Saturday, September 05, 2009

Yo, Joe! Episode 27

Lasers in the Night

Look, Quick Kick sucks. He does. He's just awful. He's only there because they wanted a Bruce Lee rip-off, and he has no personality except that he constantly quotes classic movie lines with his terrible impressions (every guy thinks he can do the best Bogart impression, and the fact is, none of us can; oh, and your impressions of Christopher Walken suck, too, so please stop doing them). Fun-loving guy who quotes movie lines and does impressions? That sounds like everyone I hate at a comic book convention.

So, in this episode, this chick Amber is bored with her college classes but thinks Quick Kick is interesting. Apparently she doesn't own a record player. She goes to see Quick Kick at a G.I. Joe martial arts expo on campus to go, in her own words, "hunk hunting."


This is the kind of episode that would've had me flipping channels that afternoon. I think ThunderCats might've been on at the same time.

Anyway, Quick Kick goes through the usual martial arts expo stuff (a reminder that martial arts are not just for fighting, but for discipline, followed by chopping a chain in half in a very disciplined way). Quick Kick is impressed because, in true lazy writing style, when he asks for a volunteer from the audience, Amber gets in a lucky punch and nearly collapses his lung, from the sound of it.

Amber really likes Quick Kick, even after his idiot Porky Pig impression, and runs after him so he can do his idiot Bogart impression. She giggles and a montage follows, with Quick Kick dating a college student and clothes and settings right out of some terrible late-forties movie about teenagers courting. She mistakes his James Stewart impression for John Wayne, and he giggles and everything's perfect, and they're sparring in the dojo together, and it's basically Bruce and Linda Lee.

Hilariously, what ruins it all is that Amber says she wants to join G.I. Joe. So he tells her about military training and how you have to put in all of this time and effort and become one of the best in your field to even be considered and--oh, no, wait, that's right, G.I. Joe will take anyone with a costume and a gimmick who walks up to the door that day. That was pretty much Quick Kick's entre into the service, wasn't it? "Uh, well, we met a guy in the Arctic who saved us from Storm Shadow, and he's a stuntman and can fly a plane... and, uh, we don't have a guy who does impressions yet, so why not?" Jeez, not even a background check?

Anyway, Quick Kick thinks it's too dangerous for Amber to join G.I. Joe, which comes across as awful damn sexist considering he works with two women--Scarlett and Cover Girl--who can really handle themselves in the field. (And attention-craving Lady Jaye, but I keep hoping she'll get over her crippling neediness.) It really is the late forties, after all. At least in Quick Kick's head.

Suddenly, as if to get a taste of the horrors that could potentially await Amber, we cut to Gung Ho on an island, running away from Cobra soldiers and casually punching snakes. Why he's alone on this island I don't know, but he gets captured by a Cobra with a laser whip. Cobra Commander and the Baroness are pleased with his capture, and the Baroness is given an assignment.

Cut suddenly to the G.I. Joe electronics lab burning to the ground. Duke, Scarlett, Lady Jaye, and Bazooka rush in to look for anybody; Lady Jaye hears a cry for help but gets knocked out, so Bazooka has to drag her out. The building is totally destroyed. Duke sees a Cobra Rattler flying off and figures they were looking for the new guidance system, which was moved to the Joe HQ for exactly this reason.

Well, things sure have soured between Quick Kick and Amber. He brings Lady Jaye flowers in the infirmary, and when Scarlett makes a light joke about "your new girlfriend had better not hear about the flowers," Quick Kick immediately gets pissy. "The only flowers Amber would be interested in are those wrapped in enlistment papers." Wow, what a bitch. Quick Kick, I mean.

And then the lights are cut and there's a mysterious intruder.

But she's really Amber!

And let me tell you, Quick Kick is pissed. But you know who's even more pissed? Duke. Bow howdy, is he mad. How mad? Interrogation mad.

Seriously, guys? An interrogation chamber? Why, because she didn't just walk in wearing a sailor suit? All Amber wanted to do was join G.I. Joe, and I guess this was her misguided calling card, but you gotta admit, breaking into Joe HQ was pretty ballsy and impressive for a college student with no apparent military training. Amber looks to Quick Kick for support, and he totally hangs her out to dry (and he does it with his crappy John Wayne impression, too). Duke basically says "Aw, fuck it" and lets her go. He even lets Quick Kick show her around. Maybe he's thinking about it.

Amber is way too pissed at Quick Kick to care about Skystriker arcana, so she runs off and he follows. Meanwhile, a tech who goes by the fearsome codename Alice is fitting Lady Jaye's Skystriker with the new guidance system. I wonder what Alice's story is. She kind of looks like Majel Barrett. Really, anyone who isn't Lady Jaye or Quick Kick is more interesting than what's going on in this story, and you don't see too many women in G.I. Joe, despite the big three. Alice really feels like she's only there to show that G.I. Joe doesn't discriminate based on gender, since Quick Kick is being really high-handed and sexist with Amber.

Well, someone finally notices that Gung Ho's been gone an awful long time, so Duke gathers some Joes together (Scarlett, Bazooka, Breaker, Alpine, Roadblock, Dusty, Spirit and Flint) for a briefing. His last transmission was from a place called Snake Island, which probably should have been a red flag long before now. Amber bursts into the room, mortified, and Quick Kick hauls her off.

Duke: "Can't you get a handle on your woman, Quick Kick?"
Flint: "Heh, this is why I don't date!"
Alpine: "Sure, THAT'S why. Got nothing to do with your crippling fear of women."

Meanwhile, Destro makes it back to Snake Island and contacts Cobra Commander. "You've arrived just in time to witness my latest stroke of genius!" the Commander hisses. That raises a red flag for Destro, but let's face it, Destro is the smartest guy on this entire show. "What is that madman up to now?" Probably thinking It's like I have to childproof the damn base and put a babysitter in charge every time I leave.

Doc (Doc! Nice to see you for a change! Doc is so underused it's a damn crime!) reports that the long-range laser guidance system past all tests. Duke is a little too impressed with his new toy, and then Amber accidentally bursts in again. I think Duke is really sick of this chick and any chance of her joining up is over now. Again, she's mortified and Quick Kick is all like "Can someone put a damn bell on her?" and it's time to take her back to sorority row.

Then Cobra attacks (that Snake Island must be, like, down the street) and Lady Jaye, who has been acting weird, seemingly gets killed. I say seemingly because, as everyone in the world has surmised by now, Lady Jaye is really the Baroness in disguise!

Yes, the Baroness changed places with Lady Jaye back at the fire, got the security code to the Skystrikers, called for the Cobra attack as a diversion, and stole the guidance system.

Duke, however, is blaming this whole thing on Amber, since she was (as far as he knows), the only non-Joe personnel in the building all night. Quick Kick's got to bring her in on suspicion of being a Cobra spy. He accepts it and walks off, leaving Scarlett to wonder if Quick Kick even cares. Duke cuts her off and says Quick Kick cares, "he simply just isn't the type to show his feelings." Well, not unless they can be expressed with a terrible impression and an old movie quote. Seriously, Duke, I know your toy was stolen, but the whole speech is right on the verge of saying "Scarlett, men are talking!"

Where's Amber? Well, she's taken a raft to Snake Island, scuba-ed in through a tunnel, and is crawling through a vent when she's captured by the Crimson Guard. She's certain G.I. Joe must think she's a Cobra spy, so she's gone to destroy Snake Island by herself. Seriously. And did I mention that this is all taking place on the same night?

Anyway, Amber's the one the Baroness reveals herself to, and Amber is thrown in a cell with the real Lady Jaye and Gung Ho. How will they escape? Well, luckily Quick Kick's ability to chop through iron chains has transferred over to Amber in some kind of totally made-up girlfriend osmosis.

Quick Kick shows up on the island, too, completely without troops or any kind of back-up, does an idiot A-Team impression, and is almost immediately captured.

Well, this is Cobra Commander's big plan: to use his laser to carve his face on the moon. Yes, Cobra Commander's entire plan was to just get all Chairface Chippendale because he was a little bored and didn't have Zartan to amuse him properly. Destro is unbelievably irritated with the Commander. "You spent millions on this?!--this cosmic graffiti?!" I think Destro feels like a parent returning from vacation only to find that, while he was gone, his son Idiot W. Bush thought it would be "hilarimous" to tag the neighbor's garage and then piss on it, even though he's in his twenties and should know better, especially when he's hiding out from military service. And then you wonder why you didn't hit the kid more often, since nothing gets through to this little asshole, who is an underachiever even despite his inferiority complex... just gets to be too much, doesn't it, Destro?

Amber and the Joes escape and head for the control room, where Quick Kick is being held, and Amber's all thrilled, but then Quick Kick ruins it by being all smarmy and saying "Since there were no good movies on, I decided to rescue you." Oh, die in a fire, Quick Kick.

Well, you know the drill. Snake Island is lost, the Cobra leaders escape, Destro's all like "You're a fool!" and Cobra Commander's all like "Everyone's against me!" without thinking about how idiotic his plan was in the first place.

Quick Kick tries to follow, but gets shot down by Destro. He ends up saving himself and Amber from Destro and snakes by getting all Indiana Jones with the laser whip. He condescendingly tells Amber that this is what she'll have to deal with if she's a Joe, but it seems to me that she's holding her own just fine, even saving his life at least three times by pushing him out of the way of laser fire when he's too busy hot dogging to make sure he doesn't get killed. I mean, she breaks into Joe HQ and takes on Snake Island by herself and he doubts her courage? Wow, fuck you, Quick Kick. How insecure are you?

Back at headquarters, Duke actually apologizes to Amber for thinking she was the Cobra spy, and Amber is responsible enough to tell him his suspicions weren't out of bounds, since she did everything wrong. Duke tells her she's welcome to join the team, but she turns him down, saying she's going to finish school first. Still, she's got a space if she wants it.

And at the end, Amber pulls out a movie quote and Quick Kick doesn't recognize it. Seriously? I mean, even if you haven't seen Now, Voyager and are one of those poser movie buffs, you still have to have heard the line "Don't ask for the moon, we have the stars."

Since guys hate being corrected on their quirks, I'm assuming he dumped Amber as soon as possible. But he's obviously got control issues, anyway.

Did I mention this episode was written by Marv Wolfman? You can do better, dude. You did. A lot better.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Friday Playlist

1. Frank Sinatra: Kisses and Tears
2. The Byrds: This Wheel’s On Fire
3. The Turtles: Ain’t Gonna Party No More
4. Chris Farlowe: Headlines
5. Paul McCartney: Pipes of Peace
6. Tori Amos: Crucify
7. Nico: No One Is There
8. George Jones: Someday My Day Will Come
9. Bauhaus: Kick in the Eye
10. The Beatles: She Loves You

1. Low and quiet, perfect for tonight. The days are getting shorter and shorter, so at 8:04 PM here, it's already pitch black outside. Sinatra sounds best coming out of the dark, I think.
2. The Byrds covering Dylan and doing the fine job they always do. Probably the Band did my favorite version of this, but it's not honestly a song I care much for.
3. Pretty much the end of a great band. It wasn't on any of their albums, but it's the final track on the Turtles box that I have.
4. More melancholy from a great singer.
5. Cheesy, sure, but I have a soft spot for it.
6. One of my favorite Tori songs, and I have a lot of favorite Tori songs.
7. A dark, sad, and disturbing song, with Nico's voice her usual fascinating mix of pained and disinterested. This is from The Marble Index; John Cale plays every instrument on that album except for the harmonium (which she plays herself).
8. Ah, George Jones. How can you not dig his music? Remember when country music was almost always sad?
9. I like Bauhaus. My wife is a super fan of theirs. This is one of their classics, if they have any.
10. A nice, upbeat way to end. This was kind of a bleak mix, wasn't it?

Random Thoughts

Would someone buy Taylor Swift a belt, already? I hate it when skinny chicks walk around in maternity dresses. Are you a shape or a mass of cloth?

:: After seeing a lot of people overreacting that Disney acquiring Marvel Comics was going to somehow ruin the comics themselves, I have to ask: how important do you really think the comics themselves are to Marvel Entertainment, and how important do you think they actually are to keeping Marvel’s branded characters relevant? Because my answer to both questions is: “Not very much.”

:: Does the new Yahoo Mail suck or what? Yes, thank you, that’s what I’ve always wanted in my inbox: the inconvenience of websites that are slow because ads won’t open.

:: I saw Lindsay Lohan on a commercial for Project Runway. Seriously? Getting fashion advice from Lindsay Lohan is like getting career advice from… well, from Lindsay Lohan.

:: Speaking of Lindsay Lohan, why is Playboy still hell bent on getting her in their magazine? They keep upping their offer and she keeps turning them down. Who the hell wants to see that strip of dried-out leather with her clothes off anymore? Here’s a hint, Playboy--if they don’t look good with their clothes on, they’re not going to look good with their clothes off.

:: Guy Ritchie is going to make a Lobo movie. A PG-13 Lobo movie. Apparently, Guy Ritchie’s never read any of the great Lobo stories, because PG-13 is bullshit here.

:: The sound of Paula Deen’s voice makes me want to murder someone. And that someone is Paula Deen.

:: Why is it when super-religious people talk about Jesus, they always sound utterly convinced that, to Jesus, they’re the most important person in the history of the world? Makes me appreciate those people who feel their religion teaches them humility.

:: Joe Jonas says he wants to be Mick Jagger on stage. Whether that’s laughable or not I leave to you to decide; it's just kind of refreshing to hear a young singer who isn't saying they want to be Michael Jackson.

:: I live in Illinois, President Obama’s state. He’s still got a pretty high approval rating here (59%). And a poll here reveals that 75% of Illinoisans think that any health care reform will not benefit them personally, or will make things worse. I’d say that’s an indication of how shitty a job the Democrats have done explaining this thing.

:: Pat Buchanan makes apologies for Adolf Hitler. I just... wow, I just have nothing to say to something so audaciously stupid. Why are we supposed to take this shit seriously? As, like, a legitimate opinion? As discourse worthy of consideration?

:: If you really have your panties in such a wad over President Obama’s upcoming “study hard and be a good citizen” speech that you’re going to keep your kids out of school, you are a moron who shouldn’t have been allowed to breed in the first place. He’s hardly the first president to talk to schools, and just because you don’t agree with the way Obama acts in your ridiculous and childish hate fantasies does not mean he’s not still the President of the United States. Would you just contribute something useful for once?

:: In Massachusetts, where gay marriage was legalized five years ago, the divorce rate is the lowest in the country since 1940. So tell me again how legalizing gay marriage is going to threaten yours. Because I know it sure as hell doesn't threaten mine.

Queen Cersei

Some of George R.R. Martin's recent casting clues about A Game of Thrones ended up really being a big game with no payoff, interesting as some of the casting choices might have been (and I especially dig that Iain Glen is playing Ser Jorah Mormont). I am, however, especially xazzed that Lena Headey is going to play Cersei Lannister.

Great choice. I always like her in everything I see her in, and I really like this choice quite a bit.

Damn, I hope this is as good as it has the potential to be.

Funnily Enough, Third Grade Has Always Been My Favorite Grade to Work With

I'm copycatting Cal.

You Should Teach Third Grade

You are good at dealing with many types of personalities at once. You are an excellent multitasker.

You can teach a group well, but you're also able to help people out one on one.

You see everyone as individuals, and you're able to meet them where they are. You don't judge or push.

You know how to ask interesting questions and point people in the right direction.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I was glad to see one of these on the season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Apparently, we were supposed to see quite a bit more of these in Revenge of the Sith, but they were mostly cut out. It's modeled after Bettie Page (George Lucas's idea) and it is a pleasure droid. One of my arguments about Star Wars with friends of mine is that there's not a lot of humanity in the Star Wars movies (almost everything serves the needs of the plot, Greek epic style), so it's nice to get a little indicator that the spear carriers have sex for pleasure and not just to fill the needs of the plot.

Akituusaq 2007-2009

Two-year-old Akituusaq, a Pacific walrus at the New York Aquarium, died of pneumonia complications. It's just another one of those things that makes me kind of sad, seeing animal species dwindle. His name means "gift given in return" in the Yupik language. He was only the 10th walrus born in captivity in North America since 1968.

HoboTrashcan Contest!

I got a message from my editorial overlords at HoboTrashcan (home of my Positive Cynicism column). We've started a weekly contest called Finish That Fortune. You're provided the first half of a fortune from a fortune cookie and you need to fill in the rest. The funniest entry will picked next Thursday.

This week's fortune is: "Constant grinding can turn an iron rod into a _____."

If you have an answer, go here and submit your answer in the comments.

Just That Kind of Day Today

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Film Week

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

Asia Argento is one of my favorite actors of all time, and it's especially because of movies like this. She gives one of her best performances as a woman who goes to Transylvania to find the traveling musician she had a fling with to tell him she's pregnant by him. He doesn't want anything to do with her, and she's got nowhere to go, and many of the locals see her as either an easy mark or someone dangerous. A wandering salesman offers to help her, and the two end up forging a bond from their mutual need and mutual understanding. Argento's performance is so delicate and so vulnerable; probably her best performance since Scarlet Diva. She's an amazing actor. **** stars.

NORMA RAE (1979)
Sally Field as a Southern factory worker who joins in the fight to unionize. There's a sort of documentary feel to it that is alternately engrossing and off-putting; some of it feels forced. Field is good, but I'd recommend the documentary Harlan County USA instead. *** stars.

I think this must be the first time a Disney Channel Original Movie has ever impressed me; it's easily the best they've ever made. Wizards of Waverly Place is a series I enjoy, but which always treads the fine line between cute and funny, and between stupid and fun. It gets by a lot on the charm of the actors, especially Selena Gomez, one of the strongest actors Disney Channel has ever had (and her talent keeps developing). This movie takes the premise (a family who are secretly wizards are living in the mortal world) and somehow manages to ground it in an emotional realism that the show never gets at. The plot: the Russo family goes on vacation to Puerto Rico, but rebellious daughter Alex (Gomez) accidentally uses magic to wish that her parents had never met. Then a Back to the Future situation happens and the three Russo children have to try and keep their parents (who have completely forgotten them and each other) together while finding the Stone of Dreams, the only magical object powerful enough to undo the spell.

The surprise here is that there is a real emotional core that centers around each member of the family putting aside their differences to do what's best for the family instead of themselves. It starts off light, but it becomes more dramatic as it goes on and instead of focusing on the caper aspects (the mistake of so many Disney Channel movies) it focuses on a family literally being torn apart by a few careless words. And when the really bad things start to happen, it actually stings. The danger here feels very real and the consequences seem final. And that's really something coming from a channel whose best movie offerings are generally described by me as "not that bad." This one is good.

I wanted to mention something important here, and it's about the message Disney Channel movies often send. My biggest complaint with them is that they are too often, perhaps without realizing it, pushing the wrong message. My biggest complaint with Hannah Montana: The Movie is that Miley had to make a real, genuine sacrifice for the good of her family, only to have the movie take that sacrifice and render it meaningless in order to protect a brand. I hated them for that, because it ultimately made everyone else in the film seem ridiculous and stupid and made it seem like Miley's desire to control her own destiny wasn't that important.

This part is full of spoilers:

Here in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, Alex is put in a position where she can literally have everything she wants and undo her mistake. Let's be honest--it's obvious Disney was going to push the reset button at the end so that nothing affected the TV series, but it keeps you in suspense as to how it will happen and why. Alex can have it all. And instead, she chooses to make a sacrifice. And the movie doesn't take it away from her. There are consequences. She learns the consequences of careless words spoken in anger and just how much she really values the family she takes for granted. And that's a great lesson for kids to learn, and makes for an exciting story as well.

This is what Disney Channel set out to make over 25 years ago: great family entertainment. And Selena Gomez's performance especially... I hope to see her in movies for years to come. ***1/2 stars.

Oh, fuck, no. 1/2 star.

Boy, were we all wrong when we were saying that Lindsay Lohan was going to be a great actress. This kind of straight-to-video, harmless, sitcom-esque comedy is the only thing she can handle, and even though she's not terrible in it, you can see what her limits are. So-so movie. **1/2 stars.

Surprisingly powerful movie with Michelle Williams (an underrated actor in a great performance) as a housewife devoted to her very young son who begins cheating on her husband (with Ewan McGregor, so I certainly don't blame her). But her son and husband are killed in a horrific terrorist attack, and her guilt and need for answers practically eats her alive. This is only the second feature film by Sharon Maguire, the director of Bridget Jones' Diary (which is a great movie, sorry if you don't think so), and she has a very confident directorial hand. It's a hard movie, and at times it almost seems like it's going to become some routine American film with an action plot, but that thankfully never happens. Instead it's a very sensitive and emotional story about a woman who survives a tragedy and struggles to come to terms with it instead of getting lost. **** stars.


Think about the worst boss you have ever had. At any point did you find yourself describing him or her as the "worst boss ever"? Because you were wrong. There are bosses in the post-slavery era who took the normal "horrible boss" stereotype and raised it to astonishing, horrifying new heights.

:: For over a century, movie stars have brought countless screen heroes to life – but of course, there has usually been a slight gap between the actors and the heroes they played. Yes, we know that a third of Angelina Jolie’s income goes to charity, that Sean Penn took a canoe to help Hurricane Katrina victims, and that Tom Cruise once stopped to help a hit-and-run victim and paid her hospital bills. Nonetheless, most famous actors have been normal people like everyone else. But just so you don’t lose your faith in movie stars, here are some who actually were heroic.

:: Now killing the President requires a lot of planning, but when you're crazy, planning involves casting imaginary spells and talking to ghosts. All of which makes it even stranger that some of the craziest assassination plots ever hatched by some of the craziest people came so close to succeeding.

:: Why wasn't Shipwreck in the G.I. Joe movie? Well, here's one answer (and a follow-up).

:: Why We Hate: Seth Rogen (I agree with this.)

:: So because the role of news producer has become more like the ecstasy dealer at the orgy than an editor, because the filter's now just what is most exploitative, yet not too uncomfortable (Natalee Holloway above war contractor fraud, for instance), we get the mainstreaming of the most fucktarded, meaningless, fraudulent conspiracy theories that can be vomited out.

:: I've written on The Abyss before, but I just watched it again a little while ago, and if anything, I love it even more. This is one of those movies that gets better each time I watch it. I genuinely believe it's an underrated classic, overshadowed by the films in James Cameron's oeuvre that bracket it. (I've always really enjoyed The Abyss, especially the director's cut, for pretty much the same reasons Jaquandor has here. It's a very smart and involving film. For what it's worth, even when I don't agree, I always like reading Jaq's posts about rediscovering movies.)

:: Why is Spider-Man poor?

:: Terrorism isn't exactly rocket science. It's something pretty much anyone can do. You wake up one day and decide that you'd rather like to explode in the middle of a crowded shopping center, and BAM! There you go. You're a certified terrorist. But, incredibly, people manage to fuck up even that. And if we can't laugh at terrorists, who can we laugh at?

:: What I am proposing is that Dick Cheney voluntarily submit to a good, swift kick in the balls.

:: This much silent emoting makes me uncomfortable with glee.

:: Sam Beckett's 10 Strangest Quantum Leaps

:: 8 Classic Board Games That Destroy Friendships (I remember fist fights over Mouse Trap.)

:: 100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

:: So what kept me moving on that convention floor was the fear that not only would someone find that special something, but somebody I WORKED WITH would find it. Whatever IT was. Then I’d have to know about it. And hear about it. (Chris Sanders has the funniest explanation I've ever heard for spending so much time trolling comic book convention floors instead of sane things like eating.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

SamuraiFrog Goes to South Park

I've seen this a few places today, and the first place was over at When Is Evil Cool?

I had time to kill, so I went here and made my own South Park character. So here's your ol' pal SamuraiFrog if he was a South Park character.

Happy 70th Birthday, Lily Tomlin!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel; Fans Overreact

Of all the complaints I've seen already today about the Walt Disney Company announcing that they're going to buy Marvel Entertainment, this one (via here) was at least the funniest. Many, many fans seem to be taking the stance that this is somehow the most horrible thing that could ever happen to Marvel, as though Disney is somehow going to ruin Marvel Comics. What I think is the funniest implication is that somehow Marvel has all of this integrity that is going to be ruined by Disney exploiting their properties. Hey, does that mean we'll get to see Spider-Man on TV shows, action figures, cereal boxes, and underwear? Because that'll be brand new!

Seriously, internet?

Oh well, I actually enjoy this news and think it's a great move on Marvel's part. That it hasn’t stopped fandamentalist internerds from getting all whiny on their blogs over it is just icing on the newest creation of the Confectionery of Idiot called the internet.

Which Is What Happened to VH1 Classic

ME: Have you seen the music videos they've done showing the game play for The Beatles: Rock Band on VH1?

BECCA: Yeah, the animation's really neat.

ME: A nice little fallout from the huge marketing push they're making for the game is that they've actually been showing Beatles videos on VH1. The actual pop clips they made and stuff like that. They're even airing some of the old solo stuff.


ME: And they're showing The Beatles Anthology.

BECCA: That's pretty cool. It wasn't the greatest documentary there could've been, but it had some great concert footage. I swear, there's enough material now for a Beatles Channel. VH1 Beatles. I would watch 24 hours a day.

ME: Me, too, until it started to suck. It would be all music videos and Beatles movies and specials for a little while, but then they'd start devoting time to Beatles covers and then they'd have Beatles impersonators on some kind of reality show like A Beatles Chance of Love.

BECCA: Ugh. And first they'd have to find the perfect Beatles impersonators, so they'd do a reality competition show with phone-in results, like Beatles Idol. America's Got Beatles. Or Making the Beatles.

ME: Finding Fab.


ME: And, of course, the inevitable week-long special I Love the Beatles, which features a bunch of shitty, low-tier, fifth rate comics taking a break from insurance commercials and hosting Animal Planet game shows to put the Beatles into perspective for all of us idiots who don't realize how culturally important and hilarious they were.

BECCA: ... Well, it was fun while it lasted.

ME: Oh, sure. When VH1 Beatles was just showing clips, their old cartoon, and Yellow Submarine, it was classic. Now it's just... VH1 Classic.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, August 30, 2009

LEGO Spaceship Alphabet

I've been remiss in pointing this out, but Mark Anderson (of the great daily strip Andertoons has been creating and posting pictures of LEGO spaceships that look like every letter of the alphabet. They're really great, and yes, I used them to spell out my initials.

His Flickr page is here. He's up through J, so there's still more to go, and they're just so cool.

Song of the Week: "Be My Baby"

Ellie Greenwich, one of the best songwriters from the Brill Building, died this week. She and her husband Jeff Barry wrote a lot of great, influential songs that we kind of take for granted now (too many kids these days thinking rock 'n' roll started with the Beatles). And of all the hits Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry wrote (and there were many), this was always my favorite. It sounds like a simple song, but it's a masterpiece. This song just soars.

Twilight Summarized by a Smartass, Chapter 9

Sorry, I found this online and I just couldn't resist.

Here's another way a movie can influence your opinion of a novel: this entire chapter is Edward driving Bella home from their impromptu little date. As usual, all Bella can do is tell us how overwhelmingly wonderful he is, how he makes her feel amazing, etc. She wears his jacket and loves his smell, and even his breath smells "exquisite." And all I can think about is all the weird stories I've read about how Robert Pattinson doesn't think showering is a big deal and how he smells like a sweaty camel because of it. Mmm, exquisite.

Aw, Bella's a candy ass who overstates things, anyway.

The whole conversation is pretty lame, but at least it sorts out some of the plot threads and almost puts Edward and Bella on equal ground (although they can never be equals: he treats her like an inferior and she puts him on a pedestal). Edward essentially admits he's a vampire, that he drinks blood (though he and his family try to steer clear of killing humans), and that Bella's is the only mind he can't read. I guess that's why she's so fascinating to him.

It's funny, because the news that she's not like everyone else seems to gut Bella. I found that totally unbelievable, since Stephenie Meyer's been bending over backwards to show us how special her precious little Mary Sue is, and how she's not like everyone else at all, but so very, very much better and cleverer and prettier and smarter than her peers (except, you know, she's clumsy and awkward... whatever).

In this chapter, Bella falls completely and stupidly in love with Edward, and I still can't figure out why, except that she really gets off on his constant abuse. I mean, what else is there? He "saved" her life? Bullshit, she was already obsessed with him. Jacob's story about vampires and werewolves? She already had feelings for Edward before that; the idea that he was a vampire only deepened the feelings she already had, because she's a moron. So, really, he just belittled her enough to be fascinating, and infantilized her enough to make her co-dependent. That's their whole relationship.

Again, ladies, take away the fact that he's a vampire. Now here's what you have in this entire conversation (paraphrasing): "I'm fascinated by you because you're so much different than everyone else. I worry about you when I'm gone because you're so clumsy and stupid that you can't take care of yourself. I need to watch you like you're a toddler because you can barely stand on your own, so I follow you around all the time. I'm a dangerous creature who you should be very, very frightened of, so I'm going to hang around with you as much as I can and force you to let me treat you like this is the Victorian Era. I could kill you, and in fact I really want to kill you, so much so that it makes me uncomfortable to be around you, but I also kind of like you and it amuses me to watch you pretend to be on my intellectual level. Here, put on my jacket."

Seriously, what the fuck?