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This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in dick cheney (85)

Tuesday
Sep232014

In Which Every Morning When We Wake Up Robert Rodriguez

Mexican Goddess

by DICK CHENEY

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
creator Robert Rodriguez


I still think the casting in Pulp Fiction was all wrong. Bruce Willis was too old to play a prize-fighter. Uma Thurman looked pretty good but she didn't seem like some crime lord's wife, and I still don't understand what the point of flirting with a gay hitman was. Also giving someone a long speech before killing them, especially if they are Phil LaMarr? Pulp Fiction had a lot of plot holes, and it was also missing something very crucial: Wilmer Valderrama in a key role.

From Dusk Till Dawn
, the 1996 version, had George Clooney. It was before he met Steven Soderbergh and contracted the airborne virus of self-righteousness; it was before he turned an engagement with a semi-pretty lawyer into a public makeover emphasizing what a great guy he is. He was still doing that annoying thing where he lowered his head and looked up through his brow to talk to other actors.

I am ashamed to admit I thought the accent from That 70s Show was how he really talked.

The new George Clooney (D.J. Cotrana) looks like a miniature version of his hunky predecessor. Everything about the series version is a little smaller, a little less depraved, but it turns out that is just what the concept needed. The new From Dusk Till Dawn fixes almost everything that was wrong with the first one, including killing off one of the Gecko brothers far, far too soon. Recently released on Netflix in its entirety, the show has already been renewed for a second season.

Stacy Keibler is salivating for the third time today.

Seth and Richard Gecko's journey from Los Angeles to a strip club in Mexico that traps them inside deserved a lot better. It was one of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's first projects, and if George Clooney wanted in their movie, they had to take him, even if he was kind of bad and mealy-mouthed in the role.

The casting of Seth Gecko is no better here, but the casting of Zane Holtz as Richard Gecko is entirely improved, since Tarantino wasn't much of a performer either. Even after only a few minutes of From Dusk Till Dawn, you get how much of television has entirely the wrong tone for its content - Rodriguez's control over that aspect allows you to relax and enjoy the litany of stupid cultural references we have come to expect from Quentin Tarantino-inspired diegesis.

MIght be best not to take your wardrobe cues from Frank Miller there Bob

The original surprise of From Dusk Till Dawn is that you could be surprised by it, assumed you did not know it was a supernatural movie to begin with. In 1996, the twist came so out of nowhere it is hard to imagine the drama without it, but now that the mystery is gone, the concept has to rise or fall on its own momentum. In 1996, we were surprised by a lot of things, I mean, who even knew why a man would put a cigar tube in a woman's vagina in those innocent days?

Valderrama himself is a revelation as a powerful vampire masterminding the crime spree of the two disturbed brothers. Opposite Mexican pop star Eiza Gonzalez as Santanico Pandemonium, the pair deepen the flimsy role popularized by Salma Hayek. The extensive background on the vampires is not really necessary, but the tone is so much fun that it obscures all the flaws in the concept.

She should take her pep talk to the UN

The Gecko brothers meet up with a former reverend (Robert Patrick) taking his kids to Mexico as he flees a vehicle manslaughter charge, it was kind of hard to imagine Harvey Keitel as a man of the cloth. Robert Patrick makes a much better Jacob Fuller, and Juliette Lewis was a bit old to be the virginal sacrifice/ preacher's daughter. Replacing her in our hearts is Noah's Madison Davenport, who kind of looks like an off-brand Emma Watson.

She's eighteen and you're disgusting.

Davenport's star turn here is perfect. She is just tantalizing enough to be impossible; the character is deeper than any female in the entirety of Rodriguez's oeuvre to this point. Instead of being simply a survivor, we understand and appreciate what it means to be a woman torn apart by the men around her. Turning Kate into a real heroine rectifies nearly all my complaints about the original.

How I learned I want to marry Robert Patrick.

Rodriguez's talents are rare in the industry: he gets nuanced, emotional performances out of young actors that other directors can't, and his control over when violence happens and how people react to it stands out too. Where he is not so unusual is his love for the stems of his leading ladies. Fortunately the women of From Dusk Till Dawn are overall too young for him, and judging from the excessive screen time and gratuitous nudity Eva Green had on display in the latest Sin City, he had other priorities.

On some level worshipping women as gods or beacons of purity is as destructive as positioning them as prostitutes, but at least in From Dusk Till Dawn, they get a chance to select their fate for themselves.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"I Keep Running" - Ryan Adams (mp3)

"Jacksonville" - Ryan Adams (mp3)

Friday
Sep192014

In Which Red Oaks Takes Us Back To A Certain Time And Place

Something Better

by DICK CHENEY

Red Oaks
creators Gregory Jacobs and Joe Gangemi

It was truly disturbing listening to BBC coverage of the referendum on Scottish independence. Pundits trying to pretend to be neutral resulted in more ehhhhs than when Mel Gibson made his speech to the Anti-Defamation League. (The amount of Braveheart memes that spawned from this event was also intolerable.) The British were acting like, "Hey, Scotland has something really great, why would they even think of looking elsewhere?" Scotland responded, "OK fine."

David Myers (the pimply Craig Roberts) has roughly the same situation on his hands. He is in a long term relationship with a wonderful looking blonde Karen (Gage Golightly). She is the yoga instructor at a Jewish country club in New Jersey, and he is the junior tennis pro. On the surface, things seem great:

What was life even like before AppleWatch?

There is always a very good reason that a man is more interested in a brunette than a blonde. Some of these reasons include

1) colorblindness

2) recently saw an episode of Chelsea Lately and was like, "I'm out"

3) Listened to Nina Simone's "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" during transcendental meditation

4) common sense

5) "the grass is always greener"

6) Neil Strauss' The Game

7) Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

8) Any movie starring Reese Witherspoon's obsequious chin.

Actually, what am I saying, who would pass up a yoga instructor for a human sized mouse?

When David spots a Molly Ringwald-type watching him play tennis against the country club's president Mr. Getty (Paul Reiser), he loses his focus and concentration. Her mystery spans the eons; there is no way she would ever let him take her on the greens of the club's single golf course, so of course she must be more desirable than his current girlfriend.

someone kissing your face while mosquitoes bite your bare thighs is a most unpleasant sensation

Karen wants to move in with David after high school. She thinks they should get a cute dog together and take the little pup for walks. She will pursue her modeling career quietly, and only when David strictly approves of what she is doing. (Unfortunately Terry Richardson was still alive in the 80s, but such danger comes with the territory.) David is not as thrilled by the life Karen has set up for him.

David closely observes the relationship of his parents, portrayed by Richard Kind and Jennifer Grey with the kind of aplomb that the Anti-Defamation League should probably look into when they complete their Mel Gibson investigation. David's father has recently suffered a heart attack, but this incident has resulted in only more bickering and stress.

Jennifer Grey, we hardly knew ye

Watching Grey without her signature schnozz is still very difficult for me, whereas my wife Lynne wondered aloud, "She couldn't throw on a little make up? She's on television" while doing her Joan Rivers impression. David's parents are not in love with each other. There is no passion there: his mother may be a closeted lesbian, and his father has a predilection for Asian women, both of which are so noxious a stereotype that you might notice it if you weren't too busy observing the glory of Karen in her natural habitat:

Getting menopausal women to wear blue eyeshadow should have been the focus
of Michelle Obama's wellness initiative

Sure, Red Oaks does start to feel a bit cobbled together after awhile, but David Gordon Green excels at giving us something that is completely familiar and filling it with new surprises. It makes a dark sense that people stay in unhappy relationships while they continue to pursue new ones. Could Scotland maybe find a better God? They'd rather have England on the hook if they need them. I'll get my coat.

Where was I? New surprises. The senior pro at the club is Nash (Ennis Esmer). After David lets Paul Reiser, the club president, take a few sets off him, David's job is in jeopardy if he can't beat the older man after losing a set. He wins while the brunette watches him from the cheap seats.

life was so good before popped collars

It turns out that the lingering brunette is Paul Reiser's daughter. I think they eventually had a kid on Mad About You, didn't they? That relationship sure took its sweet time. Paul and Helen had the most amazing kitchen. It was like an enclosed room with counter space everywhere. It was super-cozy, and Helen Hunt's forehead wasn't super-massive yet. Paul Reiser really had it all. Now he just looks tired, cranky and sick of starring in pilots that don't get picked up:

"I was with a blonde woman for two decades, David. Pass."

The best part about Dirty Dancing was the class struggle, and how Patrick Swayze was trailer trash that no one wanted around their daughter. The second P. Swayze saw that schnozz, he sang the Jewel song, "You Were Meant For Me" and they danced together. (It's been awhile since I've seen Dirty Dancing.) Jennifer Grey was radiant in her role as a Jewish man's daughter,  of that much I can assure you.

Skye (Alexandra Socha) is a lot less charming. Her name isn't really funny, but her resemblance to a brunette Molly Ringwald is intense. Red Oaks will probably never make it to series, since it seems to run out of steam on its own concept about twenty minutes in to its first episode. There's something interesting here, but not enough to commit to. I'm going to go ask Lynne if she wants to pull my pants down to my ankles and scratch my mosquito bites. Talk to you later.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

If you watch Animal House today, all those guys would have life sentences in jail.
"Not a Second More" - The Lees of Memory (mp3)

"(I Want You To) Let It Flow" - The Lees of Memory (mp3)


Tuesday
Jul082014

In Which This Was Made Largely For China And To Hurt Megan Fox's Feelings

Cavities

by DICK CHENEY

Transformers: Age of Extinction
dir. Michael Bay
165 minutes

I don't throw the word genius around a lot, unless someone is washing my feet or my car. We have long needed an American director who was absolutely fearless, and now we have found him. Michael Bay is willing to destroy his actors to get what he wants onscreen. What exactly is Michael Bay's heart's desire? He wanted to make a movie about a love triangle between a father, his daughter and her Australian boyfriend.

In this he succeeded with Transformers: Age of Extinction. Mark Wahlberg's daughter informs us that she has been "taking care" of Marky Mark since his wife passed. (A robot winks meaningfully after that.) It is a poor choice of words at best, a mild and innocuous felony at worst. Unfortunately, Tessa Yeager (Nicola Peltz) had to die:

This is actually how Natalie Wood died IMO

The lifespan of women in Transformers is limited in the extreme. They get tired and fatigued from running and screaming for help, and heart disease claims them in the end. Megan Fox has actually been dead for over a decade. In the last Transformers movie, which I believe was subtitled Transformers: My Pea Is Your Pod, Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf perished in the warmth of Optimus Prime's nasal cavity, requiring this reboot.

Not a single person from any of those previous Transformers movies is even peripherally involved in Age of Extinction, but all of the characters still talk the exact same.

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) owns a fledgling robotics company that has not produced a single working robot. When he meets Optimus Prime (Christian Bale), he immediately begins planning to steal the alien technology and use it for his own nefarious means. His household is "under control", because after his wife died, he prohibited both himself and his daughter from ever dating, which I believe is both illegal and extremely creepy unless you're Indian.

She couldn't even get a flirtatious moment with Mark Wahlberg? Racist.

Because Transformers is way more successful outside of America, Bay has included a variety of token ethnicities. After the blowback from his ghetto Transformers incident from the NAACP (they later honored him with a lifetime achievement award) Mr. Bay has steered clear of including any black characters in the entire movie. There is not even an African-American dinosaur robot

Instead, Bay really appreciates Asian audiences. That's why he has included a female executive (Li Bingbing) in Age of Extinction, who Stanley Tucci regards as "extremely impressive." Naturally, even though she is his subordinate, he hits on her throughout the film and eventually she seems open to his disgusting advances. (How do you think Michael Bay obtained children?)

There is also a Samurai transformer who appears to be attired like the cover of a Midwestern edition of The Art of War. His accent is so unbelievably sinister and racist that it makes Aunt Jemima look progressive, (Unfortunately, I learned this is Ken Watanabe's actual accent. Sorry Ken.)

I can't feel sympathy for the pricks who tow cars. I really can't this time you guys.

Inside of every Transformer is the life force known as the spark; "we cah that a soul" Wahlberg bleats. In a massive alien ship he finds special transformer killing guns and turns into Rambo.  Cade sends his daughter away but she comes back to fight on the side of the good robots. Kelsey Grammar tries to have the daughter gunned down for no real reason by the evil island spirit on Lost and Mark Wahlberg is like, "Ya tried to kull my dawghter." I miss Dr. Frasier Crane.

The dinosaur part of the story goes something like this: the transformers killed the dinosaurs. The only reason they offered is because they have a less than respectful view of the artistic aspects of The Land Before Time. Mark Wahlberg acts like he would rather be anywhere, showcasing an intense contempt for the man he is portraying. Incidentally "Cade" is a very difficult word for a robot to say, and Optimus Prime goes out of his way not to utter Cade's name so as not to confuse his ethnic Autobots.

Mr. Bay, remember that time you gave that extra brain damage as you screaming, "Autobots Assemble" at her while dressed like Nick Fury?

Even though Cade's daughter Tessa is only 17, she has developed an intense emotional connection with a race car driver. God knows what they have in common or where they met, but it's up to this fellow to prove his worthiness to the girl's father. This disturbing wooing of permission is not only deeply retrograde and sexist, it occurs during a car chase.

The action culminates in nothing very exciting. The last film ended with a set piece that destroyed the city of Chicago, which was at least therapeutic. Age of Extinction concludes suddenly after one of the robots is destroyed; I believe the robot's name was Gastroenteritistron. He wanted to bring Optimus back to his "creator," which is probably Morgan Freeman in a suit if the last ten years of cinema is any indication.

There was no one with brown eyes in this entire movie, it was like a 21st century 'Triumph of the Will'

In the end, Optimus decides he is really very sick of humanity, and would do anything he could to get away from them. He watched his Autobot friends hacked and divested of their Happy Meals and metal belongings, and in doing so he witnessed the destruction of his entire way of life. Age of Extinction had the largest ever opening in China. Every invading culture is quietly subsumed and irrevocably altered by the victims it claims.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location who misses Hot Pie.

"If The Morning Comes" - Transfer (mp3)

"We Don't Have To Be Nice Anymore" - Transfer (mp3)