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lazy, hazy, crazy days
it's also summer - rock on!
by joe procopio (@jproco)
pop culture

Ah, summer. There's something about the season that coaxes me into emotionally reverting back into a ten year old. I never could wait for summer to get here.

Of course, now that school and the annual family vacation don't factor into it, my motivation has become much different. Now I can look forward to the impending recession and skyrocketing gas prices instead of little league soccer and Friday night mall cruising.

Well, okay, I still look forward to the mall cruising.

For the love of God, will someone PLEASE tell me whether or not Pearl Harbor is any good?

Our illustriously smarter-than-thou federal government wants to ban cell phone use while driving, which will provide yet another excuse to hate your local sherriff. I'm torn here. On one end of the spectrum, I can see where this is necessary, but on the other hand, sheesh! Isn't this just another item in a long list of things we can't do because of a sad minority of idiots? Isn't this why I have to drive 55, wait until I'm 21 to drink, and call a taxi if I so much as sniff a beer?

Maybe that's just me, but then I've also actually had to appear in court for a jaywalking violation.

Long story.

I can handle a cell phone conversation while I drive. It took me about 5 minutes to realize that I shouldn't use a cellphone in the car without a headset. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but aren't eating, drinking, smoking, switching CDs, and passenger conversation next?

Oh yeah, make your own women/driving/makeup joke here. You're welcome.

How do you put together a movie and call it What's the Worst That Could Happen? Are Hollywood people still that detached from the whole review process? I thought this kind of oversight in unfortunate naming peaked with the release of Very Bad Things, which not only had the title going for it but also Christian Slater. Anyway, that movie provoked the inception of the three word review, specifically, "Very bad movie." But What's the Worst takes home the championship trophy, or soon will, by providing reviewers the opportunity to slam the movie using no words other than the title.

I don't know. Maybe I'm missing some sort of Martin Lawrence irony. After all, I didn't appreciate the subtleties of Big Momma's House either.

Oh. By the way, for the 6 people who will get this joke - Antitrust is exactly how the corporate technology world works. They got it spot on.

What would happen if you started a football league and nobody watched? Why, you'd ruin the already laughable political career of a former PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER!

You know, there are times when making a joke is just overkill...

Eur-friggin-reka! I have finally read a good full-length novel. It took something like five years of slogging through near-misses and absolute crap, but I heartily recommend Slab Rat by Ted Heller.

Set in a the world of New York magazine publishing, Heller's book sort of updates Bright Lights, Big City, and in doing so brings to mind some of the best work of McInerney, Ellis, and Coupland.

Open advisement to California governor Gray Davis. If you have a lack of supply of power, the price goes up. If you then institute price controls, the supply evaporates. Then your constituents riot. The phrase "let's just have price controls until we get our new plants online" really shows how you can get just about anywhere in this country without much common sense.

I hate to think of all out west-coast fans having to read intrepid by candlelight.


From the Holy Smoke! department, I saw the Behind the Music for Blues Traveler and dammit if John Popper doesn't look absolutely great. He's lost something like 200 pounds. It was kind of trippy to watch the de rigueur addiction battle being waged with, and I'm not embellishing, McDonald's and Burger King.

Best in Show is This is Spinal Tap for the dog show set, and it's a lot better than that bland premise would intimate.

Christopher Guest is a genius, and the movie, recently out on video, is definitively his. As is true with a lot of his work, most of the dialogue is improvised. It's the characters, and the way the actors bring them out, that make the movie such a pleasure to watch.

Apparently, critics' darling Dungeons & Dragons has also arrived on video. Didn't I just make fun of this in the theater?

And speaking of rentals, I just saw Duets, which was infinitely better than I imagined it would be. I'll also say this, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, but pound for pound, you don't get any cooler than Huey Lewis. I'm serious. Make fun of me all you want.

Paul Giamatti is great in this movie, and the idea to team him up with Andre Braugher, who is great in everything, was gold.

Sweet mother of pearl, the new Weezer record is very good. But I've got some potentially disheartening news for the 16 and under crowd that's been making the band their own recently. A brief lesson in musical history and a good ear will tell you that Weezer is your generation's the Outfield. And we know where that went.

Actually, the Outfield might still be around...

The green album, referenced as such due to its "eponymous 2" title and lime cover, clocks in at 28:31 short with ten diamond examples of ear candy. Naturally, or maybe not-so-naturally, there isn't a wasted moment. Produced by former Cars frontman Ric Ocasek (a fact in itself that should give you an idea why it is the way it is), the record has been perfected.

I love it because I get the jokes, like the fact that every guitar solo just apes the melody. The band seems to be very self-aware of their standing within pop culture and are actually playing it to their advantage.

A rare feat.

But where the hell is Matt Sharp? If you remember, he was formerly Weezer's bassist (and most likely its sense of humor) who went on to form the Rentals. Has anyone heard anything about him since 10/00?

Someone give him a call. A Weezer/Rentals double bill might just start the next anti-child pop wave.

And not a moment too soon.

Preemptive strike: As popular as these pop-culture post-mortems have been over the last few months, they're wearing on me. Thus, this'll be the last one. I'll warn you, my stuff is going to get a little darker, a little meaner, a little more pretentious, and, I hope, a whole lot funnier. Anyone who has ever read my work for Smug will know from whence I speak. So please stay with me, it's going to be a fun ride.


Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.

more about joe procopio


great things will happen today!
an update on the power of positive reinforcement
by joe procopio
topic: pop culture
published: 6.2.08

the critic
the feelgood column of the year
by joe procopio
topic: pop culture
published: 8.1.01


tracey kelley
6.1.01 @ 12:41a

Utilizing my patented Procopio 'stay on topic' utility belt, I structure my response thus:

Pearl Harbor-sucks. Like Armageddon..talent wasted on a trite script and a lot of special effects. Go see Panic instead.

Since I seem to be the last person on earth w/o a cell phone, I can't understand why people don't use headsets. I can't manuever around my home w/o my headset phone - how the hell does someone drive with that thing?

Martin Lawrence is no Eddie Murphy -and in "Shrek," Eddie Murphy is damned funny, and the animation hurts your eyes, it's so beautiful.

Slab Rat. Gotcha.

Maybe if CA wasn't selling their energy to Las Vegas, there wouldn't be a problem.

Hey baby, it's hip to be square. Really.

tracey kelley
6.1.01 @ 12:45a

oops - my punctuation/style skills are lacking a little this morning. Bad toad. Bad. Prepare to meet the editor.

tim lockwood
6.1.01 @ 1:59a

Wow. References (and I almost typed "reverences" which is probably my Freudian slip showing) to both the Outfield and Huey Lewis in the same composition. This may explain why there is a very popular radio station in this area that plays mostly '80s music during the week, and all '80s music every weekend (and there's probably one where you are too).

I was beginning to worry that I was just becoming an old man in my attitudes. Apparently it's not so; most of today's music really does suck, which is a relief. Now I can put off getting the bifocals and the Grecian Formula.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I agree - Huey Lewis is cool, and Martin Lawrence is not all that funny.

mike julianelle
6.1.01 @ 9:52a

The Weezer album rules. Popper had his stomach sewed, like Carnie Wilson. Good for them. Best in Show is HIGH-larious. Fred Willard? Genius. And, out of absolutely nowhere, take a break from novels and read Ron Rosebbaum's BRILLIANT and FASCINATING non-fiction Explaining Hitler. It doesn't so much explain Hitler as explore those who attempt to explain him, and the theories they use. It is unbelievably good. Gotta love Paul Giamatti. Gold in everything. See Safe Men. Little understated gem, Steve Zahn, the hilarious Sam Rockwell, and Giamatti as Veal Chop. Money.

adam kraemer
6.1.01 @ 9:52a

a) I really liked Martin Lawrence with Will Smith in "Bad Boys." 'Course having them on screen with Tea Leoni a lot didn't hurt. b) More pretentious? (Just kidding, Joe) c) Actually, the problem with California is that they instituted a price freeze for consumers, deregulated the system, and then the price of energy went up and the Utilities (PG&E, for example) started losing money by the truck load. Electric companies can only stay open for free for so long. d) My favorite movie misnomer is probably "The Big Hit," because it so wasn't.

jael mchenry
6.1.01 @ 9:53a

The Washington Post movie reviewers, who have never been known to resist temptation, have titled their reviews "Wasting a Cast of Comedians in the 'Worst' Way" and "The 'Worst' Has Happened." Joe baby, you are so right. Similarly titles like "Loser" get what they deserve.

matt morin
6.1.01 @ 5:52p

Joe, next time you are tempted to see another Martin Lawrence movie, just send me your $9.00 instead. I'll come over and do a hand puppet show that will be both less painful and shorter than Big Mamma's House. Rick Ocasek - great stumper question when playing Dead or Alive... Forget the blackouts. Everyone in CA now wants Gray out. Behind the Music is the greatest show ever. I even watched the entire episode about Tiffany.

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