|JOE PERA TALKS WITH YOUASTRONOMY CLUBINVISIBLE LIFETHREE CHRISTSTHIS WEEKTRAILERSSEASON 2TRAILERTRON|
The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it's Friday, and we are here to have some fun.ITEM NUMBER ONE — You deserve a nice show
I would like to talk with you about Joe Pera Talks With You, an Adult Swim series currently in its second season. What a lovely show it is. Pera, a comedian known for his unrushed and deliberate delivery, plays a choir teacher from Michigan who goes through just about the most ho-hum series of activities you can imagine. Episode titles include “Joe Pera Takes You To Breakfast,” “Joe Pera Waits With You,” and the season two premiere “Joe Pera Talks With You About Beans,” which opens with this line: “Beans. They've got it all: protein, carbs, fiber, affordable.” Find one lie in there.
The show is calming and funny and just really very nice, in a way I almost don't know how to describe. It has a pacing and style to it that is entirely its own. Each episode is about 10 minutes long and there's rarely any conflict. It's mostly just Joe Pera in very normal situations and telling you about them and why he likes them in slow, soothing tones. It's all bordering on ASMR at times, only to be punctuated with a hilarious burst of action, like in the bean episode when he suddenly begins driving stakes into the ground with a violent flurry of strikes.
I accept that this show might not be for everyone. There's a very real chance you'll pull up an episode after reading this — they're all on the Adult Swim website, if you have a cable subscription — and say “What is this? Nothing is happening. Brian is weird as hell for liking this.” Which, I mean, I am weird, as the backlog of these columns proves beyond any doubt, but still. It's fine if that's your reaction. But I will also tell you that I stumbled upon the show one day earlier this year and watched all of season one in a single sitting. My current routine has been to fire up an episode or two when Friday afternoon gets slow so it can soothe me into the weekend. It is very much my kind of stuff.
It's also so unique to Pera. He does comedy in a way I don't think I've ever seen before. Here's his appearance on Seth Meyers from this week, to give you an idea of what I'm getting at.
And here's him doing a bit about the Buffalo Bills. This is one of the funniest bits I've ever seen. Stick around until the end. I promise you that you won't see the closer coming. Zero chance.
Please do give the show a shot, if only so I have more people to talk...
There came a point early on in Karim Aïnouz’s drama of separated sisters, Invisible Life, where I wondered if the way he depicted a scene veered a little too sharply into the melodramatic and borderline hysterical. Then I remembered how the poster billed the film: a tropical melodrama. Once I reset my bearings a bit, I found the narrative quite engrossing and the story rather moving.
“Melodrama” often carries a pejorative connotation, a malady from which I am not exempt as shown by my near dismissal of Invisible Life from the jump. The term makes for a frequent descriptor tossed out when emotion gets dialed up to unrealistic or exaggerated levels. It’s used to decry the efforts of filmmakers who go big when they should instead go deep and mine the interiority of their characters. These grandiose moments serve as a cheap substitute for feeling rather than the way they should in the hands of a gifted practitioner like Aïnouz. Invisible Life provides artistic representation of the quiet tragedies and unspoken miseries affecting individuals. Women in particular, as marginalization can often amplify the tensions. In doing so, it offers a similar scale of sensation to the audience as is experienced by the characters themselves.
Why this quasi-academic rambling about the nature of the genre to which Invisible Life belongs? It’s of the utmost importance to understand the tradition and context in which Aïnouz operates. Without this knowledge, the film would probably feel like a carousel of misfortunes befalling siblings Eurídice Carol Duarte and Guida Julia Stockler in mid-20th century Rio de Janeiro. The former sticks around Brazil to please her family, yearning to spread her wings as a classical pianist yet seeing them clipped by her partner in a loveless – and often abusive – marriage. The latter, on the other hand, elopes with a Greek sailor only to return pregnant and abandoned soon after. Yet their family’s strictures around tradition, honor and gender performance prevents the sisters from ever knowing that they walk the same city streets once more.
The sense that Eurídice and Guida are rendered ships passing in the night, unable to share the burdens that crush them in Brazil’s heavily patriarchal society, lends a pervasive aura of sadness to the film. They’re separated by life’s circumstances but inexorably connected by the inevitable struggles endured by Brazilian women. Their geographical proximity provides no comfort and only serves to underscore the larger challenges faced by women. So much basic freedom, dignity and autonomy remains in sight yet just outside their grasp. It’s in this intractable, untraversable gap where the exquisite melodrama of Invisible Life organically arises.
Aïnouz treats their situation with great empathy and sincerity, never allowing compassion to...
Walton Goggins made a solid living playing weaselly live wires long before we cared much about who he was. But the Georgia-bred actor was such an enjoyable weaselly live wire that people in the know kept asking him back. Tarantino notably cast him in both Django Unchained and The Hateful Eight — after memorable turns in The Shield, Justified, and Sons of Anarchy — until Goggins inevitably became the kind of character actor whose presence promises a little jolt of excitement every time he shows up.
From there it was only a short jump to bigger and more varied roles. While he's still as enjoyable as ever playing any wiry con man, as seen in Vice Principals and The Righteous Gemstones, these days Goggins also gets to play everything from sympathetic network leading man The Unicorn, on CBS to a schizophrenic who thinks he's Jesus, in Three Christs, an arthouse drama starring Richard Gere as a groundbreaking psychiatrist, which played festivals in 2017 and is getting a limited theatrical run courtesy of IFC this Friday.
I've always found journeyman character actors more interesting than leading men, but Goggins has a rare and singular ability to evoke both memorable weirdo and acquaintance you've known for years, both exotic and familiar. “Con man with a heart of gold” would be an oxymoron if not for Goggins. There's an ineffable authenticity to him, the sense that he was a character before he was a character actor. It's this quality more than anything else, I think, that allows him to be convincing as so many different types. He's redolent of unsoftened oddness, such that he can play any flavor of odd. In one of his first roles, he played a frat boy who barked like a seal on Beverly Hills 90210.
And of course, there aren't many things more enjoyable than seeing brilliant craftsmen who've toiled in relative obscurity for years inasmuch as acting can be considered “toil” finally become household names. If Goggins isn't there yet he's certainly a name in my household he must be on the verge. The Gogginsonnaissance, people. It's time.
I have to say my fianceé doesn't care about 95% of the people I talk to, but when I told her I was talking to you, she actually squealed.
Hey, I'll take it, man! That's awesome. You just made my day.
Do you think that says anything about the arc of your career? Do you find different sorts of people recognizing you these days?
You know what? I do, man. I got to say, it's an embarrassment of riches. I've been walking for a very long time and without any great plan, only looking at what was kind of before me — playing it as it lays, I suppose. To be able to walk down any given street in any city and to have lengthy conversations about a variety of different things I've been fortunate enough to be...
EXCLUSIVE: Grace and Frankie may have suspended production on its seventh and final season because of the coronavirus crisis, but the Emmy nominated Netflix comedy is back this week with a special live treat for fans and a spotlight on seniors in need during these troubled times.
The Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-led series will be having an online table read this Thursday to help Meals On Wheels COVID-19 relief program, I've learned – though you can make donations right now via the link here.
While other shows have taken a similar digital approach in recent weeks, the long running Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris showrun series is adding some originality. The April 9 presentation will feature an episode from the yet unaired seventh season, as well as a live Q&A afterwards moderated by Kauffman.
Along with Oscar winner Fonda and Oscar nominee Tomlin, fellow G&F cast members Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry will be participating in the reading of the Kauffman and Morris-penned “The Fallout” episode on Thursday.
Starting at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET, the whole shindig can be seen live and direct on the Netflix is a Joke YouTube page LINK HERE on April 9.
“While we’re sitting here afraid, unsure and isolated, we wanted to come together and do some good,” Kauffman told me of the decision to take the show online in a new form and with a peek into the future.”
“All we’ve got is time on our hands and technology at our fingertips,” the Friends co-creator added as production on Season 7 was temporarily suspended late on March 12 as restrictions on large gatherings tighten in the City of Angels. “So we decided to use both of those assets to raise money for Meals on Wheels, which brings food to food-insecure and isolated seniors. They are among our most vulnerable right now and need our help.”
“Our cast is all in and super excited,” Okay Goodnight founder Kauffman also says of her superstar packed team. “And Netflix and Skydance have been particularly supportive. As far as giving the fans a peek into Season 7, we figured more people would tune in to new content and it would, hopefully, be a draw for fans of Grace and Frankie. The hope is: more eyes, more money raised for Meals on Wheels.”
Produced by Skydance Television, which launched in 2013, Grace And Frankie was one of the first original series for Netflix. Though in a pause period right now, like everyone else in Tinseltown the seventh and final season is still set to premiere next year, which will make the series the longest running comedy in the streamer's history.
As of last night, there are 6360 confirmed case of the coronavirus in L.A. County and 147 deaths....