The first two edition of quick hits were all about things that I like right now. I felt as though today I would reach back in the past for a few very cool pieces of popular culture that you may or may not have missed.
There is a fair chance that this film never hit your radar screens. It didn’t hit mine until 2007, when my cousin Chad gave me a bootlegged DVD of it and blew my mind. The first feature by writer director, Rian Johnson(The Brother Bloom(2009), Looper(2012)) is a neo noir detective story in the vein of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, but with a twist. It’s set in a high school, and it stars Joseph Gordon Levitt before he hit big. Some people who watch this will never buy the hard boiled dialogue or the kinetic violence of the film but if you love detective stories, you will probably at least get a kick out of Brick. One really fun touch of this movie was the addiction of Richard Roundtree(John Shaft) as the school principal who acts more like an annoyed police chief who is buying time for his private detective associate because of an earlier arrangement the two had. You can’t help but love a high school kid pushing around and blackmailing Shaft.
Staying with the private detective theme, if you want to see a perfect season of television that will leave you heart broken because it was cancelled, Terriers is that show. In an instance of FX bungling a marketing campaign Terriers was marketed as a show about dogs. Of course the show is not about dogs but rather a pair of unlicensed private detectives/Conmen who operate in the fictional california town of Ocean Beach. The story is one part The Big Lebowski, one part The Long Goodbye and one part Chinatown. Starring Donal Logue, Michael Raymond James, and Laura Allen, Terriers tosses us into the world of disgraced recovering alcoholic ex-cop Hank Dolworth and ex-con, and all around criminal Britt Pollock. An odd couple who are just trying to get by and maybe help some people. The two eventually uncover a plot by a real estate developer to gentrify Ocean Beach, Britt is met with issues of infidelity, Hank’s sobriety and sanity is pushed and it all comes from an extremely human and affecting place. If you like good TV, check this show out. You will not be disappointed.*
Comedy: Paul F. Tompkins: Impersonal(2007)
Paul F. Tompkins is one of the most respected comedic minds of the last fifteen years. Cast member and writer on Mr. Show, Podcasting Pioneer, Man of a dozen celebrity impersonations, and self proclaimed modern dandy, Tompkins wears a lot of different hats in the world of comedy. Impersonal is his first stand up album and like with any of his projects it plays with the form just enough to know you are dealing with someone who sees comedy just slightly off kilter. In an episodic style Impersonal fades in and out of a comedy show, breaking Tompkins bits into self contained comedy pieces. As the album goes along these episodes begin to blur together and become self referential. It is one of the funniest comedy recordings that I have ever heard. I am not going to explain Tompkins’ voice because I can’t do it justice or his delivery for that matter. All I can tell you is you won’t be disappointed.
*There is rumblings of a Terriers movie over the internets. Keep those fingers crossed.