Monday, November 30, 2009

Away We Go: Short Movie Review

Have you seen Away We Go yet? I just watched it (twice!) on DVD. I really liked it. The writing is very smart and warm ... and funny. The acting is very nearly perfect. It’s good, really good. I recommend it.

It was written by Dave Eggers and & Vendela Vida. Local writers.

Directed by Sam Mendes.

Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski are so very good in the main roles. But there are others who are wonderful too: Catherine O’Hara, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney (who plays a very funny-crazy character), Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Messina, and Melanie Lynskey (chilling in The Shield).

Green Movie Making
If you get the DVD, make sure you watch the Special Feature about how they made the movie as “green” as possible. It was good to see that some filmmakers are working like this.

Disclaimer: Ms. Manitoba doesn't know anyone affiliated with this film. She has nothing to do with the studio, the distributor, or the guy that makes the popcorn. Zip. Nada. She just likes good movies.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Little Tree car freshener for me ...

Ms. Manitoba is a woman of the *real* woods.

Happy Birthday, Jon Stewart !!

photographer unknown

Jon Stewart is one of our favorites here at TPC-CultureVultures. Have a great day, Jon!!!

From today's The Writer's Almanac ( ...

It's the birthday of the comedian who has interviewed Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Tom Cruise, and Tom Hanks, and on whose show Senator John Edwards announced that he was running for president of the United States. Jon Stewart, (books by this author) the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, was born in New York City on this day in 1962. He was raised in New Jersey.

Stewart took over as the host of The Daily Show in January 1999. For the previous 15 years — since he'd graduated from college with a psychology degree — he had worked as a bartender, busboy, shelf-stocker, construction worker, soccer coach, puppeteer for children with disabilities, and he'd been employed by the State of New Jersey and the City University of New York.

All this time Stewart was trying to make it on the New York comedy scene. He lined up a gig at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village but was jeered off stage halfway through his act. Then he got a nightly 1:45 a.m. slot at the Comedy Cellar; his audience at first consisted mostly of the place's bartenders and staff. He became a friend and frequent guest on David Letterman's Late Night and was a candidate to replace him on NBC when Letterman left for CBS. Conan O'Brien got Letterman's spot in 1993, but Stewart got his own MTV show, which had the second-highest ratings on the network but was cancelled after two seasons. In 1999, Comedy Central's The Daily Show picked up Jon Stewart.

In 2007 a Pew Research poll indicated that Jon Stewart ranked as the 4th Most Admired Journalist — tying with Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, and Anderson Cooper. When Senator John Edwards announced his candidacy for president on The Daily Show, Stewart replied: "We're a fake show, so I want you to know this may not count."

Each morning on the day of the show, Stewart and the Daily Show team of writers gather for a morning meeting. They sift through material gathered via TiVo, Web sites, newspapers, and magazines looking for — as one show producer said — stories that "make us angry in a whole new way." In an article titled, "Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?" New York Times writer Michiko Kakutani reported on The Daily Show ritual: At lunchtime, Stewart is scrutinizing the jokes that will appear at the top of the night's show; by 3 p.m., a script has been written; at 4:15, there's rehearsal, followed immediately by rewrites; and then show is taped in front of a live audience in the studio at 6 p.m.

Stewart, who proposed to his wife through a crossword puzzle with the help of puzzlemaster Will Shortz, is also the author of a few books, including America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (2004), which held the No. 1 New York Times Bestseller spot for 18 weeks in a row. He hosted the Academy Awards in 2006 and 2008.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Andrea Lewis, Rest in Peace

unknown photographer

Ms. Manitoba has just learned of the passing of journalist Andrea Lewis. She was respected and admired by so many people. It is a great loss.

To read an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, go here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl

I'm reading this great book right now. Reichl is a good storyteller and this book is a memoir about part of her time with the NYTimes as a restaurant critic. Very interesting. Plus, she supplies recipes! What's not to like?

Want to know more about Ruth Reichl? Go here, oh compliant one.

Note: Ms. Manitoba has no affiliation with Ruth Reichl, her publisher, or the NYTimes. This is just a sincere recommendation.