Thursday, August 30, 2007

All Things Simpson

Did I mention I saw The Simpson's Movie a while back? It was essentially a really good Simpson's episode, from back in the day when most of them were good. They turned a corner somewhere after season 8, and while there's still a good snort once in a while, it's not what is once was. Keep in mind, that's like saying Coca-cola isn't good anymore since they changed to high fructose corn syrup from sugar; it's still Coke with that great taste, but it was once better.

For instance, the send-ups of religion used to be essentially warm-hearted, and sometimes even subtle, but now it's typically shrill atheist rhetoric, kinda like the daily post about religion on Digg. It was nicer when it was, well, nicer.

Still, MPC1 and I laughed a lot. The gag where they show Bart's little Bart is especially clever. Marge has the best laugh-line. There's not enough Krusty the Clown, though. And, alas, no groundskeeper Willie (maybe one line).

It's a must for fans, a decent DVD rental for those who enjoy clever animated films.

The marketing was clever, too. They have a site up where you can find out how you look as a Simpsons character.

Here are the results for my family unit. We all agree that my lovely wife's is the closest. She's in a barrel because one of the clothes options was "birthday suit" and MPC1 wanted to see if they'd really show cartoon nudity, like in the movie.

Everything you see is fake

Fun vid on manipulated images.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recent Viewings, Aug. 22, 2007

Hot Fuzz

I LOVED this movie! I laughed out loud so much my wife kept asking what was so funny (I was watching it downstairs because it's too graphic for the kids to even hear some of it).

Essentially, Hot Fuzz is the This is Spinal Tap of cop films. It walks that molecular strip on the very tippy-top edge of the razor blade of being both a parody and a legit offering of the genre all at the same time.

The violence is shockingly over the top. I haven't been so gob smacked by ultra-violence since my first viewing of Robcop. I think I called for the Lord out loud when one guy is offed by a falling church stone.

This is the first movie I've considered having a copy of in a long time.

Make sure you catch this one.

Wild Hogs

Damn but I wish John Travolta wasn't a Scientologist. It's ruined it for me the same way the gerbil story about Richard Gere did. I think Travolta is just a great actor. Truly tops. But dammit, I just can't get past the Xenu thing when I see him in a flick. [Sigh.]

Anyway, Wild Hogs is a sitcom of a movie comedy with recycled jokes as obvious as a gigantic white-headed zit on the tip of your nose, but it entertains. Make it a cheap rental, free library checkout, or wait for it to hit TV, and then waste the hour and a half.

Travolta's still fun to watch. He always brings something, ya know?

And the actor who plays Dr. Cox on "Scrubs", John C. McGinley, plays a gay highway patrolman who mistakes the gang for fellow gay players; the results are a snort.

The Prestige

This is a well-done movie with a lot of fun bluster. Worth a view if you've got the time.

However, it takes about 40 minutes too long to get to an ending that's telegraphed about half way in. If you're not opposed to fast-forwarding through needless stuff, then you can start skipping at about the time Tesla reveals what's really happening with the hats.


Roger Ebert is reviewing again (huzzah!) and had a review of Cashback recently which peaked my interest. So I borrowed the collection that contained the original short version. (I'm into brevity with such things, if possible, these days. Kinda tired of movies that gratuitously pass the two-hour mark. I'm looking at you, The Prestige.)

Cashback commits to celluloid a fantasy every red-blooded guy I know has had: freezing time and going around pulling off the clothes of woman to see them nekkid, then re-dressing them and starting time again, with the victim unaware. Yes, men are pigs, doo dah doo dah. But, this is just one of those universal things, apparently.

The nudity is brazen and prurient, as it would need to be for the concept. Still, I haven't seen shots this explicit in a movie of this type before (read "non-porn").

And the movie achieves its point. If I actually had the gift to stop time and undress cuties (and let's face it, if I did it at all, I'd undress the plain and ugly ones too), I'd feel pretty creepy about it. I felt pretty creepy watching it occur in the movie, even if fictionally.

Of course I recommend the flick. (The short one anyway; I'll hazard a guess that the full-length version doesn't contain that much more nudity or story points, you just get to see the plot that's merely telegraphed in the short version played out in full; why not save the time ... (get it?)).
9/11 pictures on money

I think this is just an eerie cowinkydink, but it's interesting nonetheless.

This video shows if you fold the $20 and the $5 bills, you see the Twin Towers before and after.
Bashing Global Warming

<SaxxonPike> mmm, steak
<SLASHSPIT> you guys don't respect the environment, do you?
<SaxxonPike> I respect a good dinner
<SLASHSPIT> how can you eat that? cows are like one of the largest contributors of methane gas
<SLASHSPIT> which contributes to global warming and stuff
<SLASHSPIT> so what are you all doing for the environment?
<SaxxonPike> I eat the fucking cows
Oh Snap! Bashing on Jesus

<Claws> Disabled people are the greatest.
<Claws> I have a friend who is in a wheel chair and he has the most awesome sense of humour ever.
<Claws> The other day two of my other friends were having an argument about something trivial, one of them turned to him and said "You'll stand up for me won't you"
<Claws> He just looked him straight in the eye and with the straightest face you'll ever see, said "Only if your name's Jesus"

Reason #8,901 Why I Love That Woman

Our littlest is now commencing with potty training. She's up to always peeing in the potty when she's up and about, only wearing a diaper for sleeping and pooping. (Both of our daughters thus far have approached to two excretory functions as completely different animals, re potty training, which is a mystery to me.)

So, she was up from her nap, past the grogginess, and so my wife removed her diaper without performing a check first (something both of us are guilty of half the time). Alas, shite was in voluminous evidence, so the family unit sprang into action.

Wipes were delivered, diaper disposed of, etc.

I sat back down and continued reading as the cleanup commenced.

Then I heard my wife mutter, "Jeez. She's clenching like a freshman in the slammer."
LOLCats Meme Still Spreading Like a Virus

I'm sure a linguist could easily explain why lolcats pidgin is so funny, and why everyone who reads it "gets it" immediately, and can reproduce the grammar.

Oh well, best not to look too deep.

Dooce and Jezebel get into the act.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pwned, Smack-down, so-there!

This has to be one of the funniest parental retribution stories I've ever heard.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fear Not

Well, they're not John Stossel, but I think "Cracked" magazine is on to something anyway: What should really be scaring you.

My favorite line: "How about the fact that carbon emissions are about to turn the 677,676-square-mile Greenland Ice Sheet into a giant, extinction-flavored Slurpee?"

And who'da thunk that Cracked magazine - essentially to "Mad" magazine what "Hustler" magazine is to "Playboy" (and it's not even "Penthouse") - would still be around, funny, and maybe even relevant. (I've read a few good lists there lately.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Group hug

Besides porn, blogs, youtube, music resources, wikipedia, and google, the web offers something unique to modern times: Truly anonymous and unchecked voyeurism, and usually the subject - the voyee - is a willing participant.

Waaay back in the Cambrian explosion of the early web, non-pornographic cam girls, like Jennifer Ringly of Jennicam, and Puce (I think her real name is Sarah) posted cam shots of their day, occasionally posted blogs (before they were called that, and hardly anyone did it), and they were good, dirty, voyeuristic fun. Mostly because they were the authors and producers of their sites.

(One of Puce's better posts was after she'd shaved her nethers and discovered that it made it much more apparent to her when she got the hots. She got on the elevator with a boy she had a crush on, and immediately noticed she got wet. As a guy, that is something I'd never experience, of course, nor would I likely be told of such a thing by a woman. It was fun.)

It's like that great scene in American Beauty when the teenage girl notices the teenage boy next door videotaping her in her room. She goes over an opens her blouse, defiantly looking the guy right in the eye, or lens, if you will.

From what I can tell, there's not a lot of that kind of thing anymore. They're either true porn sites, or actresses just trying to get some attention. (Though Ana Voog is still at it.)

Well, the other day, I stumbledupon this site called Grouphug.

The premise is anyone can go on there and anonymously confess a deep dark secret. It's mesmerizing reading. Yes, some of these have to be pure, unadulterated BS, but they're interesting just the same because someone thought them up anyway, the sick fucks.

I warn you, you will get sucked into this for a while. Also, if you have a web filter at your place of employ that hunts for naughty words, don't read this site at work. It has them all.

(Also, don't be fooled that it's truly anonymous because they say so. Unless you are going through a site that you know hides your identity, which are harder to come by since 9-11, you can be tracked. So if you must confess, find a way to truly be anonymous.)
Video Corner

It's time for some videos!

First is this hilarious report from Faux News about a cop who stole some pot from a bust, and then ends up calling 911 because he thought he and his wife were dying.

Best reporter crackup ever! Especially the post-giggle snort off-camera.

I sat aghast, jaw swinging, as I watched this horror clip. How in the hell can these people be reading the same Bible I am?

After watching that, anyone would need to chill out. So...

About a month ago, I posted this mesmerizing morph of paintings of women. Someone has done the same thing with Hollywood actresses. I would love to put these up at parties and just loop them.

White Light, Black Rain
A documentary by Steven Okazaki

Watched this just-out-on-DVD documentary about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The documentary itself is rife with cliches, and a glaring contradiction as a somber message announces at the outset that this material has been suppressed by the American government yet later we see news reels and TV shows that talk openly about the horrors of the aftermath.

Fortunately the information transcends the form. I was gripped from start to finish.

The story about the two girls who came upon their mother's charred body that fell into a pile of ash once they touched it will haunt me to the end of my days.

It also cooled my jets somewhat about liking the idea presented in the recent Nelson DeMille novel, Wildfire, which suggests that we have nukes ready to convert the Middle East into a glowing glass crater should a nuke go off in the states. I still think that's going to happen, but the thought of all those babies and children having to go through such a horror is beyond my ability to process.

I heartily recommend anyone who's interested in hearing about it from the people who were there.

Here's the official web site.
Winter Kills
Or, The big movie that couldn't.

When I snagged it from a combing of the library shelves in preparation for a few days off, I was surprised that I had not seen this particular Jeff Bridges film, as I am a fan and try to see most of his, and then more surprised at the big deal cast, and the fact that it was ostensively (odd, MS Word doesn't know that word) about the JFK assassination, based on a big novel from a renowned author. If it had any better of a pedigree, it would've gotten an honorary "best of show" at the Oscars ® in 1979.

Apparently, this movie spent about two weeks in theatres in only a few towns. All the folks - the stars, director, etc. - all register their surprise at the flop. They all gave heart and soul to make it.

Actually, they went so far as to stop production because no one was getting paid, and the crew went off to Europe to make a cheap, audience-pleasing quickie - The American Success Company (unavailable as far as I can tell) - the finance the completion of Winter Kills.

How it is as a flick? Well it starts out like the movie it is - splashy, glossy, big-deal. It thunders along nicely for a while. It has a rather shocking sex scene that would garner it an NC-17 rating today as the woman's boobs flop back and forth while Jeff Bridges pounds away (the ratings boards actually counts thrusts, and there are a multitude here), and she screams orgasmically so loudly that Bridges has to cover her face with a pillow. For a moment I couldn't believe I was seeing such a graphic scene from such an old movie. Usually movies from that time that have a scene that blatant got eviscerated by the press.

It takes a serious left turn in the third act when Bridges goes and visits Norman Bates - woops, I mean Anthony Perkins - in the secret super-computer lair that borrows a lot of its set design from Forbidden Planet. It's a major movie faux pas to have Norman provide the answers to all the mysteries thus far in a big gushing regurgitation of exposition. At least Jeff Bridges breaks his arm with a crowbar for the offense. We learn in the extras that in fact Bridges did break Perkins' arm in the shot, but Perkins cowboyed up and finished the scene without anyone on set knowing he was standing there with a smashed femur.

The ending is a big muffled fart. We know by now who the villain is (which I'd guessed in the first act, way before Perkins spills the beans), and so the final scenes are just kinda silly.

If you see this at all (for the sex scene at least - you know who you are), you'll find the documentary on the film better than the film itself.

"There's so much to say about the final volume of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga, but let's get right down to the very end: The woman understands closure," says Mark Harris of "Entertainment Weekly."

Of all the stuff I read about the end of the Harry Potter series, that line stuck in my noggin as the most salient.

Perhaps it was because I'd experienced two other good closures in the last couple weeks, - so I inadvertently got a threefer on good closure. (Sounds like something they'd announce in K-mart: "Our threefer on closure is on sale for the next fifteen minutes, aisle 15, blue light special!")

My life was in turmoil back when one of my fav series of all time, "Moonlighting," was on the air. It was a struggle to catch episodes, not only because my life was in such upheaval, because the broadcasts of new episodes was notoriously spotty, and the network never announced when a new one was going to show. I'd nearly forgotten about that element until I watched the DVDs, and they'd started working jokes into the shows about it.

Because of the unpredictableness, I missed the series finale, and the bastards never broadcast it again. I've been mildly pissed off for years about that.

Well, I finally got to see it since the final season is out on DVD. And it was really good. Had I seen it back in the day, it would have blown me away, because the creators and writers of the show understood closure, and did about one of the only things they could've. (Since then, many shows since have stolen Moonlighting's thunder by aping some of its best gags, including the ending, so it wasn't as revelatory as it would have been to me had I not since seen pale imitations of it beforehand.)

After a wacky wedding episode, David Addison (Bruce Willis) struts down the hall to the office like he has a thousand times before only to encounter moving guys and a studio hack who tells him the show's cancelled. Cut to Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) getting off the elevator and strutting down the hall, too, as the camera lingers on her shapely legs before it pans up to her face, as always. (So we get the iconic opening to the show as a kick-off.) Once she's clued in, they make a mad dash to get married in order to save the show, and the priest gives them a great lecture on what love really means. They sit down on the alter, and Maddie says, "I can't believe I'm not going to see you again tomorrow." Then they do a montage of the best shots, ending with Willis doing is signature David Addison wave goodbye. Bliss.

I was a member of the tiny audience that really liked one of this year's failures, "Studio60." I thought the scripts were literate and funny, and did a great job of walking the tightrope of having characters with completely divergent views actually say things they would say. Even though she was a fundie, they tackled a character who was devoutly Christian, and made her believable and likeable. They did the same for her atheist on-again, off-again boyfriend. They did some great stuff about being black, too. But, the audience wandered and they got canceled. Since they knew this, they did a great three-parter for the ending, and their creative staff understood closure, too. The great troubled romance was resolved, two main players had a baby after a scary delivery, and so on. It was really well done and cathartic.

Hopefully we're going to see an era where artists realize that great closure is a thoughtful and welcome gift to their audience. (I'm looking at you, the people behind the disastrous Seinfeld finale.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

This is what I think every time I see one of these tattoos