August 20, 2000 |
They can't get away with that, can they? Oh, yes, they can. In this summer of raunchy humor, gross-out movies, eyebrow-raising commercials, and proudly obnoxious TV shows are obliterating boundaries of bad taste, united by a strategy that owes much to time-honored Madison Avenue shock tactics. Increasingly, hit comedies such as Scary Movie and The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Reebok's "Nate and Brian" TV ads, and Comedy Central's The Man Show, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, revolve around I-can't-believe-they-did-that vignettes calculated to ignite controversy and, in the case of movies, to attract 18- to 24-year-olds back for repeat viewings.
May 11, 2001 |
The teenage boy waves goodbye to his parents as they depart on a 10-day trip abroad and tries to keep the gleeful smile off his face as he savors his new freedom. But in Cesc Gay's Nico and Dani, Dani is still the prisoner of his adolescent desires and struggling with confusion over his sexuality. Most of us would probably prefer to forget the anxieties of coming of age, but filmmakers aren't about to let that happen. They remain irresistibly drawn to evoking it in vivid, painful detail.
April 23, 1999 |
The new David Spade comedy Lost & Found abounds in bathroom humor. Teeth-gnashingly gross if intermittently hilarious, it follows Dylan, a restaurateur (Spade) who gets into deep doo-doo after he dognaps the terrier of a French dish, Lila (Sophie Marceau), whom he wants to date. By helping her look for the missing pooch, Dylan thinks he can worm himself into her shapely arms. Spade, whose character is an extension of that snark he plays on television's Just Shoot Me, is an acquired taste - like Limburger cheese.
April 24, 1987 |
Back in the early 1970s, when George Carlin sported a ponytail and wore T- shirts on stage, he won notoriety by talking about the "seven dirty words" - the ones you would never hear on radio or television. And when a radio station played a monologue containing the words, it got into hot water with the Federal Communications Commission. Things have changed over the years, although the FCC recently put the squeeze on the raunchy chatter of such broadcasting personalities as Howard Stern.
February 18, 2011 |
Human cork Ed Helms bobs to the surface of the river of raunch that is Cedar Rapids , a gentle, gross-out comedy that tickles laughs from the misadventures of a small-town innocent at large in a midsize, Midwestern burg. In this broadest of farces, Helms ( Daily Show alum, The Office fixture, and member of The Hangover crew) delivers a performance of touching delicacy, one almost as remarkable as that of Tom Hanks in Big . Helms is Tim Lippe, boyish, pencil-necked, and sweater-vested, the most-trusted insurance agent in Brown Valley, Wis. Orphaned in his youth, Tim is unusually attached to his boss, Bill (Stephen Root)
March 17, 2012
Music The Chandler Travis Philharmonic. This big band takes the stage in gaudy consignment-shop outfits that clash like cymbals; the hats alone are worth the price of admission. The Philharmonic's repertoire is free-range: rock, Dixieland jazz, bubblegum pop, ranchero, ska, and some genres unknown to man. Every song is played a little bit sloppy, and with absolute virtuosity. - David Hiltbrand With Matt Wallace & the Blues performing at 8 p.m. Sunday at Dawson Street Pub, 100 Dawson St., Manayunk.
October 8, 2000 |
Trying to offer a little humor on a Sunday night, The WB introduces two comedies that are certainly different. Hype, a sketch show with attention deficit disorder, goes at 9. Nikki, a strange sitcom named after star Nikki Cox, follows at 9:30. It's hard to imagine throngs flocking, but, like most TV executives, you never know. So why don't you get the same kind of big dough as most TV executives? Because you can just shrug your shoulders and change the channel. They have to go around trying to persuade everybody that shows such as Hype and Nikki are the perfect places to sell sneakers and tickets to the latest scary teen movie.
August 28, 2011
A Book of Raunch By Nicholson Baker Simon & Schuster. 262 pp. $25 By David L. Ulin Nicholson Baker wasn't kidding when he subtitled House of Holes , his new novel, A Book of Raunch . Indeed, it's a bona fide filthfest, so unrelentingly graphic that there's not much I can quote from it in this review. At the same time, there's an innocence to House of Holes , which is (if such a thing is possible) a dirty book without prurience, intended less to titillate than to amuse.
May 23, 2011 |
Barring the end of the world (it didn't happen yesterday, did it?), or the even less likely scenario in which no one bothers to go out next weekend to see three guys wake up completely blotto, there will be a Hangover: Part III . "Obviously, it will depend on the success of the second one," says Bradley Cooper , whose participation in the inaugural Hangover had more than a little to do with his rocket launch to stardom. "You never know," Cooper adds, trying to sound cautious about the box-office prospects of the much-anticipated follow-up.
June 24, 2008
COLLEGE AND high school students interested in sports-writing careers contact me from time to time seeking advice on how best to enter an industry in crisis. My inclination is to update the one-word, wink-wink, "Plastics" advice Benjamin Braddock received in "The Graduate. " Instead, I would substitute "Internet. " Or "Blog. " Or "Multimedia. " Or "Enlist. " I usually wind up counseling them to inhale education, hope for a job, then be prepared to do podcasts, Web blogs, obituaries, live TV, editing, brew the newsroom coffee and learn to be digital in all things.