Jeff’s Wacky SNL Review: Kieran Culkin/Ed Sheeran

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SNL: Heidi Gardner, Kieran Culkin, Chris Redd (CREDIT: NBC/Screenshot)

I ran the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 7, 2021, which made it a little difficult to post my review of the 11/6/21 SNL on Sunday as I normally do. Sorry, Kieran Culkin and Ed Sheeran! (They were the guests of this episode.) So I decided instead to write this review over the course of the week, at a rate of a few sketches per day. Anyway, maybe it was the post-marathon glow, but I really enjoyed this episode!


A Puddle of Liver Movie Review: ‘Yesterday’

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CREDIT: Jonathan Prine/Universal

Yesterday raises a lot of questions, most of which has no interest in answering. First off:

-Why does the global blackout erase the Beatles from existence, and why is Jack Malik (Hamish Patel) apparently the only one who remembers them?

I am perfectly fine that this goes unaddressed, because the “why” is less important than the “where do we go from here?” Which brings me to:

-Shouldn’t the Beatles’ absence make the world profoundly different?

To which Yesterday answers by implication: no, not that much. There is one band that was heavily influenced by the Fab Four that is also now no more, but the rest of music history appears to be intact. The blackout has also removed some other things from existence, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the main premise. Those reveals are played for (decent) laughs, but they also raise their own existential questions (which remain unaddressed). But back to how the Beatles changed the world. Their cultural influence was so wide-reaching that it is just silly not to examine what an alternative history would have been like without them. Moving on…

-If the Beatles never came to be, does that mean the band members don’t exist either?

It is heavily implied that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still somewhere, and Jack is in constant fear that he might somehow meet them and thus have to answer for passing off their music as his own. As for the two deceased lads … they are not entirely ignored either. Of course, this all raises the subquestion (which is barely touched upon): if they weren’t making the music that defined a decade, then what were they up to? But getting back to Jack’s fear:

-How much of the Beatles’ success was due not just to the songwriting, but to the people who performed it?

The lyrics of “Yesterday” and “Let It Be” are beautiful no matter who’s singing them, but Jack obviously doesn’t have the personal connection to them that the lads from Liverpool did, a fact that is introduced as quite a hitch … and then promptly ignored thereafter.

All these quandaries are given short shrift because ultimately Yesterday is really about the love story between Jack and his manager/childhood friend Ellie (Lily James). And it turns out that the main conflict is about Jack choosing between becoming a global superstar or getting things started with Ellie. I don’t understand why he can’t have both. I do understand his guilt over pretending he wrote the greatest songs ever written. But he and Ellie have such hilariously few non-obstacles to ending up together.

So look, I’ve been harping on Yesterday‘s shortcomings but I don’t really hate it. It’s got oodles of Beatles music, of course, but also I like having this conversation of drilling down on these questions. I just wish the movie itself had contributed more to the conversation.

I give Yesterday 2.5 Hands for Jude to Hold.

SNL Review February 11, 2017: Alec Baldwin/Ed Sheeran

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SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Alec Baldwin" Episode 1718 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sasheer Zamata and Alex Moffat during the "Russell Stover" sketch on February 10, 2017 -- (Photo by: Caroline De Quesada/NBC)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — “Alec Baldwin” Episode 1718 — Pictured: (l-r) Sasheer Zamata and Alex Moffat during the “Russell Stover” sketch on February 10, 2017 — (Photo by: Caroline De Quesada/NBC)

This review was originally posted on News Cult in February 2017.

Love It

Russell Stover Black History Month Heart Shaped Box – Great comedy often arises from the plans of the well-meaning going awry. Offering their black girlfriends a peanut butter-filled George Washington Carver or a Malcolm X fiery with cayenne, the white boyfriends look so eager to please, so intent on getting it right. But it is plain to see that they fail on two levels: romantically and racially. But as insensitive as this particular candy box is, wouldn’t we all want to live in a utopia in which the chocolate version of any historical figure has no unsavory implications?

The pitch meeting for a Cheeto’s ad stretches the social activism of commercials as far as it can go…Jake and Kellyanne are locked in a Fatal Attraction-style tête–à–tête, and may I say, with just a stern look, Beck Bennett is killing his impression of the CNN anchor…Trump takes his case to The People’s Court, which makes me go: hey, remember when Jon Lovitz played the Devil on a People’s Court sketch back in the day? That’s somehow both more and less believable than this…Leslie Wants to Play Trump, and I want to see as many of these dreamy, personal, behind-the-scenes short films as possible.


SNL Recap April 12, 2014: Seth Rogen/Ed Sheeran

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If the goal of this sketch was to be as bland as the Republican politicians it was portraying, then it succeeded all too well. C

Seth Rogen’s Monologue
What an absolute mess of a monologue.  There were some funny moments (writing the word “pizza” 400 times, punking James Franco, Jay Pharoah confusing Seth for Joe Rogan) and a whole lot of pointlessness, epitomized by the cameos stopping by to “support” Seth.  Franco’s presence was understandable, Taylor Swift was there for Ed Sheeran, I guess but she didn’t really do anything, and as for Zooey Deschanel – does anyone have any idea on that one? C+