Category: Sunday Soapbox


 

las-vegas-getty

It occurred to me today that this will (probably) be the first year in at least a decade that I don’t hit up Vegas.

Two things:

At this point, I’ve done ‘Vegas Birthday’, ‘UFC Fight Weekend in Vegas,’ ‘Hangover in Vegas’, ‘New Year’s in Vegas’… there’s not really any all new variations I haven’t experienced yet.

And two, with ten or so weeks still to go, I’ve hit up the Bay Area twice, I’ve started doing film festivals again, I’ve seen family members and frat brothers I haven’t seen in years… I could call it a year socially right now and it would already be a gigantic step forward.  And I’m not remotely done.

So, until next time, Sin City.  There will be a next time I’m sure, but for now, one of my all time favorite movie sequences came to mind to start this week.

Enjoy.

 

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eddieg

Ahead of the the 1000th episode of ‘Smackdown’, WWE is putting out a lot of content related to the show.  This video today is one of the best pieces.

The Rock is literally a movie star of course, but as far as that show’s best wrestlers, Eddie Guerrero is almost certainly number one on the list.  It’s cool to see years later how much respect he still gets from his peers and the company.

Enjoy.

 

 

QUINCY-1998-FNL-copy

Quincy Jones has had a career and a life that just won’t me duplicated.

EGOT.  He opened the door for Oprah to go to the next level.  He opened the door for Will Smith to go to the next level.  Nearly any creative I know would feel like his 90th biggest accomplishment would easily be their 1st.

So it’s impressive that ‘Quincy’ does such a good job of giving an overview for how much he’s done over the years while blending in enough of a personal element to balance the story out.

I could be hear all day talking about Q’s accomplishments, so I’ll just pick a few highlights:

  • Sinatra is one of my guys, so the chapter detailing their relationship was riveting for me.  How much respect Frank had for him, how Q was right there with Sammy when Sinatra spoke up about really integrating Vegas, the album ‘Sinatra at the Sands’ (a personal favorite).  All gems.
  • Like Kendrick said, my generation was introduced to Q through MJ.  The music nerd in me was equally happy to hear him credit Rod Temperton as one of the great songwriters, but getting behind the scenes footage of their professional bonding over ‘Off the Wall’ and ‘Thriller’ was cool.
  • I should have figured as much, but Q produced the concert that opened the Smithsonian African-American Museum.  Just seeing him walk through the pop culture exhibit and realize he produced or worked with damn near every person in the music section is another shake your head ridiculous moment; but seeing this man still producing massive events in his 80s is…humbling.

The film is co-directed by his daughter Rashida (side note: I’m far too young to know of a young Peggy Lipton, but seeing her with no context, my first reaction was still, ‘Oh, that’s Rashida Jones’ mom), and it’s well worth the two hour watch if you’re any kind of pop culture nerd.

High recommend.

 

 

Al Green_7

First song of the week.

The Shuffle took me back to an underrated Al Green song (just saying that seems a little false).

Anyway, my ‘gospel’ collection isn’t terribly deep obviously, but (as I try to emulate in my own way), I dig stories that can reference spirituality without being on the nose about it every time you bring it up.

Enjoy!

 

 

youngpaul

Back in L.A., back into my routine.

The trip to my hometown was the best one I’ve ever had.  Long overdue conversations with family, reconnecting with friends there I hadn’t seen in years.  It was a perfect holiday, right up to the point my asshole iPod decided to segway into ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’ as I’m waving goodbye to my parents in the airport terminal.  That was brutal.

But a perfect segway into today.

Sir Paul is pushing his new album, and somehow, ‘seeing a Beatle in concert’ is still a possibility on the bucket list.  We’ll see when he hits L.A. again.

Enjoy a couple of the greatest hits.

 

 

thrones

I’m from the school of ‘use humor to point out foul shyt’, so I obviously liked this piece.

From the Brits, have to laugh and shake your head at the same time.  With a nice little bit of racism and ageism and body shaming thrown in.

Enjoy!

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 3.56.29 PM

The comedy stuff I’ve done hasn’t really been consolidated into one piece, until now.

My buddy Jeebz likes to edit, so we tried to tone a few of the parts I’ve played over the years into a ‘comedic timing/hit the punchline’ highlight reel.

As far as the intro/outro, hand to God, as we were in the middle of it, my only thoughts were ‘Everyone is going to expect me to touch on this, let’s use it to set the tone.’

Only now as a passive observer do I see it and go, ‘Huh, I guess I can officially scratch playing this character on screen off my bucket list.  Cool.’

Anyway, enjoy!

 

blackkklansman-832x447

So yes, to say Spike is ‘back’ is condescending.  He’s been working.  The word I thought of last night as I walking out of the theatre was ‘accessible.’  This is the most accessible Spike Lee joint in a little bit.  My parents have no interest in seeing (and probably don’t even know about) ‘Chi-raq’ and ‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus’, but they already asked me if I have an awards screener for ‘BlackkKlansman’ (which makes me chuckle).

Co-written by my old KU professor Kevin Wilmott, this film dramatizes the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black police officer who ‘infiltrated’ the KKK in the 70s.  John David Washington does fine carrying the movie as the title character.

Adam Driver: hates doing press, says absolutely nothing about his personal life, just wants to work his craft (so naturally I like him) probably plays his most ‘likable’ character so far.  Minor spoiler but he has a mini monologue about ‘passing’ about halfway through I thought was really good.

Actually, the character acting across the board here is A+.  Corey Hawkins shows up near the beginning as Kwame Ture and sets the tone for the film with a great sermon.  Topher Grace is hilarious as the kindly, corporate Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke.

Anytime we (the audience) got too comfortable, there was always a subtle (or at the end an overt) reminder of how dangerous and scary things get when we don’t check extremism.

Definitely a film of ‘America 2018’.   High recommend.

 

 

jeffbuckley

I’m not a ‘gospel’ guy in the traditional sense obviously, but damn this song (and this version) gets to me.

And I know I’m far from alone.  First time I heard it was in ‘The West Wing’ I think.  And Kate McKinnon did a nice version on SNL a year or so ago.

Lyrics by Leonard Cohen. Jeff Buckley vocals and guitar.

Enjoy.

 

 

jay-z-weight-loss-t

Barry Jenkins’ trailer dropped this week, and I’m about to hop back onto HBO for Issa, and pretty high odds I’ll have some thoughts on Spike’s new movie next Sunday, and Tessa is…Tessa…

So this is as good of a video to start the week as any.

Enjoy!