Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tip-Top Quotables: "No one should ever be allowed to say there is no history of racial tension here," plus a few other great lines this week

Just tell him what you want him to fuck, America, and he'll fuck it for you.

My favorite monthly section in old Source magazine issues was "Hip-Hop Quotables," in which the Source editors printed out their favorite new rap verse of the month, from the first bar to the last. "Tip-Top Quotables," which I've named after that Source section, is a collection of my favorite quotes of the week from anywhere, whether it's a recent TV show or a new rap verse. "TTQ" won't appear on this blog every week. It'll appear whenever the fuck I feel like it.

* "Much as I scoffed at the very notion of a good MacGruber movie, I'd probably put it at the very top of SNL adaptations. At a minimum, it's the one SNL-to-screen adaptation to take a mostly one-joke sketch idea (e.g. 'It's Pat' or 'The Roxbury Guys') and successfully expand and reconfigure it for the screen. And while I'm here, I'll echo the praise for [Will] Forte's performance, which is committed and fearlessly self-deprecating. After all the things he does in this movie—the loud back-to-back sex scenes, the celery stick, the 'just tell me what you want me to fuck' scene—he can probably bid farewell to any Al Franken-like political aspirations he might have had."--Scott Tobias, The Dissolve, "The '80s ambience, jury-rigged gags, and dumb bravado of MacGruber"

* "Every good spoof needs a straight man. Airplane! had Leslie Nielsen's Dr. Rumack, who never cracked even as he pulled eggs out of a sick woman's mouth. Blazing Saddles had Gene Wilder's Waco Kid, who didn't bat an eye at outlaws punching horses in the face. [Powers] Boothe's unflappable Col. Faith is a sturdy presence throughout MacGruber, but the movie's true straight man is [Jorma] Taccone, who shoots MacGruber as if it were a legitimately badass balls-to-the-wall action spectacular. Most modern spoofs, shot on the cheap by hacks, look like garbage. MacGruber looks good enough to stand beside (or, in some cases, ahead of) its inspirations. No matter how broad Forte gets—and at one point, he's waddling through an action scene naked, with a celery stalk hanging out of his ass—Taccone never shoots him like he's in on the joke. There are many deadpan actors; Taccone is the rare deadpan director."--Matt Singer, The Dissolve, "From box-office bomb to cult favorite in the making: Classic MacGruber"

(NOTE: The Harold Faltermeyer-esque score cue from the "celery stalk hanging out of MacGruber's ass" scene starts at 2:00 of "MacGruber's Suite" by MacGruber score composer Matthew Compton. Don't miss the profane hidden track that starts at 5:30.)

* "There was no main title... and I didn't make a theme for [the end credits] either because I always wanted to leave on whatever tone the outgoing scene had. So there was a different end-title piece of music each time. It's one of the most important chunks of musical real estate because it's a chance to sum up your musical story, but there's no picture, there's no dialogue. It's not competing with any other sound. It's a great spot to showcase the music. So, the end titles became my favorite spot. But I also used it as a place to do something that was unexpected. One track is called 'Falling off a Bicycle,' and another one is called 'Goodnight Nurse Elkins.' Those started out as one-of-a-kind pieces. I hadn't written anything like that for the rest of the show. So, I threw my hardest musical curveballs for the end credits."--Cliff Martinez, discussing with the electronic score music he wrote for the first season of The Knick

* "Composers were close, and often attended each other's recording sessions. One such day, Elmer and his friends were listening to one of their peers record a score with a strikingly memorable theme. They snuck a few musicians to a smaller studio, and recorded a jazz combo version of this composer's theme, arranging it from memory. That night, when they all got together socially, they played their tape, telling their mark it was the radio. Shocked to hear a small combo playing his own theme, the panicked composer turned white and asked what the music was. Elmer and his friends told him it was a hit song that had been on the radio for weeks. The poor composer thought he had accidentally ripped off a popular song, and momentarily contemplated the task of rewriting his entire score! Elmer and his fellow pranksters laughed, and poured him a drink."--Outlander composer Bear McCreary, recalling an elaborate prank that his mentor Elmer Bernstein told him he used to pull on other film composers

* "Even though that theme was used on The Next Generation, I associate it with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was like the coming of Jesus Christ to me. The score is super thematic, it's deep, it employs many modern sounds. Despite the fact that Goldsmith was traditional, he was always trying to find ways to be with the times that were, so he'd bring in the blaster beam, that thing that was the new thing and some of his efforts had dated themselves, like in the '80s we used some of those electronics, but Star Trek remains timeless. That Blaster Beam thing, a lot of the water phone sounds they use and so forth. you combine that beautiful sweeping version of that theme over the most beautiful thing ever created by man— the Enterprise— and it's just complete, absolute orgasm."--X-Men: Days of Future Past composer John Ottman on the one film score he'd take with him to a desert island

* "The heart of the film is that the Guardians are all adrift in their universes, emotionally and spatially lost. So, it's appropriate that the film starts on a song that croons, 'Nothin's a matter with your head, baby, find it/ Come on and find it/ Hell, with it, baby, 'cause you're fine and you're mine.' It's a mission statement as much as a stylistic choice, a ballad of inclusion in a cold universe. It's also Star-Lord's best way of seeking out maternal advice while lost in space; the song's inquiry of 'Don't you feel right, baby?' allows Star-Lord to converse with a woman that he's lost, one who he rejected right before her passing in a fit of childish sadness. The film is, among about 50 other things, the chronicle of Star-Lord's struggle to accept that he was just afraid and not a bad person."--Dominick Mayer, Consequence of Sound, "How Guardians of the Galaxy Topped the Charts"

* "I can't believe that the only name they got right was fucking Kumail Nanjiani."--Harmontown co-host Jeff B. Davis, mocking L.A. Times TV critic Robert Lloyd's typo-ridden positive review of Harmontown, which misidentified Davis as "Jim Davis" and misspelled "podcast" as "pocast" (in fact, Davis was wrong--not even the L.A. Times critic got Nanjiani's name right either)

'I'm that typo guy'--Robert Lloyd rapping

And the fucking L.A. Times missed this too!

* "It looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume. Plus, even if you have superpowers, it's impossible to crawl along the roof while keeping your back arched and your rear high. Too many covers like that, and Spider-Woman is going to need physical therapy."--Amanda Marcotte, mocking Spider-Woman's ass-up pose in the poorly received variant cover artwork drawn by erotic comic book artist Milo Manara for the first issue of Marvel's relaunch of Spider-Woman, as part of a Slate post called "This Week in Butts"

* "We're already at a point where there are too many teasers, promo photos, and previews of event movies, to the point where it's hard not to get sick of them before you even see them. I want to see Peyton Reed (the talented director behind Bring It On and Down with Love) succeed as much as the next person, even if he's working in the Marvel Machine, but the early still for Ant-Man doesn't give much of any indication about anything. Ditto for the early shots that confirm that, yes indeed, J.J. Abrams's Star Wars sequel will have an X-Wing in it. Neither of these cases have told us anything cogent about the shape the films are in (especially difficult given that they're not done shooting and not coming out this year), so arguing that a movie that's not playing the same pre-release overkill game might be in trouble is absurd."--Max O'Connell, Criticwire, "Stop Judging Movies Off of Production Stills"

* "I always equate the Minneapolis sound to Prince. To me, it was the thing that came from him. It was unorthodox to mix rock guitar with funk, but Sly had done it before him obviously in the '70s, but in the '80s, that was kind of different. I think synthesizers up until that time had been used more as solo instruments rather than instruments that you actually created chords from like horn parts. For a lot of bands, they had horn sections. Coming from Minneapolis, both our band and Prince's band, didn't use horns. We used synthesizers to play the line of licks that horns would play. I think that has a lot to do with the Minneapolis sound. It also has to do a lot with growing up in Minneapolis, and the idea of combining rock and funk into one kind of thing. It was just a natural thing. We weren't doing what everybody else was doing. We didn't have a direct New York or LA or Southern influence, it was a melting pot of a whole bunch of different sounds. If I were to pinpoint it, it was a synth driven rock sound on the top with a lot of funky bass on the bottom. The architect of the sound was Prince. He had the blueprint for it in his earlier records. He was the architect, and we were the contractors."--Jimmy Jam, Wax Poetics, "Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have become synonymous with recording excellence"

(Photo source: Late Night with Seth Meyers head writer Alex Baze)

* "I'm glad people are starting to talk seriously about mental health, depression, and suicide. I've discussed my OCD, anxiety, and depression in the past and will continue to do so more in the future. Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health; the two are inseparable. But I am afraid people will romanticize what Robin went through. Please don't romanticize mental anguish. I know many people who think to be an artist means you have to suffer, or at least wallow in old miseries. It's not only an incorrect assumption — there are comedians who had happy upbringings, I swear — but it will only hurt them and the people who care about them. Artists who struggled with mental illness, trauma, disease, addiction (often the latter is a way of self-medicating after the first three) did not want or welcome it. I don't know if I'd consider myself an artist, but speaking as someone who sometimes makes stuff, my best work is created when I'm content and contemplative, looking back on painful times rather than in the middle of them. To focus on someone's pain instead of their accomplishments is an insult to them."--Mara Wilson, who played Robin Williams' youngest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire

* "When I was being interviewed about [Robin Williams], and I was trying to be as kind as possible, the woman in Sky News, who I know she didn't write the questions--she was being fed the question by her upper superiors--said to me, 'He had a dark side, didn't he?' You know who has a fucking dark side? Tony fucking Blair. David Cameron. Vladimir Putin. Barack Obama. W. Bush. Angela Merkel. That's who has a fucking dark side. Comics, if they have a dark side, do not affect the world with their dark side. Did you feel the punishing power of Robin's horrible addiction to fucking coke and booze? No, you fucking laughed every time he came on TV and went, 'That was fucking funny. He made me feel better.' So fuck saying he had a dark side. The people who rule the goddamn world, the people who run British Petroleum and Lloyds Bank, the people who run Halifax, the people who run Chevron Oil: those are the people with a fucking dark side because they don't give a goddamn about fucking humanity or the future of the world or your children or your health or that anyone gets three squares at any point at any goddamn place. Robin Williams was an absolutely divine individual who cared a great deal about everyone he met, and if you met him personally, he would have gone, 'Hi, how are you?,' because he was capable of doing that."--The Smartest Man in the World's Greg Proops, expressing his frustration with journalists' tendency to harp on about the vices of Robin Williams, whom Proops knew from the San Francisco comedy scene (and I think Proops was trying to refer to Halliburton but accidentally called it Halifax instead)

* "Here's the thing the [Ferguson] mayor doesn't understand: as a general rule, no one should ever be allowed to say there is no history of racial tension here, because that sentence has never been true anywhere on Earth. Even in Antarctica, there is tension between emperor penguins and gentoo penguins. 'Fuck you, gentoo penguins, flapping over here, stealing our fish! Not you, chinstrap penguins, you're cool. You guys are good at math.'"--Last Week Tonight's John Oliver

* "Oh, it wasn't just that he ordered racial profiling, it was how he allegedly did it, with his colleagues claiming that he said things like 'Let's have a black day' and 'Let's make the jail cells more colorful.' Now let's be fair here. 'Let's have a black day' is an awesome thing to say if you are Shaft. And 'Let's make the jail cells more colorful' is entirely appropriate if you're an interior designer with a folder full of paint swatches. However, if you're a white police officer, it's not ideal to say either of those, which is not to say that all cops are bad. They are clearly not. Also, the people of Ferguson want and need an effective police force. But perhaps their relationship was best summed up by this photo from earlier this week, not just ludicrously aggressive police facing off against an unarmed man, but also the fact that someone has clearly written 'Fuck the police' on the post box, something that apparently CNN did not notice when they were using this photo during all of their coverage."--Oliver

Overdressed for the occasion
* "The police are not soldiers, so why in this photo from Ferguson, are they wearing fucking camo? They are northwest of St. Louis, not northwest of the Amazon. If they want to blend in with their surroundings, they should be dressed as a dollar store."--Oliver

* "I know the police love their ridiculous unnecessary military equipment, so here's another patronizing test: let's take it all away from them, and if they can make it through a whole month without killing a single unarmed black man, then, and only then, can they get their fucking toys back."--Oliver

(Photo source: Prometheus Brown)

(Photo source: Talib Kweli)

* "Say that shit! No, say that shit! I don't give a damn y'all on TV! I don't care about that shit... Them shooting at us! It don't matter! We out here! Okay, we go through this shit every day, don't we? You telling me this just child's play?"--a late-night Ferguson protester, cursing out an annoying Fox News reporter who referred to the Ferguson protesters who went home as "dignified protesters" and described late-night protests as "child's play"

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