Monday, June 19, 2006


this is a photograph of me and my grandparents from about a year and a half ago. my grandfather is in the hospital with esophageal cancer and pneumonia. he will never go home. I've never felt so utterly unable to help.

make sure to tell the people you love that you love them.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

windy & carl

saw Windy & Carl last night at some weird "gallery" (read: big, mostly empty room with a couple of pieces of "art" on the walls). They headlined, playing after three thoroughly uninteresting laptop "performers." It was worth the wait, but the wait was pretty excrutiating. I got a lot of reading done, though. Anyway, W&C are excellent live, and last night was no exception. Lush, gorgeous drones. Man I love them.

Then this morning I decided that after 10 years, I would retire the strings of my acoustic guitar. I know, I know, I probably could have gotten another five or six years out of them, but I was feeling like splurging. I opened the package of strings and found that I only had must have disappeared somewhere. Anyway, I had some trouble re-stringing the guitar, and the bridge really, really needs to be replaced. That didn't stop me, though—I recorded a couple of things. I don't know if they're any good or not, but I'll let 'em simmer.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Last weekend Kim and I had our housewarming party. The TV was on, and Bravo was showing their list of the top 100 comedies of all time. The list, as you can probably surmise, was a travesty. Apparently, "What About Bob" is a better movie than "Dr. Strangelove." Apparently, "Big" is better than "A Fish Called Wanda." Apparently, "Meet the Parents" is better than "Spinal Tap," "The Blues Brothers," and "Office Space." I could go on. So Kim and Annette told me I should make my own list. And I did. And it was good.

Now, several of the movies that were on my long list were also on Bravo's list, believe it or not. So I haven't included them here. That's why "The Big Lebowski," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," the movies mentioned above, and several others aren't here. But without further ado, here are 50 of my favorite comedies (in alphabetical, not preferential, order), along with a few words about why I like them.

American Psycho. Dark, dark comedy about 1980's greed. Christian Bale is excellent in this, and it's infinitely more palatable than the book.

Bad Santa. The ultimate feel-good Christmas movie.

The Bank Dick. W.C. Fields stars as Egbert Sousè (pronounced soo-SAY), a henpecked husband who hates his wife and his obnoxious daughter. He somehow becomes a security guard at a bank, foils a robbery, and makes a movie. Trust me, this movie is hilarious.

Better Off Dead. John Cusack vehicle from 1985 about a kid who keeps attempting suicide after his girlfriend breaks up with him. Features a fat kid who constantly snorts nasal spray, a French chick who knows more than she lets on, and an Asian guy who learned English from Howard Cosell. A staple of my high school years.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Not strictly speaking a comedy, but William Goldman's script is very, very funny. A true classic.

Cabin Boy. Strictly speaking, this is a terrible movie, but it's weirdly hilarious. Plus, it stars Chris Elliott, which can't be a bad thing.

Cannibal! The Musical. The first movie by Trey Parker & Matt Stone, who later did South Park. Really, the title says it all.

Clue. Another staple of my youth. A great ensemble cast, a hilarious screenplay, and it's actually a good movie.

Divorce Italian Style. Marcello Mastroianni stars as a man who falls in love with his cousin, and keeps dreaming elaborate deaths for his wife.

EuroTrip. Mark and Marnie called me while they were watching it, cackling like jackals, telling me I needed to see it. This movie is FAR funnier than it deserves to be.

Fierce Creatures. The same group who brought you A Fish Called Wanda made this film several years later. Almost as funny as Wanda, Fierce Creatures is thoroughly entertaining.

Fletch. While I'm not much of a Chevy Chase fan, I find Fletch hilarious. His deadpan delivery is great, and the screenplay is very tight.

Go. Kind of a teen-flick version of Pulp Fiction-by-way-of-Short Cuts, but far better than such a description lets on.

The Graduate. Again, not specifically a comedy, but I feel like there's enough comedic material in this movie to justify its inclusion on this list.

Grosse Pointe Blank. A hitman attends his 10-year high school reunion. Joan Cusack steals every scene she's in in this movie.

The Hebrew Hammer. Criminally underrated actor Adam Goldberg stars in this spoof of blaxsploitation movies.

High Fidelity. If you know me, it should be obvious why this movie is on my list.

The Horse's Mouth. Alec Guinness stars in Ronald Neame's adaptation of Joyce Cary's novel about a bum who's an artist.

The Hudsucker Proxy. The Coen Brothers' story of the man who gave the world the hula-hoop.

The Importance of Being Earnest. Michael Redgrave stars in Anthony Asquith's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play of mistaken identities. Hilarious.

The Italian Job. Oh, for the days when Michael Caine could do no wrong.

Josie and the Pussycats. No, I'm not kidding. Though it was marketed as a brainless teen flick, it's actually a pretty sharp satire on the music business and the business of selling culture to kids.

Jump Tomorrow. Wonderful indie romantic comedy about a man about to enter into an arranged marriage. Stars Tunde Adebimpe, who later went on to form the band TV On The Radio.

Kind Hearts and Coronets. Dennis Price sets about murdering an entire extended family (all played by Alec Guinness) to gain their fortune.

The Long Goodbye. Elliott Gould stars in Robert Altman's updating of Raymond Chandler's novel. Strange and brilliant, and featuring a fantastically gruff performance from Sterling Hayden.

Man Bites Dog. My token Belgian entry. Another suggestion from Mark, this one's about a documentary crew who follow, and eventually become accomplices to, a serial killer.

Mon Oncle. My favorite Jacques Tati movie. Monsieur Hulot visits his sister and her husband in their ultra-modern, and ultra-bizarre, home.

My Man Godfrey. Classic film about a bum who becomes a butler.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Coen Brothers' dust-bowl adaptation of the Odyssey.

The Odd Couple Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau star in the film of Neil Simon's play. Amazing, amazing movie.

One, Two, Three. James Cagney stars in this Billy Wilder movie about a Coca-Cola representative in West Berlin after WWII trying to keep track of his boss's daughter, who wants to marry a Communist from East Berlin.

The Player. Robert Altman's adaptation of Michael Tolkin's scathing attack on Hollywood.

Punch-Drunk Love. Adam Sandler stars in Paul Thomas Anderson's angst comedy. Whereas in your normal comedy you laugh at things, in this one you cringe. Lush direction, excellent music, a unique and wonderful film.

Real Genius. Val Klimer stars as a genius who doesn't want the laser he's working on to be used for evil. Weird, funny.

The Ref. Denis Leary stars as a criminal who takes a dysfunctional family hostage by accident in a Christmastime robbery.

Repo Man. I don't even know where to begin, so I'll just say this: Emilio Estevez, Harry Dean Stanton, Tracey Walter, punk rock, aliens, televangelism, and car reposession.

Schizopolis. This aptly-titled Steven Soderbergh film stars...Steven Soderbergh as a man whose wife is cheating on him with...Steven Soderbergh...

Shaun of the Dead. Hilarious spoof of zombie movies.

Snatch. Great ensemble cast caper/comedy.

Spies Like Us. Another staple of my youth. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd as spies so deep undercover they don't even know they're decoys.

State and Main. Great David Mamet comedy about Hollywood assholes making a movie in a small New England town.

Strange Brew. It's Hamlet with a LOT more beer-drinking.

Sullivan's Travels. Preston Sturges, Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake. A film director who wants to make a movie about the suffering of man who becomes a bum to find out what it's like.

Super Troopers. Ever wonder what New England state troopers do when they're bored?

Tapeheads. John Cusack and Tim Robbins star as night watchmen who long to become music video directors.

Weekend at Bernie's. Admittedly stupid, but a staple of my youth, and I will defend this movie as actually being funny.

Wet Hot American Summer. Ensemble cast parody of summer camp sexcapades movies. Very, very funny.

The Whole Nine Yards. Look. I don't like Matthew Perry at all. I don't really like Bruce Willis. I think Amanda Peet looks like a horse. I watched this movie with a friend on cable late one night and laughed my ass off. I figured it was because it was 2 AM. I saw it again later and realized that it was, in fact, a very, very funny movie.

Withnail & I. Two down-and-out actors go on vacation when they really should have stayed at home.
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