Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Am I To Make Of This?

Hayden Panettiere has yet to turn 18 years of age, yet here she is on the cover of my most recent 'Entertainment Weekly', in mid jump, in a cheerleading outfit.

I cannot lust after her because she is not legal, yet here she is staring at me in her cheerleading outfit.

The words "EW 100" are on her chest begging me to read them.

Begging me.

And I have read them.

I have read them several times.

Countless times.

So many times.

Where am I?

Shame on you 'Entertainment Weekly'. You have made me feel very dirty.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My Hundred

These are my hundred favorite films. Look it over because in these hundred movies you'll find me. What makes me happy, sad, scared, disturbed, entertained. Damian, Moviezzz, Ed Copeland, The Shamus, Weepingsam, Jim Emerson and The Siren have posted theirs as well. These movies are not ranked in preference for they all hold a dear place in my heart. The first is no more important than the hundredth. Some of these movies I watch more often than not and some I watch less than I should.

Feel free to question them, praise them or ridicule them. As always, I welcome all comments.

100. Goodfellas - Martin Scorsese (1990)
99. Out Of Sight - Steven Soderbergh (1998)
98. Royal Tenenbaums - Wes Anderson (2001)
97. Escape From New York - John Carpenter (1981)
96. Blue Velvet - David Lynch (1986)
95. The Silence Of The Lambs - Johnathan Demme (1991)
94. This Is Spinal Tap - Rob Reiner (1984)
93. Meet Me In St. Louis - Vincente Minelli (1944)
92. The Godfather Part II - Fancis Ford Coppola (1974)
91. M*A*S*H - Robert Altman (1970)
90. North By Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock (1959)

89. After Hours - Martin Scorsese (1985)
88. The Insider - Michael Mann (1999)
87. All The President’s Men - Alan J. Pakula (1976)
86. La Femme Nikita - Luc Besson (1990)
85. Traffic - Steven Soderbergh (2000)
84. The Last Picture Show - Peter Bogdanovich (1971)
83. The Rules Of The Game - Jean Renoir (1939)
82. Fight Club - David Fincher (1999)
81. Saving Private Ryan - Stephen Spielberg (1998)
80. Monty Python And The Holy Grail - Terry Gilliam/Terry Jones (1975)
79. Rushmore - Wes Anderson (1998)
78. Blazing Saddles - Mel Brooks (1974)
77. Caddyshack - Harold Ramis (1980)
76. Dazed and Confused - Richard Linklatter (1993)
75. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers - Peter Jackson (2002)
74. Munich - Stephen Spielberg (2005)

73. Gross Pointe Blank - George Armitage (1997)
72. A Clockwork Orange - Stanley Kubrick (1971)
71. Citizen Kane - Orson Wells (1941)
70. Raising Arizona - Joel Coen (1987)
69. Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola (1979)
68. Broadcast News - James L. Brooks (1987)
67. Boogie Nights - P.T. Anderson (1997)
66. Wild At Heart - David Lynch (1990)
65. Aliens - James Cameron (1986)
64. Blade Runner - Ridley Scott (1982)
63. Young Frankenstein - Mel Brooks (1974)
62. The Incredibles - Brad Bird (2004)
61. Do The Right Thing - Spike Lee (1989)
60. Spirited Away - Hayao Miyazaki (2001)
59. Pulp Fiction - Quentin Tarantino (1994)
58. The Player - Robert Altman (1992)
57. Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Stephen Spielberg (1981)
56. Die Hard - John McTiernen (1998)
55. Blow Out - Brian DePalma (1981)

54. Rear Window - Alfred Hitchcock (1954)
53. Election - Alexander Payne (1999)
52. Defending Your Life - Albert Brooks (1991)
51. Punch Drunk Love - P.T. Anderson (2002)
50. Army Of Darkness - Sam Raimi (1992)
49. Dr. Strangelove - Stanley Kubrick (1964)
48. Enter The Dragon - Robert Clouse (1973)
47. Miller’s Crossing - Joel Coen (1990)
46. Three Kings - David O'Russell (1999)
45. The Godfather - Francis Ford Coppola (1972)
44. Heat - Michael Mann (1995)
43. The Empire Strikes Back - Irvin Kershner (1980)
42. The Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa (1954)
41. Kill Bill - Quentin Tarantino (2003)
40. Assault On Precinct 13 - John Carpenter (1976)
39. Sleeper - Woody Allen (1973)
38. The Brood - David Cronenberg (1979)
37. Taxi Driver - Martin Scorsese (1976)

36. Jaws - Stephen Spielberg (1975)
35. It’s a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra (1946)
34. Goldfinger - Guy Hamilton (1964)
33. Se7en - David Fincher (1995)
32. Wonder Boys - Curtis Hanson (2000)
31. Unforgiven - Clint Eastwood (1992)
30. Robocop - Paul Verhoeven (1987)
29. Sideways - Alexander Payne (2004)
28. The Road Warrior - George Miller (1981)

27. Prince Of The City - Sidney Lumet (1981)
26. There’s Something About Mary - Bobby and Peter Farrelly (1998)
25. The Vanishing - George Sluizer (1988)
24. Love and Death - Woody Allen (1975)
23. Dogtown and Z-Boys - Stacy Peralta (2001)
22. Mulholland Dr. - David Lynch (2001)
21. Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Stephen Spielberg (1977)
20. High Fidelity - Stephen Frears (2000)
19. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Ang Lee (2000)
18. The Deer Hunter - Michael Cimino (1978)
17. Wily Wonka and The Chocolate Factory - Mel Stuart (1971)
16. L.A. Confidential - Curtis Hanson (1997)
15. School Daze - Spike Lee (1988)
14. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington - Frank Capra (1939)
13. His Girl Friday - Howard Hawks (1940)
12. The Fly - David Cronenberg (1986)
11. Oldboy - Chan-wook Park (2003)

10. Peter Pan - Clyde Geronimi/Wilfred Jackson (1953)
9. Brazil - Terry Gilliam (1985)
8. The Shining - Stanley Kubrick (1980)
7. Leave Her To Heaven - John M. Stahl (1945)
6. Fandango - Kevin Reynolds (1985)
5. To Kill A Mockingbird - Robert Mulligan (1962)
4. The Manchurian Candidate - John Frankenheimer (1962)
3. The Matrix - Andy and Larry Wachowski (1999)
2. Dawn Of The Dead - George A. Romero (1978)
1. The Thing - John Carpenter (1982)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You Don't Know Me, Dude

I have been tagged by JA over at My New Plaid Pants with the 8 Things Meme where I have to write about eight random facts/habits about myself. So here they are. A slightly larger peek behind the red curtain that is Piper. Enjoy.

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I am not British, nor do I have a lazy eye. The name Lazy Eye Theatre came from college. I had pitched an idea to the college newspaper to write a movie column titled Lazy Eye Theatre. 20 years later, it still stuck with me. I spell "theatre" that way because it's different and I'm like that.

2. I am a huge fan of the TV show Thunderbirds. I have all the episodes and many of the collectibles from the show.

3. I do not consider myself an extremely political man, nor a chest-pounding patriot, but the first time I stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, I cried.

4. I fear animatronics. I love Disney, but my worst nightmare is to be at Disneyland in Pirates Of The Caribbean when an earthquake hits. The ride shuts down, but the animatronic pirates do not. They continue to move as I wade through the dark waters. Chilling.

5. I believe in magic and in ghosts. Why not? It's fun to.

6. In one single day, I visited the Forbidden City, climbed the Great Wall of China and flew a kite with my son in Tienanmen Square. A few days later my wife and I would complete the adoption of my daughter Sing. Those were some pretty incredible days.

7. I am a hard puker. In College, I once threw up so hard that I broke all the blood-vessels in both my eyes and gave myself a black eye. I had solid red eyes for nearly three months.

8. I am told that my Karaoke performance of Devo's "Whip It" is something to behold.

In turn I will tag eight more.

Alan at Burbanked
Sheamus at Shea Of The Dead
Damian at Windmills Of My Mind
Neil at The Bleeding Tree
Ray at The Rec
Guy at The Short Fat Kid
Pacheco at Bohemian Cinema
Wheepingsam at The Listening Ear

Reveal yourselves!

Monday, June 25, 2007

An Appeal Before The Board

Online Dating

Piper: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

Board: Hurumph.

Piper: Nice day we're having.

Board: (shuffle, shuffle) State your business, Mr. Piper.

Piper: Sorry. Of course. I come before you to appeal the rating placed on my blog. You see, I received an 'R' rating.

Board: Yes?

Piper: It says that I said torture 10 times. Fucking 3 times. Death twice. And turd once. I am guilty of all those words.

Board: Get to the point Mr. Piper.

Piper: Yes, well. Here's my point. What can I do to get a PG-13? Let's say I cut out one fucking and get rid of the turd? Would that be suitable?

Board: We would have to review.

Piper: Okay, okay. Jeez... you guys. I'll cut 2 tortures, a death reference, give me back a fucking and you can keep the turd. Man, twist my arm.

Board: What's the point of this Mr. Piper?

Piper: Two words: Box Office. You're really putting quite a kink in my proceeds ladies and gentlemen. If you give me a PG-13, suddenly the kids get interested and they don't have to sneak in to see me. That's when the money rolls in, and before you know it, I'm on a yacht snorting blow off a stripper's tits.

Board: Careful Mr. Piper. That's one tits, one stripper and one blow. That's creeping into NC-17 territory, mister.

Piper: Good Lord! Don't wave that threat around. You give me an NC-17, suddenly I'm art-house and only on select screens in limited markets. Nobody will read me then.

Board: We will consider your appeal and get back to you within 6 to 8 weeks after you fill out these forms in triplicate.

Piper: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Always a pleasure. We'll stay in touch.

Again With The Eli

Previously, I had commented on the fact that I hadn't seen Hostel Part II and should do so to avoid any hypocrisy since I had weighted-in on the film so much.

So I saw it last night and I have some thoughts.

After seeing it, I thought that watching a horror movie could very much be described as "torture." You walk into the theater knowing bad things are going to happen. Scary things. Things are going to jump out at you but you don't know when or where. You will be tense. You will cower. You will hide your eyes. That's horror. Eli Roth has taken that in a literal sense and he has shown us torture and thought it to be horror. But such is a mistake of a young director. One of many that he makes in this film.

There has been much made about Hostel Part II on this blog as well as many others about the subject matter of this film. Having seen it now, it ain't that bad. But that's to say that torture isn't bad and I'm not saying that. The scenes set up are disturbing and I understand that. But as far as the graphic nature of this film, it isn't terrible. And honestly, there isn't much torture involved. I agree with Dennis at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, that the torture of Hostel Part II pales in comparison to the likes of Takashi Miike's Audition. And honestly, the movie Hard Candy is a much better example of a movie that deals with the subject of torture. So really, Eli Roth has failed in making a torture movie that truly deals with torture.

Which leads me to believe that Eli does need the rest of the summer off as he stated on his MySpace page. He should take a breather, gather his thoughts and figure out his place in horror because he really isn't a bad director. Maybe just a bit misguided. I think of the Thanksgiving trailer he did for Grindhouse. This was Roth having fun and it was impossible not to have fun watching it. There you can see that Eli's heart lies with the 80's slasher movies and it is from there that he draws his inspiration. The characters in Hostel Part II follow very much the cliched lines of those movies. You have the slut in Bijou Phillips, the Sandra Dee character in Heather Matarazzo and the big sister in Lauren German. There is no more depth to them past that. Richard Burgi and Roger Bart play the rich business men and top bidders in the torture market. Richard is gung-ho about the possibility of torturing a young beautiful woman and takes delight in the idea. Roger is hesitant from the get-go. But when it comes time to the actual torturing, Richard bags out and Roger turns out to be the truly twisted one. Jeez, who saw that one coming? It doesn't make sense to address material that seems so real, that being of a hostel that's actually a torture palace, with such cliched characters. But maybe that's a blessing.

Probably the most disturbing thing I discovered in watching Hostel Part II is this: A scythe dragging across skin makes me cringe and cover my eyes. However, I have no reaction to someone getting their head chopped off. Disturbing indeed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

How Many Times Can I Review Oceans 13

Saw Oceans 13 tonight. Didn't like it. It wasn't fun. It wasn't plausible. That's all I'm going to say about it. But I can't pass up all the puny headlines.

Here are some. Feel free to add more.

Unlucky Oceans 13

Don't bet on Oceans 13

Soderbergh Gambled And Lost

Odds Are, You're Not Going To Like Oceans 13

Craps! I just saw Oceans 13

Note To Cast Of Oceans 13: Know When To Fold 'Em

Play Your Cards Wrong, You Come Up Oceans 13

Oceans 13 Is A Bust

Hit Me, I just saw Oceans 13

Oceans 13 Is A Double Downer

Split Before Seeing Oceans 13

Actually, it's not that bad. I just couldn't pass up the chance.

The Dramatic Chipmunk Presents: Basic Instinct

Hello. You do not know me.

I am...

The Dramatic Chipmunk!

Today I want to talk about the movie Basic Instinct. It is very dramatic.

The movie starts out with somebody... DEAD!

And then it settles down. But only for a few moments. Michael Douglas is in it. So is Sharon Stone. And Jeanne Tryptophan. She makes me sleepy.

Everybody thinks Sharon done it. Until she flashes... THE BEAVER!

Then Michael Douglas only thinks about The Beaver and nothing else. The Beaver cannot be trusted. But then he thinks Jeanne Trippletoed Sloth is the killer. Because she was... A LESBIAN!

So she dies and they think that the killing is over. But then when Michael and Sharon are mating like crazy squirrels, Sharon reaches down under the bed for something, but she does not get it. They continue to mate like crazy. But then the camera moves down and shows... AN ICE PICK!

I give this movie four out of five nuts. Like I said. It is very dramatic. I will see you again soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

10 Years Later

Isn't it natural to think that we've advanced as a society 10 years later? To think maybe we're a little smarter. A little wiser. A little more experienced.

Then why the hell does the movie Titanic get added to the new AFI Top 100 List?

You can see the list in its entirety over at Film Experience. Nate has done a great job showing what's new and where movies have shuffled around.

All I can say is Good Lord. And to think The Manchurian Candidate, The Third Man and North By Northwest helped make room for that technical turd.

Sgt. Peppers Ambitious Failures Club Band

On paper, the idea of combining a group of Beatles songs to tell a story sounds incredible. Which is why I have picked Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band as my selection for The Ambitious Failure Blog-A-Thon over at This Savage Art. I don't know how this whole thing went down and where it went so wrong, but I can certainly imagine. So that's what I'll do. Here's how I imagine the pitch went down to the studio exec for the idea of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band the movie.

Pitch Guy: So this is what I'm thinking. Take a string of Beatles songs to tell a story. A great story.

Studio Exec: Hmmmmm. Coffee?

Pitch Guy: No, I'm good. What do you think? "She's leaving home", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". The script practically writes itself.

Studio Exec: Mmmmmm Hmmmmm. Interesting. Breath mint?

Pitch Guy: No. No. No. Thank you. So what do you think?

Studio Exec: I love it, I think. Wait? Yes, I love it.

Pitch Guy: Great. Fantastic. It could be big.

Studio Exec: Great. Go run with it.

Pitch Guy: Great. You won't be disappointed (begins to leave).

Studio Exec: Wait!

Pitch Guy: Yes.

Studio Exec: Who is going to write it?

Pitch Guy: Not sure yet. I'm going to shop it around.

Studio Exec: Are you familiar with the story The Great Skycopter Rescue?

Pitch Guy: The Great wha....

Studio Exec: ... Skycopter Rescue. Written by Henry Edwards. He's going to be big. He should write the story.

Pitch Guy: I'm not so sure. No offense, but I've never heard of him.

Studio Exec: NOW. You haven't heard of him NOW. But remember the name. He's going to be big. Could be great for this project.

Pitch Guy: I'll think about it.

Studio Exec: Great. So now we got the idea and the writer.

Pitch Guy: Maybe the writer.

Studio Exec: Right. Maybe. Could be big. Run with it.

Pitch Guy: Great. (begins to leave)

Studio Exec: Wait!

Pitch Guy: What?

Studio Exec: Who stars? The Beatles?

Pitch Guy: Yeah. No. Not the Beatles. They're not together, you know.

Studio Exec: Hmmmmmmm.

Pitch Guy: I was thinking no big stars.

Studio Exec: No. Big. Stars. Hmmmmmmmm. Great! Love it! Run with it.

Pitch Guy: Excellent. Thanks. (begins to leave)

Studio Exec: Wait!

Pitch Guy: Yeah?

Studio Exec: What about another musical group? Say, like the Bee Gees. Yes. Wait? Yes, exactly like the Bee Gees.

Pitch Guy: Wow. Yeah. The Bee Gees huh? Yeah, I wasn't really thinking about them. This doesn't even really need to be a musical venue for anyone. It could just be a great story.

Studio Exec: Yeah. A great story with The Bee Gees. They're hot! Night Fever hot!

Pitch Guy: Yeah, but there's only three of them. You know, if we were going to do the Beatles, we would need four.

Studio Exec: Good point. Good point.

Pitch Guy: So anyways, I'll just be on my way and get to writing that script.

Studio Exec: I'm thinking.... I'm thinking... Peter Frampton as the fourth.

Pitch Guy: Peter Fucking Frampton?

Studio Exec: Yeah. Frampton comes alive! Good leading guy. Long blond hair. The ladies will love him.

Pitch Guy: Peter Fucking Frampton.

Studio Exec: And not just those four. This will be a who's who of today's talent. Like an American version of Tommy.

Pitch Guy: With The Bee Gees. And Peter Fucking Frampton?

Studio Exec: We're just spitballing here.

Pitch Guy: Right. Let me go spitball with the writer.

Studio Exec: Henry Edwards, right? He'll love it.

Pitch Guy: Whatever...

Studio Exec: Great! Henry writing for the Bee Gees and then Frampton just turns up the heat. Love it. Run with it. Write your acceptance speech. This is big.

That's how I imagine this thing going down. Maybe I'm right. But like I said before. It was a great idea but a poor execution. Could have been big. Could have been something. But instead, it was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Music Makes Pictures

For the Filmmusic Blog-A-Thon at Windmills Of My Mind I thought that instead of picking one soundtrack to a movie (probably would have been the soundtrack to Grace Of My Heart) I am going to highlight several tracks from movies that I love.

Fandango I would argue that the dream sequence that happens at the end of this movie might be the most perfect marriage of music and film ever. The sequence begins with "September Fifteenth" by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and ends with "It's For You" by the same duo. The sequence begins with hope, meets regret in the middle and finishes with the truth that all good things must come to an end. There's quite a story that's told in that few minutes. The guitar from both Metheny and Mays keeps the pace while adding just the right crescendos to the drama that unfolds. This entire soundtrack to Fandango is fantastic, but was never released because or rights issues. You can pick up these two songs from the album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls.

Grace Of My Heart The first song on this album is "God Give Me Strength" performed by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. In the movie we watch Denise (Illeana Douglas) sing this song in the recording studio. Matt Dillon's over-reacting to the power of this son almost kills it for me, but fortunately this song is so powerful it's bullet-proof. Or at least Dillon-proof. I was able to see Costello perform this in Kansas City and honestly I was goose-pimply for about a week. This soundtrack is available used on Amazon for a good price.

Lost Highway I read that when David Lynch sat down with Trent Reznor for the soundtrack of Lost Highway, Lynch said that he wanted a song that conjured up images of snakes crawling all over your face. I don't know if the song "The Perfect Drug" does this or not, but I like it. It's fast and angry and a bright spot to this movie. The partial album of this is available on iTunes.

The Royal Tenenbaums I have grown up but haven't managed to grow out of my love for Devo. So naturally I track everything that Mark Mothersbaugh does. As much as I love Devo, I will say that in his work on soundtracks and with Wes Anderson specifically, Mark has shown a level of sophistication in his music I never knew existed. And no song better represents this statement than the short and sweet one that opens this movie titled "111 Arthur Avenue." This entire soundtrack is available on iTunes.

Bugsy Malone I have a sickness and it has a name: Paul Williams. What is it about that strange little man that I like so much? I don't know, I just go with it. At the end of this movie, just when you thought that all hell had broken loose with the splurge tommy guns, here comes "You Give A Little Love" and before you know it, the good guys and bad guys are singing arm in arm completely covered in cream. You can purchase this on Amazon, but it's an import.

Me and You and Everyone We Know This entire soundtrack by Michael Andrews is a perfectly reflection of the characters in the movie. Sweet, innocent and bit twisted. The song "Goldfish" is a wonderful example of this. It plays as the main character Christine follows a car that has accidentally left a goldfish in a bag of water on the back window. It's a strange yet sweet scene because Christine is so intent on making sure this goldfish survives and the song captures that perfectly. You can find this song and the entire album on iTunes.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off John Hughes has always had a knack for finding great music for his movies. But to me nothing captures John Hughes' vision of perfect teendom than "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths. This song plays while Ferris, Sloan and Cameron are walking through The Chicago Art Institute. The scenes cut back and forth from Ferris and Sloan who are happy in love to Cameron who is lost in love and about everything else. The song seems morose as Morrisey swoons, but we all know we're watching a John Hughes movie and everything will eventually turn out perfectly. Can't find this soundtrack anymore, but the individual song is all over the place.

The Last Temptation Of Christ Peter Gabriel has always done his own thing. The fact that "In Your Eyes" became the theme-song of every heart-broken teenager and ultimately one of the worst movie cliches ever doesn't do him much justice. Fortunately, one year earlier he put together an unforgettable soundtrack for Last Temptation Of Christ called Passion. A combination of drums and guitars and horns and a slew of organic items I can't put my finger on. My favorite song from this is "A Different Drum." All I can say is that it haunts me every time I play it. You can find the entire album on iTunes.

Lost In Translation The night that Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson go out in Tokyo, they end up in an apartment with a group of new friends. There they dance to the song "Too Young" by Phoenix and all is suddenly well with the world. You can tell that Murray's character is having the time of his life and the song reflects that feeling perfectly. Interesting bit of trivia: Sofia Coppola is married to the lead singer of Phoenix. You have to buy the entire soundtrack on iTunes to get this song, unless you just buy the individual song which can be found on the album United.

Toys Although I like this movie, I wish it were as good as the song "The Closing Of The Year" promises. It's strange, child-like fun written and performed by Wendy and Lisa of the old Revolution part of Prince and The Revolution. In the movie, the song is performed by Lisa and the children of the workers at the Toy plant. It's an amazing opening scene to the movie, but soon enough it becomes a platform for 'how crazy can Robin Williams get' and loses all the magic. iTunes does not offer this soundtrack, but you can get it used on Amazon pretty cheaply.

In Training Once Again

Two Blog-A-Thons begin today. The Ambitious Failure Blog A Thon over at This Savage Art officially begins and The Filmmusic Blog-A-Thon was to begin tomorrow, but it seems Damian has gotten a case of the antsys in the pantsys.

So while I work for these Blog-A-Thons, I offer you this montage from the great, great Wet Hot American Summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I think, therefore I blog. And that makes for some thinking

It's funny, I honestly e-mailed a friend of mine this past Saturday what the word meme means in blogging lingo. He explained it to me (thank you Paul).

So that leads me to my next question. How do you pronounce it? Let's say I was at a cocktail party and blogging came up and to be in the know I said "yeah, just the other day I was part of a meme." Would I pronounce it like may may? Like mame? Like mem? Like mammy? Somebody help me out here.

Anyway about the meme (pronounced mame here). It was a few days ago that I was at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and I saw that Dennis had been honored for the Thinking Blogger's Award. And I thought, absolutely. Dennis' site is excellent and I am consistently jealous of the thought he puts into his pieces and the subject matter he addresses. Just recently, he wrote a very thoughtful review of Hostel Part II. Thoughtful enough that it made we want to run out and see it and that's really saying something since I don't care much for Eli Roth or his past work. As a writer myself, I know there is 'power in the written word' and Dennis does that phrase proud. In looking at his blog, I realize that I have a lot to learn and am consistently humbled by it and a bit embarrassed at times by some of my posts feeling I didn't spend enough time with them or think them entirely through. I realize at this point that I haven't even really gotten to the point of this post, which means this bad boy is going to be long, so settle in my friends and perhaps grab a snack.

Anyway, as part of the meme (pronounced may may here) Dennis was to in turn list five blogs that made him think. Of course his list was excellent and as thoughtful as the rest of his posts. The last one on his list hit pretty close to home. Not literally, just figuratively. He listed Damian's blog Windmills Of My Mind. Damian and I often share opinions and ideas on each others blogs and I would consider him a 'blogging' friend. So when I saw that this award was bestowed unto him, I was a proud to know Damian and even a bit jealous.

In the world of film blogging there are about three types of bloggers. I call it my three-tiered-film-blogging system TM 1) Those who provide the latest movie news and comment on that. 2) Those who aspire to be movie critics and write review after review. 3) And then those who just comment on film in general because they are fans of film. I fall in the final category and am very happy to do so. I don't want to be a site that gets its traffic based on releasing what color the Hulk is going to be in the upcoming remake. And truth to tell, I'm not incredibly good when it comes to writing reviews. And don't really care to be. I would much rather take a certain element of a new movie and focus on that rather than review the whole movie. I really don't understand the point in retelling the movie to someone who has not seen it and then not talk about the most important part because you're afraid of SPOILERS. To me, that's not really talking film. And that's what I like to do. I am happiest being in the middle of a conversation about a movie or a technique or a director or insert film jargon here. And I am most happy when I am the one who has sparked that debate or conversation. Because ultimately, that's why I do this. I am a film buff, a nerd, a geek. Whatever. I have a wife that likes movies but doesn't love them like me. I have friends that roll their eyes when I talk about director techniques and camera angles. But here in the blogosphere, I am among friends. Friends who want to get as into film as I do. Friends who want to talk about weird and obscure films that others wouldn't think twice about. And when I have written something that has provoked thought or debate, that's a really nice award.

And that leads me to my point finally (Albert Brooks to Holly Hunter in Broadcast News "How do you like that? I buried the lead"). So I'm poking around this morning and I notice that Damian has responded to Dennis' post about the meme (pronounced mammy here) Thinking Blogger's Award and I'm interested in seeing who Damian has picked as his five. He lists them as five blogs without whom Windmills wouldn't be the blog that it is and five bloggers without whom I wouldn't be the person I am. That in and of itself is a pretty damn sweet honor if you ask me. And it was even sweeter to find my name on Damian's list. He describes Lazy Eye Theatre as this:

The thing I love most about Piper's Lazy Eye Theatre is the straightforward, down-to-earth, no-nonsense tenor of its writing. While Piper's unashamed love for all things filmic comes through loud and clear in his blog, he does not corrupt his opinions with condescending, elitist attitudes or feel the need to "dress up" his ideas with empty, pesudo-intellectual jargon. Piper's writing is smart and confident but it is also extremely accessible. There is a simplicity and economy to Piper's posts, a sort of noble "everyman" quality, that is quite refreshing. This is not to suggest that Piper doesn't provoke thought on the part of the reader because he absolutely does. He just doesn't mince words. If Piper feels strongly about something, he will let us all know in no uncertain terms. And yet, throughout it all, Piper manages to maintain a humble and conscientious personality at the same time that he writes about whatever he damn well pleases. Piper's a true original and stopping in at his blog is always a highlight of my day.

My goal with Lazy Eye was and continues to be to create a movie blog that has fun with the entertainment industry while displaying the knowledge to create thought-provoking pieces and do it in such a way as to not seem stuffy or elitist. And I'm honored to be honored by Damian whether there's an award attached to it or not.

So anyway, on with my five bloggers. These bloggers not only make me think: they keep me honest, they make me laugh, they make me want to write better, they make me wish I had come up with that idea myself. In truth, five is too little. Each blog I visit is unique and outstanding to me as I have stated here. But I have not made the rules of this meme (pronounced mem here), and there are rules.

1) If, and only if your blog is one that is tagged on my list below, you must write a post with links to five other blogs you like that consistently make you think (hence, the Thinking Blogger’s Award).

2) Link to this post so people will know whose good idea all this was.

3) Proudly display the “Thinking Blogger Award” logo with a link to the post you wrote.

The Moviezzz Blog - I got turned on to Jim's blog early on in my blogging career (so that means about 5 months ago). If Jim has a job in New England it has to be with the entertainment industry because he is on top of everything. And if he's not writing about it, he's commenting on it on another blog. Because of this, I am often inspired by his posts. Jim can't really be defined by my three-tiered-film-blogging system TM because he covers all the categories. He offers insightful critiques on movies, recent news in the industry and he writes film fan pieces as well. For instance just now, I discovered that Campbell Brown is to leave NBC on my way to a recent favorite piece titled Summer Camp At The Movies. If I gave Jim a trait, it would be that of my conscience. Through his writing, he keeps me honest in how I conduct myself on my blog. And he often challenges my thinking about my posts through posts of his own. Not too long ago, I called Jim "my muse" and I wasn't lying. Here's the proof, Jim. I bestow unto you The Thinking Blogger's Award. Go about your musing way with it and continue to inspire.

100 Films - As all who visit Lazy Eye know, I am a fiend for blog-a-thons and the very first blog-a-thon I wrote for was Lucas' Lovesick Blog-A-Thon at 100 Films. It was sort of a trial by fire for me because I really had no idea what I was doing or even what a blog-a-thon was. From there, I began to e-mail Lucas from time to time for advice. I consulted him often on themes for my first blog-a-thon. What I found most refreshing about Lucas was that he was honest. He cared enough to give me his honest opinion. May not seem like much, but to me, it's a 100 pounds of gold. But more than that, Lucas has given film blogging a purpose. A purpose much higher than just an outlet for film lovers trying to show how movie-smart they are. At 100 Films, you will see that Lucas has created the uber-indie project where he invites every independent filmmaker that has made a movie or short to send it in for him to review it on his site. This doesn't guarantee a positive review, but what it does is help give a voice to independent film. That's so much more important than anything I do or will probably ever do on my blog. And for that, I bestow unto you The Thinking Blogger's award to Lucas. Use it and continue to provide a lush valley for filmmakers to find safe harbor in which to thrive. But don't try to hock this award to help fund your recent movie gravida, which gets a Pittsburgh release July 12th by the way.

DVD Panache - Early on in my blogging career (about six months ago) Adam contacted me out of the blue with a series of questions for his new on-going series titled Friday Screen Tests. I had the distinct honor of being his second entry, following Andy Horbal of No More Marriages! It was the first real sign that someone was reading and Adam nailed me in his description (which leads me to think I should try to be a bit more complex). From there, I have kept in close contact with Adam and followed his blog even closer. Every Friday, I am in complete awe of his Friday Screen Tests because much more than the linking that many bloggers do, Adam gives good insight to the blogs he features giving you more reason to visit the blog than just a recent post. And Adam keeps us wanting more with only a couple posts a week, but that's because each post is complete from start to finish. He blew me away with his incredible post John Carpenter's Decade and explored the depths of the movie The Burbs that I never knew existed. And his post 700 Possible Blog Names is funny, weird and something to behold. Adam, you helped me get started and to say thanks I bestow the Thinking Blogger's Award unto you. Sharpen this award like a pencil and use it to write one more post per week, because twice a week just ain't enough.

Final Girl - I have only recently been turned on to Stacie Ponder's blog Final Girl and man am I lucky to have found it. Recently Eli Roth asked his MySpace friends to take non-horror movie fans to Hostel Part II to get them turned on to horror, which I found to be an idiotic request. Instead they should check out Stacie's site. Not your usual horror fare, Stacie doesn't dress her blog with the macabre even though she spends most of her time talking about 70's and 80's horror movies. Instead, she makes horror palatable, taking funny stabs at horror movies and cliches. Don't believe me? Check out her Tribute To Moustaches of Horror or her post When Nerds Attack. It's one thing to write a review of a movie, it's another to make that review entertainment for someone who isn't even considering ever watching that movie. That's Stacie and that's something. Stacie, I hardly know ye, but take this award and use it to fend off the boogeyman when he jumps through the window right behind you. And we'll see you in the sequel.

Edward Copeland On Film - "You have to have goals, son" (somebody said that somewhere in a movie). And my goal is to be like Eddie, for he is a true fan of film. He writes here, there and everywhere. You can find him at Edward Copeland on Film or at The House Next Door or The Copeland Institute For Lower Learning and the list doesn't stop there, but I will. Edward rarely covers current events, he's too busy replaying Season 2 of Twin Peaks or talking about The Sopranos or honoring the movie anniversaries of Annie Hall and Star Wars. If there is a gap in his film vocabulary, you have to look hard. I did and I found that he seems a little soft in the silent film era (Good Lord, aren't we all) as he readily admits with the post The Greek Gods created a woman. When Edward does cover the now it's to lay praise on the passing of the movie gods and he certainly gives them their due. Going to his blog makes me think I don't know near enough of what I'm talking about. And while I don't always agree with his take on Lynch, he makes me think and isn't that what it's all about. There are several writers who contribute to Edward Copeland on Film, but it bears his name so Edward, I bestow unto you the Thinking Blogger's Award. Hold it from high and be careful you don't poke yourself in the eye with that thing because I think it's sharp.

That's it folks. I'm tired now. There's a lot of writing here and I hope you got this far, because I'm actually quite proud of this post. And proud to be recognized among these people in which I hold so much respect.

Thank you.

What Say You? Rogan Vs. Rogan

It's completely possible that Seth Rogan will be a big star. His lead role in Knocked Up and his friendship with Judd Apatow will certainly steer him in the right direction. So I think it warrants a little peek at his career thus far and maybe decide some next steps for him.

In the 40 Year Old Virgin, Seth Rogan plays a supporting role as a self-indulgent, cocky womanizer. He lives in the moment, has the best times and doesn't think about much else. He's a nice enough guy once you get to know him and funny as all get out. He's not too pretty but gets by all that fueled with high-octane ego.

In Knocked Up, Seth Rogan plays the lead as an everyday schmo. A sweet loser or sorts. A guy who is too scared to talk to the pretty girl and is usually the dumpee rather than the dumper. He wants to do the right thing but doesn't know how. He's not too pretty and like most unpretty guys, he gets by with a laugh or two.

In watching Knocked Up, I couldn't help but think about the two kinds of Seth Rogans. And I couldn't decide which one I liked more. The cocky one or the simple and sweet one. The supporting or the lead actor. I guess I liked a bit of both, but if I suddenly got pulled in to studio executives office and asked the question "which one" I would have to say the cocky supporting role Seth really makes me laugh the hardest. But that's just me.


Monday, June 18, 2007

The Horror, The Horror

The Mexican over at The Mexican DVD Review is hosting Horror Week over at his blog. His first review is of Suspiria. Damn, he's coming out of the gate strong. Check it out and vote for your favorite.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Baseball Challenge

It occurred to me this week after the Royals took 2 of 3 from the Cardinals during the I-70 Series that a good blogging friend of mind, Ray at The Rec, is from St. Louis. And it just so happens he's a Cardinals fan. And since the Royals are actually playing good ball (at least against the National League) and I'm feeling a bit more cocky than I should about a team that has lost 100 games more times than I can count, I would like to take this opportunity to issue Ray this baseball challenge:

If the Royals win the series against the Cardinals beginning tomorrow, Ray has to write a positive review of the movie of my choice. And if the Cardinals win, I have to write a positive review of the movie of Ray's choice.

I will take suggestions for movies in the comments section.

So what about it Ray? Do you accept?

Oh, Bloody Hell

Can you imagine that if at the end of every one of Stanley Kubrick's movies, he made an announcement that stated: you better see this one because I'm not making another movie for about six more years. It would be shameless, but might be motivation since Kubrick's movies were so good. You might just want to get your fix in, knowing that it will be some time before you see another.

The same cannot be said of Eli Roth's movies. Damian over at Windmills Of My Mind has posted about a recent message from Eli Roth's MySpace page about the poor reception to Hostel II. You can read Eli's message here, but allow me to paraphrase. He blames poor receipts on piracy of his movie. Along with his "poor me" message, Eli very subtlety issues a couple of threats. One that says that he plans on taking the rest of the year off before making another movie, so in actuality we're looking at at least two years before we see another movie from him. Man, two whole years. That's 730 days! His second threat is about the death of the 'R' rated horror movie saying that by going to see Hostel II, you are sending a message to Hollywood. He asks all of his "friends" on MySpace to invite their "friends" to go see the movie this weekend because that would really make a difference. He asks his "friends" to invite non-horror movie fans. Now, I have yet to see Hostel II, but I can say based on the subject matter, if you want a horror newbie to stay away from horror forever, bring them to a screening of Hostel or its sequel for they represent horror movies as a whole about as much as The Benchwarmers' represents comedy as a whole.

My problem with Eli Roth is (and I have stated this in many comment sections of many blogs) is that I don't like him being the poster child for horror. I appreciate that he has brought horror to the forefront, but to me horror deserves better. I did not care for Cabin Fever as a debut (you want to see a good horror debut, check out Malevolence). I also don't care for how Roth promotes his films as some sort of cathartic response to the war in Iraq and 9/11. I don't have to see Hostel or its sequel to know that they are not that important of films. And now, Eli tells us that we better see this one because he won't be making another for a while and that by not seeing this, we're contributing to the death of good horror? I would just like to see Eli's film based on what others have to say about it, not him.

Damian asks the rhetorical question "is Eli serious?" And the problem is, I think he is.

My last bit on this is this: I can say what I will and others may to about Eli Roth, but he certainly has made us all a flutter about what he is doing. And like chum in the water, we're all circling and feeding off of it. I honestly plan on seeing Hostel II because I believe it a bit hypocritical to comment on this as much as I have without seeing either I or II. I have made this bed and now I must sleep in it. And as a horror lover, I am interested in seeing where the current state of horror is even if I necessarily don't agree with it. But past that, I'm done talking about Eli. He's really not worth my time if I don't ultimately respect him. He's really given me no reason to.

Remember who knows best.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Snip Snip Apatow

So I saw Knocked Up last night. Funny movie. Not as funny as I thought it would be, but it was still funny. Not as solid a movie as I thought it would be, but definitely the bright spot of this summer thus far.

This marks Judd Apatow's second movie as director. This is a time when he should be learning from past mistakes and improving on them. But in the case of running time, I ain't seeing it. The 40 Year Old Virgin came in at 116 minutes (the unrated version at 133 minutes). Lop about 15 to 20 minutes off that sucker and you've got yourself a very tight and even funnier movie. Maybe somebody said that to him, maybe not. I'm guessing not, because he went out and did it again. Knocked Up rolled in at 129 minutes. Again, you cut 20 minutes off that mother and we're talking great stuff here. Because here's the problem. We're creeping into epic movie time here. The kind of time that's reserved for War movies and Francis Ford Coppola movies. This is supposed to be funny pregnancy time, not Godfather time. And so then I wonder about Apatow. He seems like an approachable, self-effacing kind of guy. And it's not like he's new to this writing stuff. I'm sure he's had his writing edited before. Good Lord, he used to write for TV, the guy knows about edits. So what's with the self-indulgent running times?

Please Judd, as the future king of comedy, please, please, please heed these words: You're funny, but you need to spend a little more time in the editing bay. Because comedy spread over 90 minutes is a wonderful experience. Spread over two hours and ten minutes, less so.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting Knocked Up

Tonight I go to see Knocked Up. I know I'm late in seeing it.

All I can say is man, I wish I worked on that movie. From these clips, it looks like it was a blast.

James Franco gets fired as lead role in Knocked Up, Demoted to a smaller role.

Michael Cera gets fired from Knocked Up

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I Love My Wife

I love her desperately. But I'm not made of wood. If these women wanted to entertain a little sack-time with Mr. Piper, I would not, could not say no. And honestly, who would blame me?

Anne Hathaway

Elisha Cuthbert

Kate Beckinsale

Michelle Monaghan

Alyssa Milano

Kate Winslet

Eliza Dushku

Rachel Weisz

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Living Nightmare

The Shamus asked us for our Top 5 Scariest Movie Characters. And this has to be one of the most disturbing scenes for me involving one of the scariest characters in movie history. Lynch can build a scene like few others. Few directors these days have the patience to let the camera roll and let a scene unfold before us. These days it's all ramps and jump cuts constantly reminding you that you're watching a movie. But not Lynch. He hangs and lingers and creates some of the most powerful cinema to date. The idea that you could be telling someone this horrible nightmare you had and then slowly watch it unfold before you to me is truly terrifying.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ode To O-Ren

I wrote about non-action heroines for the Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon to do a little something different, but the idea of not writing about a true action heroine is just too much for me. So here it is.

Adam over at Crumb by Crumb wrote in his post that he couldn't believe that more people didn't write about Uma Thurman in Kill Bill I or II. I agree, it seems a great choice. And although The Bride eventually defeats O-Ren Ishii in the snow garden, there is no more badass a scene than this one right here. Sorry, but Uma's got nothing on this lady.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Non-Action Heroine

This post is for The Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon over at Film Experience Blog.

For The Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon, I ask this question. Does a woman need to be in an action movie to be a heroine?

The answer is no.

Case in point: Laura (Iben Hjejle) from the movie High Fidelity.

Sure Laura's got the body of a fighter. A buck o five, toned arms, tight ass. But she does not wield guns or swords. Instead, she carries with her the will of 50 men. A will strong enough to see Rob (John Cusak) through every short-coming he suffers from (and it's a lot). The will to love him and help him grow up and make something of his life.

Case in point: Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) from the movie Erin Brockovich.

Erin is tough as nails. She talks tough and says things like "did they teach you how to apologize in lawyer school? 'Cause you suck at it." She raised three children on her own. She did it with a job here, a job there and sometimes unemployed. She changed perceptions of herself when she brought down a major company and helped save a town.

Case in point: Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep) from the movie Silkwood.

Armed with one-heck of a mullet, Karen Silkwood fell into a role she never intended on taking: blowing the whistle on an Oklahoma Nuclear plant with dangerous business practices. It would have been easier to go about her way in the male-dominated career she chose, but she did what was right and possibly died for it.

Case in point: Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) from the movie Working Girl.

Not bitchy or brassy, Tess quietly rose above her Jersey accent and blond hair to take the stock market market world by storm. Battling perceptions and one nasty boss in Sigourney Weaver, she beat the system that was pitted against her and won the heart of Harrison Ford in the process.

Case in point: Edna 'E' Mode (voice of Brad Bird) from the movie The Incredibles.

Edna is not a super hero, she just dresses them. Small in size, but big in presence, Edna does not mince with small-talk. She is all business when it comes to finding the perfect outfit for the perfect super hero. Only a few minutes of screen time, she was as super as Mr. Incredible himself.

Case in point: Molly McGrath (Goldie Hawn) from the movie Wildcats.

Molly is cute and petite and she loves football. Early in her childhood she took the path less traveled, trading in her dollies for footballs. And while she grew up in a society that had no female football players, she made her own way coaching the Wildcats, a high school football team you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. But she turned them into winners and all of us into believers.

All of these women are heroes. Superwomen without the spandex. They faced insurmountable odds and overcame incredible feats without fists or guns or swords or fancy karate moves. There are more. But in truth, not enough. Not enough tough women in movies. In action, drama, comedy, horror, or whatever. Too often they're supporting or supportive and more often than not dismissed all together. So it's important that we celebrate them. Hold them high. Praise them. And most importantly, cry for more, more and more.