Tuesday 22 Jul
 
 

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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'SNL' skit turned action movie parody 'MacGruber' disarms disaster and outlives expectations


Mike Robertson May 27th, 2010

As we've seen several times over the last 30 years, adapting sketches from "Saturday Night Live" into full-length movies is a hit-and-miss proposition. For every "The Blues Brothers," we get five "Con...

As we've seen several times over the last 30 years, adapting sketches from "Saturday Night Live" into full-length movies is a hit-and-miss proposition. For every "The Blues Brothers," we get five "Coneheads." Or worse, "It's Pat."

Will Forte and his "MacGruber" writing crew wisely didn't try to expand their 30-second "Macgyver" spoofs from the show to 90 minutes; they simply took the characters and transplanted them into a pretty straightforward genre-movie parody, with pretty good results. The effort isn't as quality as "Airplane!" or "Team America: World Police," but neither is it "Dracula: Dead and Loving It."

MacGruber's backstory is half John Rambo and half James Bond: MacGruber (Forte) was thought dead along with his wife, who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. When MacGruber's old arch-nemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer, TV's "Knight Rider") is suspected of stealing a nuclear warhead, MacGruber's mentor, Col. James Faith (Powers Boothe, TV's "Deadwood"), tracks him to a tiny, dusty village in the middle of nowhere to bring him out of retirement.

Once MacGruber makes his way back to the States, Col. Faith tries to pair him up with Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe, "Stop-Loss"), a young officer who cut his teeth listening to stories about MacGruber's past exploits. MacGruber refuses to work with him and puts together his own team via a montage that would make Chuck Norris proud.

When things "fall through" with his hand-picked team, MacGruber is forced to work with Piper and Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig, TV's "Saturday Night Live"), his wife's best friend. This mismatched, ragtag team must go against the unlimited resources and cruelty of Von Cunth, smashing things, blowing things up, taking "upper deckers" and making creative use of celery along the way.

Again, it was smart of Forte and company to graft their characters onto an existing subgenre. The original conceit of the "MacGruber" sketch is that he is kind of an idiot and his personal problems get in the way of him defusing a bomb, the explosion of which ends each segment.

This basic setup is worked into the movie's climax, but the readymade plot helps get them there, meaning what people like about the sketch gets to be in the movie without getting on everyone's nerves.

The action-flick template also frees Forte and "SNL" co-writers John Solomon and Jorma Taccone to graft whatever crazy-ass gags and situations they want onto the proceedings. For the most part, the material is funny and weird, and rarely steps on the movie's pacing. Only one of those instances, in which MacGruber has sexual congress in a graveyard with a ghost (yeah, it's that kind of humor), seems unnecessary enough that it could have been left out.

It also doesn't hurt that Taccone, who directed, convinced solid actors like Phillippe and Kilmer to support Forte. Wiig, who is just as funny as usual, also has a natural anchoring effect, helping the whole thing come off better than one might expect. "Mike Robertson
 
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