The Harder You Try - Charles Bukowski

Mick recorded a reading of Charles Bukowski's poem "The Harder You Try". Listen and read along below.

the waste of words
continues with a stunning
persistence
as the waiter runs by carrying the loaded
tray
for all the wise white boys who laugh at
us.
no matter. no matter,
as long as your shoes are tied and
nobody is walking too close
behind.
just being able to scratch yourself and
be nonchalant is victory
enough.
those constipated minds that seek
larger meaning
will be dispatched with the other
garbage.
back off.
if there is light
it will find
you.

DWTS: The Emoji Movie

The eleventh episode of Don't Watch This Shit features the instant classic: The Emoji Movie, starring TJ Miller. It's basically Wreck-It Ralph but with way more corporate shilling. The gang is joined by special guests Keith and Lisa. They not only discuss this trainwreck of a film, they also speculate how the initial idea of a children's bang bus evolved into the Emoji movie. 

Jesse

  1. Lisa will fall asleep.

  2. There will be a "lost princess" plot.

  3. The movie's message will be "you are unique and special" and will abandon it halfway through.

  4. Tons of product placement.

  5. At some point, I will seriously consider ending my life during this movie.

Final Rating: 

All proof of this film's existence needs to be fired into the sun.

5-Shit-Rating.png

 

Taylor

  1. Just be yourself will be said 7 times.

  2. Patrick Stewart will only have a single minute of screen time.

  3. James Corden is going to sing a la car karaoke.

  4. Somone is going to say "break the internet".

  5. The following products will be shown on screen:

    • Sony Music

    • Sony Phone

    • Sony Television

    • Spiderman

Final Rating:

This is a cultural fart.

4-point-5-shit.png

Mick

  1. Tons of Product Places

  2. Toilet Humor

  3. Horrible amalgamation of Pixar tropes and plot lines.

  4. Bumpin soundtrack.

  5. Stacked with Cameos

Final Rating:

I was on my phone looking at Emojis for most of this movie. 

girl crossing arms.jpg

Keith

  1. Replacement of swears with random other words.

  2. Everything is a terrible meme

  3. Poop jokes

  4. Shitty meta jokes about pandering.

  5. Eggplant and Blue Water drops tag team peach emoji.

Dance sequence at the end.

Final Rating:

Tropical island meeting their shit gods shitty.

4-point-5-shit.png

Lisa

  1. Some sort of dating app will be included

  2. This will be all about "you can be who you are"

  3. TJ Miller's character will show the other emojis that they can also branch out

  4. We will see the poop emoji at least 3 times.

Final Rating:

I slept for most of this movie and when I woke up the same stuff was happening. 

5-Shit-Rating.png

NTWON: Naked

Another month, another movie to watch on Netflix. This go-around, Mick watched Naked, written, produced, and starring Marlon Waynes (of White Chicks and Scary Movie fame). Naked is a high-concept rom-com about a guy who keeps waking up naked in an elevator.

The first thing viewers should realize is the striking similarity this film has to Groundhog Day. Ultimately, both of these movies are about a character stuck in a time-warp forced to relive the same span of time over and over again. However, where Groundhog Day relied on Bill Murray's more subdued sense of delivery, Naked (and Marlon Waynes by extension) is much more ridiculous and overt in its humor.

The biggest difference between the cult-classic and its new-school counterpart is that Phil in Groundhog Day had to relive the same day over and over, starting from the moment he gets out of bed. In Naked, Rob relives a much shorter span of time, more on the order of 1-2 hours, starting from when he comes to naked in an elevator on his wedding day. Obviously, this presents a different set of challenges than the ones Phil faces.

Another thing that sets Naked apart from one of Bill Murray's most-loved movies is the difference in characterization. Phil starts Groundhog Day as a jerk and prima donna with little regard for the people around him and over the course of his millions of Groundhog Days learns to love his fellow man. Rob, on the other hand, suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome and struggles with accepting the responsibilities of adulthood.

It should be noted that this movie is not high art. There are definitely rough patches of dialogue in the script, but Waynes, to his credit, commits to them fully. The trailer and synopsis make a very specific promise and delivers on them in full. Overall, Naked is a fun, light-hearted rom-com that will amuse viewers over its tight 90-minute run time, especially if viewers are a fan of Groundhog Day.

 

Archetypes and Absurdities - Adam Chambers

After attending the HOT conference in Hartford, CT this summer, Mick became fast friends with the multi-talented Adam Chambers. Adam is not only a gifted visual artist but a prolific writer, musician, and activist.  

I'm Right You're Wrong, Motherfucker! 

I explore themes of juxtaposition, humor and contradiction, often through the layering of image and text, in my visual work. My imagery is drawn from a wellspring of deeply personal experiences, yet is peppered with the archetypes and absurdities of pop culture as well, embodying a unique and imaginative aesthetic of social and personal commentary.

I make my art because I want to explore the untapped potential of that synergistic realm in which seemingly contradictory layers of meaning can co-exist. The irrational vs. the rational; image vs. language; clarity vs. obfuscation; the mundane reality of the everyday and of popular culture vs. the layered, self-contradicting reality of dreams.

ltimately, the most fundamental contradiction I wrestle with in my creative process is that of how to assemble meaning, both personally and culturally, on the unstable ground of the impersonal, existential absurdity that is our experience as social beings.

-AC

Tools of a Dope Emcee - SO-LAR

IMG_0121.PNG

SO-LAR is on his way up in the rap scene. As a Connecticut-based artist, he often shows love for his home state both in his verses and in his videos. Mick Theebs got a chance to speak with him and get an inside look into how he works and what drives him to create art.

Click here to visit SO-LAR's website.

Click here to follow SO-LAR on Twitter

Click here to follow SO-LAR on Instagram

MT: How did you get your start rapping?

SL: I first started rapping riding around in a car with my boys, drinking, and getting high. It was like a ritual: once the driver put on the instrumental, you had to rap when it was your turn. If you stayed quiet you would get kicked the car and had to walk home. Everybody spit a freestyle and when I would say mine it sounded good. I thought to myself that I had something that could grow if I kept doing it.

MT Where do you find inspiration for your work? Who are some of your major influences?

SL: I find inspiration from the tumultuous life I've had. I have a story to tell, an honest one that people respect. Music and ideas go together like hand and glove. To me, the tragedies of life and triumphs are enough to continue to inspire me to create listen-worthy material.  My major influences are the notable legends in hip hop: Nas, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Eminem, and Lil Wayne, just to name a few. The artists I mentioned may sound cliche, but I would gauge my work against theirs as I grew as an artist. Each of them has their own identity as an artist, something I had to create on my own. The true talent lies in the ability to move the listener through different emotions, reactions, and elements of surprise. If you're a dope writer, the listener can never guess what you will say from one line to the next. If I may say so I think I have mastered those abilities over time. 

As far as the newer artist that have emerged, I like Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Papoose, Kayne West, and J-Cole. All of these guys speak a full range of content, that is thought-provoking for the listener. Those are the tools of a dope emcee.

MT: How do your tracks come together? Do you work with a producer?   

SL: My tracks come together when I hear a beat that fits my flow pattern(s). The track actually tells me what I should rap about as soon as I hear it. I usually write the hook first, then the verses follow. I have been writing that way for years. I've worked with a variety of underground producers over the years. Most recently I have been working with Jimmy Dukes out of Buffalo NY. He has tracks of all hip genres like trap, Midwest, R&B, new school, and classic east coast hip-hop. He has produced for industry artist like French Montana, The Lox, A$AP Ferg, Uncle Murda, and Fabolous.

MT: What was your proudest moment as an artist so far?  

SL: My proudest moment was when a fan told me he listened to one of my songs called "Bullpen Therapy" every morning before work to motivate him for the day. The fact that the record had connected with him was big for me. It was the second track on my previous project called Back In Power. Bullpen Therapy is a slang term for when you get arrested and you have to sit in the waiting cell to make a phone call, pay a bail, or go to a court hearing. You are in this holding area with multiple personalities which makes it an interesting experience.

MT: Can you talk about your upcoming album The Valachi Papers? What does the title mean? What kind of sound can listeners expect to hear on it?  

SL: Valachi Papers is the sophomore follow-up to my previous album/mixtape Back In Power that released in 2012. The project was named after an old Charles Bronson movie that actually the original La Costro Nostra film before we ever saw The Godfather or Goodfellas. Charles Bronson who played Joe Valachi in the film was just released from prison and became a driver for the mafia. They were involved in crimes like robbery, drugs, and extortion, all the while he wanted to quit his position as a driver for the mafia to open a restaurant and go legit. As the film goes on, the mafia members became the target of the FBI and were eventually arrested one by one. When he was the last one standing, the mafia began to speculate that he was an informant. He was the last one to be arrested he became a target to be murdered at every prison he was shipped to. Eventually, he began talking to federal agents and the notes they recorded became known as the Valachi Papers.

That film resonated with my life at certain points. I have been involved in illegal activity and had encounters with the legal systems. I am not only the founder/owner of CCE Records Music Group, but I'm also the owner of CCE Transport LLC, a car carrier company that ships new/used cars all over the Northeast/Southeast region. However, I never ratted (snitched) on anyone regarding illegal activity, which is where the disconnect was between me and the movie; facts.

The sound on the album is trap combined with east coast hip hop. That new sound that hip hop fans can identify with and the classic 'bar for bar" shit that true rap diehards demand. I touch a full range of topics that will cater to all people from different walks of life.
 

MT: Do you have any words of advice for aspiring artists?

SL: My advice for aspiring artists is to believe in yourself and your talent at all times. Do not seek validation from other people. Work on your craft until you become polished. Keep dope visuals on your social media so people can see you in motion, and not just HEAR it. Most importantly, keep GOD first! 

Keeping Up with the Joneses

For the tenth episode of Don't Watch This Shit, Mick, Jesse, and Taylor watched Keeping Up with the Joneses, starring Zack Galifianakis, Isla Fischer, Jon Hamm, and Gal Gadot. The latest take on the suburban fish out of water genre, the boys discuss this movie about two nosy neighbors while simultaneously workshopping a screenplay about the Presidents of the United States, starring Jon Hamm.

JESSE

1. Kids largely unseen and ignored save for comic relief.

2. Joneses start off as seemingly bad guys but are later revealed to be good guys.

3. At least 1 Mexican Stand Off.

4. Zach G. does slow-mo dramatic aimed shot to save Jon Hamm/Gal Gadot.

5. At least 1 high-speed car chase, especially in a Mom car.

Bonus: Gal Gadot stabs and drinks the blood of her enemies.

Final Thoughts: More Man Hamm!

TAYLOR

1. The Joneses are going to be backstabbed by the government.

2. A car is going to explode from a bullet hit.

3. At the end, the frumpy couple will be invited to be spies, but decline.

4. Not a single gun will have recoil.

5. Jon Hamm is going to be shot in the shoulder, incapacitating him so Galifianakis has to save the day.

Bonus: Fishbowl=Keys

Final Thoughts: 

I wish this movie had Zach Braff instead.

Mick

1. The Joneses are actually good.

2. Movie hinges on physical comedy.

3. The big bads will be North Korean or Russian.

4. Plot is kicked off by something stupid and innocuous that normal person would let go.

5. Movie will attempt to make ham-fisted commentary on suburban life/spying on neighbors.

Final Thoughts: 

You'll probably see this on TV.

Richard Cory

Taylor Raj, Keith Roland, and Mick Theebs put together a visualization of the poem Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Taylor directed, Keith starred, and Mick narrated. Watch it right now!

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

NTWON: Moana

For July's Nothing to Watch on Netflix, Mick watched Moana, an animated film by Disney Animation Studios starring Auli'i Cravalho as the titular Moana and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Maui.

Moana is a story about a Polynesian tribe, more specifically the daughter of their chief (who is not a Princess). The plot borrows heavily from Polynesian island mythology in order to add a new flair the typical Disney animated feature. The story centers mostly on Moana's journey to find herself as a young woman with big dreams of seeing the world. However, she is forbidden to see the world because her dad says so. It is only when there's a blight on her island paradise home does Moana take it upon herself to save her village.

In many ways, Moana fits the typical model of a Disney animated feature. At one point, they even hang a lampshade on the fact that Moana is pretty much a princess since she is the daughter of the chief and has an animal sidekick. However, it many other more important ways Moana flips the script on the Disney model as the story focuses more on her personal development instead of securing a main love interest. There is most certainly a happily ever after, but not in the traditional "they get married and have a lil baby" kind of way. Again, Moana is a story that primarily focuses on a young woman's self-discovery and her rapidly developing confidence in a world full of doubt. 

However, things do not stray too far from the Disney mold, as it still features several original songs. The Rock actually has a decent set of pipes on him and sings what is easily the catchiest song in the entire film. The movie's music features some heavy hitters as writers and performers, including Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Concords and Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. 

Moana is a fun and flighty fling that perfect for relaxing on a hot summer night. While the target audience is for children, there are still plenty of scenes and themes that keep adult audiences entertained as well. If you're a fan of other Disney animated features, you'll certainly like Moana as well. 

They Exploit - Eddy James Nardozzi

Joining us on ALSO THAT is the incredibly talented Australian photographer Eddy James Nardozzi. Eddy's work shows incredible range, as his website boasts dizzying cityscapes alongside more pensive portraiture. He also does not stray from making political statements with his work, as his series They Exploit is a critique of the capitalist system we currently live in. 

I am making a Marxist political statement regarding the way a socialist views the world. The average person accepts the world the way it is, and doesn’t give much thought towards the negative effects of the economic system. I wanted to create imagery that shows what a socialist sees and thinks when they look at the capitalist businesses and organizations around them. Seeing the truth behind an obfuscated world through the lens, a kind of building on the way John Carpenter critiqued American capitalism in his movie, They Live, and how John Nada sees the truth through the the lenses of the sunglasses he acquires. Younger people are increasingly frustrated with capitalism and its failure to deliver the goods to their generation, and I wish to help push this wave of frustration against capitalism through the medium of photography.
— EJN

Wild Nights - Wild Nights!

Mick read a poem by one his favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. This poem was subject to some controversy, as its subject matter was rather... uncouth for her time. Though it may seem tame to us, this poem scandalized people with its oblique references to "rowing in Eden".

Wild nights - Wild nights! 
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury! 

Futile - the winds - 
To a Heart in port - 
Done with the Compass - 
Done with the Chart! 

Rowing in Eden - 
Ah - the Sea! 
Might I but moor - tonight - 
In thee!