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A teacher in Texas accused of fondling a young student says she cannot be guilty because the child is black and she avoids even hugging her black students out of prejudice. Oh, so you’re not a child molester but you are a racist, oh go right ahead and continue teaching our youth.

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In a recent interview, former president George W. Bush said it’s been hard adjusting to life after the presidency saying, “one day you’re being briefed on world affairs and asked to make decisions, and the next, you’re in Crawford, Texas … and the biggest decision is when do you go mountain bike riding.” Let’s be fair Mr. President, even when you were commander in chief, you were still mostly thinking about mountain biking.

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A Maine man known as the North Pond Hermit who is currently in jail after stealing food from a camp for those with special needs and has lived in the woods with seemingly no human contact in almost thirty years, has received a marriage proposal. Meanwhile, an accountant with three cats has just updated his JDate profile.

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Teen Mom star Farrah Abrahams is telling reports she never attended to make a sex tape with porn star James Deen, but had originally hired Deen and a film crew to film a wedding video. Wow, don’t you just hate when the imaginary wedding video you make with a film crew and an adult film actor you just met because just another disgusting sex tape? I can’t tell you how many innocent wedding videos I’ve tried to film only to have them suddenly get all porny on me.

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Sharon Osbourne was seen without her wedding ring while moving into a new home sparking rumors that she was parting ways with her rocker husband Ozzy Osbourne. He’s cheated on her, done drugs, he even bit the head off a live bird, what could he do to piss Sharon off, remember her birthday?

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During her divorce proceedings Kim Kardashian admitted she spends more time away from boyfriend Kanye West than with him.This news was followed by rumors that the two are fighting because Kanye wants to live in Paris, while Kardashian does not want to leave her family and reality show in LA. Wow, if these fame obsessed, attention whores can’t make it work, what hope do any of us have?

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Barney creator Sheryl Leach is being sued by a neighbor for letting her mentally unstable twenty-seven year old son own a gun. Wow, childhood is being murder one beloved character at a time. Barney has a crazy gun wielding son, Elmo’s having sex with teenage boys, what next, we’re going to find out Mr. Rogers wear all those sweaters to hide track marks?

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A man in Tacoma has been charged with bigamy after Facebook suggested his first wife become friends with his other wife in their “People You May Know” feature. Stranger still, this is not the first time this has happen, giving Facebook the official title of “Worst wingman ever”.

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Ohio lawmakers have added an amendment to a budget bill making it illegal for schools to teach any form of sex ed because studies show nothing gets teenagers going like their middle aged health teacher awkwardly describing how a penis works.

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Conservative pundit Glenn Reynolds tweeted at former congresswomen and shooting victim Gabby Giffords “Try more respect and reason, less emotional bullying next time” in regards to gun control, because if there’s a group who knows for bullying, it’s women who’ve been shot in the head.

Sleepwalk With Me


As a longtime fan of Mike Birbiglia’s storyteller style of comedy, I was happy that his brand of humor was making it to the big screen. While some of the plot was familiar to me from his stand-up, I thought they found a great way to tell his stories cinematically. If this is a taste of what the future holds for Birbiglia, I could see him becoming a kind of Woody Allen of his generation, telling the stories he wants to tell the way he wants to tell them. He has a great way of making you like him even when he admits you probably shouldn’t.
Matt (Birbiglia) is a struggling comic who has been with girlfriend Abbey (Lauren Ambrose) eight years when his sister’s upcoming marriage amps up the pressure for him to show his commitment. Matt hasn’t considered marriage and assumed Abbey felt the same, but he quickly learns she is dreaming of marriage and children. As he stalls for time with Abbey, his career starts to pick up. He finds an agent and makes it clear he’ll take any job out there. While on the road, he learns that he doesn’t need to write jokes, and should instead be honest about his feelings on marriage and relationships. The stress of his relationship and life on the road causes Matt to sleepwalk. He writes off these potentially dangerous encounters until he almost kills himself by jumping out a hotel window.
This film is apparently hitting some people a little too close to home. Producer Ira Glass admitted some are seeing a little too much of themselves in the protagonists and breaking up. Their plight is a familiar one. While the two don’t have major problems to propel them to break-up, they want different things from life so in order to stay together someone would have to make a compromise they might regret later. Everyone knows a couple like this, two perfectly nice people who have just been together longer than they should. This film also shows a great example of what physical distance can do to the couple, as Matt and Abbey start to build their own lives in the other’s absence.
This film is also a great look at the life of a stand-up comic in a way we haven’t really seen before. Matt has to start at the bottom, playing mostly empty rooms. In the beginning he’s spending more money to get to the shows, than he’s making at them, but as time passes he grows as a comic and learns more about his craft as he goes along. This is not a romantic look at the world of comedy and could make any aspiring comedian think twice about life on the road. However, those who are familiar with the world of stand-up, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a number of familiar faces.
If you’re a fan of Birbiglia’s work, you’ll enjoy Sleepwalk With Me. If you don’t know who he is, be warned, this film is very indy and way be too slow-paced for some.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a recent grad struggling in the working world, only able to land an internship at a magazine. When reporter Jeff (Jake Johnson) needs assistants to tag along and do all his work on an unusual story, Darius is eager to volunteer. A man has placed a classified ad for a companion to go back in time with him, claiming he has time traveled once before. Jeff thinks it could fun feature, see if the weirdo is for real, but when time traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass) recruits Darius for his mission the team has to ask themselves if they covering a lunatic or a genius.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film. Based on a real fake classified ad, I wasn’t sure what direction they were going to go with it. Was the main action going to be the crew traveling through time kicking ass and taking names? Will the guy be proven to be a whackjob? What I liked about the film is that they really found a way to leave what’s Kenneth’s real deal is up to the audience, telling a sci-fi story steeped in reality. It also touches on the bigger question of what would each of us do if given the power to time travel?
Mark Duplass is pretty fun as Kenneth, the totally 80s out potential time traveler. His intense training process is hilarious and provides a wonderful chance to watch Kenneth and Darius bond. Duplass and Plaza have pretty strong chemistry, which is almost enough overlook their age gap. However, Duplass’ denim-tastic attire highlights their age difference making certain scenes a little uncomfortable. While Duplass is believable in scenes amping up Kenneth’s quirks for comedic value as well as in scenes showing the character’s sensitive side, his weakness as a dramatic actor shines through in some of the more intense moments. However, he creates a likeable enough character that you really root for him not being completely out of his mind.
For me, Jake Johnson was the stand out of the film. His character appears so gross and assholey as he brings the interns along to do his work for him as he tracks down a former flame, but over time you find yourself growing to love him. His shallow attitude masks a man desperately hoping he can turn back time and fix the biggest mistake of his life, letting his high school girlfriend get away. He also allows his jerk tendencies fall away as he tries to help the other intern (whose sole purpose in the film is to give Johnson someone to talk to when Darius and Kenneth are off training) learn how to stop worrying about school and have fun once in awhile.
Definitely one of the most unexpected films of the year. Safety Not Guaranteed has a strong cast and tackles the fantastical in a realistic way, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions about what is real and what is not. There’s also a surprising amount of tenderness that that is lacking from many comedies.

Top 5 Halloween Movies for the non Horror Fan

I’m not a big horror movie fan, though I am married to one. Here’s our top 5 favorite Halloween themed films that provide him with enough spook and me with enough laughs.

5) Beetlejuice- While I grew up with a more family friendly Beetlejuice via the Saturday morning cartoon, Keaton is hilarious as the ghost with the most. Burton perfectly blends the right amount of quirk and goth to make this one of his strongest films. Those unfamiliar with the film will be surprised to see Geena Davis and a crazy young Alec Baldwin as the main protagonists as the newly dead having to figure out the afterlife. I approve of any ghosts that use Harry Belafonte in their haunting.
http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/10/08/beetlejuice/


4) Young Frankenstein- Mel Brooks’ spoof on the Universal Frankenstein films of 30s is one of his strongest works. With Brooks regulars like Gene Wilder and Madeline Kahn the cast had such a fun time Brooks kept writing new scenes so they wouldn’t have to stop filming.
http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/10/18/young-frankenstein


3) Evil Dead 2- Definitely the most gruesome entry on the list, this campy classic has a strong sense of humor as well. Bruce Campbell pays tribute to the Three Stooges with lots of physical comedy as he fights his own evil hand. Maybe not for those with a weak stomach (there’s so much blood Raimi had to start changing the color to avoid an X rating) but it’s one of the best combinations of horror and comedy in film history.
http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/10/26/512


2) The Addams Family & Addams Family Value- The all together ookey family is the perfect fit for modern times, allowed to be as creepy as they want. With strong plots and endless quotable dialogue, these films stand out from the many classic television show movie adaptations that flooded theaters in the 90s. Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, and a very young Christina Ricci all deliver memorable performances and the special effects help bring the whole kooky gang to life.
http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/03/30/the-addams-family/


1) Shaun of the Dead- this zombie spoof has one of the cleverest scripts of the past decade. Just as much about growing up as it is about the zombocalypse, Shaun of The Dead should what real people would do when faced with the undead. Filled with plenty of references to classic zombie films, and peppered with callbacks to itself, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
http://amandalovesmovies.com/2012/03/17/shaun-of-the-dead

Young Frankenstein

Every so often an actor and a director build a partnership that allows both of them to perform at their peak as if the two were made to work together. Obvious pairings like De Niro and Scorcese or Bill Murray and Wes Anderson, but there is a more underrated duo that I want to discuss today, Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks. The two worked on three films together and while Wilder is beloved for playing Willy Wonka, their collaborations are Brooks’ best loved features. Wilder adds a hint of dignity to Brooks’ juvenile humor. After working together on The Producers, Wilder only agreed to join the cast of Blazing Saddles if Brooks’ next film was based on an idea Wilder had about a spoof of the old Universal Frankenstein. The result, Young Frankenstein, became both artists’ favorite film of their own.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), embarrassed by his grandfather’s notorious experiments, has spent his entire career trying to distance himself from his famous family, going as far as to change to pronunciation of his last name. He learns he has inherited his family’s castle in Transylvania and travels to inspect the property. When arriving in Transylvania he meets his grandfather’s servants: his lab assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), the housekeep Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman), and the beautiful Inga (Teri Garr). Being in his granfather’s house inspires a change in Frederick, particularly after discovering his grandfather’s secret lab and his journal which detail his experiments. Frederick decides to continue his grandfather’s work and quickly set out to reanimate the dead. His first experiment is a success but his creator (Peter Boyle) quickly escapes and inadvertently terrorizes the townspeople.
While Brooks is not known for strong female characters, his casting of Garr, Leachman, and Madeline Kahn (who plays Frankenstein’s uptight fiancé) allows for their characters to transcend Brooks’ usual eyecandy and old hag archetypes. After working with Kahn on Blazing Saddles, she was Brooks’ first choice for Inga. However, after reading the script, Kahn asked if she could play Elizabeth instead. When Garr auditioned, Brooks told her to come back the next day with a German accent. She surprised him by immediately responding with the desired accent. By casting women who had wit as well as beauty, the characters are more fully developed, making a more enjoyable movie for all.
The cast and crew had such a good time on set that they didn’t want filming to end, leading to Brooks added additional scenes. However, the cast probably had too much fun, as the original cut was twice as long as what the eventually final cut would be. Brooks and Wilder reviewed the original cut and decided that for every joke that worked, there would be three that didn’t. The cut the lines that fell flat and the result was the much improved classic we know today.
The film’s legacy includes being list on the AFI’s list of the greatest comedies of all-time, along with Wilder and Brooks’ two other collaborations The Producers and Blazing Saddles. In 2007, Brooks tried to repeat the success of The Producers musical adaptations, by taking Young Frankenstein. Unfortunately, this was not the smash hit The Producers was and closed after a little over a year. However, the film inspired a more surprising musical success, as the line “Walk this way”, inspired Steven Tyler, who was struggling to come up lyrics for the future hit.

Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion Poster

Zach Galifianakis is probably one of the best examples of an alternative comic out there. Blending music, non-sequitur imitations, and a generous helping of self-loathing, you’re either going to get him or you’re not, and he really doesn’t care either way. No one seems more surprised by his recent celebrity status that than him as he’s always drawn attention to his unpronounceable name, his less than movie star quality looks, and his somewhat embarrassing filmography, but he is committed to making the most of his opportunity. Made a couple of years before his break-out performance in The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion showcases his unconventional stand-up and makes it clear he is a disciple of the late Andy Kaufman by showing the “real story” through interviews with “Zach’s brother” who only wishes Zach would allow him to in so they can be real brothers. Fan of this Netflix exclusive may find Galifianakis’ latest role as the southern political hopeful in The Campaign very familiar.
One of the best examples of Galifianakis’ style of humor is when he notices an older gentlemen in the crowd and calls him out, claiming there was no way he could possibly be a fan and demands to know who he thought was performing when he bought his ticket. It really demonstrates who he is as a performer. He certainly isn’t someone who sticks to the script and isn’t afraid to make things uncomfortable for his audience. It also displays his combination of arrogance and self-deprecation (saying in one breath “YOU can’t like me” and “you can’t like ME”)which I believe has allowed him to stay centered as his career took off. He knows he’s good but he also knows his limitations.
While I’m glad this unconventional comedian is getting more attention, I find his list of films to be kind of a mixed bag. I was very underwhelmed by The Hangover, finding it bit mean spirited for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuff like Wedding Crashers or Superbad, but this one just didn’t sit right with me. On the other hand, I loved his performance in It’s Kind of a Funny Story, a more dramatic turn for him. I would love him to do more serious work in the future because he carries a sadness with him that could lead to powerful stuff, however he has been hanging around that Will Ferrell a lot lately and the two seem to be a good match.
Great stand-up film from a comedian that loves to play with the medium and never takes himself too seriously. Galifianakis is one of most inventive comedians out there, but be warned, he’s not for everyone. If you love acts like Larry the Cable guy, you’re probably not going to be laughing much. This is also a good look at someone before stardom hit and it’s clear he never saw his current success coming. If you likes this one, also check out The Comedians of Comedy, which features Galifianakis as well as other big names on the alternative comedy scene.

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

I followed the whole Conan vs Leno thing closely when it went down. When I was a kid and couldn’t sleep, my mom used to let me watch Letterman with her, so I’ve been anti-Leno since he started hosting The Tonight Show when many believed Letterman was the rightful heir to the throne. As a teen, I started watching Conan who is kind of a Letterman for my generation. He even had Dave’s old timeslot. But then Conan was given a promise Letterman never received, in five year’s time Leno would retire and Conan would take over The Tonight Show. Then the day finally came and while Leno stepped down as promised, handing the show over to Conan, it was clear he was not done performing. Knowing he still was bringing in solid ratings, Leno hinted that he might go to another network. NBC freaked and tried to have their cake and eat it too, giving both hosts their own show. When that wasn’t the success they wanted it to be, they cut Conan loose and plopped Leno right back at The Tonight Show. Contractually prohibited from appearing on TV for six months, Conan embarked on a tour of the US to keep the creative juices flowing. Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is the story of that tour.

The documentary focuses on the behind the scenes stuff. You briefly see him writing the show with his team of writers, then it’s on the road.  You see Conan checking into hotel room, greeting fans before and after the show, getting visited by celebrity friends like Jim Carrey and Jon Hamm, but mostly you see Conan get increasingly burned out by life on tour. He admits to being a perfectionist and know his humor can get biting when things aren’t going his way. Much of life on tour is not completely under anyone’s control and you’re seeing the man clearly out of his comfort zone. Conan got flack for some of his behavior in this film, particularly his relentless teasing of his loyal assistant Sona. However, it’s clear she loves her job and admires the man she works for so I think it’s more a case of sometimes comics are dicks. He also come some crap for complaining about the meet and greets after the fact, but it’s clear he commits to being “on” for his fans regardless of the time and place, he just needs his team to allow him down time to recharge. He can’t be the one saying no to things, but he has a team who should be doing that for him. I emphasize with his plight and it’s partly why I don’t approach celebrities I see on the street.

My main issue with this film is it’s not the documentary I would have made if given the opportunity. I would have loved to see more of the actual act or even just the process of writing the material. And, hell, when people like Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert stop by to do surprise guest appearances – focus a bit more on that! Not saying the film doesn’t have it’s enjoyable moments, it just wasn’t all it could have been.

Clue

Clue is one of those movies that you’ve either never heard of or you can quote at the drop of a hat. It features an ensemble cast of some of the best comedic character actors in film history and is a fairly well crafted murder mystery. While the game it’s based on has some semblance of a plot, they create distinct characters out what was just six colored pegs, twists and turns that can be solved in three separate endings, throw in some cold war paranoia for good measure, and didn’t even have to resort to sticking aliens In there like some other movies based on a board game.

Six strangers are invited to a mysterious mansion and quickly learn they all share one thing in common, they have been blackmailed by the same man for various transgressions. The blackmailer hands out weapons (the familiar pieces from the game) and challenges them to kill his loyal butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry) who gathered them together and is also a victim of his abuse of power. He promises that with Wadsworth dead, they can all go their separate ways, but he is the one that ends up shot. The guests all deny they were the shooter and as the night goes on, the mansion’s staff and random passerbys begin dropping like flies, with no clear killer. Even though they can’t completely trust each other, the group bands together to try to keep what’s going on a secret. When a cop stops by, questioning an abandoned car close to the property, the guests animate the dead bodies to avoid suspicion.  In the end, Wadsworth solves the mystery in three separate endings, which were used as a box office draw, with audiences having no clue which finale they would get. All three are included on the home video versions, but really, the final one not only has some of the film’s best lines, it makes the most sense as well, making it the true ending. There was a fourth ending where Wadsworth poisons the group and is killed by guard dogs but it was cut due to its dark tone.

The cast is perfection. Tim Curry is born to buttle as Wadsworth with Christopher Lloyd as the lecherous Professor Plum, Michael McKean as the nervous Mr. Green, Martin Mull as the military minded Colonel Mustard, Lesley Ann Warren as the sexy Miss Scarlett, Eileen Brennan as the hysterical Mrs. Peacock, and Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White – the cold widow with the hot temper. It’s an impressive line-up but Kahn steals the show. I’ve seen people fight over who gets to deliver her perfect melt down which was ad libbed by Kahn. She really is one of the most underrated comediennes of all-time and was rarely given material that lived up to her greatness.

This film is a little known treasure. It was a big part of my childhood but I’d encourage anyone who’s unfamiliar with it to check it out. While it has a somewhat slow beginning, by the end, it’s going a mile a minute. It has some of my favorite lines ever which I still quote whenever I’m given an opportunity.