URLs du Jour

2009-10-18

  • I'm a Jeopardy! fan. (And true Jeopardy! fans always include the exclamation point at the end of the title.) This year, they're doing celebrity shows the third Thursday of every month. Last Thursday featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael McKean, and CNN's Soledad O’Brien.

    O’Brien did a little better than CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who was soundly beaten/self-destructed last month against Dana Delany and Awesome Andy Richter. Lesson learned: news readers don't necessarily have to understand the stuff they're reading off the teleprompter.

    Kareem— look, I don't expect a lot from sports legends on Jeopardy!, having learned from Curt Schilling's experience. But Kareem did surprisingly well—he's a smart guy—but he managed to hurt himself badly with a bad Daily Double wager. And (worse) he botched a question… well, let Betsy Newmark tell you about it.

    So David St. Hubbins himself, Michael McKean, walked away the winner. ObQuote:

    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever.
    One of the many Pun Salad Official Mottos.

  • P. J. content at the Weekly Standard. His topic is the Nobel Peace Prize, and—gosh—he makes it seem that the country of my ancestors is doing a less-than-stellar job in picking the awardees.
    …, where in the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners are the men and women of Lincoln's mettle, who brought just and lasting peace to whole continents? Where is Winston Churchill? Franklin Roosevelt? Harry Truman? Margaret Thatcher? Ronald Reagan? Instead what we get is Mikhail Gorbachev (1990) and Barack Obama.
    He doesn't mention Arafat, which makes me realize that P. J. O'Rourke knows when he doesn't need to overmake his case.

  • It's so hard to love her well:

    Via the University Diarist who has given me a wee bit of encourangement to this Jimmy Webb fan.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:07 AM EST

Away We Go

[3.5
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

One of my perpetual complaints: movies billed as "comedies" that aren't actually funny and whose characters aren't sympathetic or interesting. (E.g., The Darjeeling Limited.) Away We Go threatens to be like that, but managed to win me over. Or maybe I was just in the right mood.

One reason is John Krasinski, who plays Jim on The Office; he is the very definition of affability. He and Maya Rudolph (from Saturday Night Live) play Burt and Verona, a couple in a long-term relationship who are about to have a baby. Well, Verona is. But their plans to rely on Burt's parents for help get knocked askew, and they find themselves suddenly rootless. They undertake an odyssey throughout America (with a side trip to Montreal), looking for a place to settle down to raise their about-to-be daughter. They visit a series of relatives and friends, each with their own quirks, demons, secrets, and problems.

Now there's nothing inherently interesting there, but it worked for me. Burt and Verona might be a tad self-absorbed and whiny, but, hey, who isn't? They keep up a witty dialog with each other in between stops, then sit back and react to the various situations and characters they encounter in their visits.

The supporting cast is also pretty good: Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels play Burt's parents; Allison Janney, comedian Jim Gaffigan, and Maggie Gyllenhaal are all pretty funny. But Maya Rudolph is (I thought) extraordinary in her role, showing acting talent that was effectively masked by her hilarious roles on Saturday Night Live. (I surely can't be the only one who wishes for one more episode of "Wake Up, Wakefield")


Last Modified 2012-10-05 9:07 AM EST