by John Walters

A Medium Happy 76th birthday, Trebek!

Starting Five

Release the Kraken

Last night Jon Stewart hijacked The Late Show desk, not long after Donald Trump’s speech, and accused “Lumpy” (Sean Hannity) and his cronies of what many of us have been saying for months: Hypocrisy.

Anyway, I’ll just sit back and let you listen. It really gets good at 11 minutes, but you should hear the earlier set up, too.

2. aGOPalypse Now

Given the grim tone of Trump’s speech, perhaps they should have played a tune from The Darkness

“America First” and “Law and Order” have about as much of a substantive message as “Roll, Tide,” (perhaps less), but the people in Donald Trump’s corner don’t care. I don’t know who the Quicken Loans Arena M.C. is, but after Mike “Gay Reeducation Camps” Pence spoke on Wednesday he played The Who’s “Eminence Front” (“it’s a put on, it’s a put on”) and after Trump spoke last night, he played Free’s “All Right Now” (which sounds a lot like “All white now/Baby, it’s all white now”) followed by the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

The M.C. is trolling the GOP and they don’t even realize it. Meanwhile, Trump is trolling America and at least 45 % of the country doesn’t realize it.

Meanwhile, as much as Trump and his minions would like you to think the world (and America) is going to hell, most everything is far better since late January, 2009. The planet—and America—isn’t perfect, but it never was and never will be. If Trump had gone after Bush 43’s record, he would have had exponentially more material. But it’s not about Dem or GOP; it’s about whites versus everyone else. That’s what “our country” means to them.

3. Cougar Town

Houston finished 13-1 last season, their lone defeat by 3 at UConn


It was all so simple, really, and easy for any elementary school student to understand: the Big Ten has 14 schools and the Big 12 has 10 schools and don’t ask why, you little brat. And now the latter conference wants to spoil that by returning to its days as a 12-school conference. So I’ll never be able to refer to 10 items as a “Bowlsby’s Dozen” anymore? For shame.

You ask me (and no one ever does), the strongest Big 12 would be one that gets Texas A&M and Nebraska back, but this is college football, and that would make sense, so it’s not going to happen. We’ll probably see Houston and BYU, both of whom are named the Cougars.

4. Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte

To think that these could have solved the entire problem

Yesterday the NBA announced that it would be moving next February’s All-Star Game from Charlotte due to North Carolina’s LGBTQ bathroom laws (by the way, did you notice how when Trump said, “LGBTZ” last night he said it as if he were reading an eye chart?).

Anyway, our friend Clay Travis decried it as hypocritical and Bromani-esque (pointing out the NBA will play 2 games in Mexico City next season) while our other friend Pablo Torre silenced a tweep who made the same point while wondering if their sudden concern for Mexican human rights was just a convenient way to justify their transparent bigotry (it’s been an awful week for Clay this week, if you ask me; and I know he’s a smart guy, but he’s just gone from reasoned and contrarian to utter Trump homer and quasi-bigot).

Anyway, last night billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel (who’s gay) told the RNC that we shouldn’t care about where people go to the bathroom (unless it’s on Amsterdam Ave in the broad daylight, which I have seen), and the RNC throng cheered, but I don’t quite think they realized that they were cheering against North Carolina’s law.

Also, this should only cost the city of Charlotte $80-100 million, so what’s the big deal?

5. The Film Room with Chris Corbellini



by Chris Corbellini

Here we have a movie that had to redeem itself for even being made. The preview of the new GHOSTBUSTERS is the most disliked in YouTube history, and haterade has been dumped on its female cast like ghostly green slime for their having dared to remake a comedy classic. For the record, the movie doesn’t deserve the gender-biased scorn, so take your geek pills and slowly step away from the message boards.  It isn’t worthy of comedy Cooperstown, either. It’s just fun enough to make you leave the theater with a smile on your face, and maybe a little nostalgic for the original.

Count me among the folks who thought that remaking GHOSTBUSTERS with an all-female cast was an inspired choice. Replacing Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson with bros would have been worse — the movie would have keeled over and died from the comparisons. And I suspect all four title character would compete to be Murray – I can picture Vince Vaughn, Stiller, Hader, and Kevin Hart going for it that way – which is an impossible task.

Yeah, even with all the cameos from the original (maybe because of them), this one is a little shaggy. The middle act took some hacks in the edit suite, as if the director Paul Feig shot four hours of improvisation, and didn’t know what to keep. But the opening is a fitting set-up and the third act gathers steam, rescued by the special effects and a cast totally game to embrace all the weirdness around them.

Our first glimpse of a scientist who would become a Ghostbuster this century is at Columbia University, where the Kristen Wiig character Erin is close to getting tenure. The issue for Erin, besides the elitist sneer of her boss, played by GAME OF THRONES veteran Charles Dance (he can do this role while napping), is that she wrote a book on the paranormal with the Melissa McCarthy character, Abby. Now that book is available on Amazon, which threatens Erin’s reputation. She asks Abby to take it down, they then bond over a ghost sighting, and off goes the movie.

Unlike the original, where you instantly acknowledge Aykroyd, Ramis and Murray as a team because you’ve seen them in <a href=””>movies together before</a>, this one takes a little time establishing why Erin and Abby drifted apart, and how they became friends in the first place. There’s a backstory about how Erin was haunted by a ghost as a child, was mocked for it in school, with only loyal Abby believing her. It’s not hard to envision Wiig’s character as the type of smart girl who acted dumb to impress the boys in school, while McCarthy, a force of nature, did what she wanted even if it meant being ostracized for it. Now, as adults, they join forces with Kate McKinnon’s character, the big brain that invents all the ghost-catching gadgets, and Leslie Jones, an MTA worker and NYC historian who’s had close encounters with a ghost herself. Chris Hemsworth plays their himbo secretary, essentially becoming the possessed Sigourney Weaver role when the ectoplasm really hits the fan.

The comedy is divvied up rather evenly, which is what Feig does so well. All five get moments of awesomeness: Jones rescues two of the others in their office above a Chinese restaurant (the firehouse in the original was listed at $21,000 a month), Hemsworth uses every take to prove how gleefully dumb he is, McCarthy and Wiig become sisters again, willing to go to hell together, and McKinnon is Roger Rabbit in the flesh, using every cutaway as a chance to pluck away the movie for herself with a loony tunes expression. At a key moment when the four are fighting for their lives in Times Square, Fieg singles out McKinnon’s character, Holtzman, who says to herself “I forgot about my new toys!” and then proceeds to shred her way through apparition after apparition. It feels like Feig wanted to reward the SNL superstar for being his secret weapon and it’s the best bit in the movie – the whackadoodle smarty turned girl-powered samurai.
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One of the charms of the original is the authentic and even grubby Manhattan locations. And their struggle to live in the Big City is relatable. Before business picked up the Ghostbusters worried about money, and Hudson joined the team by saying “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” Behind the scenes, you can tell the city loved the shoot. I was 11 when I first saw it and it’s the first time I ever thought to myself that it looks fun to make a movie. The original also boasts the biggest laugh I’ve ever heard in a theater. Feel free to point out all its flaws — my response is that even if it weren’t your kind of movie, you have to judge a comedy ensemble by an audience’s reaction to it. And by that standard, GHOSTBUSTERS is one of the funniest movies of my lifetime.

That’s tough to live up to, and comedy is tough enough to make on its own. The female GHOSTBUSTERS is definitely missing that NYC vibe – some moments are staged in another city (Boston), or a sound stage — and there’s a lot of herky-jerky stuff in the middle. Like JJ Abrams’ STAR WARS, you are comparing the movie to a cultural touchstone for so many, hoping it’s worthy, not thinking it’s worthy before it settles in, and grimacing a little when it’s too reverential overall. But GHOSTBUSTERS 2.0 grew on me from their first ghost capture on, when the girls truly became a team, and their climactic battle in Times Square is impressive to watch on the big screen. I never thought the wispy Wiig could wield and shoot a ghost gun with such …determination. And then there’s McKinnon making all those faces. There’s a lot of fun in this one.

It’s just not the original. Please let that one go, internet commenters, and enjoy yourself for once.

9 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Kate McKinnon is the best thing about the current cast of SNL, and this is her blow-up year – Ghostbusters plus the golden opportunity to play Hillary every Saturday this fall in an election year as ripe for parody as any in memory.

    Is McKinnon in the all-time top 5 of female performers on SNL? (Ignore the built-in and fully acknowledged sexism in that question). Yes, in my book – with Gilda Radner, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Jan Hooks. Also receiving votes: Kristen Wiig (great but slightly overrated in my mind), Jane Curtin, Cheri Oteri, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Cecily Strong, Rachel Dratch.

  2. Great comment. My SNL Female Top 5

    1. Tina Fey (as a writer and WU host, and as Palin; never did regular sketches, I know)
    2. Gilda Radner
    3. Kate McKinnon
    4. Jane Curtin
    5. Kristen Wiig

  3. McKinnon is like that kid on the little league team who is the best at every position – it’s hard to figure out how best to use her. She’s obviously the go-to HRC, but we’ve seen her play Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Angela Merkel(!) to great laughs. Can’t you see her as Melania, Ivanka, Chelsea, Elizabeth Warren, Theresa May, etc.?

  4. So, the past week or so I’ve been mentally making a list (& ‘checking it twice’) of The Worst Things to Happen in American History’. You know – things like (list not currently ranked in order of importance) the Civil War, 9/11, the Great Depression, the Titanic (the actual sinking, not the movie), the slave trade & slavery, the slow & then quick killing off &/or forced ‘resettlement’ of the various tribal peoples on this continent, Galveston Hurricane, Johnstown Flood, Exxon-Valdez, Watergate & the impeachment/removal of an American President, the assassinations of Lincoln, JFK & MLK, the Challenger explosion/death of all onboard on live TV, & the brainwashing of millions of American women (11-13 years ago) that calf-length pants of ANY kind were attractive (ahem).

    Sure, the list can go on. The question is – where would the (hold on while I steady myself) the election of (gulp) Donald (I feel sick) Trump as PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES fall on said list? I’m thinking Top 10 if not Top 5. You?

    Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with the rise & fall of ’empires’ throughout history. Never thought I’d be an actual WITNESS. If such a horrific thing actually comes to pass, I’ll have a new question – how many successive days can one throw up before belting out some Norman Greenbaum & joining the Trump-FREE ‘Spirit in the Sky’?

    “When I die and they lay me to rest
    Gonna go to the place that’s the best
    When I lay me down to die
    Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
    Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
    That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
    When I die and they lay me to rest
    Gonna go to the place that’s the best”

  5. Oh, speaking of the RNC (which I did NOT watch, are you kidding? YOU can take the bullet for all of us), PLEEEEASE tell me the following was heard as background music –
    “Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight
    I got the feeling that something ain’t right
    I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
    And I’m wondering how I’ll get down those stairs

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
    Here I am, stuck in the middle with you

    Yes, I’m stuck in the middle with you,
    And I’m wondering what it is I should do
    It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
    Losing control, and I’m all over the place”

    Nostradamus/smadamus, he ain’t nuthin over our early 70s songwriters. 😉

  6. Now Susie B, the song they should have played after Donald Trump spoke was Phil Collins’ “Illegal Alien.””It’s no fun being an illegal alien….”

  7. Question about Trump: does anyone even think he is a good man? “Good man” in the everyday sense, i.e., fundamentally decent, honest. I think even the most fire-breathing Dems thought Romney, McCain, Bushes 41 and 43, were basically good people. You have go back to Nixon to find a candidate that seems this fundamentally indecent.

    • Nixon was a paragon of virtue compared to Trump. Plus (& I know it’s quite surprising to we Americans who only now view him post-Watergate), he was respected by foreign leaders. I say this as someone who for more than 15 years THREW AN ANNUAL PARTY on Aug 8th, the day Nixon was forced out. I honestly can think of NO ONE in politics who would be a worse President or representative of our country to the world than Trump. Even Sarah Palin (whom I dubbed the, ahem, ‘Anti-Christ’ 4 years ago) would be a step UP.

      • Nixon, of course, was 10 times more qualified than Trump, considering that pre-WHite House, Nixon already had a lifetime of public service on a national and international scale. And he lacked Trump’s apparent history of womanizing and leading businesses into failure. They may have been equals in the area of racism, religious discrimination, and willingness to lie. So there is the definition of Donald Trump: Start with Richard Nixon; subtract experience, international credibility and personal principles; and add misogyny and business failure. By all means, let’s elect this guy.

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