Tag Archives: Justin Timberlake

Ben Affleck to join SNL’s ‘Five Timers Club’

When the season finale of SNL gets underway this weekend, there will be another member of the SNL ‘Five Timers Club’. Justin Timberlake joined the club earlier this season but this time it’s all about Mr. Argo himself, Ben Affleck.


While Ben Affleck is a host to certainly look forward to, this show will indeed be bittersweet. In addition to the confirmed departure of Bill Hader, this weekend will also be Fred Armisen’s last show and it is very likely that Jason Sudeikis is leaving as well. Add in Seth Meyers’ new gig at Late Night next winter and SNL is going to look quite differently when it returns in the fall.

Some things however, will always remain constant. Kanye West using his mouth to find his way into the news isn’t likely to go away any time soon. This time he’s dragged SNL into his headline making ways. While performing at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC this week it made it very clear that he has no interest in doing any skits on this weekend’s show.

(if you have an issue with profanity, probably best to skip this one)

Well Kanye, some might say the feeling is mutual. There are quite a few people who are puzzled at Lorne Michael’s decision to have you perform on the show and this just adds fuel to that fire. Nothing like someone being happy to be invited, sheesh.

But who cares about Kanye West and whatever crawled up his ass and died? We’ve got a season finale to send off to great SNL performers to look forward to and nothing can stop us from enjoying that!

Remember to find your way back here on Sunday when we’ll have a recap and review of the show. Until then SNL fans!

SNL: 38.15 – Justin Timberlake

I had plans to wait until I got home from a weekend trip to New Orleans to watch this week’s SNL, but the power of the Timberlake would not let me and I am grateful, because it was fantastic. I’ll admit that there was a bit of reservation initially because my slightly inebriated state may have made the show funnier than it actually was. Any doubt was erased when watched by the harsh light of a sober morning. And if there was any doubt that the writers were taking an easy/lazy break last week to gear up for this episode, they are now erased because minus a few missteps, the writing was as good as it’s been all season to date.

Justin Timberlake, SNL

It is really rare to see the host in the cold open, to the point that I can not think of the last time I’d seen it.  Of course, this is Justin Timberlake and it is well known that he rises above normal conventions. So there he was, in all his Elton John glory, singing at the funeral of Hugo Chavez. Nothing like a reworked ‘Candle in the Wind’ to start the night off right.

To truly appreciate the greatness of Timberlake’s “Five-Timers Club” monologue, you’d have to watch Tom Hanks’ monologue from his fifth time hosting back in 1990.

You’ve got the very young SNL writer, Conan O’Brien greeting Hanks at the door vs. current SNL writer Mike O’Brien who happens to also be behind one of my favorite webseries, Seven Minutes in Heaven with Mike O’Brien. I’m of the belief that all celebrity interviews should be conducted in a closet and end in awkward kissing. Of course the similarities between the two monologues continue with Paul Simon and Steve Martin. I really enjoyed it, but oh boy does it put a bit of a spotlight on how much more often men are the host of SNL as opposed to women. Well at least, frequent hosts. Perhaps next episode’s host, Melissa McCarthy can bring up that number someday and join Candice Bergen and Drew Barrymore in the ‘Five-Timers Club’.

Even though the monologue ran a bit long, it was really fun to watch SNL living history all come together and watch Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam fight to the death.

SNL, Justin Timberlake

Credit to: flyinseacrest

I’ll admit that when the dating show set was shown during the commercial break I groaned a bit. This has been the year of musical monologues and game shows, some have worked but there have been some that really did not. However when it became clear that this was just going to be a vehicle for the singing sleazebags known best for ‘Dick in a Box’, it became infinitely better. Of course I really wasn’t expecting the Festrunk brothers (as often cameos in the monologue stay in the monologue) so they were an awesome surprise. As much as I enjoyed both duos, Bobby Moynihan as the rejected bachelor was equally as funny. He usually plays the weird part of the joke so seeing him as the straight guy is always a refreshing change of pace.

It would not be a Justin Timberlake show without a costumed street singer promoting some random business. I have a feeling if it were anyone else, this sketch premise would have been old and tired by now. Luckily the writer’s have been able to keep the jokes and song parodies pretty fresh each time so it’s exciting to see Timberlake dressed as a big block of tofu as opposed to that “oh man, here we go again” feeling.

SNL, Harlem Shake, Justin Timberlake
Credit to: metaphorphoses

If you were wondering who on earth is still watching Harlem Shake videos and giving SNL the idea that it was still at all relevant and not beaten to death… it’s me. I love them in all their stupid glory and was downright giddy watching the cast do the “Vegan Shake”.

As great as Justin Timberlake is and how awesome his performances were, it was actually the “NuvaBling” fauxmercial that was the funniest to me. Probably because it was unexpected (unlike the rest of the episode, I mean we knew pretty much what sketches were going to be done) but it was hysterical. I mean come on, diamond encrusted birth control? Cool.

SNL, Justi Timberlake
Credit to: dirtypaws

Diamond encrusted birth control that then becomes earrings? Perfect. Between that and the final line of “and yes, it does hurt”, easily my favorite commercial of the year. Birth control should all be “100% effective at getting dat swag on”.

So apparently there was some dust-up between Timberlake and Kanye West? I was unaware so I couldn’t have told you anything about the changed lyrics to “Suit and Tie”, but the internet quickly let me know of my ignorance. I guess we are all now just sitting and waiting to see what Kanye has to say in response.

SNL, Justin Timberlake
Credit to: FabulouslyFlawless

Weekend Update was really short, likely due to the length of the monologue and the first few sketches, but it brought back Stefon who seems like he has been missing for quite a while (John Marbury who usually writes that character has been off working on his pilot for NBC). Bill Hader never fails to entertain as the ridiculous Stefon and this was no different. The club named “Your Mom and I are separating” located in a burnt out Red Lobster is sure to be the hotspot everyone is talking about.

SNL, Justin Timberlake

“Sober Caligula” was the obvious low light of the episode. However, I do give them credit for trying a new sketch. If you’ve watched SNL with any regularity you know that when hosts make repeat appearances, they often will pull out the same characters that they know people like and have been successful (Veganville, Dick in a Box), so it was nice to see something new. Of course I wish it’d been a little bit more successful but A for effort and let’s not lie here, there’s nothing wrong with a sketch that features a half-naked Taran Killam.

SNL, Justin Timberlake

I would never have thought that Maine Justice would be a recurring sketch. Ever. For good reason. It was great as a one time “this is really weird but oddly entertaining” kind of thing. Coming back? Eh, not so much. Unlike the later sketch with the “not porn stars anymore”, Maine Justice just needs to go ahead and call it a day.

SNL Justin Timberlake
Credit to: thepowerofthebabe

You can sell all the albums in the world and you can star in as many movies as you want; hell, you can be a member of the SNL ‘Five-Timers Club’, but I think we can all agree, you haven’t really “made it” until the Three Amigos introduce you.

“She’s Got a D#*k” was all right. Not much to write home about but it was better than Maine Justice. I did like how Nasim didn’t have a name instead was billed as just an “adorable brunette”.

SNL Justin Timberlake
Credit to: piperme

After a long day, I totally look forward to a glass of “Monica and Chandler” champagne and feel like it’s about time it got a chance to shine. Even though we have a general idea as to what the two idiot former porn stars are going to say, it still is funny as hell. I take that back because at no point did I ever think I’d hear someone tell a story of jerking off a horse on TV. That was a new one.

Overall? Great episode. I do wish they’d tried more original sketches but I understand they were trying to go for that typical cameo filled episode to try to drive up the ratings, and they were successful as more people watched this weekend than have since Charles Barkley hosted last January. I can see them getting close to those numbers with Melissa McCarthy hosting on April 6th because there might be people tuning in to see if Kristin Wiig or Maya Rudolph make cameos. Even if they don’t, McCarthy is a great sketch comedy actress so I’m very much looking forward to that episode.

Melissa McCarthy SNL

Until then SNL fans!

SNL: Justin Timberlake Returns – Advertisers Leave…

Whenever Justin Timberlake has a new movie or album or new outlook on life, everyone starts wondering… “when will he be on SNL?” Well thankfully it’s this weekend! As is customary, they’ve filmed and released their promos and it does nothing but make me more excited for this weekend’s show. I’m really looking forward to seeing if they do anything to honor his membership into the “Five-Timers Club”.


I know I’m not alone, but I wish Timberlake would give up this whole music career thing he’s going for and just join the cast of SNL full time. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? Solve the hunger problem in America? Stop all wars? No? Well okay then, but still, it would be pretty awesome because nothing makes me happy happy happy like Justin Timberlake on my TV on a Saturday night.

Phil Duck Commander

Sadly, there is a group of people that will likely not be partaking in the fun, as they are still really butt hurt over the “Djesus Uncrossed” sketch that aired during the February 16th episode, hosted by Christoph Waltz. I thought the outrage had calmed down, but apparently the people over at American Family Association have taken it upon themselves to alert SNL advertisers and call for them to pull their ads from the show. If Fox News is to be believed, JcPenney and Sears have done just that.

I find it hard to believe that JcP will bend to the AFA given their reaction to similar group’s response to their hiring of Ellen as their spokesperson but this is a crazy world we live in so, who knows? At the end of the day, none of this really matters because come Saturday night, it’ll be this guy and the ads run during the show won’t have any effect on how awesome it will be.

Justin Timberlake instagram

SNL: 38.5 – Bruno Mars

I enjoyed last week so much that when I saw it was Bruno Mars hosting this week I feared he would be the valley to Christina Applegate’s peak. I don’t know if it’s just due to the polyurethane fumes I’ve been huffing all week (I’m painting/sealing things, I don’t have a drug problem) but I was pleasantly surprised.

But screw Bruno Mars because this happened!

Aidy Bryant finally had more than one line! Then one of her lines was the “LIVE” announcement and I was just so excited! And then we didn’t hardly see her or frankly hardly any of the women folk of the cast but hey, it’s the little things in life.

The cold open was the most recent presidential debate and it was fabulous. The mic drop was definitely the highlight. I’ll admit that I actually never watch the real debates so in my world, this really could have happened. I usually prefer things in my world so that’s what I’m going with.

Of course it is always fun when some of the best SNL hosts make a random appearance, this week it was Tom Hanks, sporting his mustache for Saving Mr. Banksa movie I am big time looking forward to.

Shock of the night was when Bruno Mars sang his opening monologue. Yea, I know, I was just as stunned as everyone else. I did like how he mentioned Justin Timberlake. I can’t imagine a double duty host that doesn’t immediately think of Justin Timberlake and their disappointment that they won’t be as good as him. I’m just waiting for the day that Timberlake announces that he has decided to abandon his movie career and become a full-time SNL cast member. That would be a nice day.

If you haven’t seen the Brad Pitt Chanel commercial, here you go.

Now you realize that Taran Killam’s recurring bit all night with the random Brad Pitt commercials was not that far off the mark. I mean seriously, that had to be filmed and edited and then someone had to see it and still give it the go ahead. I’m thinking there are a lot of drugs being used over in the Chanel advertising camp these days. If your perfume commercial stands out as particularly odd in a world of already extremely random and nonsensical  perfume commercials, then congratulations, you have a non-winner.

Let’s not kid ourselves though- those Doritos tacos are rather good.

Haters with Sunny Taylor Tomkins featuring Bobby Moynihan’s legs was up next and I was forced to admit that perhaps Bruno Mars actually could make it through the show. The sketch itself was completely pointless but hey, they can’t all be high concept. It was fun for fun’s sake and spawned what might be new go to catchphrase. I like to switch them out every once in a while, keeps things fresh.

You know I’m just gonna say it- Bruno Mars doesn’t make an ugly lady/teenage girl. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he makes an attractive young woman but not ugly. Bravo sir, bravo.

Next was Pandora Intern and while it appears the rest of the internet loved this sketch, I thought it was a bit meh. Best parts for me was when Bruno Mars grabbed Jason Sudeikis’ hand to do the Michael Jackson lean and of course all three guys just happened to have a Michael Jackson glove on them.

The most the Pandora sketch accomplished was get this song stuck in my yet again. Love George Watsky but damn it this song drives me nuts when it’s stuck on a loop in my brain.

The prerecorded Sad Mouse was probably my favorite of the night. It was funny in that really sad kind of way. I did laugh at the sign behind Jason Sudeikis that read “Don’t get arrested, we won’t bail you out!” For the briefest moments of time I got a job wearing a Statue of Liberty outfit for a tax preparer’s office and they tell you that if you do something to get in trouble, you are on your own.

Thanks to my time in the Statue of Liberty outfit, I always wave to sign spinners, and mascots, and people in sandwich boards, and people in costumes. I would have surely waved to the Sad Mouse.

Hey surprise – Bruno Mars was the musical guest!

Weekend Update featured perhaps one of the best recurring characters in recent memory. It was none other than Stefon. The best part of Stefon is apparently they do not let him see the script until he sees it on the teleprompters which explains his reaction that often ends up in him breaking. This week was no different. To his defense though, I think a lot of people would have a hard time not laughing at the Jewish Dracula named Sidney Applebaum. I mean come on. And Slimer? Too funny.

We went from the hilarious Stefon to the sometimes laborious Maryville Brothers. Best part was when Tom Hanks with his Walt Disney mustache attempts to robot grope Vanessa McBrayer (after starting off the season in almost every sketch she has been persona non grata these last two weeks).

The Wilderness Lodge was just weird. That’s about all I can say. There’s just something about an ass raping Yeti that makes me not want to like a sketch, not sure what. As for the Under Underground Records “Donkey Punch the Ballot” well Ass Dan is back and then dead again and seriously that is all SNL is going to do with the comedy gold that is “Binders full of Women”? Come on, I expected a lot more than that. Of course as a former debate nerd I did get a hearty laugh out of the debate between Linkin Park and Buster Douglas. Heh, that’s good.

Overall, much better than I had expected. It certainly could have been better but hey, you can’t win ’em all.

Next week is a repeat of the premiere but then on November 3rd, get excited folks because holy crap funny man himself, Louie C.K. is hosting and I’m really hoping that means an appearance by Amy Poehler. Not gonna lie, that would make my day/week. Fun is entertaining as well so here’s hoping for an all around good episode.

Until next time!

Grizzly Ear Bombs: Our Music Picks for 10/1/2012

Thank God they’re not Beats by Dr Dre. They insanely overpriced and have the durability of Grant Hill’s ankle.

From this issue on, we’ll try to bring in a guest contributor every week. This week features selections (for the 3rd time) by Fister Roboto of Left Hand Horror. If you like all types of horror entertainment, please check the site out.

This Comes to mind, somehow.

This week, the 49ers defeated straight up demolished the Jets. But then, you can’t fault the Jets. Their best player is out, and Mark Sanchez has been garbage lately. As for the staff favorite, the Detroit Lions, they lost. Yea. I’m on a hot seat here. It’s probably a good idea for me to not badmouth the Lions. The unanimous game of the week did not disappoint, with the Packers and the Saints grinding down to the final minutes. It’s such a shame the Packers won. You can’t blame it on the refs this time round. *shrugs*

Anyways, here are our picks for the week.

Jason, Editor for Grizzly Ear Bombs

Artist: Ween
Title: Object
Album: La Cucaracha
Year: 2007

Ween are nothing if not a genre-crushing force of nature. Object from their last album La Cucaracha is both beautiful and suddenly haunting when you start paying attention to the lyrics. Written from the killer’s point of view, Object guides the listener through a velvety chorus and twists the knife with Deaner’s discordant and melodic guitar solo. Ween know no musical boundaries and that, my friends, is what gives them their soaring popularity and staying power. Acid jazz, metal, country, ballads – Ween never stop.

Artist: Opeth
Title: Burden
Album: Watershed
Year: 2008

Check my iPod and you’ll see Opeth’s transcendent album Watershed in my “played to death” section. Proving that Sweden’s best export is not the delicious red, candy fish, Opeth move swiftly between crushing death metal masterpieces to deliver songs like ‘Burden’. Not content to blast drum us to death, Opeth do what they do best in these electric ballads. If you’ve never listened to Watershed in its entirety, you’re doing yourself a massive musical injustice. Do it.

Artist: Nina Simone
Title: Feeling Good
Album: I Put a Spell on You
Year: 1965

There are many covers of the same song out there. You have one by Muse and another one by Michael Buble. None of these, however, capture your soul like Nina Simmone’s. Its grimy, yet hopeful, tone gives listeners  a feel of relief after a long day’s work. Any other covers which came after hers follow the very template set by her, from the tone to the delivery. This is how transcendental Nina Simone’s Feeling Good is – artists from half a century later are still performing the same track the same way. There is simply no way you can make a case against this version of the song being the best.

Artist: Linkin Park
Title: Castle of Glass
Album: Living Things
Year: 2012

Remember the last time Linkin Park actually made a good album? Me neither. Their recent attempts on reinvention have failed miserably. They stepped a little too much out of their comfort zone, and eventually lost their own nu metal / rapcore sound. 2007’s Minutes to Midnight was a huge disappointment to me. Luckily, one more failed album later, they have finally found their own identity. Does Living Things top Meteora? No, but it is a welcoming return to their comfort zone. Chester Bennington sounds great in this track and the production is good. With that said, it is very well-executed, though not spectacular. By the way, this track will be featured on EA’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter aka another Modern Warfare wannabe. What did you expect? It’s EA!

Artist: No Doubt
Title: Bathwater
Album: Return of Saturn
Year: 2000

No Doubt has been one of my favorite bands since I was 8 years old, so 1996. Although Tragic Kingdom is my favorite album by the band, Bathwater may be my favorite song. When I listen to it, I cannot help but smile. It is just one of those songs… no matter how awful my day has been, if I throw this tune on, I dance around my house and sing into a hairbrush. Aside from being an audiophile, I am also moved by lyrics. This piece is the most pure way to describe being in love while being extraordinarily insecure. I think we’ve all been there. When I hear it, I remember all of the times when there was something I could not control in a relationship, and the feeling of complete helplessness because there was absolutely nothing I could do but wait. It also reminds me of sitting back and admiring from afar those whom I was not allowed to be with, whether it was that they were too much trouble, I messed things up with them, or simply because I was with someone else at the time. Somehow this song makes all of those feelings okay, and I can dance it out in my Spider-Man underoos. Look out, world!

Artist: Billie Holiday
Title: Gloomy Sunday
Year: 1941

Lady Day is one of my favorite artists of all time. Gloomy Sunday is a song with a very rich history. It has been redone by many musicians; however, Billie Holiday’s recording is the greatest. Gloomy Sunday was originally created by a Hungarian composer in 1933. It was known as Vége a világnak which translates to “End of the World”. Ms. Holiday was not the first to translate this song into English with different lyrics, however. Hers was the first widely-known version in English. The song was described as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, because it was rumored that people committed suicide while listening to this song. The original Hungarian lyrics translated to English are far more depressing than the version most of us have heard. The ending to the English version (lyrics by Sam Lewis) indicated that the person telling the story was only dreaming, beginning with “Dreaming, I Was Only Dreaming- I Wake And I Find You Asleep In The Deep Of My Heart, Dear-…”. There are very few songs that haunt me as much as this. As I write this, my eyes are beginning to well up with little tears. If you believe that you cannot be strongly moved by lyrics and music, as I said before that I am, I urge you to close your eyes, sit back, and play this song loudly. Gloomy Sunday is the ultimate tale of despair.

Artist: The Temper Trap
Title: Sweet Disposition
Album: Conditions
Year: 2008

This song is something I have to thank one of the writers Megan for because admittedly, she’s more tuned into music than I could ever be. She introduced it to me a long time ago and still, to this day, always makes the playlist once in every few months. The song starts off simply with the guitar chords but it has a hypnotic riff to it, and the vocals as well as arrangement just hook you into the song. It also solidified my weakness for hipster music but I don’t care. It’s not a complicated song in terms of music or lyrics but it shows it doesn’t have to be one in order to hook you. It’s a fun driving song to listen to and even better writing song to have in the background. Granted, it probably helps that I’m on a JGL kick and it was featured in (500) Days of Summer but hey, you can’t fault it for that. More importantly, they are a great band that is still under the radar, so it’s definitely worth a listen.

Artist: Justin Timberlake
Title: Let Me Talk to You/My Love
Album: FutureSex/LoveSounds
Year: 2006

Yeah, I decided to go mainstream for this one. It also made me realize that JT hasn’t released anything in the last six years. I remember him doing this song live for the first time at the 2006 VMA’s (y’know, when they were barely relevant at that point) and hearing the Timbaland beat just stole my attention from the get go. It was completely different from anything else at the time. It just blew my mind. The crescendos in the melody are mesmerizing and the production is great. Plus, JT, whatever feelings you might have about him, just kills it with his vocals. Dammit, the dude is talented and I hate him for it. But that just makes me jealous because he puts out amazing stuff and owns pretty much everything he touches; Jessica Biel included.

Artist: Ennio Morricone
Title: Deep Down
Album: Danger: Diabolik Soundtrack
Year: 1968

I love Ennio Morricone. What movie buff doesn’t? The man’s a genius, and has made some of the most memorable movie music of all time, if not THE most memorable movie music of all time. Hands down. I guarantee, no matter who you are, you’ve heard his work without knowing it. Danger: Diabolik is one of his more obscure films in America, but directed by renowned italian filmmaker Mario Bava, who adapted the Diabolik comics pretty perfectly, into one of the best and most underrated comic book movies of all time. I defy you to read any Diabolik comic and tell me this movie isn’t that book brought to life. Some may find the movie kitschy, cheesy, or weird, but it’s never boring. There’s so much awesome to like in this film, not to mention the totally awesome soundtrack keeps the whole thing buzzing along at a nice pace. I can and have watched this movie, over and over again, simply because it’s such an enjoyable experience for me. Its poster is proudly displayed in my room, and it’s one of the best, and last episodes of MST3K. In fact it IS the last episode, and for that reason alone I love it. MST3K is a show I grew up with, and I have a real sentimental attachment to it, so seeing this brilliant movie send off Mike & The Bots, was a perfectly blended amalgamation of things I love from my youth and my present. Do yourself a favor, and track down a copy of the original film, but if you can’t, watch the MST3K version. It’s a bit butchered, being edited for time and all, but it’s damn hilarious. This song is featured prominently throughout the whole film, and brings me back to that wistful feeling I get every time I think about Saturday mornings spent watching MST3K, back when Saturday mornings were a thing that mattered to me.

Artist: Blondie
Title: Atomic
Album: Eat To The Beat
Year: 1979

There is a woman in my life who may or may not be real. I’ve dreamt of her. I’ve seen her. I spoke with her. She knew my name, she gave me water, she told me she’d be seeing me again soon. I met her in my dreams before I met her in real life. In my dreams she loves me. In my dreams I love her. When I dream of her, our love is more real than anything else in my waking life has ever been. When I find her again, I’ll be hearing this song. It will be playing. I’ll see her. She’ll see me. We’ll embrace, and I’ll tell her:

“Your hair is beautiful.”

Artist: (A bunch of creative people and the He-Man cartoon show creators)
Album: (You can’t tie this song down)
Year: 2010

I never saw the original He-Man video made by Slackcircus in 2006, but I did see this one within the last month.  My husband started singing it one night as he was playing MechWarrior, and as soon as I admitted my lack of knowledge, he pulled up the song on YouTube and my life has forever been benefited/degraded.  In reality, I find it fascinating that people can be so attuned to the culture around them that they can look at a cartoon, watch the character’s lip movements, and then attribute words to him/her that was not in the original script.  It’s kind of like the Bad Lip Reading channel on YouTube, or the way you can watch the first part of Wizard of Oz synced with Pink Floyd.  He-Man singing is a tribute to the power of twisting culture to create more culture.

Artist: Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars
Title: “Safe and Sound”
Album: The Hunger Games Soundrack
Year: 2012

I read The Hunger Games trilogy before the movie came out, and thought it was one of the best pieces of young adult fiction I’d read since Harry Potter.  So when I heard that pop star and teenage-obsession Taylor Swift would be doing the movie adaptation’s main song, I became very angry.  Really, the studios were going to bow so low as to make The Hunger Games a cultural sensation only by bringing in Swift and not strive to keep the entire production a timeless message and reminder to all in the future?  But then I listened to Swift’s Safe and Sound and actually caught myself being impressed, even shocked, at the musical, lyrical, and vocal quality (I’m sure some of this had to do with the haunting elements that The Civil Wars added).  Also, since I’d read the books entirely, the music video had so much references as to what would happen in the Hunger Games universe that as an older sister, I could not help but tear up a little.  Kudos to Swift for “growing up” gracefully and taking us along with her.

Artist: Echobelly
Title: King of The Kerb
Album: On
Year: 1995

Echobelly are a nineties indie band (that people tend to look at me as though I’ve made them up) and this song is one of their biggest hits. They’re one of the bands that reminds me of my misspent youth – I was, and still am, a bit of an indie girl. Despite of the lyrics subject matter – prostitution and homelessness – this is quite an upbeat, fun sounding song.

Artist: Franz Ferdinand
Title: Take Me Out
Album: Franz Ferdinand
Year: 2004

Scottish in origin (Glasgow to be precise), Franz Ferdinand is an other great indie band. Take Me Out is a stomping tune with a fantastic rhythm. It’s a song you just have to turn up loud and sing along to – helped by the fact that the lyrics are fairly untaxing to remember.

Grizzly Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

When remakes are done correctly, they’re a beautiful, glorious thing, like a beautiful piece of art or the birth of a beautiful baby. When remakes are done correctly, it makes me shed a manly tear of joy, because seeing something done better the second time around makes me happy, just like a great sequel.

In David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he takes what was a melodramatic and overall poorly made 2009 adaptation, and adds a new level of ferocity and stylishness to it that was otherwise lost on the original. I think this is due mostly to his familiarity with the source material, a novel of the same name by the late Stieg Larsson, and his unfamiliarity with the original Swedish film (he’s been quoted as saying that he’s never seen it).

By now the plot should be familiar to most, but I’ll run through it to give everyone a fighting chance. The story follows a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) who’s been exiled by almost every news outlet and has been stripped of his credibility due to a story that he published that was “proven” false. On the other side of things, professional computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) has gathered information on Blomkvist for a large Swedish family that is interested in hiring him for a job.

The job is to investigate the murder of Harriet Vanger (Moa Garpendal), the 16-year old niece of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), who is the head of a large corporation known as the Vanger Co. For the past forty years, Vanger has been investigating Harriet’s death with no luck at all. In his desperation, he hires Blomkvist, in the hopes that he might be able to crack the case. Blomkvist reluctantly agrees, but the only way that he can do it is to hire the same person who was hired to investigate him, Lisbeth. The two team up to solve the murder of what might have been the heir to the entire Vanger legacy.

David Fincher’s interpretation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is much better than the 2009 original, but in some respects it isn’t good enough. As a huge fan of the source material, the only way that this film could possibly live up to my expectations is by being four hours long, because that’s how long it would take to include everything that a film of this magnitude requires. But, from a strictly cinematic standpoint, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an extremely fascinating murder mystery.

At 158 minutes, the film is a lot to take in, but it’s unfortunate because the first 80 minutes require Lisbeth and Mikael to be apart until they finally meet to work together on the case, which is far too long in my opinion. I say that because they only spend about 45 minutes solving the mystery together, with the last 35 minutes being dedicated to the aftermath of the ordeal as well as Salander proving Blomkvist innocent.

Though the build-up seems unnecessarily long, once the two finally get working, the film ignites. Their chemistry is sheer beauty. Who knew that mixing such an “alternative” personality as that of Lisbeth Salander with straight man Mikael Blomkvist would create pure magic? It doesn’t hurt that the performances by both Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, especially the latter, are undeniably committed and mesmerizing. Similar to that of Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, I almost forgot that I was staring at two actors and not viewing the private exploits of such fascinating personalities. Lisbeth Salander is portrayed as much more personable and approachable to Blomkvist, turning their relationship from strictly physical and professional, to borderline romantic, an addition to her character that I’m actually glad they made.

David Fincher’s direction is undoubtedly stylish, but in comparison to The Social Network, which was steadily chaotic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is chaotically steady. By this I mean that regardless of the amount of pulsating action that happens on the screen, the camera refuses to take the shaky cam route and is one of the few things in this movie that remains calm, which I’m thankful for. In keeping with the almost classy and dark style that the film seems to go for, remaining steady really helps set a tone rather than flopping all over the place, blurring everything out of view.

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and Atticus Ross, who also did the music for The Social Network, again compose the soundtrack. Whereas the music in The Social Network seemed to be a crucial part of the look of the film, the music in this film serves more as background filler rather than a key aspect, sans a dazzling credit sequence set to a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”.

Overall, as a remake, and even as an adaption, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo succeeds, but its sometimes obvious representation of the killer, as well as the dangerously slow first half drags the film down from great to good, which I’m perfectly fine with. I didn’t expect another Social Network, and I definitely didn’t get one. I’ve never been a huge fan of the adaptations of the books, because there’s just too much to adapt into one film, regardless of its length, but Fincher makes it much more watchable than the 2009 Swedish version, and that in itself is quite the achievement.

3.5/5 Grizzly’s

‘In Case You Missed It’ Review: Friends With Benefits

Earlier this year, Ashton Kutcher and recent Oscar winner, Natalie Portman starred in a film about two friends who begin to have casual sex entitled No Strings Attached. The film itself received generally negative reviews despite its good cast and director (Ivan Reitman). Personally, I didn’t mind the film too much. It was a nice escape with some good jokes and likeable leads. Sure it was as cliché as it gets, but not every film can be The Deer Hunter, right?

Soon after I saw No Strings Attached, I heard of a film being released called Friends With Benefits. The premise was literally identical, and the female lead, Mila Kunis, co-starred with Natalie Portman earlier that year in Black Swan. I was, needless to say, quite skeptical. I didn’t let this get the best of me though, because the cast was equally as funny, if not more varied and interesting, than No Strings Attached.

Friends With Benefits follows two young professionals, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis); one a successful internet blogger who is offered a job at GQ, the other is sent to recruit him. The two become very close friends over a short period of time. One day, Jamie claims, “I miss sex.” The rest is history. The two begin a strictly physical relationship with no emotions attached, which soon turn into something far different.

As much as I thought I wouldn’t like this movie, I’ll go ahead and admit that I really enjoyed it, a lot actually. With a more than 20% advantage on Rotten Tomatoes, Friends With Benefits actually deserves it. The two leads have way more chemistry than the stars of No Strings Attached. The story is very layered and involved, with just enough characterization to make you care, and possibly even cry. The supporting actors, which include Woody Harrelson, Bryan Greenberg, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins, and even guest appearances by Emma Stone and Andy Samberg, all hold their own and give a lot of meaning to why Dylan and Jamie are why they are.

Dylan’s father, who’s known only as Mr. Harper (Richard Jenkins) has moderately severe Alzheimer’s that gets worse with age. He’s the type of character that we all know is going to say something insightful at the end of the movie that gives Dylan the courage to do what he has to do, blah, blah. Fact of the matter is, Richard Jenkins is funny as hell in everything he does, and he’s a fantastic actor. These are two things that are extremely useful in Hollywood, and he plays the role perfectly, as usual.

Directed and co-written by Will Gluck who you may recognize as the director of Easy A, has a good eye for scenery and makes sure to create an acceptable distinction between Los Angeles and New York, which may seem like an unnecessary detail, but honestly, you don’t know how many times I thought a movie takes place in the Upper East Side but it turns out I’m actually in downtown LA.

Friends With Benefits also has a knack for both employing cliché while simultaneously mocking it. While mocking cliché has now become a cliché, this Inception of clichés has led me to just give up and be entertained by the gimmick, which can be somewhat pervasive, but never tiring.

The film’s soundtrack is also something to note. It includes popular songs, but not the annoying ones that you hear on the radio every two seconds. They’re the popular songs that come on the radio once in a while and you’re actually happy to hear them. Example: “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.

If anything, Friends With Benefits is a great romantic comedy and an acceptable vehicle for both Timberlake and Kunis, who both have extremely bright futures in Hollywood. Despite being in the business since children, I feel like their careers have really started reaching their full potential only recently (yes I know, Kunis was on That 70’s Show, that doesn’t count). Also, besides its great leads, Friends With Benefits offers us three of the best cameos of the year, but I can’t tell you what they are. Also, miraculously, Friends With Benefits has somehow made “Hey Soul Sister” by Train a bearable song to listen to during a credits sequence.

3.5/5 Bears