The fine distinctions between wide-eyed wonder and wide-eyed horror factor heavily into Ansari’s newest stand-up special, Buried Alive. The actor and comedian has kept his eyes, ears, and mind open for the past year and change, and it’s produced some of his freshest material in years. Buried Alive is a spectacularly entertaining hour-plus of stand-up, but it’s also an intriguing bit of cultural anthropology. Throughout the special, Ansari asks questions—as a character within his routines and to the members of his audience—and what he turns up is just as frequently funny as it is heartfelt and penetrating. And that’s from a stand-up set that uses a clogged toilet as the seed for a cunning observation about the mysteries and coincidences of human connection. … [Read more...] about Aziz Ansari becomes the Malcolm Gladwell of stand-up comedy. (And that’s a good thing.)
Unclog clogged toilet
Though Ayer started as a screenwriter (Training Day), narrative has never been his strong suit. His previous film, 2012’s End Of Watch, was an episodic LAPD two-hander that got by on its weird and occasionally wacky cinematography—the camera was mounted on everything except a tripod—and the rapport of leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña. Sabotage tones down the visual quirks, but drastically expands the scope. Alongside Drug War veteran John Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger, continuing his late-career reinvention as something like an actual actor) and his seven-person team (which includes Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, and Josh Holloway) is an entire ensemble of supporting figures, played by overqualified actors like Olivia Williams, Martin Donovan, and Harold Perrineau. Ayer and co-writer Skip Woods write nearly every character as though he or she were the lead, which yields some interesting results—namely, Mirielle Enos’ … [Read more...] about Clumsy direction and clumsier plotting sabotage
I got news for you: Kids are gonna tear through gifts in five seconds regardless. They don’t look at a wrapped gift and go, “Oh wow, this is a really nice wrapping job!” They give no fucks. They’ll break the gift inside in order to get that paper off as quickly as possible. So you may as well leave a couple of big-ticket items unwrapped to excite them (maybe a bow stuck on there for added effect), then have some wrapped stuff under the tree to balance things out. They’ve waited all year for that one stupid morning. It’s okay to give them a little instant gratification. … [Read more...] about How Many Squares Of TP Do You Use Per Wipe?