Stranger Than Fiction almost instantly struck me as an out of nowhere delight. One of the most pleasantly surprising left field favorites in recent memory, for me personally.
It’s smart, but not pretentious. Original, but not too far from the norm. It makes the complex seem simple and reachable, and it never stretches out any possible turns farther than need be. Beyond the actual core of the story, a couple of the “real-life” scenarios were unlikely, but were presented in a way that made them seem rather plausible.
The film’s most astonishing achievement, may be the fact that it makes it possible to relate to (not to mention, immensely enjoy) a slightly boring, number-crunching IRS agent. To take a lead character that is so potentially humdrum and transform him into a magical presence, is no small feat and seems to be a dying artform these days.
The movie has a great script, a euphoric feel, stellar direction and outstanding performances. Here are a few of them:
Will Ferrell (Harold Crick) has gained my full respect with his performance here. Doing these more “serious” roles, that everyone seems to be focusing on, comes pretty naturally to him, basically because he’s a natural for the screen. He is not the quintessential leading man, but he seems to be a man of humility and personal comfort, which translates well to the screen and to the people, whether he’s keeping it light or heading towards the heavy. Simple conclusion: It’s easy to be believable when you seem to be pretty much just being yourself up there on the screen, for the most part, with only a little bit of help from your friends.
After a predictable and over the top opening scene for her, Maggie Gyllenhaal (Ana Pascal) delights as a rugged, yet naturally welcoming female presence; a stabilizing force that any slyly mysterious movie containing that many questions and possible outcomes, is in dire need of.
Queen Latifah (Penny Escher) is also a surprise here, bringing subtle dimensions to a rather limited role. She is at her best when playing characters who are not written as over the top distractions. Cast her in a lesser supporting role, where she is nowhere near the focal point, and she will bring something special to it, and make it stick. This is a massively underappreciated talent. I think the movie world would benefit greatly from her never being the star of the show ever again, and that is the highest compliment I could pay her.
Dustin Hoffman (Professor Jules Hilbert) is outstanding and loads of fun as a slightly quirky teach who is trying his darndest to help Ferrell find the way, even if he’s not really sure what in the dickens is going on himself.
Tony Hale (Dave) of Arrested Development is also awesome as Will’s quietly well-adjusted buddy from work.
Fiction should be required viewing for any aspiring writer. It inspired me to the point where I was creating multiple screenplays in my head throughout, even though I was transfixed on the very story that I was watching. It’s been too long since I’ve been this positively moved and influenced by a film.
Going to the movies can change your life. Who knows? Maybe this movie has pushed me towards my own masterpiece. The fact that it made me want to do anything, is a testament that should not be overlooked. It’s so easy to forget a movie once you’ve left the dark confines of the screening room, so for one to stick with me this much, was an unknown treasure that could be quite valuable to me for years to come.
At times, it reminded me of other movies, (Adaption., Science of Sleep, Truman Show, the Game, etc.) but it’s impossible and unfair to directly compare it to anything else under the sun. This was a one of a kind gift that’s better than mostly anything in its genre.
The movie was very funny, but it wasn’t very laugh out loud funny. It was more of a subtle, charming humor, but it was just as rewarding for me as many of my favorite slapstick comedies. This brand of humor is the most excellent of its kind in recent memory. Certain lines wouldn’t get a laugh out of me for 5 to 10 seconds. It’s not that they didn’t hit me the first time, they just hit me again, and harder, the second time around, and it would bring a rare chuckle out of me that I can’t quite put my finger on and that I haven’t experienced in a real long time. That’s a beautiful thing.
This was an innovative motion picture for sure, that was quite mind blowing at times, but it was also massively heartwarming. The most infectious part of it may be its most generic feature:
No matter how hard you try to change the face of movie making, its still hard to beat human nature. The act of falling in love with someone for the first time may still be the best story ever told, the most life-changing thing we may ever experience and the most difficult act of them all to follow. Luckily, screenwriter Zach Helm and director Marc Foster both seem to recognize this, and run with it to stunning effects.
If you believe that something as simple as a movie, or a fantasy can be inspiring and can speak to you ever so uniquely, or you simply believe in a thing called love and everything that relates to it, no matter how far-reaching, then I highly recommend you go see this movie. It may touch you in a similar, or totally different way.
The best movies are the ones that can be a million different things to a million different people. This is one of those movies.
Truth is stranger than fiction.Life is stranger than fiction.Love is stranger than fiction. And more beautiful, too.
This movie comes pretty damn close to capturing what love can, though.
It exceeded my expectations tenfold and it made exceedingly far out things seem attainable. I hope it can do the same for you.
Hi there. My name is Jonny Sparkles. I’m a stand up comedian. I’ve been doing it for about two years and things are going relatively well. I’ve been very lucky for the most part.
But over the last month or so, things have felt uneasy. There is a disturbance in the force. Things can get lonely for a performer. Stand up comedy isn’t easy and unfortunately, it’s also not always fun, although it most definitely should be. There is way too much drama and bickering in the world of comedy for it to even be labeled as such, but some of us do our best to ignore all that bullshit, because making you laugh is all that matters.
Unfortunately, though, evil will continue to rear its ugly head for a long, long time. Allow me to speak for a bit on a few things that have been making me ill over the last smidgen of life. At the end of my grievance, I will tell you why none of it matters. Well, nothing much that’s extremely negative and cynical in life matters. In my opinion, it’s rather easy. I simply feel that you have to make the best of each day and try to bring as much quality goods to the table as possible. It’s a shame not all of us live this way, because living the opposite way might just be a scourge…
But since so many other people get to be negative all the time, I’m going to state what has been ailing my soul here for a bit, before I head back to Happyville. The irony is I have a feeling a lot of people will come at me with exactly what I’m speaking out against, after reading this, but my guess is those are people who choose not to like me and don’t want to understand me, and I doubt I really have any opportunity, or real desire to turn them around anyway. It has always puzzled me why people like that would stick around, but that’s their cross to bear. I can only continue to be me. I know that no matter how well-meaning my flaws, imperfections and idiosyncrasies are, sometimes they will rub people the wrong way. I can’t and never will please everyone. But anyway, I’ve babbled for far too long already. Here are a few things that have been annoying me lately:
I’m sick of factions. Sick of hypocrisy. Sick of misdirected love, misdirected hate, misdirected jealousy and misdirected adoration and misdirected hostility. Sick of fake approval. Sick of backstabbing. Sick of shit talking. Sick of arrogance. Sick of people knocking their colleagues down. Sick of colleagues not picking each other up.
I’m sick of people sleepwalking through what really matters. Sick of putting work in for people who don’t seem to care, appreciate or understand what my master plan is and that I actually have one. Sick of misunderstandings. Sick of positive feedback misconstrued and twisted into non-existent negative tongue lashings.
I’m sick of low turnouts and slow burnouts. Sick of talking when no one is listening and explaining why I’m not talking when I choose to be silent. Sick of being accused of everything under the sun when I’m just doing my best to be happy day in and day out.
I’m sick of people changing overnight for no apparent reason. Sick of people not practicing what they preach. Sick of the lack of support coming directly from people who I support and defend undyingly. Sick of not enough people having my back. Sick of strangers being nicer to me than some of my “friends”.
I’m sick of colleagues not “Yes and”-ing me. Sick of being a starving artist. Sick of assholes having more good luck than me. Sick of people not understanding what the difference between real art and bullshit is. Sick of people settling for what goes down easier instead of acquiring a taste for gourmet art.
I’m sick of waiting, when I know I’m pretty much ready. Sick of not knowing how and where to make my first step. Sick of blaming myself for where I’m at. Sick of thinking about my failures. Sick of myself when I look at you… Sick of being alone. Sick of not having a muse. Sick of not having someone who knows all the right answers and always knows when to give them to me. Sick of not being in love. Sick of not having someone who supports all my decisions and helps guide me when I might be going astray.
I’m sick of the feedback dissipating. I’m sick of people thinking that once you’re more established you don’t need any more support. I’m sick of people complaining when their friends want to share their feelings. I’m sick of people thinking that social networks are a dumb place to vent. I’m sick of people not realizing that anyplace is a good place to vent, because sometimes there’s no one there to listen. I’m sick of people not realizing that sometimes I just need to get out what I’m feeling. I’m sick of people not recognizing that once I vent, I’m fine and there’s no reason to talk me off a ledge, because there isn’t one. I’m sick of people forgetting that we’re all different. I’m sick of people not accepting their friends isms. Sometimes I’m even sick of being nice, but I refuse to stop, because someone has to be. I’m sick of people not giving credit when it’s due. I’m sick of people giving credit when it’s NOT due. I’m sick of poseurs. I’m sick of instillers of false hope. I’m sick of motherfuckers fronting.
I’m sick of writing posts like this. I’m sick of waiting for the day when I don’t have to. I’m sick of being worried about the repercussions that arise from me being honest and speaking my mind.
So you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to continue to work hard on my art form. No, I’m going to work harder. I’m going to kick more asses and take more names. I’m going to keep on honing my craft until recognition isn’t an option. I’m going to fight my way towards success. I refuse to fail. I would never give up because that would make those who dislike me look like geniuses and would betray those who DO believe in me. I will continue to rise above, continue to be positive and supportive and continue to move forward. This is not a competition. This is not a race. This is not a pissing contest. I don’t care if you have a bigger dick than me. I’m a heart man.
To everyone who has laughed at one of my jokes, who has supported me, has given me words of encouragement, has told me that they love me, has really “gotten” it: Thank you very much. I’m not going anywhere but up. You comin’?
People keep asking me if I have voted yet and it’s really starting to annoy me, so I will tell you my answer and that is that I’m not voting this year. And yes, I still have an opinion, which I’m sure many of you will shit on me for.
While I don’t owe you any reasons on why I didn’t vote, (just like you don’t owe me any reasons on why you did vote and who you voted for) I will tell you some of them anyway:
For one, I will admit that I don’t know enough about the local elections to feel like I even have a right to pick winners (although Kirk Caldwell would be the clear choice for me against Uncle Ben).Secondly, as far as the big cheese goes, Obama has my undying support, yes, but there is NO chance he will lose in Hawaii. Unless I’m mistaken (and I don’t think I am), Hawaii has voted for every Democratic presidential nominee after Walter Mondale (and the last few before him). We even voted for Dukakis! (seriously) So in this case, I don’t really think my vote does count that much. (I voted when I lived in Arizona, because those mufuckas be trippin’) If the election does come down to the popular vote and chads be danglin’ and what not, and he loses the popular vote by one vote, then I will probably kill myself. Oh, but wait… Even when you win the popular vote, it doesn’t matter anyway, right? That would be…logical.
Finally, as much as I believe that President Obama has a real chance to turn things around in The Sequel, it doesn’t really matter. Neither candidate is going to pay me for doing stand up, or make sure I don’t live check to check or raise the minimum wage here from one of the lowest in the country (in a state with one of the highest costs of living).
Neither candidate will give me enough money to leave the island and chase my dream, or make flights out of Hawaii cheaper.
I will continue to fight on my own to be successful and happy, and I will continue to dream and hope and believe that better days are coming. And I feel like Obama has a lot of that in him, but sometimes, his hands are simply tied, though I do feel like he’s slowly turning things around.
I believe that Romney’s presidency could be disastrous for the middle class. Sure things have been bad already, but trust me, they could still get worse. And I think if you think he is the better option at this point, then frankly, I think you’re nuts.
But I’m sure by now you don’t care about my opinion by this point anyway, because I chose not to vote. Leave it to my man George Carlin to poke a giant hole in the “don’t vote, don’t complain” theory (in the video posted above). Carlin says, among many other brilliant things, “People say if you dont vote you have no right to complain, wheres the logic in that?”
But hey, I won’t judge your vote if you don’t judge me for not voting. Unless you vote for Romney. Then you might just be a bit cuckoo.
Originally, I was going to post this as a status update on Facebook, but then it just got really long and I know people don’t have the attention span for that on Facebook and although I wrote it with the best of intentions, I know how people are sometimes and I didn’t feel like opening myself up to a barrage of misdirected hostility by those who perceive it as a negative rant. So I figured I’d blog it. That way, if people want to misinterpret it and paint me as a negative creep, well then at least I got a few more hits to my page. With that being said, here’s what I wrote:
(Note: The title of this blog is supposed to be ironical and whut knot. It sounds like something a bitter old punk, or bitter young hipster would say and that’s exactly why I used it. Carry on, Skeeter.)
I just arrived home from performing a wonderful show with some wonderful people (again) and I really wish more of you were there to share it with me (again). And I know this doesn’t just happen at shows I perform at. And I’m not even mad about it (I will say this again later to remind those who enjoy looking for the 1% of negative in an overwhelmingly positive, from the nicest place of the heart, post, quite possibly to no avail, in some cases), because for one, it’s a stupid thing to lose sleep over and be upset about it, and because a lot of the people missing these great shows are great people and sometimes they even have great reasons.
The somewhat puzzling thing for me is, there are some of you who I’ve never seen at any comedy show and I really think it’s something you should experience while you have the chance. And not just for me and my shows. I think I do a reasonably good job of supporting all the different factors that make up the local comedy scene and therefore, I think others who have the power, should support the local comedy scene in general, more often, if and when they have the opportunity.
Eventually, I might very well leave the island. And others will, too. But there will be no shortage of great artists remaining in the scene. But we must keep in mind that if we continue to get low turnouts, we might have to stop performing as many shows as we do now and certain venues will be no more and that will be extremely unfunny for the scene and the community.
I humbly ask members of the scene to be more bipartisan in their support of other teams (we’re all in the same gang, yo) and I ask friends, fans and families of performers to at least consider being more consistent with your attendance.
How many times have you said to yourself, “I need a laugh”? Well, my friends, there are so many opportunities around you to fill that need. I love all of you and without your support, I would be nothing. But I’m humbly asking you to continue to support the local comedy scene (stand up, improv, sketch, etc., etc. and also, I’d recommend hopping around to different places and seeing all the different performers. There’s so much diversity out there and variety is the spice of comedic life, as well) if you have gotten something from it in the past and please, if you’re able to, come out to more shows. Not only does it fill our (and probably *your*) hearts with joy, but it will make sure that there still IS a scene here to support.
Without a true comedy club on the island, we have to all do our part to keep local comedy afloat, if you have a vested interest in it, so that one day we might actually get a true, big, consistent comedy club.
As for now, we love what we do and we will never stop, but it’s always better to see more faces and share our art and soul with more people. We’re all surviving for now, but I fear for the future and really hope that there is a fruitful one for local comedy. Be a part of it now, so that it will be there in the future and you can brag to all the newbies about being there when it all started to flourish and you can tell those whipper-snappers that without you, they wouldn’t be there at that moment and remind them to continue the legacy, so they can brag to future generations about being awesome people.
In closing, I humbly request no messages about me supposedly “whining”, or “crying”, or “trying to start shit”, or messages about how you’re too busy and don’t get enough sleep, etc. If you say that to me, I will feel that you have not read my words or understood my point. I’m not the least bit upset about anything (comedic or otherwise), believe it or not (I know some will never believe that, but “That’s why we can’t all just get along”, as Ad-Rock once said so brilliantly). I’m simply asking people to come out IF they can, WHEN they have time. If you don’t and can’t, nobody is mad at you. This doesn’t come from a place of anger, or any other bad place. It comes from a place of joy and the point is that we would love to share the joy we put into our work with more of you. That’s literally all there is to it.
I’ll never stop dreaming or hoping or staying positive, but I’d love to see a little more positive action across the board for sure and more okoles in our seats. Thank you for reading this and thanks again, as always, for your support. Without you, we’d be having so much less fun. You can count on that.
A few weeks ago, I signed up to get a Barack Obama sticker sent to my house for free. It was to show support for the Obama campaign, but I also love free stickers and pretty much anything free. I still haven’t gotten the sticker yet, but what I have been getting multiple times daily is emails from various supporters of the President and he himself. Today I was surprised and a little delighted to get one from Maya Angelou. She is definitely a one of a kind American and a national treasure, but this email was really colorful and some of the wordage surprised me. Why don’t I stop babbling and just show you the email:
Dear Professor Jonny Sparkles,
First off, I just have to say that I’m a big fan of your comedy. Especially your joke about blue balls. Classic. Now. Onto the real reason I wrote you:
I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and six feet tall. I am not writing to you as a penguin voter. Nor as a rhinoceros voter, or as an otter voter. Mostly because I am not a penguin, rhinoceros or otter, but I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a possum for a day. Or is it an opossum? I can never keep the two straight. But anyways, what I am writing to you as is as a representative of this great country — as an American. Straight up, playa.
It is your job to vote. I mean not literally. They don’t pay you for it and you don’t hate going there. But it is your responsibility, your right, and your privilege. You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich, gangsta or nerdy, less filling or taste great, possum or opossum, tangerine or mandarin orange, Beatles or Elvis, Elvis Costello or Pelvis Castillo…you get the point.
But remember this: In an election, every voice is equally powerful. Even if you sound like the black lady from Police Academy. Don’t underestimate your vote. Voting is the great equalizer. Along with Edward Woodward.
Voting has already begun in some states that President Obama needs to win. So please use this handy tool to make sure your friends in those key states know where to cast their ballot. You know, the morons. But if they are voting for Romney, feel free to give them the wrong directions. You will be doing them a great favor.
As a country, we can scarcely perceive the magnitude of our progress. Holy shit that sounded good.
My grandmother and my uncle experienced circumstances that would break your heart. When they went to vote, they were asked impossible questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, or “How did that show Yes Dear ever last that long on the air?” When they couldn’t answer, they couldn’t vote.
I once debated with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about whether an African American would ever be elected president. He believed it would happen within the next 40 years at the time — I believed it would never happen within my lifetime. And then we thumb wrestled and shared a dozen donuts. Dr. King really enjoyed glazed donuts. Booooring…
I have never been happier to have been proven wrong. About the black president thing. Not glazed donuts being boring. I mean they’re good and all, but you could get a Boston creme, or a long john. I’m surprised he didn’t marry a white woman with taste like that.
And since President Barack Obama’s historic election, we’ve moved forward in courageous and beautiful ways. More students can afford college, and more families have access to affordable health insurance. Women have greater opportunities to get equal pay for equal work. Unfortunately, so many old white men are still total butt nuggets.
Yet as Rev. King wrote, “All progress is precarious.” Whatever that means.
So don’t sit on the sidelines. Don’t hesitate. Don’t have any regrets. Do not pass “Go”. Do not shit where you eat. Don’t pull on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit in the wind. Vote, bitches.
Go, rise up, and let your friends and family in early vote states know where they can vote today. We must make our voices heard. Even the annoying people.
Your vote is not only important. It’s imperative. And if you don’t know what imperative means, then maybe you shouldn’t be voting.
Dr. Maya Angelou AKA M-80
Above these words you see the picture of a man you’ve been demonizing for the last 2 years. If you can’t recognize him he’s the one in the center. The one with the biggest smile on his face. Many of you have continued to viciously defecate on his persona, but as you can see on the man’s face, he has left all the negativity behind. In this moment, he is free. He is happy. He is a kid again. He has moved on to bigger and better things. He has turned the page and is writing a new chapter. His life has changed for the better, probably forever. And yet so many continue to despise the man. Now might be a good time to look at yourself and ask who the real bad guy is. Do you even remember why you hate this man so? Have you truly convinced yourself yet? “I’ve paid my dues time after time. I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime.”
The man is, of course, LeBron James. The best player in basketball for years now (as well as a stand up guy, if you care to notice)–but only now being widely recognized as such–and freshly crowned NBA champion. The nickname King James finally sounds apropos. His smile has never looked more regal. In the wake of 20 plus some-odd months of intense vitriol, criticism, hyperbole and hypocrisy thrown in his direction, LeBron James could have easily become the bad guy that all of his critics so badly want to believe that he already is. The fact is that LeBron is just a better athlete than most anyone in the world. He’s a once in a lifetime talent. Sadly, that fact alone will make some people dislike him. But there are others who hate him solely for the way he flew south for the winners. The man was tired of waiting around for a championship and the help it would take to help him achieve one. He without a doubt made a few bad decisions in leaving Cleveland for Miami, but just for a second, imagine some of the bad decisions you’ve made in your life and how awful it would be if those who didn’t believe in you constantly reminded you of them, while ignoring all the good things you’ve done before and since your errs. “And bad mistakes…I’ve made a few.”
Sure, the officiating in games featuring the Miami Heat (and every other team for that matter) this playoff season was horrendous at times. Atrocious even. And yes, LeBron made a few glaring missteps while bolting for Miami a couple years back. He may have even had flashes of arrogance on the court at times. (Name me one superstar athlete who hasn’t done that in a moment of weakness, or a star athlete who doesn’t get a bit more gritty when racing for the ultimate prize…) But the continued (but hopefully waning) demonization of one LeBron James is not only ridiculous and unfounded at times, but also downright ignorant and hateful, especially when coming from the uninformed, or blindly negative types (i.e. sports fans who just don’t get it and/or casual fans who shouldn’t have an opinion anyway). It’s also getting really boring. A couple weeks ago, during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics, Yahoo! Sports posted a “story” about LeBron “taunting” Kevin Garnett. Basically what happened was KG trash talked LBJ after a made basket and LeBron, in turn, laughed at him. Yes. That is the end of the “story”. And of course, they lured people in by implying that he taunted KG in some evil, mystical way.
If you actually watch LBJ with an open mind (as Miami beat writer Brian Windhorst also alluded to on Friday’s Mike and Mike In the Morning simulcast), it’s clear to see that most of the time, he does all the little things right. For instance, when he has an open court to himself, he has all the ability (not to mention if’s fair game) to do some crazy ass dunk, but he more often than not, will slam it straight in, with little to no pizzazz. He rarely shows up the other team. He also pats the ball to the opposing players after made shots that fall into his hands, whereas the Celtics themselves, for one, had a bad “habit” of knocking the ball away from everyone in an opposing jersey. It’s becoming more and more evident and obvious to me that some people will do everything in their power to bring down those who have reached a pinnacle of success and boy do they enjoy doing it. If the target is a perennial asshole, believe me, I’m all for it. But when it’s someone who has been under a microscope since the time he was a teenager and has handled the majority of his affairs like a gentleman and has been a model citizen on and off the court for at least 95% of his professional career, frankly I find it disturbing. I could find examples of his kindness and grace in the face of all the negativity, hatred and assorted other bullshit, but the people who continue to demonize LeBron, even after last night’s huge, healing step forward–will do so no matter what any objective person with no dog in the race has to say. Facts don’t matter to irrational people. “No time for losers…”
I (and many others) will continue to be a fan of LeBron forever, or until he gives me a legitimate reason not to be. Disgruntled, self-proclaimed enemies will continue to spit venom to a man who they’ve never met. But what will LeBron do? I hope LeBron just keeps doing what he’s been doing. The best thing LeBron can do is to continue to be a model citizen, continue winning, continue smiling and continue succeeding. He will make more mistakes and some will continue to scrutinize every single one of them, but from now on, no one can say he’s not a champion, even though a lot of people still will. Living well is the best revenge and I have a feeling LeBron is doing just fine. I hope LeBron has found his happiness and I would humbly suggest that those who will continue to wish nothing but the worst for him, do the same. It’s not like LeBron is listening anyway. And now he has even less reason to. Let the man enjoy his moment in the sun and find a little bit of that light for yourself. Either way, I’m sure he’ll keep on fighting ’til the end. And as long as he fights the good fight, I’ll be in his corner.
A week or two ago, in response to David Letterman’s own list, I posted my 11 worst Jeremy Lin puns. After last night’s impressive performance against the Cavs, Linsanity is alive and well and I couldn’t help myself. I had to do something else. So now, without any further ado, here are some band name puns inspired by the man, the myth, the leg-Lin:
the (Linternational) Noise Conspiracy
Jeremy Lin Ant Farm
Lin Without Hats
Lin Or Astro-Lin?
Lin Folds Five
the Flaming Lins
the Lin-Yang Twins