Secret Pop

Mar 2, 2005

Laughter. Like Medicine.

Last night at Largo, Paul F. Tompkins had a bit to say about the Oscars and about Sean Penn and his apparent humorlessness in taking offense on Jude Law's behalf to what Chris Rock said about how many movies he was in last year. I was sorry I hadn't actually gotten to watch the show, because some amount of the jokes may have been lost on me, and that is a grave concern of mine. My powers of inference and extrapolation are considerable, thankfully. So I doubt I was ever entirely left in the dust, but there's really no way of knowing at this point. Tonight I watched The Daily Show and heard Jon Stewart lampooning the same incident, and I got to see Sean Penn's actual "performance," followed by Jon Stewart's epilogue to the incident, which went something like this: "Penn added, 'And while we're at it, Mr. Youngman, I would not like to take your wife, as I already have one. And, Mr. Seinfeld, regarding your query, in re: The Deal with Airplane Peanuts, the answer is economies of scale render it fiscally imprudent to distribute them in larger packaging. Let's get to the nominees.'" And that amused me greatly and also made me think that, despite his acting talents and impressive head of hair, Sean Penn must just be no fun at all to live with. I wonder what would happen if he ever happened on to a televisation of a celebrity roast. I'll bet there would be tears and broken things very soon after.

My friend Adam sent me a very well-written and thoughtfully-reasoned assessment of the show, too. And all of this just compounds in force and focuses like a laser on my sense of inadequacy at having not bothered to watch or form any opinions of my own. Sometimes I miss things. And, yet, I managed to watch Equilibrium in its entirety. Yes, I was working the whole time, but it's not like I didn't look up ever. Christian Bale is awfully distracting. Even when he's fulfilling the gargantuan cliché of experiencing an enormous welling-up of emotion at the first hearing of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. I mean, yeah, it was the Fourth Movement, but it was right at the beginning of it. Not anywhere near the Ode to Joy. No one cries at that opening part.

Anyway, at least I managed to not see The Counting Crows at all. You have no idea how much I go out of my way to not be exposed to them.

So, yeah, the PFT Show was awesome as usual. I wonder what I would say in the event that it ever wasn't any good, but my imagination just isn't that keen. My friend Tom and I were talking today and couldn't remember how it was that Paul got off on an interesting tangent regarding skeletons just before the show wrapped up -- right before Danny Boy and the excellent reference to 1995's Se7en, a.k.a. Seven (alternative spelling). But Tom felt that the declaration, "Skeletons, you take the cake," was the topper.

And before we left, I gave Martín an opportunity to defend his assertion that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is the best of the original trilogy to Wayne Federman, as Wayne and I had just been discussing the comparative superiority of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (the Star Wars: prefixes are implied) a couple of nights before. But it was just as I suspected. Even Martín is enough of a grown-up now to admit that Return of the Jedi can be his favorite without actually being the best. Everyone knows the death of the franchise started with that movie. I invite your dissension on this topic, should you find that it inexplicably exists.

Coincidentally, while we were driving to Largo, I asked Martín if he ever feels like a grown-up these days, and we had a short chat about that phenomenon. As I often feel as clueless and flailing as I did in high school, and, aside from having my own bank account and a private residence and stuff, it amazes me on a daily basis that I'm allowed to do anything unsupervised. I'm better today in many ways than I was when I was a youngster, but in many ways I am shockingly the same. And I wish every meal came with a toy.

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