1. The copout final shot in the Chloë Grace Moretz LGBTQ drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” Without resolving anything dramatically, director-writer Desiree Akhavan avoids the hard work of crafting an actual ending, letting her and her characters off the hook by sticking them in the back of a pick-up truck to literally drive off into the sunset, then: fade to black. Such open-ended fade-outs — what will happen to our beloved heroes? — are not only lazy but a rancid cliché of undercooked indie filmdom. (Wait. Was I supposed to say: Spoiler alert!)
2. The local wallpaper-tattooed hippie-hipster barista who, when asked how he’s doing, invariably replies, “Livin’ the dream!” (Spoken in a groovy Jeff Spicoli cadence.)
3. Pro sports. I have no stomach for fans’ foaming-at-the-mouth, chest-thumping, near-nationalistic posturing, the players’ obscene paydays, the blanket machismo and braggadocio, the snarling, whooping competitiveness. It’s a gross, alien world that, save the occasional semi-civilized soccer match, I find revolting. Any artistry is sheer brute. I’m a bit like author Roxane Gay: “As a child, I was awkward, unathletic and uninterested in becoming athletic. I was not a team player. I was a dreamer, something of an oddball loner. I wanted to spend all my time with books.” Then there’s the waspish H.L. Mencken who injects venom: “I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.” Oh goodie: Football season is upon us.
4. If you don’t read the weekly book reviews by Dwight Garner in The New York Times, you are missing some of the freshest, funniest, metaphor-drunk reviews in mainstream newspapers. You are, alas, culturally bereft. But I have a pet peeve (even the best aren’t immune): his unfailing penchant to quote other writers in 99-percent of his essays. Not writers he’s reviewing — that’s expected and apropos — but other writers, as if he can’t think up his own ideas. (“As Hunter S. Thompson said about firearms …,” or “To quote Bob Dylan on heartache …”) It’s a crutch he can’t relinquish. I devour his stuff, but his quotation-happy habit stops me cold. (Yes, I use quotes, too, but I’m not writing for the rarefied Times.)
5. Middling to bad stand-up comedy specials flooding Netflix. Such jollity as the new “Demetri Martin: The Overthinker,” a depressingly anemic stand-up hour showcasing a once-hilarious comic in full sputter. Also schticking up the streaming service: Patton Oswald, who, on stage, is a peg above pedestrian; Judah Friedlander, a wan, wannabe Mitch Hedberg; the meh Noah Trevor; the slick Iliza Shlesinger, all harpy cutes; the shrill, aggressively pregnant Ali Wong (watch how she practically weaponizes that big old baby bump); and floundering fat-joker Gabriel Iglesias.
But let’s cool down and depart with a smiley-face emoji, tongue out, winking. Netflix tucks sparkling gems into the mix, like Fred Armisen’s joyfully sui generis “Standup for Drummers,” John Mulaney’s knock-dead “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City,” Aussie comedian Hannah Gadsby’s devastating “Nanette” (caveat: she may change your life), and the beyond-words brilliant “‘Oh, Hello’ on Broadway,” starring John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, whose marksman satire is so inspired and athletically sustained, you’ll be craving the most overstuffed tuna sandwich you’ve ever seen. (Watch the show. Then you’ll know.)
3 thoughts on “Five irritants that shouldn’t irritate. But do.”
Hello critiquer creeper. Yes, you’re ahead of me with the “stay in touch” emails but I’m a very busy fellow. Why, I’m even booked tonite for a full nite’s stay at a local sleep center to be observed while I snore to double check whether I have sleep apnea (Pretty sure I do). Will eventually be told to sleep wearing a “mask” that will help ensure I’m getting enough oxygen while in bed. What I’m really not getting is enough sleep.
Had a brief but pleasant visit with the Crew Craig. Not a lot to do here but we managed to keep everyone busy for two days.
Got to start packing for tonight’s overnighter at the Sleep Center, which I hope I do. Sleep.
By the bye, main reason the Wilkinson’s have felt slighted re not receiving holiday, travel and other cards from you is the fact they are your god parents. But, c’est la vie.
Hope you’re well and I’ll try to catch up, even surpass you, which shouldn’t be difficult.
Stay out of trouble. If you can.
I tried, once, to watch the Netflix series, The Standups. I surfed from comic to comic and wanted to laugh but couldn’t muster a chuckle. I would watch one “comic” for a few minutes sit poker faced waiting for something to make me laugh and then move on to another “comic.” The last one finally elicited a response only it wasn’t laughter when his routine started off with jokes about mass shootings – click.
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I had the exact experience, Paulie. The Standups is dreadful. It belongs on the heap of crappy Netflix “comedy” for sure.