March 5, 2014
Elliott, I hear ya. After last weeks’ rancorous Frenemies and the first part of this week’s Episode 10: Trio, I’d had enough of rants and rages. Is this show not titled Glee? I was ready for some defiantly upbeat music in its place, and that’s what we got.
For the most entertaining show of its season to date, Glee delivered seven songs comprising close to half the episode’s running time. And even though the week’s theme largely delivered (where was Mr. Schue to write “Trio” on the blackboard?), it was the music, not the story, that made this show special.
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February 26, 2014
After an almost three-month wait, was I stoked to see Glee again? Of course. But did my anticipation quickly turn to dismay? Yes it did.
Though Glee always has used snarky edge if not in-your-face conflict to offset the sweet affections at its heart, Episode 9: Frenemies took such conflict to new — and unpleasant — extremes.
Rachel and Santana hatefully butting heads over Rachel’s big Broadway role — and even getting violent (Rachel can slap too). Tina and Artie hatefully butting heads over being valedictorian, before unaccountably reversing with the insufferable cornball trifle Whenever I Call You Friend.
Even competitive Kurt and Elliott had a passive-aggressive face-off of sorts. I mean, bitter conflict reined on my parade.
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February 2, 2014
One glorious aspect of ’60s-born music is the immense scope of its grandeur. If Jimi Hendrix had been the only incredible guitarist of the era, that would have been enough. But even beyond the many other superstar pickers from Clapton to Page were lesser known lights with their own claim to greatness, if not commercial success.
Michael Bloomfield was one such light, who shined briefly but brightly from the mid-’60s into the ’70s, before he died at 37 in 1981 from a drug overdose. And now his legacy lives on with the lavish box set From His Head to His Heart to His Hands, new from Sony Legacy Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »
December 6, 2013
And you thought last week’s puppet-powered hallucinations were wacky to a fault? Try Glee Episode 8, Previously Unaired Christmas.
Not that we weren’t warned by the alphabet soup of ratings letters at the top of the hour, targeting D (drugs), L (language), S (sex) and even V (violence). But no — I never expected a Glee as tawdry, tacky and deliriously crazy. I mean, even great anti-sentiment holiday movies like Bad Santa and The Ref have nothing on this.
You want a Christmas show that stands the season on its ear, then pummels it with tawdry, trippy, off-the-wall weirdness? You’ve got Previously Unaired Christmas, an episode so gleefully given to warped comic outrageousness that it made me laugh more than any of Glee’s 96 TV hours to date. Read the rest of this entry »
November 29, 2013
Has Glee stopped mourning yet? Do puppets get fists shoved up their — well, you know?
Rhetorical questions aside, Glee’s Episode 7, Puppet Master, turned the shakiest of premises — depicting characters as Muppets-style puppets — into a wacky yet weirdly wonderful triumph of nutty entertainment.
No, it didn’t make sense, but yes, it had me going. For anyone who rants Glee should live up to its name and be fun and not a sermon-of-the-week sensitivity lesson, well, here ya go. Read the rest of this entry »
November 25, 2013
I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest Jimi Hendrix fan. I know that thousands of devotees of the world’s greatest rock guitarist are more hip than I am to the extensive body of music he left behind and the rare and not-so-rare archival footage of him during his 1967-1970 heyday.
But I can claim this: I saw Jimi perform, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in August of 1968. And I genuinely love his music and his talent. So that’s where I’m coming from in writing this review of Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’. Read the rest of this entry »
November 22, 2013
Five episodes into Glee Season 5, I was worried.
Sure, the opening Beatles two-parter was a tuneful treat, but it had been planned for years and had zero to do with a post-Finn series. Then the tribute to Cory Monteith and Finn was a soulful, somber triumph, but also a one-time eulogy existing in a world of its own.
Then when Glee resumed its ongoing course, the first two shows beyond that turning point were — how do I say this? — not noteworthy. That’s a nice way of saying “not very good.”
But with Glee’s Episode 6, Movin’ Out, the show moved on — big time. It did so by delivering one of the most entertaining and fully realized episodes in many a moon, crammed with seven songs which happened to be by Billy Joel but essentially were fodder for a wide-ranging story about moving on, not just out — moving on with life post-high school, moving on from broken relationships, moving on from a key cast member’s departure — and Glee itself moving on to the kind of vibrant musical fantasy it still can be, full of fun, heart and song. Read the rest of this entry »
November 21, 2013
So often, “anniversary” observations deserve quote marks. I’ve seen movies get anny editions a year before or after their true release date. Similarly, my beloved (and now hapless) Houston Astros marked their 50th anny in their 51st season. (No wonder they’re struggling.)
But in this case, Shout! Factory has it right. Due Nov. 26 is a new five-DVD box set of Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition. And is it truly the 25th anniversary? Well, the set’s due date is almost exactly 25 years after the show’s birth on Minneapolis’ KTMA on Nov. 24, 1988. That close enough for you? (Besides, Nov. 24 this year is a Sunday, and DVDs aren’t released on Sundays.)
Like a previous Gamera collection, this one comes in a “silver(ish)” (as Shout calls it) tin. (Well, it is on the inside.) The four new movies/episodes are Moon Zero Two, The Day the Earth Froze, The Leech Woman and Gorgo. But also enclosed is a fifth-disc double feature of two previously issued but OOP titles: Joel Hodgson’s last episode as host, Mitchell, and Mike Nelson’s first, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Read the rest of this entry »
November 16, 2013
Being the sensitive, after-school-special show Glee often is, perhaps it was inevitable that Ryan Murphy would indulge in an episode on potty training — or where you go to potty.
But at the risk of insensitivity, I must say the world doesn’t revolve around young men who wish they were women and want to use the girls’ restroom. Sorry, Unique. I don’t want to go there. Poop somewhere that makes you feel good and work it out. (Ever hear of stalls in men’s rooms?) I just don’t want to hear about it.
Nope, I have better things to do, like focus on the budding careers of college students in the Big Apple, students who don’t cavort on playground equipment or wear silly Stone Age costumes on a bad Gilligan’s Island set. Students who have lives. Read the rest of this entry »
November 7, 2013
I’m a rocker — so why would I love James Taylor?
Ever heard of a song being “unplugged”? If it’s good enough for the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Melissa Etheridge, it’s good enough for me — and so is Taylor, who, after all, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Without question, a voice and an acoustic guitar can get it done, as Taylor has for over 40 years as a recording artist, years from which 30 songs have been gathered for The Essential James Taylor, a new two-disc collection from Legacy/Sony.
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