Saturday, January 07, 2006

Her Only Decent Contribution to Cinema

Jessica Alba slips a nipple in a deleted scene from Into the Blue. When is this girl going to take her clothes off in a movie so we can all go back to ignoring her again like all the other talent-deprived Shannon Elizabeths who were "too good" to continue showing their racks?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 06, 2006

Throwdown 1/6

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. Anyone else think there’s been WAY too much coverage of Lost stars Cynthia Watros and Michelle Rodriguez and their arrest for drunk driving? I’ve long passed any interest I ever had, which was zero to begin with.

2. Look, don’t throw images of Nicole Richie in my face anymore, especially not in a bikini and her clownishly large sunglasses, until she puts on at least 30 pounds. I remember when that girl used to have an ass. Now she looks as appealing as Helen Gurley Brown. *shudder*

3. Jonathan Rhys-Myers has been accused of beating up his girlfriend. I’m going to let Becca take this one: "Jonathan Rhys-Myers has a girlfriend?"

4. Reese Witherspoon gave her husband, little-working actor Ryan Phillippe, a special gift for Christmas: she recorded two of his favorite Frank Sinatra songs (apparently the wailing she does in Walk the Line now qualifies her to be called a singer). The gift does clear up one mystery. Reese Witherspoon does, in fact, hate her husband.

5. Oh, I see. Jarhead failed in America because Americans don’t get war films that aren’t completely one-sided. Thank you for clearing that up, British director Sam Mendes. Americans are too stupid to appreciate your work. Now, if you’re done here, don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out of our country. And the next time you decide to release another one of your self-important, pretentious films in this country, try not to blame the audience for the resulting yawn, okay, you pretentious fuck? It’s not my fault your film failed.

6. When did the Geico Gecko get so lower class? I mean, what’s with the sudden Leeds accent he’s got? It seems like an attempt to make the Geico Gecko as poor as its potential customers, but that would be offensive, wouldn’t it? You know, my mother once called Geico, and their estimated payment was $120 more a month than she pays now.

7. Dude, how many publications are going to have to "accidentally" call Kevin Spacey gay before he finally just admits it?

8. Kate Beckinsale is apparently thrilled that the producers of the new Underworld movie have scrapped plans for a series of action figures, because she thinks hers made her look like a transsexual. Honey, the sculptors can only work with what you give them, alright? Yes, worst boob job in Hollywood, I’m just saying.

9. Jennifer Lopez was supposed to star in a new $50 million version of Carmen being directed by Taylor Hackford, but the movie has fallen apart. Hackford is convinced that it’s because investors don’t want to see her die at the end of the movie. Yes, that would be a downer. And it probably has nothing to do with the fact that there won’t be enough audience in the world who wants to collectively pay over $50 million to see a musical starring fucking Jennifer Lopez. Actually, most people I know say the only thing they liked about Jersey Girl was that Jennifer Lopez died in the first ten minutes.

10. I keep hearing stories about Mira Sorvino–she’s pregnant, she’s an honorary police officer–but I keep thinking I should be asking: Who is this Mira Sorvino person? I mean, yes, she won an Oscar, but if she’s going to keep being reported on, shouldn’t she be, like, doing something.

11. So, not only has the government taken away your right to declare bankruptcy in order to protect yourself, but now the credit card companies are responding in their typically helpful way: by doubling the amount of your minimum payment. Now that our government has decided to stop protecting its citizens and favors protecting the right of creditors to bleed you for everything, does anyone else but me see the conditions being perfectly set up for a Depression of some kind? This country practically forces you to have credit, allows the creditors to charge you as much as they want, and now they won’t even help you if it becomes too overwhelming. Which means less people getting credit cards, which means less people buying things on credit, which means less consumerism, which means economic stall. I mean, I can see all that, and I’ve never even had a credit card or taken an economics course. But it seems pretty obvious to me. Welcome to more economic downturn, fuckers! Until they finally pass that law that requires people to buy a certain amount every year, and then cut our wages. Jesus, I hope I'm joking.

12. So, the Catholics got an episode of South Park banned forever because it feature one of their Virgin Mary idols bleeding out the ass, eh? Why do people keep caving in on the Catholics? I guarantee you their economic power isn’t as much as they say it is. What was the big danger, that Catholics might not watch South Park anymore? Look, as long as the Catholics aren’t interfering in the secular government or touching little boys, I have no problem with them as long as they stay the fuck outside of real human society. But quit interfering in my television viewing, or else I’m going to start complaining to networks about shows with religious or spiritual content. You have the right to believe whatever nonsense you want, but when you start forcing me to adhere to whatever fairy tale you think accurately depicts the nature of the universe, I’m going to start getting angry. And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

13. Speaking of Jesus, a lot of Christians are pissed tonight because NBC is premiering The Book of Daniel, and apparently Jesus is a character. Funny how these same people weren’t pissed off about God playing the same role on Joan of Arcadia as Cordelia did on Angel ("Someone's in trouble, save them, Joan! Woof woof! Quick to the Mystery Machine, Timmy's trapped in the well and the barn's on fire!"). Anyway, I sure hope that a lot of people watch The Book of Daniel tonight and it causes them to question their faith and tear down the Catholic churches. Because, you know, that sounds like something that would really happen, doesn’t it? Again, Christians feel that only they can decide, sight unseen, what is appropriate for you to watch. Which, don’t’cha know, means they think you’re a fucking idiot and that you’re too stupid to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s made up. Oh, which is, probably, why you’re a Christian...

14. Man, Mike Myers is getting divorced, Tori Spelling is engaged but isn’t divorced from her first husband yet, Christina Applegate’s getting divorced, Rufus Sewell’s wife dumps him. It’s almost like marriage doesn’t hold any meaning anymore. But you know what would really ruin the institution of marriage? Gay people. (Yes, that was sarcasm).

15. And lastly... you knew I wasn’t going to let this week’s Throwdown pass without a mention of Lindsay Lohan, right? This week alone, a photographer narrowly escaped legal culpability in one of her many paparazzi-related car crashes, she goes into the hospital (again), and now everyone’s speculating that she might be pregnant. If so, I pity the child inside of her. Oh, and who could forget the Vanity Fair interview, in which she admits to "a little" drug use and a bout with bulimia (but doesn’t comment on her rampant smoking and photographed underage drinking). Man, Linz has become more Courtney Love than ever–the occasional contrition, followed by some massive hospital trip, and then we’re back to the cavalier Lindsay who doesn’t care what people think. Oh, and I love how Jared Leto is still being referred to as her "reported boyfriend," especially when one of the dedications in her new album to "JL" says such dumbass mooney things as "Are you my fatal crime?" which is the kind of tripe only people high on a new relationship can write without being really, really embarrassed about it. So, once again, Lindsay Lohan is a whore with an eating disorder and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were whole villages in Colombia named after her. By the way, the asthma attack that sent her to the hospital was so massive that it broke a blood vessel in her neck. I’m sorry, was I supposed to be sympathetic to a kid with asthma who is too stupid to quit smoking?

Is it just me, or was this my meanest Throwdown ever? Welcome to the new year, motherfuckers!

The Firmness of Madonna's Ass

Madonna in "Hung Up" Posted by Picasa

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...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Fundamental Difference Between Me and My Gal

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."

Becca: "Awesome!"

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. Posted by Picasa

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!"


"Like CrossWorlds."


Maybe she'll finally put up that new Action Figure Theater with Lindsay Lohan and the Muppets, and all will be forgiven...

El Esta Aqui, el Fantasma de la Opera!

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

Party Gal, or Why You Should Always Attend Parties If You Know Katie "Jordan" Price Is Going to Be There: A Delightful Photographic Essay

"Oi, this party is boring. I know, I'll flash everyone! Hey, all, look at me! I'm bored and wearing too much clothing!"

"Shall I whip them out? Here, let's give them a lick so the nips are all perky and look their best."

"There we go, that's loads better. Anyone up for a look?"

"Oh, hello, ladies. Here, cop some feels on me if you like, I'm open for road testing!"

"Oh, here, girls: would you like a peek at the lovely tat about my lovely quim?"

*YAWN* "Well, it's a little dull in here now. I'm going to put them away and go have a shot or nine. 'Ta, all." Posted by Picasa

Anyone Else Bored with This Beyonce?

I'm a white boy, and my musical taste often reflects that. For me, funk music stops with Prince, soul music was killed by disco, and with the exception of some of the new art rock-influenced rap (N.E.R.D., Snoop Dogg's latest album, OutKast), I'm not that into the whole hip-hop/R&B scene.* So, when Destiny's Child had a hit song on the Charlie's Angels soundtrack in 2000, I had absolutely no idea who these girls were.

My own opinion of Destiny's Child is that they were a low-tier glam knockoff of the Supremes, another overrated, overblown, overdramatic girl group. When MTV Hits became a part of my cable line-up in 2002, I saw enough Destiny's Child videos to realize that I hadn't really missed anything at all.** In fact, I think I pronounced Beyonce's weird name incorrectly until Austin Powers in Goldmember came out. I'd heard that she was going out with Jay-Z, but I didn't know who he was, either (didn't miss much there, I have to say).

Then, when Beyonce's first solo video hit MTV, "Crazy in Love," I realized two things. First, this chick was insanely hot. And second, this chick had actual musical talent. I really enjoyed that one, and to my surprise, I kept liking her solo music as it came out: "Baby Boy," "Me Myself I," and "Naughty Girl" -- loved 'em. I came close to buying her solo album, Dangerously in Love. But then something happened. Destiny's Child stupidly got back together.

Okay, sure, maybe Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland are too untalented to make it on their own (maybe?), but the decision to drag Beyonce down with them was unfortunate. Rather than doing something interesting, Beyonce was back to this lame, overblown musical style that reminded me of Whitney Houston's first album: overdramatic, desperate, and something fit only for 11-year-old girls. Weirdly, Destiny's Child lost the glam edge and tried to go for some kind of weird faux-faux-gangsta-chick-lite thing that completely failed (and was, to be honest, a little offensive).*** And, ugh, were they always so ready to roll over just to be with a guy? At least in "Say My Name" and "Bills, Bills, Bills" they were in control of their lives; they were slutty, yes, but at least they were direct about not settling for less. Now witness "Cater 2 U," in which Beyonce and the girls assert that their only desire is to do everything a man could want, regardless of what that requires (like the loss of personality, for example): at various points, they agree to always look hot and young, to always have dinner ready, and to constantly be grateful to be a man's property. One supposes that a fourth verse about promising to never be mad if a guy cheats on or beats them is missing from the single version...

So, after releasing the presumptiously titled #1's (on what chart?), which has a couple of new songs that have yet to be #1 (hence the accusation of presumption), Beyonce has apparently decided to go solo again. She has a new song on the album, a solo song, that is a single for the long-delayed Pink Panther remake. And once again, she is insanely hot in the video, and the song is better than anything Destiny's Child has put out. But, you know, the crappiness of her past year kind of makes me think that there's no point to paying attention to her music. She had a chance to be like Diana Ross or Donna Summer, but going back to her group and then putting out a year's worth of inescapable, ominpresent, aggressively mediocre music has kind of made me not care anymore. And her pathetic acting career (The Fighting Temptations? The Pink Panther?) has sealed the deal.

I guess as long as I can still look at her ass. But there could have been something more to it.

* While we're on the subject of music, R&B stands for rhythm & blues, not recent & black. There were once white R&B bands, too: the Spencer Davis Group, the Yardbirds, the Animals, the Kinks, the Pretty Things, Them, and arguably the best work of the Rolling Stones, to provide a few examples. Somehow, in the past 15 or 20 years, R&B has become a catch-all for any black music that isn't obviously rap.

** It sounds pretty unbelievable now, given some of my current musical interest, but the early years of the teen pop wave passed me by completely. I had the vaguest idea who Christina Aguilera was (Becca was attracted to her, so she knew who Christina was, but I just knew she had done the song from Mulan), I didn't really pay any attention to Britney Spears until her movie came out, I didn't know who Hilary Duff or Lizzie McGuire were, and I didn't know who Jessica Simpson was until Newlyweds started (and I only ended up watching it because my mom kept calling me while it was on to marvel at what a ditz Jessica was). A simpler, less irritating time. And this is from someone who owns the Aly & AJ album.

*** While we're on the subject, I think we need a ruling requiring every rap idiot who identifies himself as a "soldier" to go and fight in Iraq and get out of my face with his idiocy.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Just Fill My Bags While Touching As Little As Possible

Yesterday, Becca and I went to the grocery store to grab some quick items for breakfast. As is my monthly wont, I bought the new issue of Mad magazine, then proceeded to get in line and let everything get rung up. Due to yesterday's intense thunderstorm, the place was pretty empty, so not only was one woman (I assume she was a woman, though the Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson jaw kind of threw me off at first) bagging my groceries, but the other cashier (one of those women who look young but sound like Selma Diamond because they've been smoking since age 9) came over to bag as well. Then, they proceeded to go through my issue of Mad and laugh at each other. When I was finally able to leave, it was the one thing they had left out of the bags (they had run off to the other register to "help" another customer).

Dude, is it too much to ask that you two barely-functioning braincases just bag my things without going through them? Or did you want to taste-test my uncooked bacon, too?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hey, It's 2006: NOW BACK TO WORK!

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. Posted by Picasa

My Dad Either Invents Snowboarding, Teaches Me a Valuable Lesson, or Just Acts Like a Jackass

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?