Archive for September, 2008

Judd Apatow: The Greatest Thing to Happen to Comedy Since Ever

September 28th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

(Note: this is an old article I wrote for my school paper, the Lawrence Park Panther Print. I’m posting it just because if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be available for your reading enjoyment anywhere else…and that would be too terrible…)

Judd Apatow? Ummm…who is he again? Oh right, he’s the auteur who directed The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, produced Superbad, Anchorman, Talladega Nights and executive produced the cult classic TV shows Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. What’s so special about him? The answer is simple: everything.

Judd Apatow and his loyal gang of misfits are changing American comedy in an awe-inspiring way. For the last couple decades people did not expect much from comedy. The 90’s were ruled by Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler movies. While they were undoubtedly funny, they were largely brainless fair that were conventional and conservative in retrospect. It didn’t look like much was going to change until Apatow’s 40 Year Old Virgin was released. While the movie’s cartoonish, clueless main character and outrageous situations were nothing revolutionary, the movie’s honesty, subtle wisdom and pitch-perfect characters were. That honesty and purity is Apatow’s trademark. Few other comedic filmmakers (let alone filmmakers in general) can inject it so perfectly into their work.

This summer’s Knocked Up allowed Apatow to continue to evolve as a filmmaker and writer. “Virgin” was about the discovery and excitement of sex, dating, flirting and relationships. Knocked Up is about growing up, responsibility, commitment, trust and change. It was a natural progression for Apatow and it couldn’t have been pulled off better. The direction was tighter, creating a more well-constructed film that was at times funnier and more outrageous than “Virgin…”. The story was filled with issues far more pressing than in “Virgin…” such as the difficulties of marriage , the inability to cope with responsibility and the pressures of relationships and dependency. Steve Carrell’s relationship with Catherine Keener’s character in “Virgin…” was pretty smooth despite the lovely innocent awkwardness of it all. In Knocked Up, Seth Rogen’s relationship with Katherine Heigl seems doomed from the start. It was clear that these two are two very different people and that many painful sacrifices would to have to be made to make the situation work-if it ever even could. I’m glad that it still had a happy ending – that may change in Apatow’s future.

It should be noted that Apatow’s actors adore him. Seth Rogen has been in everything “Apatow” since they met while working on Freaks and Geeks more than 7 years ago. Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Martin Star, Jonah Hill and Jay Baruchel are all also part of his entourage, having worked with him in various movies and TV shows. In interviews they will often attest to his brilliance. The characters they play in Apatow’s movies are always oddballs, losers, stoners and just general outsiders. Generally the type of characters people most easily relate to and remember. The actors sometimes say that the amount of “acting” they do is very minimal.

By combining brilliant characters, serious issues, honest dialogue and enough lewd humor to fill ten “Animal House”s and “Road Trip”s combined, Apatow is truly changing comedy. His films are now instant hits before their trailers are even on TV. Just several weeks ago I remember how nobody had any doubts that Superbad was going to be brilliant simply because it was well known that it was an Apatow comedy. If I had seen the trailer without the knowledge he was behind it, I wouldn’t have expected anything more than a dumb teensploitation movie. Studios will have to catch on that his brand of brilliant, honest and truly well-crafted filmmaking sells and rethink their game-plan. I’m very excited about this. To know that in the next decade there’ll be more Knocked Ups and Superbads and hopefully no more American Pie sequels is a very exciting concept. Already, Apatow and crew are getting the funding to make all the crazy stories they’ve dreamt of over the last couple of years. Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are all booking up their schedules, now that their respective films have made them instantly recognizable by appearance, if not by name. The 40 Year Old Virgin ended with a completely random rendition of The Age of Aquarious. Perhaps the song should have been changed to The Age of Apatow.

Morgan Geist: Double Night Time

September 27th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Morgan Geist
Double Night Time
[Environ; 2008]

Morgan Geist is no amateur DJ. The man released his first 12’’ in 1994, set up his own label in 1995, has remixed scores of other artists and released plenty of his own work over the last decade. His new album, Double Night Time, sounds like the work of the schooled professional that Geist clearly is, while still sounding fresh and alive.

The album’s title “Double Night Time,” is appropriate, as the album’s style and lyrical themes conjure images of neon lights, dance clubs, girls in high heels and infinite possibilities. Every instrument seems florescent. Each bass beat burbles as luminous synth lines pulsate overhead. Even Geist’s vocals seem to have some kind of backlight to them while the lyrics describe what happens before, during and after the right honey’s been found and brought home.

As a producer, Geist is a marvel. Classy, yet innovative beats act as the vehicle for a brilliant display of bleeps, bloops and other brilliant sounds. Everything flows together beautifully and nothing feels out of place. Geist’s only shortcoming is his lack of personality, particularly in a dance-rock playing field dominated by characteristic frontmen like the brilliant James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) and the jokesters in Hot Chip. In comparison to the aforementioned, Geist is an unnecessary presence in his music. His singing, though workable, lacks any kind of pull, as does his tame subject matter, which he treats with little emotion or insight.

Though his personality adds nothing to the music, it doesn’t take anything away from it either; and the music is pretty damn good. Geist knows how to construct a killer dance track with tight beats and catchy melodies. Each song on the album displays this, resulting in an exciting and original dance album experience perfect for any Saturday night on [insert main club-district street here].

More M.Z.G. Music

September 26th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Here’s my EP from my tenure with The Fancy Claps. Enjoy.

The Fancy Claps – So How Do I Put This On? EP

Xiu Xiu

September 26th, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This week’s band of the week is an experimental Brooklyn outfit that creates a disturbing, almost-dystopian sound, mainly with the use of heavily treated electronic and computer-based sounds. This week’s band of the week is:


Led by Jamie Stewart, Xiu Xiu have been making different, difficult music for years. The band’s albums have consistently been critically acclaimed and publications such as hold special regard for them. In addition to this, the band’s music has been showing more and more crossover potential (check out the catchy chorus on “No Friend Oh!” off Women As Lovers). They could, in a few years, end up not unlike another edgy, artistic indie outfit: Modest Mouse.

The band’s music, as I’ve said before, could be described as disturbing. Like Katie Stelmanis’s music, it’s sort of the audio equivalent of the terminator when parts of the flesh are burned away, revealing the machine inside covered in blood and guts. It’s a gruesome melding of machine and human innards and it’s just gorgeous in it’s own terrible, gory way. So yeah, imagine that, but like, musically. What makes it all work is that over all the churning, crunching, bleeping and buzzing cacophony, Stewart’s melodies are often beautiful and affecting and his lyrics are nothing if not emotionally charged.

Xiu Xiu is not a band for everyone. In fact, they’ll likely downright annoy or sicken many people who prefer their music tame and easy on the ears. For those who like it rough though, Xiu Xiu will definitely make things interesting.

M.Z.G. Albums

September 22nd, 2008 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Inspired by Bradford Cox, I’ve decided to allow people to download my shitty (his are good though) little albums should they want to. Links below:

Marc Z. Grub – Apatow (2007)

Marc Z. Grub – Hearts On Overdrive (2008)

Noisebox – Where The Fuck Is Thornhill? EP (2008)