Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Playlist

1. Jethro Tull: Crossfire
2. Harry Nilsson: Me and My Arrow
3. Beyonce featuring Slim Thug: Check on It
4. Roxy Music: Stranded
5. Buddy Holly: It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
6. Johnny Cash: I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
7. Ray Charles: (Night Time Is) The Right Time
8. The Rolling Stones: Sittin’ on a Fence
9. T. Rex: Buick Mackane
10. Marianne Faithfull: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

1. Later Tull from A. Tull is one of the bands Becca and I fundamentally disagree on. I'm one of those prog guys; she hates all the reverb.
2. I think Harry Nilsson's music is genius.
3. Becca and I reversed; I'm not a fan of Beyonce, and I think her music is mostly meh. Becca loves this song, though. I think it's just okay. Kind of a throwaway. Is this song just about Beyonce's ass? What does it say about me that when she sings "I'm-a let you check up on it" I always hear "I'm-a let you jack off on it"?
4. From Stranded, the first post-Eno Roxy album. It took Ferry a while to get the music back up to that level, I think.
5. Such a pretty song. Buddy could be so pretty and soulful.
6. Nice rendition.
7. I always think of that damn Cosby Show episode.
8. Very pretty song from a period that flirted with Canterbury sound.
9. From The Slider. Damn it, I dig T. Rex.
10. Marianne's singing voice is limited, true, but I don't think I've ever heard a bad version of this song in my life. And I have more versions of this song than any other song.

Anticipation

Thing It Is Apparently Uncool To Say Out Loud Upon Walking Into a Co-Op

"Oh, God help me, it smells like hippie in here."

The Great Illustrators, Number Twenty

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009). "Painter of the People," regionalist, realist... Wyeth's name has been accompanied by many appellations. He was, quite simply, one of the best American artists of the 20th century. He took a lot of digs for being populist, but so what? His work was excellent and it touched a lot of people. That doesn't seem so bad to me.

Wyeth was, of course, the son of NC Wyeth, one of my favorite illustration artists in history. (And it might seem weird to include Andrew Wyeth in my illustrators series, but that's how rick rolls on this one.) A frail child, Wyeth was home-schooled. He also learned art from his father, who instilled in him a love of rural landscapes, romanticism, and artistic tradition. He had his first exhibition at the age of 20. Naturally, he didn't follow completely in his father's footsteps, breaking away from the Pyle school of what he called "picture-making" and developing his own spare style with limited colors.

The painting I and many others return to the most is the above, Christina's World, a 1948 painting depicting a crippled girl yearning for her home. It's a real farm in Maine. Wyeth said "I didn't think it a picturesque place. It just excited me, purely abstractly and emotionally." The lack of picturesque qualities is, for me, one of the most exciting aspects of the picture. It's not really a pleasant image; there's a sense of foreboding to it, a nervous energy of this girl trapped in a sea of grass, home in sight, but with the entire unknown world around her, an unlimited pool of possibilities in-between.

Wyeth's works are often described as intimate. I can see that. His seventies paintings depict a sort of halfway point between the land and the sea, but with a definite and sangine connection between the two. His Helga and Indian Summer series of nudes show a comfort with the human form that is delicately beautiful and stunningly natural, and depict verious emotional states represented as nakedly as the women experiencing them.

It's a shame Wyeth was so dismissed and criticized over the years. I often felt any criticism of Wyeth was disingenuously aimed at what he was not rather than what he was: he was not an abstract artist, as many of his contemporaries were. His works have been labeled "too sentimental" and "formulaic." But the fact is there's a strong sense of emotion in Wyeth's works that connected with many, and that's why his work has survived and thrived. Those who dismissed him too easily may have just missed the point.

Andrew Wyeth died in his sleep last night. I'm glad we have so much life and emotion to remeber him by.

Did You Know Dr. Monkey Once Hosted a Japanese Talk Show?

I didn't, either, but that's him.

RIP Dial B

One of the greatest blogs in the history of the internet, Dial B for Blog, is closing down. The old issues are staying up (thank goodness, because there are treasures in there), but there will be no more new ones. It's a drag. Thanks for all the good times.

TV Report: American Idol, Season 8 Million

Apparently, American Idol's premiere ratings were lower than expected. I'm not sure what that means, exactly; they're always saying the ratings are down on American Idol, but the pointless juggernaut keeps on rolling into eternity, and those poor idiots competing for America's hearts continue to be oblivious to the fact that their future albums are beside the point and that no one will buy them. The show itself is the point; the albums are an afterthought.

(Arguably, the show's only produced two real stars: Carrie Underwood, mostly because country music fans demand conformity to a set of themes instead of quality, and Kelly Clarkson, because she's actually good and managed to get in first.)

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. What I wanted to say was: I completely missed the premiere of American Idol. Forgot it was on and ended up watching DVDs instead (I got Freaks and Geeks for Christmas and desperately wanted to go through it again). So, no getting caught up in the crap this year. I missed it. Well, I didn't see it. I wouldn't say I missed it.

This is the first season of American Idol I won't have seen. Habit broken.

Is it just me, or is the sun shining a little brighter right now?

Happy Birthday, Susanna Hoffs!

The girl who defined and solidified my unquenchable love for rock chicks turns 50 today. Time to pull out some of her music; I recommend The Essential Bangles, When You're a Boy, and Under the Covers, Vol. 1. That voice...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mental Health Day

No Throwdown today. Today is a day to unwind, play some video games, listen to eighties music, and avoid the outdoors. It was, no kidding, -20 when I woke up this morning. Without the wind chill. January's a month you muddle through.

I Don't Know What These Ads Have to Do with Touch Type Pro

But I am willing to find out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

20 Men I Admire

Gilligan at Retrospace tagged me with a meme. You're supposed to name 20 men you admire. So, here I go. But first a couple of things for the participants:

A. Link back to the blog that tagged you.
B. Link back to the originator of this meme, which is The Dino Lounge.
C. Create your own list of 20 men that you admire and post them on your blog.
D. Tag 5 other people to participate in this meme.
E. If you like, please let The Dino Lounge know that you've participated in this meme so he can check out your posting and comment on it.

Here are my 20.

1. Isaac Asimov

2. Captain Sir Richard F. Burton

3. George Carlin

4. Walt Disney

5. Harlan Ellison

6. Benjamin Franklin

7. Hugh Hefner

8. Jim Henson

9. Thomas Jefferson

10. Charles R. Knight

11. John Lennon

12. Groucho Marx

13. H.L. Mencken

14. Teddy Roosevelt

15. Carl Sagan

16. Dr. Seuss

17. Mark Twain

18. Vincent Van Gogh

19. Orson Welles

20. Brian Wilson


And here are 5 tags:
MC @ Culture Kills...Wait, I Mean Cutlery
JA @ My New Plaid Pants
Reis @ Geek Orthodox
Dr. Monkey @ Monkey Muck
Jaquandor @ Byzantium's Shores

Obviously, it's up to you if you want to do it or not.

Comprehensive/Obsessive

ME: Well, I've finally started making those 1980s mixes I always wanted to make. Now that I have an external hard drive and can back all of my playlists up on flash drives, I can just go ahead and make a long playlist for when we're doing the video game thing. I've got it all sequenced now, so we can listen to it whenever.

BECCA: Wow, how many songs are on it?

ME: 222.

BECCA: Wow! And is it in chronological order?

ME: What do you mean?

BECCA: I mean, does it start at one end and go through to the other?

ME: No, it's a mix. It's a combination of iconic and esoteric. All kinds of stuff: top 40 hits, interesting album tracks, singles you might not remember, TV themes, the occasional film score track. A little snapshot.

BECCA: For 222 songs... So, you mixed the entire 80s together in 222 songs?

ME: Oh, no, no. Not all all. You misunderstood me. This is just 222 songs from 1980.

BECCA: ... Oh... Wow.

Simplicity, Genius, Doogie

Patrick McGoohan 1928-2009

Ricardo Montalban 1920-2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nature Makeover Day

I ran across some ads from something called Nature Makeover Day (I think the ads are Dutch?), and I have to say, I love this otter.

Look at that hair. What do you think they call that cut? The Executive Otter?

I don't know what Nature Makeover Day is, but I'm totally behind otters with neatly combed hair. Look at this guy! Parted, neatly combed, looking sharp and confident. He's like the Harrison Ford of otters!

Hollywood, I think you've found your next star.

Film Week

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

THE VISITOR (2007)
Richard Jenkins gives one of his best performances as a widowed professor who travels to New York to make a presentation at a conference. When he arrives, he finds that the apartment he's owned for decades has been illegally rented out to an undocumented Muslim couple. Jenkins initially kicks them out, then takes them back in and becomes friendly with them. As their friendship grows, they learn more from each other and about each other. Eventually, however, the undocumented man (Haaz Sleiman) get arrested over a minor misunderstanding and is moved to a detention center; Jenkins becomes very involved in the situation, and something grows between himself and the man's mother (Hiam Abbass, who is excellent). Jenkins is a hardass who can't be bothered with other peoples' lives until he find himself in a situation where he allows himself to open up. It's as powerful a movie as I've ever seen (from the director and writer of The Station Agent, another excellent movie), a movie with something to say about not only the way the American system grinds people into anonymous children, but about how incredibly good and vital it can feel to need someone and to be needed, to open yourself up to humanity in a way that seems unconcionably rare. **** stars.

TOWELHEAD (2007)
Interesting movie about Jasira, a half-Lebanese thirteen year-old who is going through puberty and into adolescence. She's shipped to a Texas neighborhood by her pathetic mother because Jasira's blossoming sexuality threatens her relationship with her boyfriend; she sends Jasira to live with her Lebanese father, a NASA worker who is a racist and (when it suits him) a traditionalist. Her father (Peter Macdissi in a very interesting performance) expects her to be a certain way (he won't let her use tampons, for example, because those are for "married ladies"), and expects everyone else to be confrontational and overcompensates (the film is set during the first Gulf War, and he's upset no one will believe he hates Saddam Hussein, so he erects a flagpole on his lawn). Jasira ends up babysitting for the Army reservist next door and discovers her sexuality when she unexpectedly has an orgasm while tumbing through his adult magazines. The reservist (Aaron Eckhart, good in a difficult role) takes a decidedly unwholesome interest in Jasira, which is noticed by another neighbor (Toni Collette, very good) who takes it on herself to protect Jasira. What I especially find interesting about this movie is the way perceptions of its politics and its attitude towards sex have been criticized; this movie isn't about politics or normalizing pedophilia or anything like that. It's got something to say about how women are devalued in society, non-white women even moreso, and how we seem to blame them for the normal biological processes their bodies go through. It's confusing enough growing up without being made to feel like something you don't think you are. Summer Bishil is very, very good. ***1/2 stars.

Kristen Bell, InStyle

Don't Mind If I Do

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Health Report, Year 3: Week 5

Illinois would be a great state to live in if it weren't for all of the snow and cold. But for six or eight months, it's great.

We've had twice the amount of snow this year that we had by this time last year, and it sucks. I live in DeKalb, and DeKalb doesn't really plow and they sure as hell don't salt the roads; if you want to see a plow you have to wait until either the snow has finished falling or even the next day so that the middle of the road will be kind of cleared off. Frankly, I'm surprised they're still not using donkeys and buckboards to plow this powder out of my way.

So, as a result, I did get into a car accident on Wednesday. Oh, I think my sister still reads my blog. Sorry, sis, but I plowed your car into a tree last week. Hope you had a nice birthday this weekend! Happy 30th!

Yeah, I was driving home from work and slid on the wet, snowy road. I jumped over the curb (popping a tire off the rim as a I did so), then continued sliding on the icy, snowy grass until I slid into a tree and got stuck in a snowdrift. A tow truck had to winch me onto the ground, then the very nice man put on the spare tire for free (if you're ever in DeKalb, use Tri-State Towing and no one else; they don't try to rape you when you're at your worst like all of the other towing companies in town). It actually wasn't a terrible accident; the tire can be fixed (it just popped the seal and let the air out, but it didn't rip), and the tree actually stopped me from driving through one of the university buildings. And to be more accurate, I slid into it, I didn't plow into it. I was sliding and just smacked the tree with the bumper of the car. It cracked a piece off the bumper and messed up the hood, but the car was driveable. I was able to drive it to the body shop my insurance company told me to go to, and they're just going to replace the bumper and the hood, paint them to match, replace the part that's holding up the radiator (no engine damage otherwise), fix the headlight cover (cracked the plastic and nothing else), and fix the tire. Over $3500 worth of damage.

But it could have been a lot worse.

I could have driven into the building.

There could have been someone on the sidewalk.

I could've hit another car.

Really, the damage is very little. It's structural, but the car wasn't wrecked. I didn't get hurt. When I called my parents to let them know I'd been in an accident, it was from my living room and not from a hospital bed. My insurance took care of everything quickly. They even paid for a rental car so I can continue to work (and it's a pretty nice Ford Focus; there's even a USB to plug in my iPod, which is fucking sweet).

Really, what bugs me here are a couple of other things. First, that I got a ticket, which I'm going to contest in court. I'm sorry, but I don't think it's fair to count it against my driving record that it snows in Illinois and it can be hard to drive on. And second, what it's done to me mentally.

For whatever reason, I'm a nervous driver. I used to be an okay passenger, but my mom ruined that back when my sister graduated from high school. I made the mistake of letting my never-prepared-until-just-past-the-last-minute mom drive us to the ceremony; she was afraid we were going to be late, and was speeding her ass off and driving recklessly. After that, I didn't want anyone to drive me around again, and I haven't let anyone do so. And then, at some point in the last five years or so, I've become a nervous driver. I get extremely nervous driving in inclement weather because, well, I'm afraid shit like what happened last week is going to happen. And the accident just made me more nervous about driving. For a couple of days, I kept replaying the accident in my head, as if I could change what happened somehow, because I just felt like a fucking idiot for "letting" myself get into an accident. I got over that, but when I'm out on the road, I'm still very nervous about sliding and I'm driving too slowly. And it makes me nuts.

However, something did happen that makes me remember that I do have the ability to change these things. And I always have. How did I quit smoking? Just decided not to do it anymore. How did I conquer my childhood fear of dogs? Just decided not to be afraid of dogs anymore, then walked up to one and pet the shit out of it. (That was my dad's dog, Robin, from when I was in high school.) Same thing with cats (when we had a cat, Bourbon). I know, childhood fear of cats is kind of lame, but when I was real little a very mean cat my grandparents had attacked me and scratched the living hell out of my back.

Anyway, when I took the car into the body shop, Becca drove me home because they didn't have a car ready for me to take out. But they did the next day, when Becca was at work. So I actually let them send someone to pick me up and take me out there. Which, considering I am actively terrified when it comes to people driving me around, is really kind of amazing.

So I'll get used to driving again. I'm not going to let myself become so traumatized by an accident that it affects my life.

Beyond, you know, making sure to be more careful in the snow.

The snow here is crazy, by the way. So is the cold. The high on Thursday, for example, is supposed to be -1. The low on Friday is going to be -16. We had a blizzard watch that was canceled (it's actually sunny right now), but the temperature is dropping and we've got another blizzard watch from tomorrow. It's supposed to snow in the afternoon, so it'll have just started snowing by the time I leave work tomorrow. Which is what happened on Wednesday, when I had the accident.

I'm going to crawl home. It'll still be here by the time I make it.

Bishop Robinson

President-Elect Barack Obama has asked Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in America (and his gay rights adviser during the campaign), to speak at the inauguration and offer an invocation of his own.

Brilliant.

I've talked to a couple of people who think that this is Obama's way of attempting to placate the gay community angry over the Rick Warren invocation.

I don't think that's the case.

The truth is, I think Obama planned it this way all along. And Bishop Robinson was apparently told it was. I think Obama did something very shrewd in a way that President Duh never could have pulled off.

Think about it. You tell America that the invocation will be delivered by Rick Warren, a man I consider a homphobe and a hatemonger, a man who has led a movement to strip people of their civil rights and then cries to the media that he's just using his freedom of speech and that he's been unfairly labeled, but who also says that gay people aren't normal and can't be close to God. A man who has compared the love of one person for another to incest, bestiality, and pedophilia. Lots of people get angry; other people (admittedly not myself) point out that this is Obama reaching out to a group that thinks it will be disenfranchised and marginalized under a Democrat Congress and a Democrat President. Trying to bridge our differences.

I was skeptical.

And then you have to sit through Rick Warren doing what all white men in the establishment of power do when they get criticized: playing at being the victim. Calling everyone who disagrees with him "Christophobes." I'll give Warren the benefit of the doubt and assume he means people who are intolerant of Christians and wasn't uncomfortably comparing himself to Christ.

But then, all of a sudden, with less than a week to go before the inauguration, Obama announces there will be a second invocation given by Bishop Gene Robinson. The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, an internationally known spokesman for gay rights, who is married to another man, and who will try to make the invocation inclusive, not specifically Christian, saying "I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer."

Like I said, brilliant.

It's too late now for Rick Warren to pull out of the inauguration without looking like a hate-filled homophobe who doesn't believe what he espouses about God's love. Warren can't even say anything about it without looking like a jerk. So now he has to just deal with it, the way all of America should just give up and deal with it instead of trying to shape the world into a place where they'll be comfortable all the time.

And, of course, the symbolism is clear: Obama is casting his net wide to embrace the extremes of both sides. He's sending the message that America is big enough for many viewpoints.

I hope his policies reflect such thoughtfulness. He's got the benefit of the doubt from me once again.

It's going to be so nice to have not only an intelligent man in the White House, but a thoughtful one.

Jar Jar Has a New Voice

I'm only mentioning this because I know there are a couple of people to whom it's become incredibly important that I "realize the truth" that Jar Jar Binks sucks. On the most recent episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Jar Jar Binks was voiced by someone other than Ahmed Best for the first time. And it wasn't the same. In fact, it was distracting. I was disappointed, and it made me think of how sad it's going to be for me when Anthony Daniels is no longer the voice of C-3PO.

So there. I was finally disappointed by Jar Jar Binks. First time in a decade. Happy now? Still love the character; live with it.

Sehlat

Since they're doing scenes involving the childhoods of Kirk and Spock in the new Star Trek movie, would it be too much to ask for I-Chaya to turn up somewhere in the background of a scene? I like a lot of diversity in my alien races, alien fauna, and robots... the lack of which is what always bored me in Star Trek (original series excepted). I understand my wanting to see Spock's childhood pet sehlat in the new movie is as futile as my desire to see some damn hoojibs in anything Star Wars-related, but a guy can hope.

Saturn, Cassini Images

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Chestnut Tree

Hyun-min Lee's short film is one of the three best pieces of animation I saw last year. It's heartbreaking, but wonderful.

The George W. Bush Legacy In One Sentence

So I sat through President Duh's puke-inducing final press conference. Through all of the sick detachment, the joking around about important issues, the high-handed dismissal of international criticism, his comparison of himself to Abraham Lincoln, and his assertion that his biggest regrets were poorly-executed symbolic gestures, what really turned my stomach was this little gem:


"Even in the darkest moments of Iraq, you know, there was -- and every day when I was reading the reports about soldiers losing their lives, no question there was a lot of emotion, but also there was times where we could be lighthearted and support each other."

See, even with American life after American life being destroyed and wiped out to support his delusion of himself as a "war president," there's no reason we can't joke around and have a good time, right? That sick, sad inability to understand the gravity and reality of his decisions is going to be what history remembers. Asshole.

I think we should erect a monument to George W. Bush. He can be dressed up in his cowboy costume, leaning back in a lawn chair amongst some cleared brush, and there can be a little plaque talking about how he took the most vacation days of any president in American history.

George W. Bush: Perpetually Out to Lunch

Thank whatever needs thanking that we've only got 9 days left of this unbelievable dumb fucking piece of shit asshole. Then history can start decidering about how we all misunderestimated this Chuzzlewit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Song of the Week: "Toe Jam"

The Brighton Port Authority (Fatboy Slim) featuring David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal. It's a really good song, but mostly I'm posting it because it's so obviously the best video of 2008.

The Cinemascape, 2009

Every year, I make a sort of mental list of what movies I'll actually probably go see in theaters. I did it here on the blog one year, so I decided to just do it again for no real reason. It's become cost-prohibitive to go and see movies constantly (the way I used to, long ago), and to be honest I like my home set-up better, what with the widescreen TV and the stereo and the not having to put up with other people and spend a ton of money to wind up seeing crap.

Still, there are times when I just want to go and see something on a larger screen with louder sound. Here's what's shaping up for my limited interests in 2009.

* Adventureland (3/27) -- It's a definite maybe, being from the director of Superbad, which I loved. Of course, I'd be more into it if it was from the writers of Superbad, but it's still worth a look. We'll see what I'm doing in March.

* Astro Boy (10/23) -- The teaser looks cool and exciting. And someone's doing a CGI version of Gigantor, too.

* The Boat That Rocked (no date) -- If it's Richard Curtis, I am there. And it's got Nick Frost and Bill Nighy.

* Bruno (5/15) -- I loved Borat, so Bruno is definitely worth a look from me. What I especially enjoyed about Borat is the way it revealed how humorless and paranoid Americans often are. Bruno has already been doing that (why do I have to live in a country that thinks you can sue someone for being made to look stupid?), so I can't wait to see the movie itself.

* Coraline (2/6) -- Lovely book, and I've been waiting far, far too long to see Henry Selick direct another movie. And, best of all, it's got nothing to do with Tim Burton.

* Drag Me to Hell (5/29) -- It's a possibility. I love Sam Raimi, it should be interesting to see him do a horror flick again. Raimi has, however, crawled up his own asshole in recent years, so I'm reserving judgment until I see some trailers.

* Fanboys (2/6) -- JUST FUCKING COME OUT ALREADY!!!

* Funny People (7/31) -- I will go see anything Judd Apatow does, even something with (Nyalarthotep help me) Adam Sandler in it. Could have been worse; could have been Dane Cook.

* H2 (8/28) -- I had no idea Rob Zombie was directing a sequel to Halloween, a much-maligned movie that I actually really, really liked. I missed the first one in the theaters, skipped due to the terrible reviews. But I hate missing Rob Zombie movies; I love his movies, so I'll go to see this one.

* Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (7/17) -- This one's a no-brainer. And it comes out on my birthday, which is cool.

* I Love You, Man (3/20) -- After Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Freaks and Geeks, and Undeclared, Jason Segel has a fan for life.

* The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (yeah, right 2009) -- Why can't Hollywood just fucking give Terry Gilliam a break?

* Inglorious Basterds (8/21) -- Like every Quentin Tarantino project, I'm completely uninterested in it, but then will want to go see it when I see the trailers. He's not perfect, but I've never not been entertained by one of his movies.

* Inkheart (1/23) -- I think it looks kind of neat, and I love fantasy movies (and I dig Brendan Fraser in adventure movies). It might very well suck, but it looks like fun.

* Jennifer's Body (9/18) -- I forgot, it's a Hole song. Diablo Cody wrote it, I shall go.

* Land of the Lost (6/5) -- I don't give a fuck, it looks awesome.

* The Lovely Bones (12/11) -- Now Ryan Gosling-free, but sadly full of Marky Mark. Still, if this movie finally comes out, and it comes out in a real theater for grown-ups (and not this 3-D shit I keep hearing about), I'll go and see anything Peter Jackson does.

* Mary and Max (no date) -- Stop motion directed by Adam Elliot. I have no idea if this will actually be released in a place where I can see it, but everything Elliot's done has been genius, so if it does come here, I'm a-going.

* Monsters vs. Aliens (3/27) -- I actually think this DreamWorks animated movie looks funny, which is a rarity. I know it's coming out in this DreamWorks ultimate 3-D blah blah blah. If it comes out in a normal version, I definitely want to see it. I won't go see anymore headache-inducing 3-D. I think it says a lot about Hollywood that in their fervor to fight piracy and home entertainment and television, their big solution is to do what they already tried (and failed with) in the 1950s. Now there's a town with ideas! Old ideas!

* Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (5/22) -- Becca really wants to see this movie. I saw the first one at a second run theater and was surprised by how enjoyable it was. I've seen it a few times since on cable and it's become one of those movies I just really enjoy. And the sequel has Amy Adams in it, so I'm pretty much sold on that.

* Observe and Report (4/10) -- It's got Seth Rogen and Anna Faris. It's from the director of The Foot Fist Way. And early reports are that it's surprisingly dark and uncomfortable in its humor. Had studio execs not seen The Foot Fist Way? If the studio doesn't retool it and release it next January, I'll definitely go and see it.

* Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (no date) -- Anything Miyazaki. I'm really excited about this one.

* The Princess and the Frog (12/25) -- Nothing can keep me from seeing Disney's first cel-animated movie in 5 years in a theater.

* The Road (no date) -- They've moved this movie to... nowhere. There's no release date for it, but I'm so intrigued by this movie.

* Star Trek (5/9) -- I think we've talked about this one enough.

* This Side of Truth (3/20) -- I've been itching for something new written by Ricky Gervais. And Tina Fey is in it, too!

* Up (5/29) -- Pixar. No more need be said.

* Watchmen (3/6) -- Assuming it comes out...

* Year One (no date) -- This has the potential to be really, really stupid, but I'm caught up in this wave of Apatow-produced comedies.

* Youth in Revolt (2/20) -- This one just looks funny. And it's from the director of Chuck and Buck and The Good Girl.

I didn't see it on the list I looked at, but I also want to see I Love You, Beth Cooper. I might not go and see all of these movies; I might go and see different movies. But this is just what I think right now based on the information that I have. There's a lot more that I want to see that I'll end up seeing on DVD just because I don't think they're theater-worthy, or because I know they won't come out anywhere near here. Love living in the country.

Sunday Hottie 206

VIKKI BLOWS