John Candy

John Candy is one of my favorite actors. Maybe he wasn't the most versatile performer, and perhaps the roles he chose did not lend themselves to much complexity. But every movie the man made was a classic. And what made them classic was a combination of three factors:

1) The characters he played were extremely relatable and likeable. Who wouldn't want to go on a trip up north with him and the 'fam to The Great Outdoors?

2) It is fun to live vicariously through his roles. How great would it be to creep out "Bug" at the local teenager hideout or make giant pancakes as in Uncle Buck, and how fun would it be to spend an entire summer learning to sail with Scully like he did in Summer Rental?

3) His films remind you of what is truly important in life. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Brewster's Millions are two among many movies he starred in that point out the importance of friendship, charity, and honesty.

John Candy passed away on March 4, 1994 at only 44 years old, but he left us with dozens of movies to enjoy over and over again.

King Corn on DVD

king cornking corn

If you don’t already have a hold on a copy of the documentary King Corn: You are What You Eat, then, well, you should. As in the style of Super Size Me, it is both funny and educational. Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis, two best buds from college, decide to answer the question “how did corn get in my hair?” Not literally corn, but how did corn come up so high in the test results when a strand of hair was tested. Wondering how they were unknowingly taking in so much corn, Ian and Curtis head out to Iowa to grow their own acre of corn and learn from finding out where their self-grown corn ends up in the food chain. The results they found were a little more than they expected. Grab this DVD and a snack (perhaps challenge yourself to find one that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup) and enjoy the film's flavor. Sidenote: Halfway through watching the film I realized the irony of me doing so while gobbling a bowl of popcorn.
FYI: On September 25, AADL will present this as a Film and Discussion.

The Conchords Have Taken Flight!

Flight of the Conchords is now available on DVD at the library! This HBO series "flew" under the radar during its first season, but the show has slowly gained a cult following after HBO began airing reruns. Bret and Jemaine will continue to "Rock the party" when Season Two begins in January of 2009.

Fearless Vampire Killers... on DVD


In the tradition of old-school capers and sleuths let me present to you a chestnut from 1967- Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, Or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck. Professor Abronsius and his bumbling Assistant Alfred (played by Roman Polanski himself) are off to a remote Transylvanian village to prove their theory that vampires really exist. Soon Alfred falls for the innkeeper’s daughter Sarah (played by Sharon Tate), who of course ends up being kidnapped by a vampire count. (The film marks the beginning of the real-life Polanski-Tate romance.) Abronsius and Alfred set off to rescue her and prove their theory at the same time. In doing so… they move into the count’s castle, freeze up when trying to kill him, chase vampires on skis, lose the cherished suitcase containing their supply of garlic and crucifixes, and the count’s son falls in love with Alfred. Talk about fun. Do they get to prove their theory? Do they get out of Transylvania with their necks intact? There’s only one way to find out…

Feeling "Spaced" Out? British Comedy is the Cure!

Over the weekend a friend came by with a DVD set of the British comedy Spaced, and it made me excited to watch classics from across the pond all over again. The library carries comedic gems such as Absolutely Fabulous, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Little Britain, The Office, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. What is your favorite british show and/or movie?

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #111

The History of Lucy’s Love Life in Ten and a Half Chapters is fun, fluffy and fantastical.

29 year-old commitment-phobic Lucy is staring at the prospect of a perfect life with dishy and nice Anthony (with whom she had 400 plus one-night stands) and chucks it all, wondering if there’s something better on the horizon.

Sacked from her pointless job and bored, an errant time machine sends Lucy on a dating frenzy with bad boy Lord Byron, Leonardo da Vinci, Ovid and Casanova (a sweet guy, really). It’s a thrill ride but there’s also a lesson to be learned. The question is… Is Lucy ready for it?

This British chick lit./fantasy/romantic comedy is the first to be published in the United States by Deborah Wright, a graduate of Oxford University with three best-selling novels in the U.K.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #107

Playwright Theresa Rebeck has won an Edgar and a Peabody for her TV work and numerous awards for her plays and shows great promise as a novelist.

Her debut Three Girls and Their Brother* refers to teenagers Amelia, Polly and Daria Heller - "insanely beautiful" sisters of a well-connected Manhattan family, and their brother Philip. A lavish spread in the New Yorker makes the sisters overnight media sensations and instant celebrities. Exposure and fame brings on enormous opportunities, as well as the paparazzi, lechers and rivalry. When the grown-ups around them prove unreliable guardians, the siblings are forced to take responsibility for themselves.

Three Girls is “a wickedly enjoyable expose on modern celebrity”, “a timely and entertaining morality tale” --- much more than a fluffy chick lit.

* = Starred Reviews

The Second City visits The Ark

Second CitySecond City

The improvisational comedy troupe known as The Second City will bring their shenanigans to The Ark in Ann Arbor on April 10 & 11. Second City was founded in Chicago in the late 50s and has been a springboard for much comedic talent, including Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, John Belushi, Alan Arkin and many others. Join the troupe for “One Nation, Under Blog,” an evening of improvised and scripted sketch comedy that is current, interactive and gosh darn funny. Feel like reading too? Check out The Second City almanac of improvisation.
Thursday April 10, 8pm & Friday April 11, 7:30pm. Visit The Ark’s website for more info and ticket information.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #103

Tired of the bleak Feb. days? Looking for something light and engaging? You might want to try Gods Behaving Badly by first time novelist Marie Phillips.

The immortals of Mount Olympus have fallen, and not just on hard times. Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis, Eros and Zeus are slumming in modern day London, working menial jobs as a dogwalker, a phone sex operator, a TV psychic; and falling for their cleaning woman, all the while worrying about their waning power and each other with their endless squabbling.

"Phillips imagines a hilarious world that explains all that is inexplicable in our own". "Fanciful, humorous and charming, this satire is as sweet as nectar" ~ Publishers Weekly.

Phillips is a graduate of Cambridge University currently working at the BBC and writes for the blog

Graphic novel depicts one way to save the earth...


As the world burns: 50 Simple things you can do to stay in denial, a new book by Derrick Jensen and Stephanie McMillan is a satirical take on the well known book 50 Simple things you can do to save the earth. It goes further to point out that there is more to “saving the earth” than recycling, riding your bike to work and buying compact fluorescent light bulbs. In a quirky and fun way (I know, scandalous!) gold carrying robots, bunny plotists, two smart young girls, corporate bigwigs, and the president demonstrate that there is a bigger picture that many of us are in “denial” about. It’s typical Derrick Jensen, but in comic form! Perhaps you’ll laugh, perhaps you’ll cry.

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