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EZ Viewing V!

This coming weekend my wife Steph and I are throwing our fifth annual EZ Viewing movie marathon.  This has become a yearly tradition for us, in sort-of celebration of my birthday.  (I was inspired by the idea of aintitcoolnews webmaster Harry Knowles’ annual 24-hour Butt-Numb-A-Thon, about which I’ve been reading for years.)  During EZ Viewing V this year, we’ll be screening four movies and one short film, using a projector to create a “big screen” effect.  (Click here for info on EZ Viewing IV and here for info on EZ Viewing III.)

Here’s this year’s selection:

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Tropic Thunder

Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog

Airplane!

Why those five selections?  Keep checking back here every day this week for my thoughts on each one of those films!

We’ll start today with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

We’ll be showing a recording, on DVD, of the famous stage show presented by the RSC.  Not the Royal Shakespeare Company, but the REDUCED Shakespeare Company.  Three men: Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor, take viewers on a lunatic, madcap exploration of the Bard’s works, as they compress every single Shakespeare play into an hour and a half.  The show is, in a word, hysterical.

The play was written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield and was first performed back in 1987.  I discovered the RSC in college, when my friend Mike Strode lent me his audio cassettes of the RSC’s six-part BBC radio show (that contained the majority of the material from the play, as well as a lot of additional skits, digressions, and other silliness).  I was hooked immediately, listening and re-listening to those tapes over and over again.  I was thrilled when I found this DVD recording of one of their performances of the play.  For those of you who have never seen it, you are in for quite a treat!

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is incredibly literate but also incredibly accessible.  All three men are wonderfully elastic performers, hurling themselves across the stage as the show bounces from one gag to the next.  There are so many highlights: the performance of Macbeth in “authentic” Scottish accents, the backwards performance of Hamlet, the summary of Othello as a rap song… I could go on and on.  This is genius-level humor.

(Click here for my thoughts on the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s latest stage play: The Complete World of Sports (Abridged)!)

I’ll be back here tomorrow with my thoughts on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  See you there!