Five Favorites of 2009: Keith Rawson

TV

Curb your Enthusiasm, HBO

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a TV watcher. Yeah, I’m like just about everyone in America, the television is on most of the time in the Rawson household, but it’s pretty rare that it has my attention. But when I do watch it, I like funny, and for my money there’s no funnier show on the air right now than Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David’s show has always been an embarrassing, cringe worthy good time, but this season has been it’s strongest to date. The napkin/Jesus picture weeping episode was practically worth the twelve bucks a month I shell out for HBO alone.

The League, FX

I’m not a fan of football. I don’t get worked up to a testosterone driven froth every year whenever the new NFL season rolls around, but I know guys who live and die by the sport and spend inordinate amounts of time playing fantasy football. Perfectly normal, professional level guys who craft little super teams out of their favorite players—yeah, it’s D&D but for guys who always thought they were too cool to play D&D in junior high and high school. And this is the premise for FX’s the League. What makes the show so funny for me is that I know all of these guys, plus the writing is razor sharp and the gags are dead on hilarious. But like most shows FX has tried to run after It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it’s doubtful that the League will be picked up for a second season, which is damn shame.

Movies

The Watchmen

I’m probably going to have my comic book fanboy membership card revoked for admitting that I liked Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s venerable mini-series, but I’m more than happy to give up my laminated fanboy ID card and life time supply of Jerkins to sing the film’s praises. For years Hollywood said the Watchmen would be impossible to film. There were just too many subplots; the characters were too complex, too flawed. The American public wanted their superheroes to be sterling examples heroism, not human. Considering the complexity and depth of the source material, I felt that Snyder produced a fine film. Yes some of the writing went beyond hammy, (“What happened to us? What happened to the American dream?”) but visually it was one of the most satisfying mega budget films of the year.

The Hangover

The major issue I have with 99.9% of all comedies produced by Hollywood is that they’re just not funny. They’re might be one or two good lines through out the entire film (which the studios make sure you see in the trailer two or three times.) but from the opening credits, the Hangover is blow beer out your nose/piss your pants from laughing too hard hilarious. Plus, I tend to like anything Zach Galifiankis is in (who—in my humble opinion—is the second funniest comedian in the States[right behind Patton Oswald])

DVD

The Pusher trilogy

This trilogy is perhaps one of the best examples of cinematic hardboild crime ever put to film and for the past year, I’ve been utterly obsessed with Nicolas Winding Refn’s brilliant portrayal of Demark’s brutal version of organized crime. Individually, the films are strong stand alone stories and you’ll have a chorus of voices vehemently proclaim which is the best of the series. (Most will argue that the first film is the best, but I’m always quick to point out the comic bookish overtones and one dimensional portrayals, where as the second film is far more humane and fully realized.) But it’s my opinion that the three films have to be viewed as a whole to truly experience the sheer genius of Refn’s vision.

Keith Rawson is a little known pulp writer who lives in the alkaline desert wastelands of southern Arizona with his wife and very energetic three-year-old daughter. His stories have appeared in such publications as Plots with Guns, Pulp Pusher, CrimeWav.com, Bad Things, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp and many others. You can find him most nights dicking around on either Twitter or Facebook, or stroking his already overinflated ego at his blog Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips.