Overrated/Underrated: Grant Green, John Mulaney, and can the NBA Finals find a new ending?
“John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City”: He’s achieved acclaim as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” and “Documentary Now!” and as a stage performer in “Oh Hello” with Nick Kroll. Now Mulaney confirms his status as one of our best stand-up comics on this special, which recently arrived on Netflix. As it goes with any comic, it takes a moment to adapt to Mulaney’s pacing, which doesn’t shy away from the occasional literary flourish, but once he gets rolling his performance is among the strongest of the year with tack-sharp material about aging, childhood fears and the madness of the times, which he equates to a hospital disaster in a way that’s as unforgettable as it is funny.
Grant Green: Unafraid to shift his sonic focus into new territories, Green doesn’t garner the same level of esteem as his fellow jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell, but a pair of new reissues testifies to his distinctive sound and voice. Composed of three newly released concert recordings, “Funk in France: From Paris to Antibes (1969-1970)” and “Slick! — Live at Oil Can Harry’s” are packed with furious improvisations and hard-hitting funk and fusion grooves that depart from his justly revered ‘60s recordings like “Idle Moments,” but the restless sense of invention and adventure remains intact.
Andrew Lincoln in “The Walking Dead”: Fans of this durable blockbuster were surely shaken this week when word came down that Rick — the one-time center of the horror series — would be appearing in only a half-dozen episodes before departing for good next season. There’s no disparaging Lincoln’s efforts in a series that never met a bleak turn it didn’t like, and you can’t blame him for wanting a change of scenery. But with all due respect to Daryl (Norman Reedus), who will evidently pick up the storytelling slack going forward, the many-splendored means to kill a zombie was always the real star of this show.
The NBA Finals: With a bevy of young stars and high-flying teams, this is a boom time for the NBA — or rather, it will be eventually (maybe) given that for all the new faces and unexpected results along the way, the basketball season has ended up in the same place: Cleveland versus Golden State for the fourth season in a row. What may be more distressing for basketball fans isn’t the repetitive results, it’s that the playoffs have been only intermittently fun to watch leading to this point regardless.
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