Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Friday, April 6, 2012

Stop With the Camera

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.

Feast your eyes on these fine five...

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
It's a farce. It's a musical. It stars Zero Mostel. With that, some of you are already sold... whereas others are undoubtedly thinking, "Who the hell is Zero Mostel?"1 Anyway, Mostel plays Pseudolus, a lazy Roman slave who wishes to buy his freedom. He hasn't the money, but he has managed to work out a deal: If he can unite his master and the young courtesan with whom he is smitten, he shall be free. But of course, in the movies, nothing is ever that simple. (Useless Trivia: This also marks Buster Keaton's last film.)
Fawlty Towers
Like yesterday's selection, this show also ended after 12 episodes. And frankly, I'm surprised it lasted that long. Not because it wasn't good — on the contrary, it's hilarious — but think about it. If you put John Cleese in charge of a hotel, would you expect it to still be standing weeks later?2
When this card game begins, the rules are "draw one, play one," and there's no way to win. But then you start playing rule and goal cards, and the next thing you know it's "draw two, play five" and you're about to win by making chocolate cookies, only your opponent plays a card forcing you to swap hands. It's a game that can take two minutes or twenty, and themed versions (such as Zombie Fluxx and Monty Python Fluxx) are even more fun (and even more insane).
Five Iron Frenzy
Yes, this Jewish atheist is touting a once-dead Christian ska band recently resurrected. What can I say? I'm a sucker for horns. Their songs overflow with energy and cover topics from consumerism to hypocrisy to video games to turning 29. And yeah, they mention God once in a while, but they do it with a snazzy tune, so who am I to judge?3
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Titus has grown up with the feed: TV and internet all rolled into one and implanted into his brain. Yet when he and his friends are hit with a virus during a trip to the moon, he's forced to face reality. (For a few hours, anyway.) It's there he meets Violet, a weird girl who thinks for herself and causes Titus to begin to question the world around him for the first time. Feed is a biting satire of our media- and consumer-driven world, a superb blend of humor and seriousness. Seriously.4

And even though I didn't choose a French film... Fin.
(Do you have some suggestions for me? Fire away.)

1 Among other things, he's been known to produce.
2 Even more astonishing: The kitchen only served the egg part of the SPAM SPAM SPAM egg and SPAM.
3 Hi, I'm Nate, and my rulings are tough but fair. For embracing their religion, FiF's penance is to watch Flags of Our Fathers and throw six Hail Marys.
4 For even crazier humor, try M.T. Anderson's excellent Whales on Stilts! (complete with fake interview in the back). For even more serious fare, pick up his Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation (vols. 1 & 2).


  1. forum is the only one I am familiar with and it was absolutely hilarious.

    1. Au contraire. It still is absolutely hilarious. (Sorry to nitpick your wording, but in my defense, I'm a jerk.)

  2. When the A to Z Challenge is complete, I have the feeling I am going to find myself the owner of roughly 26 new card games.

    Thanks for another fantastic post.

    1. Hardly. The card games prevalent so far, but we'll probably top out at around 13. There are plenty of board and tile games to come. Glad you're enjoying the posts!

  3. AFTHOTWTTF and Fawlty Towers ('Basil!!') are brilliant!
    The other three items were unknown to me - I am now 'educated'!

    SueH I refuse to go quietly!

    1. Excellent! I love to 'educate'. (I'd love to do so without the quotation marks, too, but I'm far too lazy to inspire real learning.)

  4. Now you're talking - Fawlty Towers! Dig that series. Have the boxed set on DVD even.

    1. Ach! And the streak ends. Well, I had a good run, and maybe I'll start a new one with G.

  5. Fluxx is just the most awesome card game ever, we have Monthy Python version too:-)
    thanks for sharing

    1. You're welcome, Martine. Although, I don't know if I can agree it's the most awesome ever -- I've played many, many card games, after all -- but it's up there. Up there on the second floor, that is. (Also, it's awesome.)

  6. Interesting theme for the challenge. I must say I didn't know them all. Nice to meet you!

    1. Nice to meet you, too. I must say, I've often had things I've done called "interesting", so it's always a nice feeling when it's actually meant as a compliment. :)

  7. A Funny Thing... and Fawlty. Yes.

  8. Bands for "F"
    Fiction Plane - fronted by Sting's good
    Folk Implosion
    The Frames

    Movies for "F"
    The Fountain - Darren Aronofsky is brilliant...just don't ask me to see Requiem for a Dream again.
    Fallen - Denzel at his best. The psychological twists in this one are awesome

    TV - Firefly - if more people had watched this amazing show, it would not have been canceled by Fox. It spawned a movie(Serenity), which ALSO did poorly at the box office, but was equally awesome.

    1. I'll tack Frightened Rabbit onto your band list, even though I know you don't know them.

      And I admit Aronofsky can be brilliant, but The Fountain wouldn't be my choice. I didn't really care for it. I'd opt for Pi and The Wrestler instead. (Also, I do have a soft spot for Fallen. I'd watch it again if only I had more time on my side.)

      Firefly, of course, is one of my favorite shows of all time, but I felt it had too much of a cult following. In my mind, Serenity wasn't equally as awesome, but it did come close.