Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Ram's Better Half

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.

Um... uh...


FILM
Unbreakable
Many people believe M. Night Shyamalan made one great movie and then a bunch of crap. Not so. He made two great movies.1 I realize some may not have the same love for the film's deliberate pacing, or its interplay between emotionally distant characters. But it's both a wonderful depiction of characters overcoming internal struggles and a sort-of comic book hero origin story for real life. And I think it's his best film.
TELEVISION
Undeclared
When people talk about Judd Apatow's early unappreciated genius, they usually bring up Freaks & Geeks. But this — his second prematurely cancelled show — was nearly as good. A bunch of college freshman try to navigate the craziness of their first year of college. And it's especially hard for Steve Carp, whose newly divorced father won't seem to go away. It's fun, dramatic, and served with the usual dose of Apatow ad-libbing.
GAME
Ubongo
Choose a puzzle card, roll the die to determine which pieces you get to use, and then try to be the first to complete your Tetris-like puzzle. But that's only part of it. What you're really doing is vying for position on the main board, where you're trying to collect as many gems as you can of one color. A nice, quick abstract game for 2-4 players.
MUSIC
Unprepared
This local (CT, US) band was once voted Best Hartford-Area Punk Band despite not playing any punk. They've yet to record a full album, but their live shows are great fun, especially when they break out all the extra percussion for their finale. And best of all, it was at a birthday party for one of the singers where I first met my wife.2 If you live nearby, check them out on 5/5. And bring your dog.
LITERATURE
Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein
This short book (by America's favorite children's poet) suggests stealing money from Mommy's purse, freeing animals at the zoo, setting the house on fire, and telling kidnappers your Daddy has a lot of money. Oh yeah, Mommy likes the baby more than you and there is no Santa Claus! I think it's pretty obvious what I'm saying: This book is not for kids. It's just. Too. Awesome.

Until next time...


1 Then two mediocre ones, then a bunch of crap.
2 And vice versa.

22 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed Unbreakable !

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    1. You have excellent taste, sir. (Of course, being a return visitor to my blog contradicts that statement, but I won't tell anyone.)

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  2. This is the second blog I've visited to bring up Unbreakable and Undeclared. I haven't seen either but it looks as though I've have to change that.

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    1. Well, when it comes to TV, there aren't a whole lot of worthy choices for U. Not that that should diminish anything I've said about Undeclared...

      But you haven't seen Unbreakable, either? Yeah, change that.

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  3. unbreakable was a great one--and i loved freaks and geeks

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    1. Freaks and Geeks remains the superior show, but much of that, I think, stems from the fact it focused more on the drama, compared to Undeclared's humor.

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  4. There is a lot to be said for M.Night Shyamalan film making. I enjoy all his movies in an offbeat sort of way they all tell stories of internal struggles. Stopping by from the A-Z challenge, nice to meet you.

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    1. Thanks for dropping in, Siv. In his later films, I'm drawn to certain scenes or characters, but as a whole they don't feel as cohesive a story or an experience. (And for that reason, I haven't even bothered to see his last couple.)

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  5. Someone else mentioned Unbreakable today. I also liked Signs. After that, it was all downhill.

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    1. Not entirely, Alex. I thought The Village had its redeeming moments as well. And even The Lady in the Water had some enjoyable scenes early on. But then... yeah, downhill at a breakneck pace.

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  6. I'll have to check out 'Unbreakable.' I didn't realize that it had Samuel L. Jackson in it. Does he get eaten by sharks, bitten by snakes, or takes a light saber in the chest? If so, cool.
    If not, I still want to see it.

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    1. No sharks, snakes, or light sabers, but both of his legs get shattered. That work for you?

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  7. cool blog. mentioned it on mine today. Holly

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    1. Thanks, Holly. I appreciate it. And I'm glad you find my posts fascinating. Usually, people just label my thoughts (i.e. ramblings) as "interesting" and then back away slowly. :)

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  8. Unbreakable was one of the best movies I've ever seen. I loved the way it made the comic book premise seem believable.

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    1. Exactly. It's been among my favorites since I first saw it. And I don't even read comic books.

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  9. Again boiling it down to what I care about...I thought Unbreakable was great. My niece said it was the worst piece of crap ever put on film. In all fairness though it's my wife's niece technically. I have liked all of M Night's movies...even the weird ones. I can say I figured out The Village early on.

    I know nothing of the other things you mention.

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    1. Your (wife's) niece seems prone to hyperbole. Has she even seen the crap they're churning out these days? Worst. Please.

      And yeah, I caught on early with The Village, too, but luckily I didn't need to be surprised by the M. Night-brand "twist" to enjoy the film.

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    2. Hate to admit it, but I was surprised by the Village... but I did love the surprise!

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    3. No need to be ashamed about that, Laurie. I may have only figured it out the twist because I was trying to (since it was M. Night so I knew there'd be one). Often, I'm so wrapped up in a film my mind doesn't wander to the what ifs, and I can just enjoy the ride.

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  10. I'll go with Eddie Vedder's ukulele album...

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    1. Holy crap, you weren't kidding. He actually has an album of ukulele songs. I had no idea.

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