Tag: Satire

1988, Music

Land of Dreams (1988) by Randy Newman

Full disclosure: I do not like Randy Newman. I have yet to hear more than maybe two or three songs of his that I think are really, truly great. (One of them is on this record.) Sure, most of them are above average, but his reputation far exceeds what I’ve heard, in my opinion.

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

2006, Movies

Il caimano (2006, Nanni Moretti)

This is an amusing and clever satire about a hacky low-budget producer attempting to make a film that he initially doesn’t realize is about Silvio Berlusconi. But, for me, the film is somewhat weakened by its farcical nature and particularly the ridiculous behaviour of its central character, who rubs me the wrong way like so many …

1983, Music

Trouble in Paradise (1983) by Randy Newman

Most people who are not fans of Randy Newman seem to be put off by his voice. (Though given his prominence lately, and given the sheer proliferation of unique voices, I think that he sounds a lot less weird than he did when he first starting releasing music.)

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, Music

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album (2017)

Much like The Simpsons (at least back when I watched it) music plays a very significant role in Bob’s Burgers. In fact, it plays an even more significant role, given the singing propensities of multiple characters in the Belcher family. This album collects the featured songs from the show, as well as a few covers …

2017, TV

American Vandal (2017)

The best pop culture satires and parodies manage to combine a scathing critique of their target genre or conventions with a true enough adherence to those conventions that you actually end up scaring while you enjoy the critique. American Vandal is an excellent, note-perfect satire of true crime series like Making a Murderer that somehow manages to …

2009, Movies

Boogie Woogie (2009, Duncan Ward)

This is a reasonably amusing, reasonably on satire of the London art world which could well be called the Short Cuts of art world movies – at least it aspires to be that. There’s an All Star cast, there are lots of inter-cut stories, there’s a fairly ruthless attitude towards many of the characters. Not …

1962, Movies

Boccacio ’70 (1962, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Mario Monicelli, Luchino Visconti)

This is a collection of four roughly 50 minute long films (just three in the US theatrical edition) poking fun at the sexual mores of 1960s Italy (which is why there’s “’70” in the title???) in tribute to Decameron by Boccacio, a 14th century set of tales considered one of the early Italian literary masterpieces. …

1987, Movies

Broadcast News (1987, James L. Brooks)

This is a well-meaning satire of television news and where it was headed in the 1980s (i.e. where we are today with infotainment) that is hijacked by a love triangle, which prevents it from turning into the 80s Network, which is certainly could have been.

2009, Movies

Black Dynamite (2009, Scott Sanders)

I haven’t seen any blaxploitation in some time but, from what I remember, this is a spot on parody. And, like every great parody, it takes itself seriously enough of the time that the film and characters feel committed to the genre even as they tear it apart. There are some really solid jokes here, …

2007, Movies

Big Man Japan (2007, Hitoshi Matsumoto)

This mockumentary has an ingenious conceit – the everyday life of a superhero. It combines a satire of Japanese monster movies with a satire of reality TV/slice of life documentaries. This is a ridiculously silly movie – which gets sillier at the end, something I’ve always admired – but its points are still worth taking, …

2000, Books, Fiction

Baudolino (2000) by Umberto Eco

This is a fairly uproarious comic novel about the fine line between truth and fiction, that also functions as a critique of medieval logic and reasoning and as a celebration/satire of the power of myth (and faith, and belief). But I felt a nagging sense of deja vu the entire time I was reading it. …

1958, Movies

Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958, Mario Monicelli)

This is supposedly one of the classic Italian comedies, considered an all-time great film by numerous people. It is apparently a parody of Rififi, a classic film I have yet to see. So, one of the reasons it’s lost on me would be because I haven’t seen the target of its satire. Maybe that’s why …

1966, Music

The Fugs [Second Album] (1966)

This insane record is somehow their second – it’s kind of crazy that they had already put one out – and supposedly it’s more competent than the first (which makes you wonder about the first). For the most part, the record is basically what you might imagine the Mothers would sound like had Frank Zappa …

2016, Movies

Deadpool (2016, Tim Miller)

I think it’s safe to say that this is the best Marvel film outside of one or two of the X-Men sequels (the recent ones have been shockingly good). This film is funny – it’s not just mildly amusing, like Guardians of the Galaxy – and it manages to preserve the rather elliptical nature of …

2004, Movies

Being Julia (2004, István Szabó)

I haven’t read the novel (I gather it’s one of Maugham’s lesser regarded works) but I feel like the edge that I have always felt in his writing is present here, which is no small accomplishment. Benning gives a bravura performance in the title role (though everybody’s good) and the production design is excellent. But …

2006, Movies

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Scott Glosserman)

MILD SPOILERS This film begins as the horror movie equivalent to the classic 1992 Belgian black comedy Man Bites Dog. It’s literally the same concept: a documentary team follows a serial killer around. However, the additional conceit here is that the audience sees what the horror movie would look like, were one being made. Does …

1954, Books, Fiction

Lucky Jim (1954) by Kingsley Amis

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis is a laugh-out-loud novel about what it’s like to feel like a fraud teaching at a university – something I can sort of relate to – while you hate your (sort of) girlfriend, hate your boss, hate your subject matter and generally hate your life – and that hate manifests …

2013, Movies

Machete Kills (2013, Robert Rodriguez)

The first Machete was an attempt to combine a satire of America’s immigration system with a parody / celebration of “grindhouse” style action films of the ’70s and ’80s. I liked it a lot more than most people, but I don’t appear to have written a review.

2006, TV

30 Rock (2006)

When Seinfeld ended, I was done with the sit-com. I honestly didn’t see what it could possibly offer me any more. Television was getting smarter – and would get significantly smarter over the next decade – and I just couldn’t handle being told when to laugh or having to suspend my disbelief to laugh at …

2001, TV

That’s My Bush (2001)

That’s My Bush is no Brak Show Starring Brak but it’s still a pretty ruthless and relatively subtle satire of sitcom conventions, though the last episode is a little more obvious about it. It’s a bit of a one-joke premise and so it is often more “oh that was a clever reference” than laugh-out-loud funny …

2000, TV

Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000)

Though not quite as convention-destroying as Space Ghost, Aqua Teen Hunger Force is still pretty balls-out convention destroying. From the opening cartoon gambit of “Dr. Weird is up to something again” to the lack of coherent plots, the random appearances of so many recurring characters, and the complete disregard of episode-to-episode continuity, I suspect it …