I don't know, there's just something about Christina Ricci.
I've loved her ever since she showed me the naughty little valley down her backside in The Ice Storm. She's like the girl you forget during school but get drunk and curious with that night.
And now she's playing Trixie in the upcoming Speed Racer. And what kind of casting coup is that? Seriously, what would you have to do to her in makeup? She already has freakishly big eyes spread a tad too far apart. A head that's slightly too big for her body. And a straw-like neck. Everything you need to look exactly like a Japanese cartoon character. And even after all of that, I still love the woman.
I have no idea how Speed Racer will turn out, but while all those state-of-the-art special effects are flashing before me, mine eyes will be affixed to Trixie and that pink little tank top of hers.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Cops. Sometimes they come in pairs, sometimes they work alone. And sometimes they work with dogs. Sometimes they're undercover, sometimes in full attire. Some are crooked and others are by the book. Some are crooked looking to get straight and some are so crooked they make the bad guys look good. Whatever you want to say about cops, they make for some damn fine cinema. So let's celebrate them and hope they read this before the next sobriety check comes around. Give me your top 5 cop movies. Here are mine in no particular order.
1. Hot Fuzz The more I see this film, the more it grows on me. A great spoof with gags around every corner and a little horror thrown in for good measure. What more could you ask for?
2. Die Hard The reluctant hero never looked so good as Bruce Willis. And Hanz may be one of the best baddies around.
3. Prince Of The City Treat Williams had an out of body experience during this film he was so good. To me this is the essential corrupt cop film.
4. Lethal Weapon 2 The first one was a thinking man's buddy cop film. The second one had a lot more fun.
5. The French Connection If I'm ever in some kind of playground game where we're picking cops to be on our team and it's my turn to choose and Popeye Doyle is available... I'm picking that salty sumbitch to be on my team.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I want to see Tropic Thunder for lots of reasons. Let us count them together.
1. Robert Downey Jr. as a black dude.
2. Jack Black. Will he return to pure comedic form or will I write him off forever.
3. Ben Stiller playing more of his neurotic self and less an idiot caricature.
4. Nick Nolte, this year's Gary Busey.
5. Tom Cruise. He's listed in the credits and he's nowhere in the trailer. I have to admit as much as I hate the guy, I'm interested.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
So something more recently that's really irked me is the slew of car commercials promoting better gas mileage. Commercials for Kia and for Dodge where there are songs about people forgetting where the gas cap is located or even forgetting about gas altogether. Wow, a car that gets good gas mileage? Seriously? I mean, why not wait for a barrel of oil to reach $150 before promoting good gas mileage? Why not wait for gas to reach $4.00 a gallon? Why now? Europe has been making fuel efficient cars for close to 30 years now and here we are touting cars that get 34 miles per gallon. I love these car manufacturers who advertise better gas mileage like they invented it and broadcast it like no one was thinking about it before now. And you can sing all the songs you want, but 34 mpg ain't too much so you'll be thinking about gas a lot sooner than you think. Now go and invent a car that gets 50 mpg or better yet requires no gas at all and then sing your heart out. Sing until your lungs bleed. Until then, quit telling us what we already know and making it seem like some kind of revelation.
Posted by PIPER at 6:59 PM
Friday, April 25, 2008
I'm from the Midwest, so I'm supposed to be humble which I am for the most part. But every once in a while I'm not, and that embarrasses me so I have to disguise it. See if you can tell which link I really want you to visit.
msnbc shows us the hottest national retirement communities.
eHow shows us how to remove a sliver from a dog's paw.
The Large Association Of Movie Blogs is having its first ever LAMMY AWARDS and Lazy Eye Theatre is looking for your nomination in any or all categories including Best Blog, Best Running Feature (What Say You?, Mayhem or Top 5 Tuesdays), Best Blog Name, and so on and so forth. If you are a fellow LAMB and are impressed with my wares, then please nominate Lazy Eye Theatre. VOTE FOR LAZY EYE THEATRE!
The National Audubon Society Field Guide To North American Butterflies provides us butterfly basics.
The current weather in Kansas City.
Posted by PIPER at 6:57 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Fortunately for you, I'm not going to do that. I actually have a point in this post. But let me first take you back 10 years ago this past February. My birthday is Valentines Day. AAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh, ain't that sweet? It ain't. But anyway, on my birthday I received a Playstation (pronounced play stay shun - you know like the commercials). I was excited because very soon (in less than a week) I was going to be a father and so my window to blow late nights on stupid video games was quickly closing. That afternoon I ran out and purchased a game titled Resident Evil 2. I really knew nothing about it except I had seen a commercial and it looked cool. I began playing it that afternoon and to make a long story short, I finished the game the night before I went to the hospital for my wife to have our son. It was an incredible game. I remember being in a place about halfway through the game when I had to go down some dark stairs. I couldn't see the bottom, but I could hear something moving around down there. I remember walking around to every doorway trying whatever I could to avoid going down those stairs because I was terrified about what I would see. Now that's a fucking game! When I finished I vowed I would never play that kind of game again because it took too much of me.
I kept that promise for 10 years and a handful of days. On my birthday this year, I received Resident Evil 4 for the Wii. I was excited to get it, but I put it off because I knew what lay before me if I popped it in the machine. A few days ago, I came home from work and found my son playing it with one of his friends. After watching it for a few minutes, I was sucked back in. I have now played it for the past few days and 10 years may have put some more pounds on the belly and a few grays in the hair but I haven't changed one ounce from the guy who played the game 10 years ago. And the worst part is, this game is ten times as fucking scary. Villagers that seem nice at first, yell at me in languages I can't understand and then attack me with random gardening tools. Blind-folded women in Little House On The Prairie skirts come at me with crazy screams and chainsaws. Weird invisible bugs scatter along the ceilings and jump on me to tear my face off. Crazy monks whisper little sayings as they come after me and laugh right before they swing a mace upside my head. It's non-fucking-stop-terror. I don't want to play it anymore because it's too intense, yet I can't stop playing it because it's so engrossing. I keep thinking I've seen it all and I'll stop being scared, but that's when crazy wolves attack me with tentacles bursting out of their back. And it's not like it's a horror movie that ends after two hours. This game goes on and on. It's like a string of sequels where each sequel is better and scarier than the previous.
On second thought, that headline isn't an overstatement at all.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Robots. They're going to be our masters one day so let's honor them now and put ourselves in a favorable position for when the hammer comes down. Give me your top 5 movies with robots. Here my list, and it's completely random.
1. Robocop Who knew Peter Weller had such identifiable lips.
2. The Iron Giant One of my favorite animated features from Brad Bird.
3. Blade Runner You don't really get the satisfaction of seeing the metal brutes in full glory because of all that stupid skin and veins and stuff.
4. Runaway Maybe it's Gene Simmons, maybe it's Selleck's stash, but I love this movie.
5. Terminator 2 I actually prefer the first one, but I gotta give it up to the special effects here.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
As a parent, it occurs to me that we want our children to be popular. To be able to hang. It may not be at the surface, but it's there. Of course we want our children to be independent and we want to celebrate their differences, but there it still is in the back of our brains, the desire. We measure ourselves as parents by how are children are received. So there is desire. The desire for busy schedules and busier weekends. And it's an honest desire. Because we've been taught that our kids should be popular. That they should fit in.
And there are the movies. The Weird Science's, the Breakfast Clubs, the Sixteen Candles', the Revenge Of The Nerds', the Never Been Kissed', the Lucas', the Can't Buy Me Loves'. These movies teach us and have taught us that it's okay to not be popular. To be different is the thing. But that's Hollywood and this is the real world and in the real world parents sleep a little better knowing that their kids fit in.
Well, I'm here to tell you that Hollywood got it right. I think about when I first saw Breakfast Club and I listened to Molly Ringwald talk about the pressures of being popular and how she had to act a certain way or face ridicule from her friends. And when I heard that monologue, I remember rolling my eyes a bit because it seemed so foreign to me. Sure my school had its cliques but the lines were pretty blurry. And I just don't think that's the case anymore. My niece attends the same high school I used to back in Lincoln and from what I've heard, the school has changed drastically. It's now a lot more Mean Girls than anything else. I'm not sure how Mean Girls would have played 20 years ago. It may have been received as too nasty. But fast forward a little and suddenly you have a movie that's a perfect window into today's high school society.
And when I think about that and about my children's futures in high school, I want nothing else than for them to be straight up geeks. Right now as I write this, I'm contemplating going out and buying two 20 sided dice, drilling a hole through them, attaching them to a string and putting them around both of my children's necks as some sort of garlic from the A-Listers. They'll thank me later.
Linday Lohen's character Cady in Mean Girls often draws the parallels between high school and the jungle. In hallway warfare it truly is survival of the fittest and I say it's best to go straight nerd and steer clear of the fight all together.
Posted by PIPER at 7:08 PM
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Last year I started an idea called Plot Farm. Remember? How about now? What about this? Anyway, it allowed all you out there to spread your creative wings and write your very own movie plot from the words that I supplied.
Well, it seems the Plot Farm has gotten the ole' 2.0 upgrade and is now currently being featured at the Large Association of Movie Blogs.
But now it's been updated. Broken down and built back up again to be better than ever before. So check it out and submit your plots.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
So I gotta do the lazy thing and dip into the ole' YouTube bag o' tricks for some quick material.
And I found one of the sweetest videos on YouTube ever created. That's right.
The video is the fight scene from They Live... now if I stopped there, that would be something. Maybe not something incredibly fantastically great. But it would be pretty frickin cool because that's a great fight. Say what you will about They Live, but that's a great damn fight. Okay, it's the fight scene from They Live.... again, if I stopped there, that would be worth it. My work would be done. People would say "Piper's lazy, but he's got good taste when he's lazy."But when I go lazy, I don't go half-assed lazy. I give 110% in my complete lazy assedness. So that's why I've posted the fight scene from They Live, inter-cut with the cripple fight from South Park.
Pretty damn sweet if you ask me.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Well friends. It seems O-Ren Ishii is up to some more killin' as part of the Sirens Of The Lambs Tournament at Large Association Of Movie Blogs. O-Ren killed off her first victim and now has Cherry Darling from Planet Terror dead in her sights. So head on over and read the narratives and place your vote.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
So give me your top 5 baseball movies. Or movies involving baseball at some point in the movie.
Here's some help.
And here are mine in no particular order.
1. Bull Durham
2. Major League
3. Bad News Bears (1976)
4. Field Of Dreams
5. The Natural
Monday, April 7, 2008
Zodiac You brought me great joy even though you were about a real-life serial killer. The good news is that the rotten A-hole only got one of your discs and not both and besides I didn't own the 2-Disc Directors Cut and that will be better anyway. But I hope that you break in half and get lodged in the veiny portion of the neck of the jack-hole who stole you from me.
Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix This movie belonged to my son, you rotten bastard. A movie about magic for children that you stole. I guess there is no magic in the world, only people who steal random movies. I hope that when you pop this in your DVD player, it pops right back out and shoots across the room right into your leg, rendering you gimpy and then you discover that your front door is open and unlocked and a bunch of children come in and beat you to death with Sock'em Boppers.
City Of God A fun little movie about gang warfare in Brazil. Speaking of gang warfare... why don't you find some, you ass-munch, and get in the middle of it.
Tears Of The Black Tiger Brand spanking new, I took this out of the plastic and put it into my case hoping to watch it. I had heard very good things about it so hopefully the soily fuck-nut who took it from me might be cultured enough to enjoy an Asian Western. But actually, I hope you decide to try and hock it for a cheap pair of roller skates and those cheap pair of roller skates are possessed only you don't know that when you put them on. And they roll you down a large hill into oncoming traffic.
Day Of The Dead The third movie in Romero's on-going zombie saga. Hopefully you've stolen the other two of these nutjob so you can truly enjoy the whole story. Otherwise, please slip this disc under your eyelid and blink a lot.
A Shock To The System A sleeper of a movie starring Michael Caine and maybe one of the best advertising movies ever made. I got it for a steal... and speaking of steal that's what you did with it you assy stink-hole. I hope that the disc breaks in two and both pieces get lodged in your back and someone plugs you into the wall and makes you dance like a monkey and you become some kind of sideshow freak that everyone gawks at and feels sorry for. Only I won't feel sorry for you because you're a stinkin' thief.
The Driver Another brand spanking new movie that I have never seen. Please enjoy the pristine quality of the disc. Marvel at its non-scratched shininess. And then fall on it 26 times in a row you pantie-waste.
Wonder Boys A sentimental favorite and one that had been in the case for a couple of months because I always enjoy watching it in the winter. A great performance by Michael Douglas as an aging writer and one of Katie Holmes' last performances before she went crazy. Fortunately, you're not considered Curtis Hanson's greatest achievement so you should cost next to nothing when I repurchase you. But I hope for some reason you end up on the dash of the ass-licker who stole you from me and that ass-licker gets in a horrible car accident and you become a death object that gets lodged in his forehead.
Inland Empire A David Lynch disc, you dill-weed. One of my favorite directors, you fart-knocker. And I haven't even seen the whole damn thing but I know that it's got life-size bunnies in it and I'm only hoping that nothing terrifies you more than life-size bunnies and when you see the movie and see the life-size bunnies, you curl up in a little ball, piss your pants and go into instant shock and never recover. And if that doesn't do the trick, I'll bring my copy of Donnie Darko for you to steal as well.
Land Of The Dead Not one of Romero's best. You can have this one you shitbag.
Posted by PIPER at 5:25 AM
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I check the faith in humanity meter from time to time. Not by a set schedule mind you, but every so often when I'm curious or when I think to do it. Well, I checked it today and it's pretty low folks. I can't pinpoint the exact reason, but I can tell you that the recently new to DVD The Mist isn't helping things.
I like Stephen King books. I know they aren't changing the world and probably aren't increasing my brain mass. His characters are flat and often rehashed from different stories. Each one seems to show some kind of psychosis as they continually repeat a single line throughout. At first it seems kind of creepy, but about three books in it just seems redundant. His settings are often simplistic and the plots even more so. Does it still sound like I like Stephen King books? Well, I do. Where Stephen King's strength lies is in his ability to paint dark pictures in your head. To whip off page after page about how scary topiary animals can be. Or a damn Saint Bernard. Or a possessed car. Stephen Kings books are an escape. Nothing more and nothing less. When you pick up a Stephen King book, you know what you're going to get and he delivers on all fronts.
What director/writer Frank Darabont did when he wrote and directed Shawshank Redemption was to bring substance to Stephen King's writing. To create more complex characters. To create a feeling other than dread. And what made that movie stand out is that no other director had really done that with King's work. If you were to ask some favorite King movies, The Shining might be front and center. And while it's very good in all its creepiness, you don't really care for any of the characters. You like Jack Nicholson because, well, he's Jack Nicholson. You like Scatman Crothers because he's cool as shit. And you want Shelley Duvall to die in about every scene she's in. The only reason you want them to live is because good old fashioned storytelling tells us they should.
And based on most of Darabont's directorial efforts, you would say that the man is not lacking in his faith in humanity. In Shawshank Redemption, deep friendships are formed behind bars. Libraries are made. Moments on the hot roof drinking beer are cherished. It's as flowery as one can get when one is directing a movie about criminals. But I suppose that not unlike the Disney girl who eventually has to grow up and show that she's not a Disney girl anymore, Darabont went dark with The Mist to show that he wasn't just about sweet characters and flowery endings. His faith in humanity dropped dramatically. And it's for this reason that I had trouble with the movie.
Within only hours of being trapped in the grocery store, a small little town begins to turn on itself. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) the main character tries to calm a situation in the back of the grocery store and is greeted with threats of violence from the simple mechanic Jim Grondin (William Sadler). Obviously there is a class struggle there. The upscale Hollywood guy (David paints movie posters) is perceived to be talking down to the mechanic. But there is no moment where it seems the two might work together. The tension is immediate as if pre-destined. Later as the group comes into contact with one of the creatures, David attempts to tell his neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher) what he has just seen, but Brent won't have any of it. The story is unbelievable for certain, but Brent immediately dismisses any opportunity to prove it right or wrong. At the beginning of the movie, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) is declared a kook by everyone, yet a couple days later she is held up as a prophet and has most of the people in the grocery store ready to kill for her. Is everyone really this desperate? This directionless? Obviously, extreme circumstance create extreme reactions but I wanted that scene or that moment in the film that helped bridge the gap from happy little town to desperate mob and I never got it.
I think back to the slasher films. To the Friday The 13ths. There was no separation there. They did not split and scheme. Once the monster is revealed, they bond together to survive. Of course there comes a time when that formula has been played, but we've also seen "I saw the monster and it was us" time and time again and I guess I was hoping for a little something more from Darabont. For a little more depth to the characters. For a little more nontraditional approach being that Darabont is not a horror director.
Of course the ending is about as bleak as one can get. If you're familiar with the ending of the movie Open Water, you begin to get a feeling of the hopelessness of The Mist. On the final scene, David stands alongside his car as the lone survivor of his group. He yells for the monsters in the mist to come and kill him. But instead he is greeted by an army tank and soliders and as the camera pulls back we begin to see that the mist is clearing off. More and more cars pass filled with survivors and in a quick glance, we see a short-haired woman from the beginning of the movie. She was one of the first to leave the grocery store after the mist had appeared to get home and protect her kids. She asked for assistance to her car but no one volunteered to come with her. The fact that she survived with her children and David did not seems like a mixed message here. If we are to believe that David ultimately did the wrong thing then why make him such a likable everyman? Why not make him the traditional two-dimensional Stephen King character. One that helps move the story along but one we don't really care much about? The only answer I can conclude is that the ending was created for no other reason than to shock. To show that Frank Darabont isn't just about sweet characters and flowery endings. But bleakness without message is rather empty, don't you think?
For some more healthy debate on this, check out Evil On Two Legs.
Posted by PIPER at 5:51 AM
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
BEN: Piper from Lazy Eye Theatre. You're up next.
PIPER: Alright, let's see what we get here.
SFX OF WRAPPING PAPER BEING TORN
PIPER: It's. It's. It's Medium Cool. Oh man, can't wait to watch this. It's really bad isn't it? I mean, I'll laugh because it's so bad. Can't wait. This will be fun.
BEN: Piper, Piper. Medium Cool is a serious look at political tension during the 1968 National Democratic Convention. It's directed by the Academy Award winning Cinematographer Haskell Wexler. It's a serious commentary on news coverage in politics and more specifically on racial tension.
PIPER: Wow. A heavy political drama, huh? One with a message? Can I put this back and open another one?
BEN: Nope. You get what you get. Medium Cool is good. It's got Robert Forster in it.
PIPER: So it's not bad? Like bad good? Like it's really bad, but that makes its really good?
BEN: No. It's good. Like good good.
PIPER: Oh. Okay. Hey Ed, you got Spy Kids 3-D. Loves me a good 3-D movie in 2-D. Do you want to trade?
ED: Um. No.
PIPER: Bemis. How about you? What movie did you get?
BEMIS: I didn't get anything.
PIPER: What are you talking about? It's right there in your hand.
BEMIS: Oh right... Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.
PIPER: That sucks.
PIPER: Yeah, you got screwed. How about a hotbed of political unrest?
PIPER: I'm talking Medium Cool? One of the films of its time. It has Peter Boyle in it.
BEMIS: No thanks.
PIPER: Hey Marilyn what'd you get?
MARILYN: Theodore Rex. It's a buddy cop movie. You know, Whoopi Goldberg and... a dinosaur.
PIPER: Good Lord that sucks. No, I'm serious that sucks. That's bad bad. Not bad good. Good luck with that Marilyn. Excuse me?
PIPER: I'm Piper from Lazy Eye Theatre
SARAH: Sarah from Tomato Nation.
PIPER: So what'd you get there?
SARAH: King Kung Fu.
PIPER: Oh. Wow. Sucks to be you I guess.
SARAH: I guess.
PIPER: I mean 90 minutes wasted on crap. Can't get that time back.
SARAH: It'll be fun.
PIPER: No it won't. You know what will be fun? Racial tension in the 60s. A love story set against the backdrop of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Timely, huh? We're talking an important political movie here. You must see this. You owe it to your country!
SARAH: Please leave me alone.
PIPER: There's a boy in the movie that likes Pigeons. Do you like Pigeons?
SARAH: Go away.
BEN: Um, Piper.
PIPER: Hey Ben.
BEN: You need to leave now.
PIPER: Seriously, I mean I've only tried six of those little spinach and bacon pie thingies and I haven't even got to the shrimp.
BEN: You're spooking the guests.
PIPER: Can I grab a couple of beers for the road?
BEN: Just go home, watch Medium Cool and write about it.
PIPER: Okay. I will. I will watch it. I will pay attention to the political messages. And I will drink up the irony of newscasters covering news they see fit and not news that's really, you know, newsworthy. I will marvel at Haskell Wexler's experimental directing style. And I will appreciate the timeliness of this pick and the election year. I will take my medicine and I know it will be good for me. But I would much rather grab a big slice of double-lard white cake otherwise known as Raptor or Ernest Goes To Jail or Flash Gordon.
Posted by PIPER at 4:50 AM
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
So expect my post on my movie soon and until then, check out The 2nd Annual White Elephant Blogathon at Lucid Screening.