Monday, April 13, 2009

Stuff You Might Like

Parks and Recreation is damned funny. It's dark comedy, there's no laugh track, and Amy Poehler is totally inspired as the lead character. If you ever saw "Strangers With Candy," it sort of echoes that show (in ways I can't really explain), but it's more accessible. The premiere was last Thursday, and if you missed the first episode (or just want to see a few clips), Hulu has it all here.

It's quite a jump from "Parks and Recreation" to Thrilla in Manilla, but this documentary is incredibly poignant. It focuses on the famous "Thrilla in Manilla" fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, but from Frazier's point of view. It's brilliant and awkward and very uncomfortable at times, and if anything, it's a beautiful illustration of just how complicated human beings can be, and how every story, especially popular ones, are more like "Rashomon" than we ever want to admit.

I accidentally turned on the premier episode of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency two weeks ago, and it was outstanding. The books are incredibly popular (to that half of the population sans penis), but I really didn't know anything about them, so it's all new to me. The show is set in Botswana, and the lead actress (Jill Scott) is absolutely sensational in the role of "Precious Ramotswe." She's just riveting.

This is a thoughtful show, strongly character-driven, and the cinematography is stunning. It's also very funny and poignant, and it's more gently paced than most shows (teabaggers need not apply).

I'm putting this next film last because it doesn't open up nationwide until Friday, but Anvil: The Story of Anvil looks like required, day one viewing. Here's a description from the Rotten Tomatoes page for the film:
Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year after year. The story follows Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner and their heavy metal band, Anvil, which released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982’s Metal on Metal. The album influenced an entire generation of rock bands, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who went on to sell millions of records. Anvil, on the other hand, took a different path -- straight to obscurity. A wonderful and often hilarious account of Anvil’s last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune...

If you're thinking that it sounds like a non-fiction version of "Spinal Tap," that's what I'm thinking, too.

Site Meter