Why I Love Louie

Words. They can be a problem.

Nobody knows that better than Louis CK. It’s kind of his schtick: Observing the absurdity of language and playing with it, in all it’s messy glory. Like a kid in mud. Hunting for that delicious worm that makes it all worth it.

It’s all mapped out in his FX original series, Louie. Here we get delightful musings on the pitfalls of every day language. Those things we take for granted. Moments like this little gem in Miami:

“Can I Have One of These?” on Youtube

Here, Louie sits at a table eating from a plate of fruit. A young, blonde beauty walks by. “Can I have one of these?” She asks as she plucks a strawberry. Never in the midst of this request does she pause or even expect approval. She just does it. “No, you can’t.” Louie says, annoyed. “So you just ate a strawberry you can’t have.”

Louie’s objection is a passive one. And it’s trumped by speedy action. A familiar pattern, to be sure.

Enter Laurie (Melissa Leo). In a forced double-date, things go decidedly bad. In the beginning, anyway. Then they have a few drinks. She gets frisky. It’s all good fun, until Louie’s expected to “return the favor.” He refuses initially, until Laurie enacts some erm.. encouraging brute force.

She’s a lady that inspires movement. When words fail her, she acts. And she’s not the only one. Let’s review the other females in Louie’s life and the ways in which they champion language:

1. Later in Season 3, his ex-wife and mother of his kids encourages action when Louie has his doubts about possibly replacing Letterman’s Late Nite spot.

2. Liz (Parker Posey) sets his world on fire with an unpredictable and eventful first date in which every impulse is dutifully honored. No word or action is off limits.

3. Then when she suddenly vanishes, Jeanie (Chloe Sevigny) practically bullies our protagonist into finding her. 

4. Not to mention the only thing that prompts a visit to Ikea is the promise of a certain sex act by yet another one of Louie’s exes.

louie_parkerposey

So the notion of dominant alpha male falls by the wayside. Women drive the plot. They initiate action. If it’s not directly, it’s in Louie’s pursuit of them. Whereas Louie is stagnated by doubt, they have power. A distinct absence of fear. One that permeates in their willingness to play, both verbally and physically.

Try as he might to tame language, it’s all fumbling flirtations in the presence of women. And even when he “has an in,” the intimidation factor lingers.

Episode 1 of Season 3 sets the scene for this dynamic. He and girlfriend Angela break-up in a coffee shop. But never in this moment does he agree or even suggest a separation. She runs the show. And if it weren’t for her certainty, we would never know if this was something Louie really wanted. His communication is all non-verbal. Because in these bigger moments, words don’t cut it.

At one point in the show, Maria Bamford describes her state of hesitation and self-doubt as being “All dicked up in the head.” That moment when the symbols threaten to become REAL, all bets are off. Because, for all of language’s shortcomings, how could it ever really represent a feeling? Especially ones as elusive as “love” or “hate” or even “desire.”

The choice of words in Maria’s expression is telling, too. Because, after all, which half of the population has dicks? I’m just asking.

The most liberating scene in the entire series happens at the end of Season 3. Following a sudden death, Louie makes an impromptu New Years’ visit to Beijing. A faraway land where he’s 100% in the dark about the native language.

So he communicates in a more basic way. Sort of like a gorilla. Through facial expressions. Hand gestures. Exaggerated inflections. He’s offered a seat and food. And he and the locals share words. Indistinct syllables and sounds that they paddle back and forth like a game of ping pong. It’s all play. Interaction for no particular reason other than to not feel weird with each other.

We notice that without the burden of meaningful words, there’s no threat of subtext. Only clumsy surface exchanges. And that lack of clarity is actually celebrated. Because who can’t relate to the social anxiety of being misunderstood?

Louie’s brand of comedy reminds us that the fear and doubt and questions we experience daily are the things that actually keep us connected. That those are the things that make being alive so exciting. And let’s face it, in an age where texts and tweets override face-to-face contact, we could all use the reminder.

Wanna support Mr. CK? Buy his latest Show, Oh My God, for $5. Here.

And Read more Louie Fan-Love

Louie CK is a Smart Man – His recent viral appearance on Conan

Late Night Wisdom – Focuses on Louie, The Parent

30 Painfully Funny One-Liners from Famous Comedians – Louie included

Everything is Amazing and Nobody Is Happy! Typically Poignant Indictment of the Self-Entitled

I Am Alive Which Means I Deserve That – A Lesson to His Daughters As Depicted In the Show

How To Not Be A Villain

Sometimes, we have bad days. AWFUL days. Unrealistically proposterously poopyfart stink-ass days. And on said days, it’s hard to self motivate. Why do it? Is the operative question. WHY DOES IT EVEN MATTER?

Really, why?! Nobody else is trying. Nobody cares! Everything you’re fighting so hard to do means zilch to the greater population. How could it possibly be worth the headache?!

As you may have guessed, this past week presented such a dilemma. I hated everyone and everything. This then turned inward and nothing I could do was right. I’m very disappointed in you, spoke my inner Bowie voice. You’ve let me down.

davidbowie

This all became soul-crushingly unmanageable until, after about 3 hours of self-coaching, I talked myself away from the ledge. So what did it? What was the proverbial vaudeville hook pulling me off-stage?

It was my inner Gilbert Gottfried shouting “GET OUT OF YOUR FUCKING HEAD!!!”

Alright, I thought. I’m being an asshole. Do I really think I’m the only person who may be having a bad day? And would I be forgiving if someone else acted out on every testy impulse they had? No! Those people are jerks!

What? Yeah yeah, I know – this is a movie and food blog. I need to tie that in somehow. Hm.. Uhhhhhh…

Ok! Got it. So Ozymandias, from Watchmen – total dick right? He orchestrated a major distaster that killed, like, MILLIONS of people. No one with any regard for human life would ever let that slide, right?

Wrong! Well, sort of. Ozymandias’ intention was actually to save humanity. He found a scapegoat that could unite the people. Something otherworldly and foreign that didn’t really exist. So in the end, despite the casualities, he was sowing the seeds of a brighter future for all. It was an investment.

His character represented the modern dichotomy of hero and villain. What defines each? And how different are they really? With a lot of time and a good dose of skewed morality, one could actually deem Ozymandias heroic.

???????????????????????????????

Another example! This one a bit more of-the-moment and familiar to my readers: Walter White. We love him. We hate him. We love to hate him. But we know how committed he is to providing for his family. His INTENT, from the start, makes him a hero. His actions do not. Because for all the millions he throws at Junior, Skyler, and Baby, he still can’t undo the fact that he watched a woman choke to death on her own vomit.

The point is, any one of us can skirt the line. You are not wholly good just because you want to be. Nor am I. And somewhere inside of you, there’s a festering little a-hole who wants to step on kids’ sandcastles and push old ladies in front of double-deckers.

But, with the exception of a few, you KNOW better. You can practice restraint, because you have at least a slight sense of human decency. And just like everybody else, you are not forgiving when some one who isn’t you allows their insecurities to get the best of them. We may not always notice or appreciate gestures of kindness, but those lapses of propriety sting. Because believing I hate you is much easier to accept than believing we’re besties.

One slip is all you need to ruin the way society sees you. Remember that the next time you want to stab a guy for not saying “Thank you.”

Realize, like me, that your anger is fleeting. Better yet, let it hurt you. Wrestle with that pain. Channel it. Convert it into positive energy. Think Superman. Think Wonder Woman. Think, I dunno, Tiny Tim. Because really, who doesn’t love that guy?

It sucks, man, I know. I’ve been there many times. We all have. Which is why no one really has an excuse. So don’t act up. Treat people the way you want them to treat you. Because with your luck, 10 years down the line, you’re gonna need that d-bag you told to suck an egg that one time. Or, if you’ve conditioned yourself properly, you’ll just feel really guilty about it. And that’s almost as bad.

In the meantime, relax. Enjoy yourself. Unwind.

We’ll see you Monday!

Featured Image by Barbara Kruger

Bon Voyage! A Fantasy Travel Guide

So, as you may know, AJ tends to take charge as the travel and food guy. Not that he’s not great at it, but here’s the thing: He doesn’t think outside of the box! What about the elaborate cities, the picturesque landscapes, and the exotic wildlife? Why limit ourselves to places that ACTUALLY exist when we could venture into the ones that are FAKE? Amiright?

So let’s go for it: Here are 5 super-beautiful, super fabricated worlds that any real life traveler would die to see:

1. Kilika – Final Fantasy X

ff_kilikapretty

These beautiful little island communities are already phenomenal in practice, but give ’em the fantasy treatment and they’re utterly breathtaking. You’d never want for that nature connection – it’s all around you. And you don’t need a beach when the clear-glass ocean water is just beneath your floorboards. Hell, even their funerals are awe-inspiring.

THE PRACTICAL SIDE:

So there’s just one thing. Every 10 years a collosal Godzilla-beast called Sin plows through the town, killing off like half of its population and destroying everyone’s homes. But, come on, every property has its drawbacks. Just look at that view!

Yeah, Tom! Could you retake the photo? A little less debris this time!

Hey, Tom! Could you retake the photo? A little less debris this time!

2. The Shire – Lord of the Rings

lotr_theshireoutside

The great thing about Hobbits is that, for them, everyday is a party. How far removed from real life is it that the littlest folk of Middle Earth are the most carefree? Historically, for humans, short guys are the ones with something to prove. And more often than not, they tend to be bitter little basterds. Hellbent on ruining our good days.

But the Shire is the ideal spot for simple living. It’s so simple, in fact, that it’s hardly detectable. The houses are literally a PART of the landscape. How cool is that? And with the lack of distractions, I could probably write, like, 40 novels in a year!

THE PRACTICAL SIDE:

Yeah, everything’s built a bit small. And if it’s fit to scale for Elijah Wood, things’ll definitely be weird. Dude’s gotta legit be like 4’3”.

This is the perfect excuse to get the leg reduction I keep talking about!

This is the perfect excuse to get the leg reduction I keep talking about!

3. Another World – The Dark Crystal

Steer clear of the Skeksis, and there’s not much to gripe about in this happenin’ little place. The thickly inhabited ecosystem is a marvel in itself, and the wildlife ranges from cuddly to crazy-complex. First order of business would be to train a Landstrider for travel. Then adopt a Podling for no reason other than the fact that they’re obscenely cute.

And if you get bored, I’m sure a Mystic could hook you up with something. Those guys are so chill. They must smoke gonge. Or at least know a guy.

THE PRACTICAL SIDE:

A romantic stroll through the woods wouldn’t exactly be a casual experience, seeing as literally everything that grows in this place is also mobile. Not to mention the constant chattering would deftly eliminate any sense of peace or privacy.

Someone please make the voices go away...

Someone please make the voices go away…

4. The Alternate Dreamland of Spirited Away

Few images get me quite like this:

spiritedaway_talkontraintracks

The thing that sets this world apart is that it merges a cool setting with a really great cast of characters. These people are freakin’ weird in the best way. And although some can be smelly or douchey (See: No-Face and Yubaba), even they have soft underbellies. If you’re lucky, you may even meet a Guardian man-dragon who also happens to be a River. No, really. It’s a super weird movie.

THE PRACTICAL SIDE:

Bath houses can get pretty gross. Especially with this clientele. And your parents can’t really visit, cuz they’d just turn into pigs.

Spence, could you pass the string beans?

Spence, could you pass the string beans?

5. The Emerald City – The Wizard of Oz

I’m a fan of any place that greets you with a musical number, but EC is so much more than that! It represents a progressive, environmentally-friendly industry (it’s GREEN, duh!) And it’s ironically the only part of Oz that a certain wart-faced biddy will never go.

Which may have something to do with all the witch-lynching going on. It’s so bad that, if you rob their corpse and present the evidence, you’ll get the royal treatment. Hm. Maybe it’s not so progressive after all.

THE PRACTICAL SIDE:

What do they do all day? Paint horses and sing? I mean, it’s cute at first, but I’m guessin’ that shit gets old fast. And this is coming from a loyal Friend of Judy. It’s also probably not a good sign that the guy in charge is a total scam artist.

Uh, Mr. Oz. We just lost another one to paint fume inhalation.

Uh, Mr. Oz. We just lost another one to paint fume inhalation.

Geez, even fake life sucks.

Ah well, it’s back to writing my script. 8 pages down, only 82 left to go. This’ll be cake.

The Heat

Logline

An uptight FBI agent and foul-mouthed Boston cop forge an unlikely friendship in their pursuit of an elusive Russian mobster.

Why we went

We’ve been in a dark place in terms of movie options for the past couple of months, but late May marked the emergence of summer’s big blockbusters with big names attached. Just returning from our Canadian/New England road trip, we decided to jump right back into the game. So we pooled a list of 4 contenders and this one made the cut.

Why it worked


The comedy here is bold. Remember the irresistible, star-making gross-out appeal of Bridesmaids? Turn that up to 11 and you’ve got the gutsy girl power gusto of The Heat. Dream-team Melissa McCarthy (Mullins) and Sandra Bullock (Ashburn) are worth the price of admission alone. Their chemistry makes everything from competitive low-jabbing to displays of affection feel authentic. Behind the camera, props go to the partnership between screenwriter Katie Dippold (Parks and Rec, MadTV) and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), which made for some moments of impromptu movie magic. Feig has said it was his intention to create a movie that felt like a party, and this certainly fit the bill. Bringing it all home, the impossibly-hip will give a nod to the perfectly-toned soundtrack choices, which included Azealia Banks, Santigold, and Kreayshawn.

Bottom Line

After about a 20 minute warm-up, the side-splitting marathon took off and The Heat succeeded at being the movie it wanted to be.