Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

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

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in dick cheney (149)


In Which Stranger Things Have Not Yet Occurred

The following review contains mild spoilers for the first three episodes of Netflix's Stranger Things.



Stranger Things
creators Matt Duffer & Ross Duffer

Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) lives in a run-down half ranch ever since her husband left her and moved to Indianapolis. Her clothes are draped over her shoulders in a casual-Mom esque way, the colors all poached green and residue brown. The makeup she does apply tends to make her look older, not younger. She is completely familiar yet entirely fraudulent as a divorced Midwesterner, since a remarkable feature of the Midwest is that it only has Jews in Ohio or Chicago.

Most of Winona Ryder's family died in the Holocaust so she could play this gentile imitation of life. Her sons Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), are maudlin, secretive individuals unhappy in themselves and uneasy with others. Jonathan is an amateur photographer who enjoys taking photographs of his unsuspecting classmates. Will is a strong student more interested in bonding with his tight-knit group of friends than his disassociated family.

Stranger Things leans so heavily on the concept of the 1980s that it will fall over and collapse without constant referring to its own time period. Between games of Dungeons & Dragons, Will's friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard) tells his parents about the guy his sister is fucking, a bro named Steve Harrington whose idea of a good time is shotgunning a beer. Everything in this epoch seems way toned down from what it actually was, like the 1970s never actually touched the small town of Hawkins, Indiana.

Mike's sister Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is the breakout star of Stranger Things, which attempts to arrange a bunch of clichés from the terrible science fiction of the period into some kind of amalgam of inventiveness. She does the dirty deed with Steve Harrington, and the next day her friend has disappeared and her mother is screaming at her for telling the truth. This is such an absurd fate for a honest woman living her life as she sees fit.

Slut-shaming is everywhere in Stranger Things, a concession to small-town American values and how they stay intact no matter how much the surrounding world changes. In order to hide a young girl who they find in the woods, Mike Wheeler and his friends dress her up in a wig and do her makeup. No one in this society could possibly deal with a young girl who shaved her head.

I was actually alive during the 1980s. It was nothing like this, and as Tony Soprano famously said, "Remember when is the lowest form of conversation." To further enforce the prurient sense of nostalgia at work in Stranger Things, the chief antagonist is portrayed by a desiccating Matthew Modine. His role is as completely vacuous as the faceless monster who appears to absorb Will Byers into his carapace in the show's dull first episode.

Stranger Things gets substantially better from there. Ryder, it turns out, plays a fantastic Christian woman, and her considerable charisma is always a relief to engage. Just as entertaining to watch is the breakout performance of Hawkins' only sheriff, Jim Hopper (David Harbour). The rest of the casting on this project is as sublime, and it is great fun to watch all these characters engage with one another, no matter how slight the premise.

The science fiction elements of Stranger Things are in fact pretty dreadful, and contain nothing much in the way of science at all. This decision appears purposeful. Like much of the cinematic output of that dreadful decade, the context of horror in this small town is more basic fantasy, and not overly ambitious fantasy at all at that. Joyce believes that she can contact her son through the electrical circuits in her house. Mike's telekinetic friend that he found in the woods has a similar idea, and things develop slowly from there.

The synthesized music adds to general fantastic atmosphere. It would have been easy to turn this flimsy story into a tongue-in-cheek situation, but almost nothing is played completely for laughs, and the general tone in Stranger Things is, if anything, over-serious. "Sometimes people don't say what they're really thinking," one of the characters explains to Nancy at one point, but in Stranger Things they mostly do, again and again.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which Yara Greyjoy Enters A Small Tent In The Middle Of The Desert



Wow, Rickon Stark is so completely stupid. A man one hundred yards away is shooting you with arrows and your best effort is the whimpering trot that is a straight line. Rickon Stark, first of his line, King of the Andals. It only took half the amount of time Ramsay Bolton spent on tossing up his arrows for Theon Greyjoy to sail to Mereen.

While there, Theon was unable to sample any of the local flavor. I imagine we're all a bit tired of the main fact of each Game of Thrones character being brought up in every scene. It just reminds me how bad Tyrion's dialogue is. I mean, we get, you're somewhat on the short side. Is it really productive to make your life all about how small you are? I think we all understand that Theon is supporting his sister — so why did he talk and she stand there smirking like some kind of disturbed loon?

Fanfiction depicting the various intimacies that will transpire between Yara and Daenerys is all well and good. It's nice to see a proper lesbian relationship, one based on the common interests of taking power away from siblings and relatives and wielding it for yourself. It kinda felt like Sansa was one-upping Jon Snow a little bit. She completely undermined his battle plan and waited until most of his forces had been killed to enter the fray.

The battle itself was the best and possibly most expensive set piece the show has ever done. Jon's inability to die after Melisandre's pronouncement of "the god we have" was amusing, although I could not help but notice that Kit Harington never changed his expression once throughout this entire episode, not even after he was pounding Ramsay's face like he once did that wilding girl who told him he was in an idiot in that cute cave.

It was a great day for the North, and even Littlefinger put in an appearance. Ramsay's death was a little unsatisfying and perhaps even pleasurable for him. It didn't make sense that his dogs would attack him and perhaps secretly I was hoping they would turn on Sansa. The reason all the animals have been written out of Game of Thrones is largely financial and practical.

Speaking of animals, I guess the slavers of Mereen temporarily forgot that the Queen of Dragons had, you know, dragons. Unrelated, but did Tyrion really think that Daenerys didn't realize her father was going to burn down King's Landing? And in hindsight, would it really have been all that big a loss if he did? That moment was nicely paralleled with Ramsay's sacrifice of his own troops.

Ramsay Bolton was a masochist. People who enjoy inflicting pain on others usually aren't so averse to suffering it themselves - that's why torture is so prominently an aspect of their self. Ramsay came off as a bit ineffectual in the end, and I found Sansa's disturbed smile as he was being mauled rather disconcerting. I'm not sure all that much was accomplished last night, but at least I never have to watch the Illiterate Knight negotiate ever again, as this seemed to wrap up his arc completely.

Great episode. Now I'd like to address a lot of e-mails I have been receiving about the upcoming presidential election. Here is one I have received a number of times in different versions, one of which called me a "decaying piece of shit." Naturally I reported him to the police, but the question still stands:

Would you really consider voting for Hillary or will you just vote for the Republican by reflex?

The campaign is so incredibly far from over right now. Sure, Trump has said a variety of disgusting things, and I'm sure he meant a good twenty percent of them. But you have a woman whose husband is a sex offender who might be indicted before the fall. This is hardly a cakewalk and the Clinton campaign knows it.

I would never vote for Donald Trump, since I don't believe there is anything wrong with a Muslim immigrating to the United States. I have many Muslim friends, and a variety of leatherbound volumes. But whatever he says now, he can just change later on in the debates.

Well, you say, won't that make him look fractious and inconsistent? Uh, sure, but isn't that a whole lot better than looking like a xenophobic psychopath?

Do you think Donald Trump is a bad person?

Honestly, no. We have this profoundly awful tendency to demonize our enemies. Calling Trump a Nazi because he offers unpalatable solutions to very real problems is immensely troubling. You would have to really not understand what the Nazi Party was to say something so completely disturbed and offensive about Donald Trump. Trump has operated under the laws of this country for decades and he has never professed a desire to murder anyone. When we treat adversaries in a democratic system like they were demons from hell we are no better than the bloodthirsty crowds in the Roman Coliseum. I think Hillary understands that if you treat Donald Trump like anything other than what he is — an intelligent, successful, misogynistic American businessman — you are giving him way more power than he deserves.

Who should Hillary choose as her running mate? Who should Trump choose?

I don't think the running mate really matters much, and picking someone who is notably successful or appealing can even undermine the focus on the main candidate, like Hugh Laurie did on Veep. I think in the end Hillary won't choose a man. Why bother? Elizabeth Warren appeals to a lot of key people within her party and it just seems less exciting when you see Hillary and some guy up there next to her signaling no other capable women could be found.

If you're going to make history, make history.

Trump should choose me. I've changed a lot. Just read my Game of Thrones reviews, ty. I appeal to women annoyed by Sansa Stark, men who think Kit Harington is the worst actor in the last hundred years, and people of both genders who enjoy Yara Greyjoy erotic fanfiction.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which Some Of It Still Really Bothers Us

Pet Peeves


Lena Headey's eyebrows get darker by the day. As my wife Lynne well knows – we have had more than one messy row about the subject – my pet peeve is eyebrows that don't match the color of someone's hair. It's the reason, I believe, the Zac Efron has become Seth Rogen's sidekick when he might have been the next Fred Astaire. Or I guess Ginger Rogers was a possibility, too.

I have a lot of other pet peeves. Most of them are Game of Thrones-related, like:

I don't like that Jaime Lannister has basically ignored his missing hand for four seasons;

I don't like that the only character who manages to eat on this show is Sandor Clegane;

I don't like that Samwell Tarly's wife is extremely sparing with her affections;

I don't like that Bran looks like he should be married with children of his own by now;

I don't like that Tyrion Lannister hasn't had a meaningful plot development since he killed his dada;

I don't like that ppl are always referring to their spies as birds because they think it's cute, it sucks;

I don't like how Jaime Lannister's masterful generalship all occurred off-screen and made no sense at all;

I don't like how Jaime Lannister and Brienne did not share a soft hug upon parting;

I don't like how the actress playing Cersei Lannister in the stage adaptation of season 3 was a better actress than Lena Headey. Actually maybe I do.

I don't like how Cersei's massive bodyguard is about the dumbest plot device short of castration;

I don't like how all I see are ads for Sonic Burger and yet I have never seen an actual one of these restaurants IRL;

I don't like how it seems that not one character on this show has been the least bit altered from their introduction;

I don't like how Stephen Colbert believes he is the messiah sent from God to explain the right way to do everything and yet his show tanks every night in the ratings.

I love humility. It may not seem like it, but I do. It is also a fantastic character trait. It is why Brienne is so much fun to watch, and there is a lot to admire, but all the writers can obsess about is who is going to climb her pale carapace for a mounting.

Brienne puts herself down a lot, but you can see that she is mostly confident. Every other character on Game of Thrones without exception is always explaining how great and famous they are. Yet they haven't actually accomplished anything.

I mean, if you really look at Jaime Lannister's record, it isn't very impressive, and Tyrion pretty much connived his way right into exile. The Starks are only good at dying, and Ramsey Bolton hasn't shown up in like eight episodes, reportedly because he got in a fight with David Benioff over catering.

There is a startling dearth of accomplishment on this show. Even Arya's maniacal plotting has led to five years of training until she gave up and just went home. Her abysmal chase sequence with her cute friend was about as exciting as watching Wile E. Coyote saunter after his prey. One of these people has to be good at something.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 50 Next 3 Recordings »