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Alex Carnevale

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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 (166)


In Which We Forgive Her Almost Everything

Did You Morph Yet?


Power Rangers
dir. Dean Israelite
124 minutes

Rita (Elizabeth Banks) returns to American society in the year 2017. For 65 million years she has inactive in the deep sea, but a fishing net trawling the bottom of the Pacific Ocean finds her body. She was consigned to this bitter, watery fate by Dr. Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston). She subsists primarily on gold and water, so obviously a jewelry store makes a useful target. Before she presses a silent alarm, an employee at Jared offers her a variety of gold rings, which she consumes orally. When a single cop arrives he is armed with a shotgun, and when she does not turn around in sufficient time, he tries to put her down.

All I could think during this was how great all of it was. Power Rangers has tons of exciting moments, for example a black teenager (RJ Cyler) explains to his new friend Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the former star quarterback, that he is "on the spectrum." Someone actually was like, "We should make the Blue Ranger an autistic comedy figure!" and another person responded in the affirmative. This was a real moment that happened in our world. Once this unlikely pair discovers a underground cavern together, Bryan Cranston (Heisenberg) informs them they must save the world or at the very least, their small California town named Angel Grove.

In another equally fantastic scene, Kimberly Hart (the ravishing, important Naomi Scott) is explaining to Jason why she was put into detention. It emerges that the reason for her punishment is because she cyberbullied her friend for taking a nude photo and sent it to everyone. Jason registers this information with sufficient interest, before responding, "You should focus on being the person you want to be." It was unclear whether this meant more or less cyber-bullying, but I really did not care at that point. I was just so happy.

There are a lot of montage sequences as well. Such summaries were not the better part of this Power Rangers reboot, since they felt a bit forced and were composed mostly of Bill Hader one-liners – he plays an annoying robot. He wasn't as bad as in Trainwreck, but that is not saying much. Fortunately, Dr. Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) is mentoring all these young people so he can teach them how to kill Elizabeth Banks' character. Hilariously, Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) has zero faith in them whatsoever and spends all his time thinking about how he can materialize outside of being an aspect of his starship's AI so he can lead these hopeless fuckers.

After eating up that gold, Rita is sufficiently strong and she finds out there are all these new rangers around. (She used to be the Green Ranger and I guess in a way she still is.) You know how sometimes actors will just phone in roles they believe are beneath them, like Bryan Cranston in everything since Breaking Bad? Elizabeth Banks gives you your money's worth in every single scene, in what feels like a subtle apologia for how terrible Pitch Perfect 2 was. She tracks down the lesbian ranger (Becky Gomez) and almost chokes her to death, and then tracks her to find the rest of the Rangers. Within an hour she has imprisoned them all, and she even kills the autistic one because whatever.

This is not even the height of Banks' performance. As soon as she finds out that these new power rangers do not have the collective camaraderie to "morph", which is some kind of code for a communal sexuality which would allow them to display post-pubescent armaments and weapons, she is constantly being like, "Holy shit, you guys haven't even morphed yet?" and laughing hysterically. A great villain has emerged, and even when she is excommunicated from Earth at the end of Power Rangers and begins to freeze as she hurtles through the deep recesses of space, I began to feel seriously envious that I will never be Elizabeth Banks or even be able to get to know her in a casual, friendly setting like doubles tennis or carpooling.

It is not even Banks alone. The cast of Power Rangers is all completely perfect, even the irresponsible Michelangelo of the group, a Chinese-American teen named Zack (Ludi Lin). He is the Black Ranger, which seems a tad racist but whatever. I have never heard of a Chinese person named Zack, but that's probably more my fault than Zack's. That is what is so wonderful about Power Rangers. It is such an empty vessel that no one even cares what you put into it.

Director Dean Israelite has surely earned the right to make a sequel to this amusing film. I am not totally sure what it would be about, but I have some ideas. The pregnancy of the Pink Ranger seems imminent, and also could she at the same time be cyberbullying the Yellow Ranger? Could the robot played by Bill Hader be really into Grey's Anatomy? Could Jesus be the villain turned hero, and be made an honorary ranger? Where does Aaron Paul play into this? Could he be the Blue Ranger's Magic: The Gathering buddy? The possibilities alarm me in their vividness.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which A Dog Will Tear Us Apart Again

Wellness Dog


Love at First Bark
dir. Mike Rohl
Hallmark Channel

Despite the fact that she is starting her own business, Julia (Jana Kramer) thinks this is the time to adopt a dog. We never see exactly how much she pays for a german shepherd whose name is already King, but since it is Portland, OR we can assume it is in the $200-$300 range. I thought about adopting a cat last year and even a ten year old cat would have cost me $180 if I had not lost interest at that point.

Julia informs the dog trainer (Kevin McGarry of Saw 3D: The Final Chapter) that her approach to dog training will focus on the theme "All You Need Is Love." To her credit, she does attempt to give King regular walks around Portland, which looks suspiciously not like Portland. Not a single person has a tattoo, piercing or rides a bike, so unless Julia spends her time exclusively in a gated community, she actually lives in Vancouver but is simply ashamed of being Canadian.

Julia is an interior designer. She meets a woman at a dog park and goads her into hiring her to design her baby's nursery. The result of this first job for her fledging firm is based on the theme of a magical forest. In actuality, the only tree there looms like a Charlie Brown Christmas fir and we quickly realize that maybe Julia has bitten off more than she can chew.

This is a dog pun since disappointments soon emerge in Julia's relationship with King. These are the honest-to-God problems she has with her dog:

- He will not sleep in her bed (ew)

- He will only sit when she doesn't draw out the word in a weird way like "Siiiiit"

- He won't sleep when she gives him the easy-to-understand command, "Close your eyes"

King amazingly never poops or pees during Love at First Bark which is quite the achievement since my dogs poop and pee when they hear a loud noise or a Rachel Maddow monologue. Frustrated despite the fact that she is the new owner of a rescue dog who has not destroyed any of her furniture, Julia heads to the office of the dog trainer, whose name is Owen. Owen's dog training business, you will not be surprised to learn, has issues with interior decoration. The main problem is that he has about 600 pounds of filing, which made no sense to me, I mean is he keeping detailed records on dogs he trains? How many years is this going back?

Despite the fact that Owen apparently has dogs himself, we never see them during Love at First Bark. I guess he is shy about them and they just stay at home all day even though his business should really be quite dog-friendly. We also never see his apartment, he just shows up at Julia's place at like 10:30 at night. When they are about to kiss, King starts to bark, so I guess it was not really love at first bark, since she sends him home after that. Most guys I know would make themselves scarce after that kind of rejection but Owen's other options are limited since he apparently only dates clients.

During a training session on the mean streets of Portland, Owen almost runs into an ex-girlfriend. She has a very fetching poodle; he is so alarmed by the possibility of this encounter that he makes Julia turn around and ends the session prematurely. I suppose he sensed that King did not need much more training anyway.

Later on in Love at First Bark, Julia wakes up one day and King is beside her in bed. When I was in college I knew a girl who allowed a dog to sleep in her bed. She was always getting bacterial infections and she was like, "This is such a crazy mystery why am I getting these infections?!?" Ever since then there has seemed something very lonely about a woman with a dog, which is a sexist thing I am trying to work out in therapy.

Julia has a partner in her new design business, a woman named Sherry (Anna Van Hooft). Sherry is a huge dick to Julia now that she has this vague man in her life. She's always like, "Are you sure you just don't want to call him?" and "Owen's here!!!" She really gives a bad name to the entire concept of interior design with this childish bullshit. In the movie's climactic party she makes the weird choice of a pink dress that I am pretty sure Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.

Julia really prioritizes her career over her relationship. Given that she is a mediocre designer, this maybe is not the best approach. A successful dog training business could probably provide for them both, although Owen has a college friend who is his glorified secretary. I was confused why she couldn't train dogs also. It is not particularly hard, do you know how tiny their brains are?

After she makes a weird bed space for King to sleep in, Julia gets the idea that she is going to convince this really rich woman to devote an entire room to her Pomeranian's birth. Julia calls this installation "a puppery." Since they could not afford to hire a pregnant dog (I think the adoption fee would be astronomical), the birth of the puppies happens off screen. Since they could not afford to hire puppies, we never see Pomeranian puppies. Times are tough in the TV movie business; Love at First Bark is roughly the equivalent of a watching a soft-core Cinemax thriller without any of the sex scenes.

You would think the Hallmark Channel audience would at least expect some heavy petting. I think Julia and Owen kissed maybe twice. No one got to second base. Meanwhile, the USA Network recently attempted to air Fifty Shades of Grey on broadcast television. It did not go well, but it was a lot hotter than Love at First Bark. Actually, the movie made a lot more sense as to why she would want to be with him, since now his sexual predilections were so much less extreme.

I would say take a pass on Love at First Bark unless you are really into German shepherds. Lynne wants to see this new entry in a series starring Candace Cameron Bure as a woman who runs a local social club examining historic homicides. Although Candace Cameron Bure's faith in God means she does not do anything on camera outside of chaste kisses with zero tongue, at least you know to expect that going in.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and the former vice president of the United States.


In Which We Did It For Our Country Or A Woman

The Years After Kobe


creators William Broyles, David Broyles & Harvey Weinstein
History Channel

You might not know it, but Harvey Weinstein is a patriot. The terrorist villain in Six, his ode to the great country some call the USA and other call 'Murica, is a vengeful American adherent to the religion of Islam called Michael Nasry (Dominic Adams). He is very upset that Navy SEAL Richard Taggart (Walton Goggins) killed his brother Omar during some godforsaken mission in Afghanistan. The show builds to a climactic scene where Michael confronts his brother's killer. "Omar was from Detroit, remember?" the evil villain states. "He loved the Lakers because of Kobe, that's what he told you." Fuck everything.

"I made a mistake," Goggins responds. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't kill all you motherfuckers." This is the hero of our story.

Flashbacks make Goggins no more sympathetic. We never see his penis at all, but we do see him losing interest in his wife in the years previous to his Kobefrontation. At first when he comes home from a mission, he is excited to see her and pounds her gleefully in her car, which from all appearances is absolutely terrible for the environment. Then, after the next mission she picks him up after lunch with his fellow soldiers and he is like, "Give me one minute," and the prospect of having to wait is too much for her. They break up with a round of hate sex and it is suggested his alcoholism is a major impediment beyond the frequent absences.

When they learn of Rip's abduction while on nongovernmental security detail in Africa, his friends all desire to save him. Bear (Barry Sloane) is unable to conceive with his wife, has no money and also drinks heavily. Ricky (Juan Pablo Raza) cannot afford his daughter's private school and is losing touch with his wife (Nadine Velazquez) with whom he frequently cries during wintercourse. Alex (Kyle Schmid) sleeps with the waitress at Denny's during his off time and never sees his daughter. Can I take back what I said about Harvey Weinstein being a patriot?

None of SEAL Team Six's family members can reveal to their friends or families about the elite unit they represent. It came out that the men who killed Osama Bin Laden made an average of $54,000, which does not seem like a lot. However, military pensions are generally lucrative. When I was vice president, I only made $230,000, which was frankly not a lot either for the hours. When I went to Wendy's I frequently made the choice to opt for the 4 for 4.

Six consists of several deployments to Africa in order to find Walton Goggins' character. None of the fighting in the show makes these excursions seem particularly, exciting dramatic or fun. Bear, Ricky, and Alex are deployed against a terrorist group called Boko Harum, which has the virtue of not being particularly active anymore. Although they rape an entire coterie of Nigerian children, most of this is offscreen. During one outing, SEAL Team Six loses a member. His widow is not particularly enthused by the way the rest of the squad takes the death, which includes riding golf carts erractically and making a big scene at the man's wake.

William Broyles made an amazing show about the Vietnam War called China Beach. At the time Dana Delany was legitimately the most appealing woman in the Northern Hemisphere, and the show got a lot of mileage out of the moral uncertainty involved. With the way that war has changed, it is always easier for us to put such things out of our mind now. As the cost of waging war decreases, you would think the ease with which it is waged would go up. Six argues that this is not really true. The more we know of war, the more we come to hate it regardless of scope.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States.

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