Van Wilder (2002)

Our Hero, in his natural habitat.I hate modern comedies. Their grotesque obsessions are polluting the very fabric of our culture. We are getting dumber for no reason. It has nothing to do with resources. Thanks to the Farrelly brothers, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, and the curious cloud of anti-rationality radiation hanging over Los Angeles,  Hollywood just throws money at the people who produce gross out comedies. Future film historians will look back and wonder how, each year, as the twenty-first century opened, more production companies wasted so much talent into this cinematic cul-de-sac? I’m not sure what scares me more: the fact that this kind of movie exists, or the fact that it is so popular.

All of which brings me to Van Wilder, which I recently borrowed from a co-worker who hyped it as the funniest National Lampoon picture in twenty years. She wasn’t that exact…but really, the point is this: Chris, I love you, chica, but we radically different taste. Not that she knows this site exists. I’ll have to tell her in person. I’ve spent the past three days figuring out just what to say. What do you say to your friend when s/he hands you a piece of crap and tells you it’s the laugh-out-loud hit of the young decade? {More}

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

A man alone.In the summer of The Year 2000, my parents and I embarked upon a European Vacation. After two nights in Paris, circumstances found us in the quiet little town of Bois (pronounced just like it’s spelled…as long as you’re speaking through a mouthful of yogurt). With a few hours to kill before the restaurants opened, I flipped on the TV and found Manufacturing Consent, the almost-three hour documentary profile of MIT Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky. Filmmakers Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick followed the man around for  four years, taping talk after talk in a variety of countries. They also managed to dig up hours of archival interviews from as far back as the 1960s. All of which is cut-n’-pasted into a one hundred sixty-seven minute primer for anyone too lazy to pick up one of the man’s many (many, many) books.

For those who don’t know (I was once one myself), Professor Chomsky is one of the most respected linguists in the world. When my mother went back to get her Masters in English, or her certificate to teach English-as-a-Second Language, her coursework amounted to a whole hell of a lot of pouring over various Chomsky’s work. The Professor teaches at MIT, writes shelf-fulls of books, and has appeared on numerous TV shows, mostly in other countries. Thanks to his old-school, anarcho-syndicalist views on the Ideal Society, and his scalding, unrepentant criticisms of America’s most-imperial foreign policy ambitions, he remains largely unknown to the general public, even unto today. {More}