Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

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 larry david (2)


In Which We Forget What We Know

Think Like A Hermit


Curb Your Enthusiasm
creator Larry David

Why isn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm funny anymore? I was browsing through the nether regions of my DirecTV package the other night and I flipped on the Clippers game against the Suns. Suddenly, the enterprising director went to a close-up on Larry David. He looked his usual mix between alarmed and disoriented, only perhaps even more so, since the comedian celebrated his 70th birthday this past summer.

Seventy used to be a grand old age, but now it is basically reverse adolescence, filled with a similar set of painful indulgences. When I turned seventy in 2011, I remember buying and eating an entire cantaloupe at first light, and spending most of the evening attempting to figure out the name of a movie where Helen Hunt befriended a zebra. Unsurprisingly and somewhat disappointingly, the film I remembered never existed.

This was not so different from how I was occupying my time sixty years ago, except I had a non-gastrophysical reason for purchasing a cantaloupe. Naivete is an asset when experience is so easily disregarded, so Larry David wanders around a cleaner version of Los Angeles, dabbling in all of the city’s richest parts. The show’s long awaited upgrade to true high definition now makes every scene look like the memorable season finale where Mr. David went to heaven, the joke being that he is the only man who could find hell there.

It was always painful to watch the awkward improvisations that made up David’s life on Curb, but this season is particularly unwholesome because Larry has nothing positive in his life that is sacrificed by his miserable attitude. His ex-wife Cheryl Hines has moved on with Ted Danson, although like most of Larry’s relationships with people, their quintessential dynamic is never altered.

Still, this gets us no closer to finding out why Curb Your Enthusiasm has become a turgid collection of dated blunders, attempting to relive a time when some of us could actually bother to give a shit about what white people were going through. Whenever I look in the mirror, I honestly have a thought in my mind that there is a chance a creature visually similar to Clarence Thomas will look back.

It used to be that nostalgia could free us from the uncomfortable newness of the present. But Larry has already cycled through his various reunion storylines, and we definitively learned that there is no bringing Seinfeld back at this point — the only thing left would be infants cryogenically preserved in the frozen winter of their discontent. The reunion didn’t work, and Curb does not work now, because everyone except Richard Lewis is forced to play the straight man to Larry, and the comedic talents of the surrounding cast inhabit humorless, monotone versions of the characters they usually play. (See Cranston, Bryan).

Anyway, the parallels to our president are too obvious to explore. In time, Mr. Pence will be our new leader, and I will write thematically fascinating essais about how Karen Pence takes her thinspiration from Gilda Radner and her smile from a mountain lion. The question will be as repetitive as it always is: how much we permit ourselves to tolerate what other people bring into our lives. Not to be cynical, but it might be worthwhile to think about how much they take.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which Hope Is Hope Get Used To It

Whatever Works If You Made Annie Hall


In Woody Allen's new movie the main character Boris Yelnikoff tries to commit suicide twice, once landing on a piece of taut canvas and once on a woman that can see into the future. His life is a failure but he's got a great apartment; his friends are aging and moronic but everyone's still getting laid. The emotional stakes are so low that the movie's funniest aspect may be that Allen expects us to care when his protagonist falls in love.

Boris is played as well as could be expected by Larry David as Larry David for Woody Allen. It's hard to know what his character is trying to accomplish by repeating the inane phrase "Whatever works" over and over, though it's easy to understand what the filmmaker is implying—that it's possible to live godlessly if you have a single verbal statement that at least partially explains all human behavior. Like "There is no true God but God." Or "Are You Ready For Some Football?" Forrest Gump was too slow to believe in God but had dozens of these mantras, none of which made much sense either.

Let's take the comparison further, shall we? Both Boris Yelnikoff and Forrest Gump fall in love with a blonde Louisianan who uses them for money while fucking other dudes that either have AIDS or are actors living on boats. Both "tell it like it is." Both do not seem to be able to drive cars. The only difference I can think of is that one is a hyper-smart Jew and the other a retarded Gentile. Is the linear spectrum of intelligence actually a circle, like space-time?

All jokes aside, Allen's Boris does raise hard questions. The Hindu prophets gave us "there is the greatest misery in hope; in hopelessness is the height of bliss," but Boris seems to think he came up with it. He finds life chaotic, black, not simply devoid of hope but opposed to it. On the surface it's brave to write a character like this, but really, Woody, the only way to make him into good comedic cinema is for him to fall in love? One hopes that there could be another way.

And let us all agree that you should never get someone from one state in the South to mimic the accent of another Southern state, which is the crime Allen perpetrates in forcing Evan Rachel Wood, a North Carolinian, to pretend to be from Louisiana. She becomes more tolerable when she starts schtupping Larry David, uhhh Woody Allen, I mean Boris, but her incarnation as Melodie St. Ann Celestine will remain a miscasting for the ages.

Her mother, played by the elegant Patricia Clarkson, presents a more engaging problem—she's both whip-smart and completely benighted, an accurate Southerner to Ms. Wood's synagogue stereotype. As such her metamorphosis, just implausible and funny enough to constitute functional social parody, is one of the film's brighter points.

Larry David doing his best Woody Allen and a twelve year old asian girlI have read that people in the know don't really like this film. The Upper West Side audience with which I viewed it applauded loud and long, but I didn't make much of that reaction since they characterize the bulls-eye of the the film's marketing dartboard. My mother, who was also there with me and is a huge Woody fan, did not seem too impressed. I thought maybe she thought it was too darkly nihlistic, but she said later that it was Larry David that irked her, in a "two hour dose" rather than the thirty-minutes-broken-by-commercials one she's used to.

I thought to myself, hmmm. A Southern lady who watches Curb Your Enthusiasm, not exactly a snug-fitting peg in the Woody Allen's cosmology. But again, here as literally anywhere else, whatever works.

Will Hubbard is the executive editor of This Recording. He tumbls right here.

You can visit the This Recording tumblr here, and the This Recording twitter here.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"You Have Been Loved" - George Michael (mp3)

"Kissing a Fool" - George Michael (mp3)

"I Can't Make You Love Me" - George Michael (mp3)