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Entries in dick cheney (92)


In Which Our Father Is Ashamed Of Our Abilities

Pretend Time


Man of Steel
dir. Zack Snyder
over a thousand minutes

So I watched Superman the other day. It was a complete and total disaster. He drinks beer and watches football. Lois Lane is constantly saying, and this is verbatim, "Where are the toner cartridges?" (She can't operate a printer because she's a woman is the subtext there.) I guess they were trying to humanize him, although considering there's a 40 minute prologue based on Krypton, you would think at some point they would realize he's an alien.

In another scene (there are many scenes, Man of Steel is over six hours long, did you think Watchmen was long? Man of Steel makes Watchmen look like Un Chien Andalou) Lois Lane goes to her editor. She tells him she has an unbelievable scoop about this guy who healed her wound in the Arctic. Her editor is like, "Nah." She's like, "I quit," but he says she's under contract so she takes it to a rival blog. The blog is a loose parody of Talking Points Memo or maybe I Guess I'm Floating, not entirely sure? The blogger wears nerd glasses, because you see, he works on the internet. The actor playing the blogger is probably Jon Snow.

"you agree this looks like complete shit, right?" "yep"

In this prologue, Russell Crowe plays Superman's father. His mother is so gross they mostly focus on Russell. There's a governmental coup that is turned back, but that's beside the point since the planet is dying anyway. Russell has some bad blood with one of the actors from Boardwalk Empire, I think the guy who played Nucky Thompson or maybe the guy from The Wire who portrayed the gay drug dealer so tenderly? The Wire was a great show, a much better show than Man of Steel.

an inauspicious beginning for the career of young Dylan Sprayberry

In another scene (I think this came after the scene where Clark Kent first learned of interracial dating) some bullies came up on Clark. (This is all in flashback, because.) He's reading Plato. What the fuck would Superman read Plato for? Can you honestly think of anything less relevant to a man not of this world than the work of Plato?

But back to Lois Lane. They had a perfectly good Lois Lane right there, playing Tiffany Superman, Superman's mother. Her last name was even also Lane:

hopefully the subplot about her having unprotected sex with antonio banderas will appear on the blu-rayWhy Clark Kent couldn't have been interested in Murphy Brown, I'll never know. This was a casting fuck-up of major proportions. An older Lois Lane also would have made it easier to kill her off eventually  she could just die of old age and marriage wouldn't really be an option.

she reminds me of a human-sized grasshopper wearing an ugly wig

I don't want to say all these things in my head about Amy Adams. You already know how I feel about Isla Fisher, I'm pretty sure you can just apply that broadly to Amy Adams. Here's the thing  with Isla Fisher if I was maybe locked in a room with her, I'd grow to appreciate her personality. With Amy Adams, I know that's not going to happen, because all she cares about is toner cartridges. I would have accepted Teri Hatcher in this role, even if she now looks like your fingers do after you soak in the bath for an hour.

someone actually thought to themselves, "you know, this face should be seen by one or two other people"

Doing the Superman story in flashback is so fucking dumb, I don't even need to explain, do I? The only fun part of Superman is when he casually uses his abilities when no one knows about him. I was praying I did not have to watch the inane scene in the bar where the guys come up to the Terminator. Did you know James Cameron gets royalties every time this occurs in any fiction, even if you have a dream about it in the privacy of your own home?

"lois, your bangs are completely ludicrous and your reporting is substandard at best."

The actor who plays young Superman is also terrible, he looks gentile. The whole point of Superman is that he was Jewish, you can at least read wikipedia before making a movie about a super man. There's this super hokey scene where Clark saves a bunch of his classmates from a drowning on a school bus. They couldn't think of anything better than that and they were prescreening The Sweet Hereafter because they wanted to be reminded of what an actual creative project feels and sounds like.

you know he's in the media because he doesn't take care of his body and he can't dress himself

There is one black character in Man of Steel, J. Jonah Jameson. You didn't realize he was black? Do you even know how dumb it is for Superman to care about football, even if he was just pretending to have the same interests as his erectly dysfunctional human father? Even the score of this movie is like beyond saving, it's so bad.

"son, start dressing like riffraff. no one will pay the slightest bit of attention to you then."

I guess the scene in Man of Steel that probably bothered me the most is when Clark's really concerned human father, Jon Bo Superman (Kevin Costner), tells him that it is best he hide his abilities from the world. "Can't I just keep pretending to be your son?" is what Clark says in response. "You are my son," Jon Bo tells him, which is a lie. But worse, he doesn't even bestow the slightest praise on the teen for saving a bus full of his neighbor's friends. He doesn't care about them any more than he cares about Clark.

Superman is supposed to make us feel selfish for wanting to be all powerful, and wanting no one else to share in our new abilities. For if they did, then we would not be so unique and different from the rest of the middling, maddening crowds. But who would even desire to be this person? His girlfriend looks like she got picked up at a 7-11, his alien and human families aren't all that welcoming to him and he's a Raiders fan. To use a superhero as wish-fulfillment, he should probably have something we want.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. He last wrote in these pages about Arrested Development

"Seven Hours With a Backseat Driver" - Gotye (mp3)

"Thanks for Your Time" - Gotye (mp3)


In Which We Gather Our Angels and Diablos

Things Have Changed


Arrested Development
creator Mitchell Hurwitz

A lot of the time I secretly believe my wife Lynne does not actually know if something is funny, and that she only laughs because she presumes it humors others or reminds her of something genuinely funny. Last night in a moody fit of rage reminiscent of how I first binged on Oreos and pork rinds at the age of seven, I viewed the entire Netflix-exclusive season of Mitchell Hurwitz's Arrested Development. The first thing my wife said was, "Isn't Ron Howard embarrassed to go on television looking like that?" and the second thing she said was, "You actually find this type of humor appealing?"

you know what this show needed? More of a ginger who can't act

I responded only with a flip remark, as has always been my metier, telling her, "You're ruining this for me." Some people only want to relive experiences they had in the past; others are comfortable in an uncertain future. For obvious reasons none of the members of the Bluth family were able to shoot any scenes together. (Except for Will Arnett because he's being blackballed by the rest of the industry for cheating on Amy Poehler.)

The clear decision should have been: we cannot have a show if people only interact with their friends and family on the phone, right? Let's forget a new season and focus on distributing our old episodes in Korea, where the kid who played Annyong Bluth can become the superstar he was destined to be.

they should have gotten the telephone industry to fund this

When I really think of what the jokes in Arrested Development are about, I start to sympathize with Lynne. After all, she does not complain when I jerk off and rewatch Millennium, all the while dropping pertinent facts like, "Did you know Lance Hendrikson is illiterate?" or "Jesus Chris Carter was a fucking hack POS."

Jeffrey Tambor hasn't had material this bad since...I forgot what I was going to say
Here is an early list of what all the jokes in Arrested Development are about:

Lucille drinks too much.

Michael's relationship with his son is too suffocating.

Will Arnett is wearing the same v-neck in every episode.

Tobias doesn't know he makes puns.

Everything Michael Cera says is funny, don't try to make sense of it or note that the delivery is identical in every instance.

fortunately they shoot most of her scenes in low light or half nude

Powerful people are hypocrites.

Lindsey is an idiot.

Buster doesn't realize how powerful the hand that Army gave him is.

Ben Stiller actually married that woman and demanded she be employed before he agreed to the project.

Liza Minnelli is disgusting. (She's not.)

Isla Fisher is disgusting. (...)

the wig is not not working for you Portia

Also, for some reason the George Sr. episode only featured one of these tropes and was otherwise completely serious except for identical twin gags, known historically as the lowest comedy there is.

people complain there are no minorities on our show, so let's make them Republicans!!! that'll teach them to stop whining about white privilege

Time has changed the other Bluth family members only for the worse. Buster's compulsive behavior has reached a frightening nadir before an African-American woman slanders his lovemaking after he murders thousands; Michael is tired, sad and a dick to the most important person in his life; George Michael is a boorish, cowardly and sexual capable liar; Lindsey becomes a prostitute and cuts her fantastic hair into a mere clump; Tobias starts dating a crack addict and is designated a sex offender; same goes for Maeby; Lucille 1 goes to jail and Gob continues to pretend to be gay for some unclear reason.

love ur style maeby

Every time someone repeats that familiar and odious cliche to me, announcing as if it had never been pronounced before, "Ah think people don't change," my loins ache and my stomach grows queasy. If that's true, then how is Anthony Weiner not sexting some coed while his wife goes on and on about the NSA leaks, waiting in vain for her husband to make a semi-decent oral joke about a whistleblower? But that isn't happening, instead Mr. Weiner is running for mayor. People do change, you just only acknowledge that shift when it suits you.

The longer you spend among those who only agree with you, the bigger the bubble becomes. After seeing the President once pull Susan Rice's pants down during an innocent game of Twister, do you honestly think anyone has the balls to contradict him during a meeting? Then again, if I had access to audio recordings of Peggy Noonan around her home, you can bet I'd listen to them with this expression on my face the entire time.

So yes, it is disappointing to find the Bluths roughly where we left them. Part of the gag is that they never learn, I suppose, but that just reinforces the idea that the show is more about wacky concepts than real people, and that I was not supposed to be turned on when the boy did that to his cousin.

More than the others, it is Maeby who I found myself most disappointed in. She wasn't like them, not only because she was not genetically related to the family itself, but because she was successful in all the aspects of life the adults were not. Instead of making anything positive come from this story, she is now just fodder for jokes about women being bad at math.

tony wonder is suddenly the only thing that matters. who's that woman?

There's a really weird scene in this version of Arrested Development where magician Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) and his real life wife, Christine Taylor are sitting on a bed together. The two discuss tricking Gob, but it is more how easy it is for the two to be together that caught my attention. For a few days I could not get this image out of my head. Even though it was not part of the scene, it is so rare to see not only actors in the same room on Arrested Development but two people genuinely comfortable in another's presence, that I started to realize what I was missing. Two seconds later Ron Howard started loudly talking again, telling a joke only he found funny.

because what everyone wanted from this new season was...Dietrich Bader

After about the fifth or so episode, a particular loathing begins to intrude on the proceedings. It's roughly the same feeling one gets after eating a bowl of ice cream. The bowl was so good you immediately want more. You start to eat the new episodes of what you have been told is the same flavor of ice cream, but the ice became warm and sour merely through the passage of time. I don't know why anybody would put yogurt in their body.

on some level was this just an excuse to give Carl Weathers some extra spending money?

For some reason Hollywood satire is the main thread through all of this. There was this William Goldman essay where he estimated that like 3/4ths of the plays on Broadway at that time were musicals about people putting on musicals. What makes Arrested Development even worse at this overwrought genre is that the only person actually purporting to be in this industry is Ron Howard, and he is not looking great these days, although to be fair it was not as bad when he sat next to Brian Grazer.

hey, it's set design that doesn't look like it took five minutes
There was a moment for this kind of self-indulgent bullshit; but just as the original run of the show took place before its chaotic style became commonplace, this iteration just reminds us of how dated the essential subject matter is. Lampooning rich people is all in good fun until it turns out we're all worse off for the comparison. Arrested Development remains the whitest show on television, and Franklin seems a lot more racist in retrospect. Even the fiery Spanish couple looks like they were cast in Santa Monica.

that's not a "joke", George Michael, that's a moustache
After I finished these little 30 minute abominations, I had this vision of an old, decrepit Veronica Mars, where the guy who played her dad, his face has rotted, and Kristen Bell's post-baby body is a mere 7/10. I don't want to live in that world. I hope that world is buried somewhere under Joss Whedon's ego.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location where Isla Fisher can never find him.

"Echo or Encore" - Eleanor Friedberger (mp3)

"You'll Never Know Me" - Eleanor Friedberger (mp3)

The new album from Eleanor Friedberg is entitled Personal Record, and it was released on June 4th from Merge Records.


In Which We Show Them How It Feels To Lose What They Love

Guys That's My Wife


Thrones. If Bran can take the form of any human being, why not embody his enemies? The answer is that to think like those who wish us harm is an ugly business. It's bad enough to just be Bran, I mean he sent his brother into the wilderness under the watchful eye of some crazy ex-wilding. I got the exact same feeling watching Rickon walk away as when my best friend in college married a Jehovah's Witness. Every time I open the door, I think it's going to be him.

"guys settle down. I'm trying to possess melisandre's vibrator. especially you hodor, shut your mouth."

But onto the good news. Not spoiling the Red Wedding for my wife Lynne was tremendously hard; I kept giving her weird clues like if we were in the grocery store or at the dry cleaner, I'd slyly pull up my sleeve and I'd be wearing mail underneath. The satisfaction when she finally got this joke after tonight's episode was worth the chafing feeling on my thighs. There is no armor that does not weigh you down.

who wears mail to a slaughter anyway?

Enough circling. Watching Bran's mother get put down was crazy great. I mean, I could go on for hours listing all the things Catelyn Stark has done wrong. In fact:

1) She was kind of a dick to her husband, children, and Jon Snow.

b) That hairstyle dated back to the time of the old gods. Melisandre could have given her a perm; perhaps that would have been for the best.

14) She led Littlefinger on for like two decades

22) She made Stannis Baratheon's wife look like Barbie.

god the show will be so much better now, thank you George

31a) Instead of going to King's Landing to support her husband, she was all, "Oh, he'll be fiiiiiiine"

31b) Instead of going to King's Landing to support her Sansa, she was all, "Joffrey's a sweet boy"

31c) Instead of going to King's Landing to support her Arya, she was all, "New Hot Pie will protect her."

37) No eyeshadow

45) I once heard her make a dismissive remark about Barbra Streisand's nose that struck me as borderline anti-Semitic.

this is what you get for refusing to show when your daughter marries a little person

But really, Catelyn's worst crime was not her hair or her lack of military expertise or general uncleanliness. It was that she was always by her son's side, when she had children who needed her a lot more. Parents always play favorites, especially when some of their children are totally useless, like Bran. A daughter is always a lot less welcome than a son; GRRM's trenchant commentary on contemporary China is preferable to another speech by Tyrion about prostitutes, don't you think?

every direwolf dies. not every direwolf really lives, especially if you belong to bran. god i hate you bran.

As for Robb's direwolf, that was pretty sad guys. I sort of felt like Arya could have done something... I mean, she could have done a lot of things. She could have ensured Tywin Lannister never lived to deliver that order; in effect, she caused the death of her mother and her brother, and I respect her all the more for that.

Making a lot less sense was the overall behavior of Jon Snow. This was heartbreakingly weaselly stuff. One of the toughest men ever on the night's watch died so you could be where you were, guy. And instead of slaughtering some old dude who were mere moments away from being eaten whole by a white walker, you gave up the Ghost and started running ppl through with your sword? Ugh times one million.

chin up, as least you weren't on the receiving end of a womb-stabbing

I have an equal crit for Ygritte. Your plan was this, unkempt woman: commit the murder your boyfriend had promised to do, and thereby...save him? Do you even have the slightest idea of how easily infections are transmitted through a human bite? My wife is still convinced that is how Michael Douglas got cancer, since no woman in her right mind would allow him near her pelvis.

You've got to circle the Red Wedding. You can't come too close to it.

can't unsee

It's complete insanity to break up the dragon queen's story like this. She should have dedicated episodes, maybe just an ABC Family movie where Daario Naharis gets a paunch belly and won't do anything but watch Storage Wars and chew on beef jerky. The real problem with the dragon queen right now is that the beginning of her story is a lot more interesting than her rise to power and every time they actually use those CGI dragons it probably costs a fortune, so they don't. It's kinda strange when the show's production values suddenly drop from this:

to Jason and the Argonauts-type bad with Grey Worm, Daario and Sir Jorah Mormont on the most transparently ugly studio in the world. Poor Grey Worm; his queen is sounding more like Dr. Laura every day:

Signing off from the Red Wedding in total silence reminded me of something. I used to work with a certain person who always felt that less is more, that most meaningless of phrases. When you consider this pathetic expression more closely, anyone can think of nothing. We desire instead a rich world, and that is what Game of Thrones provides. Even a small pause of remembrance undermines its point these deaths, while shocking and incredibly graphic to those of us who do not spend our time writing Jon Snow-Daenerys Targaryen fanfiction ("I'm fascinated by your white privilege, Jon Snow" "My medium sized dragon ate your wolf Jon" etc) lack any real meaning. They are just something that happened to this one:

while she is on her way to get where she is going.

It is selfish but honest for those surrounding death to speak of its effect on them. They are only the victims. Robb Stark planned to assault Tywin Lannister's home, slaying his servants and his army. Knowing this, Tywin made sure he struck first. There was nothing more to it than that, no menace beyond those carried out by the Frey men who stood to benefit from this betrayal. Robb and his ferociously bad looking mother made a military mistake and nothing more.

What Game of Thrones does best, and why it is finer when it does not take itself seriously at all, is show us the irony of any celebration. Things are just not going to work out for any of these people in the way they hope. (The Hound knows this best eventually someone is just going to burn his face again.) It does drive us mad to be close to something wonderful, whether it be a particularly musical woman or a parent who we have not seen since a time in our childhood that appears impossibly distant in retrospect. It is equally as comic that we can never achieve our heart's desire as it is sad.

Next week on the Thrones season finale: Ned Stark returns as a white walker, Tyrion Lannister has a wet dream and impregnates his leather jerkin, Joffrey starts ignoring his bethrothed and focuses on playing Black Ops II full time, Melisandre gives birth to a spectral Mary Tyler Moore, Theon Greyjoy is tortured for a solid twenty minutes, Cersei goes on a tragic late night QVC ordering binge, Sansa Stark gets implants and Samwell Tarly finally shows off the depth of his wizardry by proving he is the only man in the seven kingdoms able to make it through A Dance with Dragons without falling asleep more than once.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. He would like to send his condolences to all living members of the Stark family, including Ted Stark, Red Stark, Don Stark, Mike Stark, Tiffany Stark and Bed Stark. Your cousin Ned should probably not have married that ginger woman. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

by conor campbell

"Passerby" - Allie Moss (mp3)

"Corner" - Allie Moss (mp3)

protected by a senior citizen and a supermodel, what could go wrong?