Series Review: Parks and Recreation (Season 1, 2009)

Parks and Recreation awkwardly follows government employee Leslie Knope as she suffocates this series with cringe comedy. Leslie is delusional in the face of adversity, which would be inspiring, if not for her accidentally manipulative tactics. The complete lack of situational awareness is so unbearable that even likeable characters like deadpan April Ludgate and snarky Ron Swanson cannot redeem this trainwreck. Halfway into episode three “The Reporter,” I had to stop watching, because I realized this show is the television equivalent of my least favorite movie, the intellectually offensive I Heart Huckabee. Parks and Recreation is painful to watch.

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ [0/5]

Movie Review: Inherent Vice (2014)

Inherent Vice is a psychedelic rock jam translated into a movie. We tag along as private investigator “Doc” Sportello takes a case for his ex after she’s moved on from the hippie lifestyle of the late 1960s and into the glamor with a violent undercurrent that would replace it. Life is treating Doc well, though something’s missing, and it’d be easy to say a coherent plot. The lively conversations and vibrant world are more important than plot, similar to these four examples:

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Concert Review: Shonen Knife (2016)

Concerts can be a gamble. While it’s fun to see the city, getting to some venues can be difficult and there’s a lot of waiting around that can leave you drained, especially if you have to wake up at a decent hour the next morning. Some bands like Van Halen have a terrific early catalogue and are terrible live, yet others like Blondie, X, and especially Willie Nelson might be better now than when they started. Where does Shonen Knife fit in?

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Concert Review: Pennywise (2016)

One infatuation I had in high school was MTV2. They’d show energetic rock music videos with creative editing techniques that fascinated me enough to venture out of my shell and attend the real life equivalents. Some bands needed to hide behind fast-paced editing or close-ups. Pennywise didn’t have the most energetic live performance of the year, though the rowdy Friday night bar scene reminded me of those visceral music videos of the early 2000s, by bands like A Perfect Circle, Linkin Park, and System of a Down.

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Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016, No Spoilers)

Hell or High Water is more than a mere distraction on a quiet Saturday afternoon and yet doesn’t have staying power. We follow two brothers, smart Toby and reckless Tanner, as they stumble through a series of bank robberies. Toby is a failed family man working toward a better future and Tanner sees no future while seemingly working toward failure. They’re hitting small time banks and covering their tracks well enough that the big cheese new guard is not interested. Who is?

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