“The 40-Year Old Virgin” (2005) dir/scr. Judd Apatow

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After watching this again recently, I’m happy to report that Judd Apatow’s directorial debut is still as fresh and funny as it was when it was released 8 years ago. Based on a routine that Steve Carrell did back when he was a member of Second City, “The 40-Year Old Virgin” pulls off an extremely tricky balancing act: an extremely raunchy, painfully funny film that also contains a lot of heart. I realize the “raunch with heart” genre has become a cliche unto itself, but Apatow perfected this genre and in my opinion, has a better batting average than most directors.

The scene above is the now-classic scene where Steve Carrell’s 40-year old virgin character tries to fake his way through a bull session with “the guys.” As a late bloomer who suffered through many of these sessions in high school and college, the only thing I can say about this scene is … Carrell’s character pulls it off way better than I ever did. Though I think every guy, regardless of the age they lost their virginity, was in Carrell’s position at some point.   And, this is why the scene is a classic.

As a bonus, I’ve also attached the scene where Carrell’s character attempts a hook-up with an extremely drunk woman he’s met at a bar, played by Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann. According to the DVD commentary, Mann prepared for this role by getting s–tfaced with Seth Rogen and having Rogen videotape her so she could later imitate her drunken self for the film. She said it was one of the most painful things she’s ever witnessed, because before then, she said she was under the delusion she was funny and charming when drunk.

Henry Rollins on seeing Ratt

Here’s a funny and fascinating multi-part monologue from Henry Rollins on seeing Ratt in concert, long past their prime.  The monologue rambles a bit, but is never boring.  Rollins not only touches on hair metal, but also on Los Angeles, middle age, the English language, and other topics.  Unfortunately, I can only find the first three parts of this five-part monologue, so if you like this, you should definitely check out Rollins’ “Live at the Westbeth” on CD or MP3.

Remember, Ratt s–t’s better than cat s–t … cat s–t’s just gross.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

“People Who Died” – The Jim Caroll Band

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From the terrific 1980 album “Catholic Boy,” this is the late Jim Carroll’s most (in)famous song. I remember a DJ once saying that not many know what this song is, but every time he played it, it would get more calls into the station wanting to know what the song was and who did it than anything else he plaeyd. It is … in my 8-year old son’s immortal words … pretty “epic.” This is one of those songs that should have been a huge hit, but wasn’t. Granted, the lyrics are really f–king grim. But the song is so damn catchy! It shows up frequently on Sirius First Wave, FYI.

Jaw-dropping trivia note: This song was featured in Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.” It’s not particularly prominent, but it’s definitely there when the boys are playing Dungeons and Dragons near the beginning of the film. That … along with the lyrics for Elvis Costello’s “Accidents Will Happen” casually uttered by Elliott’s brother in the scene where he’s raiding the refrigerator … points to the fact that Spielberg may be more of a hipster than most people typically give him credit for.

“Apeman” – The Kinks

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From the 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround Part 1,” is the Kinks’ “Apeman.” I don’t have anything profound to say about “Apeman” other than that I’ve always loved this song.  The Kinks created a mild controversy with the line “the air pollution is a-foggin’ up my eyes,” because the way Ray Davies phrased “foggin’,” it sounded like another f-word we all know and love.  This looks like a “Top of the Pops” performance … part live, part lip sync. No word yet on when “Lola … Part 2” will ever see the light of day.

“Living for the City” – The Dirtbombs

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Now here’s a concept I can behind … old-school soul done garage punk style. From the now classic punk soul album “Ultraglide in Black,” Detroit’s Dirtbombs do a killer cover of my all-time favorite Stevie Wonder’ song, “Living for the City.” Very, very cool indeed.

“Storybook Love” – WIlly DeVille (with Mark Knopfler) … from “The Princess Bride” (1987)

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Here is one of the best … and admittedly, most bizarre … couplings of the mainstream and the underground. This is the lovely ballad composed for Rob Reiner’s classic 1987 film “The Princess Bride,” written and soulfully sung by punk legend Willy DeVille of the band Mink DeVille. The song was later nominated for an Oscar and seeing Willy on stage crooning this in front of a billion plus viewers during the Academy Awards in 1988 was a very cool kick in the head indeed.

“Keep on Knocking” – Death

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OK, ready to have your mind blown? Ever hear about a Detroit band called Death? Death was a band from the early-mid 1970s that was kicking out high energy punk rock long before the Sex Pistols were and long before punk was even called punk. Here’s the kicker, though … all the members of Death were African-American. Yes, I realize in a better world that shouldn’t be shocking, but it still kind of is. Here was a band in the midst of Motown taking their cues from Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and the MC5 and putting their own balls-to-the-wall spin on things.

While you may think “Keep on Knocking” is a really great song, it may not seem particularly significant … except when you consider that this was recorded in 1974 … not 1982 … and was faster and more aggressive than almost anything out at the time.   Death attracted the interest of Clive Davis, who wanted to sign the band to Columbia Records … if they’d only change their name. The guitarist and leader, David Hackney, refused to compromise, the band lost their potential deal, and they faded into obscurity … until …

Death’s incredible story is now being told in the terrific documentary “A Band Called Death” (just released on DVD and Blu-Ray) which I’m going to talk about at length at a later date. But in the meantime, here’s a sample of what this completely kick-ass band sounds like and why discovering new music (even when it’s nearly 40 years old) can still bring a huge idiotic grin to your face.

“The Snake” – The Pink Fairies

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More wonderfully nasty early 1970s punk rock … this time from England. Like the Stooges and the MC5 in America during the same era, the Pink Fairies were laying waste to the “good vibes” of other counterculture bands of the era and defining what would eventually be called punk rock many years later. “The Snake” sounds like Jim Morrison fronting the Stooges … but it’s actually so much better than that if you can believe it.

“All Because of You” – Geordie

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Before Brian Johnson took over as lead vocalist for AC/DC for “Back in Black” onward, he was lead singer of this 1970s hard pop group called Geordie.  Incredibly crunchy, but also as hooky as any Top 40 hit … that is, when the Top 40 still had a place for hard rock. If you’re a fan of AC/DC, this is worth checking out, not only because it’s a great song, but because it’s interesting to hear Johnson when he had vocal chords … sort of. Even on this pre-AC/DC song, you don’t know whether to continue listening or send Johnson some lozenges stat.