Nov 18 2010

love’s labour’s won

I had big plans for this evening which – sadly – have been thwarted.  Both of you who are still reading may remember that back in May, I posted a list of my favorite movies in the most annoying way ever.  To wit: I embedded a hundred and one Youtube videos in a post that crashed your browser.  Well, it seems that post crashed Typepad and WordPress as well, because I got a whole lotta nothin’ when I sought it out to update and move out of the hidden archives just a few moments ago.  All of a sudden I’m feeling a whole lot less sympathetic toward Six Apart and their financial woes.

The obvious question is whether or not my stupid movie list is more important than a seriously devalued company that’s begging for millions of dollars in cash.  And the answer is yes.  Yes, it is.  I mean, it will take me several hours to re-create it and I’m a busy guy.  I have things to spite.

Oct 20 2010

guy meets girl

As per usual, with almost three weeks of Rocktober already behind us, I’m ready to lower the volume for a day or so and take a break from the rawk.  This year’s intermission is presented by the Swell Season and features their Oscar-winning song from Once – which is how I spent my evening yesterday after being pried away from the internets.

Oct 4 2010

today in ‘true grit’ news

Look, it’s a badass poster!Be prepared for a lot of this between now and Christmas Day.

Sep 27 2010

the dude avenges

Everybody who had zero days in the “How long after Hotrod returns to blogging until he writes a fawning Coen brothers post?” pool is a big winner today.  I just saw the first teaser trailer for their remake/re-imagining of True Grit, and goddamn it looks good.  I watched the original for the first time just a few months ago and it confirmed every preconception I have ever had about John Wayne: to wit – he was a terrible actor.  True Grit is a decent movie in spite of him, and I can’t believe the AMPAS gave him an Oscar for that performance.  But I am excited to see what Jeff Bridges will do with the part.  And I’m excited to finally have a reason to look forward to Christmas Day.

Aug 18 2010

we’ll take potpourri for $100, alex

Days like today are difficult for us.  We see at least three blog-worthy items in the news, but there’s no way we’re going to get to them all while they’re still timely.  We could not mention any of them (and let’s face it – that’s our default response in these instances), or we could lump them all together into one half-assed post.  If you guessed half-assed, you’d be right.  We’re feeling especially uncreative, so we’ll even bullet point this shit.

  • The Wrens released a new – though unfinished – song today.  We’re more than a little shocked.  We see on their Facebook feed that they’ve been working on new material, but they’ve been saying that for the past seven years.  This is supposed to appear on their next album, but those of us who don’t want to wait until we’re fifty to hear it can pick up a copy of the upcoming Dear New Orleans benefit disc.  Or listen here.
  • The role of Elizabeth Salamander has been filled in David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Meet Rooney Mara.  She has kind of an unusual name – until you realize that her great-grandfather is NFL legend and beloved owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers: Art Rooney.  I’m sure that’s why she got the gig.  Everybody loves the Steelers.  I guess she’s also related to some other NFL owner.  Some team in New York?  That’d be the Bills, huh?
  • A recent Zagat survey has rated local-chain-made-good Five Guys as the best fast food burger in America.  (This is actually yesterday’s news, but we weren’t about to bump Rushmore down the page on her birthday.)  The In-N-Out people are not pleased, but if they don’t like it they should make a better burger.  We remember when there were just three Five Guys stores – one of which was half a block from our house.  Also, we used to serve the guys their coffee.  They’re really nice people and we congratulate them.  They deserve it.
  • And this last item is really old news, but in keeping with the title of this post, here’s that video of drunk and swearing Alex Trebek.  Frankly, we’re starting to get annoyed with this asshole for not yet returning our call.  It’s been eight months. What’s the goddamn holdup?

Aug 11 2010

the incredible halka

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Hollywood’s attempt to bring every single superhero that ever existed to the silver screen is not self-sustaining.  Having already covered all the decent superheroes, next year will see the release of one-weekend wonders like Green Lantern, Captain America, and – I wish I was kidding – Thor.  Another vain attempt to make Superman interesting is even in the works.  But I’m not even basing this prediction on the fact that they’re now dredging the bottom of the barrel.  I know this from casting decisions made for franchises that currently exist.

It’s difficult for me to think of a movie in which Mark Ruffalo wasn’t excellent.  He’s a fantastic actor.  This is not up for debate.  Also not up for debate is that casting him as Bruce Banner in the next movie about the Incredible Hulk spells disaster for that movie specifically and comic book movies as a whole.  They call it a “reboot” but what they neglect to mention is that they’ve already “rebooted.”  After Ang Lee’s Hulk failed to take the world by storm*, the world’s most boring actor** was brought in only a few years later because – apparently – Eric Bana is just a little too edgy.  And now Bruce Banner will be played by Mark Ruffalo.  Sure, Ruffalo can act circles around Ed Norton, but that’s three different Bruce Banners in three different movies.  I’m not in pictures, but I recognize a cry for help when I see one.

Me, I’m waiting for the Bangladeshi version of the Hulk.  But then, I’ve always been a sucker for foreign films.

*A quick aside here: I quite liked Hulk.  I liked the way Lee used frames within the shot in an attempt to re-create visually a comic book style.  And Hulk had a great cast.  A little Sam Elliot and Nick Nolte go a long way.  Ultimately, poor special effects killed this movie.  Hulk bounced around like a beach ball.  It’s not often you’ll hear me argue for increasing the CGI budget, but this is one case where it would have helped.

**Edward Norton is the undisputed king of the unnecessary reboot.  The Silence of the Lambs is one of my favorite movies ever, but I was perfectly fine with the fact that somebody besides Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter in an earlier film.  Manhunter wasn’t perfect like The Silence of the Lambs, but it was very, very good.  So was Brian Cox in the role of Lecter.  There is no justifiable reason for the existence of Red Dragon.

Aug 3 2010

if i’m lyin’, i’m dyin’

I’ve seen Inception twice already – not so much because it was good (which it was, and more on this another time), but because it was about dreams.  I’m fascinated with pop culture – and film especially – that explores how people relate to their dreams and their memories.  I don’t really distinguish between the two, as both have unimaginable power.  (And it’s probably no accident that the movie that best captures the elastic nature of memory – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – is also the most accurately filmed depiction of what the dream world is really like that I’ve ever seen.)  Both dreams and memory are phenomena that we don’t fully understand, and probably never will.  There’s no question that both shape how we perceive the real world, and yet both are also shaped by our unconscious minds.  They both can be sources of undeniable truth while simultaneously deceiving us.

So I like exploring dreams and memories.  This interest might be a result of my good memory.  Or it might stem from the fact that I’ve always had vivid dreams.  I suspect it’s probably both, and I suspect it probably doesn’t matter.  Whether my excellent recall affects my sleeping mind or vice versa isn’t really important.  What’s important is…  I don’t know.  I suppose that’s also part of the fascination.

Last night, I dreamt I was at a potluck dinner.  It was time for dessert, and I said I was going to go get a piece of cherry cheesecake.  That’s a little strange because while I don’t dislike cheesecake, I’m not one of those many fanatics who mistaken believe cheesecake is better than literally everything else.  When I first arrived at the dessert table, it was picked over.  But then I noticed more desserts off to the side which, of course, I had initially overlooked.  I had my eye on a hearty apple pie (again a bit off, because apple is my least favorite), when I noticed a delectable cherry pie right in front of me.  I helped myself to a large slice and headed back to my table.  Then I woke up.

Upon awaking, a couple of phrases were going through my head and I couldn’t make them stop until I fell back asleep a couple hours later:  “I’m the cherry pie guy.  Right?  If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.”  Whatever messages my dreams are trying to send to my conscious self, I never ever want them to stop.

Jul 28 2010

the last king of scotland

I love movies.  My tastes are generally pretty mainstream, but as a post-ironic hipster I recognize that it’s important to see the occasional indie or foreign film in order to maintain my credibility.  Independent movies aren’t so much a problem (except, of course, for those that to strive be the next Clerks or Pulp Fiction – which is to say at least half of them), but I struggle with the foreign films.  I blame Wim Wenders.

The first foreign movie I ever saw was The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.  Most Americans explain away their aversion to world cinema by claiming they don’t go to the movies to read.  Me, I love to read.  Reading is not the problem.  The problem is that foreign films are unbelievably boring.  I fell asleep on at least four separate occasions during The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.  In my defense, though, the movie was seven hours long.  And it’s actually just a recreation of a quarter-final game from the 1970 World Cup.  I’d say I don’t know what I was thinking trying to watch it, but I know that happened when I was living with Vrabel and Roy.  Chances are pretty good that Vrabel brought it home from Video Vault one day and I was too drunk to protest.

But I remain determined to be as pretentious as possible.  That’s why I am as excited as can be for the stateside release of Who Killed Captain Alex.  For starters, it’s got a shitload of gunfire, and we all know that gunfire is the true sign of a kick-ass movie.  But most importantly, it’s from the burgeoning Ugandan film scene.  So it’s an honest-to-goodness foreign movie that I totally have to see.  What, you’re not up on the latest Ugandan films?  What rock have you been living under?

Jul 21 2010


I suppose it was too much to hope for that there would be a Youtube video of all the best lines from the manager in Major League.  (Which is to say: all the lines from the manager in Major League.)  So the video above will have to suffice.  It’s a real shame, though.  That line about the whitewalls always gets me.  Also a shame: Lou Brown died two days ago and I only now just heard about it.  Rest in peace, James Gammon.  You will be missed.

May 31 2010

at the movies

I’m nearing the end of a glorious four-day weekend during which I’ve had – to be completely honest – not a lot to do.  I got out yesterday afternoon for a picnic with CarrieNation and Emma and a few other lovely ladies, but other than that I’ve mostly spent my time watching movies.  Specifically, I’ve been watching movies from my 100 Favorite Movies list.  It’s been a pretty good holiday.

Whenever I start to get down about my job, I remind myself that there’s literally nothing I can think of that I would rather do to make a living.  The only career that even comes close (and it’s still a distant second) is movie critic.  So at the risk of having more failure fodder for my next milestone post, I’m announcing another little creative writing project: I’m going to re-watch and write a review for every movie on my list.  I’m not setting any time frame for completing this project, but you can expect me to finally get to Zodiac at some point, oh… in the next couple of weeks.  I’m gonna start with that one.