Read it and Weep
Summary: Read it and Weep is a good podcast about bad books, movies, and TV. Each week 2.5 comedians and a guest make fun of things like Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, Going Rogue by Sarah Palin, and anything Keanu Reeves has been in.
Once in a generation there comes a Twilight knock-off that nearly matches the bland, annoying spirit of the original. Congrats, Evermore. You're almost as bad as the book you're ripping off. Due to a technicality in the Read it and Weep by-laws, Ezra is forced to only compliment this book and swallow his hates. Will he explode under the pressure? Tune in to find out! Joining the team is Carrie Iwan of Skepchick, bringing her incomparable wit and intelligence to a book that clearly does not deserve it. Highlights of the episode include: A discussion of Vitamin Water product placements. Cake-xting, the new crazy where you text pictures of cake to potential romantic partners. Adding onto the list of things vampires can do well. The next sexy supernatural creature? Minotaurs! And much, much more!
The director came up with concept for Burlesque after watching a Pussycat Dolls show... because that's where all great ideas come from. Christina Aguilera wants to sing, dance, and wear the kind of revealing clothing that just won't fly at her Iowa waitressing job. She takes a bus to LA, worms her way into Cher's failing Burlesque club, becomes a star, and we're treated to the music video for Lady Marmalade on repeat for thirteen times. If this sounds like a good time to you, you deserve everything that you get. Featured in this episode is the triumphant return of Chris [Last Name Withheld], the triumphant debut of Portland comedian Amy Milshtein, and the triumphant rumbling of a Strippers vs. Burlesquers Rumble. There are some potshots at Cher, an intriguing discussion of cookies and anatomy, and poorly-done celebrity impressions! Enjoy.
"16 and Pregnant" is a show where 16-year-old girls are pregnant. It's truly the "Snakes on a Plane" of exploitative reality TV. Mix in some family drama, a douchebag and/or jerk boyfriend, a laissez-faire approach to birth control, a dawning realization that the fun part of the mother's life is done forever, and you've got a hit show enjoying its third season of solid ratings. It's like watching MTV's version of "Precious." With Chris [Last Name Withheld] enjoying a much-need vacation in [Location Withheld] so he can [Activity Withheld] with [Names of Astronauts Withheld], we needed some help from Sarah Hatheway, making her first non-Twilight appearance with us. Luckily, there were enough unlikeable teenage guys so that the transition wasn't too rough. We also have an Inside the Actor's Studio for you with an actual actor. Our guest Jacqueline Baxter had the honor of playing an unwittingly pregnant woman on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant," another show that's nothing but truth in advertising. To round out the guests, we're joined by our old friend Taylor Johnson, who's doing a report on podcasts for his Master's program, making this show the first time anyone's ever watched "16 and Pregnant" to complete a Master's degree.
Truancy! Drug use! Nudity kinda! If these things are shocking to you, then prepare to have your mind blown by Skins. If, however, you've seen any other movie or TV show about teens ever, including the original UK version of Skins, then prepare to drop your jaw and yawn slightly. The main characters are either so smug you want to punch them in their acne-free faces, or so poorly defined that you can't remember whether you hate them or not. Luckily, we have help from a real live Brit! The sparkling, brilliant, and accented Kyra from FerretBrain.com classes up the podcast with a brilliant discussion of zombie kids getting into all sorts of shenanigans. You won't want to miss it! Unless of course, your loved ones were recently turned into zombies, in which case this is probably too soon. We're also unveiling our latest attempts at internet fame! First, we have an epic video on the origins of Twilight's crappiness narrated by Sarah Wendell, famed romance expert. Enjoy. Second, we're offering you a chance to have a guest spot on the podcast and go on a date with Chris. You're welcome.
For 93 episodes, we've just given you the funny. We didn't really prepare you, loosen you up first, we just got right into the business. But some of you insisted you wanted to feel loved first. With that in mind we picked up our first romance novel. Much to our chagrin, however, it was just uncomfortable sex. Fortunately, we were prepared. We had invited famous blogger and author of a book about romance novels, Sarah Wendell. She used her vast experience writing reviews of romance novels for her site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books to help us penetrate the depths of this novel. Penetrate it from any angle we felt like. In case it wasn't painfully obvious from that last paragraph, this episode is classic Read it and Weep, combining insightful criticism with corny sex puns. Ew, corny. Yuck.
What do you get when you combine a senseless murder, a shack, a lapsed Christian and the three or four wacky personalities of God? Hilarity! Or more accurately, mind-numbing conversations where nothing happens. Mack is dealing with the murder of his young daughter when he gets a note from God (who goes by Papa for no reason) recommending a weekend getaway in a shack. Mack thinks this is a good idea. Mack is a moron. There are surely books out there that make a compelling case for the existence of God and that go to great lengths to illuminate why bad things happen to good (or in this case, annoying) people. The Shack is not one of them. In fact, unless you're dying to know what it's like to have God talk to you about pancakes and diarrhea-causing side dishes, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. But we have a celebrity-studded Audible sketch for you featuring a Smurf, cantankerously dead writer Ernest Hemingway, and the owner of a decently successful pizza chain. What's the common thread? Tune in to find out. There's a also a press conference with alcoholism and racist deities. All of your questions will be answered, assuming they're the same questions we asked when we recorded. And they're probably not. In conclusion, this is the worst thing to happen to shacks since NBA star Shaquille O'Neal made the movies Kazaam and Steel. And since his rap album. Man, it's tough to be a shack. Our guest, Destinee, recommends the public library. And also this video of a kid rapping about god.
There comes a time in every podcast's life, when it knows it's found "the one." In this instance, "the one" means "an event that's not a movie, book, or TV show that we want to try and review." We we saw Prince William's wedding to Kate The Very Attractive, we knew we were ready to make the leap. For this episode, we recruited fashion expert and anglofile/Brito-phile Tanya to help us know when we're being too mean (calling the queen pudgy, it turns out, is over the line). We also use our well-honed debating skills to decide who is more awesome, Royals or Commoners. Watch the whole thing for free online. Some pictures: The queen, looking very much like a cake. Pippa, looking very much hot. An RAF guy with an awesome mustache.
You've heard rumors about it. Perhaps you've even seen it yourself. Either way, you know there's a bad idea out there and it's called The Human Centipede. It's only an hour and a half of film, but its effects will last a life time. Set in an overly classy mountain home in Germany, The Human Centipede follows a crazy surgeon and his wacky experiment: sewing people together in order to create... a queasy feelings in the pit of the audiences stomach. Two of our three intrepid reviewers brave the storm, while the other one abandons his post and plays video games instead. Luckily film buff Ben Kegan joins us to balance it out. There's nothing you need to know about the film that the poster doesn't tell you, as the characters are just as well developed in that single photo as in the whole 90 minute movie. And it's so gross, we can't even talk about it without hitting the fast forward button on our brains. Epic errors in judgment on today's episode of Read it and Weep! Some teaser quotes: "Let's talk about the spice mines of Kessel." "If the only reason he liked you was he thought he could sew you to some other people, he's not really your friend." Also, check out the episode of the web series "Duder" that Ben directed. It's funny and there's absolutely no surgery.
After a fifty year wait, Atlas Shrugged is finally a movie. Kind of. It's a movie the same way YouTube clips of people talking in limos and building train tracks would be a movie. The production values are just this side of a Lifetime Movie (Alternate title: "Not Without My Train Tracks"), but as an added bonus this movie definitively proved you can take a 1000 page book and cram that expansive feeling of boredom into a two-hour movie. Not to worry though, as we took that stagey drama and made stagey drama-ade. Comedienne Bri Pruett, came by to bring the pain and the funny. If you're in Portland be sure to catch her on 4/22/11 at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. Also giving us a much-needed assist was the ever-insightful Comrade DougJ of Balloon Juice. Doug took the side of "pro-reason" in our first-ever tag team debate. Read it and Weep debates: Now with 50% more tags! Lastly, we'd like to give a shout out to Brian and Erin, who provided Ezra with the second most appropriate snack imaginable during the movie: Limited-Edition Reagan Library jelly beans. (The first was Rearden Popcorn.)
Something very strange is going on in Read it and Weep land. When Alex goes missing, Ezra, Chris, and Stephen have to call in celebrity blogger/ children's librarian Betsy Bird to try and find him. The most likely answer is that he's lost somewhere inside one of the most overrated kids' books of all time, so that's where this journey takes our heroes. The Giving Tree, Love You Forever, and The Rainbow Fish are all terrible, but which book is Alex stuck in? Will our intrepid trekkers save him in time? How do you say Rainbow Fish in German? Tune in to find out!
L. Ron Hubbard's religion has lots of problems. But apparently, it was convincing enough to persuade his followers to do lots of stupid things. Things like giving him money, having babies in completely silent rooms, and investing personal fortunes in the production of one of the worst films of all time. It is this last foolish endeavor that brings us together today. Buried deep behind a pile of makeup, fake dreadlocks, and nose-danglies towers John Travolta. He's the main force behind this movie being made, and also one of the least enjoyable parts of it, so we can blame him twice. Other bad parts: inconsistent technology, things that seem bad and then magically work out, and then, a nuclear explosion that destroys an entire planet of aliens who couldn't have all been jerks. If only someone would be so kind as to wipe out our memories of this movie.
Watching the Jersey Shore leaves you with a feeling that must be similar to waking up next to one of the characters from the show. The regret hits you right away. But then the hangover settles in and all you know is you need to be somewhere else as soon as possible or you're going to throw up all over the Situation's sheets. Rather than doing what any sane people would do (running away), we've voluntarily jumped back into those polluted Jersey waters to finish what we started. It's an arduous process that is mostly about finding anything at all to pay attention to besides Ron and Sam's incessant fighting. We grasp at any and all straws. Like, for instance, Snooki's claim that the ocean is salty because of whale sperm.
Before there was the bad TV show Gossip Girl, there was the terrible series of novels by the same name. So if this is worse than crap, what is it? Shit? Well, as the book would say, it's shit with the smell of French perfume that the maid sprays around the house ever hour. Narrated by an omniscient blogger, Cecily von Ziegesar's book has the descriptive depth of a Huffington Post headline, the psychological insight of TMZ, and the plot of Cute Overload. Fortunately, it also has another trademark of the blog world: brevity. Yes, at an easy to swallow 2 hours, the abridged audiobook gave us just enough to joke about and not enough to ruin our lives.
The reasons Troll 2 is so bad are the standard ones: stupid plot, boring characters, a director who didn't speak the same language as the cast, and actors who were literally on day passes from mental hospitals. I know what you're thinking, we already reviewed The Room. But no! This is even worse. Troll 2 is our 3rd movie from the list of films commonly considered to be the worst of all time. The worst part is the trolls, which are actually goblins, and which look like they're wearing masks from a high school play. Then we learn that the goblins want to kill humans by forcing them to eat green desserts which turn them into salad puddles (or trees, depending on nothing, apparently). The result is so un-scary, I not only didn't pee my pants, I haven't urinated since. [Editor's note: You probably should get someone to look at that.]
Every time we read a book, we hope that the second half will be an improvement on the first. Sadly, with City of Bones, it's quite the opposite. We've gone from confusing and boring straight into incestuous and creepy. When the main characters find out they're related, they don't despair, or even change their behavior. When the bad guy gets away and Clarissa's mom is stuck in a perma-coma, they don't seem concerned. When the book seems to be ending, the author doesn't bother to tie up even a single loose end. If you're thinking about taking your mind on a vacation, stay away from this city.