Thursday, January 31, 2008

If You Like... #1

I'm an easy person. A simple person. The smallest things please me and keep me occupied for hours. For these reasons, I like it when articles or websites have sections that say "if you liked this... you'll love this." It fascinates me really. Sometimes the suggestions are right on, sometimes they couldn't be more off. I always wonder how they come to the conclusions they do. What words are cross-referenced and matched up to ultimately decide. So anyway, I love it and find myself often losing large chunks of time going through recommendation after recommendation provided to me.

So I've decided I'm going to offer up my own version of If You Like... for movies. A quick reference to readers to help them hopefully make the right movie decisions. So here it goes.

If you're a fan of really good ideas executed really badly,
and add to that almost two solid hours of screaming
that sounds like nails on a chalkboard...

...then you'll love 30 Days Of Night.

Hope this helps you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Bobby Fisher Mistake

I'm going to speak in the hypothetical today. A what if... if you will. This post does not apply to me personally, so I don't want you thinking that it does. Because it doesn't. I'm just using a fake example to help other parents out there who might make the same mistake as this parent did in this false example that I've just completely made up.

Anyway, on to my completely false, not based on any personal experience story. Let's say that you have a child and that child has taken an interest in a game, could be any game really, but for the sake of argument let's say the game is Chess. You've never seen your child take this much interest in something before. You're impressed. He or she signs up for the Chess Club at school and can't wait to get to school early every Wednesday morning so he or she can play his or her most favorite game. You think it's time to take the next step so you decide to play your child in Chess. You discover that your child is actually quite good at the game and there could really be something there. You go a bit further and sign him or her up with a larger Chess Club, let's just call it the Kansas City Chess Club for the sake of argument. So this child begins playing with this Kansas City Chess Club and really loves playing Chess. Allow me to break at this time again and remind you that this is completely made up. Completely drawn from the dark holes of my brain. Don't ask me how I stumbled on to this crazy and hypothetical story I am just doing it because there might be parents out there who might be thinking the same thing and they might draw some help from this completely fake story that I'm making up right now but cannot be based on anything I draw from personally.

Okay, so let's just say that this parent happens to love movies. A lot. Again, let me remind you that the parallels are strictly coincidental at this point. And this parent thinks it would be kind of fun and interesting for his child to watch the movie Searching For Bobby Fisher because it's about Chess. This parent thinks that it might make this child love Chess even more. So the parent plays the movie for the child and the child loves this movie. I mean, loves this movie. Asks to see the ending over and over again. And then the child wants to play Chess right after seeing this movie, so the parent indulges. And only a few turns into the game, the child holds out his or her hand and asks for a draw. The parent denies the hand but proceeds cautiously. About ten more turns into the game, the child holds out his or her hand again and asks for a draw, this time saying that the child will put the parent in check mate in two turns. Again, the parent proceeds cautiously and quickly discovers that the child is completely full of shit. It's at this the point that the parent begins to wonder if showing the child Searching For Bobby Fisher was maybe a bad idea.

But the parent quickly squashes that idea and instead enrolls the child into a National Chess Tournament thinking that maybe the child has the gift, not to the extremes that Josh Waitskin did, but still has a gift. The parent fantasizes about large trophies with chess pieces adorning them and going to big cities and watching his kid sit at the head table playing the best Chess players in the country and maybe the world. And the kid fantasizes as well. Leading player after player into check mate and winning big trophies and having to build on additional rooms just to hold all the trophies. And the money. There might be money attached and think of all the Pokemon cards that could be purchased with that money. Again readers, let me remind you of just how false this whole story is. It in no way relates to me or my personal experiences. Yes it feels a bit specific and maybe a bit too detailed to be made up, but that is just the power of my writing. So the child plays in a five round tournament. The hopes are high and the excitement is unbearable at first. But then the child loses and loses again and loses until he or she loses every single game. At first, the losing doesn't seem to affect the child, but each time the parent sees the child exit the tournament room, the child looks more and more defeated as the realization sets in that he or she is not in fact Josh Waitzkin. And so too does the parent come to the realization that this is not a movie, but in fact reality and in reality the Bobby Fishers and Josh Waitzkins are one in a million. And if one wants to be really good at Chess, one must work at it very hard. And there might be some private lessons involved.

So take heed friends at this completely false story I just provided you with. If your child happens to love Chess like this fake child in this fake story, then hold off on the Searching For Bobby Fisher screening for a while. You'll do yourself a favor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Top 5 Tuesday (T5T) Overacts



1. Michael Douglas in Black Rain. "I usually like to get kissed before I get fucked!"

2. Sean Penn in Mystic River. "She's my own little daughter, and I can't even cry for her!"

3. Nicolas Cage in Snake Eyes. "This is fight night and I am the king."

4. Jodi Foster in Nell. "Trouble go away at nigh', an' Nell caw Mi'i - an' Nell an' Mi'i - ye', Nell an' Mi'i - like t'ee in the way!"

5. Al Pacino in Scent Of A Woman. "HOOOO HAAAAAA. I'm just getting warmed up!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where Were The Cabbages?

I've learned a lot from my elders. I've learned to cover my mouth when I cough, that it's not polite to stare, and when you see a laughing stock take the stage you need to throw cabbages at him. Well I threw loads and loads of them at my TV screen last night. Actually, cabbages were not readily at hand and I was unprepared to see Tom Cruise take the stage so I threw Sweatpea Oranges instead. The room is a mess, but it smells glorious.

So were my elders wrong? If they were wrong, I'm going to have you tell them because I don't want to cross my elders. Is this guy not a laughing stock? He must not be since he got to present the final Actor last night at the SAG Awards. Come on people. It's time to call a kook a kook and stop feeding into his public relations plan.

Second Thoughts On Cloverfield

Alright. Alright! My original review of Cloverfield was a tad nasty, if you can even call it a review. The post was fun as hell to write, but it wasn't... right. I saw the movie again yesterday with my son and while I can't give it a glowing review for it is flawed in several areas, I can certainly give it props because it would be wrong for us as film lovers not to pause and take note of the milestones set by this movie.

First, there's the amateur camera as narration device. Of course it's been done before in The Blair Witch Project and more recently with Redacted and the as of yet unreleased Diary Of The Dead, but what Cloverfield has done is meshed the unbelievable with the believable. In a time when childhood monsters aren't real or scary, Cloverfield has made them real and scary again and reinvented the over-sized monster genre in the process.

Second, it has managed to make a ripple smack dab in the middle of general suck-time for movies. People getting excited about a movie in the middle of January? Completely unheard of until now.

And just because I live in a world that makes absolutely no sense, I'm going to add something right here and right now. There's talk of a sequel to Cloverfield. That maybe the second one follows another guy with another camera and documents his story. And so let me go completely off the deep end and say that I love the idea. That's right, I love it. It's never been done before and there's no better movie to do it for. Maybe this second one goes a little deeper and this other guy with the camera finds out a little bit more about where this monster came from. Or that maybe the military is involved. Lots of possibilities and honestly I can't wait.

So while I can't praise Cloverfield for being a great movie, I can take notice of it doing some interesting things in the process. Thank God for second thoughts. Can't wait for my third thoughts on the subject.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

21 Trailer

And to think, I just gave a shit load of plasma and hit the sperm bank a couple of times to get through school. I love Vegas, I love blackjack and I love being in on the take so this should not disappoint.

I Would Sleep With Julie Christie

Give me the woman. All 67 years of her. Let me help you celebrate your SAG Award, Julie.

Singing ain’t acting.

So, Johnny Depp is a pretty good singer in “Sweeney Todd.” (I haven’t seen the movie, so I guess I’ll just have to believe what I read.) As far as I know, singing and acting are two different things. An actor who attempts to sing is somehow worthy of Best Actor? That’s nonsense. Nonsense on the same level as say, giving an Oscar to Catherine Zeta Jones for doing a little dancing in “Chicago.” Let’s save Academy Award Nominations for acting and leave singing and dancing to whatever shows honor those talents.

Pat Piper shared this thought with me this morning. I am now stealing it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What Say You: The Naked Fight Scene

Okay, here's something to wrap the old gray matter around. When I read that Viggo Mortenson was nominated for his role in Eastern Promises, it got me thinking. If Viggo isn't naked in the steam room for his fight scene, does anyone even talk about the scene? Wait, allow me to rephrase. If Viggo were fully clothed and not swinging his pink propeller about, does anyone notice this scene? I have to tell you, the scene didn't do a whole lot for me. I've seen tons of fight scenes (fully clothed) that were much more impressive than this. And so then my first question leads me to this next question. If Viggo does the fight scene without his junk on full display, does he get the Oscar nomination? I believe it to be a legitimate question because when people speak of Eastern Promises, they don't talk about character development or storyline, they always ask me what I thought of the fight scene. So is the naked fight scene strong enough to make a movie and make a performance? Hmmmmmmm. I look to you for the answer.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008



Yesterday, the news came down that Heath Ledger had been found dead in a New York apartment. I have somewhat of a problem when people get all up in arms when a famous person dies. Why should I be upset that Heath Ledger died over the thousands of other 28 year old males? Why does Heath deserve our thoughts or my words any more than any other person? The truth is, he doesn't. Regardless, I still feel bad.

It's not uncommon for us to feel more connected with famous people. We identify them with the characters they play and it's only natural that we think that a little bit of them comes out in each performance. So based on his movies, I liked Heath Ledger. Maybe he was an asshole, maybe he was a very nice man. Maybe he was the most humble actor to ever walk the face of this earth. I don't know, but I do know that Heath showed promise and that's enough. Promise cut down in its prime is truly tragic. And now in his absence, I am forced to imagine what could have been.

Was Beth Worth It? Thoughts On Cloverfield

Ah, the things we'll do for love. It makes us crazy really. And there's no one crazier in love than Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David), the main character in the film Cloverfield. I don't know Beth Mcintyre (Odette Yustman), Rob's love interest, all that much. I know she's pretty and has never been to Coney Island and trying to catch strawberries in her mouth makes her scared. I know that Rob has had a crush on her since high school and that he recently had sex with her. That's all I know, but maybe there's more. Maybe she's a good conversationalist. Maybe she's very thoughtful. Maybe she spends every other weekend helping orphans. And then the weekends between those weekends she delivers Meals On Wheels. And maybe she can paint really pretty pictures. And she sells them for a lot of money, but she doesn't keep the money herself, she gives it to her Grandmother who is about to lose the family house to a really mean real-estate tycoon who wants to tear it down and build a shopping mall there. And maybe, just maybe when she was thirteen, she saved her best friend from drowning because her friend hit her head when she was trying to get into the boat and knocked herself out. I'm grasping here, can you feel me grasping? Can you? Because I am. Maybe Beth wasn't a cheerleader in high school. Instead she helped teach sign language to deaf children. Or maybe she is the most amazing sex that has ever been had. Not just by Rob, but by the entire human race. I need something here, because from what I know there's no way Beth was worth all this fuss. This woman racked up almost as much of a body count as the monster itself. Let's break it down, shall we?

Victim #1. Jason Hawkins. Jason is Rob's brother. Jason gets separated from the crowd because Rob gets a call from Beth and has to stop on the Brooklyn Bridge. Holy shit, stop the running!!!! it's Beth on the phone. Excuse me everyone who is yelling and screaming because you think you're going to die at any moment, could you keep it down, it's Beth. Yes, Beth Mcintyre. She's on the phone and Rob just slept with her a couple weeks ago and he's in love. So anyway, whilst Rob listens to Beth's pleas for help, the monster's tail comes crashing down and demolishes part of the bridge killing Jason almost instantly. But I'm guessing it was worth it because inbetween high school and College, Beth did some social work in Ethiopia helping underprivileged kids.

Victim #2. Marlena Diamond. Marlena doesn't really know Rob or Beth, so I'm guessing she showed up to Rob's party for the free booze. After the initial attack, the group goes underground to avoid the monster. While walking through the subway tunnel on the way to get who else???? the group gets attacked by a group of monster babies. Marlena gets bitten and at first seems alright, but soon enough she begins to bleed from the eyes and then explodes, near as I can tell. Earlier, Marlena had a chance to leave the group and follow the army out of the city. Does she do it? No!!!!!!! She goes to help find Beth because Beth is incredible and I'm guessing that Marlena secretly knows that in the near future, Beth will discover the cure for cancer because why the hell else would she give two shits about a woman she doesn't even know?

Victim #3. Hud Platt. Hud is Rob's best friend and it really shows Rob's patience that he would have Hud as a best friend because within the 74 minutes of the film, I fantasized punching Hud in the face 83 times. Hud is our most annoying narrator and lousy cameraman. He survives most of the movie and successfully helps Rob rescue guess who????? but then gets partially eaten by the monster and thrown through the air to land to his death. But hey, that's cool because I'm guessing that Hud had a bad kidney and Beth was going to donate one of hers to him because why the hell else would Hud give two shits about this woman?

Victims #4 and #5. Rob Hawkins and Beth Mcintyre, the lovers. Rob and Beth survive a helicopter crash (doesn't everybody?) only to end up under a bridge with the monster over them. The military comes swooping in and carpet bombs the creature causing the bridge to collapse all around Rob and Beth, killing them. But hey, it was worth it because what we don't know is that Rob and Beth were going to have sex again and Beth was going to give birth to a superhuman baby. One that would change our entire race and make us live until we were 500 years old. That's what I'm guessing because why the hell else would anyone risk their life and the lives of their friends to save this woman who we really know nothing about.

When the credits rolled after the 74th minute (can a 74 minute movie technically be called a feature?) I walked outside into the lobby of the movie theater and I expected fanfare. I expected free airline tickets to wherever I wanted to go in the whole world. I expected a free car and free gas for the rest of my life. I didn't get it though. If I would have, it would have made my trip to this movie worth it. Because in the end, I didn't care two shits about the actual film.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

There Will Be Music.

The score is half the movie.

If you doubt that statement, go see “There Will Be Blood,” and render your verdict.

The music, composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, is unlike anything I’ve heard before. Daniel Day Lewis will get the positive reviews, but it’s the music that gets stuck in your head – like a foot ‘tween the train tracks.

I’ve read that this score redefines music in the movies. I’ve also read that it’s a jarring mess that will keep “There Will Be Blood” out of best picture consideration. I land somewhere in the middle.

At times, I just wanted the story to play and not be reminded by the score that the scene was scary or touching or epic. At times, I wanted the music to be less present, to not always be spewing forth over Stranger ranch in the California desert. But mostly I was in awe of experiencing a movie in a way I never had before.

Daniel Day-Lewis puts his whole body into this movie in his best performance ever. But it’s Jonny Greenwood who strikes oil.

Friday, January 18, 2008

2007 Was The Year Of The Russell

I know I'm late with a 2007 post and just late with a post in general, but I've been busy. Not bizzzzay. Just busy. If I were bizzzay, then I would have been having fun. But I've just been busy.

But do I post to air my grievances with you all? No. So let me get to the point.

Josh Brolin has received accolades for an incredible year. And rightly so. His performances have completely erased the talk of "isn't that the guy from Goonies?." And of course, there's lots of talk about Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh. And again, rightly so. He played a perfect psychotic that had strange reasoning to go along with cold demeanor . But in looking back, I would have to say the year really belongs to Kurt Russell who rose above some recent bad movies to deliver a performance I personally didn't think he was capable of. I of course speak of Stuntman Mike from the film Death Proof. I got a chance to watch it again the other day and once again, I was amazed by Russell's complex performance. The way I see it, there are many scarred faces to Stuntman Mike. Four in fact.

1. The Washed-Up Stuntman. At first glance, Stuntman Mike seems harmless enough. There may have been a day when he was something, but now with his big hair and his Icy Hot jacket, he's just the butt of every Stroker Ace joke ever told. This Stuntman Mike seems a sad sap. A wannabe who will befriend anyone who gives him the chance to bend their ear about an old story or two.

2. The Assertive Stuntman. This Stuntman Mike is more aggressive. Actively seeking out his victims and engaging in a little sick foreplay. He is aware of his out-datedness, but his tone quickly changes, suggesting there's more to him than originally thought. He is able to hold his own in a conversation with the girls on the bar porch and you can see the switch in his character as he corrects Jungle Julia (Sydney Poitier) about his name. It's darker and more in charge.

3. The Cold-Blooded Stuntman. This Stuntman Mike is psychotic and takes glee in the tension created in the moments before he tortures Pam (Rose McGowan). Not unlike the film Christine, the death proof car seems to hold power over Stuntman Mike taking over once he is in the driver's seat.

4. The Puss Stuntman. This Stuntman Mike seems to be attracted to stronger females, but is completely unable to defend himself against them. Unlike other serial killers who are ready for some fight, in fact expecting it, Stuntman Mike must be in control, or the wheels start falling off, so to speak. For me, this was an unexpected turn and a good one at that. One can't help but wonder if he weren't shot in the shoulder how the rest of the story might have gone. Would he have driven off and waited for another chance at the girls, or just driven off in search of some other victims? This Stuntman Mike is only able to handle things on his terms. I doubt he screamed like a pussy when he ran into his first victims and sent himself to the hospital. Those were self-inflicted wounds. Wounds he expected. Almost welcomed as trophies for the kill. It’s not abnormal for serial killers to be control-freaks, but it’s unusual that Stuntman Mike relinquishes control so quickly when things go south.

I guess it would have been easy for Russell to play this guy as straight sinister, but he didn't. It's strange to think that within an homage to a series of bad movies, lies a performance that transcends all genres. But that's Kurt Russell acting like Stuntman Mike. Just when you want to pawn him off as a joke, he surprises you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ladies And Gentlemen, I Give You... Teeth

This train wreck came across my desk today. I say train wreck because I wanted to turn away, but couldn't. This trailer was posted on Youtube in November and I wonder if it's legit. Can't be. Can it?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Call It

Ever watch one of those hospital TV shows? Where the doctor tries really hard to save the unsavable person? He pounds on the chest (I say he because luckily females have been spared such shenanigans for the most part) and does a lot of mouth to mouth. At first it seems it might be working, but then madness takes over and the idiot has to be dragged from the room. When the unsavable person in the hospital TV show has died, one of the interns says "call it" and then another one looks at their watch and announces the time of death.

Well I don't know if the cameras were still rolling after the Golden Globe 'Announcement' or not, but if they were they would have shown a half-mad doctor running out onto stage to try to revive the Golden Globes, only to finally be torn from the room. A couple of interns then would have come in, pulled off their rubber gloves and called the time of death.

I'm not saying that The Golden Globes won't return next year when the WGA Strike is long over, I'm just saying it will be the equivalent of Michael Jordan playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. There was a time when The Golden Globes actually seemed legit. They seemed like a good precursor to The Oscars. Or maybe that was just good spin, like when the sports announcers try to get you excited about pre-season football games. But really, The Golden Globes are to awards what In Touch is to magazines. People love the red carpet show, but when the night is over, does anyone really take it that seriously? And come on, what's with the Best Picture in a Comedy or Musical category. This show was creeping into fluff territory before the Sunday night debacle, and now it's there.

Viewership might be back next year, but I'm afraid the luster won't.

An Actual Conversation About Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

GABE: So Dad, that guy is a robot and he's trying to kill them.

PIPER: Yeah, I know.

GABE: And you can't destroy him, he's so powerful.


GABE: And that woman. She is the mother of that guy who all the robots are trying to kill.

PIPER: Gabe, I know this story.

GABE: ... so they're naked when they travel through time. That's weird.

PIPER: Gabe. Gabe. This story is over 20 years old.

GABE: ... that's not that old. Anyway, so the robots looks like humans and have skin, but they're really scary underneath. They've got these red eyes.

PIPER: Gabe. Stop talking. This show is not new. It's based on a series of movies that when you get old enough, we will watch together.

GABE: ... so that kid there is supposed to be the leader of this rebellion. But not now. It's a rebellion in the future.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't Believe The Hype!

During the playoffs, they're playing the hell out of the new Cloverfield trailer. It's not really new, but there seems to be a few more seconds of something resembling a monster of some kind in the distance. I can't really make out what it is. That's the point, of course. To pique my interest. To make me want to see more. To make me want to see Cloverfield. There may have been a time when I was interested in seeing this movie. But I think it has passed. Now I'm just angry. It used to be that movies got to be big deals once people saw them. And they were big deals because they were good movies. But now movies are the biggest thing before anyone has seen a single frame. And it's a bad path we're headed down, my friends.

I know that what J.J. Abrams is doing is nothing new. Hype has been created before. But I don't know to this level. There is a difference between wanting to see something and being told that you want to see something. I feel like Cloverfield is doing that. Every time the trailer comes on, it seems to revel in its own cleverness. In its ability to show just enough, making you want more. It makes me feel kinda dirty actually. Like I'm at one of those peep shows where just when it starts to get interesting, the wall comes down over the window and I have to pony up another quarter.

Does this hype actually work? Or better yet, can a certain level of hype be created that's actually attainable? I think the type of hype that's created today can only be detrimental. Of course I say that under the belief that what studios make can be called art and that there is some desire to create movies that are worth mentioning a year, or three years or five years from now. I don't think that's where the studios are, though. Cloverfield may be the first summer movie of the year and it's being released the middle of January. It might as well be a summer blockbuster, because Paramount is treating it that way. Front-loading the hell out of it, not really caring what the exit polls will say. They want to generate big numbers the first weekend and about half that the second weekend and chances are, this movie will be off our radar in a matter of weeks.

I think in the hype rule book (I have a copy with me and I'm reading page 26. It's a really easy read with lots of pictures) it's written that hype should eventually take on a life of its own. Become its own beast. It should be attached to a name or an idea. For example, with the new Star Wars trilogy, hype was rightfully created. You may have fallen on the side of the fence that didn't believe the Star Wars tale needed to be told anymore, but damn if you still weren't going to show up to see what happened. And all Spielberg had to do was release a photo of Harrison Ford dressed in the Indiana Jones garb to make everyone all giddy. Off the top of your head, can you name the director of Cloverfield? Or the writer? Or the stars? It's not even like it's a great, original idea. It's a monster movie. With Cloverfield, I feel the hype is manufactured. It's planned for. And maybe that's why I'm angry. Is that the hype isn't real. It's not a great idea that caught fire. It's an idea that the production company thought was great and so it's constantly reminding us how great it is.

Seriously, what are the chances that whatever the hell this monster turns out to look like, is as cool as what I'm picturing in my head. I really shouldn't care. But the problem is, I do. Not because I want to, but because I feel like I should. I know that probably says more about me than about the movie. And trust me, I realize the hypocrisy of this entire post. I'm criticizing the hype machine while feeding it at the same time. And not because I want to. But that's what false hype does. Makes us excited about stuff that's really not there.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Robotic Eye Candy

I don't care about the future of the human race. I don't care about John Connor leading the rebellion. I just want to protect Sarah Connor. I want to protect her because she's played by Lena Headey. I know that it's possible that I could die during time travel. That if I don't die in time travel, I will have to face a machine that's near indestructible. But did I mention that Sarah Connor is played by Lena Headey and it looks that she will be wearing a lot of tank tops? I know that I would probably die quickly because I'm not a soldier and I'm a bit soft in the middle, but to think that I might get a couple of close seconds with Lena where I would have to hold her close and tell her to "trust me if you want to live." That would be worth it. Because after all, Sarah Connor is played by Lena Headey.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Dinner With Bay

Bob at Eternal Sunshine Of The Logical Mind said that it's customary for the person who starts a Meme, to do it himself. And he's right. Since I created the My Dinner With Blank Meme, I should come up with a dream dinner myself. It's only fair. But as I write this, several names are swirling through my head and I'm discovering that this might be a harder assignment than I initially thought. So I'm thinking about who I would choose. So while I do that, let me entertain you with the old standby. My favorite director and yours, Michael Bay.

So here's how the evening would go. I would invite Michael Bay to my house, but I wouldn't give him directions to my house. Instead I would give him directions to an abandoned neighborhood where there would be a couple of methed up thugs. What Bay wouldn't know is that I visited his house the night before and laced his clothes with meth, so when the thugs saw him, they would pull out a really big spoon and a really big lighter and they would try to freebase him. Bay would try to put up a fight because well, you know, he's Michael Bay. He would throw punches and say things like "do you know who I am" and "I directed Transformers which was one of the top grossing films of '07" which would no doubt turn the methed up thugs angry and they would kick the shit out of him.

Left for dead, he would no doubt call me to tell me that his spleen is bruised and he doesn't know where his front teeth ended up. I would fake concern and give him the real directions to my house. Once he showed up, I would act like I didn't know him so I would have no choice but to let loose a couple of pitbulls that had been trained by Michael Vick. Of course Bay would try to put up a fight, but now he would probably be pretty weak. But he's Michael Bay, man! He's not a puss. He's the illegitimate son of John Frankenheimer. So he would fight those pitbulls. He would throw punches and say things like "but I discovered Tea Leoni in Bad Boys" and "Pearl Harbor is more historically accurate than it seems as first." But this would not affect the pitbulls because what Michael Bay doesn't know is that his super high-end body wash that he used that morning isn't super high-end body wash at all. It's pitbull pheromones that I put in there that very morning. So these pit bulls try to eat and hump Michael Bay. So they bite him whilst trying to stick their doggie boners in any hole possible.

And so I see this and can't take it any more because yeah, it's Michael Bay, but I actually start to feel kind of bad. So I go outside and get the dogs off him. He's missing some fingers by now and is bleeding severely and completely covered in pitbull semen. I bring him inside and apologize for all the troubles, but he's cool about it because he's fucking Michael Bay already. And I tell him that I'll prepare something for him because after all, he is my dream dinner. But here's the problem. He's pretty beat up, and even though he's Michael Bay, he's about to pass out from all the blood he's losing. So I hook up a low volt battery to his nuts, because the guy has to stay awake for my questions, right? And every time that pussy starts to let his eyes roll back in his head, I flip the switch and send enough voltage to his nethers that he will never reproduce again, and won't that be a goddamn blessing. But man, where are my manners? Bay still hasn't eaten. So I reach into the trash and pull out some three day old roast that's been hanging with a dirty baby diaper. I throw that shit on to a plate, heat it up for 45 seconds on high and pour Bay a nice big glass of ipecac. And while he's choking that stuff down, I ask him my five thoughtful questions.

Piper: Michael, how does it feel to have created quite possibly the worst movie ever in Armageddon?

Bay: I'm losing a lot of blood.

Piper: Next question. So how does it feel to have created quite possibly the worst movie ever in Armageddon?

Bay: This food tastes like baby shit. Have you seen my left index finger? I lost it somewhere.

Piper: On to my next question. What I'm wondering is how does it feel to have created quite possibly the worst movie ever in Armageddon?

Bay: Wait, this isn't water. I can't focus my eyes.

Piper: So Michael, how does it feel to have created quite possibly the worst movie ever in Armageddon?

Bay: Are my nuts hooked up to a battery? Do you know who I am? I directed Sean Connery and he's an Oscar winner.

Piper: Last question Michael. So how does it feel to have created quite possibly the worst movie ever in Armageddon?

Bay: Losing so much blood. Feeling sick. Mommy, is that you?

And of course he's really professional during all this because, well, he's Michael Bay. And just as I'm getting ready to serve up a really nice marble cheesecake with a dark chocolate drizzle and some raspberries for dessert, there is a knock on my door. I open it and it's none other than my old pal Burbanked. He comes in and sees that Michael Bay is my guest and he's majorly jealous because, you know, he's a big fan as well. So then Burbanked and I proceed to kick the ever loving shit out of Michael Bay. And even though he's Michael Bay, he doesn't put up a fight because right now he's a tooth-missing, spleen-swelling, pitbull-semen-dripping, uncontrollably-puking hack of a director. Because, you know, he's Michael Bay.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Say You: DVD versus Blu-Ray?

I own a lot of DVDs. Around 500 total. That's probably not as many as some. And probably a little more than others. My wife asks me from time to time why we own so many and my response is always the same: My DVDs are my security blanket. If we were in a blizzard that shut down Kansas City for several days, we would have endless entertainment with our large selection of movies. That has never happened, but it could. I take comfort in my large collection. And I find extreme pleasure in shopping for DVDs either in stores or on-line. Some might say I am making up for other shortcomings with my huge DVD collection. I myself would just ask that those people stop staring at my package and just be impressed with my vast DVD collection. But I digress.

So the other day, I got an e-mail from a friend asking me what I was going to do with my collection of outdated technology? He went on to ask if I was going to put my DVDs next to my LPs in the attic? This is a greeting I get from a guy in New York who I e-mail every other month or so. He leads with the punch, and then asks me how I'm doing. But again, I am digressing.

So here's the thing. Should I get all panicky? Is my extremely enormous (remember I'm not compensating) DVD collection truly worthless? Is Blu-Ray really that much better? I'm a techy guy, but I'm not convinced that I will see Blu-Ray and then want to burn all my DVDs. And if Blu-Ray really is that good, how much time do I have? A year? Two? So many questions, have I. And I look to you for the answers. Is Blu-Ray really the answer? And if it is, is anyone interested in a DVD fire sale?


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Dinner With BLANK Meme

I often wonder if I could have dinner with a person in the film industry who would it be? It's a fun little game I like to play to help pass the time when the time needs passing. Of course, the person changes a lot depending on the mood and the day. And I'm extremely self-conscious of my choices in people.

I think it's an interesting exercise though and it could provide some interesting insights into our fellow bloggers. So as of right now, I'm beginning the My Dinner With BLANK Meme. With this Meme, I'm asking a group of bloggers to think about who they would want to have dinner with and why. Could be an actor, an actress, a director, a producer, a writer, a gaffer, you get the picture. More specifically, let me spell out the rules.

1. Pick a single person past or present who works in the film industry you would like to have dinner with. And tell us why you chose this person.

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to.

4. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so people know the mastermind behind this Meme.

Here are my six choices.

Nathanial at Film Experience

Weepingsam at The Listening Ear

Bob at Eternal Sunshine Of The Logical Mind

Neil at The Bleeding Tree

Joseph at It's A Mad Mad Blog 2

Marilyn at Ferdy On Films

And Bemis at Cinevistaramascope

Now go and have a nice dinner and don't skimp on dessert.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Why I Love David Lynch

And why I feel like such a tool for loving my iPod iTouch. Thanks to Nathanial at Film Experience for the link.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tom Hanks Begins To Redeem Himself For Forrest Gump

Why don't people talk about the film Volunteers when they talk about Tom Hanks' career? He was wonderful as Lawrence Whatley Bourne III. The problem was that he was a loathsome prick and everybody wants Tom Hanks to be a good guy (just try to get anyone to talk about Punchline). Well, in Charlie Wilson's War, Tom Hanks plays a playboy Congressman who enjoys his whiskey, his girls and even a little nose candy from time to time. But fear not, this is Tom Hanks afterall and while he has some (make that a lot of) character flaws, he ends up being a real good guy in the end. But there's a bigger story here. And that story is that Charlie Wilson's War is a rather large step in a much needed healing process.

The second that Tom Hanks uttered the words "life is like a box of chocolates" you just knew that it was going to take a slew of good performances to undo the mess that was Forrest Gump. And truth to tell, those performances haven't come fast enough because I can still see Forrest running down that country road in my mind, wearing his checkered shirt and his stupid grin. And the goal here is to put up as many good performances as humanly possible to act as a brain cell killer to make me forget there ever was a Forrest Gump. Of course, there's Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and Road To Perdition to help. But there has also been You've Got Mail, The Ladykillers, The Terminal, and The Polar Express and that just leads to "stupid is as stupid does." I still don't understand that dumbass quote and don't ever care to.

Tom Hanks isn't wonderful in Charlie Wilson's War the way that Philip Seymour Hoffman is as Gust Avrakotos, but he's at least got his swagger back. A Bachelor Party like swagger that seemed all but lost. The truth is, I don't know that Tom Hanks is the kind of actor that should take down back to back best actor Oscars. No wait, I know he's not the kind of actor. Ask yourself if Tom Hanks belongs in the same company as a Daniel Day Lewis or Jack Nicholson or Dustin Hoffman. He doesn't and that's okay because I like Tom Hanks best when he's having a good time. When he's got that smile that says he's in on the joke. He's got that in Charlie Wilson's War and it's good to see it again. Even if it means I still haven't forgotten Forrest Gump.

Better late than never

The Oscars are notorious for giving the award to great actors and actresses for the wrong roles. This usually happens when Oscar messed up the first time around. So they end up giving the award for a lesser performance in an attempt to save face.

Here are actors and actresses who won Oscar. And the performance they SHOULD have won for.

Russell Crowe: Best Actor, Gladiator
Should have won for: The Insider

Denzel Washington: Best Actor, Training Day
Should have won for: Malcolm X

Paul Newman: Best Actor, The Color of Money
Should have won for: Cool Hand Luke

Sean Penn: Best Actor, Mystic River
Should have won for: Dead Man Walking

Jack Nicholson: Best Actor, As Good As It Gets
Should have won for: Five Easy Pieces

Dustin Hoffman, Best Actor, Rain Man
Should have won for: Midnight Cowboy

Renee Zellweger: Best Actress, Cold Mountain
Should have won for: Chicago

Katherine Hepburn: Best Actress, On Golden Pond
Should have won for: Anything but that

Henry Fonda, Best Actor, On Golden Pond
Should have won for: Anything but that

Nicole Kidman: Best Actress, The Hours
Should have won for: To Die For

Al Pacino: Best Actor, Scent of a Woman
Should have won for: Godfather I or II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon or
Glengarry Glen Ross

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Brian: Pat, you should see Into the Wild. There are some great performances.

Pat: From who?

Brian: Emile Hirsch.

Pat: I heard he was good.

Brian: And Hal Holbrook.

Pat: Yeah, loved him in Wall Street.

Brian: And Catherine Keener.

Pat: I LIKE her.

Brian: And Vince Vaughn.

Pat: Vaughn’s in it?

Brian: Yeah and William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden and Jena Malone.

Pat: Huh. I thought it was about a guy who got lost in the woods.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Beards Don't Hide Guilt

Last night David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno took the stage without writers. Well, Letterman had writers because he made a side deal with the union but both Conan O'Brien and Leno 'ad-libbed.' I read about how outrageous and funny it was that both Letterman and O'Brien had 'Strike Beards.' I also read that it might be political suicide for Huckabee to cross the picket lines to appear on the Leno show. What I didn't read about was how David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno should be called whores of the worst kind because they are attempting to go on with show while there is still a strike. And to add insult to injury, the three promoted their support for the strike while they were on air. Sorry fellas, the damage is already done. The death blow has been delivered. How can you possibly support the WGA Strike, while helping the Motion Picture and Television Industry prove that writers just aren't that important. And I'm not accepting the answer that the big, mean NBC and CBS Studios are making them do the show. Last time I checked, it was called The Late Show With David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Without them, there is no show.

I guess if I were to rank the whorishness of this scenario, Leno would have to be A Numero Uno for he is still a member of WGA and may have violated the strike by writing his own stuff last night. Next up would have to be Conan because he once was a member of WGA. And bringing up the rear is Letterman who avoids a bit of guilt because he is at least paying writers to write his show.

The strike is real. And it's time for those who can affect change to do so. Stop sympathizing and start doing. If Leno, Letterman and O'Brien really want to send a message that they support the strike, then don't do the show. If the studios take them to court for violating their contracts, then I say go and do that. Do they really support the strike or not? It's time to get serious, and sorry, beards are not the answer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

In Case You Missed It 2007

I'm late on this, but my time between Christmas and New Years was crazy. I won't waste anyone's time with a top 10 film list for the year because it will look similar to a lot of top 10 lists. And aside from that, I don't know that I've seen enough good movies to put together a top 10 list. Instead, I'm going to focus on the best of the film blogging community because there were lots of great things that happened blog-wise in '07. I want to highlight stuff that when I read it, I was jealous that I didn't think of it myself or I was especially taken with the insight or the entertainment of it. These are ranked in no particular order. Number one is no better than number whatever. They're all noteworthy in my eyes. Hopefully, you'll take a moment to check these out if you get a chance. You won't be disappointed. And if you are, then I didn't write them so don't blame me.

1. Ray at The Rec is a good drawler and talker. There's something out there called Sketchcast. I wasn't familiar with it when I witnessed its power at The Rec. Ray comments about Sex In The City as he draws and it's the perfect balance of sight and sound. When I saw it, I wanted to kill Ray and claim it as my own, but there's the nasty jail thing and who has money for a really good lawyer these days.

2. Burbanked re-experiences Star Wars. For the Star Wars Blog-a-Thon hosted by Edward Copeland On Film, Burbanked interviews his son after watching Star Wars for the first time. As a father myself, there is no greater joy than re-watching a movie through the eyes of your child. It's not as magical as the first time, but it's pretty damn close.

3. Getting Dirty Feels Good. I participated in a lot of blog-a-thons this past year, but the one that I may have enjoyed the most was the Trashy Movie Celebration Blog-a-Thon at Neil Sarver's The Bleeding Tree. Because every once in a while you gotta let your hair down and celebrate stuff so bad it's good.

4. If I Blog It They Will Come reaches a milestone. The descriptor of this blog goes like this "A blog About getting A particular celebrity to visit A blog about themselves and send in a photo of themselves looking at said blog." That line is the launching pad to one of the greatest blog ideas I've ever seen. The author is Evan Kessler and the first subject of this blogging experiment was Kevin Costner. Nearly every day Evan wrote a post to Kevin Costner in the hopes that word would travel back to him and the movie star would do as he was asked. Well, word did get back and Costner did send in his photo. So I guess that's one small leap for bloggers everywhere. Robin Williams is now on the clock, so we'll see if Evan can find success twice.

5. The Rec creates the Summer Movie Tournament and almost gets its swiped. Here's a great idea to help you get through the summer blockbusters. Create movie brackets. That's what Ray at The Rec did. I loved the idea. And so did The Movie Blog because it announced one a few days after Ray had e-mailed the editor about his idea. Hmmmmmm. Needless to say, Ray did not mince any words (if you read his blog, you know he never does). It was a rather nasty on-line fight which unfortunately is lost because someone hacked The Rec and most of the archives are gone. But it ended with The Movie Blog dropping its Summer Movie Tournament and the two blogs making up with passionate kissing.

6. This Distracted Globe completes 31 Days Of Hitchcock. I've never cared much for straight reviews of movies. But what Joe Valdez does is to bundle them in such a way as to make them interesting. For example, Joe spent a month reviewing remakes. And then another month reviewing Miramax films that didn't get the usual Harvey Weinstein marketing blitz. And then in the month of October, Joe reviewed a Hitchcock film a day. It was a huge undertaking and the reviews are fantastic. Not only does Joe give you his take, he writes about the politics behind the scenes. Can't wait to see what Joe tackles next.

7. Get To Know Your Bloggers: DVD Panache hosts Friday Screen Tests. There's a self-serving attitude that can run rampant while blogging, but not with Adam Ross at DVD Panache. Last year, Adam posted about a different film blogger with his Friday Screen Tests. Not only did it help this guy with some traffic, but it also helped me learn about the many film bloggers out there. It's my understanding that Adam plans on continuing this in 2008, and with that I say carry on.

8. Elijah Price proves to be a familiar nemesis. For those of who don't know, Elijah Price is the name of Samuel L. Jackson character, David Dunn's (Bruce Willis) arch nemesis in the movie Unbreakable. Elijah Price is also the name of a blogger who frequented this blog. One could say that he was my nemesis as well. He loved Dances With Wolves, hated John Carpenter and couldn't stand the movie Fandango. He and I often exchanged heated comments and while I was often frustrated with his comments, he sure made stuff a hell of a lot of fun. Well, it turns out that Elijah Price of the blogosphere was actually my best friend Charlie Calhoun from back home in Lincoln, Nebraska. He knew every button to push and he pushed them hard and frequently. I know that Elijah is Charlie because Charlie admitted as much at a recent family vacation. So now that the cat is out of the bag, Elijah doesn't come around any more and Lazy Eye Theatre is not the powder keg it once was.

11. 31 Days Of Spielberg comes to a screeching halt. I thought a lot about whether to include this because I'm sure Damian at Windmills Of My Mind would like for all of the hoopla surrounding his 31 Days Of Spielberg to just go away. But I just can't. It would be wrong to talk about the year in blogging and not mention this mess. I have read and enjoyed Damian's blog since it started. In fact, it is one of my favorite blogs because Damian is a true fan of film. A selfless critic that is able to make his passion for film come alive on my computer screen. That being said, when Damian was accused of plagiarism towards the end of 31 Days Of Spielberg, I was saddened. Although I don't know Damian personally, I never took him as an opportunist. I think Damian got in over his head and lifted a couple of sentences and got busted for it. Yes, it was wrong but the lashings that Damian took were unforgivable. One minute people are saying that Damian should publish a book of these writings, the next they are on their soapbox waxing prophetic about what is and what is not plagiarism and saying that, in fact, they never thought Damian was a good writer anyway. And then there were those that felt that Damian's apology was not sincere enough. It's all a bunch of hogwash if you ask me. I'm not releasing Damian of his guilt, but I'm sure as shit not condemning him. And the fact that he has hardly written a word since is sad, because the blogging world has been without a very good blog in Windmills Of My Mind. So Damian, come back to us soon and not just with a post here and there. And if you're not going to write, at least comment for gosh sakes.

12. Shoot The Projectionist exposes us to Pinky Violence. I'm not a very good blogger when it comes to reading about stuff I'm not familiar with. It's something I desperately need to work on. But I take a special interest in Asian cinema so I'll read about anything related to it. When I stumbled on to Ed Hardy's posts about Pinky Violence, a Japanese exploitation genre, I was strangely fascinated and the posts did not disappoint. He is still in need of a conclusion, so get on it already Ed.

13. The Online Film Communities Top 100 is selected and then debated. Cinema Fusion came up with the idea of creating a Top 100 movies list from a slew of bloggers. I was included and excited about doing it. When the list finally came out, I had regrets because it didn't feel like a list that should represent all films - and what's further I questioned my ability to even contribute to such a list. But it's still a huge undertaking and my hat goes off to Johnathan and everyone else involved because the truth is, right or wrong, you have to have the balls to put it out there and they did. And while I may have had some reservations, most involved were very happy with the list.

14. Final Girl Writes Things And Those Things Make For Some Laughing. I will not call out anything specifically that Stacy Ponder at Final Girl wrote this past year because they are all gems. Okay, how about I call out her last post Le Year in le Review. All I can say is that it is a sheer pleasure reading her stuff and she should be required reading for everyone, whether you're a horror fan or not.

15. Moviezzz makes us remember. Ever wonder what happened to Amanda Peterson, the little sexpot from Can't Buy Me Love? Or the French exchange student from Better Off Dead? There are actors out there that seemed destined for stardom but for some reason or another don't make it. I for one am fascinated with how the Hollywood machine can shoot some stars to the heavens and yet grind some down to nothingness at the same time. And Jim is just the guy to tell me about all that. I'm looking for more of the same this year.

16. The time is 20:07. If there is a safe house in this crazy film blogging world, it would have to be the Film Experience blog, as run by Nathanial. It is informative, entertaining and most importantly unpretentious. All are welcome to put up their feet and enjoy a cup of coffee and a nice bunt cake as we read reviews, film commentary and the weekly post praising Michelle Pfeiffer. And while I have lots of favorites about Film Experience, I would have to say that Nat's 20:07 posts are brilliant and strangely prophetic. They are over now for obvious reasons, but take a moment and check them out and we'll look for the next great idea in 2008.

Here's to more amazing stuff in 2008.

Once is never enough – the retraction.

On January 1, I made a rather bold statement. I said that a movie can’t be considered great if you only want to watch it once.

j.d. called me on it, and he was right.

I remember seeing Schindler’s List in the theater. It was difficult to sit through. Nonetheless, it was extremely well-crafted by Steven Spielberg and the memory of the sheer inhumanity still burns bright. I have no desire to see it again. But I’m glad that I saw it and I believe it is a great film.

However, I still contend that the movies in yesterday’s post – Titanic, The Last Emperor, The English Patient, Gandhi, Amadeus and Shakespeare in Love – are boring.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Once is never enough.

Can a movie be considered great if you have no desire to see it more than once? I don’t think so. One of the distinctions of a great film is that you actually want to watch it over and over.

Here are some Best Picture winners that I have seen only one time:

The Last Emperor
The English Patient
Shakespeare in Love

None of those films suck. Well, maybe Titanic. But I don’t want to watch them. They are boring movies that won Best Picture.

My favorite movies include Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, The Graduate and Fargo. If any of those films come on TV, I stop what I’m doing and I’ll watch for 30 minutes or so.

Maybe I’m confusing great movies with favorite movies. I don’t know. I’m nursing a bit of a hangover.

All Dances Must Come To An End

This post is for The Endings Blog-a-Thon that actually finished yesterday at Joe's Movie Corner.

At the end of the film Fandango comes one of the finest finishes I have ever seen in a movie. The final minutes serve as what best can be described as one enormous montage. After calling off his wedding, Kenneth Waggener (Sam Robards) comes to his senses and he along with The Groovers - made up of Gardner Barnes (Kevin Costner), Phil Hicks (Judd Nelson), Dorman (Chuck Bush) and Lester Griffin (Brian Cesak) - arrange one hell of an impromptu wedding in a small town in Texas. A good montage is measured by its ability to marry sight and sound and this does that just perfectly. Kevin Reynolds shoots each scene with absolute grace and they flow together like the notes from Pat Metheney and Lyle Mays' jazzy guitars.

Its hard not to let ones heart soar during these last few minutes because Waggener gets to marry the beautiful Suzy Amis, but the bigger message here is that there comes a time when the road trip ends. When the bubble pops and reality sets in - reality being the Vietnam draft. This montage represents the last dance. The inevitable has been put-off as long as possible and now it's time to grow up. But for now, there is the dance and The Groovers want to celebrate every last glorious minute.