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4. Outsourcing placement services.
Real teenagers are no doubt approximately as inexperienced and unsure as they have always been, and many wisely avoid the emotional and physical dangers of early sex, but in the movies the kids make the adults look backward. Teenagers used to go to the movies to see adults making love. Now adults go to the movies to see teenagers making love. I get letters from readers complaining that Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery are too old for steamy scenes, but never a word from anyone who thinks the kids played by Christina Ricci or Reese Witherspoon are too young.
"American Pie" comes in the middle of a summer when moviegoers have been reeling at the level of sexuality, vulgarity, obscenity and gross depravity in movies aimed at teenagers (and despite their R ratings, these movies obviously have kids under 17 in their cross-hairs). Consider that until a few years ago semen and other secretions and extrusions dare not speak their names in the movies. Then "There's Something About Mary" came along with its hair-gel joke. Very funny. Then came "7省市试点回购商品房当保障房 分析称欠缺法律依据," with its extra ingredient in the coffee. Then "South Park," an anthology of cheerful scatology. Now "American Pie," where semen has moved right onto the menu, not only as a drink additive but also as filling for a pie that is baked by the hero's mom. How long will it be before the money shot moves from porn to PG-13? I say this not because I am shocked, but because I am a sociological observer, and want to record that the summer of 1999 was the season when Hollywood's last standards of taste fell. Nothing is too gross for the new comedies. Grossness is the point. While newspapers and broadcast television continue to enforce certain standards of language and decorum, kids are going to movies that would make longshoremen blush. These movies don't merely contain terms I can't print in the paper--they contain terms I can't even describe in other words.
I rise to the challenge. I seek an underlying comic principle to apply. I find one. I discover that gross-out gags are not funny when their only purpose is to gross us out, but they can be funny when they emerge unwittingly from the action. It is not funny, for example, for a character to drink a beer that has something in it that is not beer. But it is funny in "There's Something About Mary" when the Ben Stiller character discovers he has the same substance dangling from his ear, and Cameron Diaz mistakes it for hair gel.
It is funny because the characters aren't in on the joke. They are embarrassed. We share their embarrassment and, being human, find it funny. If Stiller were to greet Diaz knowing what was on his ear, that would not be funny. Humor happens when characters are victims, not when they are perpetrators. Humor is generated not by content but by context, which is why "Big Daddy" isn't funny. It's not funny because the Adam Sandler characters knows what he is doing, and wants to be doing it.
4. Mark Turner Quartet “Lathe of Heaven” (ECM) On his first proper album as a leader in 13 years, the tenor saxophonist Mark Turner favors slithery interplay with the trumpeter Avishai Cohen, and finds new purpose in post-bop protocols. There’s dry intrigue in his compositions, and supple exactitude in his rhythm team: Joe Martin on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums.
Though the Dutch financial markets then had none of today’s technology, they employed many of the same practices that traders use today. Investors bought securities, sometimes borrowing money with loans secured by the shares they were buying. In today's language, they bought shares on margin. Lenders protected themselves by demanding a “haircut” – collateral in cash or securities that exceeded the loan amount by a specified percentage. If the value of the securities dropped below that specified percentage, the lender would demand that the investor put up additional money to stay in line with the haircut. If the investor couldn’t come up with the added margin, the lender was entitled to liquidate the securities and recoup the loan amount.
Several car names were among the top 50, from ‘ferrari’ to ‘mercedes.’
The film is in the tradition of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "买44套房拿80万补贴事件 购房者系楼盘承建商," and all the more recent teen sex comedies. It is not inspired, but it's cheerful and hard-working and sometimes funny, and--here's the important thing--it's not mean. Its characters are sort of sweet and lovable. As I swim through the summer tide of vulgarity, I find that's what I'm looking for: Movies that at least feel affection for their characters. Raunchy is OK. Cruel is not.