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Kurt Warner Misses Jesus at Super Bowl

2 Feb

After the NFC Championship game, Kurt Warner thanked Jesus for his performance and the Arizona Cardinals’ win. In yesterday’s Super Bowl, Warner was nearly great, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns.  But he also gakked up a game-changing interception for a Steeler TD at the end of the first half and then fumbled in the closing seconds when heaving a Hail Mary to god-like wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could have provided victory.  In post-game remarks, Kurt did not thank Jesus for this lesson in humility.

The question remains, why would Jesus abandon one of his biggest supporters in his time of need?  Perhaps Jesus was worn out from nefariously influencing NBC executives into banning PETA’s harmless “Vegetarians Have Better Sex” commercial.   While NBC’s shows are populated with hot actresses (the awesome Friday Night Lights anyone?), apparently they are not allowed on-screen with broccoli, asparagus, and pumpkins.  Irregardless, the Hangover hopes that the meat-eating, having-lousy-sex citizens of Pittsburgh are enjoying themselves.   

As for the rest of us, time to start ordering salads:

Abercrombie & Fitch Ad a Tour de Force

30 Jan

Abercrombie & Fitch’s new advertisement (available here), filmed in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, is a tour de force of sociological documentary filmmaking.  While some critics may see the spot as just another attempt to sell shirts by exploiting sexy models and the retro rhythm and blues of Duffy’s “Mercy,” in reality the piece underscores the dire economic conditions and resulting anomie facing the region.

The opening shot of stately coastal homes and sailboats establishes a seemingly exclusive and monied setting.  However, this feint is followed by a reel of hard-hitting economic reality.   The black and white format adds  the existential gravity of film noir.

The lack of a shirt on the male character immediately symbolizes a grave issue facing young people in Maine today.  There is an undeniable lack of well-paying jobs for those in the “recently graduated” demographic. Many of our educated youth are forced to leave the state in search of employment in Boston, New York, or even the West Coast. Those who stay often can’t afford clothes. It may come to down to a choice of wearing a shirt or pants.

There are shots of the young man hauling a row boat to the shore, an indictment of the dying fishing industry. Subsequent scenes of him running with his dog show how Maine men have been reduced to their most primitive state: That of the pre-historic hunter-gatherer who domesticated wolves to aid his survival.

The young woman in the piece also reinforces the theme.  Her first extended scene shows her driving.  She is coming from somewhere else, both in place and in opportunity. Her face is serious and determined. She knows the hardship her man is facing. The film ends with the couple embracing in a field, though it is clearly established that he will be leaving with her.  Oppurtunity and hope exist where she lives.  There he will be able to afford pants and a shirt.

The Hangover’s 2008 Person of the Year: Tina Fey

28 Dec
2008 Woman of the Year

Tina Fey: 2008 Woman of the Year

Nobody had a better year than Tina Fey (including President-Elect Barack Obama, whose reward will be the opportunity to clean up the ever-deepening mess left by his predecessor).   Fey surpassed all known standards in just how successful an entertainer could be with brilliant comedic performances that crackled with social and poitical commentary.

Fey is the creative force behind NBC’s 30 Rock, a show both popular  and critically acclaimed.  Her character, Liz Lemon, is an achieving woman attempting to manage a nearly unmanageable “Saturday Night Live” conceit.  As played by Fey, Lemon is sharp and compassionate, as well as confused and insightful.  Lemon carries a realistic acceptance of her position on constantly shifting ground.  She is an icon for women juggling professional success and personal chaos.   Liz Lemon makes no apologies for who she is.  In a high school reunion episode, “The Revenge of the Wrath of the Nerd,” Lemon bids farewell to her former White Haven classmates with,  “You know what? Suck it, you whittling IHOP monkeys.”

That would seem to be enough for one woman.  But then came Sarah Palin.   Fey’s impersonation of Palin on various episodes of Saturday Night Live marked some of the greatest comedy in the show’s storied history.  At times, Fey was indistinguishable from Palin.   Through a fusion of comic genius and comic existentialism, Fey effectively parodied a woman who was a parody in and of herself.  No easy task, and one worthy of recognition in the form of The Hangover’s Person of the Year.

If you don’t believe it, see for yourself:

The Hangover’s Christmas List

21 Dec

You’ve got to love a holiday named after a wine-swilling, long-haired, no-shoes-wearing carpenter.  And there are presents.  In honor of the holiday, The Hangover offers our own Christmas list.  And in the true spirit of the holiday, it is better to give than receive. 

For Terrel Owens:  A punch in the mouth. You’d think that Tony Romo or Jason Witten or somebody on that team would have had the balls to tell TO to shut up and then drop him with a right cross.  (Is Bum Phillips still alive?  Could he take care of this for Wade?)

For the State of Maine:  Less Taxes, Better Government.   We know, good luck with that one.

For Religous Extremists (be they Christian, Muslim, Pagans, Jews, Sun-Worshippers, Followers of Satan, or actual card carrying members of Red Sox Nation):  Less scripture, More action (from their respective deities).  Doesn’t fanatical worship sully the very God that it profess to follow?  Wouldn’t these various Gods be tired of people acting like complete fucking idiots in their names?  Shouldn’t  these Gods have had enough of this bullshit and smite their “extreme” followers from the planet?  Lightning bolts, now, goddamnit!

For The Boston Celtics:  Good Health.  The rest will take care of itself.

For Kathryn Tappen:  More sweaters of the shade (some sort of yellowish white) that she wore yesterday during the 12/20/08 Bruins-Hurricanes telecast.  Amazing.  A high-def Goddess if there ever was one.

For Barack Obama:  The cajones to swing back to the left after these mandatory first two years of centrism.

For Kennebunkport:  Less Development.  Do we have to turn every open space not owned by the Conservation Trust into either a neighborhood of McMansions or a psuedo-tony resort?

For the Red Sox Marketing Team:  A long, long, long vacation.  Two years ought to be enough.  We don’t need any hats with socks on them.  We could use a better ticket-buying site, however.  Or at least one that doesn’t have to blame its lack of functionality on “high transaction volume.”  What with the exciting new hats, you didn’t think people would want to buy tickets, too?

For the Red Sox:  Derek Lowe.  Give us a great pitcher who excels in big games, under pressure, and who wants to play here.  And we’ll take a refurbished Mike Lowell, too.  The hell with Mark Teixeira.  The only thing he’s led the league in is “Speculative news media stories on where Mark Texiera will land.”  Pitching wins and Lowe is a winning pitcher.

For News Editors of Television Weather Reports:  A grip.  Hangover Headquarters is in Maine.  It snows here.  It always has.  Every time a flake hits the atmosphere, we don’t need panicked, poker-up-the-ass anchor people screaming “storm warning,” “winter storm watch,” or “extreme weather event.”  If you want people to watch your insipid newscasts, try doing some actual reporting, or get better looking newspeople and have the women go topless and dress the men in Chippendale’s outfits.

For the Rolling Stones:  One last great album. I don’t mean pretty good, either.  Voodoo Lounge was compared to Exile, but we all know Exile, and Voodoo Lounge is no Exile.  Every Stones album since Steel Wheels has been proclaimed in one way or another, hearkening back to the heyday of the Stones.  Simply not true.  The world could use another Exile on Main Street or Sticky Fingers.  Get on it, boys.

For the Readers of The Hangover:  Less hangovers, of the alcohol-induced head ache and vomiting kind.

For The Hangover:  More readers.  Then I can start pimping out the ad space and earn enough money to quit one of my days jobs.   Then I could completely sell out and turn into one of those despicable, loathsome individuals that I despise.  Wouldn’t that be grist for some interesting writing?

Hollywood Endings: The Shield and The Sopranos

26 Nov

(Editor’s note:  The Hangover swung and missed on much of our interpretation of the Soprano’s ending.  Please see:  http://masterofsopranos.wordpress.com/the-sopranos-definitive-explanation-of-the-end/)

The Shield’s seven year run of grit ended last night with an episode true to its stomach-wrenching nature.  One could not help but draw contrast to the ending of the Sopranos, HBO’s signature crime drama.  The relative merit of each can be seen through the music used to define the episodes.  For The Shield, it was Vic Mackey’s opening drive through his city to X’s Los Angeles, a seminal punk cut that characterizes the chaotic undercurrent that runs like a riptide through LA.  In contrast, the Sopranos ended with the Soprano family having dinner in a restaurant known for onion rings while the trite, Top 40 strains of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ dominated the scene.  These musical choices alone indicate the merits of the respective finales.

The Sopranos finished in a sea of symbolism.  As Tony, Carmella, and AJ order lousy food, Meadow tries to park her car (signifying how the family will never fit in to mainstream America?).  A man walks in the restaurant, scopes out Tony and heads for the bathroom (Mob hit man?  Innocent passerby?  Or a symbol of the potential threat that will always hang over Tony’s head?).  The camera pans to a young couple obviously in love enjoying their dinner (Symbolizing a young Tony and Carmella, when they believed–cue Journey–their futures were bright?)  The screen turns black as Meadow runs in the restaurant, leaving millions of Americans thinking that HBO has just crashed.  No, the disaster wasn’t in their set.  It was in the guts of the Sopranos producers and writers, who took the “arty” way out–failing to make the definitive statement that writers most often consider critical to story-telling.   Then again, maybe not.  Perhaps The Sopranos team wanted to leave us believing that the Sopranos would never know what lay ahead for them, and that was the curse given Tony’s chosen occupation.  But these are just The Hangover’s interpretations.  Others have seen the episode quite differently.  On the excellent Television Without Pity site, there are 226 pages of interpretation.  That indicates a problem; after six seasons, the producers should have been able to provide a meaningful resolution.  To fail to do so is to walk away from one’s responsibility as an artist.

The Shield, however, concluded with an earned, tough clarity.   Desperation built.  Frustrations grew.  Betrayal became a way of life.  Death was a choice.   No major character escaped unscathed.  Shane, Ronnie, Dutch, Acevada, Claudette, Julien, Corinne, Steve, and Tina all leave wounded.   The filmmaking was brilliant, as letting the final minutes play out on Vic Mackey’s face showed the commitment, faith, and cajones that was clearly lacking in the Sopranos finale.  The price that Mackey pays for trying to walk the wire between justice and morality is clear:  There’s nothing left inside.   Powerful storytelling trumps pretentious symbolism:  Writers and viewers can agree on that.

Reasons not to watch the Democratic National Convention

25 Aug

Even if you’ve got time to kill, don’t waste it watching the Democratic National Convention.  That is, unless you want to see five nights of self-congratulatory flagellation.   Yes, the Democrats did manage to nominate an electable candidate, as they have since 2000.  But as we all know, they’ve done it before with nothing to show for it. 

On tap is five nights of unearned back-slapping and speechifying.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but the platform most Democrats ran on in the last mid-term election was to stand up to W. Bush and end the war in Iraq.  Yet, they kept voting for funding, and our troops are still there getting bombed and shot.  And in case you haven’t noticed at your local gas station, the Enron loophole is alive and well.  This is the party that is supposedly looking out for working and middle class Americans.  In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief.”

It is almost beside the point, but any entertainment the Convention can supply can be trumped elsewhere on cable, with less boredom and more enjoyment.

Better bad acting than at the DNC

Melrose Place: Better bad acting than at the DNC

  • If you’re looking for melodramatic bad acting, go find some reruns of Melrose Place on the Soap Network.  Skip Hillary and Barack arm-in-arm, smiling and acting like they’re great friends, mutually thrilled to have finally unified their party.  Without Aaron Spelling to direct them, that bit could be one of the most painful events in recent television history.
  •  Democratic party officials and politicians will be full of vitriol, fire, and outrage this week.  Of course, it’s easy to stand up and bellow when you’re surrounded by ardent, nerdy supporters.  Remember, these are the same folks who let Rove, Cheney, and Bush push them around for the last eight years while barely making a peep.  Watch the Wizard of Oz and see if the mighty Wizard doesn’t remind you of the Democrats–especially after Dorothy pulls back the curtain.
  • When you were in high school, didn’t you find the student government people to be just a  bit pompous and full of themselves?  As if they were actually doing something other than putting on dances and making sure students paid their class dues?  Granted, some kids were normal teens trying to pad their college apps, but the ones who took it seriously–you might recognize them at the convention foaming at the mouth and thrusting Obama-Biden signs high into the air.  Do you really want to spend five nights with these folks?  Get a grip with some kids who have real issues–check out Season One of Friday Night Lights.  Not a Student Council geek to be found. 
  • Democrats will spar over the party’s platform, as if it matters.  As soon as everyone is elected, the politicians will go back to their primary job function–getting reelected.  Outside of a few issues such as health care and hopefully ending the war, no one will give a rat’s ass about “minor” aspects of what is supposedly the party’s agenda.  If you want to see staged, fixed, and meaningless fighting, The Hangover recommends the WWE‘s Monday Night Raw or Friday’s Smackdown.  In addition, the wrestling Divas are much hotter than the political wonkettes.  The Hangover will take Eve and Victoria over Nancy Pelosi and Rielle Hunter any day. 
  • If you actually want to gain respect for your Senators and Representatives, skip the Convention and watch C-Span.  Anyone that can stay awake while serving through a session of Congress deserves some degree of adulation.
  • Finally, if you want to see what’s at the heart of American politics, get your hands on Robert Altman’s Nashville.  The film is set at a political convention, and it will entertain, educate, and challenge more than this week’s pitiful Demo-fest.   

Big Hype, Bad Movie–The Love Guru Standard

22 Jun

The Hangover suspects that the amount of marketing preceding a movie’s release exists in an inverse proportion to the movie’s quality.  In other words:  Big Hype, Bad Movie.   This thesis results from 1) suffering throught a month-long, full scale media assault by Mike Myers and 2) various reviews of his film The Love Guru.  (Full Disclosure:  This is a movie that The Hangover won’t be seeing until it hits HBO in the hopefully distant future.)

In the past few weeks, Myers has:

  • Appeared on the cover of the July Esquire.  The accompanying article 45 Years in 45 Sentences wasn’t nearly as funny as it could have been, although it did manage to pimp The Love Guru and re-pimp Shrek, Wayne’s World, and Austin Powers
  • Hosted the 6th Annual TV Land Awards (6/15/08 )
  • Appeared with Justin Timberlake (also from the movie) on ESPN’s Sportscenter.  (And this is after hockey season.) (6/13/08 )
  • Appeared on The Tonight Show (6/12/08 )
  • Hosted MTV Movie Awards (6/1/08 ), resurrected a tired Wayne and Garth
  • Appeared on Ellen (5/21/08 )
  • Appeared on American Idol Finale as Guru Pitka, his character from (surprise) The Love Guru. (5/21/08 )
  • Well, you get the point by now.  The Hangover also wishes to remind the reader that this is only a partial list.

Now let’s compare the amount of Myer’s promotional work with some reviews of The Love Guru.

From Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe ( earning 1 out of 4 stars):

“Some movies are polite enough to save their outtakes for the closing credits. Others wait for the DVD release. “The Love Guru” doesn’t have that kind of patience. It’s a pitiful assortment of bad ideas and gags that never work; I don’t know what else to call a movie that asks us to find Jessica Alba credible not only as the owner of the beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs and a comedian, but as a woman attracted to a vulgar, hirsute Mike Myers. Oh, yes I do: Embarrassing.”

From A. O. Scott of the New York Times: 

“Which (the movie’s catchphrase being much less amusing than it should be) might sum up “The Love Guru” in its entirety but only at the risk of grievously understating the movie’s awfulness. A whole new vocabulary seems to be required. To say that the movie is not funny is merely to affirm the obvious. The word “unfunny” surely applies to Mr. Myers’s obnoxious attempts to find mirth in physical and cultural differences but does not quite capture the strenuous unpleasantness of his performance. No, “The Love Guru” is downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again.”

The Hangover realizes that we may be committing a stasticial fallacy by taking this one example and extrapolating the “Big Hype, Bad Movie” theory of film marketing.  We’ll have to put the research department on this for further study.  Or perhaps we’ll wait and see what happens when Shrek Goes Fourth comes out.  The guess here is that Myers will have a much less demanding promotional schedule–those Shrek movies are actually funny.