Thursday, February 10, 2005

Get that man an honorary doctorate

In Empire #188, M. Night Shyamalan says "before The Sixth Sense, scary movies weren't really a legitimate genre. Now it's an entire industry..." You know, he's right -- I don't remember ever seeing a horror film in my whole life before 1999. Quick, somebody call Universal and tell them now is the time to make a bunch of films about Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man! Professor Shyamalan has freed you!


I rented movies last night, and after having one DVD stop playing in my machine and another one that I needed to flip to the pedestrian pan-and-scan side, I just need to say: STOP TOUCHING THE FUCKING DISCS, ASSHOLES! DO YOU TOUCH THE SILVER SIDES OF YOUR CD? DO YOU HANDLE YOUR CD-ROMS THE SAME WAY THAT YOU HANDLE YOUR DISGUSTING BODIES? IT'S SOFTWARE, IDIOTS, AND IT DOESN'T WORK IF YOU SCRATCH IT, TOUCH IT, LEAVE FINGERPRINTS ON IT, AND WIPE YOUR BOOGERS ON IT! STOP IT! I just want to be able to rent some DVDs without having to skip through pieces because some dopehead or child or both decided to play Frisbee with the damn thing.

This has been a public service announcement from one pissed off non-activist.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lindsay Lohan: An Elegy

Once upon a time there was an extremely talented girl named Lindsay Lohan. She was uncommonly talented for a child actress, and managed to make Disney films like The Parent Trap into fun movies to watch. She disappeared from the scene for a time as she grew up into a beautiful young woman, and returned in movies like Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. She sang and made us laugh, and looked amazing packed into a funky top. I never doubted that her chest was real, or that her nose had remained natural and untouched. She was gorgeous, fun, and bouncy, like Ann-Margaret when she was young. And Lindsay was a redhead, too, something that made her stand out from the crowd. Her cute freckles and dishy, genuine smile lit up the screen.

Almost a year ago, there was a fantastic movie released called Mean Girls. The move was intelligent and funny, and one of the best teen comedies ever made. Lindsay was poised on the brink of stardom, there was talk of an album release, and she seemed to suddenly be everywhere. I eagerly bought the soundtracks for Confessions, Freaky Friday, and Princess Diaries 2 just so I could listen to her sing.

And then it all fell apart.

She began to party, changed her hair, and began hanging around with superficial people like Paris Hilton. She hosted the least entertaining MTV Movie Awards in recent history. But I was still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt; she's only eighteen, just starting to have fun, and she's coming into her own. There'll be an album later this year, there'll be more movies. She's having all of those horrible problems with her family, and who can't sympathize with something like that?

But they just kept piling up. She was supposedly seen drinking and dancing on tables, and had been dating an older guy since she was 17. There were reports of her making out with different men in clubs. She was saying dumbass things like "I'm going to go have some non-alcoholic punch" and "I like 24 year-olds, but they're illegal" in ways where everyone knew they were lies. You could just tell.

Stories began to come out that she was about to be fired from Herbie: Fully Loaded because of drinking and the like. But I really wanted to believe she was still sweet little Lindsay Lohan from Freaky Friday. She was terribly ill, and she lost 15 pounds or so, but at least she dumped that older creep. And her new album was fun, too. The "Rumors" video was great, featuring a sexy Lohan bouncing all over the place, with an incredible bird cage shot where she looked just like Ann-Margaret.

But then it all went downhill. She lost even more weight. There were pictures of her smoking dope with her friends. So many men, so many rumors. The cocaine allegation. New reports of her onset behavior in New Orleans, and pictures of her dancing in college bars. It all became too much for me.

The final straw was the video for "Over." She looks like crap -- too thin, too hollow, with permanent circles around her eyes (she says she lost 15 pounds, but it looks more like 25 or 30). The song is about a girl who is afraid her relationship might be dying, but in the video she's dating a guy who is being abused physically by his father. The terrible matching of sound and image make it seem like Lindsay is the one with the problem. She's pushing her boy to make a choice: is he going to stand up to his father, or does she have to leave him? The first time I saw this video I literally got so sick to my stomach that I nearly had to vomit.

And there we are now. Yeah, I still like her music, and her older movies. Does this mean that I'm afraid of the idea of Lindsay growing up, or do I just hate what appears to be lying, cavalier, destructive behavior of someone I'm really a fan of? This is going to affect her work until she's regularly turning out garbage. At least, that's what I think. Goodbye, Lindsay Lohan. You were pretty special there for a while.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sunday Hottie 1


Soon, All Music Channels Will Suck

So, here I am this morning watching VH1 Classic and thinking about the inevitable suckage of all music channels. Now, if you're over 25, you probably remember a magical golden time when MTV pretty much exclusively aired music videos. But today, they air less music videos than an average hour of the Disney Channel. Seriously, it's supposed to be called Music Television, not Half-Assed-Attempts-At-Game-Shows-And-Constant-Reality Television. Granted, I have a deep-rooted problem with having to know how Jessica Simpson's life is going at every second, but couldn't there be a couple of hours during the day for music videos?

And lo, the MTV 2 was handed down from the mountain top. Nothing but videos, 24 hours a day. And then, the programming started, and that channel fell in love with its audience of pathetic metal burnouts and neo-hippie alt rock. A new channel was needed, and now there's MTV Hits. Makes sense; once again, nothing but music videos 24 hours a day. And ad space seems unneccesary, because they only occasionaly show commercials for MTV products. BUT, they're showing reruns of TRL now, and how long before we have Real World marathons?

VH1 was once supposed to be the home of music you never heard on MTV, usually generic music for yuppies in their forties who felt a strong pull for the constant stream of band reunions: Jefferson Airplane, the Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles. And I have to admit, as a 13 year-old I thought it was a nice alternative to, well, alternative. And rap, of course, which really kinda blew until about three years ago when it started to enter its progressive phase (with the obvious exceptions of Run-DMC and LL Cool J). Anyway, VH1 went along for years being the adult contemporary channel, but then they started Behind the Music and it became a huge pop culture thing. So, VH1 went young, for the prefab nostaglic, the young idiot who is way too young to pine for anything, but feels comforted by some reference to a TV show he watched as a kid. Welcome to constant specials that love various decades (it's FAR too soon for nineties nostalgia - it was a pointless decade, anyway), and Big in 2004, an "awards" show dedicated to just saying what stuff we liked, and Best Week Ever, which might as well be called I Love the Past Seven Days. It's a little pathetic. VH1 wants to do nothing but celebrate every insignificant aspect of pop culture, even the ones they perpetuate.

Well, at least we have THREE other VH1 channels: VH1 Soul, for having a good time and minding your own bizzle; VH1 Country, for abusing your wife or drinking heavily; and VH1 Classic, for reliving the good old days. When they're not playing FAR TOO MUCH hair metal crap from the eighties, they're playing great music from the seventies and eighties that you could put on for hours and relax to. And yesterday, they were showing Rock Star, one of VH1's cheap, shitty "Movies That Rock."

It's always that fucking pattern, isn't it? They get popular with what they're doing, so they suddenly want programming, and then they run off and sell ad space, and pretty soon they're just another crappy channel playing shows that barely count as television filler and running videos for three hours before anyone wakes up. Thanks a lot, VH1. I've got my eye on you, and I still owe you a punch for forcing Rachel Perry into my life.