Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's The Opposite Of Jumping The Shark?

I have no idea, but tonight's episode of Parks and Recreation has actually been pretty funny. Poehler's Leslie Knope is still Michael Scott-ish, but the other people in this episode seem to like her more than people generally like Michael (which is, understandably, not much).

Could this be a further sign of the apocalypse? I can't even put my finger on what's different, maybe it's that her co-stars Aziz Ansar, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Rashida Jones and Chris Pratt (Bright from Everwood, an over-dramatic, but still kind of addictive teen drama that Em got me watching) got more screen time and showed how funny they can be. I even liked Leslie's boss played by Nick Offerman, a character I've kind of hated since the first episode (he's a government employee who hates the government).

I still have a problem with the whole idea of a mock reality show in which normal people do anything they want on camera. For instance, while Pratt is in a kid's pool in his back yard, is neighbor comes in and takes Pratt's boombox while the camera is on him. The dude seems like a fairly mild mannered fellow, so it rings a little false that he might do something like this on camera. As viewers, we're not sure how long the crew has been following them or what the deal is. There are plenty of nods and looks towards the camera, but why are the cameras staying at Pratt and Jones' house? Are they there to document the filling in of the pit? These are all logical story questions I have that I hope will eventually get answered. Actually, if the episodes continue to be this good, I'll let is slide, like with The Office, which is on right now!!!

Oh, Kevin, you poor sunnovabitch.

Oh, DO go on.

Live Blogging Mannequin (1987)

I'm not even sure if I'm doing this right, but what the hell? I've started taking notes while watching movies to then use for posting on the site, but sometimes a movie isn't good enough to rank a full-on post. Well, I know you ravenous readers can't get enough of my content, so I figured I'd "live blog" some flicks. First up on the list? The 1987 epic fantasy (I guess) flick starring Andrew McCarthy, Porky's star Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty and James Spader.

So, the basic idea of the movie is that Kim was an Egyptian (yes EGYPTIAN) princess back in ancient times. Somehow she ended up not dying when she should have and has appeared to different people throughout history, kind of like a muse. So, who does she pick in the late 80s? Hard on his luck Andrew McCarthy who ends up becoming an inspired window display designer for Estelle Getty's NYC store after he saves her life from a falling sign. It turns out that Kim's spirit is inside of a mannequin that only comes to life when no one else is looking (in theory). Andrew's displays really get people excited and business is booming, which makes the rival store angry. The rival store employs James Spader as a buttoned-up 80s business guy and the mean sergenat from the Police Academy movies plays a paranoid security guard who knows something's up. Meshach Taylor also plays an artsy over-the-top gay fellow window designer. I think. He's Andrew's friend. It's a weird movie to say the least. Anyway, here's my notes:

*Haha, white Egyptians.

*Animated opening![kind of like Grease.]

*Kim Cattrall, Estelle Getty AND James Spader? SOLD!

*Wow, that is a YOUNG Spader. [I mistook McCarthy for Spader for the first 10-15 minutes as you'll see in a few more notes.]

*This dude [McCarthy] has it ROUGH. Yet, this is still less heavy handed than Spider-Man 2. [Yeah, I'm the one guy who doesn't like Spidey 2]

*Wow, Estelle Getty looks young too.

*That's a hell of a way to get a job, catching a sign.

*Haha, woops, THAT is Spader. The main guy is Andrew McCarthy, makes sense.

*Lamar Burton, interesting. [Lamar Burton had nothing to do with this movie, I thought Meshach Taylor was Reading Rainbow's Burton.]

*Felix Maxwell looks and sounds familiar.

*Hey, he's from Ohio!

*Oh wow, this was shot in Boscov's, I'd never heard of them before moving out here. [And now I can't even remember where the Boscov around here is. Nanuet maybe?]

*Estelle looks like a younger version of the rappin granny from Wedding Singer.

*I think Felix is from the Police Academy movies. [I got this one right.]

*Hahaha, she says "Where do they hide all the musicians?" just before they music really kicks in. [I have no idea what this refers to.]

*Dress up dance number! It would take a really long time to actually do this. [Kim and Andrew are hanging out in the store after hours when no one is around and doing this huge dance number with tons of costume changes reflecting different eras. It's both kind of impressive and ridiculous.]

*Haha, can you imagine being one of these people so excited about a window display? OMG, they're f**king riding f**king bikes!!! ahhh!!!! [I know people like the window displays at Christmas, but you'd think Andrew had Whitesnake AND Poison in these displays.]

*Rambo the bulldog is super cute.

*"Tonight we nail that little fart blossom."

*Haha, hang gliding inside! [Yup, in the store. Happened.]

*I'm not sure if it's a good idea for your co workers to think you're banging a mannequin. [Andrew keeps carrying this mannequin around and his coworkers are starting to think he's weird. I guess they're right, actually.]

*Can other people hear her? [This isn't really addressed in the movie. There's a scene where Andrew takes mannequin Kim behind closed doors and they apparently have sex. So, can they hear her? I'm not sure. Either way, let's hope Andrew isn't too loud when in the throws of passion.]

*"You know I would never bother you when you're getting a piece of wood" - Lamar [Still didn't realize it's really Meshach Taylor.]

*Sure creepy foreign guy, I'll have sex with you. Hahaha he can't get it up. [Andrew has this ex who works at the evil store. While she's tasked with figuring out the secret to his window success, she's teamed with this sleazy guy with a generic accent who keeps trying to have sex with her. Eventually, she sees Andrew with someone (I think Kim in mannequin form) and decides to finally do the accent guy. It doesn't go as planned.]

*They're passing dozens of people who could be looking at her, yet she's still human. [Andrew's got Kim riding on the back of his motorcycle. When one of the other main characters sees them, she looks like a mannequin, but when they're just driving down the street she's alive. SO, you're trying to tell me that NO ONE is looking out their windows and seeing her? Plot hole!]

*What would happen if they were having sex and someone walked in? [Consider this my Brody moment while watching this crazy movie and drinking mojitos.]

*I love that they think they can ruin an essential nobody by showing pictures of him rolling around with a mannequin even though it clearly looks like he just fell on her, if it was Tom Cruise I could understand, but it's just some dude.

*Woah, awesome slide move by McCarthy, it's like calculator bowling. [Andrew's getting chased by the bad guy's goons and slides right into one of them on his knees.]

*How did this movie get made? [And I don't mean the special effects.]

*Why is there a conveyor belt for mannequin destruction leading to a wood chipper? More importantly, why can't he lift a freaking mannequin out of the shredder? [Sorry, I'm trying to think logically. And, hey, maybe department stores do have these kinds of things, I have no idea.]

*Holy shit, that guy saw her! She's human around other people!!!! [Yeah, I was excited that it finally happened, I'm a sucker for happy endings.]

*Hahahahaha, they got married?! [They've only known each other for a few months at best. Oh and she's magic.]

*"We can build this dream together..." love that song "Nothing's gonna stop us nowwwwwwww!" [I looked it up, it's called, unsurprisingly "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship. As a bonus, here's the video, with Mannequin footage!]

Oh, DO go on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Diggnation Celebrates 200th Episode

I can't exactly remember how or why I got into podcasts, but I do know that Diggnation, starring founder Kevin Rose and star of just about every podcast on the net Alex Albrecht, was one of the very first I checked out.

For those of you who I haven't convinced to watch it yet, Diggnation is a video podcast that goes through some of the top stories on Digg. Kevin and Alex read the stories from their laptops, usually on a couch in one of their places, but sometimes at a live event, and drink some beers.

Sure the topics are interesting, but what keeps me coming back week after week is really Kevin and Alex themselves. They seem like the kinds of guys you could really hang out with and just bullshit all day long. It's also fun to see a couple of guys who are only a couple years older than me really making this internet thing work for them. Plus I, of course, like that they're able to drink while working, which is really living the dream.

Anyway, all of this is a way of saying congrats to two guys who will probably never see this site for four years of solid entertainment. If the show sounds ever remotely interesting based on my shaky-at-best description or if you trust my opinion for any reason, check out the brand new 200th episode which looks back over the past 199 episodes and also offers up some new stories. Enjoy!

Oh, DO go on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Portal and Peggle

As you might be able to tell with my various posts, I go in spurts as to what medium I'm devouring at any given time. Sometimes it's horror movies, other times it's trades. Recently I've been spreading my intake pretty thin, but I have taken the time to watch some flicks, read some trade and play a couple of video games. This post is about a few of the games I've been playing on the Xbox 360 (you can do more than watch movies in this thing, did you know that?)

First up, I just finished Portal last week. I know, thanks for the welcome into 2007. I grabbed the Orange Box used after getting my Xbox in December and have been playing Portal on and off for a while. It took me a while to really get into the game, but once I did, I was in like gangbusters. That is until I got to the very last stage of the game. I got kind of frustrated after getting stuck on a previous level (I actually figured out how to beat that level on my way into work one morning and had to wait until I got home that night to actually test and prove my theory), so once the very last battle started giving me trouble, I took a break. Well, last week I finally beat that bad boy and am pretty proud of myself. I'm not usually one for puzzle games, but the crazy amounts of ingenuity that the creators put into the basic gameplay and overall physics of Portal is ridiculously impressive. If I had an award show, I'd give them the grand prize for awesomest video game. Seriously, it's amazing. Plus, at the very end, you get rewarded with a song. If you haven't beat the game yet, you don't really deserve to see this, but it's already on the internet and this game is a couple years old so what the hell? Enjoy the jam:

The game that I've been currently addicted to is called Peggle. It's available on Xbox Live as a downloadable game as well as PC and the DS. It might be on more platforms, but these are the ones I've already heard about. My boss Justin Aclin of Hero House fame turned me onto the demo last week. I got hooked and bought the full game last night with the intention of watching a movie on Netflix Instant Watch, but ended up play this puzzle game for two hours.

Before trying to explain the game you should probably just check this out:

The game is kind of like a mix between Snood, Plinko and pachinko. The point is to shoot a ball and hit all the orange balls and bricks. The blue ones also give you points, but they're just there to bounce off of. The green ones do cool things on different stages to assist you and the purple/pink ones give you a point bonus. Aside from the thrill of figuring out the best way to work the puzzle, the real upside to playing the game is the extreme closeup as you either hit or miss the last ball, followed by bombastic music, bonus points and a rainbow telling you how many points you've gotten. I can't remember how many gamer points it cost, but I'm far more glad I bought this thatn Braid, which I'm afraid I'm too dumb to figure out without a walkthrough.

Oh, you might have asked yourself what pachinko is. To be honest, I only know that it's kind of an upright pinball played in Japan (I think) with ball bearings instead of larger balls. Oh and also what I gleaned from this amazing collection of Nic Cage commercials.

Oh, DO go on.

Apocalypse Now-ish

Hey gang, hope you've made peace with your respective makes because things aren't looking so good for humanity.

Now, I'm not one to put much stock in end of the world theories, but, when faced with overwhelming evidence, even I have to take another look at the facts. And things look grim to say the least.

First off, as you all know I'm sure, the economy is in the crapper. Sure, things look better and worse on a daily basis, but we're talking about the first worldwide crash in our hyper-technological society. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Want to know why?

Because it's ridiculously hot. Maybe this is just a local thing, but it was like 90 degrees this weekend after being in the 60s and 70s all week. Forget global warming, this could be global burning. Plus, the A/C in my freaking office isn't working and I'm feeling light headed (which might explain this rant).

But hey, heat and a bad economy, that's nothing new, right? True. So how about we mix a little pig flu in? I don't care to actually read the link to the Center for Disease Control, but my grandmother-in-law swears that you can get it from eating pig. I'll be honest with you folks, if it's between getting the flu and eating bacon, you better get a bucket ready, because I'm eating that bacon. I'm the guy that heard a report on NPR about the Taco Bell E. coli scare a few years back and went right to the drive-thru and got myself some T-Bell. Hey, living clean isn't for everyone. Also, how funny is it that there's a blog called Food Poisoning Law Blog? That might be a sign too, but probably not.

What's that? You have science to refute those claims? I believe you. I also believe what I heard on the radio last night (NPR again, yeah, I'm cultured like that, especially now that Wendy Williams plays so much freaking music). One reporter who lives in Mexico City said that the usually friendly people of MC have become highly suspicious of their neighbors, expecting them to get them sick. Well, we're pretty much like that already here in the states on a good day. Add in the fact that people are afraid to fly anywhere and the inevitable conspiracy theories attesting that the flu was unleashed by man for nefarious reasons and you'll get a pretty paranoid populace.

So, to sum things up, the world is full of poor, scared, sick and increasingly desperate people in a huge, hot economic pit in which pigs are slowly killing us. But that's not all. The incredibly lame-looking movie Obsessed, which they didn't even advertise as starring Beyonce, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, and Heroes "star" Ali Larter until the last few commercials I saw, was not only the biggest grossing movie of the weekend, but also scored record earnings for that week in April.

Maybe it'll be this Friday's X-Men Origins: Wolverine that lights the last flame to the powder keg before complete anarchy sets in. Well, it's been nice knowing you all. I was hoping to make it until the Lost finale, but we shall see...

Oh, DO go on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Some Thoughts on Horror Fandom

I've been a horror fan for a pretty long time now. Well, relatively speaking. For a brief history of my horror past click here. For reference this was in the mid 90s. So, while there weren't a great deal of good, new horror movies coming out in theaters (many of which I couldn't have gotten into anyway) I tried to catch up on the hits (and misses) of decades past.

There was a sense of exploration and newness to this whole new genre of movies that I had very little experience with. I scoured the internet for Best Of lists, bought Creature Features (my still-used guide book for all horror movies pre-1999) and rented just about every horror movie I came across (they weren't organized by genre, just pure alphabetical).

Not having any fellow horror movie fans as friends and not being too keen on message boards (still not), my journey through the world of horror flicks was a mostly solitary one, with little to guide me but Creature Features (I still read the write-up on any movie I rent and put a dot next to the movies I've seen). I did have friends who had seen a lot of these flicks when they were younger and I was able to convince them and my less horror inclinde friends from high school into holding Friday the 13th horror movie marathons to varying degrees of success, but no one else was really on my same learning curve. Plus, when you try and get everyone you know to watch Sleepaway Camp, non horror fans start looking at your movie choices with hesitation.

By the time I went to college I felt like I had a pretty good knowledge of horror movies, more than most people I talked to and I did meet some fellow horror-philes in college, but it wasn't until I met Rickey Purdin during my Wizard internship that it felt like I met someone who I was on equal footing with.

He and I have watched countless horror movies together and argued about even more (for instance he liked the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and I did not), but, in the end of the day, we're both pretty much on the same wavelength when it comes to likes and dislikes.

I guess the point I'm getting to in a roundabout sort of way is that my experience with other horror fans was limited and that I didn't really know what I was getting myself into as far as fandom goes back when I was 14. When I started reading comics, I saw the kinds of people who read comics at the comic shop and read about my "brethren" in Wizard, distorted as either of those lenses may have been. But it's not like I had to go to the horror shop to get tapes, it was my local video (yes video) store. Horror fans are truly in a league of their own. Sure they've got conventions just like most of the other "nerd" subdivisions and websites devoted to their very existence, but there's one big distinction I've seen that only takes place with horror fans.

We're kind of jerks.

The funny thing about horror movie fans is that you don't really get any credit for watching the classics. It's the equivalent of knowing how to read when it comes to comics. It really just puts you on the ground floor. You might think you're big dog in the horror park because you've seen Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Jaws and Night of the Living Dead, but guess what? That just gets you in the door. Your mettle really gets tested in the longer franchises and the more obscure flicks. Sure, you've watched Halloween, but no one cares. That's basic. Have you watched all the Halloween movies around Halloween? No? Well, have you sat through Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers? No again? Then sit down kiddo, the grownups are talking.

Okay, that's a little mean, but it sounds about right, right? In the comic book world, you're in pretty good standing if you've read Watchmen and Dark Night Returns. Sure, those are the basics, but you're not really in the game until you've checked them out. From there you can move on to pedigree books like Sandman, Starman, Preacher, Authority, etc. Your fellow fans won't give you crap because you haven't read Extreme Justice or Guy Gardner: Warrior (though you should because it's awesome, Ben agrees).

I guess you find some similarities when you get into music fandom. But it's more along the lines of "Oh, you like Led Zeppelin IV? Awesome, check this out." Sure you get your weirdos who are total snobs and only interested in talking to you if you've listened to Jimmy Page's work with Paul Rogers in The Firm. But it seems like that kind of mentality is more the rule than the exception when it comes to horror. And I kind of like it. What other group of fans honors the good, the bad and the ugly with the same regard?

I'd like to think that if a young horror movie fan came up to me and told me they really liked Night of the Living Dead, I'd be able to nicely suggest they check out 28 Days Later or Return of the Living Dead without being too judgmental.

But, hey, who am I kidding? These damn kids should just go to their video store, or more likely scan the internet and Netflix, and check out all the horror movies they can stomach. Hey, that's what I did when I was coming up.

Oh, DO go on.

TV Time 4/20-4/26

You guys know I love TV, so I figured I'd write about it in one big post (unless something really knocks my socks off). So here's a quick rundown of what I watched this week on the idiot box.

Unfortunately both Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother were re-runs last week. Still had fun watching these episodes again, though.

Castle is really growing on me. It's the one procedural in our weekly line-up, but damnitall of Nathan Fillion isn't super-charming. His partner is even growing on me (she kind of scared me the first few episodes). What started out as a show we'd watch because nothing else is on has turned into a new weekly favorite.

I'm really glad Fringe is back. I actually missed it while it was on hiatus, plus, it's really the only thing we watch on Tuesdays. This episode was interesting enough on its own, but also offered a deeper level of mystery and connection that will hopefully explode with craziness as the first season wraps.

I caught about 20 minutes of The Unusuals. I really liked what I saw, but wanted to watch Josie and the Pussycats without falling asleep, so it lost out. I'm still rooting for the show's success.

As all the Losties know, there wasn't a new episode last week, but a clip show. This one looked at the Oceanic 6 and showed all the flashforwards and flashbacks in chronological order. It wasn't necessary to watch, but it reminded me of a few things I had forgotten. I'm still not clear on the time frame of Locke visiting Jack, Locke getting killed, Jack flying around with a scruffy beard and Jack running into Ben at Locke's showing. It seems like there's too much time there for all these events to happen in a realistic fashion. I'm not saying they don't have everything figured out, it's just nagging at me a bit. I'm sure there's an explanation.

The Duel 2 continues to offer up a level of conspiracy that is always hilarious. I'd really love someone who has studied game theory to either analyze the show or, better yet, make it onto the show. I myself did not take the game theory class my college offered (too much math and science for this English major), but it sounded fascinating when friends would talk about it. Without getting into spoilers, the guy duel was pretty intense. Unfortunately, the guy we were rooting for didn't win, and thus the status quo continues.

I don't talk about My Name Is Earl a lot, but it's a consistently good show that I enjoy every week. I'm impressed that they've been able to keep such a solid show going with what seemed like an easily exhausted premise, but I'm always happy to see Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jaime Pressly (anyone else remember Poison Ivy 3?), Nadine Velazquez (Catalina) and Eddie Steeples (Crabman)every week.

Last week's Parks and Recreation was the best episode yet. But that's not really saying much. To be completely honest, we're only still watching this show because it's between two other shows we like and I'm pretty sure nothing else is on. I wish they would keep the cast, scrap this concept and just start over because watching Poehler act like a Michael Scott clone for 22 minutes is just painful.

We finally get a resolution to the doomed-from-the-start Michael Scott Paper Company and it was a lot more fist pumping than I thought it would be. That being said, I was totally worried that Michael would screw things up in the meeting.

30 Rock is awesome. As much as I love the plots and larger jokes, it's really the smaller jokes that get me. Like when Kenneth is passing out and says something like "My name is Dick Whitman." Awesome. Or a few weeks back after seeing the world through Kenneth's eyes and then seeing the real Liz walk-running like a Muppet. I am a bit worried that Tracey and Jenna are turning into cartoon characters instead of actual real characters. Oh, I'm also sad to see Salma Hayek leaving the show, both because she was really funny and hot.

I totally meant to watch all of Harper's Island last week. After all, it's essentially a show about a slasher killing wedding guests off one by one on an island. I was all into last week's episode (the second of the season I believe), but I fell asleep in the last 10 minutes and completely missed the ending. Luckily, this week, I didn't fall asleep. I'm not sure yet how I feel about Harper's Island. I've given up watching my favorite Girl Next Door Bridget on her new bikini-filled show Bridget's Sexiest Beaches to check it out. I did have a hard time keeping track of the characters (lots have the same hair color and look too similar). But I think I'll stick with it for now.

After sloshing through the first 20 minutes of The Spirit (more on that later), we gave up and watched some Cartoon Network. Saw a Batman: Brave and the Bold episode that focused on the Blue Beetle legacy (even showing Dan Garret, the Golden Age BB!). As always, it was a rad episode. Then I checked out an episode of the Clone Wars CGI show that was kinda cool and made me want to check the show out on DVD. After that The Soup was awesome.

Later that Night...
We watched the end of the Red Sox/Yankees game. Being from New England, Em is, of course, a Red Sox fan and hates the Yankees. Being something of a Tiger's fan and initially not being all that happy about moving to New York, I hated most NY sports teams (and still do, really). So, even though I don't particularly like the Sox, I like watching the Yankees lose. And lose they did. In overtime. This reminded me of college when Em would come over and we'd watch from inning 8 or 9 on of the Sox World Series. Now, that's baseball.

While hanging out in Nyack we kept an eye on the game. Didn't see the end, but the Sox took it.

Em and I have become pretty big fans of the Amazing Race. We stumbled upon it when The Simpsons was in reruns last season, but this is the first season we've watching, mostly, from beginning to the soon-to-be end. Better than every reality show game except Real World/Road Rules.

More Baseball
Em fell asleep watching the game, but I was in it till the end. A dude freaking stole home! I've never seen that before. It was awesome. See for yourself:

The Yankees play the Tigers next, so hopefully I can see them get beat up on Detroit style (but without guns and knives).

Oh, DO go on.

Vicki's My New Best Friend

Why, you ask? Because she used computer magic to take my crappy Man Cave plans and turned them into a 3D room (or some technical term I don't know). Check it out after the jump.

So, here's my original, boring plan:

And here's Vicki's awesome version:

This is just one of a few pictures. You can see the Jam Zone better in the others. I guess it also works as a slide show? I should really know more about this internet stuff. You can check out the whole shebang here.

So, sorry everyone I've known longer, but this is super awesome.

Oh, DO go on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Further Man Cave Developments

Seeing as how my Man Cave post was one of the most popular ones I've ever done (and got the most comments with a whopping 7, though half were me), I figured it was a top worth revisiting. And by revisit, I mean I spent way too much time sketching out my theoretical space and then created a document in Photoshop to map it out. Check out the design after the jump.

For the most part, I think this bad boy is pretty self explanatory. I'll start in the top left corner and move around from there. That box marked "TMNT" represents the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game. I would also accept the X-Men arcade game and/or The Simpsons one. I spent many hours standing around these three games in the Red Baron arcade which was located inside the Franklin Park Mall. The two story arcade is gone now, but man I'd like to get those games back in my life.

Moving to the right, you've got your basic entertainment center which will have to have at least two TVs, every video game system I own (NES, Sega Genesis, PS2 and Xbox 360) and a stereo (iPod plug in and record player, of course). Why two TVs you ask, especially considering there's a TV on every wall? Well, because I like to watch TV while playing video games whenever possible. You've also got your couch and tables for holding video game controllers, magazines, comics, trades and, most importantly, beer. Plus a mini fridge right there for easiest access.

In the top right corner we have what I've dubbed the Jam Zone. The square on the ground is a rug for the drum set. You can see the two amps (guitar and bass) and I'd have my guitars and basses on stands (maybe one like this). I'd probably have a laptop if possible or maybe just a four track recorder to make sure I don't lose any of my awesome jams. Oh, and the amps are pointing inwards because that's the best set up for playing with folks (I've thought about this way too much).

Below that we've got four shelves for comics, trades and my geekier books. I'd probably also keep my DVDs, CDs and records here along with anything else I'd want around. I'm thinking they'd be like library shelves, with books on both sides and little aisles. Pretty ambitious, but I think it'd work.

The circle table is basically there to take up some space. I'd say we could play poker there, but, as of now, no one I hang out with really plays poker. It'd probably be a card table so I could lean it up against the wall when not in use.

And then we have my favorite part, the bar. Ever since I started drinking in college, I've always wanted my own bar, especially a cool curved one like that. My Photoshop kung-fu is very week so this is the best I could create on here, but my drawing features a bar with much more of a curve to it. I'd keep it as well-stocked as I can with hooch and hopefully have a beer or two on tap. And of course, you can't have a bar without darts. I'm sure some injuries will result from this, but, hey, no one said the Man Cave would be safe.

You've also got to imagine that the wall surfaces will probably be covered with posters of varying degrees of nerdiness like some of my original comic art, sketches, posters and maybe even a few of of the collages I've made (or will make in the many, many years it will take me to achieve such a rad pad). I might also put some shelves in here and there for displaying my way-too-big action figure collection in various ways (all those Toy Biz Marvel figures need to breath at some point).

I'm hoping that you guys will hit me back with your designs on your own blogs or photo pages. What do you think of my designs? Did I forget anything? I really want to hear how you guys (especially those of you who read but haven't commented yet) would rock your man cave. Let me know!

Oh, DO go on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crossovers I Want To See: Wonder Woman & Incredible Herc

Welcome to a brand new installment called Crossovers I Want To See. It's your basic pie-in-the-sky geeky mash-ups. In this awesome alternate reality, I'd get to see a Gail Simone, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente-written crossover between Wonder Woman and Hercules drawn by the magnificent current Wonder Woman artist Aaron Lopresti and sometimes Herc cover artist Art Adams (I love me some Art art).

Back when I was in third grade Mrs. Getz (or maybe it was fourth grade with Ms. Doodie) we started learning about Greek and Roman myths. The one that I remember the most was Sisyphus and his constant boulder rolling. That lead to me checking out a number of books from the library and reading through them. I also got into comics within a few years of that and started reading Wonder Woman when Artemis took over the mantle and Diana started running around in bicycle shorts and cut her hair.

After that John Byrne took over and...things happened. Anyway, as most of you know, Wonder Woman's had an iffy-at-best run as DC's main superchick since then, but I think Gail Simone's run on the book has been fantastic and you really need to crack open an issue or trade to see how amazing Lopresti's artwork looks. Simone's made it a point to explore Wonder Woman's place in the pantheon of all gods, not just her specific group and it's been a lot of fun seeing her as the true warrior she really is.

Pak and Van Lente have been doing the same with Incredible Hercules, the book that took over after Pak's awesome Planet Hulk story lead into World War Hulk. While Jeph Loeb does...things to the Hulk in his Hulk book, Herc and Hulk supporter Amadeus Cho took the spotlight in the former Incredible Hulk book. I missed most of the Secret Invasion tie-in, but I think I've read the rest of the issues and they're a lot of fun, even balancing the mythology stuff with the post Secret Invasion Marvel status quo. It's a fun book you should definitely check out.

Anyway, after reading this week's issue of Herc, it hit me that these two books have been thematically similar for a while now and it would make perfect sense as a crossover. I know there hasn't been a Marvel/DC crossover in a while, but this would be a great, well-executed and probably understated tale that could feature our two heroes taking on a bevy of gods and goddesses from across the two universes. But hey, I'll leave the creative aspects up to the creators. Maybe Art or Aaron could draw me in the background of a panel hanging out with Amadeus! Just drop me a line and I'll sign a waiver.
Oh, DO go on.

Going To The Dentist Is Terrifying

I'm sure most of you are thinking one of two things: "Stop being such a wuss" or "No kidding, stupid." Well I had an experience yesterday that really made me understand why movies like The Dentist and Little Shop of Horrors give people the willies.

First off, I've got to say that this wasn't your average cleaning appointment where the dental hygienist does all the work and then the smarmy dentist walks in, checks her work and says something like "Keep up with that flossing." I had an appointment like that last week and it went well. Well, it lead to this appointment where I had two cavities filled, so it didn't go all that well I guess.

I feel a little dental background might be in order. I went to the same dentist for most of my childhood. He was a nice older guy who worked in the office next to where my Grandma worked. As a kid I was never scared of the dentist, my mom still tells the story of how I was giggling during the drilling for my first filling. It tickled I guess. It wasn't until I got my wisdom teeth yanked out between Junior and Senior year of college that I ever got an injection in my gums. I was pretty freaked out about that because I hate needles and the idea of one in my mouth was extra terrifying. But I got knocked out pretty good and barely remember it.

So, before leaving for my appointment Em said something about not being able to eat afterwards because I'd be numb from the shot. I told her she's crazy, that not all dentists use the shot and I'd be fine. Well, once I was in the chair the dentist told me I would only need a shot on one side and not the other (the cavities were on opposite sides). The shot was the least of my worries (I didn't even feel it after he numbed me up with some pink goo).

Part of the problem was that neither the dentist nor his assistant ever explained what they were doing to me. I haven't had a cavity filled in maybe 10 years, so I had no idea what was going on. Sure, I'm 26 and they probably assumed I'd been around the dental block a time or 12, but come on! That's just bad bedside (chairside?) manner.

Needless to say, I was pretty freaking tense when the drill started. "If you feel anything, let me know," he said before starting in on the side that wasn't numbed. I was pushing against the chair so hard you'd think I was trying to Kitty Pryde myself through it. I had to concentrate on calming down. But you know what the absolute worst part was? The assistant wasn't doing a very good job with the suction and I felt like I was going to drown. I didn't want to gulp the water down because I don't want to bump his drill and have it tear into a nerve or something, but I couldn't stop myself. Luckily there was no tearing or nerve-drilling.

After all was said and done I felt like a big wuss, but I now understand why my mom can't watch Little Shop of Horrors. There's a definite sense of helplessness when you're lying in the prone position with 7 weird things in your mouth (it's really hard to write about this without it sounding like bad porn) and not really knowing what's going on. Plus, drills and water are involved. Aren't those technically forms of torture now?

How do you guys feel about the dentist?

Oh, DO go on.

Josie and the Pussycats: The Movie!

I know there's been a lot of talk about Josie and the Pussycats (2001) on the internet lately (well, Jim mentioned the soundtrack over on Enemy of Peanuts and also watched it last night at the same time I was and Kiel's been telling me to watch it for years). Well I finally checked it out and it was definitely surprising.

Did you fall for the hook? I hope so, because I loved this movie way more than I thought I would. Sure, I love Can't Hardly Wait, which was written and directed by the same team as Josie (Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont), but this is a movie based on an Archie comic. That would seem to limit the comedic potential, right?

Fortunately no. First of all, I was surprised with how many "bitches" and "shits" we got at the end of the movie, but nowhere near as much as in the beginning when Tara Reid's character causes a car crash by holding up a sign that, at first glance, reads "Honk if you love pussy." She pulls the sign out from behind something to reveal that it actually says "pussycats," but I was still surprised that joke made it into the movie. You always hear horror stories about really funny ideas being nixed because parent companies are worried about how it'll make their property look. Apparently Archie Comics is pretty cool, or just weren't paying attention.

The basic plot is that Alan Cumming (who I thought was Paul Reubens at first, sorry Alan) is a manager for a big record company looking for a new band to replace with the boy band whose plane he let crash (code "Put the Chevy to the levy"). He stumbles across Josie and the Pussycats and signs them, but it later turns out that Parker Posey, who runs the record company, has been encrypting subliminal messages in the music for various reasons. It's a really goofy plot, exactly the kind you'd expect for a movie like this, but there are enough winks to the audience and tongues in cheek to let you in on the joke that the writers are making fun of movies just like this. It's oddly subversive.

In honor of the marketing-to-kids theme/satirization, the filmmakers do quite a few things that I liked. First off, anytime the Pussycats are out in public, everyone else is where the "it" color of the moment (starting with pink, then orange and on and on). I noticed it before it was explained (the record company is controlling fashion and slang though these impressionable kids with tons of disposable income, as explained by Eugene Levy playing himself in a filmstrip), which made the reveal all the more satisfying. There's also enough product placement to make Michael Bay jealous. According to IMDb, they didn't actually receive any money for all the shout-outs as they were, again, there to show how crazy intense the marketing towards kids can be.

Josie also works as a strange kind of time capsule. TRL and Carson Daly play a somewhat important role in the movie. Daly and Reid have some screen time together and, as anyone who's anyone will remember, they dated for some time (though I couldn't remember when that happened or when they broke up, which made the scene both funny and awkward, like watching episodes of Newleyweds after Nick and Jessica got divorced). We also get glimpses of Behind the Music (a show they should really bring back along with Pop Up Video) and Serena Altschul of MTV News fame. If you were a way-too-avid watched of MTV in the late 90s, you'll remember Serena, if not, she'll just be another face on the screen, but man, that was a fun little flashback.

Lastly, I've got to talk about the cast. First up, you've got the Pussycats played by the aforementioned Reid, Rachel Leigh Cook (what is she doing nowadays?) and Rosario Dawson (I had no idea she was in this until the credits rolled). They're all very serviceable in their roles, but they're significantly outshined in my opinion by the members of Du Jour, the boy band (another 90s flashback now that I think about it) from the beginning of the movie consisting of Breckin Meyer, Seth Green Donald Faison and a guy named Alexander Martin who played the foreign exchange student in Can't Hardly Wait. Now CHW fans will remember that Faison and Meyer played two members of the band at the party. I'd like to think that they ditched the other two guys, grabbed Green's Kenny, taught the foreign kid to speak English and blew up on the boy band scene. These guys are hilarious from the very first moment they're on screen to their inevitable plane crash.

After a quick look at the Robot Chicken IMDb page, I wonder if this is where Green met Meyer and Cook, both of whom who have regularly contributed voices along with tons of other late 90s "teen" actors. Maybe they can get a good script together and give us a new movie with all those familiar faces dealing with being in their late 20s/early 30s. I could go for that, how about you guys?

Oh, DO go on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wired Is Awesome

Thanks to the good folks at /Film I heard that Lost co-creator and producer/director extraordinaire J.J. Abrams (a fellow initialate) is the acting guest editor of this month's issue of Wired. So, being a huge geek, of course I picked it up.

I was slightly familiar with Wired thanks to my time living with Rickey Purdin. He's one of the biggest purchasers of magazines I know. As a producer of magazines, I'm thankful for his ilk, even though I give him copies of ToyFare for free. Anyway, he always had a good stock of Wireds in the bathroom and I would...partake when the opportunity presented itself.

Anyway, I'm only through the initial news bits in the beginning of the mag and haven't gotten to the features yet (that's magazine lingo for articles), but this is a great magazine. It's a great mix of science and entertainment. Plus, a friend and colleague from the good old days at Ohio Wesleyan Jen Trolio has a bit in there called "Life's Secret Codes" on page 20. I completely freaked out when I saw her name in the byline and then got really jealous, but mostly it's cool to see someone else from my incredibly boring Journalism 110 (and also a fellow first semester freshman in a class full of upperclassmen) doing something in the magazine world.

Employment of friends aside, I'm also really impressed with the clean design sense of the magazine. It never feels cluttered even when there are a ton of elements on the page. I was also impressed with how easy to understand even the more complicated articles and sidebars. Plus, I haven't come across any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors, which does the tiny editor part of my heart good.

But hey, if you're even remotely interested in science or like Star Trek and Lost, you should probably grab this issue and dive in. I think I'm going to get a subscription. It's about time I start doing my part for the industry that I make my living off of.

Oh, DO go on.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

5 Things I Would Buy Immediately From Oriental Trading Company

I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with the Oriental Trading Company, but it's basically a catalog full of bulk junk that I wish I could fill my house with. I just found the most recent catalog in our bathroom trash (most likely Em's attempt at keeping me from a box of inflatable monkeys and 250 bouncie balls) and flipped through it to find five things I would buy tonight if I wasn't drinking my own apple mojitos and still fiscally responsible.

This will just be a rundown in page order, not necessarily the order I actually want them in. You can guess that on your own. For reference I'm working with the 2009 Graduation catalog.

1. Jumbo Inflatable Monkey Graduate
Page 15; $12.99 each
As you can tell by the name of this site, I like me some monkeys. Plus, these have those weird graduation hats and come holding diplomas. Oh, and they're 67-inches tall. That is MASSIVE. I wish I was leaning against one in my living room while typing right now. The only downside to this purchase is that you don't get 50 of them for $12.99. Where the value OTC?

2. Luau Couple Photo Door Banner
Page 29; $8.99 each
So, apparently OTC has a long line of these 3-foot-by-6-foot door banners that you can pop your head through and have a friend snap a picture. The best part? According to the above link, they're sold out. How crazy is it that one slightly toasted blogger isn't the only person who wants one of these?

3. Design-A-Room Luau Beach Scene Setters
Page 30; $49.96 for a 41 piece set
Haven't you always wanted to cover 30 feet of your place with images of surf, sun, the beach and Hawaiians rocking out? Well, ever since seeing Vince Vaughn's character's room in Old School. And, while this is a much cartoonier version, I could see something like it in my future man cave. Some day...

4. Slap Bracelet Assortment
Page 42; $19.99 for 50 pieces
You guys remember slap bracelets right? They were all the rage until the fabric of vinyl ripped and our precious wrist veins and arteries came into danger. Maybe that was just me. I'm kind of paranoid. Anyway, $20 for 50 slap bracelets still seems like a pretty awesome deal to me. I bet I could cover my arms and legs with them. Better watch out veins.

5. Mega Bouncing Ball Assortment
Page 45; $59.99 for 250 units
Okay, spending $60 on 250 bouncie balls might seem like a bad idea, but I've been developing a new form of martial arts called ball-fu that will be all the rage. And, of course, by "developing" I mean that I've thought about it a bunch, especially if Jackie Chan or Tony Jaa was the one bouncing balls against bad guys' faces. I think I could get a pretty good start and do a good amount of damage with that many balls. Someday...

Oh, DO go on.

We Want Action Tonight

Who doesn't love a good fight scene? Not me that's who. The problem I have is sitting through 90-120 minutes of a pretty boring or unengaging movie to get there. Well, if that's not a leading intro to me talking about a couple of movies, I don't know what is!

I've watched two action movies in the past couple of weeks that gave me varying levels of action satisfaction. First up, I watched Gorgeous (1999) which is actually a pretty perplexing movie. I went in knowing nothing more than that Jackie Chan was starring. I love me some Chan-man, so I was all psyched for his usual combination of funny and dazzling martial arts. Well, I was very disappointed. The story, as best I can tell is about this girl who leaves her home to meet a guy who threw out a message in a bottle. Turns out the guy is gay and she ends up falling for Jackie's character. There's also bad guys, but I'm not exactly sure why they're bad. Seriously, I watched the whole movie and that's all I can remember a few days later.

My first tip off that I wouldn't like this movie is that they didn't get Jackie to do his own dubbing. That's CRAZY! The dude is super famous, everyone knows what he sounds like AND he speaks English. Get him to do his own voice!

Aside from that, it's pretty light on the action. There's a pretty good fight on a boat and then Jackie fights some dude. Then he fights him again later. Sorry for the lame review, but this is all I can remember. It's really more of a love story than anything. No thanks. I'd rather watch Rumble in the Bronx, Police Story 2 (my favorite action comedy of all time) or Drunken Master.

There was one saving grace though, this fight between Jackie and the guy he fought twice. I don't remember what the set up was, but it seems like just two dudes sparring. The fight it FAST though. I actually had to pay attention to keep track of what was going on. I'm sure the YouTube clip won't do it justice, so I recommend adding it to your Netflix Instant Queue and fastforwarding to the last 20 minutes or so. You can probably skip the rest of the movie.

The other flick I watched was called Double Team (1997) and starred Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke and I liked it MUCH better than Gorgeous. I never thought I'd say that I like a JCVD and Rodman joint more than a Jackie Chan movie, but there you go.

First off, I enjoyed the crazy high concept of the movie. JCVD plays a spy who's going after Rourke. In the process he gets hurt and this secret society of spies comes in and bring shim to an island where they help keep the world safe (or something). As far as the outside world is concerned they're all dead and they can't leave the island because it's got lazers and bombs and whatnot all over the place. No surprise here, but JCVD breaks out after finding out that Rourke, who knows about the secret spies (I think he was one of them) sends JCVD a message that he has our hero's wife.

So, yeah, the movie is incredibly over the top, but it's also a lot of fun. They also, wisely, didn't try and shoehorn Rodman into the whole movie, just scenes at the beginning and then everything after JCVD breaks out (he's a weapons dealer). Rodman's character is fun and out there and it would have been even better if an actor played him. Rodman does a good job, but he's still got that stiff sports guy thing going on you usually only see on episodes of SNL after a major sporting event.

But really, what the movie comes down to is the final scene. And boy is it crazy. Just when I think I've seen everything a movie shows me Mickey Rourke sending a tiger after JCVD in the middle of a sand covered, mine-infested coliseum. Meanwhile, Rodman rolls in on a dirt bike. Just in case you missed that, JCVD fought a TIGER. And it had to be real because back then they didn't have CGI (don't check my math, just go with it). That last 10 minutes is pure crazy awesomeness. Here's a clip of it, but I highly recommend watching this whole movie, it's also available on Netflix Instant Watch (man, they should pay me for all the name dropping).


Oh, DO go on.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Man Cave

As I mentioned before, I really enjoyed I Love You, Man. I'm not going to get into all the greatness about it, but I highly recommend going to check it out. What I do want to talk about is the concept of the man cave.

I'm sure the idea goes back to cave man days when dudes had literal caves they would just hang out in and shoot pool or whatever. Tim Allen had some pretty cool man rooms on Home Improvement including the Man's Basement and Garage. But, what really got me thinking about my future man cave was I Love You, Man, specifically the commercial where Jason Segel introduces Paul Rudd to the Temple of Doom or some such. Em must have seen me looking longingly at the TV and said "You can have a man cave when we get a house."

Now, I'm still not sure if I believe her. I don't necessarily want a basement or garage to hole up in and avoid my family. Really, I just want a cool place to put my stuff. In the movie, Segel is a single dude who has a garage behind his house that you can see part of here.

What I love about Segel's man cave is his jam station. Ever since I started playing bass back in high school I've wanted a space like this where I could play any instrument I had, at least guitar, bass and a drum kit, hopefully some weird stuff like a lap steel, banjo or whatever else I can get my hands on. Oh, plus, I'd have to have some mics and some means of recording in case I came up with something that didn't suck (unlikely, but possible).

Of course, I'd also want a section for my trades, comics and books too. Maybe the classier books can stay in the house, but I don't think literate folks will be too impressed with my book about Tales from the Crypt (though they should). Of course, regular shelves would work for trades and I'm hoping that someone will invent an awesome way to store single issues. If not, I'll hopefully be able to bring all my comics back to New York from Ohio (I miss them a lot, mostly what I don't have in trade as well). I've actually got a good comic book storage idea in mind, anyone want to invest? Seriously, it's a really good idea.

So, I'll have instruments, books and comics, what else? Oh, of course, my toys. Thanks to my parents, I still have all the action figures I've ever had. I'd like to display them all over the room, maybe even with dioramas! That's super nerdy, but what the heck? I'll have plenty of time to do awesome stuff in my man cave.

I'd also love to have some kind of bar set up. This could be in the man cave or the house, I don't really care which, but I've always liked the look of a well stocked bar and maybe even a tap or two. Hey, a guy can dream can't he? Why not shoot the moon, Batman has a robot dinosaur after all.

Round things out with a TV or three, a record player, a bunch of video game systems (from Nintendo up to Xbox 720 or whatever) and a nice stereo and I think I'd be pretty well set. Oh and a dart board. I love darts. Damn, I better start working, this man cave isn't going to furnish itself.

So, do you have a man cave? If so, what's in it, if not, what do you want in it?

Oh, DO go on.

Weekend Warrior

As loyal UnitedMonkee readers will have noticed, there wasn't much (or anything really) in the way of posting this weekend. Well, that was because, I actually did stuff this weekend instead of sitting around the house watching movies (mostly because my lovely wife Em made plans, also it was really nice out this weekend, so nice I got an awkward sunburn, but more on that later).

Friday night we kept it a bit low key with dinner at Woody's, the best all natural burger place I've ever been to (also the only, but it's still really good). If you're ever in Cornwall, NY stop by and have a Portabella sandwich, burger or Falafel, you won't be disappointed. After that we went to my favorite movie theater The Destinta to catch I Love You, Man which I loved. I'm sure I'll post something on it shortly, I can tell you're just dying to read what I have to say about it. We finished the evening off by watching more of the last season of Avatar before falling asleep. Hey, it's not lame, we had a big day planned on Saturday.

And by big day, I mean heading down to NYC to visit with some friends from college Adrienne and Katie (you can check out Katie's rad NYC food blog here). Before meeting up with Katie I showed Em and Adrienne the Wizard New York City office that I will be relocating to at some point in the future and they freaked out. Apparently it's in a building called The Atlas Building which is where something having to do with Project Runway happens, which makes sense because it's in the middle of the fashion district. That's right folks, keep an eye on the background of future episodes of Project Runway for me looking lost and confused wearing a Batman T-shirt and boat shoes.

After meeting up with Katie at those red bleachers above the TKTS booth, we went to a magical place I'd never been before called the East Village. Heck, I even recognized the name of the area: St. Mark's. How did I know that's where we were? We passed a place called St. Mark's Comics that I wanted to go to along with some record stores, but kept my mouth shut because I was hungry and didn't want to look like a bigger nerd than I am.

Katie guided us to a place called Yaffa Cafe where we had lunch and I had a couple beers. After having an awesome lunch Katie suggested that we spend the rest of the day drinking, so we went to a couple of different bars (the first had $3 Blue Moon's but didn't have orange slices, so Em wasn't impressed, but they also had a picture of Duke from G.I. Joe in front of an American flag that was clearly printed off of someone's computer in a frame) and then a place with $5 flavored mojitos and Bloody Maries. I wish I could remember the names of either of these places, especially the second because they had these awesome apple mojitos that tasted like candy. I wish I was drinking one right now. All I know is that they were both on Avenue C and were east-ish. I tried finding them using Google's street view with no luck (probably because I was on the back patio and not staring at the front of the building).

I gotta say, I felt very cool eating and drinking on these various patios. As Em pointed out, there's really nothing better to do in NYC than sit around drinking all day because you don't have to worry about driving anywhere. Just hop on your train, bus or subway and you'll be home. Even we sobered up by the time we got home (an hour and a half train ride will do that to you). Much fun was had by all. Even though I was tired, I tried watching Girls School Screamers on Netflix when I got home only to fall asleep about 20 minutes in. More on that later too.

Sunday was a lot more mellow as we went to Emily's friend from work Constantina's house for Greek Easter (it's a week after "regular" Easter for some reason). There was SO much food, it was awesome. We basically sat around and ate for five hours in the mountains somewhere kind of close to our house (about 40 minutes or so away). Everyone was super nice and the food was amazing, they even had a lamb on a spit cooking all day, but by the time it was done, most of us were so full we could only eat a little. It was awesome though.

All of which brings me back to my weird sunburn. We were sitting outside under an awning or tent or something all day and the weather was really nice, so I enjoyed being in the sun. I even wore shorts because it was so nice out (and it didn't even snow or anything). Well, later that night when we got home, I was reading and then playing video games and realized that the tops of my legs right above my knees were irritated on both sides. It wasn't until I scratched at itch and felt that all-too-familiar burning feeling that I realized that my legs were sunburned. But it was only from the point where my shorts stopped to my knees, so a splotch of about 4-5 inches. Awesome.

We also finished Avatar, I finally beat Portal and I finished Girls School Screams, but expect posts on those separately.

Oh, DO go on.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Does Anyone Watch The Mentalist?

Because, this commercial is really bugging me.

See, towards the end the guy who is The Mentalist asks a bunch of people who killed Cara Palmer and tries tricking them into admitting they did it. Now, I'm not sure how many of you watched Twin Peaks (one of the best shows of all time), but the victim there was named Laura Palmer. And it was set in a wooded area. And the FBI agent sent to solve the case used tricks like this (maybe even this exact one, I can't quite remember).

So, what I want to know is if anyone has watched both Twin Peaks and this episode, which is apparently called "Redwood." The only people I "know" who watch this show are the guys on The Totally Rad Show, specifically Alex Albrecht who got the rest of the guys to watch it. What's the verdict, is this an homage to Twin Peaks, a rip off or just coincidence? Help me Alex Albrecht, you're my only hope!

Oh, DO go on.

Hilarious IMDb Plot Summaries: Lured Innocence

I've been kicking around IMDb looking at some of Dennis Hopper's more questionable choices when it comes to film (have you ever seen Crow: Wicked Prayer? yeesh). I saw a film called Lured Innocence from 1999 that sounded extra silly and/or creepy so I checked out the plot summary. And really, wow. There are so many incoherent thoughts and unfinished sentences in such a small space that I had to share them with you.

This is copied directly from the page. For what it's worth, Hopper plays Rick Chambers:

"Elsie Townsend is a country towns-girl who wants to leave far away and get rich. She becomes the spoiled mistress of married local businessman Rick Chambers, but when his sickly wife Martha tells her to fear he wants to kill her to be free and yet keep her money, accepts to kill him together- which is a setup to scare Martha to dead. However Rick alone is locked away, and Elsie arranges an original alibi by slipping away from the bed of decent epilepsy-sufferer Elden Tolbert, whom she made betray his true girlfriend and arranged to pass out from alcohol so she could slip out for the murder during his seizure so he cannot deliver a fatal testimony, even if he wouldn't be willing to lie for her before moving with his family when going to Arizona University... Written by KGF Vissers"

Now, I don't know if KGF Vissers speaks English as a first language or not and I don't really want to pick on him or her, but this person has writtten 5,702 summaries for IMDb, which, apparently, they NEVER READ. Maybe this is where the whole "anyone can contribute" thing doesn't really make sense, especially when you're the number one source of movie information on the net and maybe the world (next to of course).

All of this is a roundabout way for me to say one thing to IMDb: I am available for any editing you may need. Have your people contact mine.
Oh, DO go on.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two Movies I'm Super Excited About

Hey gang, as you know, I'm a big movie fan. At any given time there's a few hundred old movies I want to check out and dozens of new ones I can't wait to see. Well, two of my most highly anticipated flicks coming down the pike are Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables. One a movie based on a comic, the other based on every action movie team-up I've ever imagined.

Well, my anticipation has lead me to comb the internet for any information I can find on these movies (well, really, I saw some links on slash Film and have since added the sites to my Google Reader).

Well, thanks to someone else's hard work, I've found two amazing blogs that I can't get enough of.

First up, Edgar Write keeps posting random pictures from the set of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World that show off all kinds of cool things like Scott's jacket with the X-patch and band rehearsal. It's a great little bit of behind-the-scenes that always brighten my day for the few moments it takes to check it out.

The other is a bit more mysterious. A blog has popped up this month called Ethelmae's blog which features behind the scenes images of the actors and posts about shooting. I'm not sure who's behind this one, but it's a great source and a lot of fun to check out. Haven't heard about The Expendables? Well, it's a movie written and directed by Sly that also stars Jason Statham,Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger,Brittany Murphy, Charisma Carpenter, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo Eric Roberts, Steve Austin and Randy Couture. It's like that Manly Movie Men TTT we did about six months back come to life.

What movie blogs are you guys checking out?

Oh, DO go on.

Being 20-ish In the 80s Must Have Been Awesome

So, like most people my age (and I'm assuming most people in general) I used to think it would have been awesome to live in a different decade, especially considering the 80s brought the world acid wash jeans, frizzy hair and hair metal (or was that just New Jersey?). It's like Cynthia said in Dazed and Confused (trying to find this full quote made me REALLY wish I had this movie on DVD) "It's like the every-other-decade theory, you know? The '50s were boring, the '60s rocked, and the '70s-- Oh, my god, they obviously suck. Come on. Maybe the '80s will be radical. You know? I figure we'll be in our 20s and, hey, it can't get any worse." Well, sometimes we're too steeped in our own decade to see the good in them and two good things about the 80s were Michael J. Fox's The Secret To My Success (1987) and Johnny Depp's Private Resort (1985).

It's been a week or two since I watched The Secret Of My Success, but luckily I've watched the movie EVERY time it's been on TV so I remember all the beats. I was surprised to find out that I didn't really remember the beginning of the 1987 classic (by the way, I freaking LOVE this movie, so much so that when Em came in the room and started making fun of my, I actually got upset, but I kept it on the inside like a man).

I actually just looked at some of the players in this movie for the first time in IMDb. The director, Herbert Ross, also directed Footloose, Steel Magnolias and Boys on the Side. An interesting resume to say the least. And Jim Cash, the guy who wrote the screenplay based on am AJ Carothers story, has a pretty impressive list of movies to his credit as well, including Top Gun, Turner & Hooch, Dick Tracy (love that one too), Anaconda and the Flinstones live action sequel. Huh, I guess they can't all be winners. And of course, it stars my personal favorite late 80s star Michael J. Fox. Damn that dude is charming.

So, for those of you who haven't seen it, the story focuses on Fox as Brantley Foster. He's got a good job all set up on Wall Street, but it turns out his company got bought out by another huge corporation. He ends up working for his uncle (or at least that's what he calls Uncle Howard, but they're actual familial relation is more complicated I believe) in the mail room, but that's not enough for Brantley. He starts posing as a new guy named Carlton Whitfield who starts making a name for himself in the company. In addition to befriending Cousin Ira from Mad About You (John Pankow) in the mail room and trying to get a date with Supergirl herself (Helen Slater), Fox has to balance both of his lives and ends up...well, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. The movie's available on Netflix Instant and you should watch it immediately.

In addition to being just a fun movie about working your way up and achieving the American dream (with a fair amount of lying and deception of course), I have fond memories of watching this movie when I was younger with my parents. I don't have any specific memories of watching it, but while watching it at 26, I got transported back to some murky "younger" version of myself and really enjoyed the movie. I like it's "if you work hard, you can achieve anything" sentiment and actually wonder how much this movie effected my ethics and mentality. I can totally see doing something like this if it were even possible today. Maybe I'll just show up at DC or Playboy in a recently vacated office and act like I know what I'm doing. Hmm...

If not, I can always follow the model set forth in Private Resort (1985) and just have a good old time. This is an absolutely ridiculous movie starring Johnny Depp, Rob Morrow (of Northern Exposure and Numbers fame) and Hector Elizondo who is awesome and in everything. I actually had a better time watching the credits for this movie than the rest of the film itself. First off, Morrow, whose got his fery first movie roll, gets top billing over Johnny Depp. Then you've got Elizondo being billed as "The Maestro." Oh, and this is all over a TON of sexy 80s ladies dancing at some exclusive resort.

Private Resoprt is your basic "two guys get into wacky adventures while trying to get laid" movies. It doesn't rank in the top 10 of that sub sub sub genre, but it is fun in the same way it's fun watching Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun or, well, Johnny Depp in Nightmare on Elm Street. It's just cool to see these names doing wacky shit and being completely over the top (what's the best place for Johnny Depp to hide when he's accidently mostly naked in the bedroom of a married woman while her husband is outside getting a haircut from Morrow who's not a barber? In bed with her of course). Oh, plus, you get to see full backal nudity of both of the male leads, plus a ton of lady boobs. The great thing about watching these 80s movies is that you never know whose top will be coming off because you have no idea who any of these ladies are.

Ther eare a few other enjoyable moments. For one thing, there's this little kid who's wandering around the resort trying to see boobs using a fishing line and one of those squeeze robot hands you can get at a toy store and look like a robot hand. He's like the Data of toplessness. There's also a great subplot where Elizondo is obsessed with keeping his hair nice, which is kind of funny in a meta way because I've only known the dude to be bald. You also get your fair share of weirdo hippy sisters who need a date, grannies who know karate, security guards who take their jobs too seriously, d-bag resort staffers, potential and actual sexual conquests, Spicoli-like duuuuuudes and maybe Nazi German guys.

All of that may make this sound like an awesome movie, but it definitely drags and has a weird lack of music, which I realized made the movie feel longer and slower. Where was the Secret Of My Success "BOW BOW CHICKA CHICKA"-like music during the chase scenes? Oh well, the movie gets extra wacky at the end and mileage may vary, but it's worth checking out if you're in for some great 80s weirdness.

Oh, DO go on.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sha-Zam, This Jeff Smith Guy Should Make Cartoons

There's two things you should know about me. First, I've never read Bone. I started it, got bored or distracted and am still only an issue or two into that giant omnibus. I'm sure I'll get to it at some point, just not in the near future. And thing the second, even though the idea of Jeff Smith's Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil made perfect sense to me and I had access to all the issues, I didn't read it when it came out in single issues. I flipped through and looked at the pretty pictures, but didn't get my hands dirty. So, now that I've read the trade, I've got a few thoughts.

Now, there's no doubt that Smith is a master of telling gorgeous stories that both children and adults can enjoy. I would hand this book to my younger cousins in a heartbeat. There's not a ton of violence and the violence that is on the panel is always between good and evil (usually between Captain and Mary Marvel and monsters). Actually, this book may be better for kids than adults.

The problem I had was that I could see all the beats coming from a mile away. Now, I'm no genius, but I have been reading comics and books and watching movies and TV for most of my 26 years on this earth, so I think I've got a pretty good grasp on stories, how they're told and, usually, how they'll turn out. I'm not going to give away the "twists" but they all seemed pretty telegraphed.

So, that left me looking for the smaller changes, mostly the differences between the previous incarnations of Shazam I've read like some of the Showcase Edition, Kingdom Come and current DC continuity, though not Power of Shazam (which is on my reading list). The new designs for Talky Tawny and Mr. Mind are very cool. I like how Billy Batson has it pretty rough as a homeless kid living in an abandoned house. I like that Smith went back and used the original "block falling on the Wizard" element, but the fact that the block is still on the chair when they head to the Rock of Eternity later is awesome. And I like how they updated Billy's job, making it more relevant.

But, unfortunately, all those little bits just weren't enough to keep me interested through the final issue, which is where all the plot points come together to a completely expected conclusion. Now, like I said, I think this is a great book for kids, but maybe not adults. Or maybe I'm just too jaded.

All this being said, I wish this was a cartoon. I have way more patience for something I'm watching than something I'm spending my precious few reading hours on and this would really be a dynamite way to bring Smith's already highly dynamic, yet classic art style to either the big or small screen. I'm thinking it would be a great regular cartoon series or one of Warner Bros.'s straight-to-DVD hero movies like Wonder Woman (which is on my to-watch list) and Green Lantern, which I can't freaking wait for.

Oh, DO go on.

Organic Blog Enhancement

Just wanted to let you guys know that I've been doing some tweaks with the blog lately. Most are things you won't see for a while, but the most notable is the "Oh, DO go on" links at the bottom of the posts. I intended for these to just be on the longer posts, but they seem to have popped up on every post. Not sure how to change that (if anyone does, please drop me a line).

The other big change is that I've imported all of my Kickin' It Old School blog posts onto UnitedMonkee to keep everything in one place. They can all be found under the Kicking It Old School label. Hopefully all the tabs will jive and there won't be any problems. Hopefully. I'm slowly going through and updating any links that need it as well, hopefully everything will be set by tomorrow.
Oh, DO go on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ida Maria Only Likes You When You're Naked

As you already know, because you pay attention to all of the inane crap I say on this site, I've got to turn on MTV, Fuse and VH1 for videos to not fall back asleep in the morning. Well, in addition to seeing that Eminem video I made fun of last week and Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" TWICE, I got a nice treat in the form of a band I've never heard of called Ida Maria. The song is called "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" and it's a cool take on garage rock. The video itself isn't all that awesome, but it got me kinda pumped, which is the whole point of watching these things, instead of the usual, which is I get so sick of watching the same crappy videos over and over that I get up and get ready for work.

I'll probably check their (her? it might be a name, who knows?) record out and maybe even do a little research, which I haven't done yet. Expect some kind of review if/when I do.
Oh, DO go on.

News of the Day: Kid Gets PSP, Finds Porn!

I saw this post on /Gamer and just had to share it because it's so damn funny. A 6-year-old kid in Florida got a PSP only to find it FULL of naked lady pics. This is like the equivalent of finding every back issue of Playboy in the woods, a true goldmine. In a few years, this kid is going to be kicking himself for telling his mom. And then his friends will kick him too.
Oh, DO go on.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mini Monsters: Ghoulies 1 and 2

Hey gang, hope everyone had a good Easter and/or Passover. I spent my weekend in New England with the wife's family which kept me from keeping you all abreast (heehee) of my search for the mini monster movie I remember from my childhood. Well, it wasn't the Troll flicks and, unfortunately it wasn't the first two Ghoulie movies either. But, like with Troll, I had a pretty good time watching them anyway.

I really didn't pay much attention to the first Ghoulies (1985) which has a dude inheriting a house from his crazy Druidic family (or something, we get a flashback in the first few minutes that supposedly explains everything). The house comes with these little monsters who start terrorizing his party guests, one of which is Mariska Hargitay for you Law and Order fans. Like I said, Ghoulies was pretty much on as background noise while I didn't something else, so once I realized it wasn't the movie I was thinking of, I kind of zoned out.


I did watch Ghoulies II (1987). In fact, I couldn't take my eyes off of it (unlike some other older movies, it actually looked really good on my HDTV upconverted from a regular ol' DVD). This sequel finds the Ghoulies terrorizing a traveling circus. Unlike 1, I actually made notes for the second Ghoulies offering and here they are for your reading pleasure.

- i dig the monsters (rat, cat, crocodile, creature from the lagoon, bat/bird)

-the cat ghoulie looks awesome, did it do what i think it did to that girl?

-Sasha Jenson's in this! (Buffy, Dazed, H4)

-"He don't go nowhere without his TUNES!"

-The kid has a ninja star!

-there's another HOUR? [it felt like I'd been watching this movie for a while at this point, after which it actually picked up]

-haha, the Ghoulies spray adhesive Gak

-they stab the dude and then wrapped him up like a mummy without taking the knife out? hmm [it looked like they took the knife out, wrapped the guy and then stabbed him again]

-rat ghoulie high five!

-I forgot that Phil Fondacaro was in Troll too (dude can emote) [seriously, Phil is the best actor in the bunch, which is a bigger compliment that it might sound]

-Ha, he pulls the hanky out of the old man's hand to cover his face after dying

-this movie looks really good upconverted on the HD tv

-oh man, the circus folk are gonne kick the ghoulies' asses! (kid, firebreather, strongman, turbin guy with a gun) [they form a team! but it doesn't last long]

-haha, the dude won't stop selling tickets [while people are getting murdered inside one of the attractions]

-the people LOVE seeing these jerks tortured [in theory they think it's all part of the act, but not a single person in the fairly large crowd looks upset or ill-at-ease with watching a person get tortured by tiny monsters]

-even the stop motion looks pretty good

-cat vs rat ghoulie in the shooting game is awesome [once the Ghoulies leave their home attraction for most of the movie, the filmmakers really have fun with the setting]

-ghoulie in the water - nice touch, i think the green one is my favorite

-bumper car and ride tampering scenes are awesome

-the business owner guy looks SO familiar, but I haven't seen any of his other projects, unless I remember VIPER better than i thought I did

-TOILET SCENE!!!!!! - yowch!

-why don't they just turn the ride back on to get the book down? Oh well it gives the pretty girl something to do [the flying Ghoulie drops the book they need high up in a ride seat]

-woah, that's a big mini monster

Well, if those random thoughts didn't convince you to check the movie out, I don't know what will, except for this: go see Ghoulies II, it'll be worth your hour and a half. Plus, 1 and 2 are on the same DVD, so you get more bang for your buck.

Anyone else seen Ghoulies 1, 2, Goes to College or 4? Or do you have any suggestions for what my mystery movie is. It has a small monster terrorizing a family in a house and there's a ball bouncing down the stairs scene. That's all I got.

Oh, DO go on.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mini Monsters: Troll 1 and 2

3:19:35 am

Okay, I'm in search of a movie from my childhood. I thought either of the Troll flicks might jog my memory. Unfortunately, neither the original nor the non-sequel struck a chord in my memory, but I sure had a good time watching both movies.

Even though the first Troll (1986) flick has a mini monster with a ball on the freakingposter, it's not the movie I remember. It is however a really strange flick with a father and son duo by the names of Harry Potter. Harry Jr's sister gets taken over by a Troll (or something) when they move into their new apartment building. Soon enough the troll is causing all kinds of trouble, even converting the other tenants in weird creatures. Luckily there's a weird old lady with a pet mushroom plant who helps Harry Jr. save the day. I'll be honest, I watched Troll over a week ago and my already shoddy memory has forgotten a lot of the details. Sonny Bono, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and June Lockhart all have rolls and entertain in their own way. It really is just a great, weird movie.

Okay, so a swing and a miss on the first flick, maybe the second would be a hit. Nope. Whiff. Yeah baseball metaphors! Anyway, I didn't really know Troll 2's crazy history or its title as "Best Worst Movie" when I added it to my Netflix but between adding it and getting the movie, it was mentioned on both Horror Movie a Day and in the Totally Rad Show podcast. So, I was kind of excited to finally watch the movie, which apparently started life as a completely different movie about goblins. BC and HMAD did a pretty right on review though I think I liked the movie a lot more.

Yes, it's completely ridiculous and poorly acted, but it's definitely not the worst movie I've ever seen. Slumber Party Massacre 2 still holds that spot. Anyway, the TRS guys talked about a documentary created by the kid who starred in Troll 2 that I'm interested in checking out.

Instead of doing a straight-up review, I'll post the notes I made while watching the first three quarters of the movie (I gave up and just watched, probably buzzed, after a while).

Here goes, with commentary when necessary:

-he's imagining his dead g-pa telling him a story?

-Kid has a Superman poster and fucking Killing Joke Joker HAHAHAHAHAHAHA poster!!!

-"You take them to bed with you and i don't believe in group sex" (the daughter in the story says this about her boyfriend and his friends)

-acting is BAD

-"Joshua start singing" (I think one of the parents yells this at the kid/hero)

-this kid has crazy dreams - green blood/sweat, tree fingers and sucking chest wound

-holy crap, they're driving an aerostar (in high school I drove a 1994 Ford Aerostar Mini Van, this one is pretty similar)

-the town is called Nilbog, hahahaha

-who would ever trade houses with strangers? (the whole story revolves around the main family leaving their regular house to live in the house of some strangers in Nilbog who never really leave)

-mom has a menacing/evil quality because she keeps staring RIGHT AT THE CAMERA

-is that a stripe of blue frosting on the corn? (yes, goblins love putting frosting on stuff)

-hahaha he pissed on the food! (to make sure his family wouldn't eat it)

-dad just challenged Josh to a not eating contest "just remember I've got more practice at this than you do." (which is exactly how your dad handled you when you peed on the food)

-i hear my friend scream in the woods, i'm out the door seeing if he's okay, not drinking mountain dew (the boyfriend and his friends borrow a mobile home which they park near Nilbog, not a good move in the long run)

-eww, Nilbog "special milk" that's not refrigerated

-that's not pudding it's a cheesecake with green frosting

-nothing like a warm jug of milk on a hot day

The movie goes on from there and never lets up in the weirdness. There's a scene where the Nilbogians throw a surprise party in the family's house without them knowing it that is out of control and of course, the end is nuts (you'll never hear a kid say Grandpa so many times).

Ha, which reminds me. The grandpa's name is Seth, but the kid seems to have a ridiculously hard time wrapping his mouth around the word and it just comes out garbled every time.

Anyway, you could probably start a whole blog just on this movie. I enjoyed it for the most part and have my eyes peeled for the Troll 1 and 2 DVD at a reasonable price, but, unfortunately, my mini monster quest is not yet over. Somehow I'll soldier on...

By watching Ghoulies 1 and 2! Coming soon!

Oh, DO go on.

In Search of a Mini Monster With a Ball

Okay, so as many of you know, I'm a big fan of horror movies. For the most part horror flicks remained a terrifying mystery that I didn't want anything to do with until I turned 14 and could ride my bike up to the nearby Family Video where you could get six tapes for $3 and the clerks were pretty lax when it came to checking IDs.

But, I actually saw my first horror movie years earlier. Well, the REAL first horror movie I saw was on accident when my parents were out of town and the babysitter had some friends over to watch Evil Dead. I happened to come downstairs during the infamous tree rape scene. Actually, that night is probably why I wanted nothing to do with horror movies. I was scarred.

But, back to the whole point of this post. The first full horror movie I remember seeing involved some kind of tiny monster and a ball bouncing down the steps. I always assumed it was Troll or Troll 2, but I just checked both flicks out last week and I was surprised to find that I had no recollection of either flick. It's obviously not either of the Gremlins movies and I thought it wasn't Leprechaun, which I've seen in the past few years and didn't seem to remember either.

So, I'm at a loss. I've got the first two Ghoulies movies from Netflix and have gone through the first one. No luck again. Maybe it's Critters? Rickey suggested a Stephen King anthology flick called Cat's Eye that's luckily on Netflix Instant. Anyone else got any suggestions? I know the description is hardly helpful, but maybe someone else has a suggestion I can check out. I'm having a great time going through these mini monster movies.

Oh, DO go on.

Parks and Recreation

So I checked out the new offering from the guys who make The Office tonight and wasn't too impressed. Even from the commercials for Parks and Recreation during tonight's first episode of The Office, I noticed that it already looked too much like The O with the whole fake documentary style of shooting and interviewing. But that's not where the comparisons end as Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope character seems like a female Michael Scott. But, I'll continue to give PAR a shot, partly because I already watch NBC on Thursdays and partly because the combination of Poehler, Office alum Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari are enough to keep me coming back for now. Oh, plus, their intern is played by Aubrey Plaza, a name I recognized, but couldn't place. Well, she's playing Julie in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim flick! Look for a post on Scott Pilgim coming soon.

Anyone else check it out?
Oh, DO go on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SO Excited

You guys, I am SUPER excited about tonight's TV line-up. Even Tyra's America's Next Top Model, a show I despise more than any other on television, can't diminish my excitement for Lost and the season premiere of Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Duel 2!

As you know, Lost is my favorite show on TV right now. So, my already high anticipation for any and all new things Lost was heightened to crazy levels after last week's episode which will not only (hopefully) reveal how Ben got all messed up before trying to get back to the island and what happened to Penny and Desmond, BUT it also looks like we'll get a look inside the Smoke Monster's temple! The commercial made it look like freakin' Indiana Ben and the Temple of Doom!

So, in addition to what will hopefully be the best episode of Lost ever, I've also got the Duel which will hopefully make up for what turned out to be the worst season finale in Real World history (and I know, I've seen them all). So, it'll be nice to see some familiar faces beating the crap out of each other for money and acting like hooligans.
Oh, DO go on.