DVR Hindsight #9 (2/27/15): Parks and Recreation finale


Parks and Recreation – “One Last Ride” Season 7, Eps. 12-13 (NBC)

Though I will admit to a false start penalty, I was somehow able to avoid immediately adding my voice to the four corner chorus singing the praises of the Parks and Recreation finale, and of the series in general, this week. I read a few of the pieces and found them all fine, but I wasn’t ready to chime in just then, even though I knew I’d be unable to resist long term. Instead, I made a point of watching “One Last Ride” again. Then I recalibrated, did some pondering, and restarted in earnest. Since I officially entered the review business over a year ago, I’ve found I very rarely watch new shows or movies a second time before commenting on them. This week, I’ve already done it twice. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #9 (2/27/15): Parks and Recreation finale”

Movie review: “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2014)


“Do you like spy movies, Mr. DeVille?”

“Nowadays they’re all a little serious for my taste. But the old ones? Marvelous. Give me a far-fetched, theatrical plot any day…”

“The old Bond movies! Oh man. When I was a kid, that was my dream job: gentleman spy.”

“I always felt that the old Bond films were only as good as the villain. As a child, I rather fancied the futuristic, colorful megalomaniac.”

“What a shame we both had to grow up.”

As long as the genre of “gentleman spy” movies has existed, there seemingly has run a parallel offshoot dedicated to spoofing it. James Bond has always been a moving target, and, having presented a subtle element of camp even in his earliest days, something of a tricky one. It’s worth questioning whether his original parodists plied their trades more out of a sense of affectionate homage or from pure mercenary proximity attraction to big box office…or it would be if the answer wasn’t obvious. As Bond has evolved throughout the years – from Sean Connery’s flinty sex appeal to Roger Moore’s suave drollery, from Timothy Dalton’s aloof workmanship to Pierce Brosnan’s refined amusement, and finally to the grit and athleticism of 21st Century Bond Daniel Craig – his sendups have often seemed terminally lost in their own worlds. Perhaps the time is finally right for a new breed of high class imitation to stake its claim. Continue reading “Movie review: “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2014)”

Concert review: Machine Head


The Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, OH – February 7, 2015

Machine Head roared out of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994 riding a wave of institutional hype that, properly harnessed, could fell a great elk, and possessed of enough obvious, fiery musical potential to roast the sucker on the spot. The institution in question – post-boom, once again underground heavy metal – was a minor one, granted, but the hype, for an ostensibly lucky sub-subset of genre over-enthusiasts like us, was very real, and, in its reach and fervor, inescapable (and, eventually, fairly persuasive). I remember seeing banner ads and full page spreads touting Machine Head’s debut Burn My Eyes in relatively niche publications like Metal Maniacs*, while a younger friend of mine confirmed he first learned of the album’s existence in the pages of Guitar World. First listens, improbably, almost justified the hype. MH frontman/figurehead Robb Flynn cut his teeth as a guitarist in ‘80s thrash cult underdog Vio-Lence, but had an altogether grander plan for his new band, which, ideally, would combine the complexity and musicality of prime Metallica with the muscular groove and seething aggression of Pantera. Continue reading “Concert review: Machine Head”

Dean Smith: An Appreciation

dean smith

It seems to me that becoming a sports fan as a kid is the safest way, though hardly foolproof, to ensure that love (of a particular team, of a program, of a player) might endure over time. People tend to catch the sports bug young or not at all, and early adoption certainly helps inure any budding fan from the host of off-field ugliness and disappointments he or she might experience over a lifetime of support. It also has the curious side effect of making us feel our heroes are immortal, or should be. Sports figures rise and fall, routinely. Sports heroes rise and reign, then decline and fade. It’s all part of the standard narrative. They are so celebrated, so lionized, so lifted above the common rabble, that even if it is never spelled out, immortality is implied in these plaudits, or at least it is there for the youngster to infer. College basketball, even more than its gridiron (or professional) counterpart, is a (fairly) benign cult of personality revolving around its head coach. Stars shine brightly on the court, then inevitably, regularly depart, grist for a wheel that never stops turning, but the coach is perpetual, a fixture, a fulcrum on which the program turns, or has that potential at any rate, assuming, of course, that he’s any good. Continue reading “Dean Smith: An Appreciation”

Post No. 75: Unlimited Mileage


Every 25th post, darkadaptedeye takes a planned break from normal business to plumb the shallow depths of its author’s psyche and/or overtly explore the locked attic of memories it only ever really dabbles in otherwise. You might think of it as a pit stop, or maybe a soft reboot. In “Danse Macabre”, Stephen King termed his own such digression “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”, which I choose to think was kind of charming. Please know I take seriously the challenge of making patent self-indulgence interesting – actual results be damned – and I appreciate you being game. We’ll return to our irregularly scheduled programming shortly…

I traveled to my first ever concert, even if that only involved driving twenty minutes to a neighboring town. I was twelve at the time, eyes wide and overwhelmed, senses primed for meltdown, attention seemingly focused everywhere at once and dutifully lip-synching along to the “hits” even as I struggled to pick words out of the all-encompassing sonic wash. The act in question – whose identity, assuming you don’t already know it, you will only learn from my deathbed – hardly warranted such excitement, but I was content with what I had to work with. That wouldn’t always be the case. Continue reading “Post No. 75: Unlimited Mileage”

The Top Ten (+5): New millennium stand-up comedy albums


Obligatory disclaimer: What follows is my latest list of highly specific things I like, presented in the order I like them. This list makes no allowances for anyone’s taste but my own, nor for colossal, head-slappingly obvious omissions, of which, I’m sure, there are many. It’s pretty much as complete as it’s ever gonna get. By reading further, you absolve me, the author, from any liability related to your potentially scarred psyche – permanently furrowed brows, heart palpitations, etc. Feedback on your own favorites, or what I got wrong or right (or wrong), is both welcome and encouraged.  

In a different time, under different circumstances, I might have been one of those outdoor kids so romanticized in fiction, parenting guides, and modern television commercials touting youth activity (in my day, the NFL sadly couldn’t be bothered to help motivate my butt off the couch). Ideally, I would’ve been off running through a field somewhere, or climbing trees, catching crawdads down at the creek bed or building forts with my little friends. Instead, I was the shy latchkey kid of a hardworking, divorced parent, often left to my own devices and largely bereft of friends. So I spent my childhood diligently making my own fun. I liked watching sports, but didn’t play any except youth soccer and backyard basketball. I loved to read and listen to music, and spent an awful lot of time formulating what would become lifelong passions at the feet of MTV and HBO. I never felt deprived. HBO in particular would prove to be a seminal influence, and among its specialties in the 1980s were movies, boxing, and stand-up comedy. I’ve already spoken a time or four here on the first two topics, but comedy proved no less influential on me growing up. Continue reading “The Top Ten (+5): New millennium stand-up comedy albums”