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March 30, 1989
Last Visit: 1 hour ago
Addicted to Rio de Janeiro
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Favorite visual artistNorman Rockwell; M.C. Escher; Roy Lichtenstein; Andy Warhol; Bob Ross; S. Neil Fujita; Scott Adams; Bill Watterson; Robert Crumb; Marjane Satrapi; HergéFavorite moviesBlade Runner; Midnight Cowboy; Brazil; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Apocalypse Now; Ed Wood; Spirited Away; Akira; Toy Story; Babe; Das Boot; All About My Mother; The Matrix; Taxi Driver; Manhattan; The Exorcist; Reservoir Dogs; The Wild Bunch; MoonstruckFavorite TV showsMarried With Children; Spitting Image; Step by Step; Full House; Doug; Seinfeld; Monty Python's Flying Circus; Punky Brewster; Oz; Boy Meets World; Dharma & Greg; The Decalogue; Boston Public; Moonlighting; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Fraiser; The NannyFavorite bands / musical artistsRush; The Cure; Ramones; The Beach Boys; Vangelis; Run-DMC; The Church; ABBA; Thin Lizzy; Air; The Doors; David Bowie; Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin; 2Pac; Madness; Charles Mingus; The Who; Frank Zappa; Kraftwerk; Steely Dan; Queen; Roxy Music; The BeatlesFavorite booksThe Little Prince; Animal Farm; The Lord of The Rings; Sex, Drugs & Magik; The Jungle; WatchmenFavorite gamesTeam Fortress 2; Super Mario 64; Need For Speed Underground 2; SimCity 4; The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; Half-Life; Max Payne; Banjo-Tooie; BioShock; 007 GoldenEye; Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasTools of the TradeMS Paint, Paint.NET, Windows Live Photo Gallery Editor, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and my trusty Nokia N95.Other InterestsStuding economic matters, drifting across my city, keeping up with my footbal team Flamengo on TV or radio and creating characters and screenplays.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but sadism actually doesn’t require violence to exist. Let me pitch you a situation: you are in a hurry to take a pee, and you are just outside your building's doorstep. This is the doorman’s last day, and he never liked you. So instead of opening the door, he keeps it closed, watching you suffer by your bladder: THAT is sadism. No punching, no blood, no violence, no Malcolm McDowell singing “Singin’ in the Rain”. People talk so much about violence in the medias, but once again, a film or a videogame doesn't even have to be violent to be sadistic: one can play some "Grand Theft Auto" game while being a saint above the Earth, respecting the pedestrians, cops and other vehicles. Here's a touching story of my childhood: I remember when I used to play "World Cup 98" in my N64 and I used to beat the crap out of weak teams that were already on an easy mode. As I played with Denmark against Saudi Arabia, I used to give the harshest beatings you would ever see: the original game back in 1998 was 4-0, but I used to stretch that to 10-0, maybe 18-0. There was a point in which the Saudi team would be so desperate for a silver lining, for one tiny goal, that they would start kicking the ball mindlessly into my goalkeeper right from kick-off, in an irrational despair... only for my team to counter-strike and score another one. I wouldn't let them have not even that: a goal that wouldn't make a difference and that would uplift their morale a little bit. That is sadism as well: this idea that you are feeling delight in the suffering of other people, even if this suffering is not physical. The infamous "Postal 2", however, seems to me to be much more about catharsis rather than sadism: it’s a plotless game that allows you to fight back against society in a way that won’t warm anyone (that is… if you are sane: some people might think “Postal 2” is actually inspirational).
I remember when I used to watch “American Idol” on Sony Entertainment Television, and I even made a post about it a long time ago. I protested about it for being overly mean with contesters that, for better or worse, were not hateful to look at, but rather funny. “American Idol” can offer us some funny people thinking they can sing, but it also has nasty, condescending judges that are merciless in destroying these said contesters. I think this is an incredibly vulgar display of power: such judges are usually powerhouses of the music business, celebrities of the highest order (except for that Randy guy, who is a perennial judge in the show probably because he lives in the studio). And yet, they abuse of their power by crushing common people with their fascistic ideas that, to make it in music business, you have to sing well (Bob Dylan and Johnny Rotten, anyone?) and you only have one shot. Think it like this: a modest visual art may still be more emotional compelling and resonant than a super-dupper mega realistic digital art. There might be out there the next Neil Young or Nick Cave, whose dreams of succeeding are being jammed - instead of supported - by judges who believe singing is everything there is to prove one’s talent. But “American Idol” could be forgivable if these contestants were hit by genuinely funny one-liners: I wouldn’t hate Simon Cowell so much if, instead of being a cretin, he would be a wisecracker. Like the Nostalgia Critic, he can be really hateful and unfunny, which are hardly the characteristics you want for your smartassed persona. In “American Idol” and its worldwide offsprings (legitimate or not), I would believe a terrible performance to be funnier than the backlash the contester receives. But there go the judges, wanting to steal the show and mark their positions of authority by oppression and fear. And the worst part is that we're suppoused to side with them.
One word for this: dislike.
Another Brit that I hate is Ricky Gervais. Since his “The Ricky Gervais Show”, I find hard to sympathize with him, especially after the ways he treated the delightful goof that was Karl Pilkington, who might very well be the Mancunian Ron Stoppable. I was a fan of the show (that is, the animated HBO serial; not the podcast that originated it), but I would look away from Gervais’ unpleasant stingers to focus on Karl's psychotic babble and Stephen Merchant's tongue-in-cheek approuch to it. Stephen seemed to treat Karl in a much more appropriated manner than Gervais would. But ignoring Gervais proved to be a difficult task, given it was his goddamn show: he used to say the nastiest stuff about Karl, and even about his family. Things were kicked up some notches in the travel documentary “An Idiot Abroad”, in which Gervais, Merchant and, later on, Warwick Davis would send Karl to "exotic, weird" places from around the world, including here in Rio de Janeiro. Gervais couldn’t be more categorical about what he wanted for Karl: “I want him to hate it”. He would want the humour of the show to come from Karl's suffering and misfortunes. And again, I would forgive that if it was funny, like in John Hughes' near-masterpiece "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", where the situations of the protagonists were indeed dire, but accompanied with genuinely humorous - and sometimes, even emotional - tones. Which was not the case of "An Idiot Abroad": asking Ricky Gervais to be like John Hughes is like asking a gecko to become Godzilla. In one episode of the first season, when Karl is sent to Egypt to see the pyramids, he is settled in a small hotel room, with a decrepit bathroom and no confort. It is discovered by the end of the epsiode it was the next room that was supposed to be his, being much more comfortable and perhaps inside the HDI’s standards of Human living: that was the punchline of the episode. Look, I know that was all a scam, an adventure-comedy. But I'm not talking about what really happened in there: maybe Karl was accommodated in an Egyptian palace that would make Tutankhamun blush. What annoyed me was that the proposition of comedy of the show would be that just Karl's suffering by itself was hilarious. Naturaly, Gervais became a celebrity in Hollywood, since his style of comedy is in complete tune with what we have today.
Another offspring of Gervais is “The Office”, that came to America to become a little revolution of sitcoms, spawning imitators like “Parks and Recreation” and “Modern Family”. Telling the tale of a group of paper distributors and their micro ambient (literally), the ironies of Ricky Gervais gave way to the outright silliness of Steve Carell, who became the “it” television celebrity for some time, appearing in several films to the point he believed he was good enough to have a solo career in movies. Quickly: tell me the last big film in which Carell was a main star. No rush, I’ll wait. Quite simple: he was popular because of his serial, because he was Michael Scott. He wasn’t like Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Bryan Cranston, who genuinely had talents beyond the popularity of their serials. Carell let the fame into his head, and the serial died without him. But I’m here to say: it was about time. Much of the humour of the show was only passable. The uneasy relation between Dwight and Jim was interesting but over-explored, and the peripheral characters were a marvel to look upon (including the criminally underrated Ed Helms, who is perhaps one of the best funnymen of our generation), but never having the screentime they deserved: I would preffer several of them over Pam quite easily. One of them was the stoic Toby… and that was when the serial would get really nasty. A lot of humour can be draw from the stoic, non-talkative character: Ferb Fletcher is incontestable proof of that. But the way the show made fun of Toby was rather aggressive, making him the target to everything the writers could offer of poisonous. Some of the Toby-related moments could be funny, like when Scott "presented" him with a rock with the words "suck on that!" written on it. But other moments were painfully unfunny and sometimes, downright depressive: judge by yourself.
As I said, I can forgive anything mean as long as it is also funny. You take a look into a popular turd like “Superbad” and it’s mostly insults believing to be “insult comedy”. Because nothing can be funnier than the character of Jonah Hill being an asshole to everyone around him and treating all girls as sluts: don't we love him already? Here's a movie that didn't seem to understand "insult" and "comedy" are not synonyms. The last "The Hangover" film somehow transformed Zach Galifianakis' Alan Garner into a major douchebag, given that film was a response to all of those who accused the second film of being the same thing all over again. But if you want me to be sincere, I would prefer the same thing of always than what they did to Alan, who went from a genius man-child to an asshole, behaving immaturely and treating his friends with condescendence. And let's not forget the infamous “Bad Grandpa”: wherever the original "Jackass" serial was great because the daredevils(nah, more like "drunken males thinking they can be adolescents forever by doing sh*t") would cause harm to themselves, in the films, they expanded their horizons by harming other people: if not physically, morally. While the serial did make fun of regular people on the streets sometimes, it was more like a twisted "Candid Camera", in which both the pranked and the audience would find the situations funny (like the unforgettable yoga episode). In the "Jackass" films, a pattern started to be created that "pissing regular people off" was the way for comedy gold, and things scalated into "Bad Grandpa", as the duo of protagonists engage in some activities that variate from actually funny (the child beauty pageant) to highly miscalculated (the funeral), making the film a hit and miss parade whose misses seriously overshadow the hits. And this coming from the guy who also gave us "Her", "Being John Malkovich", "Where The Wild Things Are" and "Adaptation". Look, if they wanted to make a "Jackass" film with a plot, then why not to do what the Muppets did? Go meta! Declare that the skate park where they first met is going to give way to a hospital for children with cancer (just to make their cause even less fair), and that they must tout funds by doing morbid stunts around the world! I can even imagine them using a certain Victor Young score in the travelling scenes to add that ironic vintage sauce, or maybe some Indiana Jonesesque parodies here and there. They could even get a little sentimental and have one of the guys declaring in a more intimate scene "that's what Ryan would've wanted". In the end, a child with terminal cancer is seem performancing some mean skate tricks on the now saved park, as the message is: "see? Everybody came off better!". THAT would be insult comedy.
Speaking of which, one example of “forgivable-because-it’s-funny” is Beaker, from The Muppets. You may not know him by name, but chances are that you know him visually: the red-haired, tall, thin and bulged-eyed human-like muppet that communicates only by saying “mi”. The Muppets have been releasing genuinely amusing sketches and musical videos on YouTube, introducing Jim Henson's immortal creations to a new generation: my only hope is that Gervais is not an asshole in “Muppets Most Wanted”. Among the gang, we have Beaker and Bunsen, who are the scientists of the group, doing unorthodox experiements that result in hilarious consequences. While Bunsen is the optimistic and euphoric man of science, his lab assistent Beaker is, according to Wikipedia, “a magnet for misfortune; his appearances typically involve him being blown up, electrocuted, eaten by large monsters, or losing body parts”. Most people don’t know a lot about Beaker, so it comes off as a surprise to discover that being physically abused is part of his routine. I couldn’t help but to notice in the YouTube comments how many people felt sorry for him, even having feelings of hate towards Bunsen, who would be the villain that would put poor, poor Beaker into those situations, like if Bunsen was Mengelle or something. More than often, I saw comments going like "I wanted to see Bunsen going through that!". I understand from where the laments were coming from: Beaker is a lovable character indeed. But the thing is BEAKER IS FREAKING HILARIOUS! Now THAT is effective and funny slapstick!
I once said here in DA that anything – anything at all, even the touchiest matters – can be a source for comedy in the right, talented hands. That’s because if something is funny enough, people will forgive whatever they might find offensive in favor of the comedy, including sadism. I would forgive Ricky Gervais, Simon Cowell, The Nostalgia Critic, “Superbad”, “The Office”, “The Hangover Part III”,“Meet The Pyro”,“Bad Grandpa”, “Family Guy”, Michael Moore and many others if they offered their brand of malice with laugh-out-loud humour. I'm not saying they should stop doing what they're doing: they are in the right to do whatever they want, especially if there is an audience willing to buy their brand of comedy. But just the sadism by itself is not funny. Or maybe now it is, and I’m just a grumpy old man at my mid-20’s misplaced at this world.
Give me some room at your balcony, Statler and Waldorf: I’m joining you.