Backgrounds [Open Thread]

Another late open thread, it seems I’ve been spending my blogging energy on other topics. Generally I was pretty wiped out on Monday and early Tuesday following a busy weekend, but I seem to have recovered. It looks like I’m about to have another busy weekend, but at least this one will be spread out over three days.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Surprisingly, this movie was really very funny. It initially sounded like this would be another formula comedy in which the characters find themselves in increasingly wacky situations, and hilarity is supposed to ensue. This is indeed the structure of the movie, but most of the humor actually derives from the interactions between the characters, who are very well written and acted. The movie is surprisingly sympathetic and realistic in its depictions of shyness, which is only one of several factors contributing to the main character’s romantic difficulties. One of the central jokes is that the male supporting characters are just as dysfunctional in their relationships, even if they have more sexual success, and the mockery is hence pretty egalitarian. The major flaw in this movie comes from the sappier elements, which become more and more prominent towards the end, leading to a finale that played according to genre conventions—but the genre was romantic comedy, when I thought I was watching a sex farce. Maybe that was to attract a broader audience, I don’t know.
The Life and Times: Suburban Hymns: I get kind of a late 90’s alt-rock feel from this album. Lots of distortion and incomprehensible vocals. This is the kind of album that works well in the background, the tracks blend together and individual songs don’t call much attention to themselves. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but makes it a bit frustrating to review when I’ve owned the CD for two weeks and still can’t tell the songs apart. Selecting somewhat randomly, I’m uploading “Coat of Arms”.
I need to get my hands on this track-by-track remix of Bloc Party’s debut album Silent Alarm. Check out that list of contributors…

5 thoughts on “Backgrounds [Open Thread]

  1. Mason

    The trailer for that movie seriously turned me off. I am looking forward to Corpse Bride, however.
    Also, the muon comment in The Aristocrats is _key_ (among several other comments in the movie). Most of the comedians were very funny (and Carrot Top was a notable exception here, but at least his appearance was brief). Did your showing have some sort of weird “preview” (or excerpt or whatever) of a Sarah Silverman movie? That sounds really funny.
    Anyway, I need to figure out a good way to get use something akin to that muon comment at a physics colloquium (and survive to tell the tale). It’s a moral imperative.

  2. Arcane Gazebo

    I don’t think I ever saw the trailer for 40-Year-Old Virgin. I went to see it based on a number of good reviews I had read.
    I would be highly amused to see you make use of something like the muon line. I think in my case it would have to be a phonon or something. I don’t remember seeing anything related to a Sarah Silverman movie, but I imagine it would be entertaining.
    Unrelated: I saw this morning that New Order is releasing a compilation of all their singles. Undoubtedly Mason already has most of these (they don’t seem to be including the B-sides), but since I am relatively uneducated as to New Order’s older stuff I’ll probably pick it up. I know the obvious ones (Blue Monday, Bizarre Love Triangle…) but the others are unfamiliar to me.

  3. Mason

    Well, I will also have to substitute something else for muon, but I figure it can be adjusted to the topic of whatever the seminar happens to be. :)
    New Order previously released a couple different collections with some overlap. I am missing something like 2 or 3 songs from the list. It’s possible that I’m only not remembering a couple names properly, as many New Order song names never actually appear in the lyrics. They are often notorious for doing this. (On that note, there are a couple others of their songs that you probably know but are just not familiar with their titles. True Faith and Regret, for example, got a lot of airplay and crossed over and were played a lot even on many mainstream stations.)

  4. Lanth

    I’ve heard several favorable reviews about The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but I’ve also heard it was similar in humor style to There’s Something About Mary, which makes me think it’s not something I’d enjoy, at least not in theatres. Is that comparison fair?
    The sappiness at the end was explained to me as the obligitory “It wasn’t just about sex, it was really lurv!” moment.

  5. Arcane Gazebo

    Hmm. I would say that the situational humor was in the vein of Something About Mary, but the character-driven humor was generally smarter and wittier than that. At least most of my enjoyment came from the latter elements. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Mary so someone may correct me if I’m misrepresenting it.
    Another way to put this point is that if you found that Something About Mary just wasn’t funny, there’s still plenty to laugh at in 40-Year-Old Virgin. But the gross-out comedy is still present in Virgin, so if you actually find it off-putting it may not be an enjoyable experience.

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