DVR Hindsight #3 (1/27/14): Community Season Five

Community – “Geothermal Escapism” Season 5, Ep. 5 (NBC)

Greendale Community College makes such an appealing setting for sitcom shenanigans primarily because of its elasticity. Appealingly low rent and desperate (the type of institution Jeff dryly notes is on 911’s “blocked caller list”) with its big shaggy dog heart and innate acceptance of strays, Greendale exists in the real world only up to a point. Its students and faculty all know that reality can and does bend here, and that the best coping method is always to just embrace the madness, even though the slightest push can cause instant, dizzying escalation Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #3 (1/27/14): Community Season Five”

Steelers Thoughts #1 (1/24/14): Vexing and Vortexing

Mike Munchak

The hiring of recently deposed Tennessee Titans head coach and Hall of Fame Houston Oilers guard Mike Munchak as the Steelers’ new Offensive Line coach predictably has the hearts and daydreams of both our fanbase and local journalists all aflutter. I’m right there with them. Grabbing one of the best linemen in NFL history, with years of proven experience (and results) as first a line then a head coach? Score! He’s a local guy who wants to be in the ‘Burgh and brings instant unspoken authority and credibility to a line that is already trending up, despite having had more members than Spinal Tap in the last five years (including four centers in 2013). Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #1 (1/24/14): Vexing and Vortexing”

Movie Review: “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)


“When you own a boat that befits a Bond villain, sometimes you gotta play the part…”

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is an assaultive, propulsive triumph of fearless (and peerless) technical and stylistic overkill, a headlong descent into the depravity of the worst of the idle rich, that upper tenth of a percentile motivated to obtain more and consume more in an endless cycle, heedless of societal norms, laws, or outmoded notions of morality. It graphically details the headspace of the soul optional, entitled type of taker that has become icon, cliché and shorthand in the popular imagination for a certain breed of Wall Street criminal Continue reading “Movie Review: “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013)”

DVR Hindsight #2 (1/16/14) – HIMYM, Archer, Brooklyn, Justified


The Oscar nods came out this morning just before I went to press (always wanted to say that, though online it doesn’t really apply), and they seem to be in line with expectations. Lots of Gravity, lots of Slave, lots of Hustle, lots of Wolf. I hope to spend a bit of the next month and a half familiarizing myself with the competitors, but for the moment, let’s reflect on a busy start to the TV week, as two Fall seasons pass their midway points, one new season finds its footing and another pulls the rug out from beneath both its characters and its audience. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #2 (1/16/14) – HIMYM, Archer, Brooklyn, Justified”

Movie Review: “Her” (2014)


“We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself…joy.”

I am perfectly capable of being entertained by a film without being deeply involved either by or in it, which is a damned good thing for Hollywood. In this era of highly profitable but increasingly empty spectacle, most filmmakers seem neither inclined nor, frankly, equipped to invest their characters with recognizable human traits, desires or motivations, unless that motivation is to not be blown up by alien attack or murdered by Tom Cruise, which I think everyone can relate to and rally behind. Characteristics that do happen to be assigned are often arbitrary, and seemingly designed to help the audience tell terminally bland pretty people apart from the rest of their test marketable group. Continue reading “Movie Review: “Her” (2014)”

DVR Hindsight #1 (1/13/14) – NFL, Downton, Bob’s, GoT trailer


It was nice to see that the Golden Globes seemed to share the wealth last night, and gratifying that the trophy distribution seemed worthy as well as diverse. I had very few problems with any of the announced winners (go Spike Jonze, go both Amy Adams and Poehler, go Steve McQueen and co., go Brooklyn Nine-Nine), but that doesn’t mean I watched the show either. No, I normally have three big DVR days per week: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. When I have enough to say about the prior evening’s programming, I’ve decided I’ll wrap my thoughts up into a semi-regular feature and post it here. It should hopefully be a breezy enough read. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #1 (1/13/14) – NFL, Downton, Bob’s, GoT trailer”

Concert review: J. Roddy Walston and The Business


Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio – November 11, 2013

I really don’t want to make J. Roddy Walston & the Business out to be more than they are, when what they are – a rollicking, hard-working, soulful, piano-infused rock quartet – will so nicely suffice. Frontman Walston sings a bit like Bon Scott, phrases his lyrics a bit like Robert Plant, and has the stage presence of a mutant cross between Jerry Lee Lewis, The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson and Pantera’s Phil Anselmo, one moment leading a gospel tinged southern rock exploration and the next pounding the keys and head banging with total, infectious abandon. Continue reading “Concert review: J. Roddy Walston and The Business”

Movie Review: “Gravity” (2013)


“You just point the damned thing at Earth. It’s not rocket science.”

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s outer space pressure cooker Gravity is a worthy and thrilling follow-up to his 2007 masterpiece Children of Men, a gritty dystopian sci-fi epic which contained, among other set pieces, an unbroken 8-minute shot tracking the protagonist’s desperate navigation of a raging urban war zone that remains the most staggering and visceral battle sequence I’ve ever seen on film. With Gravity, Cuaron attempts to one-up his own classic work by maintaining the former’s ridiculous intensity level but turning the entire film into one woman’s existential struggle against the implacable void of outer space, with outstanding results. Continue reading “Movie Review: “Gravity” (2013)”

Concert review: Frightened Rabbit

Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio – October 15, 2013

Anyone who has ever been out in public with me, particularly to a concert, knows I have a general blanket disdain for my fellow man and a hysterically low annoyance threshold, so last night’s Frightened Rabbit concert was inevitably a sort of good news/bad news proposition. First, the good news, which was ample: the band was simply awesome, and played what can sometimes be disarmingly delicate music on album ferociously live, with very little degradation of what makes the original recordings so charming and memorable. Continue reading “Concert review: Frightened Rabbit”

LeBatard, PTI protest too much…ESPN eats own tail


It’s not that I’m uninterested in sports talk radio host Dan LeBatard’s unorthodox protest against what he considers the MLB Hall of Fame’s archaic and “broken” election policy. In fact, I think he has a point, somewhat inelegantly stated. He famously (I suppose, in certain circles) recently farmed his Hall of Fame vote out to the readers of, then submitted the results of the notoriously prickly, influence neutral (as much as any CAN be, in my opinion) website’s fan voting as his official ballot. LeBatard, who seems to have two default settings as a sports personality – righteous indignation and grating buffoonery – sought to prove some elusive point about the Baseball Hall’s arbitrary, elitist induction process, Continue reading “LeBatard, PTI protest too much…ESPN eats own tail”