An ‘An Evening with Tim Heidecker’ Review with jmunney

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An Evening with Tim Heidecker (CREDIT: Tim Heidecker/YouTube Screenshot)

I’d love to review the bad comedy-deconstructing Evening with Tim Heidecker in the style of a poorly written blog, but it took Tim years to perfect his routine, so I think it might be safer for me to do something a little more straightforward. So here are some of my favorite bits from the special, recorded in the hope that this will increase their chances for meme-ification and being remembered fondly for posterity.

-Tim says early on, “I love T&A.” It might not mean exactly what you think…
-“Boy, there’s a lot of women in music these days.”
-Lady Gaga? “What’s next? Lord Goo-Goo?”
-Tim’s New Year’s resolution: “No more bullshit.” And then there’s a whole routine about not putting up with any more bullshit!
-“Because of Obamacare”
-Instead of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia,” it’s “Russia, Russia, Russia.” (There’s a lot of strained pauses in the delivery of that one.)
-“You better watch your ass, Batman.” (I forget what led up to this line, but I wrote it down in my notes, so I just HAD to share it.)

I Have One Important Thing to Say About ‘The Witches’ (2020)

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The Witches 2020 (CREDIT: Warner Bros./YouTube Screenshot)

Starring: Octavia Spencer, Anne Hathaway, Jahzir Kadeem Bruno, Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock, Codie Lei-Eastick, Kristen Chenoweth

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Rating: PG

Release Date: October 22, 2020 (HBO Max)

There’s one thing I really want to mention about the 2020 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. It’s something that caught me by surprise, and I was happy to have it. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I had seen the trailer ahead of time, but I still would have been delighted by it nonetheless. I’m talking about Chris Rock’s narration! I had no idea he was playing the older version of our hero (who’s named Hero). But oh yeah, I totally approve of the flavor that he added to the mix. And at the end when we got a glimpse of him in the flesh, I was thrilled to see what he’s up to now. The rest of the movie is mostly more-or-less standard kids adventure fare. I would have hoped for something a little weirder from Bob Zemeckis taking on Roald Dahl. Maybe I missed some hidden weirdness!

Grade: 5 Giant Chickens Out of 3 Mice

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Adele/H.E.R.

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SNL: H.E.R., Adele, Kate McKinnon (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

There is a long and proud tradition of musicians serving as both host and musical guest on the same episode of Saturday Night Live. There’s also a tradition that’s not quite as vaunted but that’s just as notable of musicians serving as only host while letting someone else provide the tunes. On October 24, 2020 AD, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (dude, we’re getting Adele!) joined the likes of Sting, Snoop Dogg, and Chance the Rapper by making her hosting debut while allowing Gabriella Wison (aka H.E.R.) to make her MG debut. And now I am going to offer you, my readers, some reactions to how they performed.

When I woke up on Sunday, it was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which was sweet relief from a preceding week that had been a bit of an Indian summer with swampy 60-something days. So as I’m writing this review, I’m not sweating any more than I ought to be on a late October day in Brooklyn.

Cold open was of course the last Debate (Grade: What We Expected). I laughed when Jim Carrey Biden revealed that he bought his suit on a train.


That’s Auntertainment! Episode 20: Palm Springs and the Groundhog Day Time Loop

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Time Loopers (CREDIT: NEON/Hulu; YouTube Screenshot)

Jeff welcomes guests Peter and Tim of the Dead Times podcast to discuss Groundhog Day, the Groundhog Day-influenced Palm Springs, and all the other time loops we’re stuck in.


Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 10/23/20

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Eric Andre Show Season 5 (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (October 23 on Amazon) – If you’re in the mood for a Very Nice evening.

The Eric Andre Show Season 5 Premiere (October 25 on Adult Swim)
American Housewife Season 5 Premiere (October 28 on ABC)
Superstore Season 6 Premiere (October 29 on NBC)

-Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You

An Evening with Tim Heidecker (October 23 on YouTube) – Should be as funny as 5 bags of popcorn.

Sacha Baron Cohen Can Still Clown Us Like No Other in ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (CREDIT: Amazon Studios)

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova

Director: Jason Woliner

Running Time: 96 Minutes

Rating: R for No-Holds-Barred Outrageousness

Release Date: October 23, 2020 (Amazon Prime Video)

About four and a half minutes into Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Kazakhstani reporter Borat Sagdiyev says “My wife,” and when I heard it, all felt right in the world. The first Borat flick came out on November 3, 2006, and on November 4, 2006, the world became overrun with hacky Borat impressions. In the fourteen years hence, his catchphrases have gone through a cycle of sincere to ironic to post-ironic and back again about 14 times (or maybe 1400 times). Somehow, though, Baron Cohen is now able to slide back into his famous creation without suffering one bit under the weight of his legacy. Borat’s reputation is primarily about his ability to hold up a mirror to society, but he’s also a fascinating character in his own right, layered with so many levels of absurd details. Joining that absurd litany is his daughter Tutar, brought to dementedly go-for-broke life by Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova.

A new Borat film is enough justification for a chaotic imp like myself to pepper all my conversations with outbursts of “wah wah wee wah” and “very nice,” but will everyone else be speaking the same language, as they were back in 2006? My gut says no, because it’s nearly impossible to recreate a phenomenon like that, but also because this sequel won’t have the benefit of huge crowds enjoying it together in packed theaters. Of course, that formula is a bit different in the midst of a pandemic, so there’s a chance that Subsequent Moviefilm actually could hit the zeitgeist pretty hard as a straight-to-streaming release. But ultimately, to my mind anyway, that shouldn’t be the main goal of this endeavor. The most important question to ask ourselves should be (and I cannot reiterate this enough): after watching this film, does saying “my wife!” feel funnier than it did before? In my case, the answer is “absolutely.”

As much of a big deal as I’m making of the “my wife” of it all, it should be noted that that gag is a relatively small portion of the running time. Ostensibly, Baron Cohen’s goal is to once again expose the dark, bigoted underbelly lurking within America. But if you’ve lived in this country for the past few years, you might have noticed that there’s not that much left that needs exposing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still revelations to be had. The MAGA types that Borat encounters along the way behave pretty much as you expect them to. But once he tells them stories about the backwards traditions of his fictional Kazakhstan, it starts to get interesting. Some people play along, perhaps just to be polite, while others double down on their prejudiced impulses. But then there are those moments when the most knee-jerk conspiratorial thoughtfully disagree with him, laying bare the sort of pretzel logic that is perhaps quite commonplace in human society.

While the improvised interactions with civilians are frequently poignant, it’s the scripted moments that I found most hilarious. The plot is driven by Borat’s mission to deliver to Vice President Mike Pence (“America’s most famous ladies man”) a gift of Johnny the Monkey, Kazakhstan’s most popular primate porn star. But when that goes awry, the plan changes to him offering the teenage Tutar as a new wife for Pence (or whomever in Donald Trump’s orbit will take her). Baron Cohen is famed for his clown training, and Bakalova matches (and often tops) him in her willingness to transform into the most comical possible version of herself.

As outrageous as their antics mostly are, there’s also a sweet, beating heart at the core of their interactions. He wants her to sleep in the biggest, most comfortable cage in the world, and she loves him for his efforts to do so, but she eventually starts to wonder if maybe the fairy tales she’s heard about women not being able to do pretty much anything aren’t as true as she once thought. (The revolution she endures when confronted with the truth actually reminds me of the fight scene in They Live, with its similar underscoring of the disruption inherent to having your eyes opened.) So while Borat’s cries of “my wife” have been delightfully echoing in our ears for quite some time, maybe now they’ll also be paired with proud proclamations of “my daughter.”

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is Recommended If You Like: Hearty Belly Laughs, Fractured Fairy Tales, Cultural Icons That Endure Much Longer Than Expected

Grade: 4 out of 5 Hrams

Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Issa Rae/Justin Bieber

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SNL: Justin Bieber, Issa Rae (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

SNL Season 46 Log. Episode 3. No major emergencies. Time for some funnies!

Insecure creator-star Issa Rae is making her hosting debut, and I think that’s a commendable booking decision. She has the chops to be goofy, which she doesn’t always have the opportunity to show off in Insecure. But on SNL, there’s plenty of room for her to kick back and be silly. In fact, it’s encouraged.

As for the tunes, Justin Bieber is the musical guest for the fourth time in his career and the second time in this calendar year. To which I say, “Huh.” I’m open to the possibility of liking his songs more now and in the future than I have in the past, but I wouldn’t have pegged him to be such a Studio 8H fixture at this point.

I woke up early Sunday morning. Before 7:00 AM, even! But I stayed in bed a little past 7:00 because I like to rise with the sun. Then I watched this episode and took some notes while I watched.


That’s Auntertainment! Karaoke Korner 10

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Karaoke Korner is back at it again! The lineup this time comes from Jeff’s cousin Riley, who has assembled the motley crew of the Beatles, Paramore, and Slipknot.

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 10/16/20

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The Trial of the Chicago 7 (CREDIT: Netflix)

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (October 16 on Netflix)
The Witches (October 22 on HBO Max) – Bobby Zemeckis takes on Roald Dahl.

Card Sharks Season Premiere (October 18 on ABC)
Supermarket Sweep Reboot Premiere (October 18 on ABC) – Host Leslie Jones sends the contestants on their grocery hunts.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Season Premiere (October 18 on ABC)
black-ish Season 7 Premiere (October 21 on ABC)
The Conners Season 3 Premiere (October 21 on ABC)
The Goldbergs Season 8 Premiere (October 21 on ABC)

Music on TV
-Miley Cyrus Backyard Sessions (October 16 on MTV)

Music on Stage as a Movie on TV
David Byrne’s American Utopia (October 17 on HBO)

Dead Eyes Season 2 (Premieres October 22) – Connor Ratliff is still wondering why Tom Hanks fired him from Band of Brothers.

‘American Utopia’ Doesn’t Lose Any of Its Power in Its Trip From the Stage to HBO

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American Utopia (CREDIT: David Lee)

Starring: David Byrne, Chris Giarmo, Tendayi Kuumba, Bobby Wooten III, Karl Mansfield, Gustavo Di Dalva, Jacquelene Acevedo, Angie Swan, Mauro Refosco, Daniel Freedman, Stephane San Juan

Director: Spike Lee

Running Time: 105 Minutes

Release Date: October 17, 2020 (HBO)

Stop Making Sense is one of the best, if not The Best, concert documentaries ever made. I don’t know anyone who’s seen it who doesn’t share that opinion. Can lightning strike twice? Probably not, but something very similar to (but not exactly the same as) lightning can strike (or do something similar to striking) after that initial lightning strike. And that’s what we have in the case of American Utopia, which features Talking Heads frontman David Byrne with a group of musicians who are not Talking Heads members performing a set that includes some Talking Heads songs as well as other prime selections. It started as an album of originals released in 2018, made its way to Broadway in 2019, and now one of those performances has been recorded for a concert film directed by Spike Lee. If you know Byrne and his singular penchant for showmanship, then it goes without saying there’s no reason to think that that could ever be a formula for dilution.

“Once in a Lifetime” is one of the most iconic songs in rock music history. It was retooled for the stage show, and I first saw that version when Byrne was the musical guest on SNL back in February of this year. Despite my thorough familiarity with the song, I got chills once again while watching the latest filmed performance as if I were witnessing the birth of a new classic. That is the power of what has been assembled here. Byrne and his crew strip everything down to basics and reintroduce to us what we thought we already knew thoroughly. It is as if for an hour and 45 minutes we forget that there was ever any music before American Utopia.

We also get a refresher course on philosophy, as Byrne muses in between songs about the wonders of human perception. At one point, he asks why it is that we find looking at other people inherently more interesting than looking at anything else. If anyone is looking for any evidence as to why that is the case, American Utopia provides plenty of examples.

David Byrne, Spike Lee (CREDIT: David Lee)

If you’re wondering what attracted Spike Lee to direct, there won’t be any confusion once the credits are rolling. I’m not terribly familiar with his musical tastes, but he and Byrne clearly share many concerns over the state of the world, which is most obvious during the performance of “Hell You Talmbout,” a cover of a 2015 Janelle Monáe protest song that invokes the names of people of color who have been killed by police. When Byrne asked Monáe what she would think of a white man of a certain age performing it, she responded that she loved the idea and declared that the song is “for everybody.” This segment takes the fullest advantage of the journey from stage to screen, with relatives holding up memorial images of the deceased. American Utopia is a call to change for a better country and a better world. Can we ever meet the promise of that title? It’s a daunting task, but the wonder that this show inspires can’t hurt.

American Utopia is Recommended If You Like: Stop Making Sense, the Black Lives Matter movement

Grade: 4 out of 5 Gray Suits

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