Fresh Off The Boat is Hilarious

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As much as I am in love with the success of recent hit shows starring and created by my kinfolk— Blackish, Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and the Larry Wilmore Show—I can recognize that diversity is not just for black people. There is a staggering lack of representation of any other POCs on television. This last TV season saw the addition of the Cristela show, an ABC comedy about a Mexican American working woman who’s trying to get her law career  off the ground while dealing with her family. I caught a few episodes, which were unfortunately relegated to a Friday night timeslot.

ABC should be applauded for moving us all a bit closer to being represented in primetime. Although, I’m sure their move toward diversifying their shows is strictly money-based, at least they have the balls to know that the viewership exists and wants to be fed and are actually feeding them. In the same way Scandal’s success made it easier to see a network on Empire, I’m sure the Empire phenomenon will spawn a whole new crop of diverse shows and I am happy for that.

In the meanwhile, I haven’t seen an Asian family on network TV since Margaret Cho’s show aired in the nineties. It was hilarious and she absolutely does not get enough credit for being a trailblazer. When I heard about Fresh Off The Boat, I was intrigued. One, I worked at a bookstore at the time and the book it is based on by Eddie Huang was selling like gangbusters. The cover was hysterical looking and the title was eye-catching and after reading through a few chapters, I was sold.

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This guy was hilarious and relatable. Also, his book and the show are set in the nineties, which, in my opinion, was the best decade ever. His tale of growing up in Orlando and then New York being the fish out of water is universal. Most of us have been there. It offered me a new take on the family experience through Huang’s eyes. He also has a great writing voice: funny, unique, and clever. After last night’s pilot premiere and second episode I was thrilled to find out that the book translated beautifully into a sitcom.While they definitely toned down a lot of Huang’s sentiments, it all still worked.  The opening scene of a young Eddie trying on his b-boy outfit in the dressing room and having his mother deny him his swag because of the price point had me in stitches. The show is wonderfully cast and I genuinely look forward to seeing how many of the tales from the book make it into future episodes.

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I hate that this show and Blackish have to go up against Empire, which is dominating Wednesday night TV for the foreseeable future. In a dreamworld, I would love to see  Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat take the 8 o’clock hour so their success is not derailed by the titan that is Empire. ABC could place proven hits Modern Family and The Middle in the 9 o’ clock hour and retain much of its core audience. I want so desperately for all these shows to have their time in the sun. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen a programming hour encompass the essence of the America I live in.

 

South Park returns with “Dead Celebrities”

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Matt and Trey are my heroes and after watching tonight’s mid-season premiere of “South Park” I’m ready to get a shirt made that says just that.The premiere episode entitled, “Dead Celebrities” focuses on Kyle’s little Canadian brother Ike, who is being haunted by the ghost of television infomercial demigod, Billy Mays.

But wait! There’s more!! This episode was entirely devoted to showcasing EVERY celebrity that died this summer, and because they create the episodes so quickly no one is exempt, David Carradine with a noose around his neck wearing fishnets, Natasha Richardson in ski gear, not even “Point Break’s” own freshly laid to rest Patrick Swayze or MTV’s DJ. AM. Alas, it was the ghost of Michael Jackson and his shrill cries of “you’re ignorant” and “tee hees” that made my eyes rain.

With a brilliant subplot tying together ‘mexican food to-go superking’s’ Chipotle and Billy Mays’  newest product “Chipotl-Away“, and a child’s beauty pageant ,they took no prisoners. I cried with laughter at the absurdity of  the lady from Poltergeist being thrown out of a hospital window and exploding on the ground after the ghost of Michael Jackson  calls her ignorant, possesses the EKG machine, and with a sonic boom, puts an end to her story line.

It is always an amazing treat tuning in week after week to see how far Matt and Trey are willing to take things. The pop culture commentary is hit on the nose in ways that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will never be able to replicate. It’s so perfectly gauche, witty,  tasteless and  perfectly executed. Enough of me polishing their knobs. Do yourself a favor and head over to southparkstudios.com and see what you’re missing.

Zombieland is #1, thank you America

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Just as I had given up all hope that Hollywood would ever produce another original movie in walks “Zombieland”. The buzz was small but impressive, and as I arrived at the theater my excitement became wiley. After the audience did a thorough job at laughing at the extended New Moon trailer, the movie started off with a cinematic bang and I barely had time to catch my breath.

A beautiful slow motion action sequence bled into the introduction of the narrator, played to perfection by Jesse Eisenberg. One can almost always expect to be slightly mocked by movie narration. Most writers can’t figure out how to use this plot device to explain their story to the audience without making them feel like they are dumbasses but that is where Zombieland differs. The writing is modern, witty, sharp and accessible. After spending some alone time we make our way over to meet Woody Harrelson’s character, “Tallahassee” and then the real fun begins.

A friendship is created amidst the post apocalyptic world these unlikely chums are forced to inhabit, where a deadly disease is turning everyone into the flesh eating undead. There are certain rules you must always follow in order to survive and sometimes you may be forced to break a few.ZOMBIELAND

Harrelson demonstrates the lunatic charm we all love to see from him. While Eisenberg usurps Michael Cera’s every nerd crown and succeeds in places where Cera has never been cuz remember that Eisenberg was on the scene first. The zombie journey continues and we are introduced to a pair of ass kicking sisters, played by Emma Stone (Superbad) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)  hellbent on familial survival. The story takes a shift at this point but t’s not for the worse. Twists, turns and a brilliant cameo ensue and I left that theater with a giant smile on my undead face.

I can confidently say that Zombieland is now my favorite movie of 2009 so far. Beautifully shot, written and acted, I was so overwhelmingly entertained that it was jarring. I suggest that if you are heading out to the cinema that you give this movie your box office dollar. You will not regret it.

Tooth Fairy the Movie starring The Rock!?!

tooth-fairy-poster-1HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Really? A movie about the Tooth Fairy? Oh crap but it’s stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (kudos on stealing Vin Diesel’s career by actually having posessing talent AND muscles)so it looks like my maternal unit will be forcing me to watch this on her dime and I’ll wind up secretly enjoying it(Race to Witch Mountain) while vocally detesting everything it stands for to prove a cinematically snobby  point. I can not believe “The Eyebrow” wrestler dude from WWF’s Smackdown has made a viable career out of making wildly successful Disney movies. Maybe Warner Brothers should usurp Triple H and the Hardy Boyz for a few bromantic comedies?tooth-fairy-trailer-rock

Happy Birthday Dave Chappelle!!

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36 years ago today a little tike was born that would later grow up to become one of the funniest comedians of my generation. His name was David Khari Webber Chappelle or Dave Chappelle to his adoring public. For over a decade Chappelle has warmed the hearts and shook the guts of the world with his ability to make people laugh by way of parody and observation.

Today, let us celebrate a comedian who’s groundbreaking cult classic “Chappelle’s Show”  gave insight into a culture that is often misunderstood and stereotyped to death. From the classic “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” to his turn as a serious actor in “Half Baked”, Chappelle never fails to entertain. While he has been in remission for a few years gaining back the peace of mind that instant fame can devoid you of, he has remained in the heart of all who adore him. Happy birthday Mr. Chappelle and we can’t wait for your inevitable comeback.

James McAvoy and Seth Rogen in the same movie. My bizarre dreams are coming true.

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Sweet Jimmy Mac I knew you had it in you. Variety reported today that James McAvoy has signed on to star in comedic adaptation of the Will Reiser novel “I’m With Cancer.” Nicole Holofcener will direct, and the pic will co-star Seth Rogen, who is also producing.

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In the first major project McAvoy has agreed to star in since the Universal comicbook actioner “Wanted” and its upcoming sequel, he will play a 25-year-old who learns he has cancer and successfully battles the disease over several years.

After watching the BBC’s Shameless in which McAvoy costarred, I can honestly say that while he is a gorgeous stallion of a man with a 10,000 yard deathsex stare, he does have comedic chops. The pairing of these two shall be monumental and rank rather highly on the Danger Bowie spank it meter. Seth Rogen is unstoppable. I can’t wait to see who’ll he co star with next. Perhaps if the powers that be hear my eternal cries, we can expect Pineapple Express 2 with Brad Pitt joining the cast as Gary Cole’s long lost brother, who is fresh out of prison and wants to avenge his late brother death. Coming at you in 2013. One can always dream.

Greek is gonna get me through a summer of sub par programming

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This fine specimen with exquisite taste in fake facial hair is my summer heartthrob 2009, Mr. Scott Michael Foster from ABC Family channel’s “Greek”. Never in my life could I imagine that I’d be admitting to watching ABC Family but he before my 3 loyal readers I will say that ABC Family has produced a show that is entertaining, charming, and well scripted.

The only reason I even gave “Greek” a second of my time is because of the hilarious..the incomparable Clark Duke.

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After watching him and Michael Cera on the web series, “Clark and Michael“, I am willing to watch this guy do anything on the screen. I saw the first few commercials for “Greek” 2 years ago and it looked insanely cheesy and moral driven so I put my undying love for Clark Duke on hold.

In comes the summer of 2009, lo and behold, television is crap.  I turned to my ever loyal Hulu.com and decided I was finally going to give in and I was not disappointed. Greek is a dramedy following students at the fictional Cyprus Rhodes University that partake in the school’s fraternities and sororities. Though there are well over 10 regualr characters in the cast it’s the main character that seems the most familiar. Rusty Cartwright  is an anti social virgin math geek who is a mere freshman trying to get his footing in an uber social environment. After 4 minutes of the first episode it became scarily clear. This show is essentially Judd Apatow’s funny and  ill fated “Undeclared” if you dipped it in a light coating of sugar. I really miss Undeclared.

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Binge drinking, homosexuality, balancing relationships,  and growing up are just a few of the college riddled issues the good looking but accessible cast have to deal with in the first season. Major life issues arise and are conquered with charm and ease allowing a snarky desensitized viewer like myself to empathize for the misunderstood hot guy, pretty and vapid girl, the innocent geek, the preppy douche and the funny uber Christian prototype (played to perfection by Duke). While Greek won’t be changing my life or affecting my credit score, it is definitely entertaining to watch. Lead bad boy with a heart of gold Scott Michael Foster, from the short lived yet Danger Bowie approved series “Quarterlife” is quite the yummy devilish morsel. I salivate in darkness.

When you finish watching the latest skanky VH1 reality show, after the 45th repeat of CSI,  finish up your 91st season of the Bachelor, get  on line and catch up on a series with some promise. At the very least  keep one more scripted show on the air.  Thanks be to Greek for getting me through the dog days of 2009’s crap television.

Danny McBride is in Ireland, I send my love from afar.

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A few of my favorite actors of all time are all in Belfast right now doing principle production for the upcoming David Gordon Green helmed comedy, “Your Highness”.

Principal Photography on ‘Your Highness’, directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), is due to commence on Monday 20th July on location in Northern Ireland and the Paint Hall Belfast.

The fantasy film which is written by Danny McBride and Ben Best will be produced by Scott Stuber through his Universal-based company Stuber Productions. Mark Huffam from NI production company Generator Entertainment will executive produce with Stuber’s Jon Mone and Danny McBride.

The shoot will last for 3 months and Director of Photography Tim Orr (David Gordon Green’s go to lense man), Production Designer is Mark Tildsley (28 Days Later, The Constant Gardener).

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The film is about an arrogant, lazy prince (my dearest McBride) and his hero brother who must complete a quest in order to save their father’s kingdom. The cast features an award winning lineup including Natalie Portman (The Other Boleyn Girl, Star Wars), Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), Danny McBride (Pineapple Express, EastBound and Down) and James Franco (Spider Man 3, Pineapple Express).

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The film is expected to infuse as much as £10 million into the economy, employing hundreds of cast, crew and extras from Northern Ireland.

So not only is McBride curing the world with his glorious comedy, he is poised to save the Irish economy.Well him and a few others..but let’s not argue semantics. Either way with the late addition of the “quirky” Zooey Deschanel, I’m assured that “Your Highness” will be yet another top notch comedy featruing Mr. McBride and company. Now if I could only teleport to a certain shooting location in Ireland, I’d be a very happy Danger Bowie.

Russell Brand shall host again, the hotness returns

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My favorite man from Essex, Mr. Russell Brand, announced today that he would be returning as the host of the MTV Video Music Awards in September.  He is still acknowledging his affections for the virginal Jonas Brothers. “I want them to play at my wedding, which, if there’s any justice in the world, will be to one of them. One of the older ones.”

I can only hope that Brand, now a bigger star in America since his last VMA hosting stint, takes the crass to the next level. For that matter, it wouldn’t hurt if he lost the clothes and did a naked tribute to Michael Jackson. I might even watch the whole telecast for that bit.

Eastbound and Down Is Everything.

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Witness the fall from grace of baseball superstar pitcher, Kenny Powers on “Eastbound and Down”. The 2 disc DVD made it’s way to stores on June 30th and it is all that I could hope for. As one of the biggest champions of Danny McBride, I urge you to get on board because he is so worth it. I foresee a Hollywood future with McBride’s mug all over the place, with his devil may care sexiness, penchant for southern quips and eloquent comedic execution.

Now for a little background on this HBO series. The episodes are continuations of each other so they are best viewed as a long 3 hour movie, and you will not be disappointed. The dark comedy was written by Danny McBride, Ben Best and Jody Hill, the trio from the dirty south that brought us “FootFist Way”,so expect a lot of darkness and a lot of raunchy goodness.

“Kenny Powers”, beautifully played by a mulleted McBride, becomes a 19 year old superstar pitcher in baseball, years pass and time is unkind. His arrogance, ruthless behavior, and  hate filled demeanor are the nail in his coffin when he slowly begins to lose his pitching arm. After jumping from team to team he finds himself out of work, broke, drug addicted, and completely burned out. He is forced to return to his podunk hometown, where he rooms with his brother and his family. He takes a job at a local middle school as a P.E coach and runs into his former flame played by the fierce Katy Mixon. Slight problem, she is now engaged to the principal of the school and Kenny is not taking no for an answer. He trips over himself as he throws all his sexiness into the pursuit of her love.

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Over the course of the 6 “chapters” or episodes, we watch Kenny decimate all the relationships around him while the supporting cast tugs on your heart strings with their sympathetic nature and goodwill. Katy Mixon is all moxy and sass as “April”, Kenny’s former high school sweetheart. Without the supporting cast coming through with just the right amount of self respect sand sympathy,  Kenny would be an asshole surrounded by a bunch of enablers.

I think one of the best parts of the show is how unbelievably quotable each episode can be. Kenny says the absolute wrongest things to everyone he comes in contact with. Without spoilers, I can only mention his “on the reg” speech to the principal but it is improvised to perfection in the hands of McBride. He calls his portly blond nephew, “blond ambition tour” and I cried with laughter. While Eastbound is not riddled with pop culture references the little bits he throws out are fantastic.

eastbound.embedded.prod_affiliate.56Kenny will do the worst things and you will hate yourself for laughing as he blazes hate trails all around his hometown but McBride plays him with such panache and bravado that you slowly start to forgive him and his vast shortcomings. The second best part of  “Eastbound..” are the guest stars. Expect great moments from Craig Robinson and Adam Scott, but it is Will Ferrell as “Ashley Schaffer” owner of Ashley Schaffer BMW who will affect you the most. His awkward white wig and his penchant for close talking will make you chuckle and get you nervous.

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Kenny on his jetski (pictured above) should get it’s own spin off show, it’s so good. Don’t short yourself by skipping over the special features on disc 2. The gag reel and Kenny Powers motivational video are definitely among the highlights. The show has been renewed for another season but McBride has 5 films in development at the moment so there’s no telling when he’ll get the chance to sit down and write a follow up season to this HBO magnum opus. Three cheers for my favoritest guy of all time, Mr. McBride.