“I Think We’re Alone Now” (2008) dir. Sean Donnelly

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This has to be one of the saddest and creepiest films I’ve ever seen. This is a documentary about two VERY obsessed fans of Tiffany, the late 1980s teen-pop singer. One of which is a 50-something man with Asberger’s syndrome (who Tiffany at one point issued a restraining order against). The other is a 30-something transgender person with issues of their own. Despite the subject matter, it’s not quite the freak show you think it’s going to be. OK, it IS a bit of a freak show. But I also felt incredibly moved by these two very lonely and deluded individuals who are obsessed with a pop icon that’s over 25 years past her prime … and who wind up meeting each other 2/3 of the way through the film.  You’d think these two would be perfect for each other as a romantic couple … but this is not a Hollywood rom-com.  “I Think We’re Alone Now” reminds me of those immensely sad Velvet Undeground songs like “New Age” or “Candy Says” … or the version of “Madame George” Van Morrison recorded for “Astral Weeks” … in that, they seem sensationalistic, but are ultimately sad and moving tales about loneliness and the inability to connect because of tragic mental or physical chemistry.

Yes, the film seems like it was shot on someone’s phone. But when the subject matter is this rich, the technology involved is beside the point.

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The final scene of “Toy Story 3” (2010)

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Damn. What the hell happened to Pixar? Never has a creative entity sustained more outstanding, classic films as they did from 1995-2010. I can’t think of any filmmaker (even Martin Scorsese) who sustained consistently excellent films over a 15 year period.

This is the final scene of “Toy Story 3” where Andy (the lead human character) gives up his toys for good as he goes to college. If you want to be an a–hole, you can sneer and say this is some sad statement about how we as a culture have become too attached to “things.” For me, this is one of the most moving portrayals of someone passing on to another stage of their life. And damn, if it doesn’t move me to tears every time I see it.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog v. Star Wars Nerds

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Hands down, the funniest Triumph the Insult Comic Dog segment of all time. From Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2002, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (aka Robert Smigel) “interviews” Star Wars fanatics as they wait on line to be first to see “Attack of the Clones.” Albeit, this is a bit cruel, but hysterically funny.

“Raining Blood” – Slayer vs. Tori Amos

Here’s two great versions of the same song …

The first is the original speed/death metal classic by Slayer from their 1986 “Reign in Blood” album:

The second is a more subdued, but no less creepy cover by Tori Amos, from her terrific 2001 album “Strange Little Girls”:

Look, I love me some Slayer … but I have to give the edge to Ms. Amos.

“Los Angeles” – Frank Black

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The lead-off track from the Pixies’ Black Francis’s solo debut from 1993 (who had subsequently changed his professional name to Frank Black). I remember hearing this for the first time in May of 1993, having a beer or three with a good friend after an unsuccessful date.  I remember this slammin’ song cheering me up immensely.

“Freedom Rock” Album commercial from the 1980s

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Here’s the other infamous American compilation commercial from the 1980s. Yes, folks, this is the “Freedom Rock” ad … in all of its 2-minute glory. C’mon … you know the dril:

Opening chords of “Layla” ….

Hippie 1: Hey, man, is that Freedom Rock?

Hippie 2: Yeah, man.

Hippie 1: Well, turn it up!!!

And yes, like “Hey Love,” I kind of wish I had this album.  “The ink is black … the page is white …”

“Hey Love” Album commercial from the 1980s

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Here’s the infamous American commercial from the 1980s about a superb soul music collection that ends with this immortal passage:

Man 1: This is a FANTASTIC album, man. Let me borrow it …

Man 2: No-oh, my brother, you’ve got to buy your own.

All kidding aside, I actually wish I had a copy of “Hey Love.”

Bob Zmuda on Norman Wexler (from Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast)

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Andy Kaufman’s best friend and co-conspirator Bob Zmuda had plenty of great stories when he sat down with Marc Maron for his WTF podcast. But arguably the best story Zmuda told was about the three weeks he worked for legendary screenwriter Norman Wexler (“Joe,” “Serpico,” “Saturday Night Fever”) in the early 1970s. Kaufman apparently got a lot of ideas (especially for his obnoxious Tony Clifton character) based on Zmuda’s tales of working for Wexler.  Zmuda reveals how Wexler really got his knack for writing intense, gritty dialogue.  Hilarious, jaw-dropping stuff, especially the tale about Wexler and Zmuda terrorizing a bakery.  This incident sounds like it was lifted from a Lars Von Trier film starring Sacha Baron Cohen, but it really happened, according to Zmuda. Not safe for work. If you like what you hear, you really need to read Zmuda’s terrific 1999 book “Andy Kaufman Revealed” which delivers more Wexler tales, as well as tales about Kaufman.

“T.V Eye” – The Stooges

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This was always my favorite track of the Stooges’ legendary out-of-control 1970 masterpiece “Fun House.” When I first heard it, it reminded me a lot of early 1970s Alice Cooper, only much heavier and darker.

I swear that this next story is true, but I heard this album for the first time on the night of my first actual “date.” I didn’t have my first date until I was 17, because I had braces on my teeth until that age and felt very self-conscious about them.  When I got them off, my self-esteem rose enough to the point where I felt like I could ask someone out.  Let’s forget the fact that I rocked a Ron Burgandy “Anchorman”-do back in the day (sans pornstar ‘stache), but for argument’s sake … without the braces, I started to feel like Warren Beatty. Anyway …  the girl I asked out said “yes” and I decided we’d go see a movie.   Considering my favorite movie at the time was “Blue Velvet,” I felt that anything resembling what I was actually into would send the wrong message.  I mean, God forbid, I should actually “be myself.”   So … I overcompensated by picking a Bette Midler-Shelley Long “buddy” film called “Outrageous Fortune.”   OK …  I swear I’m not a homosexual, but back in the day, I could do a really good impersonation of one without even trying.  Considering the fact that during that period I was impressed when goth girls said I looked like Morrissey, I’m sure you can predict that this potential “romance” was doomed … You can read more about that here:

https://davesstrangeworld.com/2013/02/17/everyday-is-like-sunday-morrissey/

Being nervous about my first date, I left the house incredibly early and killed time before I was supposed to show up at a local record store.  I had heard about The Stooges for years, but all of their stuff had been out of print in the U.S. for a long period of time.  So … when I saw a lone, dusty cassette of “Fun House” on the shelves, I immediately threw down by $7 and went back to the car.  I drove around for almost an hour locked into the sick, intense jams of “Fun House.”  Considering the fact that I was wearing my finest Cosby sweater and khakis, I felt that I was in the right mode to put on the charm.

Fortunately, I was wise enough NOT to play my new musical find after I picked my date up.  And … despite my best efforts … the date went pretty well.  My date ignored the film and made out with me.  But … she never returned my calls after that evening … leading to some confusion as I was not yet familiar with how these “date” things sometimes worked … but, as they say, that was that.

But the evening wasn’t a total loss.  I still crank “Fun House” at inopportune times almost 25 years later and still get sucked into the pure insanity of Iggy at his most demented.

Jim Jefferies … God Walks into a Party …

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Australian comedian Jim Jefferies provides a profane, but hysterically funny analogy of the inconsistencies of Biblical dogma by discussing God walking into a party and throwing his weight around like a drunken, power-mad Frank Sinatra in Vegas during the 1960s. Not safe for work, little ones, or for anyone who takes their religion too seriously. From his already classic comedy special “Fully Functional.”