Media Update 12/1/2016

Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie

I originally skipped this because I thought it was a legit documentary created by Trump’s folks. It is not. It was created by Funny or Die after Trump won the New Hampshire primary and it is a satirical send-up of Donald Trump’s life. Unlike most things I have seen after the election, it is not as sad now. The conceit of the movie is that Ron Howard (yes that Ron Howard) found a copy of a super rare movie Trump made about the book he published in 1989. From a production standpoint, the movie is absolutely amazing. They put so much work into making it look a lot like a crappy VCR recording of a television movie. It really brought me back to when we taped stuff off of television a lot and just dealt with the poor quality. The movie is also really funny. The movie’s framing device is Trump explaining “The Art of the Deal” to a kid as he goes about the normal business of his day. There are several flashbacks as we visit points in Trump’s life where he made good business deals but at the cost of being a decent person. Here, they do not need to exaggerate and just tell the story pretty much straightforward. There are plenty of great actors who get to play actual historical characters but my favorites are probably Patton Oswalt as Merv Griffin and Alfred Molina as Trump’s real estate lawyer. Trump is actually played by Johnny Depp who undergoes a transformation and becomes the man he is meant to play. It is not unlike the methods he must have used in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You should definitely check this one out as it is only 50 minutes long.


So, one of my favorite movies is This is Spinal Tap which is probably the best mockumentary ever made. It perfectly encapsulates the most important and the least appetizing parts of being a rock star. The highly improvised movie was directed by Rob Reiner but it was co-written by Lord Christopher Guest (among other people). Guest went on to create quite a few great mockumentaries in the same style with a lot of the same usual suspects. I have not seen them all but Mascots caught my eye as a Netflix original. (I should mention I’m not in any way sponsored by Netflix but I would make a deal in a heartbeat.) As with all of his mockumentaries, the subject matter ends up being pretty dark but Guest and his excellent actors have a great ability to bring lightness to the dark. These sports mascots have real human problems that they have to put on hold in order to perform. Most of the time that people are paying attention to them, they are embodying a character who is larger than they will ever be. Some of my favorites were Jane Lynch, Parker Posey, Fred Willard and Guest himself. A special shout out goes to Chris O’Dowd (from the IT Crowd) who I was happy to see being an absolute slimeball. The movie was a lot of fun with a ton of dark humor and also some genuinely touching moments. I definitely recommend this one.

The Office (USA)

I have seen a little bit of The Office before this week. Actually, I have seen a little of both the US and the UK versions. However, the bulk of the American version was watched during my “I Hate Anything that is Popular” phase. The Office is a favorite of both of my brothers and a professor used clips of it to illustrate points in employment law. So, I thought I would actually give it a real shot from the beginning. My first impression of this show is that it is fueled by awkwardness and horribleness. It is kind of like a hybrid between Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Parks and Recreation. It is a comedy but a lot of it is not really laugh out loud funny. A lot of it is humor from misery. Steve Carell’s Michael Scott is very similar to Fred Willard in Mascots. He’s oblivious, racist, sexist and overly familiar with people he should be tactful with. He is not willfully malicious but ends up causing a lot of collateral damage. Obviously, the real stars of the show are Jim and Pam who are just two people trying to survive the day to day in an office. I also like a lot of the smaller parts of their coworkers who are just normal people trying to deal with all these weirdos. I have watched the first season and I like the show enough to keep trying it. I think Parks and Rec is a better show but The Office was not worthy of being dismissed out of hand. I would recommend it but you have probably all seen it already.

Music of the Week:
Justice – Stress

Manicomio – Cosculluela

Zebra-Tell Me What You Want

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Go Robot

In This Moment – Burn

Weekly Updates:
– I finished the season finale of Galavant and it was so good.
– I finished Person of Interest as well and it was the perfect ending
– I watched more Season 2 of Dark Matter
– I watched more of The Grinder
– I want to go to the movies to see Dr. Strange or Magical Creatures
– This week’s theme is “Mockumentaries”

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