Category Archives: seinfeld

Swingers

Swingers ~ Well over a decade before he revolutionized the superhero movie and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man, Jon Favreau wrote and co-produced this dramedy for guys in the spirit of Diner that almost definitely inspired all the fictional parts of HBO’s “Entourage.” Man, Swingers is the flick.

These adventures of a group of neurotic struggling actors are as much classic Woody Allen and prime “Seinfeld” as they are 1960s Rat Pack. And the dated ‘lounge-speak’ that every drunken player/loser spouted back in the 1990s until you wanted to punch them, when done right, by the originals, and in context, is mesmerizing.

Style and substance, great characters and dialogue, and a killer soundtrack – this movie is money, and it knows it. Recommended.

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Lucky Louie

This isn’t a review of HBO’s cancelled sitcom “Lucky Louie” that starred comedian Louis C.K., although I loved that show. This is a review of the new Louis C.K. sitcom “Louie” on FX, but it seems strange to me after the odd reception the first series got from critics that he would get another one so quick. Either way, I’m thankful he did.

That said, I had to wait more than a few episodes before I could decide if I really liked it or not. It has elements of the HBO show in it as well as some things borrowed from “Seinfeld,” mostly the comedy club bits. But it also has something else, and it took me a while to pinpoint it. It’s Woody Allen.

It was the loopy old jazz music that first brought this comparison to mind but then it became much clearer. When Woody Allen was in his Annie Hall phase, he was still funny, but there was also the hint that he was trying to say something about his world, our world. This is what Louis C.K. is doing. It’s sharp, subtle and clever.

There is of course the problem of its lead-in, “Rescue Me,” which in the last season became a sad parody of itself, and so far this season, two episodes in, it has become a humorless cartoon. I hope it doesn’t affect “Louie.” Hopefully he’ll be luckier with FX than he was with HBO. Check it out, well worth your time.

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French Fry Diary 110: Monk’s Café, Philadelphia

Split-Screen, Credit-Squeezing, News MF-ers

And yeah, Fox 29 in Philadelphia, I’m lookin’ directly at you.

The idea of ‘squeezing credits’ that has been done by networks for the last decade or so has really started to bug the hell out of me, and the primary offender is Fox 29. Here is an example of ‘good’ squeezing credits:

As you can see, you can still read the credits, and there is nothing further going on with the actors or the story during this squeezing. Some networks are extremely responsible when enacting this practice. Here is how the BBC does it, and they do it well.

When Fox first began broadcasting their five o’clock news at 4:59 PM, by squeezing out the ending of “Judge Judy” to a third of the screen and turning off the sound for that third I was enraged and contacted them via email which was unanswered. For those who don’t know, the last minute of “Judge Judy” features the credits but also the participants of the last case reacting to the verdict – thus if we watched the program on Fox 29 we would never hear what was said. The other two-thirds of the screen was taken up by the newscaster telling us what would be on in less than a minute on the news. If the news were about a fire affecting folks in our area, or another police officer murder (which we have far too many of in the Philly area) or maybe some other vital and immediate news story I could understand, but more often than not it was about some rain coming or how to lower gas prices – you know, something that just required that extra minute before the news actually started.

This problem was easily solved, even though Fox 29 never bothered to answer my email, as another local station broadcast “Judge Judy” every day. We now watch the show on WFMZ 69 out of Allentown, PA. I urge everyone to not only check out their programming, but also to buy items and services advertised during the “Judge Judy” show which is aired uncut and unaltered on that station every weeknight.

More recently I’ve noticed that “Seinfeld” in Fox 29’s 11:30 PM slot has been suffering from a similar problem, and there also the last scene is chopped out and muted for a news teaser. This is a unique news teaser as it promotes the 5 AM airing of “Good Day Philadelphia.” Excuse me? Please tell me who’s up at midnight with plans to be watching TV at five that morning? What are they thinking?

Again, easily solved as TBS broadcasts “Seinfeld” as well, and just as often. But it gets me thinking. Maybe Fox 29 doesn’t want me as a viewer? Maybe they don’t want a lot of folks to be viewers. Fox 29 better start watching themselves if they want us to watch them.