Friday, August 13, 2004

DVD: Schoolhouse Rock! 30th Anniversary Edition

All 46 animated shorts are here: ‘Conjunction Junction,’ ‘I’m Just a Bill,’ ‘Interplanet Janet.’ Plus a new one on the workings of the electoral college that would have come in handy four years ago.

The words to all of them have been rattling around my head for years. It helps that they’re set to catchy music that at times is worthy of Sondheim. Let’s see him find a melody for this lyric:

“Interjections show excitement or emotion. They’re generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point or by a comma when the feeling’s not as strong.”

I was reluctant to watch one called ‘Figure Eight’ because it had an odd affect on me as a child. It features a more wistful song than the others, one that evoked a powerful feeling in me which I was too young to identify as melancholy. I was always a morbid kid, but it had to unnerve my parents seeing their six-year-old staring gloomily out the window when he was supposed to be hopped up on Frosted Flakes and watching SUPERFRIENDS. Rosemarie had never seen ‘Figure Eight.’ When it ended she said, “No wonder it freaked you out. That woman sounds like Blossom Dearie.” Turns out it is Blossom Dearie. They’d probably slap a parental advisory on it now.

Movie: Yu-Gi-Oh! (2004)

There’s a character in this game-turned-TV-show-turned-movie named Obnoxious Celtic Guardian? Have I been missing out on a good thing?

TV: Late Night Line-Up

Craig Kilborn threw the schedule in an uproar when he pulled the plug on his own show. I kind of enjoyed Kilby’s program, even though it was packed with B-listers and coasted on a lazy hipster vibe. Craiggers didn’t have any illusions about his place in the Hollywood food chain. And watching him hit on the latest SI cover model had a certain oleaginous charm.

The theory is that CBS will wait for Conan O’Brien’s NBC contract to expire, then get him to jump ship with the understanding that he’ll move to 11:30 when David Letterman retires. It’s not the worst idea I’ve heard. My only fear is that the earlier time slot would take the edge off Conan’s show. (Watch ‘Classic Dave’ on Trio to see what a difference an hour makes.) Conan certainly couldn’t engage in bizarre experiments like last night’s show. The entire hour was an infomercial for the newly-released LATE NIGHT DVDs. Conan wore a series of progressively uglier sweaters. Bruce Jenner co-hosted. Such hijinks won’t fly at 11:30.

Miscellaneous: Links

Stuart Klawans can’t get Jonathan Demme’s THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE out of his head. Neither can I, only I mean it in a bad way. It remains, for me, the missed opportunity of the summer. I’ve realized that the movie is not just a redo of the 1962 original. Think about it. Veterans of a foreign war plagued by night sweats and the vague sense that someone, possibly their own side, has done something to them. Creepy New York locations. A woman who may not be what she appears. It’s also a remake of JACOB’S LADDER. It’s two, two, TWO remakes in one. And still no bargain.

Critical hosannas for COLLATERAL be damned. Dave Kehr says the ultimate L.A. noir is and always will be KISS ME DEADLY.