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Archive for the ‘Planet of the Apes’ Category

Frank Conniff–Twenty Five Mystery Science Theater 3000 Films That Changed My Life in No Way Whatsoever (2016)

tvfrankSOUNDTRACK: TA-KU & WAFIA-Tiny Desk Concert #577 (November 6, 2016).

Ta-ku & Wafia are Australian, and I knew nothing else about them.  So:

The chemistry between Australian singer-producer Ta-ku and his fellow Aussie singer-songwriter Wafia becomes apparent the instant you hear their voices intertwined in song. On their first collaborative EP, (m)edian, they draw on their individual experiences to touch on subjects like compromise in relationships as they trade verses and harmonize over hollow melodies.  With production characterized by weary low-end rumbles and resonant keys, the two float above the music, playing off each other’s harmonies.

Although the blurb mentions a few bands that the duo sounds like I couldn’t help thinking they sound The xx (although a bit poppier).

“Treading Water” especially sounds like The xx.  Both of their voices sound really close to that band (although Wafia’s high notes and r&b inclinations do impact that somewhat).  It’s funny that they are just sitting there with their eyes closed, hands folded singing gently.

“Me in the Middle” is another pretty, simple keyboard song with depth in the lyrics and vocals.

Introducing, “Love Somebody,” she says its their favorite on their EP and he interjects Go but it now, which makes her giggle.  Her voice is really quite lovely.  I could see them hitting big both in pop circles and in some alternative circles if they market themselves well.

[READ: November 10, 2016] 25 MST3K Films that Changed My Life in No Way Whatsoever

As you might guess from the title, Frank Conniff was involved with MST3K.  He was TV’s Frank and, as we learn from this book, he was the guy who was forced to watch every movie first and decide whether it could be used for the show.  This “job” was created because they had watched a bit of Sidehackers and decided it would be fun to use.  So Comedy Central bought the rights (“They paid in the high two figures”) and then discovered that there was a brutal rape scene (“don’t know why I need to cal it a ‘brutal’ rape scene any kind of rape ,loud or quiet, violent or Cosby-style, is brutal”) that would sure be hard to joke about (they edited it out for the show which “had a minimal effect on the overall mediocrity of the project.”

The book opens with an FBI warning like the videotapes except for this book it stands for Federal Bureau of Incoherence because the document contains “many pop culture references that are obscure, out of date, annoying and of no practical use to anyone.”   So each chapter goes through and explains these obscure references for us all. (more…)

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speakSOUNDTRACK: STONE GOSSARD-“I Need Something Different” (2013).

stonegossardmoonlanderStone Gossard is the rhythm guitarist for Pearl jam.  He’s also one of their major songwriters.  He has one or two songs that he sings with the band.  This is a solo effort which indicates that he might be a heavier influence on the band.

Stone Gossard last released a solo album 12 years ago.  There’s a new Pearl Jam album in progress and Stone’s other band Brad put out an album not too long ago, so why not release a solo album?

I don’t know how much Gossard does on this song, but I rather imagine he plays everything (the solo is fine but not amazing and the drums are solid but don’t really standout).  And while that sounds dismissive, it’s not meant to be.  Gossard creates a solid sound of simple rock.

The guitars are loud and bouncy.  Stone’s voice is rough and workmanlike—there’s a reason he’s not a lead singer.  But his voice works great for this aggressive slice of rock.

The riff is continuous and non stop, while he sings I need something different.  And then at the mid way part the keyboards start—perhaps this is the something different.  The keys break the propulsion with a poppiness that you wouldn’t expect in the song.

Then the song returns to its original style.  It’s not a terribly original song, but it would be a fun bar anthem.

[READ: June 10, 2013] Speak, Commentary

When this book first came out I was pretty delighted.  What a funny concept—overblown writers and political pundits do DVD commentary about films they had nothing to do with.  It seemed like it would be very funny indeed.

And here’s the thing.  It is. For a few pages. But each one of these things feels as long as the actual movie they are commenting on.  Alexander and Bissell have done their research—they know what these figures will say.  And say.  And say.

As I said the premise is awesome, check out these wonderful combinations:

  • NOAM CHOMSKY & HOWARD ZINN on The Fellowship of the Ring
    ANN COULTER & DINESH D’SOUZA on Aliens
  • TERRY DWIBBLE & STEVEN McCRAY on Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • JERRY FALWELL & PAT ROBERTSON on Planet of the Apes (1968)
    WILLIAM BENNETT & DICK CHENEY on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

[Terry Dwibble & Steven McCray are (presumably) fictional characters—die hard Trekkies who are thrilled to be able to add this commentary and, frankly, this is the best one of these pieces.]

I think part of the problem with the book is the sequencing.  The first piece is incredibly dry.  I recall reading this when I first got it.  I don’t know if I read all the way through Chomsky and Zinn.  And I know I didn’t make it through all of the second one (Coulter and D’Souza)—my d0g eared page failure still lingers to this day.

But I finished this time. (more…)

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