Madonna in "Hung Up"
Me: "My mom says that Madonna's ass looks weird in her new video."
Becca: "It DOES look weird. I hate how her ass looks."
Me: "Her ass looks tremendous! It's just muscled, which looks perfectly fine for her toned frame. It's a real turn-on."
Becca: "Ew. I don't like women with muscles."
Me: "It depends; I mean, all I ask is that a woman look proportional, and Madonna looks good. She hasn't lost her femininity. In fact, she seems to have gained quite a bit of it back."
Becca: "I'm like a black man, I guess. I think a woman should have a fat ass that's going to jiggle when I spank it. I mean, what good is a woman sexually if you can't throw her around the room a little?"
Man, if I had a quarter for every time Becca compared her sexual appetites to those of a black man...
Friday, January 06, 2006
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Last night we're watching television, and on comes the commercial for the movie BloodRayne, the new film from Uwe Boll (of House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark) based on the computer game or video game or comic book or whatever the fuck screenwriter's shorthand it's based on. I'm lost by the time Michael Madsen shows up as a swordfighter.
Becca: "That... looks so..."
Me: "I know, stupid."
Me: "What? In what possible universe can you look at that movie and think it looks good?"
Becca: "Dude, the only way it could be more awesome is if it had Billy Zane in it!"
A little piece of me weeps as I wonder if I should just be glad she didn't say Christopher Lambert.
UPDATE: At the request of Becca, I should point out that she didn't know at the time she said it might be good that Uwe Boll had made the film. When I mentioned it this evening, quoth she (in a disappointed tone of voice): "Oh, God, Uwe Boll made it? I thought it was going to be fun bad, not bad bad!"
Maybe she'll finally put up that new Action Figure Theater with Lindsay Lohan and the Muppets, and all will be forgiven...
This morning, I found myself idly flipping my HBO channels, when I happened to catch the beginning of Joel Schumacher's terrible version of Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Phantom of the Opera on HBO Latin. This is a movie I absolutely hated, but I found myself riveted to the Spanish-dubbed version (which, apparently, was dubbed by the actors who performed the stage production in Madrid). First off, the heightened reading of the Spanish actors was more in-line with the unitentionally comic, ridiculous sets and direction. The funnier characters--Andre, Firmin, Carlotta--actually come off as funny, for example. The actors give the characters a sort of mad energy that is completely missing from Schumacher's dull, listless film.
Secondly, the singing is...well, it's singing! The major problem with the film (how to pick one from so many?) is that the ability to sing and emote through music takes a second place to acting ability. Which normally wouldn't matter to me, except that the film is a musical! Granted, it isn't an overly good one, but nonetheless, the music is the entire point of the story; it's the medium through which the actions, emotions, and characters are communicated. But in the movie, not only is the music too slow (too compensate for weak vocal ability, I assume), but too many lines of lyric are spoken and emoted rather than sung. When you do this, you stop the entire flow of the song and make the other lyrics sound meaningless. If you do that, what's the point of the film?
The Spanish actors concede to this idiot conceit of Joel Schumacher, but their singing is just so much better. Juan Carlos Barona plays the Phantom like a manlier version of the original, Michael Crawford, rather than blustering and ripping his way through the music like Gerard Butler, who tries to simply beat the music into submission by overpowering it. When Barona sings "Music of the Night," he makes it sound seductive and appealing, rather than just creepy. Julia Möeller plays Christine with a mixture of innocence and burgeoning sexual awareness that blows Emmy Rossum of the screen. That's the second major problem with the film: Emmy Rossum. Seeing the movie again really did cement my opinion that, frankly, there is no less talented and less attractive young woman on the screen today than Emmy Rossum. Come back, Keira Knightley, all is forgiven! Save me from the dead-eyed uggmo that is Emmy! This was the most important role in the film to cast, and Schumacher and Weber decided to go with a girl who sings with the force of a laryngitic mouse in a wind tunnel. I don't know at what point they decided singing ability wasn't actually important to the lead role in a musical, but they went from considering Charlotte Church and Anne Hathaway (the perfect choice) to coming this close to casting Katie Holmes (Schumacher, who apparently has not seen the unfortunate episodes of Dawson's Creek where they let Ms. Holmes "sing," decided that the major problem with her was that she was too old).
Quick digression: they were going to make this movie in 1990 with the original cast members, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Then Weber and Brightman got divorced, and the movie was put on hold, apparently so Weber could punish Brightman with the loss of a potential defining screen role.
Anyway, if you like the music but hate the film, I highly recommend the passionate Spanish dubbing that, in some ways, is superior to the original cast recording. If you haven't seen the film and are planning on watching it in English, guarde su mano en el nivel de sus oidos.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
A review of the films I've seen this past week.
SUGAR TOWN (1999)
Some piece of crap the once-promising Alison Anders made about people on the fringe of the entertainment industry. I find that a lot of women tend to be full of shit about relationships. * star, but only because I liked Roseanna Arquette in it.
CLUB DREAD (2004)
Lame horror movie spoof is too close to the real thing to be very funny; the only things this has going for it is Bill Paxton doing a hilarious parody of Jimmy Buffet (his best jokes are his hit song "Pina Colada Burgh" and his calling Jimmy Buffet a "Son of a Son of a Bitch") and sexy Brittany Daniel in a bikini for essentially the whole movie. It's from the makers of Super Troopers, which is another of the unfunniest movies I've ever seen. * star.
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1960)
Disney's family-favorite version has next to nothing to do with the original Johann Wyss novel, but it's a pretty neat movie. I would have enjoyed the hell out of it as a kid; I sure liked it now, too. One of the top tier of the Disney live action movies. ***1/2 stars.
KRONK'S NEW GROOVE (2005)
Disney's straight-to-video sequel to The Emperor's New Groove has its funny moments. Now that their straight-to-video films have reached a near-theatrical quality of animation (since Disney's banished traditional cel animation to a lesser importance) they need people to work on the story instead of just hanging a lot of jokes before the inevitable slide into sentimentalism. It's cute, but when we watched this movie, Becca had made scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese inside of them, and I enjoy that memory a whole lot more. *** stars.
WRONG TURN (2003)
Lame Texas Chainsaw ripoff with pretty Eliza Dushku. If she wants to keep grabbing attention, she's going to have to start taking her clothes off or find a really, really good writer. No stars.
WILD THINGS: DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH (2005)
Yes, that is the third film in the Wild Things series. Dina Meyer stars in this one; I've loved her ever since she was in Starship Troopers, but she's been starring in steadily crappier films for the past eight years. This one was at least more clever than the original movie, and had a better teen lesbian scene, too; I prefer a movie that's willing to admit it's just being sleazy, rather than the original Wild Things, which felt like it was pretending to be something else. This didn't have anyone of Bill Murray's caliber in it, but I do love Dina Meyer. Too bad she can't get a better movie, though... *** stars.
DEVIL'S POND (2003)
Here's my complaint: this movie stars Tara Reid as a woman who goes into the woods with her brand new husband, where he turns psychotic and keeps her a prisoner on a tiny little island. But the movie begins with a scene of her having escaped, making the entire movie a flashback. Well, doesn't it kind of cut out the dramatic tension if we already know she lives? Not that the movie had much of a chance, but it is somewhat of a diversion (though I find the "Women in Peril" genre a little tiring). I like Tara Reid, which is unfortunate for me, because she can't act (and keeps insisting on not acting in crappy movies). But, she wears white through the whole movie and gets wet a lot. Given the right director, right screenwriter, and better actors, this could've worked as a silly B-movie. With what it has now, I'd say ** stars; not good enough to be truly terrible.
Monday, January 02, 2006
A new year is like a clean slate; a chance to start over again and make things new. Ah, bullshit; the odometer turned over on the way humans reckon time. Big fucking deal. The same cycles start over again, the same resolutions will be broken, and human life will continue on in much the same stupidity it always has.
That's why I don't make New Year's Resolutions. This is the first year I've decided to even have any resolve, and that's just a determination to lose weight (I am at the fattest point of my life, a trim 375 pounds, and either it has to go or I do). And to stop being so interested in celebrities, which I know sounds strange for a pop culture blog, but it's killing my appreciation of the work of some actors and singers whose work I genuinely like. And, of course, to never stop posting pictures of women doing things to each other--hence the picture.
Most holidays don't mean overly much to me, either, and I suspect they don't really mean much to a lot of people. Sure, it's nice to have some limited time with the family and all, but on the other hand, I think people just appreciate the time off work more. I was pretty pissed off last Monday to discover that, in spite of the fact that I needed a rush payment to avoid getting my phone shut off and needed a rush refill of my Toprol to avoid, well, having a stroke and dying, America was closed for (get this) Christmas observation. Er, excuse me? The day after Christmas is a fucking holiday now? I can just see people a year ago, whining: "Christmas is on a Sunday, it'll be like we didn't have a day off at all!!!" and then crying as they penciled in fucking Christmas Day Observed on the 2005 calendars. Give me a fucking break, you peasants. We have a country to make work, alright?
And while I'm on a pointless complaint streak, what is it with the TV this time of year? Endless marathons, crappy movies you wouldn't go see in the theater and don't really want to watch edited for broadcast ("Ooh, look, TNT is showing Legally Blonde yet again!"), and the entire run of some idiot reality series, as if anyone cared what Danny Bonadeuchebag puts in his body these days. Are we finally back from this shit now? Because, you know, I might like to watch a music video some time in the future (since, after all, MTV Hits's "My Hit List Month" proved, yet again, that letting viewers decide what they want to see can only be disastrous).
Either way, I'm just fucking glad that the holiday season nightmare is over, and we can get back to business as usual.
This Christmas, my sister Jayne brought up one of her favorite stories about our father; the time he sprained his neck when we were sledding. I think I was eleven or so at the time, making Jayne eight. Like in most suburban neighborhoods, there was one high hill that everyone used for sledding when the snow was good, and luckily for us, it was only about a third of a mile from our house. For a long time we had this really nice, old wooden sled, but for some reason, we ended up getting those crappy little sleds that roll up like a carpet. They go faster, sure, but you also have to feel every bump jab at you on the way down.
Well, Jayne and I were going down the hill together on the same sled, and my dad decided to be Mr. Cool and surf down the hill on his sled. "Look!" Jayne yelled as we were a quarter of the way down; I turned to the left and there was Dad, surfing down the hill and smiling like an idiot, apparently thinking that his children thought he was the coolest guy in the world. He sailed smoothly all the way to the bottom of the hill, then came to a sudden stop in front of a snow drift, lost his footing, and dove headfirst into a big bank of snow. Which, to an eleven year-old, is instantly hilarious. Actually, I'm twenty-nine now, and it still makes me laugh. Jackass.
So, my dad pulls himself out and decides that's enough for the day. Then he takes us home, leaves us with our mom, and drives himself to the hospital. We could already tell he had hurt himself, because a big bruise was forming on his neck. Do you realize what a man driving himself to the hospital does to a kid? I knew I wasn't going to be able to cry when I hurt myself anymore, because here was my father, possibly with a broken neck, driving himself to the hospital. When he came back, he had a big, fuzzy neckbrace, and non-chalantly mentioned that he had sprained his neck earlier. He decided not to give us enough info to make the connection between his sledding accident and his current condition.
Now my dad likes to alternately say that he either invented snowboarding or that he was teaching my sister and I a valuable lesson in safety. Either way, it's one of the funniest things I can call on to show people what an obnoxious ass my father can be. Why do you think I'm such a prick?