Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top Five DVDs I Bought in 2007

I'm not sure that any of these actually came out in 2007, but that's when I bought them. I got Netflix this year, but I'm only counting DVDs I actually physically own, just because.

5. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics 5.1

So my friend Tamarie's ex-boyfriend gave her a surround sound system several years ago as a Christmas gift. This was apparently a bit of a turning point in the relationship; her reaction was basically "why would this guy think I want a huge ugly box and a bunch of wires cluttering up my apartment?". Two months later they broke up, and she gave the huge ugly box and bunch of wires to me. Note to guys: your girlfriend is probably not as much of a gadget geek as you are.

So anyway, that's how I ended up with a surround sound system, something I'd previously considered to be kind of silly and unnecessary. Leave it to the sound wizards in the Flaming Lips, just about my favorite band in the whole wide world, to get me to embrace crazy audio technology. I wasn't as enthused about their last album, At War With The Mystics, as I'd been about their other stuff, but having the crazy-ass 5.1 mix they did for the album explode all around me and shoot lasers through my head led me to appreciate it as a truly great achievement (the surround sound versions of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots are also words-fail fantastic). Bonus: It comes with the music videos they made for the album, a bunch of bonus tracks, and Wayne Coyne's address to an Oklahoma City-area high school's graduating class (see below). Fantastic.

4. Children of Men
Would have been higher on the list, but I bought it at Best Buy and didn't realize I was getting the full-screen version. Nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography, and I'm looking at the pan & scan version. I hate caring about shit like that. Anyway, this movie is incredible, a semi-post-apocalyptic dystopian fable disguised as a badass action flick. I love movies where the future is dirty and society is falling apart; gives me comfort that I'll probably be dead by the time all that happens for real. I don't care that I'm a year behind everyone else who raved about this movie: If you haven't seen it, you probably ought to, and if you have: I know, right???

I can't find a YouTube clip worth posting, but seeing as how I bitched about the full-screen thing just now, it'd be kind of weird for me to show a bunch of people a cell-phone quality blip of a gorgeously shot movie.

3. Gimme Gimme Octopus (Kure Kure Takora)
I found a bootleg DVD of this violent and quasisensical Japanese children's show from the 60s (no subtitles). There's about an hour's worth of shorts, but it's kind of upsetting the longer I watch so I'm not even sure I've seen them all. To describe it in any words other than the blurb on the DVD's case would be doing it a great disservice, so here it is: "An octopus and a peanut are in love with the same walrus".

2. The Dana Carvey Show
Another bootleg (courtesy like the last selection of Houston's own Domy Books, which has all kinds of amazing shit), this disc has five of the seven episodes that ever aired for this mid-90s network TV sketch show, one of the single greatest waste of potential in comedy history. The cast includes Carvey (who I'd remembered so fondly from a youth spent watching SNL reruns on Comedy Central) hamming it up amongst the likes of Steven Colbert, Steve Carell, and Robert Smigel. The writing staff includes those guys and Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Jon Glaser, Charlie Kaufman and Dino Stamatopolous. Between all those, you've got writers and/or performers from Mr. Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Being John Malkovich, Saturday Night Live, The Office, Adaptation, TV Funhouse, Chappelle's Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and Eternal Spotless Sunny Face Brain. I think I even saw Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk in the credits for one episode. What the fuck.

It's not so much that the show is bad; it's mostly just mediocre. As I said, Dana Carvey made me laugh a whole lot when I was younger, so the most I'll say about him is he's really, really, really proud of his celebrity imitations. Which is a bummer, because for every three forced Ross Perot bits, there's something like this:

They canceled the shit out of this one in a month and a half. I would've just fired Dana Carvey.

1. Tom Goes to the Mayor: Businessman's Edition

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, neither of whom are Dutch, are the most important thing to happen to comedy in the last five years. Or maybe the next five. Possibly both. The show is brilliant; apparently Cartoon Network received more hate mail about this show than any other Adult Swim program in history. I could write a term paper on why I like this show (and their follow-up, Tim and Eric: Awesome Show Great Job), but I will say this about them: they are better than anyone I can think of at using humor to make you legitimately uncomfortable, without resorting to the easy out of "boundary-pushing" offensiveness. As great as the show is, this DVD is worth it alone for the short film in the bonus features, where Eric fires Tim and replaces him with Michael Cera and Louie Anderson.

By the way: I didn't look very hard to find that clip I posted above; I probably could have found something a bit more uncomfortable to prove my half-baked point, but it's late and I'm tired. Tune in later this week for my top ten albums of the year, copy-pasted from


booktapes said...

This was a semi-post-apocalyptic dystopian fable disguised as a blog entry!

J said...

Good call on Tim and Eric - finally, I'm not the only person to find their stuff oddly brilliant and definitely disquieting. Of course, the knowledge you enjoy this show completely fails to surprise me. If you haven't, check out Shin Chan on Adult Swim. I'd be rather interested to hear your take.

As always, keep it up, Joe, and stick it to the man in the cube at the end of the hall.

booktapes said...

Theories on why no one has commented on this entry:
A) It's too long. No on read it.
B) All the videos disallow the entry from loading on people's cheap-ass computers.
C) People are so entranced by Wayne Coyne's slow-spoken, hypnotic message that they have forgotten how to type.

addie said...

I tried to load the videos but me "cheap-ass computer" won't let them load. :( My dear friend BAT said the octopus one was really good...

J said...

Joe - I was up late last night. Don't watch Shin Chan - it was funny only when I was half asleep and slightly drunk. Stick with Tim and Eric, Metalocalypse, and enjoy the moments Garth Marenghi's Dark Place has. Sorry to mislead you!

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