Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Magical!

Am I the only person not amazed at David Blaine's brand of "magic"? I think this newest "trick," the Dive of Death, is the straw that breaks the camel's back and gets people to realize this guy is a complete joke.

Basically, the premise of the trick is that, after occasionally hanging upside down for 60 hours ("Wow! How dey do dat?"), he jumps off a scaffolding to the ground below. What amazing things will happen?

Alright, for one, this isn't a trick. If I step off a curb in front of a bus, and it somehow doesn't hit me, that's not a magic trick. Same deal here: Jumping off a scaffolding and not dying is not a magic trick.

It's also not very magical when, seconds before hitting the ground, Blaine's descent is stopped by a decelerator, a pretty common stunt device. I would have been impressed if Blaine had taken this jump and landed on his feet, apparently unaided, and then walked off the stage with no "strings" attached. Blaine just pulled off the world's most overglorified bungee jump.

And the fact that he only jumped from 44 feet up is embarrassing. It's quite possible to survive a freefall like that without dying. Yet Blaine felt he needed some safety fall 44 feet. The late stuntman Dar Robinson twice jumped off the CN Tower, the second tallest structure on the planet, with the use of a decelerator. Robinson's jump was 1200 feet; Blaine's jump was 44. I think you can see who the bitch is.

And then, after the trick is over, Blaine "magically floats away." Wow: An off-camera crane lifts him out of view while John Saunders sells it to the audience. "How in the world did he escape into the atmosphere?" Fucking amazing. David Copperfield did the same thing when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear by making everyone look in the wrong direction. That was impressive; this was not.

Hopefully, people will see what a sham Blaine is and will run away screaming when he approaches them on the street and says, "Hey, you wanna see something."

Best that could happen to him, really.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shocking. Absolutely Shocking.

Get. The fuck. Out.

The only thing more obvious than this is that the sun rises every day. But thanks for being honest with us, Clay.

And I have a question: Exactly how much does People have to pay you to come out of the closet?

Just curious.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Emmy Results

When I make my annual Emmy picks, they're strictly "for entertainment purposes only." It's too bad I didn't lay some money down on this one, because I actually handicapped these pretty well.

Actually, I only picked two wins, but I am particularly proud of the Bryan Cranston and Glenn Close picks.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Last Five Movies (Extended Edition)

Righteous Kill (2008)
You can put DeNiro and Pacino together in any movie, and THIS is the movie you make? I'd be absolutely fascinated to see a pre-editing version of this movie, because I'm sure that it would be infinitely better than the jumbled, scattershot mess that actually got released.

Burn After Reading (2008)
I'm sure that this seemed extremely clever on the Coens, at least. What it seems like to ME is a mish-mosh of ideas with no plot that's only occasionally funny. In fact, when Brad Pitt isn't on the screen, the movie suffers greatly.

Find Me Guilty (2006)
Despite what people think, Vin Diesel actually CAN act, as evidenced by this movie, Sidney Lumet's second-to-latest. People might have a better opinion of Diesel if he made more movies like this, and fewer movies like...

Babylon A.D. (2008)
If I hadn't already seen Children of Men, maybe this would have been more entertaining, but I have, so it wasn't.

Vantage Point (2007)
This movies tries to disguise the fact that it's basically just a stupid Chase Movie by coming up with the silly gimmick of the multiple "vantage points." Turns out, it's STILL a stupid Chase Movie.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
A year after Sam Peckinpaw reinvented the Western, he turned the genre on its head again with this, the most upbeat and lighthearted revenge story ever put to film. This also begins the most prosperous decade of Jason Robards' career, during which he won two Oscars.

Usually, this spot is reserved for the best movie I've recently seen, but, this time, it's for the worst. And, of course, that movie is...

The Boondock Saints (1999)
Am I really seeing this? Yet ANOTHER fucking movie about Irish gangsters in Boston? Really? Again? Ya know, I live in Milwaukee, which is not only bigger than Boston, but was home to an actual Cosa Nostra family. Ya know how many movies have been made about that? None. Yet this is approximately the six millionth movie made about Irish Boston street thugs. And the fact that it's probably one of the worst movies ever made doesn't help its case. After seeing it, it's no wonder that the career of writer/director Troy Duffy, who was once touted as the "next big thing," crashed to the ground so hard that it actually went all the way through the center of the Earth and came out the other side and out into space, never to be heard from again. I'm embarrassed for everyone involved.

That being said, I do have a recommendation. Gene Siskel once said that some movies are so bad that a documentary of the making of that film would be more entertaining. And, in the case of The Boondocks Saints, this is entirely true. And while Overnight (2003) isn't entirely about The Boondocks Saints, it's enough about it to show why it's so incredibly bad. And it also paints Troy Duffy out to be one of the most arrogant and egotistical douchebags in the history of the planet.

He gets exactly what he deserves in the end. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Soft Drink Civil War

I was clicking about on the "Internet" when I came across this, a map showing what soft drinks are called throughout the United States. As I'm from a "pop" state and I currently live in a "soda" state, I thought it was interesting.

If I was really motivated, I could make up a "drinking fountain" v. "bubbler" map, but I know that only one state would fall into the latter category.

That's pretty much a waste of time.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Greatest Sports Injury Ever?

I love it when bad things happen to "good" people. And, while Brady's blown knee may not be the greatest sports injury ever (that honor goes to Joe Montana, whose injury in the '91 NFC Championship not only kept the 49ers from their third straight Super Bowl, it effectively ended Montana's career with the Niners), it's a pretty damn good one. The guy went mentally retarded last year, setting nearly every passing record, accumulated the most wins ever in a season, and almost won the Super Bowl. AND he's dating Gisele. After this, he's gonna be a guy holding a clipboard.

Ya know what the Patriots need right about now? Brett Favre. Oh, wait...he'll be playing AGAINST them next weekend.

Oops. I guess you can never plan too far ahead.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

East Bound And Dead

I usually don't do obituaries except for those that merit notice, and this is a whooper. Jerry Reed, the two-time Grammy winner who secured his place in history with his role as Cledus Snow in Smokey and the Bandit, has died at age 71.

It's a shame that Reed was relegated to relative obscurity in the country music world, because he was country music exemplified; he actually was a good ol' boy. Oh sure, he won two Grammys, but I defy you to name a Jerry Reed song that isn't "East Bound and Down."

A great loss for country music.

And, in other obscure death news, Don LaFontaine, the most recognizable voice-over actor since the death of Ernie Anderson, has also died.

If you don't know who LaFontaine is, check out this clip of him in a limo with four other well-known voice-over actors:

Promos for 24 will never be the same.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Hero Comes Back

Half a year ago, I posted about my new favorite show, Kitchen Nightmares. Like all shows that feature a British protagonist, I figured the show must have been adapted from a British show, but I'd never seen it. However, I now have BBC America on my cable, so I'm able to watch the original show, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. And I must say that it's actually a better show.

Like every show on Fox, Kitchen Nightmares is designed and edited to be nothing but Ramsay shouting and acting like a general lunatic: "After the break, see what crazy shit Gordon does next!" The British version, of course, is much more subtle. Oh sure, every other word out of Ramsay's mouth is "shit" or "fuck," and there is a fair amount of shouting, but the show isn't solely about that. This show is actually about Ramsay trying to fix these restaurants, not just about him going apeshit on their owners. If you pay attention, there's a lot of tips about how to run a successful restaurant, like how to maximize food profits and how to push food with short prep times in order to offset the high prep time foods. And it's funny; the show actually highlights the fact that Ramsay's a pretty funny guy who yells and swears a lot.

Regardless of which version you're able to watch, you should watch it. So, check it out the original on BBC America or catch the American version on Fox when it starts up again next week.

I can't wait.