A real great horror movie creates a visceral sense of dread and fear in the viewer. The easiest way to do this is through “jump scares,” the moments when something pops out at a character, often accompanied by a musical sting. Jump scares can be very effective (I used to hide in the linen closet and utilize the jump scare to terrify my sister. Worked every time), but there is very little nuance involved. Jump scares are the horror equivalent of vulgarity in a comedy – it is the easy laugh. A great horror film will build suspense and tension through circumstance and performance. The best example of this method from last year is not even a horror film; it is Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt.
For those who don’t know or don’t care (I count myself among the latter), the 56th Annual Grammy Awards took place this week. This is one award show that I just don’t really care about. I don’t want to sound like a snob (although I have a blog where I review things for my own conceited purposes, so the cat’s out of the bag on that one), but the Grammys don’t really seem to have much meaning. The Academy Awards are similarly meaningless, but at least there’s a level of prestige associated with them; the fact that there are approximately 1,000 awards given out at the Grammys each year kind of dilutes their purpose (There are actually 82 categories, which is crazy because it makes my hyperbole seem kind of reasonable). But at the very least the fact that some body came together to recognize achievement in some field implies there is media worth checking out. In this case I decided to take a look at Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the so-called “Album of the Year.”
Two-hundred episodes is a huge accomplishment for any show, even if you think it has been on the air for a few too many seasons. Think back to the early days of How I Met Your Mother, when it seemed to be on the verge of cancellation every six months; back then the idea of nine seasons would have seemed glorious. But now – in practice – the general consensus is that the show has fallen off, especially in this final year. I am personally of the opinion that season nine is more of the same, equal in quality to what we’ve come to expect the last few years (if not actually a little bit better). While it is disappointing that the show will seemingly never go back to the whip-fast, smart, even edgy comedy that it once was, I’m certainly not going to give up on it with the end so close.
It is hard to discern whether True Detective is getting better, or whether I am slowly getting used to what it is going to be. There’s bound to be a learning curve to any slow-burn show, but there also seemed to be a step up in the writing this episode. “The Locked Room” definitely felt like showcase for both Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, and not just the latter. This allows the two actors to turn their scenes together into competitions, a situation where the viewer wins.
A friend of mine recently told me that he thinks improvised comedy is one of the most important art forms that we have. Two things: 1) this guy isn’t even an improviser (which raises the question of why I was even interacting with him), and 2) he was at least a little drunk. So, while I take what this anonymous “friend” said with a grain of salt, I do agree that improv has a lot of redeeming qualities that should bring it more attention than it currently has.
The quiet dive bar. It is the holy grail of night-time hangouts, especially in Los Angeles, where it is nigh-impossible to find such a thing. I’ve found a few spots where I can spend an hour or two, but I fear I will spend the rest of my life searching for a low-key spot where I can just sit and talk to my friends at a normal volume. I don’t know; maybe this is something that only exists in television and film. Perhaps there is no real-world equivalent of How I Met Your Mother’s MacLaren’s. My search continues unabated, however, as giving up is just not in my nature. Which brought me to Molly Malone’s in the beautiful Fairfax district.