Friday, December 30, 2005

Pirates Have A New Name


There was a special on AMC last night about companies that take movies released on DVD, and reedit them to make them "family friendly." This, of course, means cutting out violence, sex, profanity, and anything else anyone might enjoy.

This is, by no means, a new phenomena. Remember the stink back in 1997, when Blockbuster offered copies of Titanic with Kate Winslet's nude scene cut out? Well, it's only gotten bigger since then. Now, there are a ton of companies that do this to almost every movie that gets released on video.

Of course, there is a huge problem with all of this. These companies (whom I won't name, so as not to promote their shit) reedit these movies, burn them to DVDs, and then resell them to folks seeking a "family friendly" alternative. Maybe I'm out of line here, but, last time I checked, altering, copying, and redistributing copyrighted material was a federal offense, and is referred to as "pirating." But these assholes don't feel that applies to them. They feel they are protected under the "Free Use" loophole of copyright law, which claims that you can make copies of material for personal use. Last time I checked, reselling bootleg copies of edited movies doesn't necessarily fall under "personal use." (I also noticed that iMovie and the iMac are the software and hardware of choice for these pirates. I'm sure Apple is pleased as hell.)

They also hide behind the Family Movies Act of 2005, which makes it legal to produce a video player that self-edits objectionable material from movies, without actually altering the content of the DVD. That's all fine and good, but I couldn't help notice that the Act doesn't mention anything about it being fine to make and sell pirated copies. (Maybe I just can't read.)

Obviously, I fall on the Hollywood side of the debate, which hates these people and wishes they would die for not only fucking with their property, but ruining the filmmakers' artistic integrity. But, these "clean film" folks claim that there are no alternatives for the sex-and-violence-filled movies in the marketplace. They feel they are providing a service by editing movies to exclude (what they feel is) objectionable material. Because of this, they feel justified in breaking copyright law. (The fact that all of them happen to be Mormons may also have something to do with their righteous indignation.)

But, this is all bullshit, and these people know it. They found a clever way to make money, and are exploiting the shit out of it. I'm sure these folks believe they are good people, and have some great morals and family values, but this whole thing is all about the Benjamins. If they really believed in what they were doing, they'd do it for free. But there's nothing free about it. One company has a chain of stores which sells its edited movies, and even has a Netflix-ish service where you can receive these movies through the mail, for a monthly fee, of course.

"But, what about the children? Can't we have movies that they can watch?" Oh, sure we can, and I'm even willing to help out. Let's say I take a movie like The Devil's Rejects, which contains about 560 uses of the word "fuck." (No shit. If you don't believe me, count them.) I take the movie and edit out the use of one "fuck," reburn it about a hundred times, and then resell my version for five bucks a throw. (Notice I only edited out profanity, as editing out the nudity and violence would be fucking un-American.) There: family-friendly fare. Because who's to say that "family friendliness" isn't the difference between 559 "fuck"s and 560 "fuck"s? It's the same shit these people are pulling and getting away with (even though their edits are waaaay more extreme than what I'm proposing).

The funniest thing about all of this is that these assholes know they're breaking the law, and they carefully plan their actions, so as to skirt the law. I noticed that they only "tamper" with movies on video, and not theatrical prints. You could open a movie theatre, and edit the film prints and show "clean" movies in the theatre. But they're too smart for that. They know that once you buy a video that it's yours to do with what you please. Theatrical film prints are the property of movie studios, wholly owned and distributed by them, and tampering with them would cause the instantaneous destruction of anyone who did it. It's not only a violation of copyright law (which they can apparently get around), it's destruction of private property (which is a harder rap to beat). Plus, there's no money in theatres, as ticket revenue goes directly back to the studio. (Theatres make their money on concessions.) These cocksuckers know all of this, and know it's not only a stickier proposition, it's harder to make any money doing it. Video is much easier to manipulate, redistribute, and has a huge profit margin. Pirates have a new name now, and, turns out, it's "Crusaders for Family Virtue."

And, while these "clean movie" people appear to get away with this now, I suspect they all have a pretty big comeuppance in store for them. I had a chat with God about all of this, and it turns out He's a fan of artistic integrity as well, and considers this "editing nonsense" a "sin against God" (His words). You folks may think you're doing God's work now, but you've got a BIG surprise coming to you in the Afterlife.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Osama Just Shit Himself



This month's GQ features an article on Saudi Arabian model and singer Wafah Dufour (who is pictured at left). Typically, this would be no big whoop, as I'm sure there are plenty of Saudi model/singers (though I'm at a loss to name one), but this one has something special going for her: She just happens to be the niece of Public Enemy #1, Osama bin Laden.

Now, it's worth noting here that Ms. Dufour is actually an American citizen, born and bred. She lives in New York and went to Columbia Law School. She is not required by law to wear a shroud when she goes out in public.

But, in Saudi Arabia, which is an Islamic country, Wafah would probably be brought up on capital charges for showing so much as an ankle, which is a lot less than what she's showing in that picture.

Which is why I find it hilarious that she's bin Laden's niece. He's a seriously Fundamentalist nut, and shit like this, especially within his own family, must drive him absolutely batshit. I'm sure he sent one of his followers out to find a copy of the issue, prayed to Allah like 900 times for pre-forgiveness for the sin he was about to commit, and then looked at the pictures and shit a golden statue of Buddha.

But, ya know, like a lot of nutty Fundamentalist people of every other religious creed, I bet Osama has that creepy side that goes against his religion. He probably carries around a 1963 issue of Playboy under his beard that he frequently masturbates to when he's all by himself. I'll bet that after he got done with his half-hour rant about the wickedness of the Western world and how it has besmirched his family's blood for the benefit of his disciples, he secretly tore out those pages and stashed them away for later use. "OOooo, my wicked niece! Allah curses you! You are dirty, dirty...DIRTY!! You wicked, dirty, sexy niece! Hey guys, I have to go to the bathroom."

Face it, Osama: You'd be as interested as performing a wankological study on your niece as the rest of the Western world is. You dirty old pervert; you're going straight to Hell.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Strokes Are Done


Remember when The Strokes' first record came out, and everyone just shit themselves about how great it was? I usually don't fall for this kind of buzz, as I have "shitty taste in music," but it turns out everyone was right: it was a great record. (The only other record that turned out to be as good as its word of mouth was Exile in Guyville. I defy anyone to prove that Slanted and Enchanted and OK Computer are even listenable.)

And, after a while, they came out with Room on Fire. A pretty good album, with catchy tunes to spare, but pretty much the same as Is This It.

And now, we have First Impressions of Earth. And I feel that I'm pretty safe in saying that if you own either of the other two Strokes records, that there's no need to own this one, as it's pretty much a Greatest Hits Record, but all the songs are new.

None of this really surprises me. When Room on Fire came out, and it sounded exactly like Is This It, I kinda suspected The Strokes had hit their creative peak. Turns out, they did.

Not that this is a bad thing. It's alright to put out records that all sound the same, to an extent. Linkin Park has put out the same record twice, and they're both great. And Is This It and Room on Fire are both great. The danger is that you start to suck if you keep putting out the same record over and over. Weezer has put out the same record five times, two records past their sound's expiration date, and Aerosmith has been putting out the same record for 20 years, and everyone knows they honk on bobo.

Music ceases to be interesting if every song sounds the same. You've got to change something if you want people to stay interested. Take Liz Phair, for example. Her latest record doesn't sound anything like Exile in Guyville. I'm sure she's lost some fans for that very reason (because indie snobs actually are snobs), but I'm sure she's gained just as many with her new sound. (Call me a sucker, but I'm still a Liz fan, even though she seriously sold out.) I'm not sure what the fanbase for early-80s New York underground-rock tribute bands is, but I'm sure there's a much larger fanbase in some other genre that maybe The Strokes should cultivate before they alienate everyone.

Maybe I'm way off base here, but check it out, and I'll bet you'll say, "Is this it?," same as I did.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Red Sox Fans: Get Over It


All I've been reading or seeing in sports the past week or so is about how pissed that Red Sox fans are about losing Johnny Damon to free agency. Well, I'm here to tell you to drink a warm cup of shut the fuck up and get over it.

But then, Red Sox fans have always been whiners. They whined about Carlton Fisk leaving, they whined about Clemens leaving, and now this just follows the typical pattern. Maybe that 19 year old wunderkind you have running the team doesn't know what he's doing...oh wait, you don't have him anymore either.

Look, even though your team fucked up, there's no need to complain about it all the time. Look at Cubs fans. They lost Joe Carter, a five-time All-Star who won two championships with another team; Rafael Palmeiro, who left to have (and ruin) a Hall of Fame career; and Greg Maddox, who became one of the best pitchers in history on another team. And the Cubs are now the record holder for World Series drought. You hear them complaining?

The funniest thing about this to everyone but you fans is that Damon ended up with the Yankees. Remember when the Sox traded the best player in the history of baseball to the Yankees? This is just about as funny. It's even funnier that even after signing Outfield Jesus that the Yankees also resigned been-with-the-Yankees-for-50-years Bernie Williams. They didn't really need Damon, but they signed him anyway. What a bunch of dicks.

But, quite honestly, this whole episode could have been avoided had your club just gotten out the fucking checkbook and resigned Damon. Fifty-two million? Are you saving that up so that you can resign ManRam for another year or so of constant bitching? With the money you saved not resigning The Lord, Our Savior, you could bring back Nomar...oh wait, you missed out on that one, too.

I'm glad the Red Sox won the Series last year, because, if they continue to run the club like this, it'll be another 86 years before they win another one.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Demuttification of Dogs


If I asked you what kind of dog was pictured above, you'd probably say, "Some mutt you picked up from the side of the road for free." Ten years ago, the name and the price would have been correct. Today, it's called a Labradoodle, and they cost as much as a purebred dog.

But "hybrid" dogs like Labradoodles and Cockapoos have been around for years, and, while they're not recognized by any of the dog "governing bodies," they are pretty much considered purebred dogs.

The Girl and I were at the pet store the other day, and I noticed a disturbing trend: There are more and more of these hybrid dogs popping up. They had a dog called a Schnoodle, which was a Schnauzer with a Poodle's curly hair, and another called a Puggle, which was a Beagle with a smashed-in Pug face.

Now, if the world wasn't insane, these dogs would be called "mutts," and we would be picking them up at the Humane Society for $50. But, because we are all insane, these dogs have fancy names, breeding associations, and cost $500.

Have we reached a place in our history where dogs with mixed geneology are bred with similar dogs to come up with a pure(hy)bred dog? Will we reach a point where two different hybrids are crossed to produce Whatthefucks? And why is it that Poodles, one of the ugliest dogs ever, seem to be one of the components of most hybrids?

Every dog but one that I've owned has been a mutt. (The one exception was a Scottie, and I wish someone would have bred the barking gene out of him.) I didn't care that they weren't purebred, or that they didn't have some fancy name. I loved them because they were dogs. But, apparently, I was a pretty stupid kid. If I'd have been smarter, I would have sought out a similarly bred mate for the best "hybrid dog" I ever owned: a St. Bernard/Newfoundland cross. I could have called them Newfernards, and sold them for $1000 a pop, easy. I think that's a pretty fair price for the biggest fucking "mutt" I've ever seen.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Best News In History


I realize that any given episode of Arrested Development draws more viewers than all five Showtime channels combined, but this would still be pretty cool:

Arrested Going To Cable?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MySpace: The Stupidest Place On Earth


Yes, I know MySpace was already stupid, but it has now transcended into a place of almost God-like stupidity with this: a page by The Carver. Yes, the fucking Carver from Nip/Tuck.

Sweet Jesus.

Tookie Williams, 1953-2005


I want all my loyal readers out there to take off your blue bandanas, and bow your heads in a moment of silence for Tookie Williams.



Done? Good. Now we can get on with celebrating the precious life of this convicted murderer and notorious gang founder.

I'm not sure why Tookie and all of his supporters thought that Governor Terminator would overturn his four-count murder conviction. Is that all you have to do to gain sympathy now: recant your evil ways and claim it wasn't you? If I'm not mistaken, every criminal in history has done this, and I can't help notice that a lot of them don't get off.

Maybe Tookie thought Arnold would be lenient on him the way that G.W. Bush (who would put a motherfucker to death for jaywalking) was with Henry Lee Lucas, who actually confessed to 3000 or so murders. (The fact that no one could prove that Lucas ever actually committed a murder may have had something to do with his pardon, but I may be going out on a limb on that one.) I guess Tookie maybe chose the wrong state to start a gang and kill people in.

But, Tookie was a great man, and his contributions to society are greatly appreciated by those living in the Greater Los Angeles area. He will be missed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Last Five Movies


Walk The Line (2005)
First off, let me say that this is a good movie (even though it fibs the truth a little), and will probably win plenty of awards. The problem I have with it is that Joaquin Phoenix really doesn't sound like Johnny Cash (or look like him, for that matter). (Reese comes off better as June Carter, but June had a generic voice anyway.) Joaquin would maybe place in the top 25 in a Johnny Cash sound-alike contest. Maybe. There's no need to so totally immerse yourself in a character that you need to mimic their singing voice. Jamie Foxx actually sounds like Ray Charles, yet felt no need to sing like him, and look how that turned out for him. An example Joaquin should have followed here.

Derailed (2005)
A movie with a ridiculous plot that actually seems to work (albeit pretty stupidly). What doesn't work is that I just can't see cheating on Melissa George with Jennifer Aniston. It's pretty much a toss-up, but I'd have to go with Melissa. I guess Clive deserves what he gets, the dumbass.

Just Friends (2005)
Not sure how one becomes a Ryan Reynolds fan, but seeing as I've seen his last four movies in the theatre, I believe I've involuntarily become one. His newest is pretty funny, despite the fact that it's really stupid. The funniest bits are when Reynolds and Chris Klein are both geeks. And, apparently, Reynolds' character became a heterosexual when he lost all that weight, because there's no way he's not gay when he's fat. No wonder he can't get the girl.

A Night At The Opera (1935)
I realize this movie is 70 years old, but it's still funnier than hell. A very close second to Duck Soup as the Best Marx Brothers Movie. And, yes, the gags are old-timey and corny, but that doesn't make them any less hilarious.

Hard to top on the Marx Brothers, but here goes...

Syriana (2005)
Probably the best movie I've seen this year (and, as you can see, I've been watching a lot of Oscar contenders). The movie is somehow more complex than Traffic, Gaghan's other intricately plotted masterpiece. And even though it's based on a book that's 10 years old, its blood-for-oil theme is more relevant now than it was then. Should rightfully be nominated for Best Picture, just so it can lose to the big monkey or gay cowboy movie. C'est la vie.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Sony Is Sneaky


When it comes to technological breakthroughs, Sony has taken some serious beatings over the years. Their Betamax was killed by VHS, their MiniDisc failed to replace the CD, and its ATRAC audio format has not caught on as an MP3 killer. And now, they're about to get into another fight-to-the-death for video supremacy.

The next breakthrough in media technology is the introduction of the high definition video disc. We have TVs that are HD capable, we have TV signals that are broadcast in HD, we're even able to shoot movies in HD. Yet, we have no way to play HD movies at home. But that's about to change.

Now, Sony has never been happy just going with the crowd and marketing someone else's technology. They always want to set the standard. Sometimes it works (Walkman, PlayStation), sometimes it doesn't (Betamax, MiniDisc). And the HD video disc is no different.

Toshiba was the first out the gate with the HD-DVD. It quickly gained the support of many techies and movie studios. And then Sony came out with Blu-Ray, its somewhat more technologically-advanced version. And things have kinda shifted the other way now.

While neither format has been released in a significant way yet, HD-DVD seems to have the advantage. Its discs are less advanced than Blu-Ray's, and are exactly the same size as DVDs, and will therefore be easier (and cheaper) to produce. Both formats have split studio support down the middle, with some studios agreeing to distribute movies in both formats. And, while Blu-Ray has gained the support of Dell and Apple (the people who make computers), Intel and Microsoft (the people who make computers work) back HD-DVD. It's also rumored that Wal Mart will sell HD-DVD players when they become available.

So, Sony appears to have backed itself into a corner once again. While its format will have better sound and video, more capacity, and more data layers than HD-DVD, it appears as though the consumer will kill the format. A lot of movie watchers don't give a fuck about audio and video quality; they just want movies as cheaply as they can get them. And with Blu-Ray players expected to start at $1000, Sony appears to have priced itself right out of the marketplace.

But Sony has been through this before. They know how to take a beating and keep living. So they pulled some sneaky shit that will give them a leg-up on the HD-V market: When the PlayStation 3 comes out next year, every unit will come with a built-in Blu-Ray player. These will, more than likely, be the first HD players to hit the market. And, they basically come for free with a game system that people are going to pay $400 for anyway. Even if Sony doesn't sell a single stand-alone Blu-Ray player, it will already have millions of them in peoples' homes. It's an absolutely brilliant move (and one that has Microsoft considering rereleasing the XBox 360 with an HD-DVD drive). If Sony wants to win this fight, this is the way to do it.

Now, they just have to hope that people buy the PS3. Otherwise, they might be fucked.

AIDS Now Officially A Joke


In a show of support for AMFAR, designer Kenneth Cole has rolled out an AIDS-awareness campaign with plenty of celebrity endorsers. To show your support, you can buy one of the shirts pictured at right. Now, I know AIDS is a serious health issue and is not funny at all, but then why did I laugh my ass off when I saw this shirt?

My guess would be that the shirt's message, "We All Have AIDS," is bordering on copyright infringement territory with "Everyone Has AIDS," the song-and-dance number from Team America, which was funny.

Maybe Kenneth saw Team America, and said, "Wow, 'Everyone Has AIDS.' That could be a slogan or something..." Yeah, it could. A funny slogan, like something you'd put in a movie where all the actors are puppets.

If you want to raise AIDS awareness, you maybe want a slogan like, "We're All Affected By AIDS," or anything else, for that matter, as long as it doesn't make me think of singing and dancing puppets. (So, "AIDS: Fuck Yeah!" is right out as well.) I shouldn't be laughing at AIDS, but you're kinda forcing me to here, Kenny.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

X-Men 3 Trailer Out There


The trailer for the new X-Men movie is online now, and it does not appear to totally suck.

X3 Trailer

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brad Pitt Makes Hasty Decisions


This weekend, as reported by every newssource on the planet, Brad Pitt decided to adopt Angelina Jolie's adopted children. And while it may seem like a noble gesture for one millionaire to adopt the children of another millionaire, I don't think Brad gave this decision the due diligence it requires.

For, you see, when Brad and Angie break up (and I'd give them two years tops), should Angie choose to be so spiteful, she could sue Brad for child support, because he would legally be them babies' daddy. In fact, as they aren't currently married (or dating, as far as I can tell), she could petition for support as soon as the adoption paperwork goes through. That's kind of a "worst case scenario," but stranger things have been known to happen.

I'm not sure who Brad gets his legal advice from, but he appears to be earning every penny of his $5.75 an hour fee. He's good. Real good.

Monday, December 05, 2005

How To Show Tits On Network TV (And Have No One Notice)


A week or so ago, there was an episode of The O.C. in which Mischa Barton's boob popped out of her top. As I don't watch The O.C., I didn't see the scene when it aired, but a 30 second search on the internet turned it up. (I only know one person who actually watches The O.C., and I've called him a fag many times for doing so. With this sort of "tit"ilation happening on the show, maybe he's not so gay after all. But I doubt it.) Having watched the clip, what amazes me is not that they showed tits on TV (as they're on all the time), but that they managed to sneak unnoticed onto primetime network TV.

I assume this show is shot on film with a single camera, so there wasn't a second camera that managed to get a better shot. And, if there happened to be a second take, this is the one they used. Mischa obviously noticed it happened, as she quickly rearranges her boobage. But no one else seems to have noticed. Not the cast or crew, during filming or the viewing of the dailies. Not the editor, who must have seen the scene while cutting the show together. Nor the network censors, who, I assume, must have watched the final cut to watch for FCC-offending material just like this. And hence, Mischa's tits make their network television debut.

So, how exactly does something like this go unnoticed by so many people? It's not as though this was a live telecast where Justin Timberlake "unexpectedly" tore Mischa's top off. It's a taped show that plenty of people get to see before it airs. I suspect a network-wide conspiracy that goes a little something like this:

Man #1: Umm, did Mischa's tit just pop out?
Man #2: No. No, it didn't.
Man #1: Well. All righty then.

And, apparently, if this little exchange takes place enough times, you can show tits on network TV and have no one "notice." No one except any viewers at home and anyone with access to the web. But, honestly: How many people could that possibly be?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reggie Bush Was Crazy Good Back In The Day

Everyone knows that Reggie Bush is good. He's helped the USC Trojans to the last two NCAA football championships. He's the leading candidate for the Heisman this year, and he's an offensive threat regardless of where he is on the field.

But, if you think he's impressive now, wait until you see this crazy video (courtesy of The New York Times) of him in high school. (The video is linked under Reggie's picture.)

If I was a player on one of the opposing teams, I would commit suicide after some of the shit that Reggie pulls here. You could put leg irons and a straitjacket on the guy, and he'd still be the best player on the field. Yes, he really is that good.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving: A Good Day For Bad News


As I predicted in this post, ABC has gone and canceled the JJ Abrams show that isn't keeping the network out of last place. Not that I'm surprised...

Alias, like people, has been dying since it was born. It was only really good that first season, and parts of the second season. It's gone downhill ever since. The once-complicated plotlines are now less complicated than any given episode of Blue's Clues. And I'm sure fans have noticed this, and are turning away in droves.

While this show has been deserving its cancellation for quite some time, I don't think Rachel Nichols, who plays "Hot Girl" on the show, deserves the fate that has befallen her: She has somehow managed to star in two shows that have been canceled this year. (The other was The Inside, a summer show that lasted a whopping seven episodes, of which, I saw one.) That's something to be proud of on your resume.

It was a good run while it lasted. Which brings us to the other bit of bad news...

The Newlyweds themselves, Nick and Jessica, announced that they were busting up, a fact already known by everyone. (And by "everyone," I mean every living creature on Earth, including animals. My cats have been talking about this for months.) And they announce this like we're supposed to be surprised. "WWWHHHHHHHHAaaattt?!? Nick and Jessica busted up??!? NOOOOO!? Really??" Well, let's see: IMDB claims that Dukes of Hazzard was shot at the end of 2004, which is when Jessica "allegedly" fucked Johnny Knoxville, AND, also happens to be around the same time that Nick "allegedly" fucked Jessica Jaymes, so, yeah, the entire world has known this relationship was done for about a year. But, apparently, Nick and Jessie are so stupid that they just now realized they were done. Way to kid yourselves to another anniversary. Good job, you dummies.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Family Guy Is Funny


I usually don't watch Family Guy, but, the other night, I fell asleep during The Simpsons, and when I awoke, Family Guy was on. And, let me tell ya: that show is funny.

Not just funny funny, but cancer funny; genocide-in-Somalia funny even. Especially the scene where Peter sprays Lois off the toilet with the garden hose, and then drowns her in the lake, Susan Smith-style. I haven't laughed that hard since Mother Teresa died (and I laughed so hard then that I pissed blood).

I now see why Fox chose to cancel Arrested Development and keep Family Guy. If a show isn't as funny as the time your dad died in a car wreck, why would you keep it on the air? Makes perfect sense to me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Nice Hair, You Tools


One of the most fucked up things about MySpace (which I love, BTW) is the pictures that people post of themselves. Allow me to draw your attention to a compilation of some really classic pics:

The First Annual MySpace Stupid Haircut Awards (courtesy of demonbaby)

What's remarkable is not the amount of research it took to find these hairdos, because just randomly clicking through peoples' friends lists will give you those; it's the amount of research that went into matching them with Marvel Comics characters. That's outstanding. Bravo.

That's A Lot For One Fucking Poster


Remember how, in this post, I mentioned Tony Nourmand and the high-end material he deals in? If you wondered what I meant by "high-end," this deal, brokered by Tony, should give you a pretty good idea:

The Most Expensive Poster Ever

This poster (pictured at right) has a interesting history. Andrew Cohen bought it from another high-end collector named Matt Shapiro. Shapiro has a large collection of rare and valuable posters, including a Star Wars style C with another poster for an unproduced movie printed on the back. (Needless to say, a one-of-a-kind item, and one he attempted to sell on eBay for years.)

A number of years after Shapiro sold this poster, another copy of it came up for auction at Sotheby's. The estimate for this poster, which had been professionally restored to mint condition, was over $400,000. Shapiro was so pissed that he had sold his unrestored and better condition copy of the poster for less money, that he somehow managed to obtain pictures of the Sotheby's poster in its pre-restoration condition, which was pretty poor, and sold them on eBay. Word of these pictures got around (people obviously saw the pictures, as they were right there on the internet), and the results were so damaging that the poster received only one bid when it came up for auction. Unfortunately, that bid was for $360,000, and was from someone who had not seen the pictures. (D'OH!!)

If that sale, for a poster he never actually owned, pissed Shapiro off, imagine how this new sale, for a poster he did own, makes him feel. Pretty fucking sore, I'd imagine.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Spammers Love Meiko Kaji


It's the only reason I can explain why they're drawn to
this post, which happens to prominently feature Meiko Kaji.

At least twice a day, this particular post gets spammed with comments like, "Hey, you have a really nice blog here. You should check out my site. It pretty much covers lawn mowers and related stuff." (I actually wish I got spam from big companies like that.) And I do what every person does: I delete them. And they keep reappearing, from a different person every time. But the fucked up thing is that they only appear on that one post: a post that isn't even on the front page any more, a post that's eight months old.

And the only reason I can come up with as to why this happens is that blog spammers love Meiko Kaji. But, then again, who doesn't love Meiko Kaji? She was Lady Snowblood, for Fuck's sake!

The Craziest Auction Ever


One of my oh-so-numerous hobbies is collecting vintage movie posters. I've been doing it since I was a tweenager, and have amassed quite a collection over the years. Nothing spectacular; just mostly stuff I like.

After you've seriously been into the hobby for a number of years, you get to know some of the people in the "biz," and by "biz," I mean the poster-selling bizness. Like Sam Sarowitz, who owns the Posteritati Gallery in New York, and sells to famous people like Martin Scorcese. Or Tony Nourmand, owner of the Reel Art Gallery in London, who has written most of the definitive books on poster collecting. (His new book on James Bond posters is great.)

But, while Sam and Tony may be the Bloomingdale's and Harrods of the poster selling world, there is no one bigger than Bruce Hershenson. Bruce is Wal-Mart.

Anyone who has been collecting for any amount of time knows who Bruce is. Bruce's Tuesday night eBay auctions, where he lists between 500 and 1000 posters week, ranging from the '20s to the new millenium, in all shapes, sizes and conditions, draw hundreds of viewers. And while a majority of his items aren't the high-end material that Tony and Sam sell, I'll be damned if he doesn't sell 75-80% of his stuff every week. (I purchased the DOTD poster pictured above from a Bruce auction, as well as many others.) And at a premium price, because, well, it's Bruce, and his reputation alone commands a premium. There, honestly, is no one bigger.

That's why it came as a surprise when I checked Bruce's listings this week, and found this auction. Two million dollars buys you what is rightfully called the "#1 movie poster business in the world." That is some seriously crazy shit.

But, while this auction may be seen as crazy (and caused quite a stink amongst collectors), it's not as crazy as stipulation #3:

3. They must offer a long term contract to Phillip Wages, my number one employee (eMoviePoster.com would not be eMoviePoster.com without Phillip)!

And while that may not seem entirely crazy to the lay person/non-collector, to collectors, it's akin to blasphemy.

Ya see, about six months ago, Phil Wages was almost entirely responsible for getting Bruce kicked off eBay. Turns out, he had been bidding on Bruce's auctions (allegedly, for his own personal collection) from one of the office computers. Some people might call this "trying to win an auction"; others (me included) might call this "shill bidding": placing bids on your own items to artificially inflate the price. And it's impossible to tell what Phil was "bidding" on, since all of Bruce's auctions are private, and don't show any bidder info. EBay found out and tossed The Bruce out. After a brief investigation, he was reinstated, but any serious collector who'd bid on his auctions felt pretty burned. While I've forgiven him somewhat, there are still people who refuse to bid on his stuff for this reason. (That and the fact that Bruce played it off as though he had done nothing wrong, and that it was all eBay's fault. Suuuuurrre it was.)

So, if you happen to have $2 million just laying around the house, feel free to bid. If nothing else, even if the business tanks, you'll get a shitload of posters out of the deal.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Arrested Development Has Arrested Development


As I predicted a while back, Fox has all but canceled Arrested Development. They suspended the show for what seemed like six months for baseball, cut back their show order from 22 to 13, and pulled the show from its lineup for the rest of the month. They may not officially be on "hiatus" (a clever industry term for "canceled"), but it doesn't look good.

It's fascinating that Fox isn't even attempting to keep The Funniest Show on Television on televisions. When was the last time you saw a promo spot for Arrested Development, a six-time Emmy winner? Never, as far as I can tell. Yet there is a promo for Family Guy (a show that has been canceled not once, but twice, and will probably get canceled again) roughly every eight seconds. And this for a show that isn't even funny. Imagine the ratings Arrested Development could get if people knew it was on TV. (I can't badmouth Fox too badly for not promoting it, as they have devoted no fewer than six websites to the show, the best being this "I'm Oscar" site. But, honestly, who the fuck looks at anything on the internet?)

So, all we can do is wait and see if Arrested Development returns next year. In the meantime, sign one or both of these online petitions (here and here) to save Arrested Development. I have; it's the least I can do for a show that makes me piss my pants laughing on a weekly basis.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

MySpace: Making The Web Not-Fun


Remember Friendster? Yeah, me neither. MySpace has surpassed it in "friendliness" in such a big way that Rupert Murdoch recently bought it to add to his already-huge News Corp. empire. That's awesome that the old fossil wants to "get down" with the teens. Too bad he bought such a shitty site.

"WHHAAAAAAAA??!? I LOVE MySpace!!" Well, I'm sure you do. It's a perfectly nice place to trade banalities with people you don't know. The problem with it is that it takes away the one freedom that the internet grants all of us: to do and say whatever we want, wherever we want, with almost total anonymity.

Most sites, if they have message boards or comment-enabled blogs, you can go on there and post your Nazi hate propaganda, or tell people about your home-refinancing site, or start a fight about Tony Danza's best movie roles, and there's really not much anyone can do about it (other than kick you off, or backtrack your IP address and come to your house and kill you).

But MySpace is above those kind of shenanigans. Let's say you're looking at a band's MySpace page, and you've heard their album that inconveniently plays when you visit their page, and you want to tell them that they make Molly Hatchet sound like Molly Hatshit. Or you see some girl's picture on a page, and want to tell her she has big tits, or that her face resembles your dog's ass. Any other place on the Web, you're good to go. But not on MySpace.

In order to do any of the above on MySpace, you have to "befriend" the person you want to talk to. You have to send them an email and ask them if you can be their "friend," so that you can make fun of them (and there's a lot of shit to make fun of on MySpace). Failure to do this will result in the message "You must be this person's friend to [do whatever]." Even if you just want to throw them a "Hey, how's it goin'," or "I think your blog is 'cool'," no can do. Based upon your profile, which may be real or total bullshit, whoever you want to talk to may not give you the time of day. What the fuck is this? Real life?

I'm sure when Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web, he didn't envision a place where the free exchange of information was allowed only amongst a select group of "friends." In fact, I believe this is the direct opposite of his vision. (I'm sure he didn't envision a lot of the things his creation would be used for, but fuck him for being so shortsighted.) If you want to call someone a tool in their comments, well, goddamnit, you should be able to. It's hard enough for most people to make friends in real life, and now we want them to do the same thing in this fantasy world we call "the internet." After a hard day at the office or school or wherever, we just want the free exchange of whatever, with no strings attached. And you can do that. Just not in the exclusionary world of MySpace. Sounds like some bullshit to me.

But, to show there's no hard feelings, I've made a MySpace profile. Feel free to become my "friend"; I won't turn you away. But, be warned: If you're going to get on there and tell me that Tony Danza's role as the monkey car driver in Cannonball Run 2 isn't his Best Ever, you and I can't be friends anymore.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Exorcist: The Shittening


Couple of questions:
1) How bad does a movie have to be that, instead of releasing it, the studio chooses to shelve it and totally remake the film?
2) What studio is crazy enough to spend $80 million to make two movies, and only attempt to recover half of that?

Answers? Read on...

This week marks the video release of Dominion, a prequel to The Exorcist. I say "a prequel" instead of "the prequel," because there are actually two of them. "How the fuck does that happen?" you ask.

Well, ya see, back in 2002, Warner Brothers decided they wanted to revive the Exorcist franchise for the third time, and decided to make a prequel to The Exorcist that would follow the life of Father Merrin before the happenings in The Exorcist.

So, they brought in Caleb Carr and William Wisher (two pretty good writers) to write a script and hired Paul Schrader to direct. They brought in a full cast and crew and made a movie that became Dominion.

Now, usually, when a movie is in the can, and the studio doesn't like it, two things tend to happen: it gets thrown "on the shelf" for possible later use, or the studio attempts to fix what it thinks is wrong with the movie so they can release it and recoup their investment. But, apparently, Warner Brothers is not your "usual" studio. They didn't like Dominion. But, they decided that, rather than fix it, they would make an entirely new movie. (If this sort of thinking sounds insane, it really is no wonder that TimeWarner, Warners Brothers' parent company, would go on to post a $99 billion loss that year. That's insane.) They brought in a hack to "scary" up the script, hired Renny Harlin (whose Mindhunters had just been shelved) to direct, recalled some of the cast and crew, and made Exorcist: The Beginning. This is the movie that passed muster and made into theaters.

However, I guess after a couple of years, Warners decided Dominion didn't look so bad after all (or probably because they lost money on The Beginning), and gave it like a six minute theatrical release. And now it's on video, two years after being thrown on the shelf.

I saw Exorcist: The Beginning, and, after watching it, really couldn't imagine what could be any worse than what actually got released. Having just seen Dominion, now I know.

It's not that it's the worst movie ever; it's that it's boring as hell. Paul Schrader's a cerebral director (and a bit of a nut), and he was obviously going for more of a thinking man's horror movie. Filming a funeral procession may have turned out to be more terrifying. Harlin's version, while incredibly stupid, at least had the decency to be somewhat scary. Both versions turned out to be about as good as Exorcist 2, and that's really not good at all.

So, the moral of this story: Why make one movie when you can make two, or, Always throw good money after bad. If you ever have $80 million to throw down the toilet, take this lesson as a perfectly good way not to spend it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Worst Top 10 List of All Time


As I've mentioned before, I love Top 10 Lists. Not because I think they give me any kind of insightful information, or influence any of my decisions, but because most of them are just so fucking wrong that it makes me laugh.

And I thought that the aforementioned Spin "List" was hilarious. That was, until someone pointed out this piece of shit to me: Total Film's Greatest Movies of All Time. Take a look and come back.

Done?

First off: Fight Club, fourth best movie ever; better than Citizen Kane. This is only slightly more crazy than claiming that the chicken shoved up your ass told you to shoot The President.

And the amount of crack one would need to ingest to claim that Goodfellas is better than The Godfather 2 would kill the average person, but apparently not the compilers of this list.

Tokyo Story? I love Japanese cinema, but, what the fuck? Have you seen this film?

Of course, I complain, but mean nothing, since I don't work for a "magazine," and, therefore, what I think is wrong. If Rolling Stone says that Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water is the Best Album Ever, then you better fucking believe it is. Same deal here. If Total Film says that the three Lord of the Rings movies are better than 99% of the movies released in the history of the world, then they are.

All that being said, I'm going to go out a limb here. This is a (kind of) printed media, read by at least four people. Therefore, I'm able to play God, and put together a Top 10 List that you have to like it or lump it.

So, here's my 10 Greatest Movies of All Time List (in no real particular order):

Dawn of the Dead
The Hustler
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Once Upon A Time In The West
Blade Runner
Network
Pulp Fiction
Hard-Boiled
Evil Dead
Annie Hall


Since all "Greatest" lists supersede one another, and the most recent one is actually The Greatest, these 10 movies are The Greatest Ever for like the next five seconds, until someone comes up with another one of these lists. And if you don't think so: fuck you. I know I'm right. It says "10 Greatest Movies of All Time," doesn't it?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The 5 Year Old Virgin


The other day, for no reason, one of the voices in my head screamed out one of the funniest lines from The 40 Year Old Virgin: "Is that the Six Million Dollar Man's boss?"

While not everyone (or no one, probably) finds that funny, I thought it was hilarious, because, as a child, I, too, owned the Oscar Goldman action figure. And he was awesome. Sure, he was pretty much just a Ken doll with a receding hairline, and was dressed like a complete tool (a green turtleneck? What the fuck?), but the exploding briefcase he came with was pretty sweet. Waaaay better than anything Steve Austin came with.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Jason!!


Seeing as this year marks the 25th anniversary of Friday the 13th, and since AMC is playing it in pretty regular rotation this month, I thought I'd recount a story of just how far a person was willing to go to prove he was right.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and a co-worker began a debate on whether or not Friday the 13th actually took place on Friday the 13th. My friend argued the position that it did. In the beginning of the movie, there is a subtitle that reads, "June 13, Present Day." In 1980, the year the movie was released, June 13th did actually fall on a Friday. (It says as much on the poster as well, but maybe he didn't have a copy of that handy.) So, he was right, right?

The co-worker, however, argued the opposite side. In one of the later films, The Final Chapter, I believe, there is a scene in which the tombstone of Mrs. Voorhees, who died at the end of the first movie, is shown, and it clearly shows that she died in 1979. June 13th was not a Friday in 1979, so the co-worker is also right.

But, my friend believed that was a film flub, and went to an extreme length to prove it: He contacted Victor Miller, the screenwriter of Friday the 13th. Mr. Miller backed my friend's position and claimed that Friday was indeed intended to take place on Friday the 13th. (I'm sure he would also have liked to point out that if my friend had actually watched the movie, he would have noticed the scene between Steve and the sheriff, where the sheriff actually says it's Friday the 13th. But that's neither here nor there.) Needless to say, that put the argument to bed fairly quickly.

So, the person who was willing to go waaaaaay out of his way won. Sure, this is one of those have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too arguments, where both positions are actually correct, but who cares about that? It's all about doing the most extreme thing possible to prove you're right, and then throwing it in the other guy's face. Well played, sir; well played.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Making Movies...To The XTreme!!


On the front of one of the movies I'd seen recently was a trailer for a movie called First Descent. It appears to be a documentary about snowboarding. I'm thinking, "Somewhat limited demographic, but, whatever." (The same can be said for Family Guy, but I can't help notice Fox keeps putting that back on the air. Oh well.) At the end, I just happened to notice a little blurb for the production company, named MD Films (much like how I noticed the address for this website at the bottom of an Orbitz.com commercial). Normally, I wouldn't think anything of this; there are thousands of production companies that have whatever fucked up names. But, something about the lettering of "MD" looked familiar to me.

When I got home, I looked up MD Films on the web. Turns out, the "MD" looked familiar because it stands for "Mountain Dew." D'oh!!

The idea of a beverage company producing movies is a fucked up one. It's as though Pepsi, the maker of Mountain Dew, became jealous of the fact the Coca-Cola owned Columbia Pictures during the 80s, and decided they wanted to get into the movie game too. But Columbia was a freestanding company that just happened to be owned by Coke; the movies it produced had nothing to do with Coke. MD Films is actually a division of Pepsi. Which essentially means it's nothing more than a marketing tool.

I suspect that sometime during First Descent, at least one of the snowboarders will be shown drinking a Mountain Dew, and that their logo will appear no less than six times. I see it as being a shameless promotion of their product, which is pretty pathetic. When Transamerica owned United Artists, I don't ever remember seeing any product placements for insurance in any of their movies. Yet, I'm willing to bet that First Descent will just be loaded with Dew.

So, I see two possible things happening with this movie: 1) it will flop, and MD Films will never make another movie; or 2) it will be a hit, and we'll see MD movies about skateboarding, BASE diving, and wakeboarding, because, if you believe Mountain Dew's commercials, xtreme sporters are their main consumers, and should have more movies targeted towards them.

Needless to say, I'm hoping for outcome #1. Fuck you, Mountain Dew!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Last Five Movies



Domino (2005)
Tony Scott has ADD. There's no other reason to explain why this movie looks like it does. And I use the term "movie" loosely here, as it's more of a series of scenes that just happen to be on the same roll of film. I don't think there's anything on the screen for more than a second. And I think that may be a generous estimate. Scott should stop taking stylistic cues from Natural Born Killers, and make movies that actually appear to be movies, and not moving photocollages. He needs to go back to his Top Gun days, when his movies were still big and dumb, but at least they had some kind of coherent plot and didn't hurt my eyes. Oh well. If nothing else, at least this movie adds the words "blacktino" and "Chinegro" to our lexicon.

Waiting... (2005)
What an odd movie. It's, more or less, Clerks in a restaurant, but not as funny. As far as I can tell, it's about nothing more than the rules and regulations for the Penis Showing Game. (And, yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.) And what bothers me most about that is not that there is a game like this, but that someone heard about it happening in a restaurant and incorporated it into a movie. I'm never eating out again. Ever.

Serenity (2005)
Usually, when a TV show gets made into a movie, it's based upon the popularity of the TV show being able to get fans into a movie theatre, to pay for what they get for free on TV. (The X-Files movie is a great example of this.) But Firefly, the show on which Serenity is based, was a flop, canceled after a handful of episodes. So, why the movie? Because the DVD set of Firefly's only season flew off the shelves. And, hence, this movie was made. And it's a real oddball: a literal Space Western, complete with six-shooters and Western vernacular. It's just offbeat enough that I can easily see why it never caught on. It's a great movie for fans, though.

God Told Me To (1976)
Recently, Larry Cohen has come back into vogue with a series of phone-related movies. But, back in his first heyday, he came into prominence for coming up with some seriously wacky shit. Like ice cream that eats people, and giant Mexican deities destroying New York City, not to mention an entire series of killer baby movies. And God Told Me To falls right in the middle of his Wacky Period. And if you think the idea of people committing random murders because "God told them to" is goofy, wait until you hear the actual reason. A real winner.

It's a sad week for movies when this is the best:

Cut and Run (1985)
Ruggero Deodato is one sick motherfucker. He probably didn't invent the Cannibal Movie, but he sure did perfect it. Essentially a follow-up to Cannibal Holocaust, the worst movie ever (and by "worst," I don't mean "bad filmmaking"; I mean "wanting to put a shotgun in your mouth and die." Yes, it's that depressing.), Cut and Run is more or less an American-cast rehash of Lenzi's Make Them Die Slowly and Eaten Alive. And what an American cast it is! (Willie Ames and Michael Berryman, for fuck's sake!!) And, while the movie is lacking in the usual animal mutilations, it is not at all lacking in people mutilations. But then, it wouldn't be a Cannibal Movie if it was.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Jessica Biel Is Ugly


Actually, she's not, but, in terms of being named the entertainment world's "Sexiest Woman Alive," she is.

Usually, when magazines name the "sexiest so-and-so alive," they pick someone who is hot appearance- and career-wise. Last year, it was Angelina Jolie. (No qualms there.) This year, sure, Jessica's got the appearance thing, no problem. But can you name the last movie she was in? Can you name the next one she's in? Yeah, nobody can.

Is all of this a bad thing? Noooooo. I'll look at some scantily clad pictures of Jessica any/every day. But, if you want someone who's on the "It" List right now, I think you picked the wrong Jessica. I'd have put Ms. Alba on this cover, and saved Ms. Biel for the "Sexiest Woman With No Noticeable Career" issue. Just my opinion.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rumors Be True?


Anyone who reads the gossip rags knows that, for quite some time, there has been a rumor that this will be Michael Vartan's last season on Alias. Apparently, Mrs. Garner-Affleck is uncomfortable having the man who busted up her first marriage around while her current husband visits the set. So, seeing as Garner is the star of the show and one of its producers, rumor has it that Vartan's days are numbered.

Of course, Vartan denies these claims. (It's also been rumored that Garner is leaving the show, and she'll be replaced with a much hotter girl.) As rumors go, this one is pretty run-of-the-mill.

And then, a funny thing happened. On last week's premiere of Alias, Vartan's character was killed. So, are the rumors true, or are they pulling our legs?

If this was any other show but Alias, I'd say Vartan was done. When characters on other TV shows die, they tend to stay dead. (It's worth noting that Patrick Duffy was dead for an entire season of Dallas, only to reappear after the famous "It Was Only A Dream" episode.) But this is a J.J. Abrams show, and Abrams loves to fuck with people. (Fans of Lost who have never seen Alias are just now finding this out.) Characters on Alias disappear and reappear with no rhyme or reason. There are at least two characters that have died more than once during the show's run. (Amy Irving has died three times on the show, and still appeared in an episode last season.) No one is truly dead in the land of Alias.

So, is Michael Vaughn dead? Sure looks like it. Is Michael Vartan off the show? I wouldn't count on it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Picking The Gayest Fight In History


It's one thing to pick fights with people. Everyone does it; it makes them feel big. But you have to be careful who you pick a fight with, because if you pick the wrong target, you might end up looking like a fag.

Last month, Kelly Clarkson was having some fun, and busted Hilary Duff's balls a little bit. Duff's boyfriend, Benji Madden, of the band Good Charlotte, was not going to take this "attack" on his beloved sitting down. He launched a counter-attack on Clarkson on his blog, in which he basically called her talentless and fat. (Benji is kinda "goth," and, therefore, prefers someone with a skeleton body rather than a normal body.) Later, the post was deleted, and Benji ended up apologizing for the whole incident. (Take careful notice here who backed down first.)

Now, if you're in a punk(/pop) band, I can see why you'd want to pick fights with people, especially when they "diss" your "bitch." You want to keep up your punk image. But your "rep" isn't helped by picking a fight with Kelly Clarkson. This is like picking a fight with Peabo Bryson. And this isn't like Johnny Rotten or Henry Rollins going on the offensive. You're in Good Charlotte, for Christ's sake. You're about as "punk" as The Wiggles. It's also really classy that you're a 26-yr old going to bat for your girlfriend who's been legal for approximately five days. Way to go, Rape-O!!

So, next time you decide to pick a fight, use your brain a little, and pick someone who isn't a girl. You don't look as much like a nancy that way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Going Totally Mental


I went into the movie Flightplan with a pretty good idea of how it was going to end. I didn't actually know, but, having seen the previews and understanding movie cliches and conventions, I had a pretty good idea of where it was going. And, as it turns out, I was about 90% right.

This is one of those "psychological thrillers", where all of the plot is derived from the fact that the main character may be having a psychotic break. (I wrote a post on this subject here.) The problem inherent with these types of movies is that you have two choices as to how to resolve that plot: a) the character is actually insane, or b) forces are conspiring to make the character seem crazy. The best way to resolve these movies is with (a), but most choose to go with (b), with terrible results.

Take The Forgotten, for example, where only Julianne Moore remembers that she once had a child. It may have been interesting to have her actually be delusional, but instead, they came up with an explanation of aliens changing history. That's some real bullshit.

But, even choice (a) can get fucked up. In Hide and Seek, a character's mental illness leads to the creation of a murderous alter ego, which is fine, except that the wrong character was mentally ill. (It also doesn't help that this movie has an Idiot Plot that could be resolved with this short Q&A session:
Father: "What does Charlie look like?"
Daughter: "Like you, daddy."
Father: "Am I Charlie?"
Daughter: "Yes."
And DeNiro is supposed to be a psychiatrist in that movie. Duuuh.)
Basically, what it comes down to is how well the film is made. You can fuck it up going either way, so you need to put some thought into how it's going to play out.

Which brings us back to Flightplan. Even though I went in pretty sure of how it was going to turn out, I didn't come out feeling like I'd been tricked. I didn't have a bunch of unanswered questions like, "Well, what about...?" or "Why didn't they...?", because the movie asks them before you think of them. They cover anything that might be a loophole. The plot doesn't cheat. It ends up in the only place it could have. It's an airtight movie that does exactly what it's supposed to. And for that, I commend it. (And recommend it.)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Skeletons In The Closet


Ya know what's funny? When someone gets famous suddenly, and then some shameless son of a bitch capitalizes on that person's fame. That's the only reason I can explain why Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate on the big hit Lost, appears in an ad for Livelinks, a phone chat service. In fact, if you go to their website, she's plastered all over it. I see her using her "Lost fame" to move up the ladder, not plummet all the way to the bottom of it.

The problem with getting famous is that, at one time, you weren't famous. Remember when Vanessa Williams showed up in Penthouse after being crowned Miss America? Or those incredibly embarrassing (and borderline gay) photos of Brad Pitt that were in last week's Us?

But, in order to become known, you have to do things like that to get your face out there. Sure, George Clooney was on the first season of Roseanne, but now he thinks he's Jesus. My advice: Don't become famous. It will keep things like that ad for K-Y Jelly that you appeared in or that sex change operation you had out of the public eye.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What The Fuck Happened To Robert DeNiro?


This weekend, I watched the movie Heat again for about the millionth time. For those of you who have seen it, remember how cool Robert DeNiro was in that movie? Running down the street, carrying a dufflebag full of money, shooting at the cops with an AR-15? I'm sure this movie made people actually want to become bank robbers. That's how cool DeNiro is. And then, remember Ronin? Him hanging out the sunroof of a Mercedes, shooting a rocket launcher at the bad guys? How fucking awesome is that? And these were just cappers to one of the best careers in history.

And then something happened. And that something was Meet the Parents.

Suddenly, Bob is in all of these fucking comedies. And the movies that aren't comedies are still a joke. The great George Sanders killed himself shortly after making shit like Psychomania, yet Bob has managed to make it five years past playing Fearless Leader in Rocky and Bullwinkle. To quote Sam Jackson in Jackie Brown: "What happened to you, man? You used to be beautiful."

Bob: You have a career that most people only dream of. You're one of the most respected actors of your generation (if not ever). You have two Oscars, and like a million nominations. And yet, you feel the need to star in turds like Showtime. Your two Oscars exclude you from having to make movies like that. So what are you doing in them? Leave starring in 20 movies a year up to Jude Law. Don't take the first script that comes along every time, or else you'll have a career like Cuba Gooding, Jr's. (I'm sure there's a role for you in Boat Trip 2.)

Please, Bob, do it for your fans: Get in some better movies, or hang it up. It's getting embarrassing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

George Clooney: Never Been To Las Vegas


It shouldn't be any surprise to anyone now that George Clooney is working on opening a resort in Las Vegas. But, not just your typical shitty resort; he's got something special in mind.

"We have this romantic notion of a place where you put on a jacket or a dress to go to dinner," he's been quoted as saying. "We will have some sort of dress code so that it will feel like you are walking into a more formal Las Vegas of a different age or a classic Monte Carlo casino. I may be the novice of this group, but I have a good idea of what I like in Las Vegas, and it is all about class."

Maybe I'm missing something here. All of the times I've been to Vegas, I never noticed anyone worrying about "class". The last time I was there, I walked around for five days in shorts and a t-shirt, as did the other 100,000 or so people there, and no one seemed terribly offended. People don't go to Vegas to hang out at a five-star resort; they go there to see white tigers and pirate ships, and drop their second mortgage on the craps table. (You can go to Spago, which is slightly classier than the Sizzler, in jeans and a polo shirt and not feel out of place.)

My guess is that maybe George has never been to Las Vegas. (I realize that Ocean's Eleven takes place in Vegas, but that can all be faked in post-production.) If he had, he might notice that people are there to have a good time, not act like visiting dignitaries.

And this is the problem when assholes with money get some screwy idea about what people want. It's the reason why Tarantino made Kill Bill, and it's the reason Vegas is going to have a new resort that doesn't appeal to anyone but George Clooney.

So, George, you can hang out at Las Ramblas with the rest of the Ocean Gang in your tuxedos, and have a great fucking time. Me? I'll be playing blackjack in my swimtrucks at the Tropicana, and having a waaay better time.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Second Coming Of Bush


Remember this post, where I commented on bands that break up and become other bands, and yet still sound like their former iterations? Well, it's happened yet again.

After Bush broke up in 2001, Gavin Rossdale pretty much went on to be Mr. Gwen Stefani. And, while not a bad position to be in, Gavin wanted to get the band back together. But, not Bush. What we end up with is Institute.

I've heard most of the tracks off their new record, Distort Yourself, and I can say this one thing about them: They're half Bush, and half not-Bush, which is not a bad thing.

While there's a couple of songs, like "When Animals Attack" and "Boom Box" that are very "Everything's Zen"ish, Institute mostly doesn't sound like Bush at all. I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that two leftovers from Helmet are on board: Chris Traynor on guitar, and Page Hamilton in the producer's chair. Apparently, they were the missing pieces to make Bush a good band. (It's of note that Rossdale is the only actual former member of Bush in the band.)

Hopefully, like that other great "mash up" band, Audioslave, Institute will stick around and put out more great records that sorta sound like someone else. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Last Five Movies


Red Eye (2005)
Red Eye had an absolutely brilliant teaser trailer. It started with a scene where two people Meet Cute at an airport, only to keep bumping into each up to and onto the plane. And just when we think this is going to be a remake of Forces of Nature, the trailer goes black, except for that red eye. Great stuff. If only the actual movie had turned out to be as good as those two minutes. What starts off as a great first hour turns into a movie that literally anyone could have come up with. I don't even need to tell you what happens once they get off the plane; you already know. Yes, it's that predictable.

Ong-Bak (2003)
Remember the first time you saw a Jackie Chan movie? Not that shit he made once he defected to the States, but the stuff he made in Hong Kong. Remember that experience of "No fucking way did he just get run over by a hovercraft!"? Well, in the wake of Jackie Chan's recent lameness, Tony Jaa is trying to step into his shoes. Jaa does some things in this movie that are absolutely insane. And the fact that the fights don't appear to be fake at all (pretty hard to fake getting blasted in the face with a foot) only adds to the insanity. Unfortunately, whereas Chan's stunts, while elaborately planned and staged, actually appeared to be somewhat spontaneous, Jaa's stunts appear to be inserted into the movie just for the sake of showing some incredible stuntwork. If Jaa gets some decent producers, watch out; he may be our Next Action Hero.

Oldboy (2003)
It's nice to see South Korean cinema getting some recognition after years of being the redheaded stepchild of Southeast Asia. Oldboy was all the rage at Cannes (and, allegedly, almost won the Palm d'Or), and probably deserves to be. It's very well made and looks great. But the plot is so ridiculous that it pretty much ruins the movie. Unfortunately, it's so well made that you don't realize you've been had until the end, when the secret of the plot is revealed. A great try; check out Park's JSA instead. Much better movie.

Ravenous (1999)
I've seen lots of Cannibal Movies; maybe all of them. You start to miss them after a while, because it's been a dead genre for about 20 years. Needless to say, I was shocked and awed when Ravenous came out, because, well, it's a fucking Cannibal Movie. Who makes a Cannibal Movie in this day and age? Well, these guys, apparently. And what a movie they made! Gross and funny, with a plot that isn't just a delivery vehicle for the cannibal scenes. Probably the best Cannibal Movie ever. Seriously.

Love Ravenous, but it's hard to top on...

Lifeforce (1985)
Every so often, a movie comes along that takes everything and the kitchen sink, and crams it all into one movie. A recent example is Brotherhood of the Wolf, which was a Costume Drama, a Monster Movie, a Kung Fu Movie, and a Murder Mystery all rolled into one. That's a lot of shit to be in one movie. The same is true of Lifeforce. Tobe Hooper's second foray into big-budget filmmaking (behind Poltergeist, a movie I still believe was actually directed by Steven Spielberg) combines a Space Movie, a Vampire Movie, a Zombie Movie, and a Disaster Movie into one great flick. With all of these elements, it might sound like a trainwreck, but it's surprisingly well made; it actually appears as though they were trying to make a good movie. And the fact it stars Steve Railsback (who will always be Charles Manson in my eyes) only adds to the fun. Check it out.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Un-Lost Ringu Sequel


I finally managed to see Rasen, the last of the Ringu movies. Rasen has been available on video since 1998, but never available with English subtitles. And since my understanding of the Japanese language doesn't go much farther than "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto," I was never able to watch it. But now that's it's available on region 1 DVD with Engrish subtitles, I was able to complete the Ringu Cycle. And now I see why it was never available to the English-speaking world.

Rasen is the sequel to Ringu. Both are adaptations of books by Koji Suzuki. The two were produced back-to-back, with almost the same cast and crew, and released almost simultaneously. The Japanese loved Ringu, and hated Rasen. The producers, rather than cut their losses and move on to the next sequel (which they eventually did), decided to bring the cast and crew back, and brought in Hideo Nakata, Ringu's director, to write and direct a remake of the sequel (much like what Warner Bros. did with Exorcist: The Beginning). Hence, Ringu 2 was born.

Much in the way that Ringu 2 and The Ring 2 start at the same source and go in different directions, Ringu 2 and Rasen do the same. Unfortunately, Rasen went in the wrong direction.

Rasen begins right after Ringu ends: with the discovery of Ryuji's body. Mitsuo, a friend of Ryuji's from medical school, is charged with performing the autopsy. During the autopsy and his conversations with Mai, Ryuji's girlfriend and the one who found his body, Mitsuo becomes entangled in the mythos of Sadako and the "video curse".

Now, this is a perfectly good setup for a movie. But Rasen chooses not to follow it. Nor does it bother to follow the pattern set by Ringu. Gone is the "video curse". Turns out the "curse" is actually a virus, contracted by watching the tape. And you needn't actually watch the tape to catch it; you can read about the tape and get it. In fact, you can have sex with someone who watched the tape and get it. And the whole cloning aspect of the virus is ridiculous. (This movie also makes the Duplicating Tape Error: If only two copies of the tape exist (the original and the copy that Reiko made, both of which remained in her possession), where do all of these extra copies come from? Every Ringu sequel, Japanese and American, makes this logical error.)

Oh, and remember Sadako? That nice ghost that caused this whole thing? After Mitsuo watches the tape, Sadako makes an appearance, and (here's where the movie makes its worst error) she's hot. AND naked. Hot, naked Asian chicks could make me do a lot of things, but being scared shitless is not one of them. Speaking of being scared shitless, you won't be while watching this movie, since it's about as scary as any given episode of Fraggle Rock.

After having seen this movie, it's no wonder people stayed away in droves. The sequel to one of the scariest movies in the past 10 years turns out to be something out of a Michael Crichton novel. And not a very good one, at that.

Not that Ringu 2 turned out to be any better, but at least it had the common decency to be scary.

For completists only.

Friday, August 26, 2005

"Gay Rights" Redux


A week ago, I posted on an Orbitz.com commercial which perpetuates every gay stereotype known to straight man. I saw this commercial again tonight, and noticed something I hadn't before. (The Girl, who had never seen the commercial before, sat silent for about 10 seconds, and then said, "Did they actually just say, 'The place for gay-friendly travel'?" Yes, ma'am, they certainly did.)

At the end of the commercial, at the bottom of the screen, is the address for this website. Go ahead and click it now, and then come back.








What.

The.

Fuck. Apparently, gay people don't want to go anywhere that straight people might want to go, so they have to have their own special travel site, so as not to be confused or included with straight people.

Nice. Bravo once again, Orbitz. And remember: keep your history straight and your nightlife gay.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Worst Movie In History" Really Is Worst Movie In History


In 2003, Roger Ebert called The Brown Bunny the worst film in the history of the Cannes Film festival. He called the film amateurish, narcissistic, self-indulgent and bloody-minded. He even went so far as to call the film "anti-American," because to call it an American film would be an insult to Americans. When praise like that is heaped upon a film, you'd better believe that I'm going to see it. And what a mistake that turned out to be...

The movie starts with a five minute long motorcycle race (not chase, but race), which is fine...if you happen to be watching an actual motorcycle race; needless to say, it's not a very good way to start a film.

After the race, the star, Vincent Gallo, loads up his bike in his van, and spends the next 85 minutes driving cross country to Los Angeles. He stops occasionally to talk to hookers, to pet kitties, or to make out with random strangers, like Cheryl Tiegs (no shit: The Cheryl Tiegs). Other than that, it's just him driving. Sure, there's a plot about him attempting to reconnect with a lost love, but it's mostly about driving.

Oh, and at the end, Chloe Sevigny gives Vincent a blowjob: a real, onscreen blowjob. I thought Chloe was better than that, but apparently she's not above starring in the lamest hardcore sex scene ever.

I, by no means, claim to have seen every film ever made, but I think I would be safe in my assumption that this may be the Worst Film Ever Made. No others need apply.

Monday, August 22, 2005

No End To The Annoyingness


The Girl loves cooking shows; if she had her way, I believe she would watch the Food Network 24 hours a day. As we share a television, I am, at times, forced to watch these shows. Most of the time, I have no problem with these shows. They are informative, feature good food, and the host has a good personality. However, there are exceptions. (For a HUGE fucking exception, click here.)

One of those exceptions (and probably the most annoying) is Rachael Ray, the host of at least three shows on the Food Network. "But, what's wrong with Rachael," you ask? She's "spunky", makes good food, and has posed in FHM. What could possibly be wrong with her? Oh, where do I fucking start...

First off: that mouth; it's like her head is hinged at her spine, and she talks by flopping her head up and down, like Terrance and Phillip from South Park. A person could go crazy looking at that mouth, and from listening to what comes out of it. Her speaking voice and manner of speaking are brain rattling. She's the only cooking host I can think of that actually makes up words. And not made up in a clever way words; made up in an oh-please-kill-me-now way words. And then (if her whole head thing wasn't enough), there's her personality. She must snort at least a half pound of blow before each show, because she's as flighty as hell. Slow it down, sister; you've got a WHOLE half hour, not just six minutes. She's so perky, I could choke her.

And then there's the format of her showcase show, 30 Minute Meals. Instead of just having all of the ingredients needed ready and waiting on the counter, she goes around her fake kitchen and gets everything from her fake cupboards/fridge all at once, so by the time she gets back to the counter to start cooking, she's carrying a huge pile of shit. I don't ever remember seeing Emeril carting around a wheelbarrow full of ingredients, but I'm an idiot. Maybe I miss that part on every other cooking show on television. As she prepares her food, rather than disposing of refuse under the counter, as everyone else does, she throws it in a big bowl right there on the counter. So, at the end of the show, there's the food, and there's the trash right next to it. Yummy. Where's my fork?

Now, as with most things that I hate, I figured that my dislike of Rachael was being perpetuated by some misinformation from the voices in my head, like when they tell me to hit pedestrians in the crosswalk, or punch children in the head. But, as it turns out, I am not alone. There are splinter cells of fringe lunatics like myself all over the internet who would rather gouge their eyes out then have to watch $40 A Day. Here's a small sampling:

Rachael Ray Sux
I Hate Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray Rules' Journal
Rachael Ray Drinking Game

And those are just the sites dedicated to hating Rachael; there are plenty of message boards out there that have some great things to say.

I know I shouldn't hate people I don't even know, but if I have to look at that Joker mouth one more time, I may very likely commit suicide. And if that's not a reason to hate someone, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What Do These Guys Have In Common:


Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi?

Give up?

They are all All-Star caliber suspected (or confirmed) steroid users, and they all wear the number 25. Coincidence? No way. Dopers love the 2-5.

Totally Random Thought


I heard an ad on the radio the other day for a band that was billed as a "hot new punk-pop act." And, of course, the song played in the commercial was totally gay. It did not make me want to rock out with my cock out.

It did, however, make me realize how inane the concept of "punk pop" is. Take any punk pop band. Here's a bunch of guys who look like the opening act of a Ramones show at CBGB, and sound like an Air Supply cover band.

Yeah, you guys are "punk" alright. PunkASSES!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Don't Quote Me On This One


Since the American Film Institute recently published their list of the
100 Greatest Movie Quotes, I thought maybe I should point you towards the 70 Most Profane Movie Quotes. Give it a look.

Top 70 Profane, Rude or Inappropriate Movie Quotes (Courtesy of Crushed By Inertia)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Putting The Gay Rights Movement Back A Million Years


So, there's this commercial for Orbitz.com, the online travel service. The commercial is set up like a gameshow, with Wink Martindale hosting. The object of the game is to see who can book a vacation faster: someone using Orbitz or someone using some other online service. Everyone's seen this commercial; it's on all the time.

Well, there's another one out there. In this commercial, the contestants are, let's say (because I don't remember), an architect, and a pair of gay men. The object of this commericial's contest is to find a) a hotel b) in San Francisco c) with a gym. The gay men are using Orbitz, so, of course, they find the hotel in record time. (Actually, one finds it while the other stands behind him and plays with his partner's ears.) To summarize: Two gay men are able to find a hotel in San Francisco with a place they can work out faster than someone who's apparently not gay.

So, now we need commercials to perpetuate gay stereotypes? I thought that's what Will and Grace and LOGO were for. (I've never actually watched LOGO, but seeing as it's stuck right in the middle of all my movie channels, I see what's playing on it whenever I look at the cable guide. And all of their programming is pretty much what people would suspect is on a gay network.)

Bravo, Orbitz, for confirming everything straight people think about gay people. Take a bow.

And speaking of perpetuating stereotypes, there a commercial for Burger King's Chicken Fries, in which a "unit" of black people go around spreading the word about Chicken Fries to other black people.

Classy. No word yet as to how Burger King will promote its new Watermelon Shake. (Seriously, ad people must be fucking insane. I'm sure there's a class action lawsuit somewhere in the works on this.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Last Five Movies



Been a while since I did one of these.

Wedding Crashers (2005)
You'd think a movie with Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Christopher Walken would be some seriously funny shit, wouldn't you? I mean, these guys don't even have to do anything and they're funny. That's why it's astounding that Wedding Crashers isn't funny. Oh, it is funny at times, but, just when it's like five seconds away from becoming absolutely fucking hilarious, that dude who played Will on Alias beats someone up, or one of the girls speaks, and the movie comes to a screeching halt. Seriously, get rid of all the excess plot, and just let these guys riff. Now that would be a movie.

The Hunger (1983)
An absolute trainwreck of a movie that is essential viewing for two reasons: Dick Smith's awesome old-age makeup on David Bowie, and the lesbian sex scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. There's a reason why no one knew who Tony Scott was before he directed Top Gun, and this is it.

Premature Burial (1962)
It's funny that Roger Corman is seen as a hack director. Let's take a movie like, let's say, Guess Who. Probably had a budget of about $40 million, has boring, uninspired sets, a screenplay probably written by a preschooler, and probably took a month or two to film. Then, you look at Corman's Premature Burial, which had a budget of less than $100,000, has beautiful Victorian sets, a story by Edgar Allen Poe, and took 10 days to film. And it's the better movie by at least a factor of 10,000,000. This guy was literally throwing together films that are better than 95% of the movies made today. Hack, my ass; this guy's a fucking genius.

The Wolf Man (1941)
One of the All-Time Classic Horror Movies. Also the movie that launched Lon Chaney Jr.'s attempt to take over his father's moniker of "The Man of 1000 Faces." (The fact that Lon Jr. had no talent whatsoever kinda killed that, but who else can say they played Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, and the Wolf Man in their career?) A great film, with an (at the time) all-star cast, and some of the funniest transformation scenes ever.

Wolf Man is great, but the winner is...

Used Cars (1980)
Bob Zemeckis' first venture into "big budget" filmmaking, this is the movie that Wedding Crashers should've been. Sure, there's a plot here, but not enough to get in the way of these guys being the biggest assholes in the used car business. Mean spirited and played from the hip, this is one of the funniest movies of the early 80's. Gerrit Graham coming inches from being hit by a car and not breaking character for a second is one of the classic bits in film history. Check it out. "Fifty bucks never killed anybody."