Friday, March 27, 2009

Most Humble Apologies

Ever look at a morbidly obese person and wonder how they wiped their ass?

Wonder no more - the long reach comfort wipe:

(Click for full size, or click here to view the actual catalog entry)

In other advertising wonderfulness, check this out:

(Click for full size.)

I've heard that the depression recession has been hardest on teenagers since old farts like myself are now asking folks if they'd like fries with that. Well, to me, here's the opportunity for a win-win. They should hire teenage boys to vet all ads, to insure they pass the "Beavis and Butthead" test.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Perhaps some recalibration is in order

That was the name of the post I started a week ago after I'd seen The Watchmen and had bought the new U2 album, No Line on the Horizon.

Both left me underwhelmed, and at first I decided maybe it was me. I've been busy as hell lately, my wife was in a car accident (she's fine, btw - got t-boned by a teenager who'd had her license a month), and the free hours I did have I spent on The Watchmen.

However, I've seen blog after blog go "meh" about it, so I've decided it does kinda blow (even though my two favorite critics - Ebert and Travers - liked it).

For me, the three moments that ruined it for me where:
- A "child in peril" where we see dogs fighting over the bloody leg bone of a little girl, which still has one of her shoes intact.
- A graphic sex scene which was bad enough in its own right (we see the guy's ass thrusting a few times), but they play Cohen's "Hallelujah" during the whole embarrassment. Not only has that song become a movie cliché, it has to be used ironically if it's used at all. But vetted as a serious soundtrack during a sex scene as we see their orgasms wash over their faces? I was not the only one who laughed out loud.
- They removed the freakin' ending. More on that later in the spoiler section.

Hopefully, this will be the last hard "R" adaptation of a comic book. Comic books are about grand stories and escapism. Dead children and superheroes boinking in the owl-mobile really yank you back into the dark reality of the theatre where you face the fact that you're a grown man (or woman) watching a movie about people who run around in leotards and capes fighting crime, as opposed to wearing leotards and capes while getting hammered as a means of getting out your ya-yas before the Catholic holy season. More than once I thought back on how The Incredibles portrayed all the same concepts in a much better way.

U2's new album was originally on sale for $4 (as was Lily Allen's), a trend I like very much. So make sure you bite the first week they're on sale.

While the new set isn't horrible, it is their biggest stinker since Zooropa. Like that one, there's only one obvious hit and a lot of noodling. That makes two albums in a row that aren't spectacular. But then, they have made so many spectacular albums that when they make a merely good one, it's a disappointment. There is one classic lyric though: "Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot."

Supposedly they are coming out with another album this year of the other songs they recorded during the sessions but didn't feel they were good enough or fit the theme of this album. I'll bet you that album will actually be pretty good, and if it is, you heard it here first.

I'm enjoying Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You much more. I'm even gonna buy the expurgated version of "Fuck You" because since they had to bleep it so much, they got creative and went totally Monty Python on it.

Even cooler, she's got a page where folks can upload remixes of her songs. On the CD are the base tracks for all the songs, so you can roll your own. (If I had the time, I'd get it and do just that, but since I don't, I just popped for the MP3s). The remixes are also a way to hear complete versions of the songs before you buy. Brilliant. If I were a rock star, I'd do this.

I'm apparently WAY behind the curve* on this next song because "popular" radio anymore mystifies and annoys me. Heck, even this song annoys me, because it would actually be a tasty tune if there were any TUNE there. All it's got is a beat and an aggravating synth run. BUT, the dancing is mesmerizing. And I HATE dancing videos. HATE'EM, I say. When videos went from little movies to nothing but choreographed dance numbers, I pretty much tuned out. I think that is really when MTV experienced their first big loss of viewership; the second being when they stopped playing vids altogether.

But once in a while one comes along that makes you go "whoa," and this is one of those times.

Beyoncé » Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

*Apparently this has been out and popular for so long, there are well over two dozen parodies of it on Youtube.

Syaffolee discovered the original dance the above was stolen from based on:

If you're going to see The Watchmen, stop reading now.


I would guess that a lot of those who flock to The Watchmen have read the original, and somewhat seminal (save for the ending), graphic novel. As such, they probably anticipate the original ending.

Like me, they'll be sitting there as the credits roll thinking, "Did they really just do that? Did they really fuck up that badly?" Out in the lobby, they will finally face that the answer to both questions is "…yes."

Y'see, in the comic, the uber-smart Watchman guy (I don't care to look up their names) has secretly concocted a huge fake alien - faked so well using DNA manipulation, no one but he would be able to tell - which he then materializes in the middle of NYC, making it appear as though the process of teleporting actually killed the alien. This causes the world to unite together against this alien threat, stopping the nuclear annihilation about to occur between Russia and the US. (Let's disregard the fact that an actual event like that - the destruction of the towers - failed to do anything of the sort. I don't know why it'd matter if it were an alien or terrorists.) (Oh, and the towers are actually shown quite a few times in the background as if to underline this very thing.)

Folks who haven't read the novel will wonder what the hell really happened, because what does occur in the movie is a nuke goes off in the middle of NYC and they blame one of the Watchmen (the big, blue, naked one), which then causes worldwide peace as we unite against that particular superhero. Which makes no sense, because it's shown throughout the movie that if that particular superhero DID attack us, there's nothing we could do to stop it.

So they not only cripple the ending by changing it, they make it nonsensical.

For the record, when I was researching this, I discovered that the "fake alien invasion causes peace" plot was original to an "Outer Limits" episode called "The Architects of Fear," which the author of The Watchmen comic, Alan Moore, discovered after he'd already planned the ending, so he stuck in an "homage" to that episode to acknowledge the same.

You kinda wonder who was the fucktard was who thought changing the ending around was a good idea. It's kinda like if they changed the ending of Gone With the Wind and not only have Rhett stay with Scarlett end, but he reaches behind his neck and unzips a costume to reveal that he's really Ellen DeGeneres.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I don't know how Attu finds this stuff, but this is one heck of a video mashup groove. (Btw, Attu has attempted so split his blog into SFW and NSFW, but I would still use caution when going to the main, quasi-SFW.)

I'm gonna mp3-ize this one to see if it sounds good without the vid portion.

I may be wrong, it's been a while since I've seen it, but I think the drummer comes from the Steely Dan "Aja" vid in the totally awesome (for music lovers) Classic Album documentary series.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Oscars and Issues

Read Pictures at a Revolution which was a sorta dull, straightforward history of the five films nominated for best Oscar in 1968. The premise is that was the exact year when old Hollywood supposedly succumbed to the new Hollywood, though that premise isn't given all that much analysis.

That's pretty much the problem with "Revolution": a lot of wind about "what" but not much about "why."

However, I've always been curious about Sidney Poitier - one of the primary topics of the book - because he was such a mainstay and huge star for a long time and then seemed to drop off the face of the planet. From what I can gather, he was the dual victim of black activism and white tokenism. On the one side, he was getting flack from black activists because he always played "good, safe" black men, and on the other side, he still wasn't considered for every leading role (read "leading roles meant for white guys") and was typecast as, well, Sidney Poitier. You wonder if he would've gotten past that had he not folded to the pressure to stop taking "Sidney Poitier" roles.

Aside from that, got two good pieces of trivia:

- Morgan Fairchild was Faye Dunaway's stunt double when her character had to drive because she couldn't drive a stick.
- The famous "Elaine!" scene in the church at the end of The Graduate where Hoffman had his arms out like he was Jesus on the cross was really just a "fix" because when he pounded on the glass (as he did on the first take), it would wobble and looked like it was going to break - it was not symbolic crucifixion as many critics at the time claimed.

TLD: Reading about The Graduate spurred a thought. When I worked at a vid store many moons ago, a couple stoners walked and asked for a surfing movie, so I gave them Apocalypse Now, which they loved, and forever after sought me out for recommendations. If that were today and someone walked in and asked for a movie on cougars, I'd hand them The Graduate.

And speaking of the Oscars, my wife and I used to view the Oscars as our superbowl, since neither of us are into professional competitive sports.

However, the type of movies that get nominated anymore are the tedious dramas with "plots" that used to be contained to the swamp of the literary fiction genre (incest! adultery! pedophilia! children dying! sexual predators! misery!), or spirited and preferably non-white foreigners overcoming something, or all gay all the time stuff (which knee-capped Broadway, so the movie folks better pay heed to the empty theaters showing Milk).

As this fun article points out, the Oscars are worth watching only if you've actually seen the movies that are nominated, which a larger portion of the movie-going public probably had not this year.

This jab from a "loved it, hated it" article made me laugh: "[T]the show bogged down with that somber bunch of Best Supporting Actresses intoning like they were going to banish the winner to the Forbidden Zone with General Zod." Those little ego-orgies were a bit much. Anthony Hopkins appeared to be especially mortified when his turn came to polish some nominee knob.

Ben Stiller's funny yet cruel impersonation of Joaquin Phoenix's publicly disintegrating mental health was a guilty hoot. Which led me to wonder about Tropic Thunder which I saw recently and was appalled at how unfunny it was. Why can't Stiller write and direct anything funny? He's great when he's doing someone else's material, but nearly everything he's written and directed has been on that edge of being funny; as you are watching it, you see how close it comes to actually being funny, but it just doesn't get there. So how can he be so funny in a context like the Oscars and/or improv, but just blow at movies? A question for the ages, apparently.

The self-righteous gay politicking got to be a bit much for me. For new readers (assuming, here): I don't feel marriage is a right, so framing it as such is silly and actually undercuts the goal of expanding the definition of it. Frinstance, are the polygamists attempting to frame it as a right? I think if the gay factions that do succeed, the polygamists will jump on that bandwagon, but they haven't gone down that road themselves, because they know everyone would laugh them out of the chamber if they suggested that being married to several women (or men) at once is a right. So hearing folks at the Oscars equate it with real human rights struggles is just an eye-roller.

Anyway, in a barely related tangent, I had a realization lately when I let my eldest (re)watch the two "Legally Blonde" movies.

But first, a little background: we'd let her see them with us they first came out, because there was a cute little doggie, and we thought the more adult stuff would go right over her head (she was about 5 or 6 I think). That was the case with the first one, but the second one prominently featured a subplot where we discover the cute little doggie is gay. They hammer on that so hard and draw such a complete picture that our little one finally asked what "gay" was. We were furious that we suddenly had that topic to vet, hoping she would be older before we had to have any sort of sex talk. Now, blame us, the parents, first, because we let her watch the movie before we knew what it contained. But they had so many toy tie-ins to the movies (she was cradling her own stuffed "Buster" ensconced in his Elle purse as we watched), I guess we didn't suspect that it would flounder so long in that particular realm of adult sexuality - or worse, attach it to the one character a child would fixate on.

So, I'd always wondered why they went that direction because it made the movie - which comes off like a GLAAD/PETA (the leader of PETA is gay) infomercial - nearly unwatchable. I suspect because it was because the first one, while trying to be sensitive by having a gay character, still takes a few swipes anyway. For instance, Elle solves the case by figuring out the guy who's supposed to be cheating with the wife is actually gay because he knows what brand of shoe she's wearing. And she carries Buster, her chihuahua, around in her purse (a PETA no-no).

So, the whole second movie is penance to GLAAD and PETA. And it feels like it. Who'da thunk a trifle about a valley girl who follows her BF to Harvard but ends up a lawyer would've been turned into a spinach movie for the sequel. Notice there was never a third movie, which is typical when Hollywood haps upon a franchise.

NOTE: Yes, I'm about a week late posting this since I gas on about the Oscars. It's been a busy time, lately.
or "Schadenfreude"

I suspect that when the Material Girl served Guy Ritchie the papers, he secretly rejoiced that he could get back to boinking his leading ladies.

Y'know, not that other rock stars are doing the aging boogie that well either...

But jeez. She's gone from decent to a full-on two-bagger. (One for her, and one for you in case hers falls off, as the old joke goes.)

Recently my wife and I were bemoaning what aging does to the aesthetics of your body, even if you stay in shape, and we agreed is just ole Mother Nature taking you out of the dating pool whether you like it or not. Can't have all these old farts tempting the young and fertile away from whom they should be with for continuing the species.

For instance, here's what Mr. Heavy Metal himself looks like while shopping with his wife:

Hetfield in flip-flops.

I doubt one groupie would like twice, unless it was out of incredulousness.