce another show with Karl Pilkington.

This new show takes Karl and sends him to the Seven Wonders of the World. There have so far been two episodes (one to China and the Great Wall and the other to India and the Taj Mahal). The genius behind this show is that Karl Pilkington is the funniest person in the world without meaning to be. He sees the world in such a different way that watching him react to the culture differences are simply amazing. As an example: When told he was going to China his response was that he didn’t want to go out of fear that he would have to eat toad there and then get nervous that he liked it so much that when he returned to London, he would be unable to find it and would never be sated ever again. But really it’s the way he delivers everything and his all around demeanor that make this show. Do yourself a favor and watch both.

I also enjoyed: Community, The Dungeons and Dragons episode from last night was probably the best one so far. The direction and homage to Lord of the Rings really made the episode for me. This show just gets better as it goes on.

Best movie I saw: Life has been busy lately, and as a result, I only watched one movie this week. An old classic from 1979: Kramer Vs. Kramer. I now understand why this movie is viewed as a classic. Dustin Hoffman is fantastic in it showing the most range I’ve ever seen from him. He plays a man whose wife leaves all of a sudden leaving him with a six year old son. Hoffman is the typical go-getter of the late 70s who concentrated more on his career than his family so was never much of a father and now he is the only person left to take care of his child. As a result he sees his priorities shift to his family from his career. A year and a half later his wife returns asking for custody and a bitter custody battle ensues.

Although the movie is a bit dated because of the gender roles, the heart of the story is still poignant and worth watching. Also, the actor that played the child is a) amazing and b) reminded me exactly of me when I was that age (but those two things may be related).

Best thing I read: I finished two books this week. I mentioned the first one last week: Endurance by Alfred Lansing. This is the true story of a team of 28 men that were shipwrecked in Antarctica in 1915-1916. I cannot put into words how amazing this read was, and I normally am not the biggest non-fiction fan. After reading this book, no one has the right to complain about the cold, or this “extreme” weather the northeast is experiencing now.

I also read a great book: Mockingjay, the concluding chapter in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I cannot speak highly enough about this trilogy. Taking place in a dystopian future society (Granted: I am a sucker for dystopian society books) this series blends together elements of the Japanese film Battle Royale with Stephen King's The Running Man, but features one of the greatest heroes I’ve read in a long time. Going in, you should know this is marketed as Young Adult Fiction, but there is nothing immature about this. This series is bloody and action-packed. I know they are attempting to make a film version of this for next year, but I cannot imagine it getting MPAA approval for PG-13 (which is the desired audience) since the very nature of the books deals with some very difficult themes. This series really got better and better. The first book was good, but you could predict the course of action. Books two and three really are game-changers and are at times harrowing and difficult to read. Do yourself a favor and read the entire series. To make things better, they are approximately 375 pages each (so only about 1000 pages for the entire series) and due to Suzanne Collins writing style and content, they are very fast reads.

Best music I heard: Sunday night, I was given a treat. My good friend Jed called me up and asked me what I was doing. Since I had no plans, he asked me if I would like to accompany him to front-row center tickets to see Robert Plant at the Beacon Theater. I didn’t have to think before I said “What time?” as my response. I have never had front-row anything before and to see a living legend rock star only 10 yards away was a treat like nothing I can describe. He hit the stage around 9:00, and although he’s British he seems to have gravitated to a slightly country-style in his sunset years. He opened with a stripped down version of Misty Mountain Hop and although he can’t quite hit all the notes, he was able to augment them just enough to stay within his register. I don’t want to go through song by song, but I will say the man can still rock and it was great to see someone with his career obviously still love to sing and perform. You can see my setlist and hear each song here:

The picture above was taken with my phone from my seats so you can see how close I was to the man. My favorites of the night though were Gallows Pole and Ramble On. Getting these great seats and having a legend sing just 10 yards from me, make me know this is the closest I will ever get to seeing Led Zeppelin and I can’t thank Jed enough for thinking of me for this fantastic experience.

Anyone else do anything worthwhile this week?


Jenn from Much to My Delight said...

Welcome back Kotter! I love Kramer vs. Kramer. Of course, I love almost anything Dustin Hoffman is in (aside from 'Meet the Fockers'.

Vin and I saw "Milk" on Saturday and both loved it.

MitchyMitchyMitchy said...

Sunday morning I woke up and Watched Lenny because I enjoyed Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer.

Lenny was not as good. I'm glad I saw it since I never really knew much about Lenny Bruce, but I mostly hate Bio-pics.

As I mentioned to Vinny though: I hate Biopics, am not a big Sean Penn fan, and 100% agree with you. I loved Milk.