Monday, February 28, 2011

Daddy Bloggers

                   The New York Times has been on something of a ‘blog kick’. Lately they’ve had a bunch of articles focused on blogging, both positive and negative. Part of this may be to boost advertising revenue, so you’ll get a subscription to “The Economist” or buy an apartment in an extremely expensive part of Brooklyn or Manhattan. You know the kind of place so expensive I can’t even afford to get drunk there. A true crime if there ever was one. I’ve already focused on their negative ‘it’s dying’ article, now let’s go positive.

                Mommy Bloggers apparently make huge sums of money. Heather Armstrong leads the pack, making somewhere in the six figures per month. I’ve only seen a six figure sum in my life followed by the words ‘in debt’. Having thought about this for many hours, I’ve decided entering the field of Daddy blogs would be best. Now I’m not particularly motivated, due to being a sloth, but I have a foolproof plan on how to make a ton of money. See the below for a simple breakdown:

1.       Get married
2.       Have Children
3.       Write about said children in blog format
4.       PROFIT

As you can see, this verges on pure genius. Most Daddy blogs probably have uncool stuff, such as their efforts in building the kids a tree house or some such nonsense. Or they talk about their hobbies they’ve forced on their kids. Eventually their kids become some football captain or similar kind of ordinary stuff. My approach will differ dramatically from this. Finally I’ll help make Dads as cool as they ought to be.

I’m talking of course about cool dads. Sure, this phrase has been around for a while. Those are the dads who remained cool as they grew older. Most dads tend to start watching History Channel and find how taffy is made to be absolutely mind-blowing. Not I, said the cool dad guy. Instead, you’ll read about the mixes I created for my children so when they got to kindergarten they already knew about bands like Faust, Captain Beefheart, Nick Drake, Slint, Tortoise, and other obviously hip bands. As other children wonder why they sing “Wheels on the Bus” over and over again, my kids will be immune to such garbage.

Of course, I can’t do it alone. What I’ll be looking for is a special someone, preferably around my level of artiness or higher. Anyone in the blogging profession (excluding political bloggers gross), theater, film, music, painting or similar professions is a sure thing. Someone with experience in website site would be ideal. I’m looking to have my kids be so damn cool you’re nearly jealous of them. That’s my goal.

         Since it is a Daddy blog, there will need to be some drama. My kids might start getting into argument about Jackson Pollock versus Rothko, Zappa versus Beefheart, and so on. For life contains so much drama, I just want mine to have a snobbish, almost unbelievably out of touch view on culture, music and so on.

        Blogs don’t always end the way you want them. I’m assuming the same goes for kids, I don’t know, I haven’t had any kids yet. While I can try my best to protect them from interests in popular music and culture, I know the old saying “If you blog about something, you must set it free” or something like that. Knowing my kids might rebel against my interests, I’ll be gentle. There won’t be any of that “Dragon Lady” stuff where I deprive my kids of things they enjoy. Honestly, I’m not sure if my kids will be interested in everything I present to them, but I want them to realize all that’s out there, which include esoteric bands and film directors.

        Will I be a good father, a good daddy blogger? I don’t know. I hope I can. Can you be both a good father and good daddy blogger, or does something have to give? My hope is I can have both, since I’m not sure what my skill set is exactly. Being there for my kids, writing endlessly about them, I’d be that guy who goes on about their kids at parties, except I’d be earning sweet money cake for it.

        Let me know. Do you think I can find a special someone, settle down and blog about our offspring? Or will I continue to make far too many obscure musical references even as I write about the joys of being a father?

Brave New World – Impressions on Reading Aldous Huxley 8.4

Four Germans (Reinhart Firchow, Dicky Tarrach, Herb Geller and Lucas Lindholm) and two Irishmen (Esther Daniels and John O’Brian-Docker) came together to make an album based off of their experience reading Huxley’s famous book “Brave New World”. I believe that Brave New World is the best book ever recommended (read: required) by a school, so I entered this album with an open mind.

                This may be a concept album, but the songs are instrumental, allowing you to ponder what parts exactly inspired them to create the sounds. With “Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon…Ford” I wonder which parts exactly. Sure, I can picture little humans being decanted with that organ swell. More progressive rock should be this good, each part of the song, the flexible bass and the wonderful flutes make it an early highlight. It is so tasteful, I rarely adore certain segments but about 1:40 into the song you’re treated to something so smooth. Echoes of bands created long after these guys come into my mind.

                Flutes are all over the album. Most of the musicians seemed to be experts with them. Woodwinds aren’t a thing used as often on albums, but judging from this recording, I doubt many could do them the same level of justice. Just alone, the flutes create a dialogue far richer than someone simply reading lines out of the book. It is wonderful. 

                Pieces of folk pop up here and there, particularly on the tracks “Soma” and “Malpais Corn Dance”. Of course, you can find everything that ever happened on the album in the massive finale “The End”.

                Even with the level of quality seen in the previous tracks, “The End” ups the ante. Parts of this song reach such great heights. Flutes introduce the songs, easing you into the chaotic journey. Organs and flutes mesh together to form a sort of complimentary theme, a grandiose send-off. A tragic guitar appears out of nowhere. Tempos increase and decrease, jazzy elements are brought in, and a dark drone comes in. When I first heard this drone, I stopped everything. It just overwhelmed whatever it was I was doing. Yes, it is that powerful. Flutes are played as quickly as I think is physically possible.

                Dig it if you have it. Sadly they only made one album. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful experience through progressive rock way ahead of its time.                

Sunday, February 27, 2011

DOWNLOAD HELVETICA FOR FREE.COM: A review


                 Last time I reviewed something of Steve Roggenbuck’s, it was a smaller sampling. A chapbook called “i am like october when i am dead”. Honestly, I liked and disliked parts of it. This particular one shows off his love of typography, particularly in its exacting font size (80) and type of font (Helvetica, obviously). Being so absolute to its design reminds me a bit of John Barton Wolgamot’s precise standards. Compared to Steve’s previous stuff, there appears to be a great deal more personal detail. That works to his benefit.

                It’s the personal detail which warms me to each poem. Perhaps this was the crucial detail which made me a little cold towards his chapbook. According to his notes on in the book, these are poems from MSN messenger history from High School. Remembering what I was like in High School, I kind of wish I had kept more of those conversations. Going through these, I’m sort of reminded the same kind of feeling I had as a teenager, writing sweet sayings for people I cared about. Upon finishing these, I immediately went into my ‘notes’ section of my personal email to see if I had saved anything from that period in my life. 

                Perhaps it is this exploration of his past relationship which gives it soul. Even the more silly or random elements in the book are related. Together it feels unified a complete whole. Having common themes thread themselves around, like the affectionate phrases he shows towards the recipient of these messages, opens him up a little more to the outside world.

                His work appears to be obsessed with the consumption of vast amounts of TV, irony, and care for others. The first two are considered the death knolls of creative writing. David Foster Wallace claimed Television destroyed a great many writers, many them lazy or overly ironic. Real, genuine emotion couldn’t be properly expressed anymore; it was as if our brains were rewired, unable to cope with human interaction.

                Steve deftly avoids this problem and turns it on its head. Using common phrases and transforming them into poetry shows the actual power language still and can have. A simple bold statement of 


“HA HA AMAZING WHAT SOME PEOPLE ACCOMPLISH”


in and of itself wouldn’t be anything interesting. It sounds a bit cliche in all honesty. Dispersing this with tender pieces like 


“I HOPE THAT WE GET TO STAY TOGETHER AND BE IN LOVE FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME”


gives the reader some idea of the actual relationship these two people had with one another. It reminds me of looking through old Facebook pages, old wall to wall posts. You’d read all this leftover debris from the internet, of a relationship which might not be around anymore. Rather than focusing on the detrimental aspects of online relationships, he focuses on the positive. People tend to remember the bad after the end of a relationship. But that which is left in computers, in person to person messages, is generally positive. Looking back, you see all the good moments you had. It becomes so easy to remember the bad, what lead to the end of a relationship, that you forget the good. The internet serves as an unbiased storage bin of these odds and ends. Steve celebrates that, even the most mundane and seemingly innocuous details. 

                I’d strongly suggest reading the whole thing in one sitting. It isn’t very long so it really shouldn’t be a challenge. The language is simple and easy to understand. Why I suggest reading it in one sitting is to get the full impact. Each piece feeds and adds to the other pieces. Everything is connected, nothing is alone. What appear to be tossed-off statements is actually part of the whole, part of the conversation. The face value boring statement:


“FINAL DESTINATION 3 IS OUT ON DVD” 

gets followed by:

“I WANT TO PICK YOU DAISES AND KISS YOU WHEN I HAND THEM TO YOU”


                Alone, either statement might not have the same impact. The first could be seen as just something ironic or plain pointless. Having it coupled with the next bit allows both to have a greater feeling, a greater emotion. Personally, I felt the sparseness of his chapbook focused more on the former and less on the latter. Each piece in the chapbook felt alone, isolated. Here we have the opposite occurring, and Steve’s language is carefully chosen and placed to have a maximum impact. I consider his approach towards poetry to not be far removed from the Dadaists, who used similar techniques regarding cut-ups. By taking the items out of context, he’s able to reassemble it into something much more interesting. I guess now it is called Flarf poetry with him as one of the better Flarfists. 

                In case you’d like to read this, he offers it completely for free on his minimally designed website. Please go here for further information on how to download and distribute. His obsession with the internet and its capabilities (Google Bombing, Flarfing) now has begun to bear fruit.

The Go Find – Miami 4.2


                The Go Find has the kind of sound you could expect in a mid-range clothing store as you purchase Khakis for yourself or your loved ones. At no point do you get exposed to anything verging on genuine emotion. For those who though the “Postal Service” was too edgy, here’s something even more bland and un-engaging for your eardrums.

                Dieter Sermeus (some Belgian guy) is responsible for this inoffensive snooze-fest. Most of the effects are boring, the sounds are generic, and his voice is completely unexceptional. Alone, none of these things would be a particularly big problem, together though; they create a cocktail of lame.

                “Bleeding Heart” contains this bass-like sound which I think immediately caused me to shudder. It is like the sound you hear on your sampler and you can’t edit into anything good. You leave it alone, convinced it is terrible. I wish Dieter had realized this.

                In fact, the only two songs which approach anything worth your interest are the pleasant “Modern Times” and the closer “Blisters on my Thumb”, the latter even possessing an enjoyable buildup and breakdown.

                So bland is this offering that I’d suggest checking out the Postal Service, who does a similar trick with far more style.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Numbers – In My Mind All the Time 6.5


Maybe I’m reviewing this a little too late; the jerky rhythm punk might be finished by now. Despite this problem, I re-listened to this tiny album/EP and remembered why I enjoyed these guys in the first place. Eventually they even evolved onto writing full-fledged songs, but here they are clearly in the short bursts mode here.

                Even though a lot of this album sounds a bit expendable, there’s enough originality to save it. Featuring prominent in the recording are a broken sounding synthesizer and elementary drums set. The vocals are drunken and shouted. Within these self-imposed limitations, they are able to craft some surprisingly sweet pop hooks. 

                Tigerbeat6 should have decided to go down this route a little more, and branch out the way that Warp did with its rock acts. I forgive them though, since they are a much smaller label with far less clout. Probably the best tracks on here would be the ear-candy of “Anything” and the surprisingly different droning end “Feelings” which sort of signaled the longer form songs they explore on later recordings.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Japanther – Skuffed Up My Huffy 7.5



Oh yeah, here’s the Ramones updated to the modern era. You have your random samples, occasional keyboards, and almost brainless drum and bass. I say brainless in the most endearing way possible, this is a pretty likable way to spend 28 minutes of your life.

                From Brooklyn, these two don’t bother showing off their skills. They don’t have any. What they do have is an uncanny ability to create catchy music with the barest minimum of musical talent. Somehow their enthusiasm and happiness shines through each one of these songs. I enjoy them greatly.

                If you can’t sing along with the chorus in the song “Fuk Tha Prince A Pull Iz Dum” then you may not have a heartbeat. Singing into the cheapest microphones money can, they sing that song’s title as phonetically as they can. Adding that ridiculous keyboard makes it even sweeter. Alongside the wonderful anthem “Seventy-Nine”, these are the main highlights of the album.

                The other songs are fairly decent, but even the weaker ones don’t overstay their welcome. Overall, this burns through your mind fairly quickly, in a good, sugary pop-punk sort of way.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Are Blogs Waning: A Report


                  Recently the New York Times had an article which hit a bit too close to home: blogs were declining in popularity. I sat there, reading up, tears welling up in my eyes at the horrible news. That draft I had been working on my blog might not be as significant anymore or remotely significant. Wondering if this was true all over, high-tailed it over to Hipster Runoff. After seeing Carles’ absolutely pathetic and sad meta-joke on the entire online hipster community ‘The Mainstreamer’ I thought they might be right. 

                Composing myself, I realized the New York Times hasn’t been right about a lot of things. Maybe there was something more than news compelling them to write such vicious material. The writers of the New York Times must know their days of being a newspaper are limited. Who are they to report on blogs and the state of blog affairs? Why can’t we have the President of the Blog-O-Sphere come out and reject such slander in her state of the Blog Address.

                “The State of our Blog has never been stronger. We produce more Memes than any other country on Earth.”

                While some people have turned exclusively to twitter and Facebook, most use them as supplements, rather than full-on platforms. In other words, you have to have tough skin for the internet. Michael McDonald, the young man they profiled in their extended piece, clearly didn’t have the guts for what blog life is all about. Rather than expand his blogging presence through dubious tweets and so on, he went all lame on it. Using the gripe of ‘not enough people visited my blog’ he closed up shop for good.

                If I were this kid’s friend, I would have told him to stick with it. Blogging takes a long time; it is more of a slow burn than a flare up. Simply posting stuff up doesn’t mean you’re going to get noticed, you’ve got to be creative. Create a Facebook profile whose single purpose is trolling other sites, implanting your blog presence elsewhere. Begin to connect with other bloggers, write something people want to read. Technical blogs don’t do so hot; you have to inject some truth and understanding into there at some point. Stating ‘all the people I want to reach are on Facebook’ it is clear he wanted positive feedback rather than constructive criticism (I’ve been able to accept constructive criticism due to my arm’s length approach to this doodad).

                Children 12 to 17 saw a 50% decrease in the amount of blogging. Good, what the fuck do tweens blog about? I don’t really care about how hard you have it in Middle School, in High School. I’m sorry lunch today was applesauce, lasagna, and cornbread, but just eat it. You have to go through some serious stuff, some interesting stuff before you can write turgid, long-winded posts like the ones better bloggers have. 

                Showing a decrease in the amount of bloggers doesn’t bother me in the least. Thinning the ranks a little bit can be a good thing. Having become familiar with other blogs, I’d say there’s always better and better stuff coming out. By staying around longer, you can ‘hone’ your ‘blogging chops’ and do a better job. Writing doesn’t come naturally to me; I had to work at this kind of work. Hopefully I’ve become a little better of a writer through various amounts of criticism. 

                Blogs offer a certain amount of conversation. I enjoy speaking with other bloggers. We help one another and form a community which is strong. Sure, I think the opinionated tag works for a lot of blogs, but those tend to be more political blogs, something I try to avoid on here. Besides, in case you’re more interested in the visual arts, Tumblr offers a great way of showing off your skills, probably much better than Blogspot does.

                Don’t let the New York Times lord over you. Stay strong fellow writers, bloggers, Google Bombers, Flarfers, and whatever else exists exclusively on the internet that I haven’t mentioned. Together we’ll make these Chains of Love.

Chris Rehm – Worries, etc. 7.8


                I’d never heard Chris’s stuff before this. After listening to it, I realize what an egregious error that was on my part. Somehow Chris is able to effortlessly reference ambient, noise, and bits of guitar without seeming crowded. What’s more impressive is he’s able to do this in less than 30 minutes. 

                All of this is technically experimental, but what binds the stuff together is an emotional flow, rather than any sonic kind. This makes it a bit more direct and personal than your average run of the mill experimental release. The passages all indicate a different sort of concern (worry, if you will) and it progresses as such. 

                “Worries” begins as a near whisper. Color is added as the piece develops, becoming warmer and warmer as it reaches its conclusion. It flows perfectly into the next song “Blinders” my personal favorite on the album. Genres don’t exist for whatever “Blinders” might be, but I’d be tempted to call it “Post Surf Rock”. It is the kind of thing you’d listen to on the beach after you’ve finished surfing or swimming. Sun shines on you as you sit, tired but happy staring blankly into the distance. That’s the kind of feeling I get from this expansive song. A melody comes out so sweet out of the distortion in the second part. Maybe the album could’ve begun with this, but it is nice having this as the logical conclusion of the first track.

                 “Silences” uses the effects to create the illusion of a rhythm where none exists. Later on the underlying sounds of “Silences” is used in “Keys” with its treated sounds. Guitars guide you out with the sweet song “Anxieties”. Here you actually are treated to the most straightforward approach, which seems to be distantly related to the earlier song “Vents”. 

                Everything connects well on this large EP/small album. I might need to explore the rest of this guy’s discography.    

Listen to it: Here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movie Review: Drive Angry

A lot of people told Nicholas Cage not to take up this movie. They said: “Nick, this is a controversial movie. People don’t like seeing movies that glorify road rage. This might be a no-go.”

To which our hero Nicholas Cage stated:

“Hey, I’m not getting any younger. Madoff took all my money. I need money. I’ve definitely appeared in worse. Plus, I can relate to the plot line.”

In ‘Drive Angry’, our hero (creatively named Milton after Nicholas Cage’s admiration for Milton Friedman’s work in the field of economics) escapes from Hell which was his last film “Season of the Witch”. Apparently hell is a fairly easy place to get out of and Milton leaves with little fuss. 

Once he leaves, he is pursued by one of Hell’s most prominent minions, Bob from Accounting (played by David Cross). Bob has worked in accounting since Lucifer rebelled against God. Responsible for purchasing office supplies for the 5th, 6th and 7th rings of hell, he’s angered by Milton’s actions. For, unknown to Milton, Bob was about to help all of the offices in Hell go green to receive a tax benefit. So with Milton’s departure, all hell has broken loose. Now Bob’s going to have to fill out the necessary paperwork all over again and get Satan (played by Billy Bob Thornton) to help out. In multiple close-ups of his face, he shows his dissatisfaction with his wife of eleven centuries (played by Danny Devito). Has their marriage grown boring, their sex routine stale? It is implied Milton’s escape has impeded their efforts at reconciliation, for which Milton allegedly will pay. 

                Milton has important work up on the surface. Upon arriving on Earth in Camden, New Jersey (known as ‘Hell’s Anus’) he manages to hotwire a car sitting in an Arby’s parking lot, stopping momentarily to get a delicious Mocha shake. Driving quite angrily, he makes it to the US-Manitoba border. A vicious motorcycle gang-cult is intent on creating a World War to usher in a new era without technology, so they may be one with nature yet again. Somehow this plan involves murdering his infant daughter. They’d already murdered one of Milton’s daughters, which he was cool with, but murdering another one of his children felt like a bit much.

                Winnipeg translates to ‘a frozen shithole’ in the original Norse. That fact is not lost on Milton who realizes just what a hell-like situation he’s created. Finally understanding if he dies he goes back to hell, he tries to live a healthier life by biking in the afternoon and becoming a vegan. He also helps his situation by having vast quantities of sex with naked women and disemboweling his enemies. Disemboweling sets off Bob’s tracker as he drives past a seedy Motel.

                Leaving just in time, Milton avoids the cruel hand of Bob’s wrath for now. Satan is getting angry, getting upset at Bob’s inability to find Milton and bring him to justice. Also, Satan drops hints that he might be demoted or might lose his dental plan. Bob’s feeling the pressure now, and works with the motorcycle-gang cult headed by Seth, the God of War (played by Will Ferrell). 

                Together the two of them begin working to thwart Milton. Citing the practice of Synergy, they come up with a few plans. First, they try to trap Milton by inviting him to a whorehouse. As Milton will get turned on, they time how long it will take Milton to finish. Off of this, they’ve created a device which will grind him up. Unknown to either of them, Milton is poor as hell and usually picks up women off of dating sites of ill-repute. He’d never fall for their plan.

                Using Milton’s penchant for driving angry, they try to capture him by creating a traffic jam. Knowing how angry Milton gets at being stuck in traffic, they figure he will lose his mind, driving in a rampage and get shot by a couple of heavily armed Canadian Mounties. Right as Milton is about to lose it, he remembers he needs to stay calm to save his daughter hoping she doesn’t get totally murdered.

                Finally confronting the motorcycle-cult biker gang, he successfully defeats them. Milton is brought back to hell, but under the assurance his infant daughter will be protected by Satan. Satan, true to his word, raises Lucy as if he was his own daughter, later sending her to art school in Manhattan, even paying most of her tuition. 

                This movie makes one question the fight between good and evil. Directed by Tommy Wiseau, it has an inordinate amount of sex scenes. Some of them rank as his best sex scenes, and they inspire all of us to aim for greater things in life, like having more sex. For fans of Nicholas Cage, I’m sorry to inform you that a ‘stunt penis’ has been used for all of the sex scenes. 

 I’m still moved by some of the exquisitely shot landscapes of Manitoba, which has since seen an increase in tourism. Nickelback’s soundtrack works wonders and instills a truly timeless quality to the film.  Please see this movie if you want to see our generation’s Ronald Reagan (via awful actor who will later become our President).

Dth – Young Heart Sounds 7.4


                Oh man, this is some woozy ambiance. The emotionally charged “Young Heart Sounds” allows you access into Devin Hildebrand’s life. It is weird, for you hear all these audio clips from his life. At times it feels voyeuristic. You don’t know quite what to make of what’s going on or of the rather intense sounds he uses. But you should know he’s pretty good at it, and that the album’s title should give you some indication of what you’re getting yourself into. 

                All of the songs have a certain unifying theme to them. Most of them have a sort of pulse unusual for ambiance. It feels on the verge of exploding at some parts, particularly the longer, later tracks. "Summer X” offers the greatest amount of noise and woozy effects. Towards the end of the song it feels as if the track is catching its own breath.

                Devin Hildebrand might be as honest as he can be when he calls himself a “Collage-People-Ambient” artist. All three of those elements can be easily found in his work. Having the ghostly transmissions of conversation adds to the power of the pieces. They are clearly people-focused, rather than obsessing about some sort of stale sonic rigor. These are very fast-paced ambient pieces. 

                Of course, this is free for download here by the wonderful people at Chinquapin Records. Interesting things are happening down in Louisiana.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Movie Review: Hall Pass

               From the directors who brought you the intellectually stimulating: “There’s something about Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber” comes a movie which changes all the rules. A movie which challenges the status quo, after which nothing will ever be the same. Coming in after the protests rocking the Middle East, its message couldn’t be timelier.

                Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) work innocuous jobs as accountants. Seemingly content in their number crunching, they start doing the books for a major military contractor. Unsettled by some of the information contained in the provided material, they worry about the implications of this material. They wonder whether or not someone can uncover the vast network of corruption and lies that permeate internationally, allowing for brutal regimes to continually oppress their people.

                Neither can see why this would be done. Both of them begin to act distraught. Worried about how their husbands are acting, they question their husbands about what’s going on. Realizing the gravity of their situation, they state they need to cheat on them since they are having a mid-life crisis. Their wives, wanting to revitalize their marriages, decide to grant them a leave of absence, allowing them to do whatever they want, no questions asked.

                Where they go is Iceland. In the wilderness, they meet Julian Assange (played by David Duchovny) in an abandoned school bus owned by Ms. Frizzle, Julian’s current lover. Julian explains how they have stumbled upon the main reason for the current political unrest, both in the United States and overseas. As he continues talking, he explains how certain individuals are given “Hall Passes” which allow them to act with complete impunity. 

                Realizing what they’ve gotten themselves into, Rick and Fred start helping Julian comb through the vast amounts of information in the abandoned school bus. Suddenly one of the sentries stationed mile away radios in: an elite American military force is approaching their location. Working with haste, Julian sends it to his overseas comrades before they start running through the frozen wasteland. He curses the fact that the bus is no longer magical, otherwise they could escape into the universe or someone’s digestive tract. Fred and Rick question the sanity of their accomplice as they trudge through the barren emptiness. 

                But they can’t outrun military helicopters. All are captured by the head of the dark ops force Sarah Defoe (played by Rosie O’Donnell). Sarah explains to them the utmost importance of those documents. Julian screams with anger how all citizens of the world should get hall passes, and how he was onto the sick and perverse way the United States conducted business overseas. 

                Upon arrival into a dingy, dust-laden large complex, they worry about what’s about to happen. It is implied their interrogators used to work as PBS station affiliates. Seeing plush teddy bears of “Barney & Friends” adorning the walls, they freak out. Something fucked up and awful is about to happen.

                 A person wearing a “Baby Bop” costume approaches Rick and Fred. Rick mutters to Fred how he wishes he was cheating on his wife right now. Baby Bop produces a small electrical razor, and Rick and Fred are de-robed and shaven in their nether regions. Stuffed animals are shot at them through air cannons, all of the amusement of unseen spectators. Finally Fred collapses after one too many teddy bears hits him in the head. Rick gets drugged after drinking a Four Loko given to him by an interrogator, or it could’ve been the natural reaction to drinking a Four Loko. 

                Waking up together in a helicopter over the Potomac, they are confused. Sarah explains how their boss knew this would happen. Both of them had tracking devices hidden in their pubic hair which allowed the US government to track down Julian’s moves. Rick looks at Fred in disbelief. They are warned never to reveal this to anyone; otherwise they’ll experience a fate far worse then what they had just encountered. 

                Looking through their phones, they realize they have one day left of fooling around before their wives expect them back. Arriving early to their homes, they make up some malarkey about how they missed them. The wives appear to believe them, and they are happy to see them again. When each of their husbands goes to bed, the wives report to Sarah and state neither husband seems willing to challenge authority ever again.

                 This is easily one of the best comedies of the year, while still managing to touch upon the current geopolitical situation. In particular, David Duchovny’s performance as Julian Assange is simply amazing, as he captures all of that individual’s ticks and mannerisms. “Hall Pass” is truly a masterful, thought-provoking movie.