Saturday, October 01, 2011

You Said that Irony Was the Shackles of Youth

Monster - R.E.M.

Last week news broke out of nowhere that Rock and Roll Hall of Famers R.E.M. were calling it quits after almost three decades and fifteen albums together. It was almost like hearing your grandparents were getting a divorce after all these years. What is most surprising is they are closing up shop after releasing their best album since drummer Bill Berry left the band. Of course this brings up the old sports question of do you retire after winning the championship or keep trying to get one when you are no longer productive, so maybe it is better to call it quits now or turn into The Rolling Stones who have not put out a listenable album in my lifetime.

R.E.M. hit their creative stride the early nineties. Ironically, after being the face of alternative music, or college rock as it was called then, for most of the eighties, the group made it big by going mellow just as alternative was making it into the mainstream. After two album, the band packed in their mandolins and dusted off the guitars for Monster, which was not even a back to their roots movement but ended up expanding their sound even more and this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

Monster started off with the heaviest guitar riff Peter Buck ever on What’s the Frequency Kenneth? setting the listener up for a louder and fuzzier sound. It also us a glimpse into the theme of celebrity that runs throughout the album, with the title of the song coming from a phrase an someone repeatedly yelled at Dan Rather while attacking him. The album also ends with another stalkerish track You which manages to be creepy and awesome at the same time. The other most notable song about celebrity was Let Me In, a tribute to Kurt Cobain who committed suicide months earlier.

Aside from the opening song, the other stand out track is Strange Currency. It is thematically closer to the songs on the previous two albums, but with much more feedback that makes it fit in with the rest of the tracks on Monster. The song may be the sweetest song the band ever wrote after Nightswimming and Michael Stipe shows why he has one of the great voices in the history of rock when he sings lines like, “I need a chance, a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance…” Here is hoping that voice is not lost forever just because the band broke up.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Best of the Week - 9/30/11

Quote of the Week: Honestly after all you sleepovers with the brown boy, a girl is a relief. (Howard’s Mom, The Big Bang Theory)

Song of the Week: Hello - Lionel Richie (Community)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announced: The governing body (or whoever does the nominating) of the Rock Hall released the names of fifteen acts of which five will be inducted next year. Most notable include repeat nominees Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, newbies Eric B. & Rakim and Guns N' Roses. With both the Beasties and Peppers releasing albums this year, I bet both will make it this year (though I contend the Peppers should not get in until the 25th anniversary of Blood Sugar Sex Magic). I have GnR as a lock if only because everyone wants to see who will actually show up. And though a first ballot Hip Hop Hall of Fame inducted, Eric B. and Rakim will doubtfully get in especially with other rappers Beasties likely to be enshrined. If I were a betting man I would put Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and The Spinners grabbing the other two spots. If I am not mistaken, inductees will be announced in December with the ceremony taking place in March here in Cleveland (and I am available to cover the festivities if anyone wants to hook me up with a ticket). Stayed tuned next year when Debbie Gibson finally becomes eligible.

Free Download of the Week: Pilot - Pan Am, Season 1 (iTunes): For those that have missed what I decreed as the best pilot of the new season that I have seen so far, you can catch up before the second episode by downloading the episode on iTunes.

Deal of the Week: Miramax Movies as Low as $5.99 (No Country for Old Men, Sin City, Kill Bill)

New Album Release of the Week: Metals - Feist

New DVD Release of the Week: Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series We are 85 shopping days until Christmas and for those wondering what you can get me, this will do just fine.

Video of the Week: After a slew of some pretty poor chick flicks, Kristen Bell is returning to television this January for House of Lies. I did not know until this teaser that the show is actually a comedy. And hopefully the pantsuit is not a sign of Bell’s wardrobe on the show, but I am always down for watching her dance more.

House of Lies Tease

Next Week Pick of the Week: Pop Up Video, Weekdays at noon on VH1: I have no idea why they ever canceled Pop Up Video returns after a ten year hiatus Monday for sixty new episodes. Personally I cannot wait until the first weekend marathon where I can veg out and enjoy the new episodes for a whole day.

On a side note, "Weird Al" Yankovic Live! - The Alpocalypse Tour hits shelves Tuesday but for those that cannot wait until then or just rather watch it for free, tune in tomorrow to watch Weird Al perform songs from his new album like TMZ, classics like Smells Live Nirvana and of course some polka, most in his traditional costumes. And since the special was filmed in Toronto, Al naturally breaks out Canadian Idiot.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Previewing Homeland

The cast of Homeland on Shwtime

The most obvious theme of the fall season are retro hot chick jobs from the sixties, but a more rampant theme of this fall are shows that sound like a good idea for a movie but how do you make it into an actual series (shows that fall into this category include Terra Nova, Ringer, Revenge, Persons of Interest, A Gifted Man, midseason shows like Apartment 23, Bent, Awake, The River and let’s not forget Heart of Dixie which was actually a movie, but was called Doc Hollywood back then). You can extend that to cable with Showtime’s Homeland.

The show follows Claire Danes (The Mod Squad) as a CIA operative who gets some questionable intelligence that Al-Qaeda had turned a prisoner of war and is convince that long presumed dead Marine sergeant Damien Lewis (Robinson Crusoe) who is found alive after eight years in captivity may be some sort of Manchurian Candidate. Much like Jack Bower before her (the show is from the creators of 24), Danes goes further than the Patriot Act would allow to see if her suspicions are correct much to the dismay of her old boss and mentor Mandy Patinkin (Alien Nation) who is still dealing with his superiors at how Claire got her original intel in the first place.

Also having rough time with Lewis’s return is his family who has long thought he was dead. His daughter has reached the rebellious phase and his son is too young to even remember a time when he was around. His wife Morena Baccarin (whose hair has thankfully grown out to a much hotter length than her time on V, but still kind of still looks like an alien) has even moved on since her husband had been declared dead and naturally she started hooking up with his best friend Diego Klattenhoff (Mercy).

If gaining intelligence from someone about to be executed in exchange to keep his family safe, Danes is also facing her own demons that may stem from her blaming herself for not stopping what happen on September 11, 2011, but may actually go back further. Homeland plays like a less heady and more action version of AMC’s short-lived intelligence based show Rubicon. As great as the first fifty minutes of the premiere episode is, I really did not like the ending (which I really cannot explain why without giving away major spoilers). If Homeland was a one hundred minute movie and what happened and the episode was actually the start of a third act of a movie, I would be fine, but it seems like they are showing their cards way too early for a twelve episode season. Hopefully they prove me wrong for the second episode.

Homeland airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Previewing Rocket City Rednecks

The boys of Rocket City Rednecks

Redneck hit their boon in the nineties, Jeff Foxworthy turned his popular phrase (You might be a redneck if…) into bestselling books and a television series on two different networks, Garth Brooks outsold everyone in the decade, redneck fashion mainstays mullets, flannel and overalls broke into the mainstream and we even elected our first hillbillies president in Bill Clinton. But the pop culture stranglehold the Caucasian subculture seemed to be released when we elected our second redneck president and the sub culture just did not seem as entertaining anymore.

Mow that brush clearing George Bush is long gone, maybe it is time for a redneck resurgence and first up is Rocket City Rednecks. But the men of the show are not your regular Jethro or Cletus, they are redneck rocket scientists. No seriously, the main redneck on the show works at NASA’s Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the group of five members boast eight advanced degrees among them. But do not let the degrees fool you, they are also certifiable rednecks who scoffs when one asks, “Where are you gonna find 500 beer cans.”

And you might be a redneck if you star in episodes named Bomb-Proof My Pick-Up and Moonshine Rocket Fuel. But this is not Jackass for Hicks, the rednecks will be putting those PhD’s to good use for instance they are trying bomb-proofing their truck in hopes to use their idea for armored trucks in war. Plus this is where the 500 beer cans come in. And since they cannot find anyone to be a crash test dummy, they make their own out of fruit and eggs. As for the moonshine rocket fuel, NASA is also looking for ways to lower fuel cost and the boys have an idea that moonshine just may work but first they have to put it to the test. Both episodes air tonight.

The Rocket City Rednecks have plenty of great one liners throughout the episodes including their motto “Safty Third” (tune in to find out what is one and two) and “it is easier to get forgiveness than permission sometimes.” Also this season the redneck try to creat a lightweight, bullet-proof exoskeleton, build a homemade submarine out of kegs, proctect the Earth from an asteroid, convert an RV into an interplanetary spaceship, use hydroelectricity to power their custom built pontoon boat, and build a spy satellite. The show also has a theme song even the Clampett’s would enjoy.

Rocket City Rednecks airs Wedenesdays at 9:00 with back to back episodes on the National Geographic Channel. Check out a preview of tonight’s premiere below:

Rocket City Rednecks

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Previewing Happy Endings 2.x

The cast of Happy Endings

Happy Endings seemed like one of those midseason replacements that a network just picked up in case something failed miserably in the fall and ends up burning off during the summer if they do not air earlier. The show looked headed for that fate, being scheduled at the non-sitcom friendly 10:00 and back to back episodes at that. But the new brass at ABC saw something they liked be it either alright ratings in a bad timeslot or something else but not only did they renew Happy Endings but gave it its cushiest place on it schedule, the post-Modern Family timeslot.

Eliza Coupe has a hot new haircutHappy Endings returns for its second season tomorrow and little has changed (except for Eliza Coupe hotter new haircut) and the opening scenes is so bizarre with the gang finally using Dave and Alex’s honeymoon suite a year later that will make fans of the first season happy though I am not sure how it will endure to Modern Family fans to stick around to give the show a shot. With the show’s renewal, Penny has decided to declare this The Year of Penny with her newly bought condo while Brad invests in an interesting new wardrobe. Guys may want to tune in just to see Elisha Cuthbert’s hula-hoop dance.

Elisha Cuthbert gets bouncy in the new season of Happy EndingsNext week Penny and Alex run into some mean girls, one of which who was actually in Mean Girls (sorry, no Amanda Seyfried or Rachael McAdams, it is Nicole Gale Anderson from Mean Girls 2) and fans of the eighties will enjoy the Cocktail montage that happens. But the highlight of next week is when Jane tries to find out if the egg she donated in college turned into a nine year old little-Jane walking around Chicago to a disastrous effect. And by disastrous I mean hilarious. But a warning to hip-hop fans Max wrongfully attributes an N.W.A. lyric to Biggie (sure they both stole the line from the same movie, but N.W.A. stole it first). Though not seen in the first two episodes, expect Megan Mullally (Party Down) to sow up sometime soon as Penny’s optimistic mother.

Happy Endings airs Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Happy Endings on iTunes. If you missed the first season or just want to rewatch it in its intended order, including the mysterious thirteenth episode that ABC did not air until late August, as well as about ten minutes of deleted scenes, you can but it on DVD (see below).

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Want My Music Television - 9/26/11

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Gonna Get Over You - Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles dancing. That’s all.

Polka Face – “Weird Al” Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Polka Face
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes

Sure nine of the songs featured in the song made my Worst Songs of the Year lists (as opposed to three that made a Best list) but “Weird Al” Yankovic has the Midas touch in his ability of turning crap into gold.

Time Spent in Los Angeles – Dawes

Dawes makes Los Angeles sound a little drab in this song but do you know what the city of Angels has that, say Cleveland does not? When you throw a house party there, it is stocked with absurdly attractive chick even if the dudes look like darned dirty hippies while here Mellissa McCarthy would be one of the more attractive party-goers if she attended. And it is even worse in the winter when what constitutes as hot chicks here seem to go into hibernation. I really need to spend some time in Los Angeles.

Bad - The Cab

An interesting video from The Cab only told through cell phone messages, but they really over played the amount of pictures, something that has been done before, they should have kept it to a more realistic amount. Well except for the sexting scene, more pictures there would have been preferable.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 9/25/11

How I Met Your Mother: The writers are just messing with us. Multiple time future Ted said they were close to the end only to pull a “psych!” But the end of the second episode did give me some hope. I have long asserted that the show has not been consistently good since Victoria went off to Paris so hopefully she sticks around for the whole season even if she still turns out not to be the mother.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.

The Sing Off: Watching Sara Bareilles in her debut makes me wonder why anyone would tune into a show featuring a Pussycat Doll as a judge. She knocked it out of the park and this show clearly has the best and most entertaining judging panel of any show currently on television. My early favorites are Urban Method and Yellowjackets.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs from The Sing-Off on iTunes.

The Lying Game:As I long suspected, all the parents of the main cast knew the twins mother, now I just need conformation that one of the dads is actually their birth dads. Otherwise a fairly boring episode until the dude punched the other one.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Lying Game on iTunes.

Castle: Even though I knew there was no chance Beckett was not going to make it, those first couple minutes were still pretty intense. As for the case of the week, I almost buy why dude stayed in the room, but why ball up under the bed right where the blood was seeping through, are why hide under the bed at all?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Parenthood: I really don’t understand why the parents of the boy Vince assaulted are pressing charges. Doesn’t the district attorney turn around and arrest the parents for having teen drinking at their house? Maybe it is not in California, but that is a pretty big offence that will get you a couple weeks in jail for. But I really like the pregnant latte girl, the rejection scene was one where you keep on rewinding with saying no, just more heartbreaking the previous time. Her facial expressions just sold the scene. Is it too late to get this actress her own show for midseason?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Parenthood on iTunes.

Sons of Anarchy: There is a reason why I never watch any of those torture porn films like Hostel and when the only thing I can think about from this episode is the fire ant scene is the very reason why not.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Sons of Anarchy on iTunes.

Survivor: South Pacific: We got a small preview of it last week, but Brandon is clearly certifiable. The way he looks and talks about Mikayla (dude blamed her for him being attractive to her) is beyond creepy and if one of them is not voted out soon I fear for her safety. If Coach were smart he would cut Brandon loose as soon as he can (and replace him with Edna in his alliance) because you cannot have a guy like that around. But this is Coach we are talking about so we will have to see.
You can stream recent episodes over at

Survivor on iTunes

Modern Family: Nooooooooo!!! They cannot leave Dylan in Colorado, I would rather have him marry Hayley then have him left a hundred miles away.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Modern Family on iTunes

Revenge: Longtime readers of the 9th Green know how much I hate when episodes start off in the third act before flashing back to the beginning moments later. It shows lazy writing and they are basically saying to the audience “the first part of the episode is boring so we are going to start the episode off with the most interesting scene instead.” So image how my head almost exploded when Revenge started off the season with what I am assuming is the season finale (if the story starts on Memorial Day, it makes sense it will end on Labor Day). If it were not for Amy Abbott I may have turned the television off right then.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: When Penny slept with Raj last season I really thought that that really rued her character by doing so. Apparently someone on the show figured that out over the summer hiatus and revised that Raj had some performance issues which I guess is better than a dream sequence. But I did find the discussion of who Penny would have slept with first had Howard not had a fiancé funny.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Community: Yeah, this show completely went off the deep end.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.