[It's the end of the year, so it's time to do some Blogger housecleaning. I found drafts of two posts that I never finished writing and never published. I'm cutting and pasting them here and now, unfinished, with no additional commentary, so you'll have to figure out how they end or what their point was on your own.]
I generally do not watch or enjoy TV shows with acronyms in their title (e.g., CSI, SVU, JAG, NCIS, ER, The O.C., etc.), but, when I read that my favorite actor of all time, Liev Schreiber, was going to do a four-episode stint on CSI, I decided to make an exception.
I first discovered Mr. Schreiber in Nicole Holefcener's delightful indie chick comedy, Walking and Talking. Sure, if you glance at the DVD cover, it looks like a potentially horrid "vagina movie," but I don't know anyone who doesn't love Catherine Keener. I mean, you just want to hug her. In fact, if I ever see her on the street, I'm just going to go up to her and give her a big hug without her permission. This could be construed as assault, but would you risk not getting a hug from her at all by trying to ask her permission?
Mr. Schreiber has churned out memorable roles in The Daytrippers, A Walk on the Moon, and the little-seen Tom Gilroy masterpiece, Spring Forward, which incidentally is one of my top five movies of all time. Spring Forward is essentially five funny, philosophical, and ultimately moving conversations between two department of recreation workers (played by Mr. Schreiber and Ned Beatty). And the end packs an emotional wallop that will knock you on your ass:
But lest you begin to think that Mr. Schreiber is some cultural elite indie snob, he has also starred in Hollywood crap such as The Omen, Sphere, and Phantoms, the last two of which showcased gruesome death scenes for Mr. Schrieber, which were traumatic experiences for me.
My favorite comedian of all time is Patton Oswalt. I've seen him several times live, watched his DVD, and listened to his album, and, whenever I do any of those things, I am thrown into fits of uncontrollable laughter, tears stream down my eyes, and I literally start to hurt. Once, I laughed so hard that I actually thought I was going to die. He's smart, vulgar, and has one of the most imaginative minds in comedy today:
A few years ago, I was searching for Patton Oswalt audio clips on my Rhapsody music service, which, incidentally, is one of the greatest technological advances ever to happen to music. iTunes can suck it. During the time of my search, he had not yet released a CD, but Rhapsody spit out a list of artists whose keywords came close to "Patton Oswalt." At the top of that list was some guy I had never heard of named Brandon Patton, categorized (or miscategorized?) as "folk-rock." It's a genre I'm rather fond of—I've been following John Wesley Harding's career since it began, after all. So I started listening to Brandon's second solo album, Should Confusion, and, from his heartfelt opening plea of "help me/everything feels like a sham," I was hooked. I was impressed by the album's clever and emotionally complex lyrics, the inviting melodies, and the diversity of musical styles on display. Brandon didn't limit the songs on the album to "folk-rock"—instead he chose to show off his range and interest in a number of genres. I listed the album on my website as one of my favorites.
About a year later, in his apartment in Brooklyn, Brandon was Googling himself (as we all do—admit it, narcissists!) and stumbled across my website. Seeing that we both had ties to Bay Area theater (Brandon had collaborated with Emerald Rain Productions when he lived in San Francisco), he decided to e-mail me. We corresponded online for a while, and, when he was in California for the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival and needed a place to crash, he did so in my apartment, despite the fact we didn't really know each other and we both feared that the other would murder us in our sleep.