Saturday, November 08, 2008

Doctor Whom?

I always have fun with the Doctor Who casting rumors. You can't take them at all seriously, but the speculation is always kind of a blast.

When people were saying Paterson Joseph looked like a lock for the next choice, it was actually Becca who said to me that she thought Colin Salmon would be a better choice. And she's right; I like Salmon better as a personality (I'm thrilled he's coming back to the James Bond series in Quantum of Solace) and think he'd be a neat choice for the Doctor. Funnily enough, some British daily just "revealed" the other day that Salmon was to be the Eleventh Doctor. Which of course means nothing; so many actors have been "revealed" as the Doctor by this point, such "revelations" are meaningless.

Still, like I said, it's fun to speculate, and I actually think Colin Salmon is the first choice since last year when they were talking about James Nesbitt that makes me excited. Still holding out for Jack Davenport, but I admit he's something of a dull choice. Of course, as I said earlier, the actor I've been holding out for is Patrick Stewart, who is supposed to appear as the Meddling Monk, which is itself pretty awesome. According to one "insider," Joseph and Nesbitt are out. And, thankfully, I haven't heard Robert Carlyle's name in a while (nothing against him, I just think he's the wrong choice).

Other names have been floating around, too: Marc Warren (all wrong) and Sean Pertwee (Becca loves him, too). Supposedly, the new Doctor is supposed to be revealed very soon, possibly on the Children in Need special. The only real clue is that Stephen Moffatt thinks the Doctor should be over 40 and "weird-looking--the kind of wacky grandfather kids know on sight to be secretly one of them." I wouldn't mind seeing that come back; it certainly is a different tone than what we've had the last four series, which might keep it from becoming stale. Of course, it might also alienate people who really love the young, dashing Doctors we've had so far.

There's also some wild talk about David Morrissey, who is playing the impostor Doctor on this year's Christmas special, taking over the role, which is at least a fun tease for what might be in store in the special. I like Morrissey in everything I see him in (with the possible exception of Basic Instinct 2 -- brr!), and he'd make a neat Doctor, too. Is he weird looking and grandfatherly? No idea. But it's fun to think about.

Who would you cast as the Doctor? Any suggestions?

Mahna Mahna Vader

I think this is pretty old, but I hadn't actually seen this before. The Muppets and Star Wars just go so well together.

The Alphabet Meme

I got tagged by Adam at Movie Chunks with this meme, begun by one Fletch at Blog Cabins. You name one movie for every letter of the alphabet.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type "alphabet meme" into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Righty-O. These are the first movies that popped into my head for each letter.

Age of Consent

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Conan the Barbarian

The Dark Crystal

Even Dwarfs Started Small

F for Fake

Gremlins

Hell in the Pacific

Inherit the Wind

Jason and the Argonauts

King Kong

The Long Good Friday

Mountains of the Moon

Notorious

One, Two, Three

Pinocchio

Quills

Return to Oz

Spartacus

The Time Machine

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Vixen

Watership Down

Xanadu

Yojimbo

Zero Effect

And for the tagging part of tonight's journey:

PJ @ The Urban Recluse
He, Splotchy @ I, Splotchy
Mayren @ Mayren Abashed
Tom the Dog @ Tom the Dog's You Know What I Like?
Bubs @ Sprawling Ramshackle Compound

Everyone Loves Pedantry When It Makes Them Feel Smarter Than You

ME: The phrase I probably hate the most is "You can't have your cake and eat it too." Of course you can! To paraphrase Harlan Ellison, I have my cake, nom nom nom, I have eaten it. So I can do both.

PEDANT: So, what do you suggest?

ME: Well, you can't eat your cake and have it too. That makes more sense to me. You can't put the cart before the horse, you can't eat your cake and have it too. There's a logical progression.

PEDANT: Of course, the phrase "You can't have your cake and eat it too" doesn't imply a sequence of events.

ME: Sure it does. The basic word order shows that as a sequence.

PEDANT: No, it doesn't. There is nothing there that implies a sequence of events between the act of having and the act of eating.

ME: So, if I told you I was going to mail you a letter and write you one, you wouldn't think I sounded like an imbecile?

PEDANT: ... Point taken.

Moral: always use pedantry against a pedant. It disarms them.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Throwdown 11/7

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. So, tell me what you see wrong with this picture. What the fuck?

2. Apparently Jon Favreau wanted to replace Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 because he was unhappy with Howard’s performance. And there’s a money issue. He was the highest-paid actor in Iron Man and the first one cast. Some people are surprised by that, but it makes sense to me: Downey wasn’t considered bankable until, well, Iron Man, and Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges don’t command a blockbuster level salary. Howard, meanwhile, was nominated for an Oscar recently and originally was to have a much larger role. No one’s sure if Howard balked at the way he was being lowballed for the sequel or if Marvel pulled back first. Either way, no Howard and now Don Cheadle. Meh. I’ll still see the movie, but Don Cheadle is a sucky choice. Come on, Jeffrey Wright, man.

3. See, this is why you don’t write this shit on your knuckles when you’re drunk. I bet he turned them towards himself and thought “Yeah, this looks good.” Joaquin Phoenix is going to retire from acting to be in a band? Whatever. He’s full of shit. Shit and whatever it is he’s drinking. Did you see the video? Jeez, slow down, Leaf. Drinkin’ makes you say all kinds of crazy shit.

4. Back in 2000, a 17 year-old Jessica Biel did some nude photos for Gear after losing a lead role in American Beauty. She now says they’re her biggest regret. You know what? Not one of mine. Besides, it’s not like we’ll never see her nude in a magazine again, the way her career’s going.

5. Oh, man, what did Keeley Hazell do to her face? Is this another case of a perfectly beautiful woman ruining her face with surgery for no reason? Did she go Rose McGowan on me? What the hell? Tell me this is terrible makeup and worse lighting.

6. British kid George Garratt legally changed his name to Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine The Hulk And The Flash Combined. His grandmother is no longer speaking to him and, probably, no girls ever will. Just so you know that fantarded stupidity isn’t limited just to the United States. This is why you don't let kids make major life decisions.

7. Does it kind of creep anyone else out that the song HP is using in its new campaign is “Do You Want to Touch Me,” a song written by convicted child molester Gary Glitter?

8. Commence eye roll: Paris Hilton says she could never have plastic surgery because it’s “unnatural.” Um, silicone comes from nature, right?

9. Oh, and she also thinks that this week’s impressive voter turnout has something to do with her presidential campaign parody videos. I don’t know, I kind of think anyone stupid enough to vote because Paris Hilton told them to would just vote for Paris Hilton. Then again, California did vote for Prop 8, so what do I know?

10. Carrie Underwood, winner of America’s biggest karaoke contest: “I lose all respect for celebrities when they back a candidate. It’s saying that the American public isn't smart enough to make their own decisions. I would never want anybody to vote for anything or anybody just because I told them to.” (Unless it's for American Idol, except she thinks she earned her success.) I don’t know, I mean, we have free speech in this country and it does kind of take courage, especially in this year’s election environment, to come forward and say you’re voting for someone or someone else. You don’t respect that? I don’t know, I find someone’s politics marginally more interesting than hearing you whine about Jessica Simpson because you’re bitter.

11. Heidi Klum went as Kali for Halloween. Hindus are mad and demanding an apology. So, we can add Hindus to the list of religious people who really need to get over it. By the way, Kali has always been one of my more out there sexual fantasies. So, one of my sexual fantasies went as one of my sexual fantasies for Halloween. That’s pretty cool.

12. Brandon Routh on the idea of Superman going darker in the next movie: “I don't know, I don't think the character necessarily has to be darker, I think he is kind of dark in a sense, emotional dark, in Superman Returns, and the movie as a whole was slightly dark, they could have had more prowess in it I suppose, and I think that's one thing that can be done in the sequel, so I don't know how much darker you want to make it necessarily. You make the stakes higher, you make the villain darker, I think that's a way to do it. But I don't think Superman himself needs to be darker. He definitely has to struggle, how does Superman be a part of the world? And does he have to make sacrifices to be a part of that world? To fit in and what purpose does he really play in the world? Those are all kind of dark places to explore. But, I don't think Superman should ever be dark and brooding, that's not is nature. And that's not what people want to see.” Wow, he gets it. I fucking hated Superman Returns, but Routh gets it well enough that I’m almost willing to give him another chance as Supes. Could we please have a new Lois Lane, though? In fact, a new entire rest of the cast?

13. So, does this mean we’re stuck with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House? Because I’m not exactly thrilled with the way she’s been handling things. Maybe with a Democratic majority in the House she’ll grow her spine back. But I wouldn’t mind seeing her replaced.


14. Traitor Joe Liarman was groveling to keep his position in the Democratic caucus. Now that the groveling might not work, he’s doing what that rat fuck Bush always does: going into a press conference and making barely-concealed threats against Congress to give him what he wants. He’s saying, pretty clearly, that if the Democrats don’t give him what he wants, he’s going to side with the GOP. He’s trying to save his ass, and he doesn’t care who he has to screw over to do it. I guess he really would’ve been the perfect running mate for John McStain. Maybe the best way out of this is to let Liarman retain his seniority but remove him from his HS commitee chair. I just don’t want him on Homeland Security anymore. (Video via Tengrain.)

15. President Medvedev is putting missiles on his side of the Polish border, remilitarizing Kaliningrad, and speaking out about the weakness and selfishness of the United States. Is this the international test coming early, or is Medvedev just taking one last shot at the slow kid before the smart guy takes over?

16. Michael Alix, former Bear Stearns chief risk officer (2006-2008) and credit risk manager (1996-2006), has a new job. He’s going to work at the Federal Reserve as senior adviser to William Rutledge, the executive VP of the bank supervision group. His job will be to “assess the safety and soundness of domestic banking institutions.” I suppose we can say he has plenty of experience with unsound banking institutions…


17. Oh, man, Joe, it is past time for you to shut the fuck up. You’re at about minute 14 and I can’t wait for you to go away. You are truly a moron. The way you bend over backwards to claim that it was okay for your family to be on welfare (twice) because you later paid taxes (you didn’t), all while propping yourself up as the nation's populist defender against being taxed, is truly ridiculous. You don’t know anything you’re talking about, and you sound like a dumbshit. Go. Away.

18. Ralph Nader’s response to his poor non-showing in the election was to talk to Shepard Smith on Fox News, pour some sour grapes whine, blame everyone and the system, and call Obama an “Uncle Tom.” Classy move, Nader. Look, I’ll still celebrate the consumer advocacy of the past, but you’re never going to be president and I don’t really want you to be (and I’m saying this having voted for you in 2000). Why don’t you just go and begin your well-deserved obscurity?

19. Fun for me: all of those “Pro-America” parts of America, the “Real America,” those parts of America voted for Barack Obama. Oh, and Sarah Palin has offered her “expertise” to President-Elect Obama as an energy expert. She’s not going to just go off and lose gracefully.

20. Unfortunately, for the next couple of months, we still have George W. Bush to deal with. He’s racing to enact all kind of last minute environmental plans like getting wolves off the Endangered Species List, allowing power plants to operate near national parks, and loosening regulations for factory farm waste. Because fuck you, America.

21. Here’s how Nariman Behravesh, the chief economist at HIS Global Insight, described the US economy: “Consumers have thrown in the towel. They have no choice but to cut back on spending in a very big way. This is going to be a fairly deep, long recession.” Remember, Christmas gifts you make yourself have extra meaning.

22. In 2004, George W. Bush won the election with 51% of the popular vote to John Kerry’s 48% and got 286 electoral votes, just barely winning the election. Robert Novak said at the time that this gave Bush a mandate. This Tuesday, Barack Obama won the election with 53% of the popular vote to John McCain’s 46% and got 349 electoral votes, winning handily in a landslide. Robert Novak says this gives Obama no mandate whatsoever. Our old conservative masters are bad at math. Your right wing talking points are worth less than Confederate money now, Novak. It’s time to let the grown-ups talk.

The Return of Occasional Links

Found at Wondermark. A real political cartoon from 1911.

Kevin Cannon’s Blotchmen pits Rorschach against Harold and his purple crayon. Funny, cute stuff.

[.] The Toy Zone: 20 Films Recreated in LEGO

[.] I haven’t seen Blunder Broad in years! The Jade Gate has Eric Stanton’s adult Wonder Woman parody up.

[.] "Instead of trying to play the foulmouthed pundit, I’ll just bitch about certain foods that are overrated. This is not going to be a list of foods that I don’t like. That would be stupid, even for me. I eat or have eaten all the foods on this list. All of them are pretty good. They just don’t deserve their lofty status on the Yummy Chain." (Hobo Trashcan)

[.] "I really hope, once all is done, that McCain's inevitable attempt to show contrition for his campaign's nauseating behavior and salvage what's left of his honor comes to pass, the national media doesn't let him get away with it." An unusually caustic post from Jaquandor, but one that says a lot of what needs to be said about McCain (no sympathy from me, either, he dug that grave on his own). I like Jaq discussing politics; he’s good at it. He’s got another self-described snark post up dealing with dumb things the right wing said and did during the election cycle.

[.] "Yeah, there's gonna be time for "reaching across the aisle," a phrase that ought to be consigned to the medical waste heap along with "trickle down" and "homeland security." There's gonna be plenty of time for us to figure out how to work to bring the rest of the nation into the fold. There's time enough to do all of the reconciliation and reformation and offering of a hand. But today, and maybe tomorrow, and maybe even Friday, let's just fucking gloat." Works for me. (The Rude Pundit)

[.] "One of the deep pleasures of yesterday and today has been seeing how nutzoid conservatives in the media attempt to deal with Barack Obama's victory. It's like the visceral thrill and hilarity of watching a bunch of skateboarding face-plant videos, where you point and laugh and say, "You stupid douche. Did you really think you could make that kickflip off those steps?" There's a descent into madness happening on the right with breathtaking speed, like they're on a swinging rope bridge over a mountain crevasse and they're scrambling to figure out which side to run to while the ropes unravel." (The Rude Pundit again, continuing to savor the victory.)

[.] "The Iraqis have done you a favor by insisting that a new Status of Forces Agreement include a timetable for withdrawal. Take the deal." Fred Kaplan has some foreign policy advice for President-Elect Obama. (Slate)

TheMom on Prop 8: "My one wish is - ALL religious fanatics that are so bent out of shape about this issue - go home and take stock in what is truly important to you and your family - under your roof. The funny part is, a good many of these homophobes deal with gay people on a regular basis and will never know. We are all humans with different appetites, proclivities, occupations, color - you name it, treat each other equally and practice that "love" you espouse so loudly." (Picture via linked post.)

[.] Dan Savage on Prop 8 and African-Americans: "I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color."

[.] Andrew Sullivan on Prop 8: "It cannot be denied that this feels like a punch in the gut. It is. I'm not going to pretend that the wound isn't deep and personal, like an attack on my own family. It was meant to be. Many Obama supporters voted against our rights, and Obama himself opposes our full civil equality. The religious folk who believe that Jesus stood for the marginalization of minorities, and who believe that my equality somehow threatens their children, will, I pray, see how misguided they have become. And make no mistake: they won this by playing on very deep fears of gay people around kids. They knew the levers to pull."

[.] The first time I’ve ever been mentioned in a podcast. That’s pretty darn neat. Thanks, Art!

[.] Thank you, Marie, for the Halloween card!

UPDATE 11/8: A couple of other links regarding Prop 8 that came up yesterday.

[.] "I understand that a lot of people voted in favour of this amendment based on a morality borne by religious beliefs. Some believe that homosexuality is sinful and a blight in the eyes of their Lord. They are entitled to believe that as a part of their religious code, and I will not deny it to them, but the present system that allows people to force that view into a secular, government arena is unconscionable. It is antithetical to the evangelism of their faith to nonbelievers, it does not speak to Jesus' doctrine of tolerance, and it works to push more fear and anger into the world rather than create greater levels of human understanding and love." (Schultze's Milk Money or Not, Here I Come argues that this obfuscates the issue of separation of church and state, which I heartily agree with.)

[.] "Proposition 8 is not about legalizing or not legalizing gay marriage. It is about legalizing Christianity. It is about taking a Judeo-Christian text and essentially translating its passages into federal law. This not only makes gay men and lesbian women second class citizens, it makes anyone who does not subscribe to Christianity second class citizens as well. This is what many Christians do not seem to understand, with their one god and their one truth." (An eloquent guest post at Impeachment and Other Dreams)

[.] "If you don’t care about the rights of gay people, and many douchebags don’t, then perhaps you care that the Mormon church, which financed and organized the “Yes” campaign, is now dictating policy to us!" (Bells On)

[.] Andrew Sullivan again: "The leadership of the LDS church has every right to do this; but equally gay people and their families now have every right to highlight the Mormon church as an enemy of civil rights and of gay people everywhere. This will be decried as bigotry. But gays are not fighting to remove the civil rights of Mormons; while Mormons have successfully campaigned to remove the civil rights of gays.

Tolerant and inclusive Mormons should not be forgotten; the Mormon tradition of church-state separation should not be ignored either. But toleration goes both ways. Gay people have every right to regard the Mormon church hierarchy as a mortal enemy. If they knock on my door any time soon, they will get an earful.
"

And in another great moment (not on Prop 8) from Crooks and Liars: Irrelevant.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

McCain Is Going to Bury Sarah Palin

There's no way he doesn't blame her for his electoral loss. Now all of the real stuff is coming out, and I imagine McCain is pulling the strings, trying to make sure that everyone knows that Sarah Palin was even dumber than we all gave her credit for.

This is just the beginning:



Here's some more, via Newsweek:

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

In McCain's mind, Sarah Palin ruined his political career. Now he's going to ruin hers. And you know what? It may seem petty, but someone has to take this bitch down before she appoints herself Senator of Alaska (and I have no doubt that she'll either do that or hold a special election and run herself). If Alaska isn't going to impeach her for her numerous abuses of power, then I guess it's up to McCain. Hey, as long as someone does it.

According to a CBS poll, 14% of the voters polled were McCain supporters who switched their vote to Obama because they hated Sarah Palin. So she certainly didn't help. McCain's policy positions probably had a lot to do with it, though.

By the way, how much does this reveal about the depths of the cynicism of the McCain campaign? They knew she was a nitwit all along, and they still put her out there as a great politician. Seriously, what the hell?

Ricky's Top 10

Ricky Gervais reads a Top 10 list, which he wrote, on Letterman. Love it.

Christina Aguilera Dresses Down

This is my favorite picture of Christina in some time. I love the glam girl, but I love her here in the toned down clothes (though she might have toned the makeup down to match, just saying). I love it when a sexy glam girl suddenly puts on jeans and a sweatshirt. That's exotic to me when it's someone you only ever see in tight gowns and such. I love this.

High School Musical Threesome

Hmm... well, this is the version of High School Musical 3 that I would have made, at any rate.

Except I still don't buy that Zac Efron would realistically be into these two. Of course, that's the danger of being in Kenny Ortega's movies... By the way, I think I would have sex with every person in this picture. You heard me.

Michael Crichton 1942-2008

I was very surprised to see that Michael Crichton died two days ago from cancer complications. I honestly didn't even know he was sick. Of course, I didn't keep up much on the guy. But I have to acknowledge that I used to really enjoy reading his books. Two of his books are among my favorites: Eaters of the Dead, one of the only creative reworkings of Beowulf that really worked for me (it became the movie The 13th Warrior), and Travels, his travel memoir, which came into my life at a time when I thought I knew everything and badly needed a reminder that I did not. Thanks for those books, and for the others that I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Did

A Capella Tribute to John Williams

Wow. Wow.

Film Week

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

NUMBER SEVENTEEN (1932)
Hitchcock film about a number of strangers who end up with a dead body. It's okay, but mostly I just kept thinking about how similar and better The Trouble with Harry was. **1/2 stars.

THE INVASION (2007)
The fourth version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Parts of it are very good; I could see what the director was going for, but it starts to lose its hold around the third act, and the ending feels forced and arbitrary. Nicole Kidman is actually pretty good (she is just so, so hit or miss for me) as a therapist trying to get her son to safety. The kid playing the son is irritating. Daniel Craig is good, Jeffrey Wright is good (as he is in everything), and even with nothing to do, I still like Jeremy Northam. *** stars. Also, Veronica Cartwright, one of the stars of the 1978 version, appears. That was nice.

THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1965)
Roger Corman, Vincent Price, and Poe. Price is excellent (of course!) as a man who can't get over the death of his wife because of hypnosis. Great production values; the exterior shots are beautiful. It's a solid film, not quite as sharp as The Pit and the Pendulum or as atmospheric as House of Usher. But it's very solid and well worth seeing. ***1/2 stars. Robert Towne wrote the screenplay.

SCANNERS (1981)
What a boring, terribly-acted, bad movie. *1/2 stars.

TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963)
Feels like a big-screen version of The Twilight Zone in the best way. Vincent Price stars in three adaptations of Nathaniel Hawthorne stories of varying quality. The first segment, "Dr. Hiedigger's Experiment," is simple and doesn't overdo its story, but it also feels a little quaint. Sebastian Cabot is always a nice presence. "Rappaccini's Daughter" is, I think, the high point here, with Price as a scientist trying to cure his beautiful daughter (Joyce Taylor) of a condition that makes her skin poisonous. It's one of those weird romantic tales that I always love (and that always end tragically). The final segment, an abridgement of "House of the Seven Gables," is less successful, I think. Price is excellent in every segment. ***1/2 stars.

THE HAUNTED PALACE (1963)
Roger Corman, Vincent Price, and Lovecraft. This is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward, with Price as an American returning to England to take over a castle left to him by a distant relative. Something weird happened there 110 years earlier, and Price soon finds himself possessed by the spirit of his ancestor who wants to open a portal between worlds and accomplish the return of the Elder Gods. Price is, once again, excellent. The castle sets are great, and the dark atmosphere conjured up is perfectly moody. I loved this one. Lon Chaney Jr is also in this. **** stars.

DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965)
Too much and not enough all at once. Another Lovecraft adaptation, with Boris Karloff in a good performance as a wheelchair-bound scientist studying radiation which causes plants to grow. **1/2 stars.

THE SHUTTERED ROOM (1966)
A third Lovecraft adaptation, and this one was surprisingly good. Carol Lynley plays a woman returning to her childhood home in Dunwich, only to find the old mill she now owns is supposed to be haunted. Gig Young plays her husband. The best performance in the movie, though, is Oliver Reed's. He plays a rough guy who immediately wants to rape Lynley, in a plot that heavily prefigures Peckinpah's Straw Dogs. Reed plays his role as a dangerous animal with uncontrollable anger, and he's scarier than the thing in the attic. Great cinematography, great locales. **** stars.

NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST (2008)
The men and women making these movies now must be my age because, much like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this is another movie that just perfectly encapsulates my generation. I know it's about teenagers, but this felt exactly what it was like being a teenager in the early nineties. I loved this movie; it's a simple romance story about two high school students (Michael Cera and lovely, beautiful Kat Dennings) who meet in New York City one night and fall for each other. Their romance is alternately tentative and whole-hearted, and depends on their abilities to shut out all of the demands their cohorts impose on them in order to just reach out to one another. And it's beautiful and a little bit special. **** stars.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO (2008)
A lesser outing from Kevin Smith. Like all of his movies, it's a romance hidden inside a gross comedy that doesn't always work. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks are very good as the title characters, who are so desperate for cash that they decide to make a porno. They get friends and co-workers involved, but all the while Zack and Miri are falling in love with each other. Smith is repeating himself a bit with this one, and I think it just feels average when compared to some of his better films. It's not a bad film, of course, but it's familiar. *** stars. The cast was fun; I always love Craig Robinson. Jeff Anderson and Mewes are in the film. And any opportunity to see Katie Morgan naked is one I will take. Oh, and Brandon Routh has a small role that I really liked him in. I hated him so much in Superman Returns that I never wanted to see him again, but I liked him here. And he was hot.

SOLARIS (1972)
Powerful, slow-moving adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel about a widowed psychologist aboard a space station orbiting a planet acting on people's minds. Everyone starts hallucinating, and the psychologist starts seeing his late wife and interacting with her. It's a very good movie, very slow but deliberately so. Beautifully shot. It's the first Andrei Tarkovsky film I've ever seen, and I like the way his film unfolds rather than pointing out the obvious and hammering its points home. It's a very thoughtful film about the nature of memory. **** stars.

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (2007)
More nonsensical boring garbage with Heather Graham in it. Heather, please... * star.

FULL MOON HIGH (1981)
Larry Cohen comedy with Adam Arkin as a teenager who gets turned into a werewolf in the sixties, then returns home in the eighties to win the big game. So, it's like Teen Wolf, only I laughed and didn't want to kill myself. It's a bad movie, intentionally so, but I did laugh at it. Bill Kirchenbauer is especially hilarious, and Alan Arkin is fucking funny in a small role. *** stars.

FUTURAMA: BENDER'S GAME (2008)
This one makes the same mistake as The Beast with a Billion Backs and separates Bender from the rest of the cast. This one handles it better, though, bringing both stories together for a hilarious third act. I always love to see more Futurama, and this one didn't disappoint me. The plot revolves around an energy crisis, Bender's sudden discovery of Dungeons & Dragons, and a parody of fantasy cliches and The Lord of the Rings. Still not as brilliant as Bender's Big Score, I think, but damn good. I wish they'd just bring the show back. ***1/2 stars.

GET SMART (2008)
I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed this movie. They made an action movie with gags instead of a spoof, and I'm glad they did. It's an update of the TV show that acknowledges that recent Bond and Bourne movies have changed expectations for a spy movie, and acts accordingly. Steve Carrel is great as Maxwell Smart, a Control analyst who wants to be an agent and finally gets his chance. There's some predictable underdog stuff in the beginning that grates for a moment, but when he gets out in the field he's surprisingly good. The movie doesn't make Carrel a lucky idiot or an incompetent boob. Like I said, action movie with gags (some of which were, apparently, written by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry). Anne Hathaway is great (and really sexy) as a tougher Agent 99, and Alan Arkin is hilarious as the Chief. I actually really want to see a sequel. But, you know, I really wanted to see a Lost in Space sequel, too. We don't always get what we want. ***1/2 stars.

GET SMART'S BRUCE AND LLOYD OUT OF CONTROL (2008)
Direct to video movie that takes place on the edges of Get Smart and starring two of the peripheral characters played by Masi Oka and Nate Torrence. It's cute, and it adds Jayma Mays and my beloved J.P. Manoux, as well as putting in another scene of Patrick Warburton as Hymie. Larry Miller has a bigger role, too. It was nice seeing Masi Oka not only in a comedy, but not playing the new overly-serious version of Hiro Nakamura. Not essential, but cute. **1/2 stars.

KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL (2008)
Abigail Breslin plays the title character, a girl who wants to be a reporter. With the Great Depression in full swing, she struggles to maintain her dignity while her parents (Julia Ormond and Chris O'Donnell; I didn't even realize they still made movies) try to make ends meet and take in boarders. Kit especially takes the time to try and understand the hoboes living on the edge of town, and then becomes embroiled in a mystery (which is always the least compelling part of just about any movie about kids). It's a nice movie, one that was probably wildly overpraised by critics last summer just because it's not loud and obnoxious and doesn't think burping and farting is a substitute for wit. It's a nice movie for kids, and I always love to see yummy Jane Krakowski. *** stars.

Obama!

In a landslide. Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. And a lot of work to do. This is a real victory. And it's only the first.

Some brief thoughts that temper this victory for me.

* McCain's concession speech was gracious and showed the kind of class his campaign hasn't shown in months. Sadly, the crowd with him in Phoenix reacted with an equal amount of ugliness. Maybe they'll sleep it off. Let's stop the tiresome bickering and arguing and get on with making our country a better place than it has been these past eight years.

* It looks like the bigots and Mormons (now interchangeable terms for me) won in California and Prop 8 is going to be passed. So many married couples who are going to find their marriages null and void. It's so disgusting. Here, in the 21st Century, people voting to take rights away. Prop 8 is unconstitutional. It's inhumane. It's abominable. And if you voted for it, so are you.

* Alaskans seem dumber than I gave them credit for. Really? You elected Ted Stevens even though he's a convicted felon who stole money? And how long do you think it'll be before Sarah Palin appoints herself to take over the empty seat?

* Illinoisans: we're down one senator with Obama elected president. Do you think Blagojevich is going to appoint himself, too? Can he? It's the only way his political career is going to continue. God, what a mistake that would be.

* Oh, and I'm glad Liddy Dole lost after that disgusting "Godless" ad, but seriously, Minnesota: Bachmann? Come on.

But even with all of that, I'm very proud to be an American right now. Maybe for the first time in my life, I'm proud. Maybe things will really change. I'm exhaling a big sigh of relief that Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States.

I feel good this morning. I feel good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote


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Vote


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It's True


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Joe the Creepy Fuck You Don't Want Talking to Your Daughter Behind Your Back

* "Let's go to my van and spread something besides the wealth."

* "Baby, I'm gonna clog your drain good."

* "You look like your trap could use a good snaking."

* "How'd you like to give me a thorough vetting?"

* "I'd really like to lay some pipe here."

* "You ever hear the phrase 'Hung like a plumber'? No? Really?"

* "Wanna go play homewrecker and returning POW?"

* "Let's pretend I'm Michael Chiklis and I'm gonna show you my Thing..."

* "I'll be Maverick if you'll be Goose."

* "Need your well drilled?"

* "Plumbers have rigid tools."

* "Being a plumber, I'm pretty good with nipples. Last time I saw nipples like yours they were on the end of my short pipe."

* "I'd love to roto your rooter."

* "I'm going to beat you like I beat my two ex-wives and numerous ex-girlfriends."

* "How about we poll some of the electorate."

* "Your bush '08."

* "Can I borrow $15 bucks? I haven't done any actual work for weeks."

* "I can't believe that no one has mentioned that I can't vote -- I'm a convicted felon!"

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Vote


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Vote


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A Nightmare I Don't Want to Live Through

America's Moosey Fate.

Image via Sporn.

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The Accomplishments of President Duh

An election day reminder from Distributorcap. Read and facepalm.

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Home Invasion



This No on Prop 8 ad has apparently really pissed off the Mormon Church. They are not at all pleased with being in the spotlight on this issue. Considering they've been the biggest force behind the hate campaign, I'd say they more than deserve the discomfort. And I appreciate that the many LDS members I've read about who don't want their church involved at all in the bigotry feel terrible about what's happening... but your church is making this decision in your name.

The Mormon Church released a statement that they feel the defense of traditional marriage is important (although there are still Mormons out there who think a traditional marriage is between a man and several women) and are upset that the No on Prop 8 push doesn't respect that the Mormon Church has an opposing viewpoint.

Excuse me, but having an opposing viewpoint is one thing. Imposing your traditional religious beliefs on an entire state via legislation is wrong. It is wrong. It is un-Christian.

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Vote


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Vote


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Obama's Grandmother Didn't Live to See Him Elected

But he will be.

It's hard to lose a grandmother. At least he got to go and see her before she died. She raised a fine son, and I'm betting he's going to be a fine president.

(As a tag, I just read that the late Mrs. Durham took advantage of absentee voting and cast her vote for her grandson. I hope he's coping as best he can at such a whirlwind time.)

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What McCain Supporters Mean By "Socialist"

"They are a musical social people, aren't they?"

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The Health Report, Year 2: Week 47

I know I'm losing weight again because my back hurts like you wouldn't fucking believe. That always happens when my weight redistributes itself. It's going to ache all week, though.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Wassup, America?

Brilliant.



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Less Than 48 Hours to Go

Some more random political stuff.

* Don't forget, any California readers, to vote no on Prop Hate 8. How would you like someone voting on whether or not you could get married to someone you love? Read this. It says everything. Politics and the LDS church (spending $20 million in California to promote hatred) should not be involved in the decision.

(By the way, this is one of my favorite current ironies: a lot of the anti-gay marriage sentiment is based on the idea that people are terrified that their children might learn what gay is. According to several complaints, there are a lot of children learning about what gay is thanks to the gung ho Yes on Prop 8 propaganda. Hilarious!)

Bill Clinton is campaigning for No on Prop 8. I appreciate that. I'm disappointed that Obama hasn't come out against Prop 8, but whatever. I understand why he can't. In America it loses you votes to believe in civil rights for everyone. Go figure.


* Isn't this the kind of sick tactic that shows how little the Republican Party really has to offer this year? From McCain on down, it's been the same disgusting rants over and over again: we can't win, so let's call the other person names. Fuck you, Elizabeth Dole. I absolutely hope you lose. (Thanks to Sunandheir for the heads-up on the video.)

By the way, I think it's especially sad to see so many women this year -- Liddy Dole, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, even Hillary Clinton to some degree in the primaries -- doing such a terrible job of representing women in politics this year. Especially if they're Republicans. Where did feminism go?

* Speaking of Palin (you knew I couldn't leave her alone), she told a black reporter that her husband Todd has experienced the same racism as African-Americans. When did douchebags become an ethnic minority group?

Oh, and I never thought about this: so, she believes in fossil fuels but not in fossils?

* McCain and Palin just can't leave Pennsylvania alone. Here's what the Mayor of Scranton had to say: "There is no other reason for John McCain and Sarah Palin to be in the state based on what the polls say, except that they're counting on us to be bigots."

* Enjoy this: the McCampaign pulled out an especially vicious attack on Obama's aunt, saying that she was here in the country illegally and ordered to be deported (to Obama's credit, even though the question was slimy, he said he would support the law in this case). But the attack is going to blow up in their faces. Because releasing that information violated confidentiality laws for immigrants seeking asylum. So Republicans will even openly break the law in order to win, because winning is all they care about.

Sadly, there are still over two months left for Bush to pardon the criminals.

* I keep hearing that the race is tightening in the final hours. Meanwhile, Obama is leading in every poll, no matter how much the media pushes the idea that it's close.

Have you heard about the cell phone effect? The problem with polling is that phone numbers are literally pulled out of the phone book, so cell phones aren't called. Many people only have cells or are only reachable on cells during the day. Someone finally put some numbers together that show Obama up by 5.1 points on landline-only phones, but up by 9.4 points by cell phone polls.


* But what I really hear Fred Barnes saying is that voting isn't that important and that any attempt to reform the voting process is wrong. Yeah, God forbid more people have a better opportunity to vote. That would really fuck things up for the right wing.

I don't know why we can't do what they do in civilized countries like Canada and just mail people their voter ID cards when they turn 18. Have done with it. Streamline the process. Make it an ID card with a magnetized strip, you can vote at any polling place because your ID is the same everywhere, you don't get turned away because you don't have a driver's license (you should have another form of ID, but lots of people are disenfranchised every election because some places refuse to accept anything but a driver's license, which not everyone has or needs), and you don't have to register to vote. Registration drives are important, but the idea that you have to register is a little bit of a joke that really seems designed to curb voting among the general public. It's inconvenient, it's a hassle, a lot of people just don't do it, and those people don't get to vote as a result. I'm sick and fucking tired of this country doing everything it can to make sure that, through a mountainous pile of little inconveniences all added together, as few people vote as humanly possible.

Stop giving them these goddamn elections. If you haven't voted yet, come out tomorrow and do it.

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Vote Tomorrow

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Song of the Week: "America" and "American Tune"

Two songs this week instead of one, and they're both from Simon & Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park. And they're both about America.

First, "America."



And second, "American Tune."



I hope we all discover American and get some rest this week. It seems like, for the first time in eight years, America is ours again and we can do something about it. Please do something about it.

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The Ongoing Election Process

We're racing towards the election now, but I'm probably going to get out a few more political posts. I know there are people out there who are sick of reading about my political views on this blog, but the election is the kind of event I consider vaguely important, so I'm going to keep talking about it. I kind of have a stake in this, being an American citizen who pays taxes.

This is going to be all over the place.

* I think one of the most hopeful things about this election is that it shows people are tired of partisanship and want to just get rid of all the infighting. I've noticed in Illinois that none of the campaign signs are in their traditional Republican or Democrat colors. None of the TV ads explicitly state with party anyone running for Congress or local offices adhere to. It's a real mistake that McCain is talking so much about "reaching across the aisle" and "standing up to your own party." His vanity will lose him the election.

They're even saying now that it looks like, if the present numbers are an indication, McCain won't even win back his Senate seat come the midterms in 2010.

* Former Reagan Chief of Staff and longtime GOP insider Ken Duberstein on Sarah Palin: "Even at McDonalds, you're interviewed three times before you're given a job." I do think Mayor McCheese would've been a better running mate.

* Sarah Palin is all about her presumptive 2012 campaign right now. I think McCain's appearance on SNL last night kind of confirmed that. What's funny, though, is that she doesn't really have a chance. At least not with the RNC. Sure, people showing up at Palin rallies now don't even have McCain campaign signs with them anymore, but at the same time, it looks like McCain and Palin aren't even going to carry Alaska. It'll be close if they do. Alaskans are apparently becoming disillusioned by the former maverick becoming screechingly partisan.


Oh, and she still doesn't know what a Vice President does. Anyone voting for her is seriously deluding themselves.

* Palin has also inherited McCain's vanity and hurt feelings rhetoric. She says that if the media calls her negative hate speech what it is, they're infringing on her First Amendment rights. This is like when McCain said that Obama was running a negative campaign for attacking his positions. Sarah, no one said you can't say the incredibly stupid things you're saying. But the media gets to exercise their First Amendment rights to call you out on the incredibly stupid things you're saying.

Just like it's my First Amendment privilege to say that Sarah Palin pals around with white supremacists and domestic terrorists.

* Obama's reaction to Dick Cheney's eleventh hour endorsement of McCain: "Do you think Dick Cheney is delighted to support John McCain because he thinks John McCain's going to bring change? Do you think John McCain and Dick Cheney have been talking about how to shake things up, and get rid of the lobbyists and the old boys club in Washington?"

* Sometimes justice is just slow. Mike Connell, the Republican IT guy who created the 2004 election results in Ohio by routing them through his servers, has been subpoenaed. And it looks like this could go right to Karl Rove. So, there's that.

* Obama's already got lawyers in Florida. We seriously need to reform the vote process. More on that later.

Oh, and Obama seems in the mood to start fulfilling campaign promises right away. Remember when he said he would review all of Bush's executive orders? He's already got members of his transition team doing it.

* I want to point you in the direction of this post from Distributorcap. He has some numbers on the so-called evils of socialism and where the US ranks in terms of human development and freedom. Don't you think it's sad that the US, who is so overly proud of the democracy it practices in name only, ranks 17th on the Democracy Index?

* Here's a letter from a soldier to John McCain entitled Why My Former Hero Shouldn't Be President.

* And Obama's closing statement.


It is of dire importance that you vote this year. Of course, I think you should vote for Barack Obama, but it's your decision. Just vote. It's your duty, it's your responsibility, and it's how you make your voice heard.

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Best Flickr Group Ever

RoboCop Riding a Unicorn. An entire gallery combining the two most powerful forces in the universe.

Sunday Hottie 196

KATE HUDSON