Monday, September 28, 2009

Last Five Movies

Jennifer's Body (2009)
Remember how the first 10 minutes of Juno, before Diablo Cody's annoyingly witty dialogue calmed down, were nearly unbearable? Now, imagine that 10 minutes stretched out to feature length, and you have some idea of what Jennifer's Body is like. And the returns for this are proving that most people prefer Megan Fox in the context of transforming robots or in photograph form; all other situations need not apply.

Sorority Row (2009)
Remember how annoying and unwatchable Jennifer's Body was? Different plot, same dialogue: combine, and you have Sorority Row. It's not even stupidly entertaining like the movie it's an uncredited remake of (which would be House on Sorority Row).

The Informant! (2009)
A true story so goofy and twisted, it would almost be impossible to make up something harder to believe. Hopefully, this marks Steven Soderbergh's welcome return to somewhat-conventional movie making.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
I stopped reading the Harry Potter books after the second one. I stopped watching the movies in the theatre after the third one. I've only seen the fourth and fifth movies once each on video, and don't remember anything that happened in either one (in fact, I had a hard time remembering that there were two movies). Needless to say, I had no fucking idea what was going on in this movie. Methinks I might need to revisit those last two movies.

Slow month, this:

Extract (2009)
Mike Judge is probably one of the most criminally under-appreciated filmmakers out there. His last movie, Idiocracy, sat on the shelf for two years before Fox decided to pretend they were going to release it, and then just pitched it onto video with no fanfare. Any given episode of King of the Hill is better than anything Brett Ratner has ever made, yet Ratner's made a billion dollars and Judge can barely get his movies released. Luckily, Extract did get released, which is good for everyone, since it's hilarious. And it's hilarious without having to rely entirely on the comedic genius of Jason Bateman (although his presence helps greatly). Now that King of the Hill's done and The Goode Family's been canceled, Judge can start making movies full-time, just as he should've been doing all along. And the world will be a better place.

Up next for me: Whiteout. I can't wait.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is This What Passes For Baseball These Days?

Over at the Hall of Very Good, my friend Jesus Melendez has spent the better part of the year discussing this baseball season's milestones. One of the milestones that he has yet to expound upon in length is the setting of a new seasonal strikeout record. Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks has broken the old record of 204, set way back in...well, last year by Mark Reynolds. At 208 SOs with nine games left, he appears poised to make it very difficult for himself to break this record again next year. And, while it was bound to happen, as every record is made to be broken, I think the strikeout record getting topped on twice in as many years points towards a disturbing trend in baseball.

The seasonal strikeout record was held for a loooong time by Bobby Bonds. He broke the previous mark of 175 in 1969 with 187, and then broke his own record with 189 the following year.

That was a record for a long time. Prior to the turn of the millennium, the closet anyone ever got to the record was when Rob Deer, who sometimes had twice as many strikeouts as hits in a season, got within three in 1987. In fact, up until 1997, Dave Nicholson's old 1963 mark of 175 was only surpassed five other times, and two of those were Deer. No one wanted that record. And rightly so, as it expresses a level of ineptitude that not many players want to achieve.

But, as we approached Y2K, a lot of players started closing in on that record. And, as the new millennium proceeded, someone (specifically, Adam Dunn) fucked around and managed to break that record. In just the past five years, the record was been reset three more times, most recently by Reynolds.

Thirty years, and the closest anyone got to Bonds' mark was within three. In the past six years, it's been topped seven times. That old 175 mark has been bested 19 more times in the past 10 years. Apparently, it's all right to be a strikeout overachiever.

Funny thing, though: Over that same 10-12 year time period, the same thing happened to home runs.

When Albert Belle hit 50 homers in 1995, that was the first time someone had done that since Cecil Fielder did it five years earlier. Prior to Fielder: George Foster in '77. In the first 126 years of baseball, 50 HRs in a season had happened only 17 times. Since '95, it's happened 21 more times. It's no big deal to hit 50, even 60, homers now.

Coincidentally enough, wasn't that same time period when the whole steroid thing kinda took off? I'm sure someone could easily blame steroids for the rise in homers and strikeouts, but, seeing as there's little correlation between the HR and SO numbers, this assumption would lead one to believe that steroids grant the user one of two abilities: (1) hitting lots of homers, or (2) striking out an irrational number of times.

The easier conclusion to reach is that, because of the recent increased importance of the home run, batters aren't even attempting to put the ball in play anymore, opting to merely swing so hard that they corkscrew themselves into the ground like a Looney Tunes character every time they miss. I think that, if more emphasis was placed on just making contact with the ball instead of trying to knock its cover off, strikeouts would go down. Sure, homers would go down, too, but I'd rather watch someone get 200 hits than watch them not hit anything 200 times.

As for Reynolds and his dubious mark, he might want to focus more on contact and less on power. The career strikeout mark is 2597, held by Reggie Jackson. Only four players (including Jackson) have topped 2000 SOs in their careers, and no one in the history of baseball has gotten within 250 of Jackson's record. That being said, at his current pace, Reynolds will break Jackson's record within 10 years. A mark it took Jackson 21 years to set, and this dope, in three season, is already a quarter of the way there.

No wonder I can barely be bothered to pay attention to baseball anymore.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No Punchline Needed For This One

Even though this picture is in horrible taste, I wouldn't put it past Kayne at all. That mutherfucker would take any opportunity to steal the spotlight.

He's a musical genius, ya know.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welcome To Every Child's Nightmare

I found this rather entertaining clip of Alice Cooper performing "Welcome to My Nightmare" on The Muppet Show in 1978. While I do believe I saw every episode of The Muppet Show, I don't remember this. Like most four-year olds, I wasn't into anything remotely as cool as Alice Cooper, so this didn't make much of an impression on me.

Examples like this just reinforce my theory that a lot of the stuff that my generation watched as children wasn't for children at all. Oh, sure: The Muppet Show is entertaining to children because it's Muppets. But the celebrities and almost all the jokes are geared waaaay over childrens' heads. Same with Warner Bros. Looney Tunes, which may not even be appropriate for children. Or, to cite a modern example, Pixar's movies, which are written for adults but dumbed down into cartoons for the kids.

As for Alice Cooper, of course he'd be on The Muppet Show. He's one of those guys that doesn't take himself seriously enough to not appear on something as goofy as The Muppet Show. A band like Yes would be much too "important" to make an appearance, but here's a cool guy like Alice, makeup and all, hamming it up with the Muppets.

If all rock stars were like this, the world would be a better place.

Meet The Beatles, Possibly For The First Time

Just wanted to draw your attention to Chuck Klosterman's review of the new Beatles box set, written like a guy who, 40 years after their split, has never heard of The Beatles. For those of you not familiar with Klosterman's work, he's a former Spin editor who once wrote a completely unironic essay extolling the virtues of Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain. (Seriously.)

I like the review, because it says things about The Beatles (and The Rolling Stones, for that matter) that everyone thinks, but nobody says. Like that no one actually likes Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, even though everyone likes to cite it as one of the greatest records ever.

A Billy Joel fan that disagrees with one of the main tenets of rock music criticism? No wonder Spin fired this guy.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


To the chagrin of every person with an I.Q. above 50, the sequel to The Boondock Saints is happening, rather cleverly titled The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (see what they did there?). Here's the trailer, if you give a fuck.

Why a completely moronic movie that was an absolute box office disaster and wasn't even able to recoup its budget from an extremely successful DVD release would merit a sequel is beyond me.

Oh, that's right: Because the morons and mouth-breathers who think this movie is awesome will actually pay money to see this. I mean, why wouldn't you make a sequel to a movie that has its own line of merchandise at Hot Topic?

Instead of seeing this, everyone should watch Overnight, a making-of documentary which proves Saints writer/director to be one of the world's biggest dumbasses.

That you should pay to see.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Show That Just Wouldn't End

A couple months back, I commented on the long-overdue euthanization of Prison Break, which had overstayed its welcome by two seasons. Having seen the show through to its conclusion, I was relatively happy with the ending. All the loose ends were tied up, all the characters were taken care of; the show was concluded.

Yet, mere weeks later, here's a direct-to-video movie version of Prison Break that picks up where the show left off.

Really? We needed this?

As I mentioned, the finale of the TV version wrapped everything up, even showed where the characters would be in five years. But, apparently, what we missed in that five year period was this additional prison break.

Actually, it's not surprising that they came out with a movie. At 88 minutes long, which is exactly what two hours of TV sans commercials runs, it appears to be the last two episodes of the show edited together into a movie. Basically, Fox didn't want to air two more episodes, so they released them on video in movie form instead.

And what a waste of time and money that was. If you saw the show finale, you know what happens to all the characters and nothing in this movie does anything to change that. It's basically just two more hours of show which do nothing to advance the plot. In fact, the only revelation that was previously unknown was the fate of Jodi Lyn O'Keefe's character, who survived being gutshot and is now in prison.

There: I've given away the one spoiler. You can save yourself the trouble of having to find it out on your own.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This Is Getting A Little Ridiculous

Just to make sure that I'm not existing in my own private alternate reality, let me ask a question, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong: Didn't Fox just start a Fantastic Four movie franchise four years ago, and then put out a sequel two years later?

Yes, they did? Oh, good, then it's the whole world that's gone insane and not just me, because I thought the reports that Fox is going to start a new Fantastic Four franchise were pretty fucking nutty.

So, a mere five or so years after we learned the origins of The Fantastic Four, we get to learn it again. Thank God, because my memory is pretty short sometimes; they got their powers from radioactive spiders bites, right?

I thought the industry standard for time passed between a movie and its remake was 20 years, but apparently Fox is lowering that to five years, which leads me to believe that the time in which all movies will be remakes is only about 10 years away.

And people wonder why I'm so full of hate. Now you know.