Tag Archives: comedy

Life These Days: With Family And Friends Kindle Edition by Ronald McClure

cover

I picked this up on Kindle Unlimited because it hadn’t been reviewed before. Let’s take a look!

* First off, the concept seems…. well, only interesting to a VERY select group of people. Maybe the author and a few people around him, but let’s give it a fair shot.

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* Page 1: A photo of fixing a door. And all the comments from family/friends about said photo. It’s not transcribed mind you, it’s just screen captures of the Facebook posts glued into each page.

* Page 2: “We woke up WHITE! Just thought you’d like to know!” – yeah well, everyone in this book is pretty white, let me tell you.

* Page 3: Photo of an unidentified interior of a building. Can’t tell if it’s a bar or a house. Photos are all black and white and VERY small so even if this was interesting, it wouldn’t be.

* Page 4/5: Merry Christmas greetings, the author and wife in Christmas hats. Lots of one-liner Christmas greetings exchanged.

* A few pages on we get an album of apparent vacation photos. No indication of where they are though. Grand Canyon maybe? Seems like something better posted on Flickr or some sort of… oh, I dunno, photo service?

* Couple pages further… picture of a relative holding a cup of soda in some unidentified diner.

* A few more pages further we are treated to a sampling of a Facebook messenger chat with someone else who is unidentified and his importance is entirely unknown.

OK, enough of that. While I appreciate what a pain in the butt it must have been to put this together, I fail to see the need for this there is in the world. The only people who could be remotely interested in this are already Facebook friends with the author. So while by all means I applaud the desire to capture and document the past, I see absolutely no reason to try to sell copies of it online.

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Movie Reviews: The Grand Budapest Hotel (****)

Laura and I marched off to see this movie after seeing previews for several weeks. Are we glad we did? Oooh, mostly, though it put Laura to sleep and I was very yawnful at various points.

I won’t summarize the plot for you because that’s what the description is for but the feel of the movie was very French to me with a bit of 70s criminal comedic espionage movie. Imagine the Pink Panther movies, I guess. The movie is a first person narrative in which the characters speak to you directly throughout the action much like Amélie, one of my own personal favorites.

To the positive the movie was delightfully photographed. The scenes are artistic and well-composed and, as I said, felt very European. The plot is wacky and madcap and isn’t laugh-aloud funny but instead cute and whimsical. That said, it’s not really a comedy as it has a deep undercurrent of tragedy that overtakes the whole thing in the end.

On the negative side, when asked closely if she was glad we picked it, she was mildly non-committal since, as I noted above, she did fall asleep during the movie. It is visually stimulating but doesn’t really grab the viewer’s interest. Other reviewers hold differing opinions as aficionados of the cinema but as a plebe it just didn’t quite get my complete attention.

In summary, we were the youngest people in the theatre at 45 with the majority of the other viewers ranging into their 50s and 60s. They seemed at least moderately amused and there wasn’t a great deal of snoring (not even from Laura) but I didn’t hear any applauding after the movie either.

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Movies: Muppets Most Wanted (***)

Izzy’s 8 and she was excited to see this movie so we took off to see it pretty much as soon as we could. On the whole, we were mildly amused but she sure had a hard time sitting still for the whole 2 hours.

To the positive, as usual The Muppets give with the usual wacky madcap humor. There are the gags and pratfalls that you expect from the movie. Fans of Sam the Eagle will be thrilled because for once he’s a central character and the center of attention for quite a while. The music numbers are not overwhelming and they’re semi-memorable. Probably the best thing about the movie, and the one that garnered the most laughs, was a Monsters University short before the movie started. After that the whole thing seemed rather downhill.

The negative bits come in most strongly from Izzy who said, I quote: “The plot was really confusing.” While I didn’t share the sentiment I can see how she might think that given her age. I’m also increasingly unhappy with the attention paid to the character and voice of the Muppets themselves. Rowlf now sounds like Scooter and Scooter sounds more like Fozzie. Statler and Waldorf sound completely different and the beloved Animal is a shadow of his former glory. While I understand they’ll never match exactly it seems like the voice casting isn’t even trying to match the originals at this point.

In summary, if you’ve seen all the movies before this and you’re just interested in completeness then this one is a fine choice. All the usual lovable characters are there and at least they look the same. Aside from a focus on Kermit and Sam the rest of the cast is pretty typically represented. To those who are just looking for a kids movie to see I’d pick something else. Izzy squirmed and squirmed the whole time and had that poor bored look on her face that says, “is this over yet” from about minute 20 to the end.

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Les Gars (The Notorious Guys) – An amusing one-third of a movie (3/5)

I picked this movie because of the pleasant yellow cover and the fact that it looked rather lonely on Amazon Instant watch and in need of an impartial review. Am I glad I did…? yes, mostly.

To categorize this one it’s basically in line with a Beavis and Butthead or a Wayne’s World or Bill and Ted. Crazed misfit dudes go on a bizarre adventure and do some completely random crap. That about sums it up and if you don’t like the idea of that then you won’t like the movie.

On the positive side, the movie starts out really well. They regularly break the fourth-wall by talking to the audience and even go so far as to spoof about playing specific music just to get the royalties for it. Their madcap hijinks are absurdly random as they bully a downspout (yes, that aluminum thing that carries water from your gutters to the ground) and there is, of course, the obligatory self-pleasure scene. It’s perplexingly random to be sure.

To the negative, all the best parts of the movie are in the first 30 minutes. So is this movie worth starting? yes. Is it worth finishing? Probably not. So I’d suggest that if this is at all appealing to you then start it up and the moment that it seems to drag (which it will) then turn it off and watch something else. I’ve watched it to the painful end so there’s no need for you to. Another negative aside from the slow story slide is that it’s very hard to pay attention to the highly visual humor and read subtitles at once. So be prepared for some visual gymnastics.

In summary, as I said, start this movie then stop it. Do not watch it all the way through. Enjoy the girl in the bikini bouncing on the trampoline and the introductory classroom scenes and then go do something else when you’ve had enough. It’s an amusing concept but not an hour+ worth of amusing concept.


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You’re in Charge – Probable Cult Classic (4/5)

I picked this movie just because it seemed lonely on Amazon Instant Watch and I’m glad I did because this could be the next Officespace or Napoleon Dynamite.

If I were to sum up this movie…. it would be fairly impossible. It’s a multi-threaded tale that includes, among other things:

* A gritty, sloppy home-birth with multiple husband slaps

* An ex-con who fancies himself a doctor of holistic medicine

* A manic gardener who has plans for a placenta

* A mumbling creole home remodeling company

As if all these basic themes aren’t enough, the movie is infinitely quotable.

* “People are like teabags. You never know how strong they are until you put them into hot water”

* “So, you’re asking me to fire myself?”

* “We need ebola; we need the plague, that’s how viral we have to go right now”

* “You had the baby! Would you put the gun down?!!?”

In summary, Amazon calls this a comedy and I can’t really categorize it any other way, but I’d add the word “quirky”. It’s not the sort of film that makes you laugh out loud so much as it makes you say, “um, wow.” after it’s over. This is one that’s probably funnier the second time through. And the third. And the fourth. Ad infinitum.


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69 things I do with my Wang – Funniest thing about this book is probably the title (2/5)

As usual I received this book free for the purposes of review. This time it was directly from the author via email. Despite that kindness I give my candid opinions below.

This is a pretty simple book; it’s just a series of pictures featuring the author’s old WANG computer posed in various situations that lend themselves to puerile puns about penises. Enough said.

On the good side, this is intended to be a wacky madcap book with its mind in the gutter and, as the kids say, the book “owns” that about itself. It is exactly what it intends to be which is to be respected. So I give the author credit for staying true to the theme.

The downside, however, is that most of the content just isn’t funny. There are a few that make you nod in vague appreciation but nothing in this made me crack a smile. I can be a somber sort at times but I’m not THAT somber; this just quite cut it. Moving on from the words, much of the photography was also found wanting. Picture sizes varied wildly and each page is only about half filled. It felt like the author might have been stretching a bit to get to 69.

In summary, I can see the potential for this book but it needs more … something. There are only so many penis puns after all and maybe 69 is just too many.


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Call me Clumsy – Stories you have to know the author to appreciate (3/5)

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As usual I received this book for free in exchange for a review. This time it was from the author directly and despite this kindness I give my candid feedback below.

The book has a pretty straightforward anecdotal structure. Our esteemed author lays out all his most embarrassing life moments for us in brief textual format.

On the positive side, it says something significant about the author that he’s willing to lampoon himself in such a way. His stories are honest, self-effacing and give you some great insight into the man’s life. Few people would write this way and put their real name on it. I’m sure he is an entertaining person to sit down and have a beer with.

To the negative though, I’m not sure these stories really live up to the standard readers expect from a published book. This is the sort of thing that’s wonderfully entertaining in a bar at midnight swapping stories but I don’t really think it has what it takes to be a successful book. If you KNOW the author in real life, this book is gold because you have his actual person to connect to the story. But if you’re just some random person off the street who’s never heard of the author before then I fear you’ll be left somewhat flat despite all the self-effacing honesty.

So in summary, this is a collection of good stories but it may very well be a case of “you had to be there” for most of them. The author has led a colorful and clutzy life but I don’t really think it’s colorful enough for readers enjoy much unless they happen to already know the guy who’s doing the writing.


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