Friday, November 25, 2011

Four Moving Musical Moments on Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights....playoffs begin!Image by Jeffrey K. Edwards via FlickrWhen Friday Night Lights was on NBC, I only watched one episode. But now that it is streaming on Netflix, I have been completely addicted to watching episode after episode until I have to go to bed or go to work. The story is great, the characters are emotionally addictive and the actors are excellent. But the music used in each episode really helps get the story across. Here are four of my favorite musical moments from this underrated show.

1. Dead Man’s Will by Calexico
In the FNL episode entitled “Iron & Wine,” this song plays as the two Riggins boys share a beer following a knockdown, drag out fight between the two of them. The older Riggins boy – Billy – was angry at Tim for going to visit their father. The brothers have physical fights throughout the series but they always make up soon afterwards. The same song is played (on purpose, not accidentally) during an episode in the last season when the brothers get into another fight at The Landing Strip. As such, this song seems to be a way to bookend their relationship.

2. Zero Point by the Kashmere Stage Band
In one of the funnier scenes in the entire series, the entire Dillon Panthers football team dances and strips down to their skivvies at a pep rally planned and designed by Tyra and Lyla. The song was perfect for a fun male strip show with its 1970s funk beat. The band was just a high school band from Houston a couple decades ago but they won a variety of musical competitions and awards to become a fairly big name.

3. Something Good This Way Comes by Jakob Dylan
In one of the more touching scenes of the series and probably the most touching in season 3, this song plays as Matt Saracen goes to the assisted living facility where he placed his grandma. He rescues her from the facility and gives this reason: “You’re the only one who hasn’t left me so I’m not going to leave you.” The song is gentle and redemptive and it’s hard to have a dry eye when watching this scene play out so sweetly.

No list would be complete without mentioning the actual theme song of the show. I get excited when I hear the ringing instrumental at the start of the show and then get anxious to get the next episode started when I hear it when the credits start to roll. It’s simple yet dramatic in its simplicity and I couldn’t think of any other song that would be a better theme song for this great show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The End of an Era?

Although HBO aired its final episode of the hit television show Entourage, fans don’t necessarily need to say goodbye to the cast forever. Produced by Mark Wahlberg and loosely reflecting his own experiences in Hollywood, the show’s eighth and final season left enough cliffhangers for a big screen movie.
Ari Gold (Entourage)Image via Wikipedia
Vincent Chase, Ari Gold, Turtle, E, and the rest of the fictitious entourage have a die-hard fan base all around the world. The show has been syndicated globally and has impacted the way foreigners learn conversational English. Expressions, pop culture references, and American styles can be easily mimicked regardless of one’s location. People everywhere feel like they’ve seen the inside life of a celebrity; it’s hard to remember that Vince is only a character. As most Hollywood films achieve their highest success outside of the U.S., an Entourage movie will prove to be no different.

Are the experiences of the characters uniquely American or do viewers in Europe, The Middle East, and Asia relate? Do they love the show because it’s so unlike anything they know or see in their home countries? Surely, the concept of being famous in Hollywood is lost on the vast majority of the world’s population.

Even someone living in New York City has no idea what it’s like to be a celebrity. However, other themes throughout the past seven seasons are a part of being human. Issues within a friendship, a relationship, or a family are universal. The characters are constantly placing a premium on their friendship, and the value those relationships hold in their lives.

Feeling the pressures of a job, or the lack of one, are not unique to the rich and famous. While Vince is constantly looking for his next career-changing role, the other characters are continuously adjusting to new opportunities and business ventures. Much like the rest of society, their clan has experienced economic struggle and they rely on one another for support, encouragement, and a couch to sleep on. Regardless of culture, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, race or religion, most people can find a hint of themselves in at least one of the Entourage characters. For this reason, the global appeal of the show will surely guarantee a box office success.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Curb Your Cringe

The "chat and cut." “Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good.” Whatever the Larry David-ism you've picked up from watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, one thing is for sure: don't try this at home. In the best circumstances, you'll end up in social exile from your friends and family. More likely, you'll end up in a fistfight with a stranger.

Larry David manages to observe and comment on the minutia in society that we experience and are often irritated by every single day. Who hasn't been peeved when they see a parked car taking up two spaces? Unlike what we see on TV, we know better than to air our grievances. We keep quiet because we aren't looking for trouble and we fear the unknown consequences.

If this were the safe-haven of a scripted TV show, what else could we suggest that our beloved and cringe-worthy protagonist to stand against? Here, a list of some common everyday occurrences that drive us crazy.

1. Texting while biking, crossing the street, or using the sidewalk. Just like a driver, you are a distracted citizen destined to bump into something.
2. Ordering pizza to eat the cheese and toppings only. We get it, you're on an anti-carb kick. That doesn't make mutilating a perfectly good slice of veggie pizza socially acceptable.
3. Tweeting, Facebook status-ing, and Foursquaring so often we wonder if you're getting ANYTHING accomplished at work. Unless of course your job is to be a full time socialite. Don't worry, knowing you're away on vacation for two weeks isn't practically an invitation for someone to rob your house.
4. Holding up the rest of us at the supermarket because you have no idea how to use self-checkout. Take a hint: this wave of technology isn't for you. Please take your place in the regular line and wait for someone to scan your items. Self-checkout is useless if you need a store employee to walk you through your purchase.

If the world were like one big episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, we would have the ability to tackle these real life issues and abolish them forever. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until Sunday evening each week to watch Larry David stand up for us all. If we’re lucky, those who violate the unspoken rules of society actually tune in with us. If you see fewer social offensives out there, you might just have one man to thank.
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Be “DYNAMITE!” this Halloween with our Napoleon Dynamite Costumes!

What are you going to be for Halloween this year? Not a vampire again? Right? Why not switch it up by role playing as the ill-spoken Jon Heder, who plays the memorable role of the reclusive Napoleon Dynamite in the cult classic independent comedy flick that was directed by Jared Hess.

Top Ten Reasons to Be Napoleon Dynamite This Halloween:
As if anyone really NEEDS a reason to pretend to be this laughable and loveable goofball, we felt it intriguing to outline our top ten reasons why Napoleon Dynamite Costumes will be hot prospects at any party this year.
1. You and a friend can go as the Pedro/Dynamite duo and really work out a nifty costume situation.
2. It’s pretty easy to imitate the gaudy lines from this movie, and it gives you another excuse to watch it one more time just for kicks.
3. Be the envy of all your friends and really play out the role as best as you can for some seriously hilarious Halloween laughs
4. It’s a rather unique costume idea that most people will not be using, which means that you can really stand out at the costume party this year.
5. Chicks adore Napoleon Dynamite; and if you are single and play your cards right (or wrong; like he does in the movie), you just may end up meeting that special lady.
6. It’s an easy costume that requires an accessory kit and the boots, which you can stash away for next year if you so desire to relive the moment all over again.
7. When you hear the dance music playing, you can mimic the classic dance scene from the end of the movie, and be cast in the limelight of the party (see the video of that awesome scene below).
8. As if you really needed more reasons to spit out some of the classic lines from this movie; now you get an excuse to do so all night long.
9. Get a friend to dress up as Kip and you can go as the Dynamite Brothers.
10. Vampires, The Crow, Demons, Zombies, etc., are overplayed, redundant and boring. So change things up this time around!

As a final rehash of this classic comedic flick, perhaps the most memorable and talked about scene easily comes right about at the end of the movie: the infamous dance-off! When Pedro’s run for school president is jeopardized because he does not have a talent skit that he was supposed to have prepared, Napoleon comes in to save the day with an old-school mix tape played over the auditorium’s central speak system and some slick dance moves that are unforgettable.

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Make sure to check out our Napoleon Dynamite Costumes – and don’t forget to add the Napoleon Dynamite Costume Boots and the Napoleon Dynamite Adult Accessory Kit so that you can really pull the look off and be the envy of the costume party! Make it a dorky Halloween to forever remember this year.