Thursday, November 27, 2008

Best Oscar - I'm committing to two categories

Best Actor. Sean Penn in Milk. I've seen the trailer. This one is done.

Best Supporting Actor. Heath Ledger as Joker. He deserves it and he's dead.

- Pat Piper

Movie Game

There are different movie games people play with friends, but I have a particular favorite. I will borrow Pat’s blog to describe it in some detail.


At least five people, better if you don’t know their movie tastes.
A setting that includes food and drink and no rush to leave. On this night, the game was played in a cozy corner in a sushi restaurant in Chicago. Lots of beer and cold sake.

How it’s played:

Somebody throws out a topic and everyone around the table answers.

“Favorite science fiction movie?”
“Favorite action scene?”
“Favorite comedy?”
“Favorite Paul Newman movie?”

The rules:

There are no rules to this game. Other than the fact that it helps if your group actually goes to the movies and that at least someone in your group, in our case – Pat Piper – is outspoken enough to call bullshit on people’s answers.

From what I recall, Piper had WORDS with Ethan over Ethan’s responses:

Favorite Dustin Hoffman movie? “Rain Man”
Favorite Action movie? “Transformers”
Favorite Quentin Tarantino movie? “I HATE Quentin Tarantino.”

The game gets better the longer it lasts. That’s because obvious categories are out of the way and more interesting categories appear:

“Best Clint Eastwood movie, first as actor, then as director?”
“Guilty pleasure movie?”
“Movie nobody at this table has ever seen but should?”
“Best musical score?”
“Best Donald Pleasance movie?”

The game ends when one of the following occurs:

You run out of categories.
You are no longer friends.
The bar or restaurant wants you to leave.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Loves Food

This Thursday, chances are you're going to gouge yourself with turkey and cranberry and stuffing and rolls and mashed potatoes, maybe some greenbean casserole and of course pumpkin pie. And then you'll get sleepy way too early, making you wake up at about 5 a.m. the next morning hating yourself for what you've put your body through. Hey, it's a tradition.

Thanksgiving is really just a blank check to ruin your body with friends and family for about 24 hours. But hey, we're human and we love eating. And more than that, we love a really good excuse to eat. A lot. And when we're not eating, there's some comfort to be found in watching others eat. A lot. So this Tuesday, give me your Top 5 Movies that center around eating.

1. Goodfellas I have often tried to cut my garlic so thin that it practically melts in the pan. And I have failed every single time.

2. Big Night While it's easy to focus on the enormous multi-course dinner, but I am especially taken with the morning after when they make eggs in olive oil and eat them with some bread. I love eggs in olive oil.

3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
You'll find me by the giant candy mushroom filled with whipped cream.

4. Tom Jones I've never really allowed food to stick around long enough to let it be considered sexual, but the scene between Finney and Redman is good stuff.

5. Steel Magnolias What? He said what? I really, really dislike this movie but I love the scene where they are scooping piles of crawfish, red potatoes and sweet corn for the crawfish boil.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Did you see what I just did there? The headline says Cool Poster, only it's written backwards. Let me write that again. The. Headline. Says. Cool. Poster. Only. It's. Written. Backwards.

That's me being clever. But not as clever as these new posters for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

The interesting thing here is that I believe that the Cate Blanchett image is backwards. It just seems a bit off.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bond-A-Thon Fallout

In case you don't know this already, here are a couple of rules you should keep in mind when hosting a blog-a-thon.

1. Try not to schedule a blog-a-thon when you're on the road shooting TV commercials so you can avoid having to check for updates on your computer in a van that has really shitty wireless service when you really should be watching the commercial that is being shot.

2. Try not to conclude a blog-a-thon on a day where you travel in an airplane for five hours only to get home to pack for a family vacation that leaves early the next morning.

Otherwise, I would say that the Bond-A-Thon was a big success. I received lots of entries from new blogs, familiar blogs and none from Fox who according to his e-mail to me has only seen one and a half James Bond films. The half was due mostly to the fact that his date left because Fox tried the old "buttered popcorn surprise" trick.

I'm still getting my bearings, so I'm slow in reading all the entries.

Thanks to everyone who submitted posts and to all who helped promote this little shindig.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Man on Wire

I had heard positive reviews of this documentary about a French daredevil who walks across a cable strung between the towers of The World Trade Center in 1974 but frankly it sounded kind of boring. I mean, I’ve been to the circus. I’ve seen tightrope walkers before. How enthralling could this documentary be?

Well, I was wrong. Man on Wire captivated me from start to finish. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of documentaries and I would place “Man on Wire” in second place, right behind Errol Morris’s “Thin Blue Line.”

One reason this film will stay with me for many years:

1. Fulfilling one’s destiny. Phillip Petit decided he would cross the Twin Towers even before they were built. He had already crossed the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris and The Harbor Bridge in Sidney. But the towers would be his crowning achievement. He believed so much in his destiny that it was relatively easy for him to recruit the support he needed. He got the help from his lover, Annie Allix, his good friend, Jean-Louis Blondeau and even from Americans he had just met.

This man, Phillip Petit, was a marvel to watch on a wire. He wasn’t a performer as much as he was an artist who sculpted air. A. O. Scott from the New York Times describes it as “physical poetry.” Phillip Petit found so much joy in sky walking that I just couldn’t stop smiling. (And I’m afraid of heights.)

Petit had to overcome tremendous logistics in order to accomplish this feat. Perhaps the greatest challenge was figuring out how to string a cable across the two towers. I won’t give it away here, but it was only by trial and error and sheer ingenuity that Petit and his crew of true believers discovered how it could be done. While the logistics are fascinating, the outcome was never in doubt. Not when one believes so fervently in his dreams.

Post 9/11, the World Trade Center is gone. Like millions of Americans, I remember where I was when the plane hit the South tower. And I remember where I was when the North tower was hit. The images are burned into my brain and we as a country can never go back. But then again with James Marsh’s compelling movie, maybe we can.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Liscensed To Blog: The James Blog-A-Thon

For the next few days we honor the longest standing franchise in film history. A franchise that has seen its Pussy Galores and its Doctor Goodheads. It's Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd and Jaws. It's Aston Martin's and its Alfa Romeos. Its Scaramanga and its Sir Hugo Drax. And it's certainly seen a lot of Bonds. Like our very own sister, we love our Bond movies and we've seen it through its ups and downs. And now we must celebrate all that is Bond. Let me have our reviews, your thoughts, your memories, whatever. Just let me have them. Shaken, not stirred, of course.

I will list the links as I receive them.

Just e-mail me or post them in the comments and I will link.


DAY 001

Moviezzz offers up a Roger Moore Book Review My Word Is My Bond.

Becca at No Smoking In The Skullcave asks us to test our Bond knowledge with a Bond Quote Quiz.

SamuraiFrog at Electronic Cerebrectomy gives us Bond Trivia.

Adam at Movie Chunks has Die-Cast Bond Car regrets.

Adam Ross at DVD Panache makes a case for Dalton and The Living Daylights

Bond has "known" a lot of women, and Reel Whore highlights some of the best for us.

Divers and Sundry is planning on watching a few Bond movies. Here is their take on Goldfinger, Dr. No and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

DAY 002

Byzantium's Shores examines every Bond gun barrel opening.

Bob at gee bobg gives us a trip down Bond memory lane with Bonding.

Moviezzz gives us good video and his take on the most memorable Bond Themes.

Samuraifrog gives us background on the Bond That Never Was.

Daniel at Getafilm shows his love for The Spy Who Loved Me.

Deborah offers us a James Bond Fanpage!

Reel Whore gives us a peek at the most memorable Bond Henchmen.

Alan at Burbanked examines Bond and the Shaky Cam.

Divers and Sundry offers up Tom Hanks as Bond? and The Man With The Golden Gun.

DAY 003

Filmchris offers up his most favorite Bond Henchmen.

Megan at All I Need Is Everything takes a critical eye to James in Spy Out Loud.

Fletch at Blog Cabins doesn't get all the Bond Hype.

Jeremy at Another Blasted Weblog gives us an early review of Quantum Of Solace.

MC at Culture Kills... Wait I Mean Cutlery gives us his favorite Bond Tracks.

Tom the Dog "D's Up" for On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Byzantium's Shores discusses the music of Bond in Scoring Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Daniel at Getafilm also gives us an early peek at Quantum Of Solace.

Reel Whore offers up his Last? post with his thoughts on Casino Royale.

And then there's my entry to the Bond-A-Thon called My Slightly Jumbled Memory Of Bond.

Anders at Cut, Print, Review offers up a little Bond versus Bond action.

Roderick at Ferdy On Films talks about Famous Firsts and Dr. No.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Slightly Jumbled Memory Of Bond

I've seen all but about two of the Bond movies. And some of those, I've seen several times. But if you were to pin me down on a specific Bond movie, I would be hard-pressed to tell you the specifics of any of them. Call it limited brain space, or bad plot development, but in my brain every Bond movie is a big pile of swirling mushy goo littered with bits and pieces of characters, cars and beautiful women.

So nearly as I can tell, there was that movie You Only Die Golden Forever Twice where James Bond is fighting an evil villain who has a third nipple that is webbed and a scar on his face that bleeds randomly named General Dr. Max No who wants to rob the world of its riches and start a nuclear war. But almost as scary as the evil villain is his henchman. A mid-sized, A-sexual, Asian-Afro-American character who wears a deadly hat made of metal teeth and who likes really violent sex. It looks to be a tough battle for Bond, but fortunately he has some help from the likes of the beautiful Dr. Goodnight Pussy who is actually an undercover agent for the Soviets that hates Bond and wants to kill him but then eventually falls in love with him and helps him fight General Dr. Max No. And then there's Bond's car, the Aston Romeo with machine gun headlights and an ejector seat that can turn invisible when its underwater.

My favorite scene in You Only Die Golden Forever Twice is when Bond gets in that speedboat chase on ice with those guys on snow-skis where Bond is driving that tank and running through all those walls of that underwater space-station. At the end of it, he uses his invisible magnetized poison pen to shoot a dart through the console of the General Dr. Max No's evil laser beam making it shoot off into outerspace, making Bond the hero once again.

At least that's how I remember it.

Top 5 Tuesdays (T5T) Loves 007

The James Bond Blog-A-Thon is just a day away, so let's warm things up a bit. Give me your Top 5 Bond whatever. Could be your Top 5 most favorite Bond movies. Or your Top 5 least favorite. Or your Top 5 Best Bond Villains. Or the Top 5 Best Bond Girls.

In short, I will be accepting all things Bond. In no particular order, here are my Top 5 Favorite James Bond Films. Keep in mind that I am a child of Roger Moore and while Sean Connery is probably my favorite Bond, I have fonder memories of the Roger Moore era.

1. The Spy Who Loved Me What can't you say about this movie? It has Bond's underwater Mustang Mach 1, an oh-so-hot Bond woman in Barbra Bach and the introduction of Jaws.

2. Goldfinger Sean Connery at his greatest and I want to rob Goldfinger's wardrobe.

3. Live and Let Die Bond meets Shaft. Tee Hee with the crocodiles and the metal hook hand, Baron Samedi, Wings' theme song, and that New Orleans funeral make this one of my favorites.

4. Casino Royale To me, Bond had become a caricature with Pierce Brosnan. This is a return to baddass. Back to the days of Sean Connery of class and brawn. And as an adult, I didn't miss the gadgets.

5. The Man With The Golden Gun The only thing that would have made this film any trippier is if Nick Nack would have suckled from Scaramanga's third nipple. I loved the maze and often wished I could turn my basement into a killing labyrinth complete with a midget that is constantly taunting me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

James Bond Blog-A-Thon Banners Are Here!

More than the Blog-a-Thons themselves, I love Blog-a-Thon banners.

Feel free to use these to spread the word about the James Bond Blog-a-Thon beginning in a couple of days.

These designs are courtesy of Mr. Jeremy Fuksa at The Martini Shaker.

And the lines are written by myself with some inspiration from Adam Ross at DVD Panache.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Past The Noses On Our Faces

I really want to write about movies. I really do. But instead I have to get this out. Blogs are supposed to be therapeutic, right?

It has been an unbelievable past few days and I wish I were referring to Obama becoming our future 44th President. Nope. It’s been unbelievable because I have found myself in the strange position of reminding people what was so bad about the past eight years. Really? I have to do that? Suddenly, everyone’s getting homesick for the worst President in the history of our Country. Really?

I do not have the enviable position of living in an undivided state. And because of this, I have been surprised and amazed by the reaction to Obama winning, handsomely I might add. I can only liken it to the day after a fierce football rivalry where the victory went to the other team. It’s been petty and bitter. Most of it has been on the economy, as if Obama will somehow get us into a worse mess. The spread the wealth mentality has not gone over well. I guess we would rather see our taxes go overseas to fund shabby armor for some kid who is fighting a war that has no purpose.

On the night of the election, I put my hands on my 10-year-old son’s shoulders and I looked him straight in the eyes and I said, “I did not vote for myself today, I voted for you.” It was not meant to be a dramatic exclamation point to the day's events; I just wanted him to know the truth. Because the truth is, I have never voted for myself in any election. I have voted for greater causes that usually did not affect my day-to-day life. So when I’m asked “has the past eight years been so terrible to me” I have to answer no. Not to me. But it sure as hell has taken a toll on our Country. And if we were to stay on this track, I would be passing on mistakes to my children and that is something I cannot live with.

I have been successful in life and in my job not because of George W. Bush or his administration, but because of myself. I work damn hard and in the land of opportunity, I should find success. And it would be wrong of me to vote for more of the same because I was happy with my paycheck. It would be wrong for me to be okay with a government that has taken away civil liberties such as Habeas Corpus with the Military Commissions Act. That has acted as God in deciding Terry Shiavo’s fate. That has stopped Stem Cell research and set us back decades. That continues to pump $10 billion a month into the Iraq war. That ran an election on whether it was right for people of the same sex to share the same legal bond as my wife and me. That held a private energy meeting with the heads of big oil and refused to reveal its outcome. That continued to promise tax refunds while our deficit grew larger and larger. After eight years of this mess, how someone could make this election about himself or herself is unconscionable to me.

I am an idealist in the worst way. And because of this, I don’t understand why anyone would long for the past eight years. Would take comfort in it. Would want more of it. Have we set the bar so low for our highest office? Are we so upset that we have elected a man who wants to inject hope into America, rather than fear? Are we so upset that we have put a man into office that can successfully complete a sentence? It would be easy for me not to care. To let my paycheck be the ultimate judge. To not look past the nose on my face. But I can’t and I won’t. Thankfully, neither did a lot of us.

And our Country will be better for it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tagged: The Alphabet Meme

Ah, The Alphabet Meme, a little ominous, is it not?

Fletch at Blog Cabins has tagged me with this meme which has me list a movie for every letter in the alphabet.

What's nice about this meme is that it's somewhat free-ing in the ability to choose movies that may not normally appear in my top 26. Your hands are tied a bit and I kind of like it like that.

For instance a movie like Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang is a favorite of mine, but I may not include it in my Top 50 or Top 100 for that matter. But for the most part, the movies all belong on a list close to my heart. I consciously did not repeat directors to spare you all from a list that would consist solely of John Carpenter, Brian DePalma, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Wes Anderson.

And only one movie appears on this list that was made before I was born, which means... um... something, but what that something is I have no idea.

Without further ado, here is my list.

All The President’s Men Alan J. Pakula (1976)

low Out Brian DePalma (1981)

addyshack Harold Ramis (1980)

azed and Confused Richard Linklater (1993)

lection Alexander Payne (1999)

andango Kevin Reynolds (1985)

oodfellas Martin Scorsese (1990)

igh Fidelity Stephen Frears (2000)

ncredibles, The Brad Bird (2004)

aws Stephen Spielberg (1975)

iss, Kiss, Bang, Bang Shane Black (2005)

eaver Her To Heaven John M. Stahl (1945)

ulholland Drive David Lynch (2001)

orth by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock (1959)

ut of Sight Steven Soderbergh (1998)

ulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino (1994)

&A Sidney Lumet (1990)

oyal Tenenbaums, The Wes Anderson (2001)

pirited Away Hayao Miyazaki (2001)

hing, The John Carpenter (1982)

nforgiven Clint Eastwood (1992)

anishing, The George Sluizer (1998)

ily Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Mel Stuart (1971)

-rated Bloopers 2 Multiple Directors of Note (1991)

oung Frankenstein Mel Brooks (1974)

odiac David Fincher (2007)

The Rules

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Consider yourself tagged:

Adam Ross at DVD Panache

Lisa Bee at Horror Happenings

Adam at Movie Chunks

Megan at All I Need Is Everything

Paul at Careful With That Blog, Eugene

Alan at Burbanked

and Marilyn at Ferdy on Films (which I've decided will be included on every meme I create or am tagged with forever!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thons and The Blogs They Belong To

I wrote about this before the October craziness, but my The Blog, James Blog-A-Thon has moved dates with the new release date. It is now November 12th - 14th. Let me put that in all caps so it's easy and fun to read.


In addition to my blog-a-thon, Dr. Mabuse's Kaleido-Scope is also have a James Bond Blog-A-Thon that is currently going on through November 14th. So be sure to contribute to that as well.

And right now. Right this very minute, there is the Politics & Movies Blog-A-Thon going on through November 9th at The Cooler.


And don't forget about The Universal Horror Blog-A-Thon going on November 7-9 at Careful With The Blog, Eugene. So get on that as well.

So what the hell are you doing reading this? Go and write already.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Campaign Of Fear

So it has come to this.


Do you think that Obama is a terrorist? Do you think he has enough experience? Do you think he hates whitey? Do you think he's buying the election because of his ties with Acorn? Do you think he's going to pull us out of the war and make us vulnerable to terrorism again? These are the hot buttons of America. We call ourselves a Super Power, when in truth we're just a bunch of chicken-shits.

The past eight years have prepared us for this. The campaign of fear. We don't talk issues anymore. No one really cares where anyone stands on the things that really effect us. We elected Bush in 2004 based on gay marriage and a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. We sit at home and watch our TVs and wait to hear what we need to hate and fear next. And then we eat it up and ask for seconds.

This is no way to live. And it's certainly no way to run a campaign.

Acorn, Marxism, Rev. Wright, Ayer, Muslim. It's all window-dressing for the real reason people fear Obama. He's black. He could be the first black president of the United States. When I step back for a moment and think about that, it's amazing. And I'm proud that we have come this far. Proud, that is, until I watch people call him a terrorist and yell "kill him" at rallies. But who ever thought this was going to be an easy road? I'm sure Mr. Obama didn't. And I think of the courage that all that must take. We praise John McCain, and rightly so, for being a prisoner of war and yet we recognize nothing of the sacrifices Obama has made to run in this race. And not once have I seen him get angry at this hatred. Not once have I seen him point his finger. Not once have I seen him call something unfair. Instead I have seen him rise up again and again and make this election about things that matter. That is because he is a leader. I understand that some people can't see that. We haven't had one for a good long time.

I had a conversation with a friend of my family yesterday. He is a wonderful man. He is kind and generous and I have not heard him say a nasty word about anyone. And yet, when it came time to talk politics he said he was voting for McCain because Obama was a Muslim. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. I tried to argue the point with him - but he wasn't listening as I'm sure a lot of people aren't. It's easier to not listen. To fear. To hate. It's much harder to understand. To love. To embrace. Those are honorable things. Where we got lost on these issues I have no idea, but this is where we are.

It's no way to live life. And it's certainly no way to run a Country.

I am 37 years old. I have voted in every single election since I was old enough to do so and yet I have never felt like my vote counted as much as it does tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm not just voting for a black president. I'm voting for a different Country. One without fear.