Tuesday, September 21, 2010

THIS JUST OUT: Community conquers the world edition

Posted on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM

MUSIC
Comedy For Gracious Living, The State

You guys remember that sketch comedy show that ran on Comedy Central in the early '90s called The State? Well, the comedy album they recorded in 1996 is finally being released! Why, you might ask? Good question. The State (the TV show) was pretty divisive at the time, in that it was only liked by people under 25. This album will probably be the same way, except those 15-year-olds who liked the show are now 30, so they probably won't like it, either. Probably not the best marketing plan. The album is funny at times, though not in the way you'd expect a "comedy album" to be — at least half of its jokes require knowing the title of the track, such as "Barbershop Tourette's," which is a barbershop quartet that — you guessed — starts violently cursing. Sketch albums haven't enjoyed a lot of success since the National Lampoon recordings of the mid-1970s, and I don't think this is going to be the one that brings them back. Still, if you're looking for some nostalgic comedy, it's probably worth picking up. Or, if you buy rap albums for the sketches, this is definitely for you.

  • Guitar Heaven: Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, Santana — Proof that we each get our own individualized heaven when we die. Mine would include less Santana and more Fantanas. Without the singing.
  • Crush, Abe Vigoda — No, not that Abe Vigoda. Unfortunately. Still good, though.
  • Hands All Over, Maroon 5 — Oh sure, when Maroon 5 does it, it's an album. When I do it, it's three to five with time off for good behavior.
  • Buzzard, Margot and the Nuclear So-Sos — I'll be right back with a joke just as soon as I'm able to translate the band's name into English.
  • Confessions, Liza Minnelli — Despite the similarity in album titles, I highly doubt this is a duet album with Usher. Though I do want to hear Liza singing a confessional about the accidental impregnation of a mistress.

DVD
Community

It's the start of the fall TV season, which means it's "everybody go broke trying to buy all of last season's DVDs" day! Relax, I'm just kidding. Everybody who was going to already bought their favorite shows on iTunes, and the rest of us just downloaded them illegally. Nonetheless, I'm going to have to insist you go out to your local DVDery (does Safeway still sell those?) and pick up the first season† of Community immediately. If you haven't already been watching the best show of last season, then you're what's wrong with this country. You, and those crafty Democrats. And the debt. And those fancy cheeses that don't look like they should be that expensive, but then you get up to the register and find out they're like $15 for a block as big as my finger. YOUR PRICES ARE OUTRAGEOUS, SAFEWAY! Anyway, with the some of the funniest (and most referential-iest) characters on TV, Community is the perfect show for the postmodern generation, because a) it's only a half-hour, accommodating those of us without Adderall, and b) a good chunk of its humor comes from situations we're in. College? I've been there before!

  • (Untitled) — Note: If you're making an indie film, usually it's best not to make the title un-Googleable.
  • Calvin Marshall — One young man's dreams of making the major leagues are dashed when he can't make the junior college team. I'm all for shooting for the stars, but when you can't make JV at the JC, maybe it's time for a new dream? Like scoreboard operator.
  • Robin Hood — Funnily enough, Russell Crowe never actually comes out and says, "They can take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom." He says, "What we would ask, your majesty, is liberty. Liberty by law." Not exactly stoking the patriotic fervor there, Braveheart, Jr.
  • Alien Autopsy — A fake reconstruction of a fake documentary about fake aliens. What's the punchline again? Oh yeah, Inception. Oh lord, it's British humour, too.
  • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue — Who knew that when Peter Pan said he wanted to stay young forever, it meant they'd keep churning out sequel after sequel? Oh, right. Disney knew that.

VIDEO GAMES
Sid Meier's Civilization V (PC)

As one of the few game developers whose name actually sells games (like a Bizzaro M. Night Shyamalan*), Sid Meier probably owes his longevity (he's been developing Civilization games since 1991) to the series' immense popularity. Civ V (something like the sixth game in the series) tries to continue that legacy and buck the current trend of "shoot everything that moves" games by trying to challenge players' minds. Because if there's one thing the modern era is known for, it's wanting brain-draining entertainment**. Nonetheless, the Civ series has a devoted following, and the latest iteration is a worthy follow-up. For all those who played SimCity and despaired of their limited despotic powers, Civ V allows them to revel in watching their civilization expand until they rule every speck of land on Earth. Though there are numerous ways to win (be the first one to reach outer space, military conquest, some namby-pamby nonsense about being "democratically elected" as the world leader or gaining five out of ten attributes such as "tradition," "liberty" and "freedom"***), remember that the important thing is you tried your best. Just ask the Aztec, Incan or Mayan civilizations. Oh, wait …

  • Florist Shop (DS) — Um … I …. What?
  • High Velocity Bowling (Move Edition) (PS3) — Y'know, at least when Nintendo introduced its gimmick-as-controller concept, they gave away the awful sports game.
  • New Carnival Games (Wii, NDS) — Much like slot-machine games, I truly don't understand the point of paying money to play midway games where you can't win prizes. I want my horribly stitched Muckey and Monnie dolls!
  • Nintendo Countdown Calendar (DSi) — Um, yay? Wow, what a week for gamers.
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  † Did they make the DVD cover look like the cover of Glee†† intentionally? I don't know. Would they have left it even if they realized the similarity because it might help confusion sales? Almost assuredly.

†† Itself a rip-off of The Brady Bunch.

* It's a sign of how often I've been able to crack M. Night jokes lately that I can now spell his name correctly on the first try without resorting to Google.

** Though it may seem like it, this is not a reference to zombies.

*** No, I don't know what the difference between "freedom" and "liberty" is. Regardless of how the game defines them, one sort of implies the existence of the other.

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