Thursday, June 30, 2005

Return To Glory

Apparently, the LA Lakers are so desperate to return to their championship glory days that they not only rehired Phil Jackson as coach after a year hiatus, but they also drafted a 7 foot, 300 pound Shaq clone who happens to be 17 years old. Yes, the Lakers drafted a fucking MINOR. Other teams must just be able to smell the fear. I suspect Magic Johnson's 2nd Return to the Lakers is not far behind.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I Love "Greatest" Lists

Am I the only person who realizes the ridiculousness of "Greatest Whatever of All Time" lists? They're completely subjective, and are revisited on a almost yearly basis, so they're instantly irrelevant. "Remember, two years ago, when I said that the Rolling Stones were the Best Band Ever? Well, now it's Led Zepplin. Times have changed, and now they are Best Band Ever." Truly embarrassing.

The latest embarrassment is Spin magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Records of the Past 20 Years. (The scope of these lists gets a little ridiculous, too. "The 50 Greatest Artists of the Past Week." "The Top 10 Records of The Last 1000 Years.") I particularly like this list, since it roughly covers the years in which I actually started buying records.

The Top 10 Albums of The Last 20 Years:

1. Radiohead - OK Computer
2. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
3. Nirvana - Nevermind
4. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
5. The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
6. Pixies - Surfer Rosa
7. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
8. Prince - Sign 'o' the Times
9. PJ Harvey - Rid of Me
10. N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton

Um, am I missing something here? I'm picking up three, maybe four of these records if I see them laying in the street.

Actually, the entire list is not bad. If asked to pick this list, I would pick many of the same records. (Not in this order, but the records would be on there.) What I do have a problem with is the Top 10 list. Some of the choices (Surfer Rosa, It Takes A Nation...) aren't even their respective artists' best records. (Prince is the odd exception here, as his best record, Purple Rain, falls outside the "20 year" criteria.) Others (The Smiths, Pavement) are head-scratching inclusions.

The one that really burns my ass is OK Computer at #1. Radiohead isn't even a good band, so how is their "best" album the Best Album Ever? If given these 100 records and asked to pick one, I'm picking roughly 99 other albums over that one.

But then, look at the source: This is from Spin magazine, Your Home of Pretentious Music Criticism. What John Q. Musiclistener considers a good record wouldn't even be good enough to wipe Spin's critics' asses with. They want to tell you how awesome Crooked Rain Crooked Rain is, when all you want to do is listen to the new Destiny's Child record.

Oh well; assholes will be assholes, and their "Greatest" Lists will always suck. Listen to what you like, critics be damned!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Last Five Movies

I noticed this was kinda becoming a monthly thing, so, since it's been a month, yet another installment of Last Five Movies.

Mindhunters (2005)
Have you ever seen a movie that was so bad that it made you wonder why the human race exists? Surely, we'd all be better off dead than having to watch that movie. Well, this is that movie. When I saw previews for this a year ago, it looked like a terrible movie. And then, when it sat on the shelf for a year, I thought, "Wow, this movie must be so shitty that I have to see it!" And I was not disappointed. Luckily, I saw it for free, so as not to perpetuate Renny Harlin's filmmaking career. (I did pay to see Exorcist: The Beginning, however, so I kinda fucked myself on that deal.)

The Longest Yard (1974 and 2005)
Since it'd been about 12 years since I'd seen the original Longest Yard, I thought, for comparison's sake, maybe I'd better rewatch it after having seen the Adam Sandler remake. My findings? They're virtually the same movie: near scene-for-scene carbon copies. If you've seen one, no need to see the other. If you haven't seen either one, go with the original. They actually appear to be playing football in that one.

The Machinist (2004)
I had high hopes for Brad Anderson's newest movie, seeing as his last film, Session 9, is one of the creepiest movies of recent years. And, his new film is creepy. Not the movie itself, but the sight of seeing Christian Bale at a skeletal 120 pounds is enough to keep a person awake at night. There are some nice spooky moments, and a plot twist at the end that ties things together nicely. I wasn't disappointed.

High Tension (2005)
Yet another horror movie, with an identical plot twist. (I've seen this particular plot twist at least four times this year, so much so that I've named it "The Imaginary Antagonist.") Yet, whereas that twist explained everything rather nicely in The Machinist, here, it makes me want to kill the filmmakers. There was really only one way to fuck up this incredibly gory movie in my eyes, and this is it. I was so pissed off when I left the theatre that I actually punched a baby in the face. It's really that bad.

And, so, that would make the winner:

Batman Begins (2005)
If you're going to revive a dead series, best thing to do is to shitcan everything that everyone before you has done, and do something completely new. Which is exactly what Chris Nolan has done with the new Batman movie. A perfectly enjoyable movie. (I was sorta busted up not to see Ra's Al Ghul sporting the bouffant and muttonchops that he wore in the comics, but he did have the goofy goatee.) A great start to a (probable) new series; let's see what he does with the next one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Acquittal of The Century

Since the fine citizens of California have proven their insanity by acquitting serial child molester Michael Jackson of any wrongdoing, I thought I'd post this clip of Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog showing us just how crazy these motherfuckers are. Enjoy.

Triumph and the Jackson Freaks (Courtesy of GorillaMask)

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Day At The Races

On Saturday, I attended the Champ Car race (yeah, I know, fucking Champ Car) in Milwaukee. Here's some totally random pictures of race day.

The official mascots of the TimeWarner Roadrunner 225. Love that corporate synergy.

Lee Greenwood, surprisingly, not singing Proud To Be An American.

A really fucking big flag.

On lap five (!!), Ryan Hunter-Reay crashed the Briggs & Stratton car. Here's his pit moments after the crash:

And 20 minutes later. They're halfway to Portland by this point.

A Tale of Two Spotters: On the left is the spotter for Alex Tagliani, hurriedly updating his driver's status. On the right, the spotter for Paul Tracy, who had a 10 second lead at that point, doing absolutely nothing. Probably got sick of Tracy yelling over the radio, "I know what position I'm in. If you show me that fucking sign one more time, I'm crashing this car into you."

Paul Newman (with his arm up) accepting a giant novelty check.

And, finally, Paul Tracy, after having led 192 of 221 laps and finishing a quarter mile ahead of everyone else, does the obligitory victory donut.

Other than the hearing loss and sunburn I suffered, all and all, a good time.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Greatest Record Ever?

So, I recently had an opportunity to listen to the new Coldplay record, X&Y. Quite honestly, I don't think I'd ever heard a Coldplay song, and really don't know much about the band, except that everyone seems to speak very highly of them. Hell, they must be awesome, as their lead singer was allowed to knock up Gwyneth Paltrow. (Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck never got that far with her.) So, this band must just rock, and this record must be better than Exile on Main Street or Songs in the Key of Life, right? So, I gave it a listen.

Turns out, Coldplay is not as awesome as they would seem to be. If this record is anything like their other albums, I'd say their entire discography isn't as good as, say, "Tumblin' Dice" or "Sir Duke," and those are just single songs, songs that are better than this band's entire repertoire, apparently.

I dunno; maybe I'm too heterosexual to enjoy this band. Maybe they are a good band, as far as some people are concerned. But not for me. My verdict on X&Y:
Buh bye now