If Law & Order has taught us anything, it’s that comedy has no place in law and order (Although as Community, John Mulaney, and countless others have shown us, Law & Order has a very comfortable place within comedy). There are countless quirky character actors playing judges in film and television, not to mention Judges Judy and Joe Brown providing sassy verdicts. But it’s rare to see humor come from actual, non-reality-TV-star judges.
That is, except for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin, who once opened a dissenting opinion (Noel v. Travis, 2002) by invoking the theme song from Mr. Ed:
A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can [...]
Quentin Tarantino makes comedies. His films may belong to a variety of genres (mafia, war, blaxploitation, to name a few), but no matter the setting, they always make us laugh, largely due to the writer/director’s gift for dialogue. With their tangential discussions on everything from Madonna lyrics to French fast food, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction defined the Tarantino style of dialogue.
Unfortunately, these films’ characters were markedly less defined. Sure, we remember Royale with Cheese and foot massage etiquette – but we remember John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson having the conversations, not their characters. Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (I had to look up the latter’s surname) seemed defined by their [...]
Go Speed Racer Go Speed Racer Go Speed Racer, Go!
– Theme song from Speed Racer
Few properties are as aggressively single-minded as Speed Racer. The title alone tells us the main character’s name, occupation, and his particular focus when it comes to racing (not to mention his theoretical drug of choice). For whatever reason, the high-minded Wachowskis were hired to adapt this simple franchise into a summer blockbuster. The Matrix trilogy might have proven their box-office credentials, but those films are far from simple.
Even by their elaborate standards, the Wachowskis’ Speed Racer is shockingly hard to follow. Although story itself remains fairly simple – Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) must win races to defeat [...]
Fun fact: Steve Martin was supposed to star in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. (Yes, that Steve Martin.)
In his biography Kubrick, Michael Herr writes: “Stanley thought it would be perfect for Steve Martin. He’d love The Jerk… I know that his idea for it in those days was always as a sex comedy, but with a wild and somber streak running through it.” When Kubrick finally made the film over a decade later, it appeared as though any chance of a “sex comedy” had gone out the window with the casting of 1990s power couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles.
Newspaper comics are a funny thing. Like television, the medium requires a constant output of new material. But due to any given comic strip’s short length, it’s hard to achieve the same depth of serialized storytelling as television, even if the periodical medium welcomes it. A variety of comics, from the satirical Doonesbury to the dramedy For Better or Worse, have successfully achieved not only serialization but also character development over the decades they’ve been in print; however, just as many have shown little to no growth. FromMarmaduke to Garfield, Blondie to Ziggy, an overwhelming number of newspaper comics have fiercely refused to change with the times, their references and rhetoric more at home in the 1940s [...]