Author: andytoby

Professional reporter, amateur existentialist. I like video games, media ethics, professional sports, and criticizing pretty much everything.

This Is Kind Of A Mess

this is the end poster

So I won’t bury the lead. This is the End is the kind of thing you do when you’ve grown so successful, you stop worrying about what you shouldn’t do. In the case of this movie, permanent collaborators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan think they can make an action movie. But they can’t. (more…)


The problem with Kanye West and Watch the Throne (and why context matters)

Bitches, boasting, Benzes, bullets: one of the biggest quandaries facing white, hipster hip-hop fans is rappers’ propensity to talk about themselves, their guns, their money, and their cars, all whilst talking shit about other rappers, talking shit about women, and just plain shit talking. It can be tiring for this humble, white listener, who considers himself something of a feminist. But I think I, and, by extension, my white hipster brethren, give Jay-Z a pass because of the “authenticity” thing.

The major challenge facing the collaboration that makes up Watch the Throne is that I extend no such courtesy to Kanye West.


Kurt Cobain died 17 years ago

Jim Romenesko Poynter had an intereresting blog post yesterday quickly reviewing coverage of Kurt Cobain’s death on April 5, 1994.

And it reminded me, I am not a huge Nirvana fan, but I really, really love their MTV Unplugged performance of Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World.”. It’s one of the better covers out there, and as art tends to be, infinitely more interesting after the artist’s untimely death.


When is a journalist just a person?

From my other blog, Yes/No/Undecided.

Something bouncing around the journalism blogosphere today has struck a nerve with me. (my B, I don’t remember where I read it first. It may have been Poynter.)

The Center for Public Integrity reported (note, this article changed from the version I read initially. See paragraph below) that an unnamed senior journalist at ABC News in the 1990s served as an informant for the FBI. Specifically, this “mole” passed along information in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.

Even more specifically, Gawker reported pretty quickly afterward the mole/FBI was Christopher Isham, who is now a vice president with CBS and its Washington bureau chief. The Gawker article The CPI covered its ass and quickly updated its story to include this information, and Isham’s denial.

Click here for more (takes you to my other blog)

Why The Found Footage Festival 2011 Entertained Me, But Left Me Feeling A Little Lost In The Supermarket

"Heavy Metal Parking Lot"
A still from “Heavy Metal Parking Lot”

Anyone who’s been in a thrift store within the past two years know there’s a mass exodus of personal VHS tape collections afoot. I’ve been delighted to find a VHS copy of “Goodfellas” in fairly recent times after trying in vain to check it out from the library, for instance. When it costs anywhere from $2 to $5 to rent something from Blockbuster (depending on what their pricing strategy happens to be that day), and when you’re too lazy to sign up for Netflix, landing an actually good movie for a quarter can be pretty rewarding. It’s a modern day renaissance of obsolescence.

So I like to comb through secondhand VHS collections looking for treasure. So do these guys, albeit they’re coming at it from a slightly different direction.


Number 2: Fang Island – “Daisy”

Look, there’s a ton of music out there. I’m no artist, but that’s why it’s got to be hard to make something that doesn’t sound like everything else. No more quickly is a publicist hyping a new song by a fresh-faced band than do a zillion critics and critic wannabes groupthinkingly and/or accurately dismiss it as sounding like an inferior version of some other band.

So occassionally there’s a band that isn’t quite a straight line to its most obvious influences, and thus requires the Overwrought Music Critic’s Annoyingly Extensive And Contrived Metaphor That Music Critics Like To Use And Think Are Clever for an adequate comparison.

Let me try one for Fang Island.


Number 5: Cee-Lo Green – “Fuck You!”

If there’s one thing that Hairspray and Amy Winehouse have taught us, it’s that people still like Motown, when it’s marketed the right way.

If there’s one thing Youtube has taught us, it’s that people like gratuitous swearing. Especially if there are children involved.

Enter Cee-Lo Green and Elektra Records. “Fuck You!” is Green’s runaway monster hit of 2010 that will establish him on the national pop culture scene, no doubt. No longer shall he be known as “the singer from Gnarls Barkley” (best band name ever by the way). He is now on a first-name basis with America. Multiple Grammys are almost a surefire lock.

But why? Well, I’ma tell you.