Thursday, September 28, 2006

By Reader Request

I consider myself an Aaron Sorkin fan. I've enjoyed everything he's written (with the exception of Sports Night, which, I don't know, just didn't seem that good). So, needless to say, I was pretty stoked when he decided to come back to television with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

The verdict is still out on this one. The writing is great, but maybe Sorkin just isn't suited for this material. It's nowhere near as smart or well-written as The West Wing (which won the Best Drama Emmy every year Sorkin, who also wrote every episode, was with the show). There's a weird religious undertone to the show which seems out of place.

The casting also leaves something to be desired. Oh sure, Bradley Whitford is great in the Bradley Whitford part, and Matt Perry has dialed the Chandler down enough to be entertaining, but some of the other choices just don't work. Allison Janney would have been much better in Amanda Peet's role. (And why can you still see Amanda's teeth, even when her mouth is closed?) And Steven Weber just doesn't work in a role that, well, Tim Daly should have played. (How's that for a Wings mix-and-match?) And don't even get me started on the "cast." They should pick up Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell now that they've been kicked off SNL; at least those guys have actually been on a sketch comedy show.

Like I said, verdict's still out on this one. Hopefully, even though it's doing so shitty in the ratings, it will stick around long enough to turn into something good. I sure hope so; there's gotta be at least one decent thing to watch on TV.

Monday, September 25, 2006

CSI Got Pantsed

Ever since CSI moved to its Thursday 9/8c timeslot, it has never lost that timeslot. In fact, it is consistently the highest-rated show of the year. (Actually, American Idol is the highest-rated show, but I won't even acknowledge that as a TV show.)

Then, something funny happened. ABC decided that Grey's Anatomy had gotten its sealegs, and no longer needed its Desperate Housewives lead-in, and moved Grey's against CSI. And, guess what: CSI lost.

Mind you, both show garnered more than 20 million viewers, which is a lot for just two shows, but CSI still lost.

I've got one thing to say about this whole thing: Fuck you, Jerry Bruckheimer; stings, don't it, big boy. There's a reason that Law & Order is no longer a top 10 show, and I think you just figured out why. Bravo.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Reason #2,596 Not To Remake A Movie

I'm not telling you anything new when I say I don't like remakes. If you want to see a movie, go fucking see the original; it's always better than the remake. And, of course, it's the case with the remake of The Wicker Man.

First off, there's no reason to remake The Wicker Man. When the original was released in 1973, it was not well-received. Only in the 33 years since its release has a gained an avid cult following. A CULT following, meaning that really no one has still seen it. Popular movies like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre have huge followings, and the greedy cocksuckers who produce the remakes know they can mine the nostalgia of the original films to line their own dirty fucking pockets. (Bitter much?) But Wicker Man? No one saw it the first time around; who's going to see the remake? (Me, apparently, but that might have something to do with my borderline retardation.)

Of course, as is the case with all remakes, the producers feel they have something new to bring to the movie, and feel the need to change the original story. And this is what completely destroys The Wicker Man. Rather than, like in the original, having a plain old pagan society, you have a pagan society where the men are subservient to the women. Not a big deal, but it's a detail that doesn't improve the movie at all; makes it a little worse, actually. And, while the concept of pagans, dressed up like animals, singing and dancing about, may have mirrored the hippy, dippy vibe of 1973, that same concept comes off as pretty hokey 33 years later. (At least we don't have to experience Christopher Lee singing and dancing in this one. It's a scary thing.)

The worst change that Neil LaBute, who wrote and directed the movie, has made is that he extracted all of the intelligence from Anthony Shaffer's original story. The whole Christian v. Pagan, Science v. Religion argument, that made the original film at least moderately interesting, is gone. There's no reason for Nick Cage to dislike the citizens of Summersisle, other than the fact the women don't like men. Ed Woodward didn't like them in the original because he was a devout Catholic. At the ending of the original, Ed Woodward actually postulates a scientific explanation for the crops failing. Nick Cage just goes out screaming. That's some terrible writing.

At least LaBute was smart enough not to bitch out on the ending of the original. Turning it into an feel-good ending would have been a killable offense. However, he did feel the need to tack on an absolutely idiotic epilogue that really blows the air out of the surprising ending. Way to go, moron.

All and all, a pretty rough experience. Avoid like poison ivy.

Something Else I Learned From The Wicker Man

The actress pictured above, whose name is Kate Beahen, and plays the mother of the missing girl in The Wicker Man, is not the same actress as this woman,

whose name is Vera Farmiga, and got a blow job from Paul Walker in Running Scared.

Learn something new every day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Guess This Makes My Morten Andersen Jersey Good Again

Earlier this week, the Atlanta Falcons announced that they were bringing in a new kicker to take over placekicking duties for kicking phenom Michael Koenen after the Falcons discovered that he couldn't actually kick fieldgoals. So, they brought in the best kicker they've ever had (and possibly the best kicker ever): 46 year old Morten Andersen.

Since Mort is back in the league, I guess I can bring my Andersen jersey out of retirement. Mind you, it's a Saints jersey, and Andersen hasn't played for the Saints in 10 years, but, hey, it's a Morten Andersen jersey. You find another one of those in existence, and I'll give you a kick in the balls for being a smartass.

Take that how you will.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Change This/That Channel!

There's a reality show on TV called Flip This House that I enjoy. It's about a Charleston, SC, property development company that buys properties, fixes them up, and sell them for a profit. Hence, the title, Flip This House. Until recently, I had no idea what channel this show was on. I would just see it in the TiVo guide and flip to it.

So, the other day, while flipping through the guide, I see there's a marathon of what I thought was Flip This House on TLC. I go to TLC, and find out that it's an entirely different show. Same concept, different show. This is when The Girl informed me that Flip This House was on A&E. What I was watching was Flip That House, not Flip This House. How confusing is that!

This is made even more confusing by the fact that A&E has two other versions of Flip This House that they air. So, when you flip to it, you never know what you're going to get.

Oh well. I guess that just means I watch too much TV.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

iTunes 7.0 Is Pretty Much Shit

In the auto industry, every so often, they come out with a new model of a car. Sure, cars change every year, but, every five years or so, they junk it out and come out with a whole new version. Software is the same way. There are lots of upgrades, but they do occasionally come out with brand new versions. And iTunes, which has been essentially unchanged since its creation, is "all new for 2007." And it's all bad.

I really liked iTunes 6.0: the luminescent buttons and scrollbars that glowed blue when you used them; the simple drop-down interface on the left side. It was a nice piece of software. ITunes 7.0: not so much. The blue buttons have been replaced by ugly gun-metal grey ones that do no sort of glowing; the buttons on the top and bottom aren't even the same color, kinda throwing the pleasing aesthetic of the whole thing out of whack. The menu bar on the left side is now broken up into different categories that drop down that don't even fit in the space allotted in the sidebar. When you plug in your iPod, instead of going to its library, it brings up the setup screen, which is great, if you want to change the settings on your iPod every time you plug it in, but mildly annoying if you just want to listen to some fucking music.

iTunes 7 does have some nice new features, however. I like how you can flip through all of the album covers and see what songs you have from those albums. And I like the counter that shows how many unlistened to podcasts and unfinished downloads you have. But, other than that, there is no improvement on the old iTunes; just more to hate.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

George Lucas Is A Motherfucker

I respect an artist's integrity and the choices he makes to protect it, but, when his choices just fuck with people, that's just wrong. And George Lucas is that kinda guy.

None of what follows will be any surprise to Star Wars fans, but I'll recount the whole thing just for posterity's sake. It all started back in 1997, when George Lucas decided to rerelease the three original Star Wars movies as a gear-up for the impending release of The Phantom Menace. Instead of doing just a plain, old rerelease, he went back and reedited and changed the movies to correct things that he thought were wrong with the movies. (I, personally, never had any problems with these new versions, except for Star Wars. Not to sound like a fucking film geek, but the "Greedo shot first" thing is gay.)

Following the theatrical release, the "revisions" were released on video, but VHS only; no DVD. These were now the "official" versions of the films. The original versions (like the aforementioned version of Star Wars that I preferred, that had had seven previous video releases) were no longer available. They also came out with a fourth version of the trilogy boxset that was nothing but the revisions. But, once again, no DVD. Disappointing, but Star Wars fans made due.

Jump ahead seven years, and now there's a DVD boxset of the revised movies. Seeing as VHS is essentially a dead format, this is huge news, as no one owned them on DVD until now, and Lucas was even nice enough to add a ton of extras and even make additional changes to the movies (like adding Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi). Needless to say, everyone (including me, who had never owned any of the previous versions of the movies) went out and bought that set. Even if you preferred the old versions, you bought them, as they're the only thing available on DVD.

Until tomorrow, that is. On September 12, Lucasfilms is releasing the DVDs again, this time with the original versions of the films as a bonus disc for each movie. Remember that original version of Star Wars that I liked? Well, now I can own it on DVD. Too bad I already own that version I don't care for so much (and I don't buy shit twice).

I have one thing to say on this whole thing: Make up your fucking mind. You're either going to go with the originals or the revisions. Stop rereleasing the fucking things. If you're going to take them away, take them away forever; don't say they're gone, and then release them a year and a half later. In fact, if you'd've done this the first time, you could have saved some money by not having to release these things twice in such a short time.

Oh well. When you have all the money in the world, and sole control of the most popular movies in the world, I guess you can do whatever the fuck you want. Even if it means acting like a real motherfucker to your fans. Thanks bunches, George.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

No One Really Cares

Earlier in the week, Brad Pitt made the announcement that, unless the government took steps to approve gay marriage, he and Angelina Jolie would not get married.

Hmmm, let me check something out. The world didn't end, there were no disasters, no national guard troops deployed to Malibu, no new legislation was passed: everything remained the same after this Earth-shattering news. I guess no one cared.

Not that I'm surprised. It's just another case of some fucking celebrity thinking that what he says is important in any kind of way. It's especially worse coming from a guy who left his hot wife and a life of luxury in California to go to deepest, darkest Africa and carry around a baby with a woman who's been around the block more times than the mail man.

Sounds like someone I'd take all my advice from, seeing as he doesn't even know what a good trade is.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Best Buy Will Totally Anally Rape You

Seeing as I was about to upgrade to HD cable, and TiVo has an impending HD box coming out, I figured it was about time to upgrade to free up some of those component video inputs on my TV. So, I decided to buy an HD DVD player. Mind you, not a true HD DVD player, like the one Toshiba makes, as those players are insanely expensive, and there are two competing formats (Blu-Ray is the other) and I don't want to get stuck with Beta (if you know what I mean), but an "up-convert" model that plays conventional DVDs in HD. I did some on-line shopping, and found a Samsung DVD/VCR player that did what I wanted at Best Buy. (I found a Sony that was virtually the same as my current player, but, for some reason, Best Buy only offers that one on-line.) So, of I went to Best Buy.

The first thing I looked for was an HDMI cable, the wondrous audio/video connector that makes 1080p resolution possible. And Best Buy had plenty of them. Unfortunately, some of them cost as much as the player itself. Their cheapest one was $60. Nigga, please. (I later picked up an HDMI cable, a surge protector, and an S-video cable for $45 at Wal-Mart. Sixty bucks, my ass.)

The next problem I ran into was they didn't appear to have the model I wanted in stock. Oh sure, they have the demo model, but none in stock. Every other DVD player, they got. But not this one. I waited approximately six hours for someone to help me, and, finally, I was given the one I wanted. (I don't know what it is with Best Buy: If you're just browsing, they're all over you; if you're buying, it's like a fucking ghost town.)

So, I get it home, get everything hooked up, only played discs distributed by Anchor Bay. Which is fine, if I only wanted to watch The Beyond or Army of Darkness, but not so good for everything else. (I will say that The Beyond looks absolutely great in 1080i; too bad it doesn't improve the quality of the actual movie any.) Needless to say, I was mildly pissed.

Back to Best Buy I went, where I exchanged it for another one, hoping that this was just a problem with that unit, and not every one of that model. When I got it home, this one worked. (Thank Christ.) And everything I played on it looked great. Everyone (and by "everyone," I mean "me") was happy.

If you're still rolling with the old analog equipment, you pretty much need to upgrade as soon as possible. And if you're cable isn't HD, you need to get that, too; you have no idea what you're missing. Just maybe avoid Best Buy, if possible.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Crocodile Hunter Finally Gets His Comeuppance

Talk about irony: Steve Irwin, who has wrestled crocodiles, grabbed poisonous snakes with his bare hands, and had countless run-ins with hundreds of dangerous beasts, finally got killed by a stingray, an animal I myself (and thousands of others) have had a non-lethal encounters with at Sea World.

Seriously, it was only a matter of time. You'd think maybe he would have learned from the example of Roy Horn, who got mauled by a white tiger that actually lived with the guy. If your own pets are going to try and kill you, don't be surprised when a totally random stingray decides to kill your ass.

Oh well. It was a nice run while it lasted. Have fun in that great animal sanctuary in the sky, Steve.