Saturday, April 01, 2006

Oh, So Comcast Just Lied About It

Right now, from 31 March to 9 April, Comcast is offering a free preview of Showtime. Okay, any chance to catch a few extra movies, why not? Not that Showtime gets much that's any good, but what the hell, eh? Now, for the most part, the movies I wanted to check out are On Demand. No problem, right? I've gotten free previews of Showtime before, and On Demand was always available. But, for some reason, not this time. When I tried to watch something On Demand, a message came up that I needed an actual subscription to Showtime to access the programming.

An oversight, I thought. After all, the announcement on my bill (referring to this promotion and a recent HBO promotion) says: "Where available, previews include HBO & Showtime On Demand." And since I've had it before, it's obviously available in my area. So, I called Comcast and asked about it, and the guy I talked to simply told me: "They're not running it in your area, sorry."

Okay, my mind started calling this a bait & switch, but I decided to be nice about it. I e-mailed customer service to register my disappointment and ask why this was. Within an hour, some guy names Charles e-mailed me the following message:

" The On Demand Programming is not included in the Free Preview of Showtime, as this would be an injustice to the customers that are paying for Showtime and digital service to recieve this feature."

"An injustice"? What is this, revolutionary France?

Funny how this has never been "an injustice" in the past. I already pay for digital service, I just don't subscribe to Showtime. And how is getting Showtime for free for 10 days less of an injustice to Showtime subscribers if On Demand doesn't come with it? The idiot reply from Comcast makes it sound like I want to commit a crime by getting something they've already offered me by mail.

I e-mailed back, saying pretty much what I've said above, and asking why this injustice would be offered in the first place. And registering the offense I've taken by their rather high handed disregard for my satisfaction as a customer. And since no one had the courtesy to e-mail me back, I'm getting it all out here in public. Comcast lied about their offer, and tried to make me feel like an asshole for speaking up about it. Because corporations like Comcast aren't interested in offering a service; they're interested in making money. You're just a service fee to them, and nothing else. They do whatever they want, because they think no one will ever complain; and when someone does, they dismiss it.

Thanks for nothing, Comcast.

Lovely Liv

For no good reason other than I love and adore her, here's a photo shoot of Liv Tyler from a few years ago.











Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 31, 2006

Like you needed a reason to think "Garfield" was pathetic


Jon Arbuckle is the most pathetic character in the universe. Peter over at Man vs. Clown! has an interesting piece up about how, if you remove Garfield's thought balloons from Garfield strips, it's nothing more than a sad man talking to his fat cat. It didn't hit me immediately, but this is how the fictional Jon lives his fictional life. He can't hear Garfield! The reaction above is pretty much the meat of Jon Arbuckle's existence; talking to a cat that, as far as he knows, is unable to understand him. Jesus, it's sad. It's practically Nietzsche.


Here's another one that's even more pathetic. I love the slow realization on Jon's face as he understands just how sad his life is. Posted by Picasa

Brother Ziggy's Gonna Play

Just for the hell of it, here's a CD I made that I've been listening to lately. I made myself an alternate version of one of the greatest albums of all time, David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. There's nothing wrong with the original, but sometimes I get in the mood for a different experience, so I made this thing. The extra songs are from the album preceding, Hunky Dory, and the album after, Aladdin Sane, as well as bonus tracks from the same time ("All the Young Dudes," for example, was intended for either Ziggy or Aladdin, but given to Mott the Hoople instead). I was hoping to put on something from Pin-Ups (specifically "Shapes of Things" or "Friday On My Mind"), but it didn't work out. Anyway, this will only make sense to Bowie fans, so here goes.

K. WEST: THE ALTERNATE ZIGGY STARDUST
1. Five Years
2. Soul Love
3. Moonage Daydream
4. Panic in Detroit
5. Drive-In Saturday
6. Starman
7. Watch That Man
8. Velvet Goldmine
9. John, I'm Only Dancing
10. Life On Mars?
11. Star
12. Hang On to Yourself (live at the BBC)
13. Lady Stardust
14. Amsterdam
15. Cracked Actor (live at the Hammersmith Odeon)
16. Holy Holy
17. Time
18. All the Young Dudes
19. Queen Bitch
20. Ziggy Stardust
21. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Throwdown 3/31

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

1. Charisma Carpenter wants to play Wonder Woman? Okay! That’s much better than Lindsay Lohan. And since Joss Whedon has already talked about how lame and "coming-of-age" his version is going to be, the only thing that can make me interested in seeing it is an actress as funny and graceful as Charisma Carpenter. I say let her do it. I would actually go see it if she were in it.

2. Ethan Hawke is directing the film version of his novel The Hottest State. Even though his office was destroyed in a fire, the negatives were unharmed. Damn it. You film buff arsonists will have to try harder to protect us.

3. Ryan Seacrest and Teri Hatcher were caught kissing. God, which one do you feel is more pathetic because of that? By the way, have you seen the Will Rogers Institute cinema ads with Teri Hatcher and the Muppets? The Muppets look more lifelike.

4. According to a story I read this morning, Matthew Perry and Kristin Davis are Hollywood’s new "It" couple. I suppose in this case, "It" means easy to ignore. Who are these people, again?

5. Director Robert Luketic has walked off the completely unneccesary Dallas movie because he was unhappy with some of the casting choices. Dude, when the guy who directed Legally Blonde, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, and Monster-in-Law walks off a movie, you know it’s going to be awful. Oh, and when John Travolta’s in it. I wonder what piece of shit no-name hack they’ll get now that they lost their first piece of shit no-name hack.

6. Speaking of shit, Larry the Cable Guy made a movie? Larry the Cable Guy, the man I consider the personification of just how stupid and worthless 90% of Americans are? Larry the Cable Guy, the Nebraska-born private school graduate with a fake accent who makes millions off of his merchandise by fleecing the very "blue collar" folks he claims to champion? Larry the Cable Guy, whose catch phrase basically means "complete the task"? Larry the Cable Guy, who deepens the chasm between anti-intellectual fear and actual thinking? That Larry the Cable Guy? Wow, that’s unneccesary.

7. Does it shock you that Whitney Houston may be on drugs? Really? Oh. Does it also shock you that the refrigerator light goes off when you close the door?

8. Sharon Stone’s big advice for teenage girls who are being pressured for sex is to dish out blowjobs instead? Now, that’s just embarrassing. Way to feminist things up, there.

9. Is Britney pregnant, or just fat? The media has sighed with disappointment at the sight of Britney Spears sipping cocktails in Vegas recently. But, come on, this proves nothing! She’s just stupid, remember? She drives with her kid on her lap; shit, she probably drank when she was pregnant with the first one. Just giving you media fucks a reason to live.

10. Jessica Simpson, meanwhile, is talking about adoption, which seems to be something she strongly believes in. Good for her; there’s enough unwanted children in the world, why have your own unwanted ones? Remember the episode of Newlyweds where she and Nick talked about adoption and he bent over backwards to talk her out of it? The guy’s so hung up on having his own kids.

11. Speaking of Jessica, apparently she’s being linked romantically to her current co-star (how original, tabloid media) Dane Cook. Can someone explain to me who the hell Dane Cook is?

12. Kevin Smith and Nicole Richie has pulled into the lead as the most worthless celebrity feud of all time.

13. So, Fez from That 70s Show went on Howard Stern and talked about all the sex he says he’s had and about how big he claims his dick is. Wow, just when I thought El Smuggo couldn’t get any smarmier, there he goes. The really pathetic part is that most of his girlfriends are a bit younger than him, and in at least one case, a teenager. So, you’re bragging about being one of those tools who hangs out in the high school parking lot around seventh period even though he graduated six years earlier? Man, if America only knew who the hell you were, it would be hilarious. Loser.

14. If I had my way, Morgan Spurlock would be fed feet-first into a deli slicer, then turned into a fine paste and spread over quarter pounders for fat Midwesterners. This idiot, who is not a documentarian, has apparently been doing the high school lecture circuit. Apparently, his recent talk at a Pennsylvania high school shocked and upset some people; he was using the F-word, making fun of art teachers getting high, and mocking "the retarded kids in the back wearing helmets." Wow, what an asshole; he’s not even going to pretend that he deserves his new recognition as some kind of low-rent Michael Moore. Which, in case you were wondering, he doesn’t. But Spurlock isn’t an asshole, he’s an exemplar: "The greatest lessons those kids learned today was the value of free speech." Dude, being an irresponsible dick is not freedom of speech and therefore has no value. You’re just an asshole trying to justify his dickery. Anyway, he apologized a couple of days later, so there goes the free speech angle.

15. Well, it looks like Showtime won’t be picking up Arrested Development after all. Mitch Hurwitz, the show’s creator, has decided to move on, and no network or cable outlet wants to pick up the show without him, so that’s that. Well, at least it ended on a satisfactory note. I’ll just buy the DVDs and be satisfied with the tiny bit of decent television I got. No one knows how to handle quality shows these days, anyway. And, if I’m being honest, Showtime’s original series suck, anyway.

Howard the Duck


I forgot to mention this movie in my list of comics-derived movies. You know, I actually like this one. It's stupid, but it's funny. It's one of my favorite comics, too. Remember satire? It was great. Now if they did make a movie closer to Steve Gerber's original, that would be perfect. Get Harlan Ellison to do Howard's voice. Hell, it's the perfect time for political satire right now. Get Gerber on it right away! Posted by Picasa

That's Some Pig


Except for the inappropriately lame casting of Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte, I'm really looking forward to this movie. Posted by Picasa

Another Disney Channel Rant


I'm sure it comes as a surprise to exactly no one that I like Aly & AJ. I just do. I like Alyson (left) especially, because I thought she was funny on the recently-cancelled Phil of the Future. But, as I've complained about before, Disney is wrecking the shows I actually like on their channel (the labors of being a lifelong Disney junkie). Okay, so Phil of the Future was a very successful show, and their response is to cancel it? According to Amy Bruckner (who played one of my favorite characters on TV, Pim Diffy), Disney decided to take their Phil money and create a new series (why couldn't they have just ended That's So Raven instead? I love Anneliese, but that show ran out of ideas a long fucking time ago).

The first idea among PotF fans was to boycott Aly & AJ; their album, their Disney Channel movie Cow Belles, their concerts, etc. But then we were told that the popularity of Aly & AJ had nothing to do with the decision to cancel the show. And then we started seeing commercials for Hannah Montana, starring Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter in a lot of whorey makeup. This show... I haven't watched it and I'm not going to, but I've seen the music videos. This girl is Disney's attempt at a Hilary Duff clone. Apparently Disney finances are still seeing the hit from the loss of their golden girl in 2003, and they need to replace her with a younger, newer Hilary. So they've come up with a sitcom for Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter that, wouldn't you know, revolves around her being a singer. Expect the album by the time summer gets here... Man, Disney, could you at least pretend this isn't purely marketing-based?

But, if the popularity of Aly & AJ had nothing to do with the cancellation of PotF, why has it come out that the sister Michalka have shot a pilot for Disney called Haversham Hall, about two sisters who solve mysteries at a boarding school? All I ask is not to be lied to, alright? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006

More Than Meets the Eye?

There's quite an ongoing debate online over who will/should provide the voices for the upcoming live action Transformers movie. Wow, people are idiots. The latest thread I saw about this seemed to think it would be a really good idea for David Caruso to do the voice of Optimus Prime.

Now, I know you and I are hip and with it and can smell the stink coming off of this project. And if you couldn't, here's two words to let you know: Michael Bay. Not enough? Well, it's being written by Alex Kurtzman & Robert Orci, who turned a stint writing episodes for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys into screenplay deals for The Island and The Legend of Zorro. Do you know anybody who even saw those films? Because I don't.

So, obviously Transformers is going to suck more ass than a field of ticks. But it has a built-in recognition factor, and it has chatroom idiots who'll go see it no matter how bad it is, and then they'll complain about it later and their complaints won't matter because they're fucking morons for going to see it in the first place. And when a moron hurts himself, it's not really tragic, is it?

I can't believe there are people out there who care about this. And, come on, have you watched an episode of Transformers lately? When I was an undiscerning ten-year-old, it was the coolest thing on TV. Seen in adulthood, it only makes you pity the people who are still into it after they're old enough to drive. It's utter crap, really. Maybe if they had writers who didn't have such a tin ear for dialogue... as if dialogue was the point, right?

Of course, there's always the chance that this could be the white buffalo of movies: a shitty cartoon actually turned into an exciting and interesting movie by mature filmmakers. But once again, will you look at the people who are involved in this crap? And the studio thinks the Transformers themselves need celebrity voices for people to be interested enough to go to their movie.

Well, celebrities are great and all, but how about people who can actually act with their voices? Why the short shrift these days on putting actual voiceover artists in movies? Does Optimus Prime having the voice of Tom Cruise really make you want to see it? If so, you're kind of a dumbass. I don't know... Peter Cullen's voice was so distinctive for me as a kid, I don't really care about someone new doing it. Frank Welker is the voice of Megatron (and Soundwave, and many others). Chris Latta's voice as Starscream was so distinctive; and he's dead, so what are you going to do?

Oh, Hollywood. You make me laugh my ass off sometimes.

Today's Language Quip

PROFESSOR: "Do you like Kipling?"

ME: "I don't know, I've never kippled."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Film Week

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

CAKE (2005)
A while back, Chance asked me if I ever saw movies knowing in advance that they were going to suck. Well, here's one. But I love Heather Graham with an incredibly frenzy, so I had to see her most recent movie. And again, it's far below what I really believe Heather must be capable of. I love that she's producing her own stuff, and I really appreciate that she's trying to do something different and interesting with the romantic comedy, but this is just too mediocre. It starts off fine, with Heather as a freelance travel writer taking over as editor of a bridal magazine to help her ailing father. The dad treats her like crap, and sends a guy to check up on her; a guy whom Heather ran into at a wedding when she was drunk. Then the rest of the movie keeps trying to convince us that this fun-loving, unconventional gal and this uptight, smarmy guy are meant to be together. But it's never convincing, and the guy's a bully, one of those men who basically forces himself on a girl and thinks she should yield to him just because he's so interested in her. Taye Diggs plays the character she should end up with but doesn't. Good supporting cast, including Sandra Oh, Cheryl Hines, and Sarah Chalke. A good plot, but it's annoying the way Heather eventually yields to convention at the end of every one of her movies. Never the courage of convictions. Better luck next time. This could make a very good sitcom...or an insanely bad one. ** stars for Heather.

ALIENS OF THE DEEP (2005)
James Cameron documents an expedition beneath the ocean to study the life around hot vents. But in addition to marine biologists and dive experts, he also takes people from NASA to fly his experimental underwater craft as they study the rocks and creatures. It seems obvious when you think about it: planetary biologists and planetary geometrists studying the most alien environment on our own planet as they postulate what life may be like on other worlds. I know it's fashionable among film buffs right now to tell James Cameron to get out of the ocean and back behind the camera, but fuck them. Based on this documentary, and seeing what he's doing to advance the cause of science, I hope he never gets back to work. Dude, I want us to go to other worlds, and if we have to sacrifice a Dark Angel movie or True Lies 2 to get it, I am more than prepared for it. **** stars.

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT (2004)
Easily the most horrible thing I've ever seen. Ashton Kutcher plays Evan, a guy who figures out he can go back along his own timeline, back into the past, and decides to right some wrongs. This movie is just plain icky; in the first ten minutes, we see seven-year-old Evan forced to make amateur porn with his playmate Kayley by Kayley's own father (perhaps unsurprisingly played by Eric Stoltz). Evan's own father, an asylum inmate, nearly kills him. He has serious blackouts and nosebleeds. By age 13, he and his friends Lenny, Kayley, and her insanely violent brother Tommy have accidentally blown up a woman and her infant girl while playing with dynamite. When Evan and Kayley kiss, Tommy goes nuts and steals Evan's dog, puts it in a sack, and lights it on fire. Evan moves, and he doesn't see Kayley again until they're both 20 and he's a college student; he reminds her of the baby incident, and she kills herself. Time to start time traveling, but with consequences. First time, he ends up a frat asshole perfectly happy with Kayley the sorority bimbo; but then Tommy gets out of prison and attacks them, so Evan kills him in self defense and ends up in prison. Time to travel again--second time around, Evan saves his dog, but Lenny kills Tommy and ends up in an asylum; Kayley is a junkie whore. And just as things almost threaten to get interesting (we discover that Evan's childhood blackouts were caused by his future self traveling back into his younger body), it's another trip back. Evan saves the woman and her baby, but his arms are blown off in the process. And even though everyone's happy in the future (Kayley and Lenny are together and happy, Tommy's a religious guy), Evan has no hands and a wheelchair. Uh-oh, the accident made mother a chain-smoker, and now she's dying of lung cancer? Back in time we go... and at age seven, Kayley gets blown up and killed! Evan wakes up in an institution and is told everything he's been talking about for some time has been a dream. And if the filmmakers had any skill, they'd really convince us that the entire picture up until now has been the fevered imaginings of an asylum inmate. But they don't. No, he escapes pretty quickly and goes back to the day he met Kayley, telling her to stay away from him. Everyone grows up normal (at least, Evan and Lenny do), and Evan accepts it. Years later, he and Kayley pass on the street and almost recognize each other...and they keep walking. Stupid people cry, thinking they've seen something profound. And you know, the original ending the filmmakers intended was to have Evan go back to the womb and strangle himself with his own umbilical cord. So, it could be even more stupid. Pointless, idiotic, and terrible, this stupid piece of shit gets no stars from me. If there were some way I could un-see it, I would.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sister

"I will not say, 'Do not weep.' For not all tears are an evil." -- Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

I keep thinking about my sister. Like her big brother, she was a fan of many things fantasy (I choke up when I think she'll never know how Harry Potter will end; those were her favorite books, and they really meant something to her). And, like me, she loved music.

So, it was nice that they played some music at her funeral. They played Leann Rimes's "How Do I Live Without You." They played her favorite song, "Into the Rush," by Aly & AJ; I already liked this song, and its lyrics. They played Jessica Simpson's cover of "Angels," and Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway." It was nice to hear music she loved and listened to a lot. It was hard to keep it together; if they'd capped it with Lindsay Lohan's "Very Last Moment in Time" or worse, Jessica's "You Don't Have to Let Go," I'd have lost it. Yes, I am aware of the obscene amount of teen pop I like; I like a lot of other music.

What I didn't like during the service was the pastor, who was full of shit and full of himself. When he was fobbing off about the similarities of Harry Potter and Jesus, and the concept of evil, I just had to finally tune out on him. I didn't want to remember it. Instead, I just kept remembering a scene from the movie version of The Lord of the Rings.

PIPPIN: I didn't think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all change to silver glass... And then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf?... See what?

GANDALF: White shores... and beyond. The far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn't so bad.

GANDALF: No... No it isn't.

I don't really believe in heaven, but I appreciate the poetry of that.

***************************************************************

Anyway, I wanted to share this essay that I wrote for my composition midterm. The topic was loving, so I wrote this one. It's called "Sister."

Do you love your half-sister as though she was your real, full sister? The question has been asked of me repeatedly since mine was born. People whose parents have always been married seem only to imagine a begrudging acceptance for half-siblings, as if those children born of a remarriage are symbols of a door closed on an old life still longed for.

When Ellen Margaret was born, I expected to feel the same way. As my half-sister, she would be a symbol of my silent anger over the disintegration of my family and the fact that I was forced to participate in a new, unwanted one. But her infant innocence won me over. She would need me, her big brother, to survive. When my dad asked me to be her godfather, I silently promised to protect her against outside harm.

But cancer comes from within. A tumor developed on her knee. The first signs were promising. Out went her knee, in came a metal facsimile. The chemotherapy went well, even as she was losing weight and hair. Her lungs became infected, making it necessary to cut out half of each. But she survived it. The cancer was dead last Christmas. Ellen Margaret, thirteen years old, would live to see out the rest of her natural existence.

Or so we thought. After the euphoria of the holidays, after the high of knowing my sister had beaten the monster that had ravaged her, the bad news came as quickly as the disease spread through her weak body New tumors were eating her lungs and back. She would not live long. The timeframe was unclear, but Ellen Margaret was not going to see another celebration of Christ’s birth.

Nor, as it turned out, of her own. I had received the invitation to her birthday party and was wondering what to get her, when my father called to tell me she had passed away peacefully in her sleep. Tired of always being sick, tired of watching her family suffer, and knowing that she would never get well, Ellen Margaret chose to stop treatment one year to the day after her illness was first discovered. She died a mere four days before she would have been fourteen. Just over a week ago today, on her mother’s birthday.

During the wake and funeral, we were nearly comforted by three facts. That she was no longer in pain. That she had gone out on her own terms. And that we had all loved her as hard as we could, in a way we knew she returned. So would you like to ask me now if I love my half-sister as though she was my real, full sister? Knowing how I kissed her cold, lifeless body on the forehead? Knowing how, as a pallbearer, I helped to carry her coffin into the hearse that took her body away from us forever? Knowing how many times I demanded of God that he let her live and take me instead? Knowing these things, I dare you to ask me again.

Some More Modifications in My Erratic TV Habits

Well, to no one's surprise, What I Like About You has officially been cancelled. The last episode, which aired last Friday, ended as though it were a series finale, so it's not like this was unexpected. It's a huge disappointment for me, but only in the sense that I've really liked watching the lovely and talented Amanda Bynes every week at 7. I really hope her movie career gets stronger as a result of having more time to spend on it.

Frankly, the producers and writers have been running What I Like About You into the ground since the second season or so, anyway. Or third. Whenever the hell Vince came on the show, that's when it started to suck. They spent so much time telling us that Vince and Holly needed to be together, but they never once convinced me it was true. I mean, Henry was such a great guy; he was weak and effete where Holly was strong and tomboyish. Did you ever notice that the second they shuffled Henry off the show, she became a lot more girly? And the decent supporting cast were too often shuffled into the background. Wesley Jonathan is just too damn funny to be stuck in the background all the time. I never once bought Gary's infatuation with Tina, though; probably because they never took the time to make Tina a character before pushing her into the background, too. The show just changed to much with no justification and without the wit to make it part of the joke. So, I won't miss the show, but I will miss seeing Amanda all the time.

Living with Fran, which I watched out of a lifelong lust for Fran Drescher, also had its season finale on Friday. There's been no news of renewal or cancellation, but I see they're making room for a crappy reality show that looks exactly like Joe Simpson's Flithy Rich: Cattle Drive. I didn't watch that, why would I watch another one?

I don't watch the show, but I do point out that NBC has removed Four Kings from its schedule. Way to pick another winner, NBC.

For some reason, Fox has renewed The Simpsons for two more seasons, even though it's less funny than ever. That said, how great was the Ricky Gervais-written episode on Sunday? The anti-Fox stuff right in the first act alone was funnier than the entire show has been for the past three seasons or so. They just need new blood to write the damn thing. And no more songs! They don't even try to make them interesting anymore.

Fox did renew King of the Hill, which actually hasn't bored me yet.

Fox has also renewed Bones, which I've actually been enjoying since they moved it away from Lost, so I guess I'll keep watching it for now. I like the leads, the supporting cast has its moments. It's not a bad show, though it really needs to stop being so contrived if it's going to keep my attention. Or have Amanda Bynes on it. Which would be a shitty career move for her, but it is a surefire way to get me to watch it.

American Idol voters: thank you for getting rid of Kevin "Brainy Smurf" Covais. God, I hated that guy. Smug little fuck. Seriously, he was making me sick with his attempts to "charm" the women of America. Now vote of Fucky Covington, please. Also: who are you people?

Seriously, I manage to get caught up watching this show every time it starts, but I've never voted. I always seem to lose interest about this time. They seriously need to stop milking this thing for advertising, because keep it on the air as long as it's already been is boring as hell. The worst was this year's crap where they separated the women, had them, sing first, and then put the men the night after, and then had the results show the night after that. By the time it was the men's turn, I had had more than enough of TV karaoke for one week, and I tended to skip those.

And do we really need a top 12? I mean, these 12 idiots are the cream of the crop? Only about five of them can sing, anyway, and watching the others mangle Stevie Wonder songs week after week is very trying (sidenote: the only thing you need to know about Stevie Wonder karaoke is this--WHITE PEOPLE CANNOT SING STEVIE WONDER, ESPECIALLY MEN. There are one or two exceptions to this rule, but it's just stupid to try). Dude, a top 8 will be fine. Or a top 6, even. How many weeks do we need to figure out that Fucky Covington sucks? We only need three minutes. Let's speed this thing up. I don't even want to watch it anymore; I'll just find out who got kicked off on the internet if I care. Fuck!

I'd Never Join Any Club Where I'd Have to Show My Member


I didn't post a Monday Funny yesterday, and I'm just near-autistic enough for any break in my routine to be viewed with amazing displeasure. Since I'm at school right now and have no pictures to post, here's a bunch of Groucho Marx quotes.

"You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are."

"Gentlemen, Chicolini here may look like an idiot, and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot."

"I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived."

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know."

"Remember men, we're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did!"

"I've a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it."

"If you're insulted, you can leave in a taxi. If that's not fast enough, you can leave in a huff. If that's too fast, you can leave in a minute and a huff."

"What do you say the three of us get married: You girls have everything, you're short and tall, and slim and stout, and blonde and brunette. And that's just the kind of girl I crave!"

"Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse."

"Why, you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, and that's not saying much for you."

"No, my friends. No, money will never make you happy, and happy will never make you money. That might be a wisecrack, but I doubt it."

"Don't look now, but there's one man too many in this room and I think it's you."

"Go, and never darken my towels again."

When I invite a woman to dinner I expect her to look at my face. That's the price she has to pay."

"This would be a better world for children if the parents had to eat the spinach."

"I've always had an idea that my retirement would be the greatest contribution to science the world has ever known."

"I've worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty."

"A man's only as old as the woman he feels."

"A moose is an animal with horns on the front of his head and a hunting lodge wall on the back of it."

"Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot."

"As soon as I get through with you, you'll have a clear case for divorce and so will my wife."

"Do you suppose I could buy back my introduction to you?"

"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it."

"Here's to our wives and girlfriends...may they never meet!"

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

"I intend to live forever, or die trying."

"I drink to make other people interesting."

"I have nothing but respect for you, and not much of that."

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception."

"I'm not a vegetarian, but I eat animals who are."

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."

"If women dressed for men, the stores wouldn't sell much -- just an occasional sun visor."

"Marriage is a wonderful institution ... but who wants to live in an institution?"

"Now, there's a man with an open mind. You can feel the breeze from here."

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and misapplying the wrong remedies."

"The only game I like to play is Old Maid - provided she's not too old."

"The secret of success is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake those, you've got it made."

"There is only one way to find out if a man is honest...ask him. If he says 'yes', you know he is crooked."

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

"Time wounds all heels."

"Women should be obscene and not heard."

"Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, and I'm going to be happy in it."

"You've got the brain of a four-year-old boy, and I'll bet he was glad to get rid of it."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Hottie 60


SHERI MOON ZOMBIE Posted by Picasa

Movies Based on Comics

Empire magazine recently did their list of 20 Greatest Comic Book Movies. So, what the hell, here's my top 20. I purposely didn't count serials, TV movies, animation, straight-to-video, or anything based on comic strips. Comic books only here. I've gone on at length before about adaptations; fuck the source material, is the movie any good AS A MOVIE? So I don't tend to like something just because the adaptation is close to the source material. I don't care. So here are the comic book movies I like.

My Top 20

20. X2: X-Men United (2003)
I've found the X-Men series to be a little underwhelming. So many characters, so many plotlines, that everything needs to be rushed to get to five separate endings. And the ending of this one makes no sense; why, other than the need for a non-Hellfire Club related entry of Dark Phoenix, can't Jean Grey hold back the wave from the inside of the jet? Anyway, there are some really good sequences for this one, and I love the main three performances (McKellen, Stewart, and Jackman). Cool action sequences are, I guess, the next best thing to character development.

19. Blade II (2002)
This one fixed all of the problems I had with the first one (notably dullness and inconsistent characters), and made a fun, exciting adventure movie. It's not profound, but it's a hell of a good time. Great special effects and a lot of imagination from director Guillermo del Toro.

18. The Rocketeer (1991)
It tames the naughtier elements of the classic Dave Stevens comic, but remember, I don't care about that. This is a fun little movie that plays on 1940s adventure comics.

17. The Mask (1994)
Proof that Jim Carrey can be talented if he's controlled, and that CGI can be witty if employed well. It's a little too much of a kiddie movie, considering the great premise, but it's fun if you're a Tex Avery fan. Remember when Cameron Diaz used to be hot?

16. Men in Black II (2002)
Supposedly, here in the double-O decade, we're supposed to be more sophisticated. So, we loved Men in Black in the nineties, but everyone hates the sequel. Whatever. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Did anyone else notice how much closer in tone it was to the animated series than to the original movie?

15. From Hell (2001)
Opinions vary wildly on the quality of this movie, but I love a good mystery. I thought this movie had a lot of style, not surprising from the directors of Menace II Society.

14. Batman Returns (1992)
After seeing this movie, I realized Tim Burton's first Batman had been a warm-up. This one has more style, a better script, and more exciting visuals than the first one did. This movie really understands the dynamics of the Batman villain, and takes them seriously. Disturbing, as it should be; as if Bob Kane and Bill Finger had been directed by Fritz Lang.

13. Men in Black (1997)
A mid-nineties Ghostbusters from before Will Smith got all full of himself. Witty special effects, energetic direction, and a great Danny Elfman score.

12. Superman II (1981)
I dearly love Christopher Reeve's stolid, dorky take on Superman. He's outdated, but in a pleasant way that serves as a reminder of our idealized American values. More streamlined and less episodic than the first movie, with villains that can match Superman's powers. I do wish they'd release Richard Donner's cut, though.

11. Mystery Men (1999)
Plucky, scruffy, and ragtag. This is a funny, funny movie with the kind of message we don't see often enough in movies: become who you want to be (usually, we're forced to be satisfied with the same old conformity-endorsing "be who you are").

10. Batman Begins (2005)
Since Joel Schumacher buried the movies under camp and crass marketing opportunities, it's refreshing to see a serious take on the Bat mythos. I hope in the sequel they can tie the characters together a little more (that strange dualism between the hero and villain wasn't as pronounced as I would have liked). Great superhero storytelling.

9. American Splendor (2003)
Amazingly, all of the opportunities for pretension are circumvented, and we're left with a great character study about a guy whose life just drifts on aimlessly.

8. Sin City (2005)
Though it very occasionally slips into silliness with the over-serious monologues, this was a great, heavily stylized noir thriller with some excellent performances. Still, if Robert Rodriguez hadn't taken seriously, the whole thing would've been just ridiculous.

7. Ghost World (2001)
In the words of Roger Ebert, I wanted to hug this movie.

6. Spider-Man (2002)
Classic superhero filmmaking. I like how dorky Spidey is; there's a genuine sincerity behind it that is very, very hard not to like. Thank God for Sam Raimi.

5. Hellboy (2004)
More stylish direction from Guillermo del Toro. This is one of the most original movies I've seen, with an excellent group of characters that I didn't want to say goodbye to at the end.

4. The Crow (1994)
Boy, who knew then that Alex Proyas was capable of steaming crap like I, Robot?

3. Superman (1978)
It still works.

2. V for Vendetta (2006)
Finally, a movie that proves how immediate comic book movies can be. I admit, I'm biased towards movies with a shred of decent political thought.

1. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
It's over-the-top, it's overly sentimental, but somehow it all just works. And the sympathetic take on the villains in the Raimi movies just makes the movies even better. The action scenes aren't short-changed at all, but the best scenes are the ones without any superheroics.

Other Movies (in chronological order)

Batman: The Movie (1966)
The relentless camp gets tiresome, but the villains are excellent. Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Lee Meriwether, and Cesar Romero are pitch-perfect.

Barbarella (1968)
This one's campy, too, but Jane Fonda is a sexy bitch and Anita Pallenberg was even better. It's pretty funny, though not always on purpose.

Sheena (1984)
I thought it was cute; I like how open-faced and sincere it is. It was only a couple of months ago when I suffered the disappointment of realizing that Sheena's zebra was a horse made up to look like a zebra. I don't know why, it just really bugged me (and while we're on the subject, why is the panther in Beastmaster just a tiger painted black?). I like Tanya Roberts in it, too--and not just for the nudity. A cute movie with a nice Richard Hartley score.

Batman (1989)
Have you seen this lately? It's hard to believe how utterly charmless it is now. I mean, there's some good stuff in there (most notably Jack Nicholson, the Batwing sequence, the excellent Danny Elfman score, and I still like the Prince music), but for the most part it's depressing and dull. Weird to go back to one of the most overhyped movies of my lifetime and think... it's just okay.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Kevin Smith once put this on a list of the best comic book movies ever because "it's so close to the original comic." So, if you were wondering, that's what idiotic criticism looks like. It's an okay movie; they try to split the difference between the comic book audience (dark and grim) and the cartoon audience (young and easily amused), and come up with bad direction, bad acting, and one of the shittiest soundtracks I've ever heard. Some good fight scenes, though.

Fantastic Four (1994)
There's some stuff to like in this barely-released Roger Corman version. The characters are fuller than the recent crappy version, and even if the effects are cheap, the story is much better. It starts to wear after a while (it just goes on too long), but it's not as horrible as its reputation suggests.

Casper (1995)
It's a cute movie with some fun effects.

Judge Dredd (1995)
I enjoyed it for the most part (even Rob Schneider didn't annoy me). I admit, I like Sylvester Stallone. Could have been better, but as a B action movie, I thought it was fun.

Tank Girl (1995)
A mess, but a fun one. The only time Lori Petty has ever turned me on like fucking crazy. It should've been wackier, though; the militaristic subplot was a little boring. Side note: this is the only time I've ever liked Naomi Watts in anything.

Spawn (1997)
Fucking great special effects. It's a bad B-movie, but it's stylish and (here's something I never say) John Leguizamo's great in it.

Blade (1998)
Some of the plot is Buffy episode-level lame, but it's fun on a silly level.

X-Men (2000)
The cheapness of this movie is too bad (the action climax really takes place in the gift shop of the Statue of Liberty?) and the dialogue is terrible. But, hey, you hire a bad director, you're lucky you get an okay movie instead of a bad one. It has its moments.

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)
I love Rosario Dawson, I found Tara Reid adorable in it, and there's nothing sexier than a chick with a guitar. It tries for a few nice jabs at the prefab aspects of the music industry, but it's ultimately too caught up in the fantasy to be an effective satire. But it's cute.

Road to Perdition (2002)
Flirts heavily with mediocrity, and it holds itself at too far of a distance emotionally, but it sure is pretty to look at. Not a bad movie, but not a great one, either. It's a fair style exercise.

Hulk (2003)
Frankly, I think this was too good for the comic book audience who were expecting just another action flick. Unfortunately, the fact that it completely falls apart at the end ruins my argument. But up until there, it's hypnotically good.

Fantastic Four (2005)
Too mediocre to commit to true awfulness. There were a couple of things I liked, and they both belonged to Jessica Alba.

The Worst Ones (in chronological order)

Swamp Thing (1982)
Except for Adrienne Barbeau's nude scene, forgettable. And Wes Craven, "master" of horror, directed it.

Superman III (1983)
It's as though Richard Pryor accidentally wandered onto the set of a Gene Hackman-less Superman movie and didn't do anything remotely funny.

Supergirl (1984)
Ouch, my head.

Red Sonja (1985)
Man, it's hard to remember now that Brigitte Nielsen used to be sexy.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Turns out Hackman returning to the series didn't make it more interesting. When did these become kid's movies? Dumb kid's movie?

The Punisher (1989)
Dolph Lundgren... ouch.

The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)
Well, at least this one's a comedy with Heather Locklear. Great reference; Locklear's character says her plants like to watch "that T.J. what's-his-name." Jim Wynorski tries to direct a fun movie that is at least better than the first one.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
And I saw it in the theater, which shows you what a dumb kid I was. An absolute piece of shit.

Captain America (1991)
So bad, I can't even remember any of it.

Batman Forever (1995)
One good idea: Bruce Wayne having a relationship with a psychologist. Bad idea: from the casting on down, everything else. An embarrassment. And what's with that title? It's the kind of thing you write in a yearbook.

Barb Wire (1996)
Because what Casablanca needed was Pamela Anderson pretending to act.

The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
The premise really only works once; the second is far more fake-artier and a lot less emotionally interesting. Iggy Pop is a blast, though.

Batman and Robin (1997)
One of the gayest movies I've ever seen; at least they could have surrounded the superficial glitz with some form of a damn plot. Crap.

Steel (1997)
Judd Nelson as a villain is actually lamer than Shaq trying to remember dialogue.

Daredevil (2003)
Extremely stupid. And very gay. I once said to a friend that this movie couldn't look more gay if they painted it pink and lit it on fire. But, besides that, it's just a dumb, smarmy movie with a good first 10 minutes and nothing else.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
So stupid I actually felt IQ leaking out from my ears.

Aliens vs. Predator (2004)
Meh. Some decent effects.

Elektra (2005)
Completely forgettable; can someone please tell Jennifer Garner not to waste her time on this character a third time?

Not Seen by Me
Lone Wolf and Cub (6 movies, 1972-74); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time (1993); Timecop (1994); Richie Rich (1997); Virus (1999); Bulletproof Monk (2003); Blade: Trinity (2004); Catwoman (2004); The Punisher (2004); Constantine (2005); A History of Violence (2005); Son of the Mask (2005)

VISIONS by Robert E. Howard


I cannot believe in a paradise
Glorious, undefiled,
For gates all scrolled and streets of gold
Are tales for a dreaming child.

I am too lost for shame
That it moves me unto mirth,
But I can vision a Hell of flame
For I have lived on Earth. Posted by Picasa