Jared Stern and The Search For a Decent Blog

Hey there ‘Redheads… Did everyone have a beer and barbecue sauce drenched Memorial Day weekend? Did your moment of silence happen when you passed out? Way to be. Mine was full of various types of booze, meat, and brightly colored distractions on consecutive nights. I am beat. And the hits just keep coming. On Wednesday night, I’m competing in the Drafthouse Comedy Challenge, matching wits with the likes of Larry Poon, Sean Gabbert, and Tyler Sonnichsen. After that dream gets crushed, I hop in the car and make the 3 or so hour drive to Atlantic City to tangle in the Junkies Poker Open at the Borgata, which starts at 10am on Thursday. Sleep? Pshaw.

Ok, a couple quick hits from my weekend, then I’m going to put a face print and a drool mark in the shape of the Virgin Mary on my pillow. Saturday, I found out, was the birthday of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. As a tribute, jazz station WPFW played all James Brown all day. From the classics to Eddie Murphy doing “Hot Tub”. I also discovered this little gem. James Brown and Pavarotti singing “It’s A Man’s World”. Check it out…

If you didn’t enjoy that on some level, we can’t be friends anymore. It’s a toss up as to who’s easier to understand.

On Sunday, I took my first trip out to the new Nationals ballpark. Impressive. It’s a damn shame that DC fans could give a shit about the team. The place was damn near full and it was quiet. They must’ve recalibrated the digital NOISE-METER to register a dull murmur, because I could hear individual coughs. But, better to hear the players’ chosen theme songs. The one curious choice was that of Nationals pitcher, Tim Redding. When he stepped onto the mound, it was to “One” by Metallica. Picture it: a gorgeous spring afternoon on Memorial Day Sunday, you and the kids have your peanuts and cracker jacks, you sit down to watch America’s pastime, and this is what’s blaring through the PA…

I cant remember anything
Cant tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel to scream
This terrible silence stops me

Now that the war is through with me
I’m waking up I can not see
That there is not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god, wake me

And it wasn’t even the hard-driving, pump-you-up, part of the song. Just a bit odd. Oh, as a side note about baseball, I’m a huge fan of sports in HD. When you can count the blades of grass on the field, that’s cool. Do we have to see sports-casters in HD? These people were not meant to have every flaw on their faces etched out in vivid detail. I saw ESPN’s Peter Gammons doing a pre-game last week in HD. He looked like he chose the wrong grail. I swore there was a puppeteer from Jim Henson’s creature shop operating his mouth. His face was so creased, he looked like human origami. Slather some vaseline on the lens and spare us looking into the face of death. Just sayin‘ is all…

After the game, I went to see the much anticipated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Let me go ahead and put up the requisite warning **SPOILER ALERT** lest ye read further and find out that Indiana Jones is dead throughout the movie. I did not like this movie. I enjoyed some of the Speilbergian frenetic chase sequences, but that does not a decent movie make. I thought it needlessly leaned on the three previous and superior films. It was a two and a half hour nod and wink to everyone who grew up with those movies, rather than trying to stand alone. Everything had been done before and better, either in the Indiana Jones series, or The Mummy movies, or even National Treasure. I knew George Lucas had lost his ability to tell stories on the screen, but I was sorry to see that he rubbed off on Speilberg. There’s a key rule in cinematic story-telling: Show me, don’t tell me. In the previous three movies, to some degree or another, the opening sequence served as a way to set up the relationships between Beloq, Short Round, or Indy’s father and Indy to give you a context for the future interactions. None of that in this movie. We just have to take it for granted that Indy’s friend turning on him in the first 5 minutes is a big deal. It made it tough to care. The other thing that was lacking was any sort of dynamic villainy. God bless Cate Blanchett for trying, but very little was done to make the bad guy Rooskies worth caring about. When they get their inevitable comeuppance, again…meh. Don’t get me started on Shia LeBouf. Going into this, I was heartened that what I’d read and seen seemed to indicate that he wasn’t going to be Indy’s son. So much for that. Turns out, yeah, he’s Indy’s kid. Boo. Hiss. If they try to continue the franchise with him, I’m fencing off the condo, putting up a flag, and seceding. To sum up, I was hoping against hope that the movie would end with Indy waking up from the black sleep of the Kali Ma…all just a mediocre dream.

The balcony is closed. I’m going to bed.

To be continued…

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