Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Body Off the Coast

During this year's Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I'm highlighting things more people should know about. For the most part, I'll be ignoring the most popular and widely known items (and sometimes my personal favorites) in order to promote the unfamiliar and underappreciated.

Seven C's Edition!
Why add two more than usual? Because I play by no man's rules... including my own.


FILM
Cidade de Deus (City of God)
Children in the slums of Rio struggle for survival amidst the violence of competing drug gangs, with much of the young cast recruited from the slums of Rio themselves. One of the best films I have ever seen. Period.
La Cité des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children)
Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie, Delicatessen, Micmacs) is one of my favorite directors. His movies are often wonderfully quirky and filled with a colorful array of characters, and this one's no different. A scientist unable to dream is kidnapping children to steal theirs. A man named One (Ron Perlman) sets out in search of his little brother, and tries to save the rest of the children. Surreally good.
TELEVISION
Community
The pilot is horrible except for its last thirty seconds, and it takes another half-dozen episodes before the show really starts to come together. But when it does, holy cow. With great interplay between the characters, and copious pop culture references, never has a community college study group been this funny.1 "Modern Warfare" (episode 1.23), with its college-wide paintball contest, is easily one of my favorite episodes of anything ever. (And coming soon to my DVD player... the paintball double-episode from season two!)
Carnivàle
This is like no other show I've seen on television. Set in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, a young man with healing powers joins a traveling circus and soon learns there are greater forces at work, with he and others (including a local minister) pawns in a coming battle of good vs. evil. Excellent writing, a fantastic cast, and beautifully shot, but sadly, cancelled before its time. Absolutely brilliant.
GAME
Carcassonne
On your turn, randomly choose a tile and place it, perhaps adding one of your pieces ("meeples") atop it. Build onto a city, continue a road, or maybe block an opponent from completing one of theirs. With the right placement, you can even steal some of their property. This was one of the first of the recent wave of German-style board games to gain popularity worldwide, and deservedly so. (It also has a multitude of expansions and spin-off games.) Great for both kids and adults.
MUSIC
The Cat Empire
This Australian band's sound is a mix of jazz, reggae, ska, hip-hop, funk, and rock, infused with strong Latin influences. In a word, it's fun. A good bass beat, a guitar riff, a trill of brass, and my feet just start a-tappin'. My personal favorites: "Sly", "Fishes", and "Til The Ocean Takes Us All".
LITERATURE
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Ignatius J. Reilly is not your typical protagonist. He's fat, ugly, loud, lazy, rude, slovenly, self-centered, hypocritical, and entirely unlikable. Everywhere he goes, he completely fouls things up and blames the mess on everyone else. Yet, somehow, it works. It's a book that only exists because Toole's mother made it her mission to get it published after his suicide, and I admit it's not for everyone. But for me, it's genius.2

Now that I've sailed a few ideas past you... have you got anything for me?


1 Memo to other community college study groups: Go ahead. Prove me wrong.
2 Not genius like the Geniuses you'd find at an Apple store. I'm talking real genius.3
3 Not Real Genius as in the Val Kilmer movie, either. It's a decent flick, but not as duncetastic as this.

38 comments:

  1. That Carcassone Board Game looks amazing. The concept is certainly universal.

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    1. It has the characteristics of all the best family games: It's easy to learn, but with myriad strategies, a nice balance between skill and luck, and a mechanic that keeps the game from playing out the same way every time.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Steven. I rather thought so myself. *bows*

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  3. WOW! Should I feel dumb that I've not heard of any of these? Or should I merely enjoy the fact that I am now smarter because of your post? HA.

    I'm a new follower from the AtoZ Challenge. Nice to meet you!

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    Replies
    1. Definitely the latter. Of the above, only Community is in the mainstream today, and Confederacy of Dunces was popular 40 years ago. The rest are all on the edges. Now go forth with your newfound knowledge, and partake!

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  4. Community is one of my favorite shows now. I agree, it took them a while to figure it out but I'm so glad they did. Modern Warfare is a genius episode.

    Also loved Carnivale. Wish it hadn't been cancelled so early on.


    M.J. Fifield
    My Pet Blog

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    Replies
    1. I know, and they'd set it up so perfectly for the third season. It's a shame it died before internet campaigns could keep shows alive.

      Oh, and someone needs to come up with a technology to insert characters from one show (e.g. Abed) into another show at the viewer's command. (Get on that, Google.)

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  5. I, too, am a new follower, courtesy of the A-Z Challenge.

    Great idea for the theme of your posts.

    Can't wait for D-Day!

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    Replies
    1. Ach! Glad to have you. And D-Day's almost upon us, and with it shall come death, more death, and death by man-eating plants. It'll be dandy.

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  6. I seriously have to start watching community at some point. sounds like a fun show.
    Great A-Z post!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, seriously watching Community ruins the fun. Watch it amusingly instead. And thanks for stopping by,

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  7. Replies
    1. (see above reply) (not necessarily the one just above; choose your favorite)

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  8. I've been schooled! thank you

    Happy A to Z!
    baygirl32.blogpost.com

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    Replies
    1. Ooh, I've educated someone! My work here is done. (Oh, right. Twenty-three more days of this, first.)

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  9. Keep hearing good things about Community

    For music - The Civil Wars.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, hadn't heard of The Civil Wars, but it sounds like I'd enjoy them. I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the tip!

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  10. Re: Carnivale.
    And, sadly, American Idol and Two and a Half Men go on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that's the state of American television. The best shows often get left in the dust by singing competitions and any show on CBS.

      Actually, it might be fun if they combined the two shows. Kutcher and Co. would finish a scene, then Simon would berate them and kick them off the set, to be replaced with new unknown actors. (Hey, it couldn't be worse than what they currently have.)

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  11. Bands for "C"
    the Civil Wars - I agree with Jaye Robin Brown...
    Carbon Leaf
    Childish Gambino - Donald Glover of Community's rap persona
    Civil Twilight
    Collapsis

    Movies for "C"

    Charade
    Confidence
    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
    The Cooler

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott, you're killing me. I've only heard of one of these bands (and that was thanks to Jaye). I appreciate what you're doing, but at this rate, I'll have 100+ new bands to check out by the end of the month.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is... thank you. Keep up the great work.

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  12. Believe it or not, I didn't always subscribe to all 8,412 channels available on satellite tv, so there was a time I missed the premiere of Carnivale. I can vaguely remember wanting to watch it, thinking it sounded like an awesome nugget of television, but I had since completely forgotten. Reading through your description didn't ring a bell, but it did make me sit at the computer with my mouth wide open. I think I might've muttered, "Whoa," and I meant it as a sincere compliment: it sounds brilliant. I will be adding it to my Netflix queue. :)

    Thanks for the great reviews!

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    1. We only have basic cable, so I think we have but 15 channels to work with (and half of those are local religious stations... yes, seven and a half of them). Anyway, glad to be of service, Cherstin. I hope you like it.

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  13. I tuned out of Community before it got good, apparently, though I did see (and love) Carnivale. Will add the rest to my ever growing list of must-sees/reads.

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    1. Yeah, I'm never going to see/read everything on my must- lists, since they seem to grow exponentially. But luckily, the most interesting always rise to the top so I get plenty of entertainment. I hope these picks do the same for you.

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  14. Replies
    1. Fantastic! Obviously, you are a man of exquisite taste. (Or, failing that, at least a man with an excellent sense of humor.)

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  15. Long time no see Nate. This is fabulous. Gotta say you have the most creative letters of the alphabet - worth coming by just to see them. Great to see Cat Empire here!

    Denise

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    1. Thanks for the letter love, Denise. It was fun to mess with my photos, and I really like how they came out.

      It's a shame, though, that you're my only reader into Cat Empire. C'mon, people! Support the Empire!

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  16. "A Confederacy of Dunces" is a great book, really.
    That "Carnivale" sounds good too.
    Regrettably, I've never seen those two films.

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    1. Make that regret work for you, Anthony, and remedy the situation. Rent, borrow, or steal the films, and watch these tales of two cities. (Don't actually steal them. That would be wrong. But feel free to borrow them without permission.)

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  17. On your recommendation I think both movies look interesting...I don't need to know Spanish or French to watch them, right?? I like Ron Perlman so that was a no brainer. Never watched community but heard good things around the watercooler. Trying to reduce my television watching so I didn't choose it.

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    1. I never condone watching a dubbed movie, but no, you don't need to know French or Spanish (or Portuguese) to watch these films. Behold, the magic of subtitles!

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  18. Never heard of any of these. Interesting. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge blogs in April.

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    1. Wow, I applaud your zeal. Only 1,796 more sites to go!

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  19. I really liked the zombie episode in season 2.

    Confederacy of Dunces is a great book. Sad about the author though.

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    1. The zombie episode was also excellent, especially since they found a way to do it without it being a one-off episode, and made it integral to a couple characters' story arcs.

      And aye, 'tis sad about Toole, or for that matter, any artist who exits life too early by their own decision.

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