The World According to Keitho

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Archive for the ‘films’ Category

At the Movies: Whiplash

Posted by keithosaunders on October 30, 2015

It’s time for At the Movies!  Now here’s your host, that connoisseur of the cinema, your favorite arbiter of taste…KEITHO.

5,6, ladies, I finally saw Whiplash and the verdict is in: It’s an instant classic. Let’s start with the countoff. When I’m sight-reading a complicated uptempo 7/4 chart there’s nothing that sets me more at ease than a random two beat countoff. Smooth.

The band director, Fletcher, must have an internal metronome akin to a Swiss watch as he is able to discern the slightest variation in tempo. Never mind that the tune is grooving like a Def Leopard concert the day after Mardi Gras. No, in the jazz world that Whiplash posits, tempo is the be all and end all. You speed up two ticks and there’s just the remedy – a chair hurled directly at your head will improve your focus.

Midway through the movie we get to see Fletcher at one of his own gigs. (he’s a pianist)  With all of his passion and Full Metal Jacket style fire and brimstone he must be playing something burning like a DOUBLE TIME SWING Giant Steps, or at least an 11/4 version of Stella by Starlight, right?  Nope. It’s a bossa nova!  A watered down one at that. It must be one of his originals.

I shouldn’t make fun. Watered-down bossa and all, Fletcher has snared himself a gig at Lincoln Center and he’s hired our protagonist hero, drummer Miles. But wait! He only hired him so to exact revenge and he has sent him onstage without a chart! The only thing is…it’s Fletcher’s gig. Who is he spiting?! FLETCHER IS THE LEADER, NOT DRUMMER MILES. Miles is going to get other gigs regardless of whether or not he makes the hits on some non-grooving poor man’s Buddy Rich chart. Hell, he’s playing at Fat Cat next week with better musicians.

Rating: 5 Stars

And that does it for At the Movies w Keitho. Remember to tip your waiter and go METS.

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No country for young men

Posted by keithosaunders on March 2, 2011

I’ve been watching the Academy Awards for over forty years and in that span it was the rarest of years when I didn’t finish the show by uttering these words: 

Worst Oscars ever. 

This year was no exception.  The Academy tried to appeal to a younger demographic by tapping James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host, but they ended up with a humorless show that self-conscious and contrived.  

I was fortunate in that I had to pick up the family at the airport and ended up taping the broadcast.  I fast-forwaded through all the songs, technical awards, and boring speeches, which was practically every one.  Colin Firth….give me a break!   And those hosts…I wanted to slap them, especially Franco.  What was he on?  Then they bring out Billy Crystal for five minutes and he killed.  I would have preferred a holographic Bob Hope as my host.  At least *he’s* funny.  Even ninety-four year old Kirk Douglas had a cute bit as he teased and stalled his way to announcing the winner of the best supporting actress category.

It was difficult to tell whether Franco was stoned or if he was simply too cool for the Oscars.  He had a detached, wooden air about him, and at times he resembled a deer-in-headlights.  Hathaway did her best to inject some life into the broadcast, but let’s face it, Lucille Ball she aint.

Here is my suggestion to the Academy:  Forget the young demographic —   they’re not watching television anyway — and find yourself a senior citizen to host the show.  When the generations that were born in the 1930’s through the ’50s dies off you’ll be left with a humorless bunch of dime store hipsters that mistake cynical irony for comedy.   

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With the close of this year’s awards season I would like to recap some of the lesser known awards shows.

This year the Spammy Award went to Amir Gtkondo of the Security and Safe Deposit company in Ghana, for his generous offer to make me a partner in his inheritance.

The Jammy award was given to bassist Chris Amberger, Bay Area bassist extraordinaire, who sat in on a breakneck-tempoed Giant Steps with a pianist and bassist who had no interest in laying down any discernible time.

Finally, this year’s Traffy Award was awarded to the Long Island Expressway, for a record 60th straight year!    

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Your Oscar recap

Posted by keithosaunders on March 8, 2010

In this wasteland of sports between the Super Bowl and the opening day of baseball, we must thank the Academy for choosing March to air their big night. That being said what we got was a big bowl of bland.

I was happy to see the Hurt Locker win most of the big awards, and it was good to see Jeff Bridges setting the record for the most ‘mans’ uttered during an acceptance speech.

Where was the wattage? I missed Jack Nicholson leering from the front row, or drunken Dustin Hoffman drooling on a scantily clad Sharon Stone. There were no streakers, no politics, and, sadly, no wardrobe malfunctions. Hell, I would have settled for a Sally Fields weird and wacky speech. Sandra Bullock’s speech was eccentric, but in a joyless way.

Here is the unkindest cut of all. I was listening to a radio interview with the producer of the Oscars who revealed that he had wanted to book Sasha Baron Cohen as the host. The network refused thinking he would be too controversial and would have upstaged the stars. This is a sad commentary on our standards, but consistent with a country that finds Jay Leno funny.

Just get me through these next four weeks…

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Triscuits and tragedy: Taping foibles in a post-apocalyptic world.

Posted by keithosaunders on December 26, 2009

A few days ago my buddy and  went to see the new Viggo Mortenson movie, The Road.  This movie depicts a man’s effort to protect his child in a post-apocalyptic world.  The theater was next to a supermarket so before going in we loaded up on snacks — Triscuits and Pepperidge Farm cookies.  We were watching the film and I have to admit to feeling a little guilty as I reached for a Triscuit during the scene where they stumbled into a basement full of starving people held captive by cannibals.  Is that worse than making out during Schindlers List?

Being a huge sports fan I have had quite a bit of experience taping games to watch after coming home from a gig.  Like many a well-intentioned taper, I have had my share of mishaps, not the least of which is being told the score before having a chance to have viewed the game.  I will detail a few of the more notable gaffes  in my next post.  For now here are a few hypothetical taping foibles inspired by The Road.

The first can be recounted in one sentence:  You set the VCR to channel 2 instead of 3 right before the apocalypse.

Here’s another one:  You’re out of town on business on the night of the apocolypse, but you realize that you have correctly set your VCR to tape the Mets game.  The next day you think to yourself, “This is great; I’m one of the only humans left alive — no one will ruin the game by telling me the score.”   On the way home, however, you meet a cannibal, but because he has already feasted on the entrails of his nosy mother-in-law, he let’s you pass.  You can barely contain your glee and you say to yourself “Oh baby, I am golden!”   Suddenly, just as you are almost out of earshot, the cannibal calls out to you, “By the way…the Mets won in the bottom of the 9th on a Reyes inside the park homerun!”

Posted in films, sports | 1 Comment »