Thursday, May 29, 2008

I get so Lost

Lost wraps up its fabulous 4th season with a two-hour finale tonight. Preview ads are calling the episode “breathtaking,” “mind-blowing,” “stroke inducing,” “giving up your first born convincing,” “a wake up call to all you sinners that Xenu is the one true god,” and “hott.”

In honor of the finale (and since after seeing it there’s apparently a strong change I’ll quit my job and take to the road in search of eternal answers I’ll never find, and you’ll never hear from me again) I’ve compiled a Top 5 of Lost mysteries that I’d really like answered. If not tonight, at least before I die.

What are "the rules"? Right after (spoiler aler) Ben's daughter was killed by one of Widmore's thugs, a shellshocked Ben says, "He changed the rules." It looks like Ben and Widmore both want control of the island, and have apparently been fighting over it for some time. Its not yet clear whether the castaways are important to the struggle, or just pawns within it. But what are these "rules" that Ben and Widmore have set up? There are rules to a war? Does it even matter? (And yes, if you don't watch Lost, but were attempting to read this post anyway, this is probably where you gave up).

When will Michael Emerson win a major award? Speaking of Ben ... this may not be a mystery of the show, but still an important question. Benjamin Linus is probably the greatest villain in the history of television (in part because we don’t even know if he’s a villain) and it's all due to the force of nature that is Emerson’s portrayal.

What’s the deal with The Numbers? 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. They show up everywhere on the show, sometimes obviously, sometimes not. They’re directly responsible for bringing at least one person to the island. They add up to 108. What is their deal???

Who are The Others? Once upon a time there was an island, and a hippy dippy group called the Dharma Initiative moved there to sing kumbaya and do science experiments. Then one day, a boy from the Initiative ran into the woods and saw a group of people living out there. About ten years later, the boy helped these “others” kill the entire science group. A few years after that, The Others began messing with a bunch of plane crash victims who washed up on shore. The Others all have mad karate skills, and some of them never age. A few of them, it turns out, were stalking a few of the castaways long before the plane crash. Say it loud and say it proud friends: WHAT. THE. F*&K!!!

What is the Smoke Monster? The question itself really says it all: It’s a monster. Made of smoke. It’s smoke. That eats people. Once again: Say it loud and say it proud: WHAT. TH......

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scarfing down a controversy

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like to get political on this blog. That kind of stuff makes people all crazy-like, and plus I don’t want to alienate any of our dear, dear, beloved readers.

But – with apologies to any of you who love Fox News like the kindly uncle you never had – this is idiotic.

Dunkin' Donuts (which, by the way, needs to open some stores in Southern California RIGHT NOW) was running an ad with Rachael Ray, that bubbly cooking or home decorating or whatever show host, and in said ads, she was wearing a scarf. Observe:

Apparently a Fox News commentator named Michelle Malkin wrote an article freaking out about the scarf, saying it looked like a keffiyeh, that head-dress Yasser Arafat used to wear. Malkin wrote (via the Boston Globe): "The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad…Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant and not-so-ignorant fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons."

Funny, I don’t really like the scarf either, but mostly just because I think it looks like a tablecloth.

But the real insanity is that Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the ad! Apparently they just didn’t want the headache. Understandable. But at the same time, What?! You’re pulling an ad you most likely dropped at least a few million on - when you consider production and salary costs - over a scarf you can probably buy at Target?!? Which actually looks NOTHING like Arafat’s scarf!!!!

The thing is, I started this post with a caveat about how I don’t like to get political. But really, this shouldn’t even be political. Since when can we not wear paisley and white scarves around our necks in the United States? It’s not like she’s wearing a f#^king Che Guevara shirt! It’s a scarf!!!

OK. Ok. Let’s all just put our heads down and relax. Here, look at this picture of Corgi puppies eating a shoe. Nothing's more soothing than Corgi puppies eating a shoe:


God I wish Dunkin' Donuts would open a store in Southern California.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

At the Movies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

With Red on vacation, I feel the need to post something to satiate your addled little brains. I’ve settled on Indiana Jones.

I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Friday night, and what can I say - I liked it. I thought the stunts were cool, the CGI was kept to a minimum, and Harrison Ford can still rock the fedora. (In a fun moment towards the end, they make it look like he’s sort of passing the mantle to Shia LeBeouf, but then Harrison quickly takes it back. (I know some people really didn’t like Shia LeBeouf. Though I may not hold the same torch for him as Red, I think he did a decent job)).

A few complaints: The ending was kind of weird/lame. (At the risk of giving too much away, it reeks of Spielberg and Lucas). And while it was great to have Karen Allen back, what’s the fun of it if she’s not doing shots with Sherpas, or something along those lines? Cate Blanchett clearly had a good time with her accent and black bob, but the Soviets weren’t quite as good villains as the Nazis. Is anyone?

Those things aside though, I liked it. I enjoyed myself. It got my heart rate going and I jumped out of my seat at least once. I think it’s worth seeing in the theatre with the big screen and the big sound and the occasional person in costume. You’re still OK by me, Dr. Jones.

That being said, there's probably no need for a fifth one. K? Thanks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Add This to Your Queue: The Orphanage

Last night, I let creepy little kids totally freak me out when I popped in the Spanish film The Orphanage. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, The Orphanage is a terrific thriller, as we've come to expect from the Spanish (see: The Others for further evidence). Laura (played by Spanish actress Belen Ruida, who totally looks like a cross between Embeth Davidz and Maria Bello) is a former orphan who returns to her childhood home with her husband and child to open a school for "special" children. Strange things begin happening with Laura's son, Simon, and with the house...and creepy little kids become involved. If you like thrillers, especially those with style, and don't mind subtitles, check out The Orphanage. It's a great way to spend a rainy weekend (as we are expecting in San Diego).

In other news, I will be on vacation all next week. I'm sure Liz will swing by to entertain you and, if you're really lucky, Dave and Garney will pop by, too. Try not to miss me too much.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sex and the City: The Rant

Sex and the City is my Titanic (Titanic is one of my many movie analogies…it’s a good movie, starring arguably the best leading actors of my generation, which causes people (manly men) to roll their eyes in annoyance whenever it’s mentioned because it became bigger than life and many, many irritating women claim it’s the greatest thing ever). Same thing happened with Sex and the City. It was once a smart, hilarious, all too close to home look at single women and sex that only a few million people watched each week. It’s still all those things, but it’s become so mainstream, with the re-runs on TBS and people like Miley Cyrus claiming it’s their favorite TV show, that now people (mainly men) find it highly annoying. Now, to annoy the fellas even more, here comes the movie, which I am beyond excited to see (even if the trailer gives away more plot points than I’d like). However, I’m quite annoyed with on major thing…all this talk of marriage.

Carrie Bradshaw is the quintessential single gal. She dates inappropriate men, spends her disposable income on shoes and drinks with friends, and has a fabulous career. When we last left her, she had finally worked things out with Mr. Big...the long time love of her life (other than Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, obvs)...and looked poised to settle down and kick off her single shoes. And that's cool. I don't need Carrie to remain single forever, but I take issue with her wedding to Mr. Big being the goal, the payoff. The trailer is basically pornography for wedding obsessed women. And the Vogue article promoting SATC this month (which contains some of the greatest photos of SJP and Chris Noth you could ever imagine) says, “When Michael Patrick King (MPK), writer-producer of the TV show SATC, wrote SATC: TM (which he is also directing), one thing he knew was that the desperate, SATC-starved audience of millions of women needed a wedding.” We do? I know I don’t need a wedding. In fact, I’d be quite happy if Carrie and Big just lived happily forever (or as long as their relationship warranted) in a big ol’ fancy apartment in NYC. Why is marriage still the entire story? Isn’t that kinda what SATC was all about? Breaking that notion that women need marriage and a man to be happy?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol: Some Finale Questions

First, eff my effing DVR and it's desire to cut off anything "important" 5 minutes before the effing end of the effing program (sorry. I'm trying to be all Cate Blanchett in Life Aquatic and not swear and stuff). I had to read who won online. I hate that shit! (oops)

Second, I found myself totally loving the American Idol finale tonight (I swear Nigel Lythgoe called up 12-year-old Red and said, "Who would you like to see perform on the American Idol finale?" and I said, "Uh, Bryan Adams and George Michael, obvs. Because they are my favorite" and it was so), but it left me with a few questions:

Is there anyone who finds Mike Myers and his Love Guru character funny? Anyone?

Was the Carly/MJ duet the producers way of saying, "Sorry viewers who love sexy, talented people. We needed the Double David finale for the ratings."?

Did anyone love the David Cook Guitar Hero commercial as much as I did? (my grandma even called me to give me a heads up about it. She is the coolest grandma ever.)

Will someone volunteer to kill me if I ever have to hear that dreadful One Republic Apologize song ever again?

Why did Jordan Sparks dress like a doll for her performance (which I fast forwarded through)?

Will Carrie Underwood ever say no to an offer to appear at an Idol event?

Will David Cook's career be okay?

Will Little David survive his father's disappointment?

Did America finally figure out how this whole voting for the person who will actually make a decent record thing works?

And, most importantly, think I can still get David Cook to marry me now that he's all famous and stuff? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Until next season, friends.

Top Five: Movie Trilogies

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull permits mere mortals to cower before its glory at midnight tonight (buzz is mixed, though I don’t think many people have actually seen it) and in honor of what has apparently been deemed a national holiday, I've compiled a list of my Top Five Movie Trilogies. In a way, this is also a requiem, since the release of Crystal Skull means the Indiana Jones movies are no longer a trilogy. (A quadlogy? Rombology? Get back to me, grammar police). Whether this proves to be a good thing or a bad thing…Well, one of you guys will have to let us know, because there’s no way in hell I’m going to a theatre at midnight on a school night.

In descending order:

5. Lord of the Rings: Gorgeous to look at, relatively easy to understand, these movies got an anti-D&D skeptic like me into fantasy, if only just for a few hours. Some Shire folk would probably list LotR and the best trilogy of all time. Considering how many elves and gnomes it contained, that fact it made my Top Five is an accomplishment.

4. Evil Dead: In a perfect world, there’d be no natural disasters, we’d all own yachts, and Bruce Campbell would be the mega star he deserves to be. I think Evil Dead II was technically a re-make of the original Evil Dead rather than a sequel, but whatever. Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness are probably the three funniest-and-yet-also-kinda-scary horror spoofs ever made. The fact that they’re also the only flicks of that genre is beside the point.

3. The Bourne Movies: What action movies should be: Smart, exciting, globetrotting, and full of Matt Damon.

2. Star Wars (original): Liking the three original Star Wars movies doesn’t mean you’re a nerd any more; it means you have a soul. So campy, yet so much fun, and when you stand them up to the wooden, CGI-drenched prequels, you realize also so full of heart

1. Indian Jones Movies: Ba ba da da, ba ba daaaa. Ba ba da da, ba ba da da da! I’ve grown to love these movies even more as I get older because when you’re old and cynical you realize how rare good adventure movies are. The first Pirates of the Caribbean was on a par, but the sequels pulled it down to the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker. (Pirate humor. Y’ar!). Indiana Jones kept it going through three great films. Here’s hoping the fourth doesn’t ruin it.

Still ab fab, after all these years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

David vs. David: The Idol Finale

Thank God! This season is pretty much over (just 2 hours of filler left). The Davids were both pretty damn good tonight. Even though Simon seemed to want more cheese, the fellas delivered some great performances.

My boyfriend David Cook showed he's diverse and interesting and may actually have a place on Top 40 radio. Little David showed he can sing his ass off as a vanilla pop singer who will sell about as many records as Ruben Studdard. The boxing theme was painful, as were the original songs (though I was glad the contestants picked their own songs). David Cook managed to perform the least lame original song in Idol history (even if Simon hated it), Randy managed to slide in his "you could sing the phonebook" catchphrase one more time, and Paula managed to sound crazy as always (apparently David Cook was "standing in his truth." Excellent). Despite the judges declaration of Little David as the winner, I think the vote will come down to personality. Little David seems to be missing his and David Cook has rubbed some people the wrong way this season (not me, of course. He always rubbed me the right way if you know what I mean *wink*...sorry. I'll stop now). I hope Little David takes the crown as men don't seem to fair very well as Idol winners and I hope David Cook is around for awhile (I guess. I'll never buy any of their records anyway).

Song I Would Have Sung: I'd have picked something new (as David Cook did) and performed Love Song by Sara Bareilles...because that's the kind of record I would make. Simon would've hated it.

Be True to Your School: Vol. 2

On the heals of a major drug bust at my University comes another scandal...this time at my High School. The third male teacher in two years was arrested for having sex with a student at Helix High School (formerly only famous for pumping out football stars like Alex Smith and Reggie Bush). Unlike the rest of the country, where the female teachers seem to be falling for their male students, Helix (which, I'll admit, has some pretty hot male teachers) seems to be taking the Humbert Humbert approach. Now, I read Lolita and I know how charming teenage girls can be when they put their mind to it, but c'mon man! Keep it in your pants.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Top 5: Things to Experince Before I Die

Because all my inspiration comes from (sadder words have never been spoken), their Concerts I Gotta See Before I Die list got me thinking of my own pop culture bucket list...which I will now impose on you:

1. Attend a Bruce Springsteen concert - I had an awesome professor in college who taught us Springsteen lyrics as poetry (ah, modern education) and he said the only way to experience The Boss is in concert. I tried (along with the local radio station) to get Bruce to play San Diego last year, but we failed. Someday...

2. Check out the Sundance Film Festival - I suppose Cannes would be awesome, too, but I've been to the village of Cannes, and it's tiny. I don't think I could handle the insanity of the Film Festival. I'll settle for Park City, Utah and Sundance.

3. Wear a designer gown - Now, I'm no fashonista, but I do love a cute outfit. I would like to wear something by Alexander McQueen or Valentino or even Christian Siriano to an event where such an dress would be warranted. This may be difficult, as I'm not a size 4, but dreams are made to be broken! Or something.

4. Eat with someone famous - I'd like to share a meal with one of the following: Anthony Bourdain, Dalton Ross, Tim Gunn, Sarah Jessica Parker, Quentin Tarrantino, Sophia Coppola, Simon Pegg, Ricky Gervais, Jeremy Clarkson, or Victoria Beckham...not that Vicky actually eats. We could have tea.

5. Publish something - A book or an article or my deeply moving sixth grade journal, whatever. Just published somewhere other than the internet. The internet is for poor people.

Your turn.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leprechaun? In a tree?

YOU be the judge:

Part 2...

And the remix...

Gimme the gold!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Radiohead Covers Vol. 10

Now, with the final installment in the series, Louis Armstrong sings Radiohead's Creep:

Thanks to those of you who've listened and enjoyed this series. Special thanks to Garney for letting me share your hilarity with the Blogger world. Love ya, mean it.

Just When We Were Making Progress

Things were looking up, friends. Whitney, a normal sized women (as in, weighs more than 100 lbs and eats an occasional sandwich), won America's Next Top Model (please tell me you watched this season...and witnessed the complete insanity that is Tyra Banks) and the Sex and the City movie is on it's way to remind us Single is the new Pink (though, I'm rather annoyed all the previews center around Carrie and Mr. Big getting married, as that kinda goes against the very premise that made the show so great, but that's another post).

And then there is this. A principal at an all girls school in Staten Island informed her students they will not be able to attend the prom without a date. WTF?!? Prom is something to be experienced whether you have a boyfriend (gay or straight) or not. Doesn't the principal realize these girls may grow up with serious emotional issues if they don't go to prom? (as Annie Potts taught us in Pretty in Pink. (Her speech is seriously the only reason I went to prom)). More troubling is how completely coupleist this is (yes, I realize that's not a word. Work with me here). Just when we take two steps forward, some crazy, old cow in New York takes two steps back. In this scenario, however, she is not a charmingly entertaining cat. She's just wrong.

This is what happens when you go to prom with a boy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Geeking Out for Your Pleasure

It's a historic day, friends. California overturned the gay marriage ban. I think, mostly, I love that California said "Eff you, George Bush and your lame, puritanical ways. We'll marry who we want and you'll like it!" (because can be California very aggressive sometimes. I mean, come on. We have a Governator).

Further adding joy to my day, Bob and Harvey Weinstein are planing a live-action movie musical of Fraggle Rock. I was the biggest Fraggle Rock fan ever (it may have something to do with Red being the coolest character). Yes, I realize my freak-out about this makes me completely insane, but I'm okay with this.

Furthering my excitement, a teaser for Life on Mars, the new series coming to TV this fall based on the BBC show of the same name, if floating around the internets. Check it out:

Ignoring the horrible voice over, this commercial looks promising. I'm hopeful LOM will be more The Office and less Coupling.

My excitement just reached 11.

What Are Your Pop-Culture Deal Breakers?

Recently, I had a conversation with someone who has developed a movie related test to determine whether a lady is "the one" or not (he wouldn't tell me what the test entails. I assume it's because I would pass it and then he'd have to marry me and, let's face it, no one wants that). It got me thinking...what would eliminate someone from my potential pool of luvahs? (someone who says "luvah" for one.) Here's what I came up with:

1. Lack of appreciation for Bruce Springsteen - Now, you don't have to be Bruce's #1 fan or anything, but admitting he's "The Boss" is pretty essential. Likewise, an appreciation for Journey is vital as I sing their stuff at karaoke...a lot.

2. An intolerance for karaoke - I realize this is asking quite a bit, but I like singing and sometimes the car just doesn't cut it.

3. Hatred of all things English - Except for post-Police Sting. That guy blows.

4. Inability to laugh at the movies and TV shows I find hilarious - My impeccable taste will not be challenged! I once dated someone who'd never seen The Big Lebowski. We watched it together and he didn't like it. I should have ended things there, but I didn't. Because I am a moron.

5. Non-readers - People that don't read for pleasure are highly suspect. Kinda like guys who don't like sports. That ain't right!

So there are my deal breakers. What are yours?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things I wish I was into

Have you ever seen something - like a hobby, or a style, or a religious cult - and thought, “Hey, that looks cool. I’d like to get into that,” but fate and laziness keep getting in your way? Well I have. And here are some examples of those things. Things I’d love to get into right now, if only all kinds of sordid reasons weren't preventing me. Feel free to share your own, or help with mine. I’d kind of rather you helped with mine, but you know, whatever, do what you want. Leech.

Tom Waits – The few Tom Waits songs I’ve heard, I really liked. I want to hear more. But dude’s got like 400 albums going back 30 years and I just don’t where to start. If anyone knows his best album, I’m all ears. (Haha. Get it? Pun).

Horse Racing – The Triple Crown has reminded me that I’ve always wanted to get into horse racing. Like, really into it - not just watching the Kentucky Derby every few years and going the track once a decade. I want to know who famous horses, jockeys and owners are. I want to speak fluidly the language of the Sport of Kings! Maybe if I’m not too busy, I’ll watch the Preakness this weekend. Yes, that’s the ticket! This is going to be huge, I can feel it.

Cooking – I’ve never really liked cooking. Cooking shows bore me, and since I grew up with a mom who makes good but plain meals, I always saw cooking as a sort of necessary chore rather than something fun and interesting. (Having a kitchen the size of my junior high locker doesn't help either). But lately I’ve grown tired of the 4 dishes I know how to make and would like to learn more. I even bought a crock-pot from a friend, even though I have no idea how to use it. I’ve been trying to get recipes and stuff off line, but its tough when you’ve never heard of half the ingredients. (Leeks? Okra? Fresh vegetables? What are these things?!?) So I think I need some kind of cooking tutor. Suggestions?

Opera – No, not Oprah. Opera. The music. Seriously. What? You think someone who laughs at lolcats can’t be high-brow? Whenever I hear opera music, I secretly like it. I bought a copy of Moztart’s Requiem after I saw Amadeus last year. Trouble is, historically inaccurate '80s biopics are about the only educational tool I have. If a youngish gal of slightly below average means and intelligence wanted to learn more about opera, where would one suggest she start, hmm?

Helping people – Look, it’s not that I enjoy being the self-centered waste of space that I am. It’s just that all my previous attempts at generosity have been thwarted. Once, in high school, I tried volunteering at a food pantry, but they didn’t really give me anything to do and the other volunteers were oddly cliquey for a bunch of supposed humanitarians. So I stopped going. And then, for about two weeks in college, I seriously considered joining the Peace Corp. But then I found out it required a lot of essays and recommendations and good grades, so that was out. I want to do more than throw money at natural disasters. I want to help my fellow man. If anyone knows of a way to do this - without taking too much time away from my television and boozing schedules – please, clue me in.

This could totally be me. But you know, from my couch.

This (mostly) Just In...

Sarah Jessica Parker has lost her damn mind - Plants are never a good look on your head. Like, not ever. And apparently, she and Kim Catrall still hate each other. Can't we learn to get along ladies?

Ryan Seacrest may take over for Larry King when King retires in 2009 - I say, “Amen” because, Lord knows, I don’t get enough Seacrest every week.

Ugly Betty is moving to NYC - Why anyone would care about this is beyond me, but EW, Gmail and Yahoo News all felt the need to tell me. Amy Poehler even made a joke about it on Weekend Update this week (one of the only funny jokes in the show. (I realized the problem with SNL yesterday…it’s turned into a weekly round of the Improv Game as played by my high school theater group (yes. I was a theater geek. Move on already). Everyone remembers the one time the Improv Game was hilarious and every week, the dorks try and recreate the magic, but unfortunately, the one really funny guy who had all the jokes graduated last year and it’s now really just an exercise in unfunny idiocy. But I digress). Speaking of things no one cares about…

The Tony nominees were announced – The tag line for this year's show is "There's a Little Bit of Broadway in Everyone." Officially, the gayest tag line ever.

Reaper gets a second season - I’m pretty sure Garney and I are the only people still watching this, and Garney’s even about to jump ship, but the characters are really funny and Ray Wise as the Devil is one of my favorite characters on TV.

Gordon Ramsey screams at Gordon Brown for fresh fruit and veg - Ramsey wants the British Prime Minister to fine restaurants that use out of season produce. Eff you, Gordon Ramsey. People will eat strawberries in December and you will like it!

Look! It’s the new 90210 Cast – 2 things about this excite me: 1) Jessica Walters (fka Lucille Bluth) plays the family matriarch and 2) Tristan Wilds (Michael Lee on The Wire) plays what looks like the token ethnic kid. Here's hoping 90210 serves him better than the streets of B-More. But, really, the whole thing seems a bit Gossip Girl/The Hills for me and, ultimately, I'll probably not watch more than one episode.

That is all...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If America Got it Right: Top 3

Please. The producers and judges have been pushing a Double David finale for weeks and I think that's exactly what we will get. I don't really have much to say (other than I almost started making out with my HDTV when David Cook sang I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing. Yes, my life is really that sad), so check out The Pop Eye if you really care for a proper recap.

At the Movies: Iron Man

You probably don't need me to tell you to see Iron Man. In fact, you've probably already seen it if you have any interest at all, as it's already made more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. However, if you are on the fence about the first big blockbuster of the summer movie season, we here at GitW strongly recommend you check it out. We've all seen it and we all really liked it (I think Liz really liked it. We never actually talked about it, even though we saw it together. We went to the bar afterward (I rocked the karaoke mic with some Journey while Liz tended to her very drunk gentleman sidekick) instead of getting some pie and discussing the depths of Tony Stark).

Iron Man is a straight up, good time, comic book movie. I am not a comic book reader, but I love a good comic book movie...especially when it's smart and funny and has someone like Robert Downey Jr. as the superhero. I've always been a huge Robert Downey Jr. fan. He's a terrific actor and Iron Man is really his movie. He brings so much humor and intelligence and even delivers the cheesy superhero one liners with aplomb (50 cents for that word, please). Also along for the ride is Gwyneth Paltrow as Stark's lovely (ginger) personal assistant (after her first scene, I leaned over to Liz and said "Ah, Gwyneth. So nice to see you again." Sure, Gwyneth could be added to Liz's Actresses Most People Hate, but She Loves list, but it's nice to see her back in something worth watching (I'm looking at you, Running with Scissors)). Further credit is due to Jon Faverau for crafting a wonderful film. As Garney said, "Jon Favreau is turning into quite the talented commercial filmmaker." Indeed.

So, yeah, go see Iron Man if you haven't already and be sure to stick around through the end of the credits to see what Dave calls "The Nerdgasam" (and then email him and ask him to explain what the hell it's all about). Or if you've already seen it, let us know what you thought below.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reel Resurrection: Empire of the Sun

A lot of film snobs hate Steven Spielberg. I get it. Film snobs are a lot like music snobs – they’re always looking for something new, daring, different - and Spielberg is sort of like U2: He’s done some amazing work, but its hard to make the argument that he’s revolutionized the art form. The snobs are always pining for a revolution.

But despite his penchant for sentimental endings and his difficulty creating good female characters, I’ve gotta come down on the pro-Spielberg side. (Just like I’d have to put The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby among my favorite albums, and admit I find Bono’s quest to save the world really kind of cool). Sure, Jurassic Park lacked soul and Minority Report lacked a second half, but you can’t argue with Indiana Jones, ET, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.

All of which is a really long way of telling you to watch Empire of the Sun. I’m going to go out on a limb and call this a “forgotten” Spielberg flick, because I had never heard of it before my boss suggested I add it to my Netflix queue. (Of course it was nominated for 6 Oscars, so maybe I just missed the boat). It’s about a 12-year-old British boy growing up in luxury in pre-WWII China, and how his insolated little world is literally blown apart when the Japanese invade. Christian Bale is great as the lead in his film debut; its crazy that someone so young can carry an entire movie. The movie follows him as he gets separated from his parents, has to fend for himself in a prison camp, and does all the usual growing up in the process.

Empire of the Sun is a fairly long movie at 2 and half hours, but it has great pacing and enough surprises to keep you interested. It’s historical without being dry, familiar without being boring, epic without being cliché. It’s “All I want is You” and “Where the Streets have no Name.”

It’s Steven Spielberg, in a good way.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Stop. Breeding.

There’s a joke about Arkansas, home schooling and people named Joe Bob in this story somewhere, but I can’t get past the headline enough to think about it.

Eighteen kids!! This is a story about a family that has EIGHTEEN effing children!!! At least they will, when the mom gives birth next January. She just found out she’s pregnant with her eighteenth kid. Eighteen!! She’s been pregnant for 11 years of her life. The family says, if she gets preggers again, “Great! The more the merrier!” All the kids’ names start with the letter J. Did I mention there are almost 18 of them!!!!!!

Wha? Muh!? Bu!?! Juh … STOP! Please, God, just stop. Name this last one “(va)Jay-Jay’s Closed” and put an end to this insanity. They say they're a big happy family and I've gotta admitt that they look it, but just ... shut it down. Really, let's call it a day.

Condoms: They're not just for sailors anymore.

Lazy Friday

Three things:

1. The Survivor finale airs Sunday. I realize no one watches this show anymore, but this is arguably the best season ever. The past 4 weeks have been insane, with four complete blindsides at Tribal Council and the first ever all female final four. I can't wait to see what happens Sunday night. Go Cirie!

2. This headline made me laugh really hard.

3. This video made me laugh even harder (watch it here if you are Canadian)

You're Welcome.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Radiohead Covers Vol. 9

Today, especially for BeckEye, Eddie Vedder sings Radiohead's Planet Telex:

Be sure to head over to Garney's blog to vote for the song you'd like to hear next week, in what may be the final installment of The Radiohead Covers.

Trainwreck Watch: Amy Winehouse (Vol. I Forget)

With gas prices rising, the dollar falling, mortgages foreclosing, cyclones … cycloning, war spreading and all kinds of other horrible things happening in the world today, it’s nice to know there are things we can count on. Things that will always be there.

Things like Amy Winehouse getting arrested.

It’s been a while since we checked in on dear Wino. I last saw her on the Grammy’s and thought she was looking well. Still in need of a sandwich, but less in need of a tranquilizer. (Unless of course she was already on them). But now it seems she’s digging weeds in Scotland Yard again, getting picked up and questioned about drug possession because of some video that showed her doing drugs at a party. And this comes after police gave her a stern talking to last month because she slapped a guy.

Come on Winehouse, I thought the goal for this year was to get the discography longer than the rap sheet. To spend more time in the studio and less time in the clink. OK, maybe that was my goal for you, because I liked Back to Black and would like to hear more. But honestly love, you’ve become the new LiLo, and that’s not anyone’s goal. Ever.

American Idol: The Aftermath

It's a sad day in Idolville. Jason Castro was sent packing (much to his relief it seems). The blue eyed troubadour who "shot Mr. Tambourine man" can finally get back to normal. I think it's good for him, though he will be missed.

In other news, Syesha (and her legions of voters no one can seem to prove exist) lived to sing another day, the Idol recap show continues to be the most boring hour of television each week, and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 officially creeps me out (he sings too high! and his clothes are too tight!).

Three songs next week. Can't we just skip to the finale already?

Smoke on!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Be True to Your School

Being the creative genius you all know and love, you'll be surprised to know I went to San Diego State University (I know this blabbering seems like Harvard educated blabbering, but it's not. Try not to die of shock). Yesterday, 75 people were arrested, and 6 fraternities were suspended, at my alma mater under suspicion of openly dealing drugs (apparently, one genius even sent a mass text message advertising a sale on cocaine. Ahhh, higher education). SDSU has always been known as a party school (though, being the complete dork I am, I never attended a college party), so I don't really find this story all that surprising. What I am a bit shocked about is the prevalence of cocaine these days. I mean, c'mon! Cocaine is so 80's. Unless you are Charlie Sheen, working your ass off to make it on Wall Street, pot or alcohol should really be enough. As Liz said when we discussed this story yesterday, "In my day, we had to settle for underage drinking and we liked it!" Amen, sister. Amen.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rock and Roll Hall of Shame

I'm getting tired of writing these recaps, so I'm gonna switch things up and do more of a running blog thingy. Here goes:

First, what are the odds an American Idol contestant ever ends up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? About a trillion to one?

Round 1
I was psyched when David Cook said he was singing Hungry Like the Wolf, as he is damn sexy just like Simon LeBon, but he seemed a bit low on energy and, like Randy, it was just aiight for me.

Simon is totally right (as usual). Syesha's Proud Mary WAS a shrieky, horrible Tina Turner impression. It started out okay, but totally fell apart in the second half.

Jason Castro is ready to go home. He said as much last week. Let's let him go.

Mark my words. When Little David hooks up with Disney and he will be the biggest thing since Miley Cyrus. He sounded great singing Stand by Me. As much as I want to hate this kid for being a soulless puppet, I can't. He is really good.

Round 2
Daddy David's (no? too creepy?) Baba O'Riley totally worked for me until the tempo picked up and it fell apart a bit. Still love him though. Man, that beard is working for him. Those UCLA skanks in the audience can suck it.

I am a big Sam Cooke fan, and while Syesha did her best, she was missing the soul Cooke brings to A Change is Gonna Come. Her emotion after singing was...nice? touching? a lovely change from the scary evil bitch we've seen for all these weeks? One of those for sure.

I actually liked Jason's Tambourine Man (except for the forgetting the words bit), but yeah, he's definitely in the bottom two, if not on his way home tomorrow night. Drunk Paula still loves him for being him...or something like that. I tune her out at this point.

How does Little David not know Love Me Tender? That's, like, un-American or something. He was damn good, none-the-less. Just give him the trophy already so we can be done with this effing show.

If America Got it Right, Jason would go home tomorrow, but I have a suspicion it's Syesha's time. Maybe Castro will just quit and we can go straight to the finale. Fingers crossed.

Song I'd Sing This Week - Either Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac or Little Red Corvette by Prince.

What would you sing? Are you as tired of this season as I am?

Even this kitty is getting bored with American Idol.

This (mostly) Just In...

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon get Hitched - He's 11 years her junior. This means my potential mate could just be graduating from High School this year. There is hope! (okay, I creeped myself out a little with that one).

Scarlett Johansson is Engaged - My long standing girlcrush plans to marry Ryan Reynolds (who was once engaged to Alanis Morrisette. I imagine Scar Jo is much easier to get along with. Less anger). I'm very happy for her...mainly because I was beginning to worry about her close relationship with Woody Allen. Talk about creepy.

Step away from the old man, Scarlett.

Project Runway News Gets Worse - Apparently, when the show moves to Lifetime, the producers who've made the show so great will walk. This means new producers will come aboard. Lifetime approved producers. I think we can all see where this is going and it ain't good.

The Shia Obsession Continues - Garney just informed me Shia LaBeouf will host Saturday Night Live this weekend. Now, SNL hasn't been funny in ages, but if anyone can give it a much needed boost, it's Shia. mmmm...Shia...

Gingers are Sexy - After the Gingers are Retarded debacle last week, someone found us by searching "Gingers are Sexy." Hooray! I feel I've made a breakthrough here, people.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The calendar still says spring, but the multiplex begs to differ

The first weekend of May is over so obviously the summer movie season has already begun. I contributed to Iron Man's $100 million opening weekend and wasn't disappointed. Here are a dozen other summer releases that I'm hoping won't disappoint either besides the two obvious ones (The Dark Knight and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull):

The Happening (June 13) M. Night Shyamalan is back, and he left the mermaids and villagers behind thank goodness.

WALL-E (June 27) I'm convinced that Pixar can do no wrong.

Hancock (July 2) Will Smith will prove once again he owns July box office, portraying an alcoholic superhero in a new film from Peter Berg.
Step Brothers (July 25) Will Farrell plus John C. Reilly equals funny movie.

The Rocker (August 1) Rainn Wilson finally gets to be the star in this film about a failed drummer given a second chance at fame, directed by Paul Cattaneo (The Full Monty).

Choke (August 1 limited) Actor Clark Gregg (another Iron Man cast member) directs his own adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel with a cast led by Sam Rockwell.

Towelhead (August 8 limited) Alan Ball, who won an Oscar for the American Beauty screenplay before creating Six Feet Under, directs his own adaptation of Elicia Erian's novel about a young Arab-American girl struggling with her sexual obsession, a bigoted Army reservist and her strict father during the Gulf War.

Tropic Thunder (August 15) Robert Downey Jr.'s studio comeback season continues with a high concept big budget industry-insider comedy from costar Ben Stiller, as part of a great cast that also includes what is supposed to be a fantastic comedic performance from Tom Cruise.
Hamlet 2 (August 27 limited) Steve Coogan (also in Tropic Thunder, above far right) plays a high school drama teacher who writes a politically incorrect musical sequel to Shakespeare's tragedy in what has the potential to be one of the funniest movies of the year.

Traitor (August 29) Steve Martin is responsible for the plot behind this spy thriller involving the CIA and a terrorist group, and the film stars Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels and Don Cheadle.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (August 29 limited) I don't know which makes this new romantic comedy-drama from Woody Allen more promising: that recent Oscar winner Javier Bardem is in it, or that Woody Allen is not.

Tonight at 11 pm eastern time (that's 8 pm pacific for people who have a problem subtracting three) a new monthly feature will debut on the Oscar, Oscar blogtalkradio broadcast called 3 Guys & The Movies, in which host Jason O'Brien will be joined by myself and Jamey Duvall of Movie Geeks United. Tonight we will be discussing the summer movie releases in greater depth. Here is the link if anyone is interested in tuning in and/or wreaking havoc in the chat room during the broadcast.

Also, if you like the idea of a free online fantasy game where you create your own movie studio based on real life box office performance, be sure to check out Fantasy Moguls. If you join the Ultimate Movie Moguls game be sure and join the "UMMpire" league to compete with both myself and Red. The Box Office Moguls league I created (Dick in a Box Office) is already full.

It will always be Burma to me.

Look, I’ve never worked in a soup kitchen or built houses for Habitat for Humanity or dug wells for the Peace Corp., so I have no authority to ask people to donate time or money. But if you are feeling charitable these days, there was a really nasty disaster in Myanmar over the weekend and they’re looking for help.

Bad times.

Myanmar’s one of those sad little countries that’s been mired in civil war for pretty much forever, and from what I gather, misery is kind of the status quo. But as many as 10,000 people were killed by cyclones there over the weekend, upping the misery quotient to levels we (or at least I) can barely imagine. They’re ruled by a military “junta” - one of my favorite types of government to say; among my least favorites to live under – that’s very secretive and not formally recognized by half the international community. And so you know things are bad when even the junta is asking the rest of the world for help.

So, if you'd like to help, you can donate here, and while they haven't mentioned it on their Web sites just yet, here and here. No pressure. This isn't meant to be a guilt trip. Just thought I'd put it out there.

OK, mission to use blog for good: complete.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Raves (May 2008)

Congratulations! I've decided to make another raves column. Stop pretending like you weren't dying to know what's making my life worth living these days, and set your pupils to read.

Wolfe Parade – At Mount Zoomer: Due to a gracious donation from a friend who gets albums early through her job, I’m able to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams of helping to create “buzz.” The new Wolfe Parade album At Mount Zoomer doesn’t officially hit stores until next month, but I’m here to tell you that despite only having 9 songs, the sophomore album from everyone’s third favorite Canadian indie rock band* is a fitting follow up to their stunning debut. Brighter and poppier than its predecessor, At Mount Zoomer expands the band’s sound without alienating fans. You should buy it. You know, when it’s available to the unwashed masses. Suckers.

Season Three of 30 Rock: This show just keeps getting funnier and funnier. (And my woman crush on Tina Fey keeps getting more and more uncomfortable). The most recent season has had the tempo jacked up to eleven, with jokes flying at you so fast you barely have time to finish one laugh before you’re starting another. I know its sacrilege, but I’d go so far as to say it’s been funnier than The Office this year. Hit me with your best shot Dwight Shrute, Kenneth the Page will protect me.

HDTV: My gentleman sidekick (I don’t really like the world “boyfriend.” I’m trying to think of new terms. It’s a work in progress) recently bought a giant flat screen TV that for reasons varied and dull is being kept at my apartment. So I got an HD cable box and the results are, in a word, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I’m always a little late to the electronics party so most of you probably already own - or have at least basked in the resplendent glory of - a big, flat screen, HD TV, but if you haven’t, do it. IMMEDIATELY!

Cillian Murphy: Those eyes! Those cheekbones! That accent! Swoon. I saw two Murphy movies in the last two weeks: The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Sunshine (both are good, though The Wind was a little predictable, and probably only makes sense if you know something about Irish history (which I do, because I'm a dork)) so he’s fresh in my mind. Though I’ve really been a fan since I saw him in the awesome Irish movie Disco Pigs in 2002. He’s growing into a phenomenally versatile actor who can play the villain in a summer blockbuster and a transvestite in an art house indie and be completely believable in both. According to his IMDB he’s got a bunch more films coming out. Looks like I’ll have to get to a theatre more than once every three months.

The Most Interesting Man in the World: Yes, I’m talking about the Dos Equis (XX) beer commercial guy. I’m admittedly very easily amused, but these things make me laugh so hard. Have you guys seen these ads? Most of you watch a lot of TV so I’m sure you have. “His organ donation card also lists his beard.” “He’s a lover, not a fighter. But he’s also a fighter so don’t get any ideas.” Priceless.

"Stay thirsty my friends."

* The first two being Arcade Fire and the New Pornographers, natch.

Imposing My Musical Taste on the World...Again

It's finally Friday! Tonight, my friend Annie and I are making 2 dozen cupcakes before grabbing Liz for a much needed Ladies Night (look out fellas of San Diego). Here's some music I will force Annie to enjoy during our pre-party (click on the link to hear them on Hype Machine. I'm not computer savvy enough to figure out how to let you listen to them as mp3s or whatever. Sorry):

You Can't Count on Me - Counting Crows: This is my favorite song off their new album (which is really good. Pick it up if you're a fan). My favorite lyric is "And I get off and you know why" even though I don't know why he gets off...or why I like this lyric.

July, July - The Decemberists: I've been loving this song for months now. It feels very "summer" and who doesn't like summer? (I was thinking the other day, as I walked to get some ice cream on a ridiculously hot evening, how much I wish I still had summer vacation. Sleeping in, getting hooked on some daytime soap, concocting crazy meals like dried spaghetti with melted cheese because my mom hadn't been shopping in awhile. Damn, I miss that.)

Always Be My Baby - David Cook: No, I will not stop with my obsession. Leave me alone!

Careless Whisper - Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright: I absolutely adore this cover. Two of my favorite artists covering one of the greatest, cheesiest bands of the 80's. Pure magic.

Sweet Darlin' - She & Him: Another current obsession and the song that makes me cool with the hipsters...which is really my goal in life.

As always, your listening suggestions are coveted below.
Also, today is No Pants Day. Ladies Night with no pants should be very interesting...