After a terribly disappointing fourth installment in the popular teen death series, New Line does the unthinkable by not only making a fifth “Final Destination” but, horrors (see what we did there?), casting old people as the leads. You know, people who are, like, 30, and even some born in the ’70s, ewww. Who wants to see old people die?
As it turns out, it was a very savvy move. “The Final Destination” was in a tough position in that its predecessor ramped up the death scenes’ difficulty factor (Rube Goldberg would have been proud, then probably ashamed) while maintaining self-awareness. “FD4” tried to maintain the planned chaos, but it was undone by bad dialogue, poor acting, and too much foreshadowing. From the very beginning, “Final Destination 5” does two things to separate itself from the previous movie: it casts grown-ups in the lead roles (David Koechner and Courtney B. Vance, holler) and gets serious in a hurry after a premonition on a suspension bridge leads a group of white collar drones to hop off the bus, Gus. Also, there are no bad last lines like “I’ve got my eye on you” (poor, poor Krista Allen), and while a death may be triggered by a chain reaction, the cause of death itself is often something normal (fall, fire). Don’t think they didn’t get creative, though; one of the women suffers a particularly gruesome accident that is impossible not to react to.
They’ve also changed the rules – which is ironic, but for reasons we cannot divulge – when coroner William Blodworth (Tony “Candyman” Todd, returning for a third tour of duty, fourth if you include his voice work in “FD3”) suggests that the survivors can cheat death by killing someone else, a la “The Ring.” It adds an interesting wrinkle, since you get a glimpse of what people are willing to do in order to stay alive. Do not under any circumstances watch the bonus features if you haven’t yet seen the movie, otherwise the big surprise, which is a good one, will be spoiled. Definitely check them out afterwards, though, as you’ll get a glimpse of Koechner adding some of his natural comic flair. A welcome return to form for what was presumed to be a, um, dead franchise.
Dizzy Heights is still on hiatus – those shows just seem
really unimportant right now – but I wanted to post something, so I’m going to
share some mixes I made for my friend Karen, because they’re upbeat and fun,
and I figured those were both things we need right now.
This was mixed in 2010, when Karen and I first
reconnected after not seeing each other for about seven years. Her house was
the most centrally located to all of our high school friends, so she hosted all
of the parties, and I brought the tunes. This one is admittedly mainstream, and
by design; I wanted the songs to trigger memories and start conversations.
The lineup: INXS, Peter Gabriel, Level 42, New Order,
Information Society, Depeche Mode, Camouflage, Julian Cope, ABC, Pet Shop Boys,
Dead or Alive, Slade (you read that right), Gino Vannelli (see: Slade), The
Cars, Real Life, and Duran Duran.
Next Up: Volume II, The Beast. This will make sense when
you see it.
Thank you, as always, for listening. Be kind, and be safe.
I have a list (actual piece of paper and everything) that currently features over 20 ideas for shows. This was not on the list. It just popped in my head, and had too much potential to do later. No, this must happen now.
The best thing about these themed shows is that I can spread the wealth musically (though a certain band appears for the fourteenth time), and so nine acts make their Dizzy Heights debut this week. Never thought that would happen three years into this experiment. I thought I would have used everything up by now.
I’m taking a small break after this to work on some non-DH mixes for friends, but I should be back in late April or early May. I highly recommend checking out the following shows while I’m away, and even after I return, obviously.
In the 14 years between 1995’s “Toy Story” and 2009’s
“Up,” exactly four men had sat in a Pixar director’s chair. Starting with
2010’s “Toy Story 3,” there was a concerted effort to spread the wealth, and
founding fathers John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Pete Docter, along with
unofficial Pixar brother Brad Bird, only directed one film each over the next
decade, while seven others helmed the rest.
This is where a rather disturbing pattern emerges. Of those new directors, the only one to make films on par with Pixar’s best work was Lee Unkrich, who directed “Toy Story 3” and “Coco” (and won Oscars for both) after serving as co-director for Lasseter, Stanton, and Docter, and clearly learning a few things along the way. Remove the films made by Unkrich and the founding fathers, and you’re left with “Brave,” “Monsters University,” “The Good Dinosaur,” “Cars 3,” and “Toy Story 4.” That’s the Pixar movie marathon that runs nonstop on TV in the Medium Place.
I apologize up front for all of the extra noise during my talkie bits (hopefully the music beds drowned them out). Between the daughter shooting up the stairs (only to stop dead when she saw me recording) to the cat trying to jump on the chair next to me (and missing), to my phone getting a text message, it was a banner week for live mics in the Medsker house. On any other week, I would have re-recorded all of them, but then again, the sound of the cat scrambling to climb up the chair is pretty funny to me now, so it stays.
It did not surprise me one bit that I was only able to come up with about half as many songs about boys as I was able to come up with songs about girls. We’re just not as fun, or interesting, to write about as women are, and the numbers reflect that. There will certainly be another show about girls, but this will mostly likely stand as the only song about boys, at least by name, anyway. Face it, we’re gross.
I’ve been sitting on this as a show idea since I first
started doing themed shows. I did a Name That Tune with this theme 10 years or
so ago (excuse me while I reach for my cane), and because of that I put it
off…until I had over 400 songs from which to choose for a show. So here we are.
How to divvy up 400 songs, though? I thought about doing
it by decade, but ultimately chose to do it by genre because it gives me the
freedom to jump from decade to decade. Also, had I broken things up by decade,
the distribution would be a big bell curve peaking around 1985, and we all know
I have a sheet of paper that contains all of my show ideas. There are about 20 of them. This, oddly, wasn’t one of them. This just popped into my head one morning two weeks ago. And here we are. ‘World’ songs, ‘Planet’ songs, ‘Globe’ songs, they’re all here, along with one ‘Earth’ song and a song that is none of these things, but totally belongs.
The idea for this show came around the same time as the Scotland show. I know that the timing of its release looks gauche, like I’m trying to capitalize on the horrific wildfires that Australia is enduring. I’m not; I’ve had a thing for Australia since I first read “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day.” Then MTV happened, and I wanted to move there. Still do, sometimes.
This is the first time I have put a year-end list
together since (checks notes) 2015. It seems longer than that – I was convinced
I hadn’t done one of these since 2011. Some of that has to do with the fact
that I’m no longer doing the writing thing on a full-time basis. Some of that
is because it’s been several years since there was a batch of movies that got
me truly excited. That 2015 piece that I wrote? That was not a great batch of
flicks. Good, but not great.