Monthly Archives: April 2013

Memo to Peter Bart: Don’t Be A Dick

I was perusing the trades (that’s slang for entertainment industry trade papers) recently in an effort to live vicariously through the people who actually do what I just imagine doing for a living, and I came across an article by Peter Bart (former Editor-in-Chief at Variety) regarding The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and his foray into the world of film directing (the dickishly titled “Memo to Jon Stewart: Stick with Your Day Job Behind the Desk”).

Artist's rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

Artist’s rendering of Peter Bart, who believes that creative people should be neither seen nor heard.

You can read the article if you like, but the general idea is that Peter Bart spends 600 words essentially just shitting on Stewart’s desire to sit in the director’s chair. How does Peter Bart justify his Debbie Dickhead attitude toward Jon Stewart’s project? Well, Bart points out, Bob Dyaln was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was bad! Not convinced? Well, Bart says, Madonna was a celebrity who directed a movie…and it was also bad!

So just to recap: because Bob Dylan made a bad movie in 1978, no one should try to direct a movie ever again. Got it. And obviously this has everything to do with the fact that Dylan and Madonna were already established stars that tried to transition into directing, and nothing to do with the fact that they were just bad directors (the Dylan film’s final cut clocked in at OVER four hours long, but yeah, I’m sure it was only a flop because he was a celebrity trying to direct). Double got it.

Bart goes on to reference successful directors (Clooney, Sean Penn, Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Elia Kazan, and Francis Coppola) who didn’t release their best work until later on in their directorial careers, and whose first projects either weren’t well-received or just weren’t that good. Basically Bart’s message is if you haven’t already done something, you shouldn’t do it.

Um. What.
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The Friday Five: Best House of Heroes Music Videos

Those of you that have had the fortune/misfortune of following my escapades will know that I toured with a band called House of Heroes for a while. In addition to being some ridiculously talented musicians, some great friends, and all-around good dudes, these guys have put out some pretty good rock music videos over the years. You can (and should) buy all of their media that you can get your hands on at iTunes, and their rarities/B-sides album that comes out in a couple weeks. Am I biased? Absolutely. But don’t let that take away from the hard work and awesomeness that’s gone in to their body of work. Anyway here are House of Heroes’ Top Five  music videos for this week’s Friday Five. Share and enjoy. Visit thehouseofheroes.com for their info and updates.

5) — Song: Ten Months, Album: Ten Months.
Okay so technically this music video comes from House of Heroes’ precursor band, No Tagbacks. But it’s all the same guys bringing the noise and it still holds up. There’s also something to be said about having a career as musicians that predates HD television. That’s what 14 years of touring and playing together looks like.

4) —Song: In the Valley of the Dying Sun, Album: The End is Not the End.
Unconventionally catchy is the phrase that pops into my mind every time I hear this single, but the music video does a good job of highlighting the story behind the lyrics, showing the depth that a lot of modern musical acts lack in their writing.

 

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19 Reasons Buzzfeed Sucks

Buzzfeed sucks. If that statement offends you, you’re what’s wrong with America. If you don’t know what buzzfeed is (count yourself one of the lucky few), it’s a self-described “snapshot of the viral web in real time.” Basically what that translates into is a bunch of ADHD, zero-thought-required, pandering bulls*** (asterisks make it classy). It takes statements so generic and effortlessly digestible that they barely qualify as original thoughts, wraps them up in some easily google-able pics, tosses in some cat .gifs and voila, one internet. At best it’s a topic statement without the accompanying paragraph, at worst it’s an endless stream of tabloid-magazine cover headlines with even less intellectual content. If mental stimuli were diagrammed like the food pyramid, buzzfeed would be the “fats and sugars” section way at the top that’s supposed to make up only the tiniest fraction of your daily food intake…but just like the actual food pyramid, Americans refuse to exert even the smallest amount of willpower and instead consume as much as they can (“What if we put ice cream IN the rootbeer so I don’t lose those precious seconds between taking bites of dessert and slurping down soda! What do you mean diabetes is a thing?”) and as a result our mental obesity is almost as out of control as our country’s physical obesity (though less immediately outwardly visible).

such buzz, very feed

Buzzfeed capitalizes on all the worst traits of modern quantity-over-quality internet culture and contributes nothing of its own. This is evidenced by the fact that the most popular posts on buzzfeed’s site are their arbitrarily-numbered lists. Lists of what, you ask? Of everything (the 15 most ridiculous world leaders of all time). Of anything (20 reasons why going to the gym is a huge waste of time). Of nothing (20 doodles that show what we’re all thinking during business meetings). Essentially buzzfeed thinks so little of its readership that not only does it acknowledge the shallowness of its audience, it actually highlights it and throws it back in the face of that selfsame audience…and they don’t care! If a real life person condescended to you like that, you’d punch them in the genitals, but because a website has the audacity to publish the “51 Colorful and Delicious Ways to Eat Spring Vegetables” (I’m sorry, do you mean SALAD? Are you just describing what a salad is in 51 variations? Look man, I am a tax-paying adult, you can just say SALAD, ok?), you’re all like “Wow my three favorite flavors: spring, delicious AND colorful; and because it has vegetables in the title this counts as my workout for the day! More Ovaltine please!”
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Ten for Ten: Old School

What is 10 for 10? On the tenth of every month I take something really cool, underrated, badass, or worth remembering from ten years ago and tell you about it here, a decade past its prime. You may even notice similar posts pop up on the 20th and 30th of each month. Because as a child I was always told to recycle, and they never said that concept doesn’t apply to gimmicks, too. Check out previous Ten for Ten posts from March and February.

“We’re all going streaking!”

“You’re my boy, Blue!”

“He’ll do one!”

“Earmuffs.”

Just a scant ten years ago, those quotes were only glimmers in Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn’s eyes. A decade later the movie Old School is, itself, becoming old school, but still holds up alongside the R-Rated blockbuster-comedies of today. Hits like The Hangover, Knocked Up, Superbad, Bridesmaids, The 40-Year Old Virgin, etc. all exist because Old School showed that comedies for grown-ups can be funny and (more importantly to Hollywood), profitable.

old school

In addition to giving us a new movie genre, a far superior (and F-word-laden) version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and the legendary “tranq gun” scene, Old School also gave us arguably the most important comedy element of the 2000s: Will Ferrell. In 2003, Will Ferrell was on the uncertain precipice of a comic actor trying to transition from TV to film…so what kept Big Willie Style from succumbing to the same fate of obscurity as his fellow SNL alum Cheri Oteri, Chris Kattan, Tim Meadows and the like? Old School (combined with Elf’s success) gave Ferrell enough street cred to make Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory, Semi-Pro, Step Brothers, and a half dozen other movies that redefined the modern day comedy movie.

When you see Hangover III this summer and complain that it wasn’t funny as the first one (even though it will have just made 300 million dollars at the box office), remember that if it wasn’t for Old School, the only funny movies they’d be making for grown ups would be Grown Ups…and nobody in the mood for a funny movie wants to see an Adam Sandler film (speaking of washed up SNL alum, Grown Ups 2 comes out this July).

So grab some buddies, a case of the cheapest light beer you can get your hands on, pop this ’03 comic masterpiece into your DVD player and get ready to laugh. And bring your green hat.

Play on,
Dustin

Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox. Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…I don’t even like me enough to keep up with all that.

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