Thursday, November 29, 2007

Giving Credence To Chainsaw Sculpture

I'm going to break from my normal whittling writing to give some much-due respect to what some consider the step-child of the whittling world. And that would be chainsaw sculpture.

Whittling purists will quickly dismiss this idea, but I would hope that with my 26 years of whittling history under my belt, I might be able to sway some skeptics with my arguments.

It's true that the classic whittling knife (I call mine Georgina) has been replaced with a much more crude device - that being the chainsaw - but I have seen many chainsaw sculptures in my time that I have found to be as gracefully crafted as any miniature I have adorning my shelves at home. And yes, chainsaw sculpture is not something you can do on a lazy Saturday afternoon when you have 30 minutes to spend while waiting on an old friend. Or in the wee hours of the evening when the joints ache something terrible and you can't sleep.

But I would argue that chainsaw sculpture is deserving of whittling praise because of its sheer scale. How often do friends come over and completely dismiss the hours you have spent whittling countless hobos and sad clowns? And being the modest whittler I am, I rarely point them out unless someone asks. But with chainsaw sculpture, your work can be front and center for all to see. A Paul Bunyan (with Babe at his side?) to accompany your door step. Or a proud grizzly bear to look over your flower garden. These are not eye-sores, they are monuments dear friends.

So next time you pass a wooden eagle with talons open ready to snatch its prey or a grizzly with a fresh salmon betwixt its claws, give it a moment of respect with a quick pause or even a simple nod. This is the 2.0 of whittling and it is glorious.

And remember, always cut away. Always cut away.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Winter Holiday Puppet Schedule Is Here!!!!

Great news. After months of laboring over loads and loads of material, we've finally nailed down our Winter Holiday Schedule for the Lazy Eye Puppet Theater. And this year promises to be our best ever!

I'm pleased to announce some brand new shows that we will be doing and for the first time ever, we will be performing late night puppet theater FOR ADULTS ONLY.

Saturday December 8th and Sunday December 9th

The Christmas Carol Finger Puppet Show at 1, 3 and 5 o'clock

The Lazy Eye hand puppets perform Flesh Gordon at 10 p.m. and midnight. ADULTS ONLY and B.Y.O.B.

Saturday December 15th and Sunday December 16th

It's A Wonderful Life With Strings Attached as performed by the Lazy Eye Marionettes at 1, 3 and 5 o'clock.

The Lazy Eye Rod Puppets perform The Joy Of Sex at 10 p.m. and midnight. ADULTS ONLY and LADIES GET HALF OFF ADMISSION.

Saturday December 22nd and Sunday December 23rd

The Nutcracker as performed by the Lazy Eye Shadow Puppets at 1,3 and 5 o'clock.

The Lazy Eye Pop-Up Puppets perform The Devil and Miss Jones at 10 p.m. and midnight. ADULTS ONLY and STAY FOR THE KEY PARTY AFTER THE SHOW.

Price of admission is $10 for Adults and $6 for Kids. Please don't bring children under 4 because they are likely to go up on stage and touch the puppets and that will disrupt our performance. Tickets go on sale one hour before each show.


Don't Forget To Support Live Puppet Theater!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Please pass the nutmeg

I have a proposal, and I know that to write this proposal is to create shockwaves the likes of which the spice world has never seen.

I propose that nutmeg become a condiment on every table in the world. As common as salt or pepper.

I will allow a brief pause for you to readjust your thinking.

I know this is radical spice thinking, but when you break it down it doesn't seem so radical at all.If you haven't tasted nutmeg before, it has a sweet and somewhat spicy taste. And of course as its name suggests, there's some nuttiness in there as well. But it's not so much how nutmeg tastes, it's what it does that makes it amazing. For one, it's good for digestion, which might suggest why it is a nice complement to eggnog year after year. It is also recommended for bad breath. And fevers. And headaches. Most of our nutmeg learnings come the Chinese who used it as an appetite stimulant, an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-spasmodic and a carminative. And best of all, nutmeg has also been known to be an aphrodisiac.

Of course, there are drawbacks. Too much nutmeg may cause hallucinations.

So what do you say spice lovers? Dust off that old bottle of nutmeg and put it front and center on the table. Sprinkle some on your steak or dust it on your fries. Better yet, use it in your next soup. Its time nutmeg rose to the greatness it once saw in the twelfth century.

And as always, here's hoping you're having a spicy day.

Top 5 Tulips

It's that time of the week again, readers. Time for me to list my top five favorite flowers. And today I'm going to list tulips. I know what you're saying - but Piper, isn't it past tulip planting season? The first hard freeze has already come and gone. Shouldn't we be talking about tulips in the coming Spring? Worry not my readers, I haven't gone silly, I'm just trying to give you a head start.

So here they are.

1. Fusilier This is called a showstopper every year in the Better Homes and Gardens test garden, so if you want BHG to start calling, better start planting.

2. Estella Rijnevld Called a parrot tulip, it's often referred to as the perfect tulip with its bold red and white stripes. Perfect for cutting and placing around the house.

3. Montreaux This is a risky call for the top 5 I know because it looks more like a peonie than a tulip but I am always hypnotized by its ivory-yellow flowers.

4. Prinses Irene These tulips offer up the strangest color combination of orange and purple. I call these my little step children and often get a laugh at tea parties. Feel free to use my joke.

5. Big Smile Plant these and know why they got their name. They bloom later in Spring and are a perfect way to end tulip season.

Those are my top 5 tulips, what are yours?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Every time a bell rings...

I'm no fan of Blockbuster, but I do love this spot for the holidays. See if you can guess all the movie references.

More On The Writer's Strike

If you don't know this already, I work in advertising. Specifically on the Sonic Drive-In campaign. If you don't know the campaign, it's simple enough, two guys or a couple sitting in a car on the Sonic lot talking about Sonic's food. The guy in the driver's seat is Peter Grosz. He's a wonderful improv comedian, one hell of a writer and I'm proud to say he's a friend. In addition to starring in the Sonic commercials and several movies, he also writes for the Colbert Report.

I have to say I'm quite surprised that this strike has gone on so long. The motion picture and television producers are clearly in the wrong and there must be some really large egos involved (like I should be surprised) for this to have not been concluded on their end. But if there's one good thing to come out of this strike thus far, there's some good writing going on. Case in point is this video written by Peter and I'm sure several other Colbert Report writers and starring Peter. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frampton Comes Alive For Geico

Peter Fucking Frampton is alive and pimping for Geico. I love this guy in a quiet not to admit that too loud kind of way and love that he used the good old voicebox for this commercial.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Go To Thanksgiving Movies

Every holiday seems to dust off some old favorites for the season. Two nights ago I watched The Road To Wellville again because it feels like a holiday movie to me (partially because it takes place during Christmas and partially because the first time I saw it was with my father over Thanksgiving) and I think it's just a fantastic movie so I decided to watch it again. I had gotten in a fight with my son that night so the scenes between Dr. Kellogg (Anthony Hopkins) and his son George (played by a surprisingly good Dana Carvey and even better by Jacob Reynolds) brought me some comfort that night. Not to mention the writing is brilliant. Lines like "An erection is a flagpole on your grave" and "the enemas take some getting used to, but, in time, you'll learn to look forward to them like an old friend with a cold nose" are simply classic.

RC at Strange Culture recommends Pieces Of April as a nice Thanksgiving treat. I of course have to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with everyone and then when the kiddies go to bed, the wife and I like to watch Home For The Holidays. This movie received a lot of criticism and I try to find the nicks and the cracks in an attempt to grasp where this film misses but can't for the life of me find anything wrong. To me, this is what the holidays are about. They are about tension and weird family members and confrontations and it's all wonderful. A sweet holiday gathering is good for Hallmark, but it's boring for the rest of us. This movie tells it like it is and because of that no other movie honestly celebrates family like Home For The Holidays. And seriously, how can you not love Robert Downey Jr. in any role?

Anyway, that's my Go To Thanksgiving movie. What are yours?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Breakdown Of The New Cloverfield Trailer

What was previously known simply as 1-18-08 is now revealed as Cloverfield which was at first the working title but now seems to be the real title which may have always been the original title but 'they' made us think it was the working title. Confused? You should be, Cloverfield is after all produced by J.J. Abrams, the genius behind the mindfuck that is the television show Lost. There are many layers to Lost. Lots of loose ends and double meanings and I tried to keep up for about a week but then got lost myself.

Judging from what I've seen thus far from Cloverfield, it looks like J.J. Abrams is up to the same shit. What is it that's causing the huge explosions? What has ripped the head off the Statue Of Liberty? Is it just in New York, the United States or the whole world? I guess we'll have to wait until 1-18-08 if that is indeed the date of its release. It might be coordinates to place that tells us what's next. Who knows? But fear not, I am going to break down the new Cloverfield trailer for you so that everything thus far about the movie will be crystal clear.

Cloverfield is produced by Paramount. Or maybe that's just what they want you to believe. Maybe Cloverfield wasn't produced at all, whatever that means.

Area formerly known as "Central Park". So the entire movie is an amateur video when 'something' attacked and now "Central Park" and maybe all of New York, The United States or the world doesn't exist anymore. Or after this video somebody said "you know, I'm kinda done with the name Central Park. Let's try something else, like Middle Park."

There's a big explosion in the middle of New York. Something big had to have caused that. Something big and something pissed.

And whatever that 'something' is, it's got something against the Statue Of Liberty because it just tossed Liberty's head like it was a tennis ball.

This is kind of hard to see but it is actually one building resting on another. So that means there is a lot of destruction going on. But it could also mean that the building is just tired and needs to lean on another building which would suggest that buildings are not buildings at all, but real living organisms. Maybe that's what the 'something' is, it's just a big building that hates all the other buildings.

A camera card stating that J.J. Abrams is producing this which in effect means that you can't trust shit. The whole thing you've watched thus far could not be the movie at all. It could be a TV movie within the movie or some shit like that. And what's with that name anyways? Maybe J.J. Abrams isn't producing at all. Wait, if I just move the letters around here a bit... there. The movie is actually produced by A.M. JABRJS. Or is that A.J. JAMBRS. Now we're making some sense.

From the trailer, this is Rob. Rob seems to be a nice guy and Rob is going away somewheres until this 'something' happened to New York. Here he's panicked and on the phone asking "where's Beth?" So who is Beth? Is that short for Elizabeth? Elizabeth Hurley? Is it a guy named Beth? Or is it the nickname of that 'something' that is blowing up New York? Maybe Beth isn't a person or a thing at all? Maybe it's a code that unlocks an underground labyrinth of scientists that are conducting this gigantic terrorist experiment on New York to see how the people will really react.

These are people running towards a light. Oh, I get it. They're all dead. Now it makes sense.

This is a black frame. But maybe not. Maybe it's a nude woman in a tall glass of Coca-Cola telling me to buy more material goods. Suddenly I want a large order of Popcorn and some Junior Mints really bad.

Now it seems people are running away from the light. No, don't run away from the light. Go to the light. And it looks like that woman is going to throw up. Is the light making you sick, honey? It's a sickly light. Don't go into the light! Stay away from the light!

The army is involved. But wait, this guys face is blurry. Which means that the tape we are watching which is the movie has already been tampered. The government has gone in and made changes. What aren't we seeing here? Or maybe that guy is just deformed and it looks like pixels. Dude, that's some bad acne.

There's that damn light again. And now nobody knows what to do. Should they run to it? Should they run away from it? Will it make them vomit? Shit, I don't know.

This could be one of two things. Two military men dressed in haz-mat suits hauling away a woman which means that this 'something' in the movie may or may not be spreading something. Or this could just be two wild bears having their way with a woman behind a sheet of plastic.

Here is the military firing several shots at this 'something' which suggests it is flying or it's really tall.

Tanks are involved which means that guns won't do the job to this 'something' so they need to bring in the bigger firepower.

These women turn around to what sounds like bug sounds and flapping wings and they ask "did you hear that?" Is this 'something' a bug of some kind? A gigantic beetle? A grasshopper? Come on. Tell me it's not a big bug. I think I'll be pissed if this is just a big-ass bug.

And here's the shot of the Statue Of Liberty again without her head. This is supposed to anger us and make us want this gigantic beetle or whatever it is to be dead. Or maybe this 'something' is none other than David Blane and he hasn't removed the head, he has just made it disappear.

Now you can view the new trailer in full and know exactly what is going on all thanks to me. You're welcome.

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Loves Stephen King

Is there any author out there who has more stories adapted for the screen than Stephen King? I'm not sure but I doubt it. Another adaptation is coming our way tomorrow with The Mist, based on a King short story from the book Skeleton Crew. It's directed by Frank Darabont who took another one of King's short stories Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption to a whole new level and then missed a little with The Green Mile. But Darabont is just one director from a long list of directors (high profile and not so high profile) to translate King's work on the big screen and the small. So give me your Top 5 Stephen King movies. Here are mine.

1. Salem's Lot Arguably one of the scariest movies put on screen. And interesting that it would be on the little screen. Hooper gets all the praise for Texas Chainsaw Massacre but he should get it all for this.

2. The Shining Stephen King hated this adaptation by Kubrick. Then Stephen King made Maximum Overdrive. Hmmmmmm.

3. Stand By Me I cannot be a male - a male with a childhood in a small town - and not love this movie.

4. The Dead Zone This Cronenberg adaptation creeps from the opening seconds and leaves you colder than a Toronto winter.

5. Carrie DePalma adapts King's work but still makes it all his own.

There are certainly some King stinkers as well. As a bonus, you can also give me your bottom five Stephen King adaptions.

1. Dreamcatcher Morgan Freeman with eyebrows that look like they have a life of their own, and an alien that comes out of your ass. Kasdan, how far you have fallen.

2. The Mangler A laundry folding machine possessed by hell. Is there anything scarier? Yeah, lots of stuff.

3. Sleepwalkers Um, there are cats. And then the Mom is in love with her son? And um... yeah.

4. Cujo Somebody please just put that damn dog down.

5. Maximum Overdrive This was just bad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's A Dirty Job And Somebody's Got To Clean It Up

Michael Clayton is less a movie about the uncovering of a corrupt corporation, and more about a man discovering himself. The poster reads "The Truth Can Be Adjusted" and no one can adjust the truth better than Michael Clayton (George Clooney). Clayton is a lawyer at Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, one of New York's largest firms, but he's never referred to as such. Instead, he is called a miracle worker, a keeper of sins, a fixer, a janitor. When a client or even someone within the firm is in trouble, they call on Michael Clayton. His boss Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack who may just be the best acting director out there) says that Clayton is a good trial attorney but the world is full of those. He praises Clayton for carving out a niche for himself as the man that fixes problems.

And as a fixer, Clooney plays his role perfectly. To cut Michael Clayton in two would be to reveal all the dark, dirty secrets that reside in New York and half the corporations in the world, but you wouldn't know any of that to speak to the man. He is not boastful, nor is he a nervous wreck. He is calm, cool and possesses a stare that goes beyond 1,000 yards. There is no problem you can present to him that would cause him to sit down and scratch his head. He is calculated and to question his motives is only to waste precious time. But honestly, how could Clooney miss in his role? Look at what he has had to learn from.

In La Femme Nikita, Jean Reno plays Victor nettoyeur, better known as Victor The Cleaner. Victor is The assassin of assassins. Victor doesn't talk much because he doesn't have to. When he's called upon, you know what's going to happen and it's not going to be pretty. Unlike Clayton, Victor is literally there to clean up and his conditions are non-negotiable. If there's an assignment gone bad, Victor works on behalf of the bigger boss and everyone is expendable to make sure that nothing is traceable. If you don't take Victor's advice, he will just add you to the bodies already burning in a bathtub full of acid.

In Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel plays Winston Wolfe, better known as The Wolf. The Wolf is a cleaner about town. An upstanding business man who would be voted most likely to host a party for an upcoming politician. The Wolf talks fast and thinks fast. His solutions are practical and somewhat obvious. Unlike Victor, you can argue with The Wolf and not die in the process, but you can count on a nice verbal lashing. And there's no doubt that if The Wolf really wanted to, he could probably make a quick phone call and have you killed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Worst. Accents. Evaaarrr

Did you pick up on my accent in the title? It's a little Western German with some Scottish thrown in. I starred in the Tom Jones play in high school as Mr. Fitzpatrick and my Irish accent was aces. Actually it was crap, but my ma and pa always tell me I was fantastic so I'm sticking with that.

My friend Brian sent me this link a while back featuring some of the worst accents in film. It's relevant because according to Sean Nelson at MSN, Russell Crowe's character in American Gangster has no handle on a good New York accent. I write this knowing full well that Crowe may chuck a phone at my head at any time. But I will defend myself saying that I have yet to see the movie, so feel free to comment on whether this statement is correct. I think it's interesting that an accent would ever turn out bad. Is an accent not as important as say, directing? Or editing? If you don't buy the accent, you don't buy the character and then suddenly that character is the weak link of the whole movie. Especially if the movie is based on true characters such as American Gangster. Of course it's a question of the actor, but wouldn't they have the accent down before the camera's rolled? And if they didn't have it down, why roll the cameras? Or why not get another actor? I guess I just don't get it.

Here are some other bad accents of note.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own

Angelina Jolie in Alexander

Gary Oldman in State Of Grace

Uma Thurman in Henry & June

Tim Robbins in Mystic River

Winona Ryder in Bram Stoker's Dracula

Forrest Whitaker in The Crying Game

Liam Neeson in Schindler's List

And the special "Hey Thar" worst accent award goes to Kevin Costner for Robin Hood:Prince Of Thieves, JFK, A Perfect World and Thirteen Days.

Time To Kick It Kurosawa

Squish is hosting the Kurosawathon now through the 22nd. Won't you join him? I plan on submitting something soon.

And by the way, this is the coolest blog-a-thon poster thus far.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Double Bills I'd Like To See #2: Alien Conspiracy


The New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison creates controversy when he declares that the Kennedy Assassination was not an inside job performed by multiple gunman at all, but the work of a single man named Prot. Garrison wants Prot prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but he runs into roadblocks when Prot proves he might be mentally ill because he says that he is actually from a different planet. Dr. Mark Powell is sent in to dispel this but instead finds Prot fascinating, declaring that "we can all learn a little something from Prot." Dr. Powell is quickly fired and Garrison decides to bring the case to court but the jury becomes quickly sympathetic when Prot eats bananas with the skin still on. The case is dismissed, Jim Garrison is declared a kook and Prot is set free to wander this world until the mother ship arrives.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Martian Child and the Adopting Parent

My wife decided it was a good idea to go out and see Martian Child a couple of weekends ago. It seemed like family fare and it was about adoption so I guess we had personal interest in the movie. If you don't know already, I have a four-year-old daughter which we adopted from China three years ago. I myself was not looking forward to it, and that's really saying something because I believe that John Cusak could stand in place and do nothing more than pee himself and I would declare it brilliant (I have been a long admirer of most of his career decisions). But even with that being said, I was not looking forward to seeing the movie because it seemed like a Powder-ish or a Simon Birch-like movie, and that is to say that I expected it to suck.

The movie is about David (John Cusak), a famous science-fiction writer and recent widower. In an effort to carry on after the death of his wife, David looks into domestically adopting a six-year-old boy. David is a bit strange, declaring in an interview that he always saw himself as the aliens he wrote about in his books, rather than the humans. Dennis (Bobby Coleman) is a bit strange as well. He believes he is from Mars and is only visiting Earth for a while but will be shipped back later. He spends the majority of his time at the orphanage in a box, protecting himself from what he perceives as the Earth's harmful ultraviolet rays. At first, David is hesitant to adopt wondering who is he - a single male - to take on such a responsibility. When David finds that Dennis is a bit strange like him, he decides to adopt him. Cuteness and hilarity ensues.

It was hard for me to watch this movie and not say "yeah but" a whole bunch. The process that my family and I went through to adopt my daughter, and the process that we're continuing to go through is filled with such highs and lows that I don't know that it ever could be communicated in a two hour movie (actually one hour and forty-eight minutes). Or more importantly that it should be communicated at all. And certainly not for "ain't that cute" moments. Midway through the movie Dennis performs a strange alien-like dance in the living room of David's house. At first, David finds it odd, but soon he joins in. I could hear the sighs and the giggles at how adorable the scene was, but I just couldn't join in. Dennis was a six year-old boy who had been abandoned and abused and it was obvious that he was in serious trouble. He had assumed the role of the Martian Child because it protected him from everyone else. He chose not to belong so he wouldn't have to. In short, Dennis is a deeply troubled boy and I don't believe that's fodder for entertainment. If Hollywood wants to document the process of adopting and the rewards and risks associated with that, I'm perfectly fine with that. But do it without a soundtrack that includes Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr Blue Sky" and without American Sweethearts, Serendipity John Cusak and the oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes Amanda Peet.

And aside from all that, the movie just wasn't very good.

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Goes To War

In honor of Veterans Day yesterday, give me your Top 5 war movies. I admit up front that I don't have a vast knowledge of this category but I still have my favorites. What are yours?

1. Saving Private Ryan

2. M*A*S*H

3. Apocalypse Now

4. All Quiet On The Western Front

5. Three Kings

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Dramatic Chipmunk Meme

Hello. It is I....

The Dramatic Chipmunk! Have you missed me? It has been a while since my last showing.

I love cinema. Dramatic cinema. But Piper is not using me the way he should. There are lots of furry layers to me. Therefore, it is time for me to spread my little arms and venture to other places throughout the blogosphere.

Piper has agreed to release me as an unrestricted free-agent so that I may explore other blogs. I have listed several blogs below that I would like to visit but they must adhere to the rules.

1. You must link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so people know who is whoring out The Dramatic Chipmunk.

2. You must pass this on to five other bloggers and challenge them to use The Dramatic Chipmunk in new and different ways but not in ways that might attract creepy middle-aged guys.

If you do not follow these rules, the Dramatic Chipmunk reserves the right to become the ass-kicking Chipmunk.

Okay, so here are the blogs.

Alan at Burbanked

Ray at The Rec

J.D. at Joe's Movie Corner

Sheamus at Shea Of The Dead

and Stacie at Final Girl

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Milking The Lunch Buffet

M.A. Peel is hosting a Comedy Blog-a-Thon at Newcritics. The question posed in the blog-a-thon was "what is the purest comedic moment you have ever witnessed?" It's a great question and not an easy one to answer. And I think before anyone can blurt it out (knowing full well there is not one correct answer) you must first define what pure comedy means. To me, pure comedy is the unexpected. It is not a joke told for the 20th time. What makes us laugh the hardest? The funny guy or gal being funny, or the one who is rarely funny suddenly being funny. You expect comedy from the expected and are surprised and delighted when it comes from somewhere new. That's not to say that extreme hilarity cannot ensue from the funny guy or gal. Will Ferrell takes the stage and already I'm smiling because I never know what to expect from the guy (that feeling is quickly fading as he continues to remake the same movie over and over again).The best written joke from a movie may not come off funny at all if you don't allow some room for spontaneity. The right inflection, the right look, transposing some words. You have to allow for the unexpected because it's there that pure comedy lives. And it is with the improv comedians who bring pure comedy to life. To me, there is no comedy in the security of knowing a routine. The phrase "take my wife, please" or "I get no respect" would not have had me rolling in the aisles. On the other hand, The Carol Burnett Show still remains one of my favorites because I never knew what was going to happen. As Carol Burnett tried to crack up Harvey Korman with something new and different, so too was I cracking up.

So in thinking about the purest comedic moment I have witnessed, I will have to say it is the cafeteria scene in Animal House. M.A. Peel says that when you examine comedy, you destroy it and she is correct. But this scene cannot go without examination because when you look at the elements, you understand how perfect it is. First, look at the cast - John Belushi, at the time and still might be, one of the funniest men to take the stage and appear on the big screen. John had many brilliant moments in this movie, but this was maybe his finest because it allowed him to do what he does best. Second, look at the scene - a buffet line overflowing with comedic opportunities. A comedy toolbox of gags. Who needs false teeth when you have jell-o? And who needs a crazy multi-colored wig when you have an entire hamburger to shove in your face. All Landis had to do was turn on the camera and watch a master make us laugh. It would be impossible to shoot this scene the same way twice because it is filled with the unexpected. And it's the unexpected that makes it so good.

In my mind, I remember this scene going on forever. An endless buffet of comedy that Belushi milks for hours. But in reality, the scene is not long at all. Just a few minutes. And as it turns out, that's all it takes to make pure comedy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shout Outs

It's worth noting that Joe Valdez at This Distracted Globe recently completed his 31 Days Of Hitchcock. It's a great achievement and if you haven't visited you should.

Ed at Shoot The Projectionist is teaching us about Pinky Violence and it is strange and beautiful and it's in 3 parts.

With the release of Ratatouille on DVD, Ted Pigeon's wonderful review of the film at The Cinematic Art is worth another look.

Jim at Moviezzz, keeps us up to date on the WGA Strike.

RC at Strange Culture is hosting the Film + Faith Blog-a-Thon that ends today and M.A. Peel is hosting the Comedy Blog-a-Thon that ends Sunday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

R.U.O.K? A Sign From God

This entry is for the Film + Faith Blog-a-Thon going on at Strange Culture.

People who believe in the almighty are always looking for signs. Signs as guidance, or just signs that He/She truly exists. Signs can come in all shapes and sizes. A sign can be something as blatant as a bright beam of light bursting through the clouds shining on your face. Or it can be as simple as a kind word from a passing stranger. In the case of L.A. Story, it can literally be a sign along the freeway in Los Angeles. The story of L.A. is told by Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin), a man lost in the world that surrounds him. He is in a bad job, a bad relationship and he is looking for something more. And nothing helps illustrate his current state better than the line delivered by him early on:

Life is tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

On a trip back from lunch one day, Harris sees a businessman standing on the side of the road looking up at a freeway sign as if the man was communicating with the sign. Harris finds this a bit strange, but goes about his way. A little later in the film, Harris' car dies on the freeway and he ends up in front of the same freeway sign. It's at this point that Harris begins an open relationship with the freeway sign. It breaks the ice with the question to Harris:


It goes on to say

I see people in trouble and I stop them. LA wants to help you.

The entire story of L.A. Story is told in hyper-reality. In a world where it's everyday for old ladies to open fire on the freeway and when shower knobs are designed to turn from off to on and from on to slo-mo, a talking sign does not seem so out of the ordinary. In other words, it isn't portrayed as some kind of modern day burning bush. But that doesn't mean that its message is not extraordinary. It's obvious that this electronic Deity is helping people one at a time. No it's not telling Harris to lead thousands to a new way of life and it isn't asking him to build a large boat. But it did help Harris find true love and happiness. And when you take away all the denominations and all the religious rules we set up to help us live our lives, true love and happiness is what it's all about.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Double Bills I'd Like To See #1: Double Your Zombies

The Broken Projector just completed the Double Bill-a-Thon a couple weeks ago and it was excellent. I had such a fun time with my entry, that I've decided to include a Double Bill each and every week. Today's Double Bill is:

Night Of The Living Dead Ringers

One night, the dead suddenly begin to walk the earth. In a house up on the hill, two zombies cross paths and discover they are long lost twin brothers. The two quickly catch up over some limbs and intestines and decide to go in to practice together as gynecologists. At first, everything goes swimmingly. But soon the two clash over their love for one of their patients. And when an investigation into their business reveals that they are indeed twin zombies, the two lose their credibility and spiral down a dark hole from which they never return.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Goes On Strike

Today, T5T honors those on strike so I'm not writing anything. But that's not to say you can't. Write whatever Top 5 you want scab.

What Say You: The Old or The New Ridley?

There are two Ridley Scott's that exist today. The BG Ridley (Before Gladiator) and the AG Ridley (After Gladiator). The BG Ridley did movies like Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, Black Rain and Thelma & Louise. Movies that didn't always receive high critical acclaim and didn't do gangbusters at the box office, but they were at best brilliant and at least interesting movie nonetheless. Movies that felt like they belonged to Ridley Scott and no one else. Every frame had his fingerprints all over them. Blade Runner is not a Harrison Ford movie nor a Philip K. Dick movie. Legend does indeed have it's flaws, but I would never pass up the opportunity to watch it again, or praise it. And Thelma & Louise received lots of press for its subject matter, but it still felt like a very personal movie. Ridley however was buried beneath the epic weight of Gladiator. Hannibal felt like a Ridley was plugged in to deliver a lesser sequel. And Black Hawk Down was a Jerry Bruckheimer movie and Ridley the new Michael Bay.

American Gangster was released this past weekend and some like Nick Davis of Nick's Flick Picks expressed his ho-hummness about it and I honestly can't blame him. The subject matter is interesting, but I don't feel like I'll be seeing a Ridley Scott movie. In a quest for commercial respect, I feel Ridley has lost his once strong identity and may never find it again. But that's just me.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cronenberg In 12 Minutes

Jim Emerson at Scanners has put together a wonderful 12 minute homage to David Cronenberg's film career. I myself am not a fan of his most recent work and much prefer Rabid, Scanners, The Brood and eXistenZ because they explore common Cronenberg themes such as sex, violence, isolation and the flesh like no on has done before. A History Of Violence may or may not be a good movie (I don't believe it is) but it feels less like Cronenberg and more like a lot of other films I have seen (I argue that it feels like Cronenberg trying to be like Lynch). But enough of my yappin, click over and watch it for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

This is a rerun. Writers To Strike.

First of all, how dramatic is this banner?

It was announced late last night that the WGA will indeed strike and the announcement will come sometime today. I have a friend that's a WGA member and he says the strike could start as early as Monday with the hopes that negotiations might happen this weekend at the 11th hour. This strike is mostly a result of bad or old agreements as it relates to fees associated with the internet and DVD sales.

There's a lot of greed going round in Hollywood, but I think that this money is deserved to the writers. There would be nothing to shoot without them and they often get overlooked in the mix. The most immediate effect will be on TV. Get ready for lots of reruns and good Lord I hope this doesn't mean the resurgence of more reality TV. I honestly don't think it will go on that long but it will be interesting to see if anything happens this weekend.

Thanks to Jim at Moviezzz for the heads up on this and you can find up to date information at Deadline Hollywood Daily.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Scariest List Ever

The tallies have been taken and the results are in at Shoot The Projectionist. According to lots and lots of film bloggers, the following list gives a lot of people the heebie jeebies. Like the nominated list, this final list represents a wide variety of tastes. I'm a bit surprised by The Ring and The Blair Witch Project especially since they made the list in lieu of some other great horror movies like Phantasm or Prince Of Darkness. I enjoyed The Ring very much, but it's hard for me to put it above the original and I didn't even include that on my final list. And as an experiment in horror, I thought The Blair Witch Project was very interesting, but I don't believe it holds up well. There was an initial "wow" factor to it, but once that was gone there wasn't much to it. And based on the final list, there are some movies I still haven't seen and I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it. They are Night Of The Hunter, Carnival Of Souls, Eyes Without A Face and The Haunting. There they are. Judge me if you must. Again, excellent job by Ed Hardy for putting this together. I think it's a great list.

I have marked the films I submitted in red.

31. The Bride Of Frankenstein
30. Aliens
29. Poltergeist
28. Seven
27. Night Of The Hunter
26. Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers (1956)
25. Carnival Of Souls
24. Carrie
23. The Ring
22. Tie between Eraserhead and The Fly (1986)
21. The Brood
20. Rosemary's Baby
19. 28 Days Later
18. Tie between The Wicker Man (1973) and Eyes Without A Face
17. Tie between Nosferatu (1922) and The Descent
16. The Evil Dead
15. The Blair Witch Project
14. The Haunting (1963)
13. Don't Look Now
12. Suspiria
11. The Birds
10. Jaws
9. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
8. The Thing
7. Alien
6. The Exorcist
5. Psycho
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
3. Halloween
2. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
1. The Shining