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Jerry Seinfeld is known to most people for his iconic hit television sitcom Seinfeld (1989-1998), but his latest web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is clearly his best work.
Interest in the show has been growing since its 2012 premiere, and the recent Seinfeld "reunion" tie-in with the Super Bowl has introduced many audiences to the show for the first time. The show, which streams on Crackle, is straightforward, and the brilliant title is not at all misleading. In each episode, Seinfeld and another comedian drive around in a classic car and share a cup of coffee. It's like a late night talk show but more genuine: Seinfeld chooses fellow comedians he is fond of, his guests aren't there to promote anything, and the conversations feel spontaneous and honest. Although we'll never know if the show is planned like other talk shows, there's a sense that the conversations are mostly improvised, and because Seinfeld's guests are fellow comedians, we trust that they aren't censoring themselves in front of the cameras as, say, a politician or movie star would.
Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is preferable to his famous sitcom because it is his purest artistic statement to date. At this point in his career, the respected comedian can do whatever he wants, and that he chooses to push the creative boundaries with each project is remarkable. In this case, Seinfeld offers a meta-commentary on the art of comedy. His encounters with guests like Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Chris Rock, and Larry David provide glimpses into the entertainment industry and the experience of being a professional comedian. More interestingly, they demonstrate what draws individuals to comedy in the first place. Comedy, Seinfeld and his guests suggest, is the ability to laugh at the absurdity of life and the irrational, meaningless experience of being in it. Whether it is Chris Rock's articulation of why bullying benefits children, Larry David's rant on why it doesn't matter whether he drinks coffee or tea, or Louis C.K.'s justification that he went into debt to buy a boat, there's a sentiment that none of it matters so they might as well laugh at it while they can.
Seinfeld has always been a brilliant observational comic, and most critics and fans deem his self-titled sitcom "a show about nothing." However, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is the ultimate show about nothing, but the irony is that as we follow Seinfeld and friends as they talk about the meaning of comedy and the meaning of life, nothing inadvertently becomes everything. It is doubtful that Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee will become as popular as Seinfeld, but as an artistic and comedic expression, it is by far Seinfeld's greatest achievement.
So you're driving in the car, you're with your friend, you're minding your own business... and then what happens? You see a woman. Wearing a bra and no top. Walking around in broad daylight. Flouting society's conventions. It's totally inappropriate. It's lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous! ...
... at least that's how Jackie Chiles would describe it. As you can see in the above photo, one Kim Kardashian was caught on film on Sunday, strolling around Miami with her boyfriend Kanye West, draped in a garment that might be more accurately described as a bra than a shirt. In other words, she pulled a Sue Ellen Mischke.
Yes, Sue Ellen Mischke — the heir to the Oh Henry! Candy Bar fortune who once vied for the possession of John F. Kennedy's golf clubs and went by the name "the bra-less wonder" at her Maryland high school. Lover of Jerry Seinfeld and Lex Luthor to one Elaine Benes. In other words: a fictional character, but perhaps she is coming to life in the form of Kim K!
So what other Seinfeld favorites might we find inhabiting the bodies of our favorite celebrities? Will Justin Bieber become a close-talker? Will Snooki wear the same blouse over and over? Will Lindsay Lohan start eating her peas one at a time? ... If only life was like that.
[Photo Credit: Pacific Coast News; NBC]
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The Ides of March are upon us, and the impressive teaming of the classic George Clooney and the vibrant Ryan Gosling is inspiring. In fact, it’s such a potent power duo that it makes us think of other great pairings of the past.
What films have provided us with such superhuman stardom? Whose forces have joined to relinquish unmitigated glory? Let’s take a look…
Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in Philadelphia
The Power of Hanks: Tireless relatability. Putting the everymanest everyman ever in the taboo position of being a gay man afflicted with AIDS makes the situation seem more real, less alien, and far more sympathetic to those who had discounted it prior.
The Power of Washington: Extreme intimidation. Maybe you can brush off a message that someone else might deliver to you…but if Denzel tells you that you should feel something in a movie, you’re terrified not to feel it. He might hear about it. Then you’ll be in trouble.
When They Join Forces: We get one of the most powerful movies of the 1990s—sympathetic, hard-hitting, not without humor, even in the darkest parts (that’s life, after all), and definitely something that’ll get through to you.
Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in Fight Club
The Power of Norton: Brooding psychological fragmentation that couldn’t possibly have been more appealing to the aging Gen-Xers to whom this movie was dedicated.
The Power of Pitt: The ability to make you—no matter how happy you were with your life at the time of stepping into the movie—wish you were Tyler Durden. You begin to question the merit of your cookie-cutter life, your “surface value” job and relationships, and even your own morals. All because Brad Pitt is just so damn cool.
When They Join Forces: We get the iconic story of every single over privileged young adult in the 1990s coming to terms with himself, his world, his mind, his choices, and his taste in music. The Pixies record sales must have shot up like a thousand times that year.
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs
The Power of Foster: The perfect balance of courage and fear. Foster as an FBI agent braving both the waters of a male dominated industry, and taking on an incredibly dangerous case with the help of an incredibly dangerous individual to boot—but none of it ever seems hokey, thrill-driven or making-a-statement-esque on the part of the actress. She plays a very human character very humanly.
The Power of Hopkins: Horror. Not just because he eats people—although that’s not exactly one of his more affectionate qualities—
When They Join Forces: We get one of the strangest, most unforgettable partnerships (and, if you would be so bold as to call it this, friendships) in cinematic history, and one of the most haunting and intriguing movies of the past few decades.
Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in Heat, The Godfather Part 2, Righteous Kill
The Power of DeNiro: Reservation. DeNiro has his tipping point, but he keeps it bottled well until absolutely necessary. That’s what’s great about classic Bobby D performances: you know what’s coming, you just don’t know when.
The Power of Pacino: The exact opposite of reservation. Al Pacino comes flying onto the screen like a bat out of hell. His idea of a subdued performance is only one heart attack on set. But it’s never overdone.
When They Join Forces: We get a big heap of cement (that’s DeNiro), speckled with chunks of gravel (that’s Pacino) to form arguably the mightiest duo in Hollywood.
Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive
The Power of Ford: That grimace. That clench-jawed, grumbling grimace that says, “Get off my plane,” “Give me back my family,” “Why did it have to be snakes?” and “Greedo never shoulda shot first.”
The Power of Jones: What powers does Jones NOT have? He can play the ultimate badass. He can play a craven coward. He is a true warrior of cinema, and is nearly unrivaled in superhuman acting abilities.
When They Join Forces: We get an unstoppable powerhouse cataclysm dynamite volcano explosion of wonder. Or, you know…something in that neighborhood.
Christian Bale and Johnny Depp in Public Enemies
The Power of Bale: Heightened strength and agility, superb detective/analytical skills, advanced technology including the Batmobile…oh, wait. Wrong movie…um, chiseled jaw?
The Power of Depp: The Baritone Salamander. That’s his superhero name. When not overdoing it in Burtonian hyper-roles, Depp is actually a prized performer
When They Join Forces: We get a clash of the swift-winged titans—and probably the handsomest face-off in recent history.
Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in The Bridges of Madison County
The Power of Streep: Authenticity. It has been said of Meryl Streep, “She’s so authentic. [You] really believe everything is actually happening to her. There's no acting there” (Elaine Benes). Well, who are we to disagree?
The Power of Eastwood: Grrr…
When They Join Forces: We get a pleasant surprise. As music soothes the savage beast does the whimsical Streep to the gruffled and grisly Eastwood. Sure, when we think Clint, we think shoot outs and war stories. But is this not a timeless romance, appreciated by all—except that one woman in In & Out? It is.
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man
The Power of Hoffman: Complete and utter dedication. Dustin Hoffman gets so incredibly immersed into character that he was famously mocked by Sir Laurence Olivier for being far too over-prepared for his roles. But it pays off in spades—
The Power of Cruise: Narcissism. That’s not a dig at the actor, it’s one at his characters. Cruise manages to channel perfectly the ideas of entitlement and self-absorption, injecting them quite well into stories like Rain Man, which was more about his struggle to open his heart to something than about his brother’s trials with autism.
When They Join Forces: We get truly moving film about, more than anything else, family. Sure, Cruise’s character had no idea that Hoffman’s was his brother for the first three decades of his life…but the connection was organically formed between the two least likely of hosts. It’ll get ya.
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption
The Power of Robbins: Stoicism. Andy Dufresne was in control from the get-go…or at least after the whole cheating wife debacle. Something clicked in him right around the presumed time he “quit drinking,” and he managed to chauffer us all through a journey about understanding yourself and your world.
The Power of Freeman: Fatherliness. Even in the dark pit of a jail cell full of deranged psychopaths, if you’ve got Morgan Freeman on your side, you can never feel too unsettled.
When They Join Forces: We get friendship. An incredibly meaningful friendship. Shawshank is a story about freedom—more internal freedom than literal—and part of Red’s freedom came from his acquirement of a true friend from whom he could learn things about life.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic and Revolutionary Road
The Power of DiCaprio: Humanity. In so many DiCaprio roles, these included, he is gruffled, yet clean-cut. Good guy, yet dirtbag. Whether a middle class sell-out or an impoverished young artist who lies his way into the company of an aristocratic beauty, Leo is always firing on all cylinders.
The Power of Winslet: Her powers are innumerable. She’s never delivered a role that was anything below spectacular.
When They Join Forces: We get heartbreak. Either both of them die, or their marriage sours to the point of irrevocability. Either way, it’s a somber tale of the experience of love. But hey—that’s Hollywood!
Julia Louis-Dreyfus reunited with her co-stars from Seinfeld when she guest hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend.
During her opening monologue the actress, who played Elaine Benes on the hit series, showed a video clip of her bumping into co-star Jason Alexander and talking about the "Seinfeld Curse."
The curse states that no Seinfeld star--including Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, Michael Richards or Jerry Seinfeld--has ever gone on to star in a successful sitcom.
After the two chat, Alexander is hit by a cab. Back in the studio, the actress insists she doesn't believe in the curse, before a stage light falls next to her.
The culprit is revealed to be Jerry Seinfeld, who cut the light down with a pair of hedge clippers.
Louis-Dreyfus started her career on Saturday Night Live 21 years ago and made history by becoming the first female cast member to return to host the show.
In another memorable moment, former Vice President Al Gore was featured in the opening skit, appearing in a parallel universe where he was successfully elected as the President.
The comedy sketch showed what a Gore-run U.S. would look like, including no global warming, cars that run on rubbish, ridiculously low gas prices and a $11 trillion budget surplus.
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