Pop Culture in Brief

The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, by Motley Crue: Generally, I'm not a fan of memoir, particularly now that every 26-year-old with a laptop and daddy issues has decided their problems are not only unique, but book-worthy. If there are four guys who are allowed to write a memoir, though, it's the members of Motley Crue, who pretty much invented the VH1 Behind the Music formula: talent + craziness + success + drugs = dramatic story arc. On nearly every page, there's something to make you either laugh or cringe. Here's just a brief but representative snippet:

"One night, Vince, Stephanie and I [Nikki Sixx] were hanging out at the Rainbow, eating quaaludes and escargots, and throwing up under the table every fifteen minutes. We got plastered, took her back to our house, and all ended up in Vince's bed. That was never my scene. Vince and Tommy were always piling chicks together. But having a guy there wrecked the moment for me. I couldn't get it up and eventually went back to my room, leaving the two of them alone. That was the last time I saw Stephanie naked, because once you put Vince in the same room as a girl with money and a nice car, it's all over. They dated for months after that and were about to get married when Vince found a richer girl, Beth, with blond hair and a better car, a 240Z." Verdict: Rawk!

Stardust: The girlfriend and I won free passes to an advance screening of this flick last week (thanks, Entertainment Weekly!), and maybe it was just the buzz of getting something for nothing, or the popcorn and soda they plied us with, but I thought the movie was pretty much the perfect summer flick: a good action-filled plot, funny, just brainy and self-aware enough to have some substance. Plus, it's worth the price of admission (even if yours isn't free) to see Robert DeNiro as a light-in-the-loafers sea captain. Verdict: Summery goodness!

Scott Baio is 45 ... and Single: This show is just sad. Scott Baio isn't a nice enough guy to be likeable, but not a big enough douche to be entertaining. Even sadder are some of his exes, like Julie McCullough (Mike Seaver's girlfriend on Growing Pains) whose entire "comedy" routine apparently consists of telling unfunny jokes about how Chachi cheated on her. Verdict: Depressing.

Mad Men: Since when does AMC have original programming? Does the fact I like said programming mean I've officially entered middle age? Is it only a matter of time before I start bitching about colorized movies and downing Metamucil? Maybe it's best not to think too much and just enjoy this show, which attempts to recreate both the alluring bits of early-1960s business life -- big offices! job security! drinks in the afternoon! -- and the not-so-alluring bits, like that whole "women as objects" thing. Bonus points for some great in-jokes, like when a character says he knows his coworker stole papers out of his trash can because "it's not like there's some magic machine that can produce exact copies of documents." Verdict: Timewarp.


TMC said...

the baio show, besides having an awful title, is somehow more depressing than that Danny Bonaduce show they used to air. Sure, Danny B. had a crumbling marriage, rage problems, and crippling addictions to, um, everything, but all Baio has is stories about when he was Chachi, stupid 20 year old girls who yells "Charles!" at him every time they see him, and the most obnoxious best friend in the world.

That friend, man, he's like the real life version of Milhouse's dad.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying Mad Men, though the main character's "i'm outta here" reaction seems a little cliched. But I do enjoy the tiimewarp parts, esp. where the daughter has a huge plastic bag over her head and the mother just tells her to go outside. And the kids treating the car like a playground, which apparently happened with my dad when he was 3 and fell out of the moving car.

If there's a scene WITHOUT smoking or sexual harrassment, I haven't found it.

Jody Reale said...

What? You didn't love Julie McCullogh screeching "cheapie cheater Chachi" into her mic over and over during her "routine?" You didn't howl with delight over that kind of comedy gold?

Yeah, me neither.

Mike said...

The thing that confused me about that moment, Jody, was this: did the producers tell her Chachi was coming, so this was a special standup routine for his benefit? Or is this her regular routine and she's completely insane?

And Aaron, I'm with you on some cliche, overly familiar moments in Mad Men. I'm hoping it doesn't go down that path. And that plastic bag moment was awesome. So was the expectant mother huffing cigarettes and downing cocktails. Good times.

Jody Reale said...

Mike, I think we're looking at an "a little from column a, a little from column b" situation. But does it matter? (Keep in mind her other "material" consisted of pulling wadded up socks from her bra. Chachi or no, she needs all the help she can get.)