Saturday, June 25, 2011

Surely you've seen this...

It was shown on David Letterman, and he couldn't stop laughing about it. And for good reason. It's the single funniest thing I've ever seen on the web. They guy who made it has done a lot of funny cat videos as well. But this is the most hilarious thing ever. It makes me laugh riotously every time I see it. Seriously, it makes me cry with total joy. That dog's "voice" just slays me, and his reactions to the man's cocky voice--with those ears and those lower teeth--are supremely hysterical. I think I could watch this over and over, forever. It's that good.

NOSE-talgia: The Lost ANDY GRIFFITH episode

Frank Nelson is the best actor ever

What other actor has made such hay out of one word?


Another JACK BENNY SHOW appearance....


He appeared on SANFORD AND SON numerous times, and was referred to on THE FLINTSTONES often, too. But he most recently appeared on THE SIMPSONS.

His name is Frank Nelson, and he's the greatest actor of all time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Louie" -- Exceeding Expections on the FX Network

We called Louis C.K. a genius in our last post reminding you of his series' second season, and after watching last night's episode "Pregnant" we reaffirm our assessment.  Louie is a series utterly without peer -- no, actually, I would put the most profoundly affecting episodes of Ricky Gervais' series The Office (the original British version) and Extras in the same league, and a few other things.  Louie makes other half-hour comedy series, even the less-traditional ones from HBO (Hung, Entourage) or Showtime (Nurse Jackie, The Big C), seem like they're missing something.  They are -- they're missing Louis C.K., whose skill, openness, truth, and guilelessness as a performer takes his work in Louie to a level that's simply astounding.

It's hard to imagine anyone -- except Gervais, who happens to be a friend of LCK, no surprise there -- able to take the exquisite pain of being a human being and turn it into an entertainment that manages to be simultaneously -- or in sequence sometimes -- hilarious, shocking and brutal, unblinkingly honest, and tremendously affecting.  Watching last night's episode of Louie pushes you through a journey that will genuinely bring tears to your eyes -- and not in some bullshit way -- as well as offering up scatalogical glee, comedic zingers, and some of the best acting that you're going to see, anywhere.  From his scenes doing stand-up, then to the great kitchen action as LCK handily and fascinatingly prepares a fabulous-looking dinner for his two young daughters (the youngest of whom delivered an earlier stark assessment of their family life to him), and on to those with Rusty Schwimmer playing his very pregnant sister, to the genuinely tense medical emergency moments where he meets his neighbors, and beyond -- last night's episode was incredible.  No other word for it. 

There's nothing like Louie.  It's the most astounding half-hour comedy out there, but we really need to invent another term for this hybrid program type.  It's even beyond the brilliant ensemble work of a show like Nurse Jackie, which is hardly ordinary yet actually pales in comparison with Louis C.K.'s vision in Louie.  This series is testament to LCK's brilliance as a writer and as a performer, along with his undeniable skills as director and editor, two more positions he fills on Louie.  Like Gervais, he's got a perfect ear for life's absurdities as well as its sublime satisfactions, including last night's ruminations on family, friendship, and the need for connections. 

Not for everybody, not even close -- don't watch if you don't like profanity perfectly delivered -- but truly unforgettable.  How can something this good be on television?  Kudos to FX for getting behind this wonderful series and for helping bring Louie into the world.  And the most profound thanks and gratitude to Louis C.K. for going that extra step where few performers ever dare tread, primarily because most others wouldn't know what to say once they were truly out there.  Louis C.K. does.  He knows exactly what to say, and you'll be missing so much if you don't watch and listen.

Visit FX's terrific Louie site (with lots of interesting extras) for more info and the schedule, though I can only find airtimes on Thursday nights, starting at 10:30p with several encores later.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Louie" Season 2 Begins Tonight on FX!

You know we love him here -- the amazing Louis C.K. -- and we also love that the second season of his hilariously morose, absurd, moving and superb half-hour series Louie starts tonight at 10:30pm on FX Network.  Like a lot of LCK's comedy, Louie is strange and complex, with an off-center sensibility that is utterly winning and completely mesmerizing. 

We highly recommend that you tune into this very unique half hour of TV.  We can't completely guarantee that you'll like it, of course -- sense of humor is such a personal value that maybe Louis C.K. won't tickle your particular funnybone -- but we do assure you that you will be seeing a genius in action.

Visit the official Louie website for more information!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Game of Thrones: Season Finale Went up in Flames!

The magnificent Game of Thrones has ended its first season, after 10 one hour episodes that passed at the speed of light. Not since The Sopranos and Six Feet Under left HBO forever have I felt such a gaping void. At least those two series were well established when they started to kill off major characters (Chris-toe-fuh beloved Nate Fisher on 6 Feet?). Not so with the riveting, nail biting, insomnia inducing Game of Thrones. They wiped out the level headed (and now be-headed) leader Ned Stark as well as the hunky Khal Drogo, leader of the horse tribe. The latter met his untimely end at the hand of his lovely "Moon and Stars" mate, Daenerys (above) who merci-killed him with a pillow after he became a brain dead Zombie from the evil ministrations of a tribal witch. The smirking wicked witch got her comeuppance (yay) in the last five minutes of the last night's program...tied to the Khal's blazing funeral pyre just before Daenery's walked herself into the flames. I thought that was the end of our fair haired Khallisa, I really did. Although I quite expected the Dragon Eggs to hatch, I never dreamed that the Dragon Queen would rise Phoenix-like from the ashes. And with three of the cutest CGI baby dragons perched all over her naked, soot stained body. I defy any series on television to have a more astonishing ending. A billion times better than the cop-out on AMC's The Killing. I faithfully watched every episode of that rain-drenched, dreary, depressing crime show only to find out that they weren't going to solve the crime until NEXT season. Not cute. And it really pissed off a lot of folks online, I saw some scorching comments about it on Entertainment

And now, because I'm already feeling sad Game of Thrones withdrawal symptoms and will probably need some sort of support group to make it a whole year until Season Two...I shall list my top five favorite characters. This is not an easy compilation. There are dozens of great characters in this series.

Tyrion Lannister: He's handsome, he's witty, he's quite the ladies man. Nobody cares that he's a dwarf except for his mean old Dad, and even the Lannister patriarch admitted in last night's episode that Tyrion is one smart cookie. He's been appointed the "Hand" of Kings Landing, and he doesn't look too thrilled with the news. It will probably involve reduced wine consumption. I sense an Emmy nomination for Peter Dinklage with this role!

Arya Stark: From the very first episode, Arya was established as one of the bravest warriors. She won't back down, she'll take no prisoners, and she's all of 11 years old and probably 70 pounds soaking wet. She has already killed one fat bratty pervert and she almost killed another in the season finale. When last seen, Arya was headed "north" disguised as a boy, after witnessing her beloved father's brutal demise.

Jon Snow: He's got a chip on his shoulder because he's a "bastard" and doesn't share the Stark family name. Darkly handsome in a sullen sort of way, he seems like the kind of loyal chap who you'd always want on your side in any big brawl. Frankly, if he teamed with his young half-sister Arya, they'd be a formidable force. But he's stuck defending the "wall", in a perpetual frozen purgatory. I think they need cable television at the "wall", man that's a boring job.

Daenerys and her Dragons: She can eat a raw horse heart without throwing up. She is a natural born leader. She looks like a Christmas Tree angel, but does not tremble before the fiercest enemy. And of course now she is a mom to triplet Dragon babies. Please, please let her get to ride them when they grow bigger!

Jaime Lannister: Yeah, he's a bad guy. He's bad to the bone, no doubt about it. But he's not nearly as evil as his sister-wife (not in the Mormon Way) Cersei and he's Mother Theresa compared to his pointy headed psychopath son Joffrey. How long before Sansa Stark takes an ice pick to her creepy betrothed? I'm sorry that I'm fascinated by Jaime. He looks like a young
Denis Leary, especially before he gets his face bashed in by a brick wielding Lady Stark. Why on earth wouldn't she send his head home on a pike? Guess we'll have to wait until next season to find out. I think Bran Stark didn't die so that we don't have to completely hate Jaime. There may be redemption in store for this Lannister.

Things to do while waiting a whole year for the next season:

  • Read the Song of Fire and Ice books on which GOT was based (George R.R. Martin)

  • Watch all the repeats over and over on HBO On Demand

  • Build a baby dragon sculpture out of Play-doh on the kitchen table

  • See if there are any Game of Thrones discussion groups to join in Silicon Valley so I can hang with those folks who are equally bereft now that it's over. Puh-leez, with all the nerds in this area, there must be a meet up group, or possibly even a theme restaurant by now.
Any other Game of Thrones Mega-Fans out there, please let me know. We have to support each other...the long winter is coming!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lisa Mateas!

In case you do not know her name, it's Lisa Mateas.

She's one of the progenitors of THE FLAMING NOSE, but she is SO SO much more than that. I won't go on and on about her achievements. This would embarrass her. Still, I will say she's been a champion of TV for a long time. She's been in there, punching for fandom and for pure love of television so much that, if I told you all how much she's done, you'd be sending her copious e-mails in complete thanks. This is easy to say, but, believe me, you would be sending those e-mails (the Babylon 5 people alone would be turning out full force)!

I met Lisa in 1994, when I was applying for the job of Programming Coordinator at Turner Network Television, where she was the network's longtime Vice-President (and, thus, a progenitor of both Turner Network Television and Turner Classic Movies). I showed up on time, and I got the job, and I knew it immediately because both she and her cohort, Phil Oppenheim, acted like they had just won the lottery after they had met me. How many people can say THAT about people they've interviewed with? To work with Lisa and Phil was like working for the Wright Brothers: they knew it all, and I never questioned it. The astronomical plus was that these two were vastly funnier and more joyous that the Wright Brothers probably ever were. They were, for me, the king bosses of all time. If you can imagine your managers spending time blackening in the shiny white teeth belonging to celebrities on the covers on TV Guide while STILL remaining the smartest people in the building, then you'll know what I mean. Can't imagine it? No? Thank you. It was a one-of-a-kind job.

I was, I thought, strictly a movie guy when I met Lisa. But she saw something else in me. And she made me realize that TV was just as close to my soul as the movies were. It took me a while to understand this, but it happened. Now, I get the difference, and the nuances, that separate the mediums. And I have to say: after meeting Lisa (and Phil), my love of TV and movies are running neck-and-neck. In fact, I don't think one can exist without the other.

My tribute to Lisa was going to be, originally, a series of posts on Facebook. But I thought that was much more ephemeral than I could stand.

Lisa and I are still kindred spirits; we played VIDEO GAMES together, for God's sake. Even though we now live far apart, I will always carry her with me in my heart. And, clearly, this is the case with her, too; she is still always keeping up with my doings on FILMICABILITY, and constantly comments--in complete, loving, and authentic allegiance--on my articles. She has said, and I believe, that she is my #1 fan. And so, as HER #1 fan, I offer a single article in tribute to her wisdom and magnificence.

Even so, I respect her privacy. But I still feel I have to say how much I love her. And so I'll do it through television--her FIRST and TRUEST love. I think she'll groove on this.

So now I offer, for my dearest friend, a tribute through television. The following top ten clips--even though we may not have talked about them ALL straightforwardly--are still each sublime TV moments that will make me, forever, undoubtedly recall Lisa Mateas, and all the great times, and all the great loves, we've shared together. Happy birthday, Lisa! You make every world shine!

(The Andy Griffith Show; "Mr. McBeeVee" Season 3, episode 1, part 3; written by Harvey Bullock, directed by Bob Sweeney; this scene requires Opie's father, Andy, to believe in something that was unbelievable. Lisa and I still share a love of this series; I may be speaking out of turn for her, but I think that we agree this series, and perhaps this very series of scenes, are amongst TV's sweetest moments in time. Lisa is all about sweetness but, as you will later see, darkness plays a role as well).

(Leonard Nimoy, in full Vulcan makeup, doing an press interview for Star Trek, 1966-67; Lisa has an outspoken crush on Spock).

(Davy Jones, and The Monkees, delivering "Cuddly Toy" via The Monkees, 1967; Davy is another Lisa crush, I believe--and oh, how we love talking about how much The Monkees mean to us both).

(The insanely amazing opening credits to The Wild Wild West, with Richard Markowicz's unforgettable theme, and those beautiful animations; TNT played The Wild Wild West daily up until the late 1990s; Lisa named one of her cat Artemus!).

(The opening credits to the greatest one-season TV show of all time: Freaks and Geeks, created by Paul Feig and Judd Apatow; I think that if Lisa had had the power at the time, Freaks and Geeks would have gone on to a second season, and beyond; and we were THIS close...).

(From The Twilight Zone: "To Serve Man." Season 3, episode 14. Written by Damon Knight and directed by John Braham).

(From The Outer Limits: "The Zanti Misfits." Season 1, episode 14. Written by Joseph Stefano and directed by Leonard Horn).

(I Love Lucy, "Job Switching," season 2, episode 1, written by Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Pugh and Jess Oppenheimer; directed by William Asher; Lucy is the avatar for this very site, which should tell you something).

(Leave It To Beaver, "Beaver Gets Spelled," season 1, episode 1, part 3; written by Bob Mosher and Joe Connelly; directed by Norman Tokar; I never knew how smart the Beaver was until I met Lisa).

(Joe Flaherty as Count Floyd, tubthumbing for "The Bloodsucking Monkeys of West Miffland, PA," from 1980 on Second City Television; Lisa and I both share a massive crush on Mr. Flaherty, who I think we agree is a genius).

She's a hilarious, wonderful lady. Lisa Mateas is my hero. How I adore her so! And she is the one and only person I know who is totally, completely, all about love. And here's a bonus clip, too!

(Joe Bob Briggs singing the Monstervision song, 1997; they'd be no Joe Bob hosting Monstervision without Lisa!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sky is Falling: Coming Soon to TNT

It has never been a secret that Flaming Nose founders Jane and Lisa are quite partial to the Sci-Fi genre. So it would be extremely out of character for us to neglect a few mentions for (Falling Skies on TNT) making its debut about a week from now.

I've seen an extended promo for Falling Skies On Demand, so I've had enough of a taste to make a few comments.

The premise is as well worn as an old VHS cassette tape of the original 1953 War of the Worlds. Aliens have landed on earth, and they are not friendly. They've pretty much blown every major city to smithereens, and sent a pulse that has destroyed all electronic communications. Inevitably they are going to get hungry and guess who's gonna be on the menu? Just once I wish somebody would make an alien that wants to eat NY pizza or Sprinkles cupcakes.

Nevertheless, there is nothing more exciting than aliens coming to visit, although I must say I prefer the versions that like us (ET, Close Encounters, Avatar when we are not killing their trees of life) to the ones that want to have us for dinner. These aliens look like big spiders, which is both derivative and icky. They've been given a clever nickname (Skitters) by the surviving earthlings. Steven Spielberg is the Executive Producer, and although he has weirdly not had much success on the small screen his name brings cache to any effort and you can triple that when the story is a sci-fi adventure.

The bad news? Other than Noah Wyle, who plays the resistance militia leader Tom Mason, the cast is not familiar. If they were at least interesting (like Sawyer or Hurley or John on LOST) that wouldn't be a problem. But from what I've seen so far, Falling Skies suffers from forgettable attractive cookie cutter TV cast syndrome. They all look like hot models from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. Apparently the Skitters already ate all the fat and ugly people. It's so tiresome when everybody in a post apocalyptic world looks like they just fell off the cat walk. For contrast, I offer up the cast from Super 8, which I just had the pleasure of viewing yesterday. J.J. Abram's science fiction love poem to Steven Spielberg (who also executive produced) features kids who look and act exceptionally real. You can practically smell their sneakers, and that makes it all the more poignant when they are in peril.

Bland cast aside, I'll still be there with bells on for the first few episodes of Falling Skies. I'm drawn to sci-fi like a moth to flame, and until I know otherwise, I'll hope that this is a summer series that will grow stronger as the days get hotter.