Saturday, August 01, 2009

Is This Some Kind of Joke, Or...?

I just saw the trailer for Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox and... wow, no. Just no. This thing looks absolutely terrible. Just really, really bad. As full of manufactured whimsy as the terrible, stupid-looking Alice in Wonderland trailer. Stilted line readings, a terrible grasp of humor, no grasp of the medium and, worst of all, truly terrible animation. I don't know, maybe the final product will look better, but for now, I'm waiting until it hits DVD or maybe even cable to find it. I mean, this almost looks like it was made by a classroom of 3rd graders, but that's really mean to 3rd graders to say. This thing looks like shit. This thing looks like shit that shit took a dump on. It's grotesque and unappealing, and I'm just disappointed because I love the book and I really wanted this to look good.

500 Faves

126. Everybody Loves Somebody - Dean Martin
127. Everybody Loves You Now [live] - Billy Joel
128. Everyday - Buddy Holly
129. Evil Woman - Electric Light Orchestra
130. Extreme Ways - Moby
131. Eyes Without a Face - Billy Idol
132. The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke - Queen
133. Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen
134. Father and Son - Cat Stevens
135. Father Figure - George Michael
136. Fields of Gold - Sting
137. Find a Reason to Believe - Rod Stewart
138. Fire and Rain - James Taylor
139. Float On - Modest Mouse
140. Flowers On the Wall - The Statler Brothers
141. Follow Me - John Denver
142. Follow You, Follow Me - Genesis
143. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
144. Forever - The Beach Boys
145. Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
146. The Future - Leonard Cohen
147. Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
148. Georgia On My Mind - Django Reinhardt
149. Girl from the North Country - Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
150. Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon - Neil Diamond

Yo, Joe! Is on Hiatus

Here at the Swamp, we're gearing up for WizardWorld Chicago next weekend, so there's a lot going on and posting may be light. As part of that, the Yo, Joe! feature will be off for today and next week, but it will definitely be back on the 15th. I don't know if anyone's going to miss it or not, but hey, if you've been interested, now's as good a chance as any to catch up!

Futurama's Back On

As expected, Fox TV reached a compromise with the Futurama actors. They're also compromising on the per-episode budget, the number of writers, and the amount of time each episode will have to be completed. Fox TV is nothing but compromise! Woo-hoo!

But I'm glad it'll have the same actors. I think it was pretty shitty of everyone involved to get the fans all riled up, but now I'm looking forward to the return of the series again.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rabbits in the Eighties

500 Faves

101. Different Drum - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
102. Ding Dong - Nellie McKay
103. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC
104. Do You Believe in Magic? - The Lovin' Spoonful
105. Do You Remember Walter? - The Kinks
106. Doctor Worm - They Might Be Giants
107. Don't Be Cruel - Elvis Presley
108. Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
109. (Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
110. Don't Let Me Down - The Beatles
111. Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis
112. Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police
113. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
114. Don't Worry, Baby - The Beach Boys
115. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
116. Dorothy - Alison Moyet
117. Down Under - Men at Work
118. Dream Away - George Harrison
119. Eaten By the Monster of Love - Sparks
120. Eleanor Put Your Boots On - Franz Ferdinand
121. The End of the Innocence - Don Henley
122. End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys
123. Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
124. Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
125. Everlasting Love - Carl Carlton

This Is Why I Don't Talk Politics Much Anymore

Over at the Cave of Coolness, Cal has a new feature called The Airing of the Grievances which, I'm proud to say, was inspired by my Random Thoughts posts (which are, in turn, a stripping-down of my old Throwdown posts, which already seem far, far in the past to me).

On the linked post, Calvin talks about the "Beer Summit" between President Obama, Professor Henry Gates, and Police Sergeant James Crowley and says "I think it was brilliant to suggest that all three of them meet at the White House for a beer to discuss the incident and try to find some common ground. But now some idiot is criticising Obama's choice of beer (Bud Light in case you were wondering). Are you freakin kidding me? It seems that if the man went for a walk they would be all over him for choosing to lead with his left foot instead of his right. THIS is why nothing ever gets done in American politics."

Boy, how right is he?

This is exactly why I don't follow the political news as closely as I used to, and why I don't talk much about it anymore on this blog. I just can't pay attention to it because of crap like this. As if it matters to the running of this country what kind of beer the president drinks, or whether he smokes, or whatever. Instead of coming together despite our political differences to try and resolve a serious issue like the health care problems in this country, we have to give actual consideration to a small group of imbeciles who will not let the already-resolved non-issue of Obama's birthplace sink into their soft, squishy heads.

But you know what bothers me the most about the people who are scoffing at the so-called Beer Summit? It's that they're scoffing at the idea that problems could ever be resolved by sitting down and talking about them. And THAT is why nothing ever gets done in American politics.

Because it's never about ideas or issues or talking things out in this country. It's always about fighting and screaming and proving your loyalty over and over and over again.

Nothing is ever going to change in this country because the crazy people on the fringe have the loudest voices, and the media takes them seriously because crazy gets attention and attention means ratings and ratings mean more ad revenue. The very idea that anyone can just sit down and discuss not only their differences but how to get past their differences is anathema.

And this is how we get into endless wars with people who didn't even attack our country. They're endless because no one can sit down and talk about what's going on. I don't want to say there isn't a time when fighting is necessary, because there almost certainly is. But we can't even agree on what peace is in this country. People on the right think peace is being able to control everyone in the world. People on the left think peace is genuine understanding. But it's neither.

Peace is just not killing anybody. You don't have to get along with everyone. We don't all have to think the same way. You just have to ignore the differences and live and let live. That's all there is to peace. And no one in the government gets it, because there's money to be made running this country like a corporation.

And that, too, is why nothing will ever get done in American politics.

And that's why I don't write about politics very often anymore.

Sorority Row

I'm not going to rush out to the theater to see this, but I really dig this poster. It's kind of disturbing and beautiful at the same time. I'll see it on DVD because my Rumer is in it. I know, I know, it's another horror remake, but I didn't think the original House on Sorority Row was all that good, either.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Ponyo Trailer

500 Faves

76. Cracked Actor - David Bowie
77. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
78. Crazy On You - Heart
79. Crowds - Bauhaus
80. Cry Baby Cry - The Beatles
81. Crying - Roy Orbison & k.d. lang
82. Cum On Feel the Noize - Slade
83. Cupid - Sam Cooke
84. Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy
85. Daddy's Song - The Monkees
86. Daddy Sang Bass - Johnny Cash
87. Dance Me to the End of Love [live] - Leonard Cohen
88. Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen
89. Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
90. Dancing with Myself - Billy Idol
91. Dare to Be Stupid - "Weird Al" Yankovic
92. Dark Streets of London - The Pogues
93. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup - Nat King Cole
94. A Day in the Life - The Beatles
95. Dead Finks Don't Talk - Brian Eno
96. Dear God - XTC
97. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) - The Four Seasons
98. Der Kommissar - Falco
99. Diamond Dogs - David Bowie
100. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - The Delfonics

Random Thoughts

If Madonna really has to do this to herself to feel whole as a person, could she at least stay indoors from now on?

:: All of the news and pictures from Comic-Con this year made it more clear than ever that Comic-Con has long since changed from a gathering of like-minded genre fans to an industry showcase for the purposes of exploiting genre fans. It might as well be ShoWest. For the first time ever, I didn’t wish I could go.

:: I find that the appeal of Twitter wears off pretty quickly.

:: When I see armed security guards, I’m always reminded just how much importance our society places on objects as opposed to human life.

:: They changed the title of Richard Curtis’ The Boat That Rocked to Pirate Radio. I get that it’s a marketing decision, I just think it’s like changing the title of Lawrence of Arabia to Desert War. There are no lyrical titles anymore, it’s all got to be the dullest indicator of the premise. (I just had the ridiculous thought that today Desert War would be called, with the new need to lengthen titles, Desert War: War in the Desert, and it would be part of a trilogy where every movie is three and a half hours long and nothing happens.)

:: The Gossip Girl producers ordering upcoming guest star Hilary Duff to lose weight is a chilling reminder of just how regularly—and purposely—the media pushes an unhealthy body image for girls. Have you seen her new DKNY ads, where she’s photoshopped to look really, really thin? And you know, America can whine about this shit all it wants, but if it didn’t sell, they wouldn’t do it.

:: What I hate most about the way bloggers talk about TV shows is that they can never just tell you they liked or didn’t like a show and why. Too often it comes down to “I’m much too SMART for THIS SHOW to work on MEEEEEEEE!!!!!” or “WHAT?! You’re NOT WATCHING this SHOW! It’s the greatest thing to happen since the invention of the vacuum tube! What’s WRONG with YOOOOOOOUUUUUU!!!????!!?”

:: I am so sick of Johnny fucking Depp and Helena Bonham fucking Carter that the sight of either makes me want to vomit.

:: The endless whining on Tumblr about Tumblarity ratings shows that there’s no worthless, pointless, meaningless, arbitrary, totally made-up popularity contest that people won’t get huffy over losing.

:: Wife Swap is a valuable show because it really shows America just how insular peoples’ lives can be and how little interest, regard, or respect we have for the way other people think and live their lives. It especially shows you how badly people want to make others conform to their way of thinking when the “Rules Change Ceremony” involves the destruction of private property.

:: I love how people think using old timey slang makes them interesting. It doesn’t.

:: Grant Morrison on Comic-Con: “I don't care about geeks, you know? Geeks shouldn't be given power. When geeks get power, you get Hitler. There's a lot of weird and angry geeks out there. But what [a comic book movie] does is it opens up comics as a medium. It stops being geekish. There's comic books for everyone. There's comic books for women, there's comic books for kids, there's comic books for teenage Goths. That is the important thing that movies are doing […] One of the things that upsets me is that people are tailoring their comics for movies. We're losing some of the big imagination.” That’s a lot of nonsense coming from someone I once considered talented and who has made it his mission in life to destroy any fun in the DC Universe for the sake of company-wide crossovers that do nothing but drive fans away from the company.

:: I read that Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron are going to star in a new Gidget movie. Jeez, do we really want to bring the beach movie back at this point?

:: “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Why the fuck do books have cover art, then? Obviously, so you can judge whether or not you want to read it.

:: Kanye West is the new King of Pop. At least, that’s what Kanye West says. And remember, in the words of Kanye West, “My opinion matters.”

:: I still don’t know about people putting their personal or website logos on pictures they post on the internet. You see it a lot especially on sites where they just scan pictures of sexy women from magazines; the scanners have their own logos, some of them quite elaborate, that they impose on everything they post. I mean, I understand wanting to get the credit for being the person who posted it, but it’s also not really something you own, is it? Isn’t there a name for a person who puts their own name on someone else’s work? The kind of name that gets you, for example, kicked out of college?

:: I’ve been following Blogsecret on Tumblr, which is exactly the same thing as Postsecret, where people anonymously get out their inner feelings. I’ve been reading a lot about people who are so happy in their relationships and so scared that they might end. Man, where are the people who are so happy in their relationships that they love what they have and aren’t ruining it with these fears of not having what they already have? (Answer: too happy to post on Blogsecret, I guess.)

:: I liked Snoopy much better on the cartoons than in the comic strips. The pantomime was much funnier. They totally ruined it in the eighties cartoons when you started being able to hear Snoopy’s thoughts.

:: Universal Pictures continues their onslaught to completely devalue Dr. Seuss’ books by announcing a Lorax CG-animated feature. Can’t wait for the part where the Once-ler farts and the Lorax says “Aw no you di-int!” Which shitty, over-the-hill “comic” actor is going to ruin this one? Will Jim Carrey go for a trifecta of wiping his ass with Seuss?

:: Dear makers of romantic comedies: clumsiness is not endearing. It is annoying.

:: Peter Jackson blasted Hollywood for its lack of originality. Um… Pete, I love your movies, but in the past decade you made a trilogy based on a classic novel, a remake of a classic film, produced two movies based on video games, and are now putting the finishing touches on an adaptation of a bestseller. You want to try that again?

:: Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds are apparently having marital problems. I’d like to say “Already?” but, honestly, this lasted longer than I figured it would. Imagine: a world class pain-in-the-ass diva is hard to be married to. And she’s probably no picnic, either.

:: Looks like what skeptics have been saying all along is true: organic food is not significantly healthier than non-organic food. Food is food. Guess you’ll have to do the work instead of using the overpriced “organic” shtick as shorthand. Do you really need a marketing gimmick to tell you that vegetables are healthier than Twinkies? Well, apparently, since it’s a $48 billion a year industry.

Update 7/31: Let me be clear on this point. I'm not saying this to laugh at people who take their organic food seriously. I'm using this to laugh at those people who don't. America, as usual, took a legitimate health choice and turned it into a marketing gimmick that sometimes amounts to no more than a re-labeling or a jacked-up price to exploit a trend in dietary habits. I'm saying that, you know, it's up to every person to look into where their food is made and what it's made out of.

And I guess, right now, I'm also saying that those who are using this study to get preachy and self-righteous about non-organic food are being as big a bunch of assholes as those people who get preachy and self-righteous about organic food. Is that clearer?

:: Speaking of food: Denny’s. I stopped eating Denny’s when I moved to DeKalb, where there is no Denny’s, in 2001. Then, two years ago, I had some Denny’s and was completely disgusted by it and vowed never to eat it again. Now I know why. According to a class action lawsuit filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, about 75% of Denny’s menu items contain much, much more than your RDA of sodium. The CDC says not to have more than 1500 milligrams a day. The Meat Lover’s Scramble, however, has 5,690. Getting a full meal in some cases gives you more sodium than a person should consume in four days. I want to puke and have a heart attack just thinking about it. So, I’ll never make the mistake of eating there again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

500 Faves

51. Both Sides Now - Judy Collins
52. Box of Rain - Grateful Dead
53. The Brazilian - Genesis
54. Brilliant Disguise - Bruce Springsteen
55. Buddy Holly - Weezer
56. Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
57. C’etait Toi (You Were the One) - Billy Joel
58. Can’t Buy Me Love - The Beatles
59. Can’t Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley
60. Can't Help Thinking About Me - David Bowie & the Lower Third
61. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You - Frankie Valli
62. Candy - Cameo
63. Captain Jack [live] - Billy Joel
64. Caribbean Blue - Enya
65. The Carpet Crawlers - Genesis
66. Castles Made of Sand - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
67. Chain Gang - Sam Cooke
68. Changes - David Bowie
69. Cherish - The Association
70. Child of the Moon - The Rolling Stones
71. China Girl - Iggy Pop
72. Come Sail Away - Styx
73. Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
74. Cosmic Castaway - Electrasy
75. Cosmic Dancer - T. Rex

Film Week

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

Okay, now it's starting to pull off the tracks a little bit. In this installment, Jason fights a psychic girl who can move things telekinetically. It's still a fun movie, don't get me wrong--and the previous movie put this series firmly in supernatural territory. But the supernatural stuff makes it less real each time, and the sort of scary realness of it--the idea that Jason was just some deformed head case who killed people--evaporates when Jason is an indestructible monster. I don't know. I'm still giving it *** stars, but it's so close to just not coming off. It still works, but it's on thin ice. I have trepidations about the next entry in the series. I think it might be a good idea to get Jason into another setting, but I have seen Jason X, which took place in outer space and is extremely stupid, so who knows?

EAGLE EYE (2008)
One of the dumbest fucking things I've ever seen. Not intimate enough to be suspenseful, and completely nonsensical. It doesn't work on any level. Except Billy Bob Thornton is okay. No stars.

Brilliant, wonderful stop motion film from Neil Gaiman's novel. I have to admit, I'm not much of a fan of Neil Gaiman's prose writing, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but I was really blown away by it. I've liked everything Henry Selick has done, and it was so nice to see him get another project with a terrific story. It's a fairly simple premise--a girl named Coraline moves to a new home with her awful parents and finds a door to another world where everything is better, only to find something even darker at the core--but the story that comes out of it and the amazing visuals that go along with it make for a very engrossing experience. The voice cast is great, especially Dakota Fanning as Coraline, Teri Hatcher as her mother, Ian McShane, and Keith David doing something different than just being deep-voiced. And the best part? I didn't have to see it in shitty 3-D. **** stars.

I remember people saying 15 years ago that this movie, which seemed like a throwaway, was a lot funnier than they expected. And, 15 years later, I see it was. Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler play wannabe rock stars who take a radio station hostage in order to get their demo played. It reminded me a lot of the first Wayne's World, and it's directed by the guy who made Heathers. I love Fraser, and I especially enjoyed Joe Mantegna as the station's jaded DJ; it's the kind of role he doesn't play very often, and I liked seeing him in a decent comedy. Not bad at all. Oh, and Ernie Hudson always rocks. *** stars.

Hal Roach produced this film version of one of the greatest of American novels. I was surprised by how good it was. Burgess Meredith stars as George, the drifting worker during the Depression who takes care of Lenny, played by Lon Chaney Jr in probably the greatest performance I've ever seen him give. He's just so emotionally genuine, playing Lenny more like a hulking child than like a babbling idiot, which I've seen more than enough times. I haven't read the novel in a long time, and I forgot until I was watching this just how much the story moved me, and how sad the ending really is. Excellent and underrated film, with a beautiful Aaron Copland score. It's finally premiered on Turner Classic Movies, and even though the sound on the print has some really bad spots, you should see it if you get a chance. **** stars.

Happy 75th Birthday, Bud Luckey

I see on Cartoon Brew that today is animation director Bud Luckey's 75th birthday. They posted this cartoon, too, "That's About the Size of It," from Sesame Street. I remember this and a number of other cartoons, and I think Sesame Street can be counted as one of my earliest animation influences, and it's thanks to people like him. He's at Pixar now, and I hope he has a happy birthday.

There You Go, Astro Boy!

And as an extra, here's T28, aka Gigantor.

Happy Birthday, Rollergirl!

And even at 39, she still is (and always will be) my Rollergirl. Damn, I love her. Happy 39th!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The 1954 Ghostbusters Movie That Never Was

Some YouTube genius has used clips from over a dozen films and TV shows to create this awesome fake trailer for a 1954 version of Ghostbusters starring Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and Fred MacMurray. I dig this trailer and kind of wish this movie actually existed. After you watch the video, go to the YouTube page to look at the annotated version!

500 Faves

26. Bad Reputation - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
27. Ballad of Easy Rider - The Byrds
28. Basket Case - Green Day
29. Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf
30. The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
31. Be - Jessica Simpson
32. Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
33. Because the Night - Patti Smith
34. Beelzebub's Laughter - Hoyt Axton
35. Beeswing - Richard Thompson
36. Bennie and the Jets - Elton John
37. Bernadette - The Four Tops
38. Bess, You Is My Woman Now - Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
39. Beyond the Sea - Bobby Darin
40. Big Brother - David Bowie
41. Big Time - Peter Gabriel
42. Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
43. Bitterblue - Cat Stevens
44. Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
45. Blow Away - George Harrison
46. Blue Jean - David Bowie
47. Blue Moon - The Marcels
48. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
49. Bombers - David Bowie
50. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

TV Report: Summer Stuff and Nonsense

Ah, the bleakness and surprises of summer viewing. A couple of brief(ish) thoughts on what I've been checking out.

:: I am amazed how much I've been enjoying True Blood. I think this week's episode was one of the best they've ever had on; even Bill didn't irritate me. (It helps that we saw him in a flashback acting like a vampire who enjoyed being a vampire; for once, he got to play something other than earnest or angrily earnest.) And Jason continues to be the most fascinating character on the show; poor dope just believes whatever anyone tells him, and he gets taken advantage of. I just want him to pull away from Sarah before it's too late. And this love story between Jessica and Hoyt... man, this show got so crappy towards the end of the first season, and in the second, it just keeps getting better and better. What changed? Was it just time?

:: I think Hung is interesting; I really liked Margo Martindale this week. She's become an actress I really like. I think it's much more interesting as a character piece, and I'm glad it hasn't turned into the naughty sex comedy that so many critics want it to be. It's like Weeds, only more genuine. Jeez, the opening credits sequence isn't enough dick jokes for the critics? The way the critics want this to be more playful and naughty says a lot about America's attitude towards sex--like it's all got to be a joke or else it isn't palatable. The last thing I want this show to turn into is that fucking Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Ugh, no more of that.

:: Speaking of Weeds, I really loved Alanis Morrisette this week as the lone voice of emotional maturity. So that's what's missing from this show. I hope she doesn't get as screwed up as everyone else.

:: Quick note on The Secret Life of the American Teenager: get bent, Amy Jurgens! I can't believe what a little bitch you are now! Ben, run away as fast as you can! Go to Italy and do not come back!

And, seriously, since when is Bologna, Italy, the sex capital of Europe? Have I just never heard that? Every time someone mentions Ben possibly going to Bologna for the summer, they smirk and say "You know what Bologna's known for, don't you?" Is that a real thing? They act like he's going to Amsterdam, or something.

:: Look, Lifetime, no matter how much you pre-empt my Desperate Housewives or How I Met Your Mother reruns to trick me into watching it, I am never, ever, ever going to watch Army Wives.

I did, however, watch the first episode of Drop Dead Diva. Meh. Stereotypes a-poppin'!

:: Becca and I had a real split opinion over the premiere episode of Ruby and the Rockits on ABC Family. She thought it sucked because it seemed amateurish and inept. I thought it sucked because it was too-rehearsed and too obvious. Either way, it sure sucks. Alexa Vega just seems like she should be past this kind of a sitcom by now.

This is a Cassidy family production, produced by Shaun and starring David and Patrick as estranged brothers and former rock stars who reconcile in order to raise the daughter David never knew he had. Alexa Vega plays the daughter, and she gets to sing on the show. Gee, doesn't David Cassidy actually have an estranged daughter, Katie Cassidy, who is a pop singer? Seems like she would have been perfect for that part. That's cold, dude.

:: I'm glad Hell's Kitchen is back, but can we get a little less gimmickry and a little more food tonight, please?

:: Jesus, how long does it take to make six new episodes of Robot Chicken? It seems like they only show four or six episodes every year now.

:: You know, Jonas has gotten much better. It's still kind of an artificial throwaway, but they have fun with that. And god knows their obvious template, The Monkees, was also bad. But Chelsea Staub and Nicole Anderson are terrific. The way Jonas stock keeps falling, though, I don't expect it to be around much longer. It might be the first Disney Channel sitcom to only get 13 episodes. Jeez, even the execrable Corey in the House got a full season, and that was just painful.

:: The Suite Life on Deck would be much better if they brought back the rest of the characters from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and ankled those twins. Wow, they just suck.

:: Damn you to hell, ITV, for canceling Wire in the Blood. Rising expenses? It was totally worth it. Well, at least I've got this last season of episodes to watch, just released on DVD in America this week. What a fantastic series; one of my all time favorites, which is really something, as I generally tend to hate criminal investigation/detective series. Turns out the Americans just don't know how to make them.

Ah, Rachel Blakely

I see that today is Borneo's own Rachel Blakely's birthday. She's 41 today. TNT used to rerun The Lost World early on weekday mornings. I miss it. And by "miss it," I really mean "miss seeing Rachel Blakely every morning." Sigh... Happy Birthday, Rachel.

Monday, July 27, 2009

500 Faves

Two years ago on this blog, I did a list of my 500 favorite movies. Lots of people were doing their personal 100 at the time, and I just decided to join in and expand the whole list. Hey, I like a lot of stuff, it's hard to narrow down to an even hundred.

Anyway, I've always thought about following it up with another 500 Faves list, but I never got around to it. But, after Gilligan put up his Top 100 Songs of the 1970s list, I started kicking around the possibility of doing my own list of favorite songs and, well, it evolved into a second 500 Faves list.

So, here's the first installment of a completely useless and wholly subjective list of my 500 favorite songs.

A couple of explanations first.

:: I gave myself some limitations here, mainly because my, erm, "short" list was about 1400 songs. So I cut off any Disney songs, any Muppet songs, and any songs from musicals, because I figured those were lists I could possibly do on my blog later in and of themselves.

:: These are in alphabetical order by song title, because ranking 500 songs would take years off my life and drive me mad.

:: These aren't the only 500 songs I like. If I leave something off, it just didn't make the final round. There's a lot of music I don't like, sure, but there's a lot more that I love.

:: And, of course, like all of my lists, this is completely subjective and meaningless. These aren't "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." These are more like, I don't know, "My 500 Favorite Songs Right Now." Ask me at a different time and I might have a different answer. Ask me in a couple of years and I'll bet a third of these will fall off this list. I'm not making the claim that these songs are better than any other songs in perpetuity throughout the universe. These are just the ones that, this summer, right now, today, I like the most.

So here are the first 25:

1. ABC - The Jackson 5
2. Abraham, Martin & John - Dion
3. Accidents Will Happen - Elvis Costello & the Attractions
4. Africa - Toto
5. After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
6. The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?): Time to Get Away - The Moody Blues
7. Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got) - The Four Tops
8. Ain't That a Shame - Fats Domino
9. All Along the Watchtower - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
10. All Summer Long - The Beach Boys
11. All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople
12. Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan
13. Alone Again Or - Love
14. Always on My Mind - Pet Shop Boys
15. American Tune - Willie Nelson
16. And So It Goes [demo version] - Billy Joel
17. Angie - The Rolling Stones
18. Antmusic - Adam & the Ants
19. April Come She Will - Simon & Garfunkel
20. As the World Falls Down - David Bowie
21. As Time Goes By - Jimmy Durante
22. Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
23. Baby Fratelli - The Fratellis
24. Back Street Girl - The Rolling Stones
25. Bad Blood - Neil Sedaka

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Song of the Week: "Tonight"

I haven't had any Iggy Pop on Song of the Week since 2006! Time to rectify that, right now, with one of my favorite tracks from his classic 1977 album Lust for Life. Because as much as I love Iggy Pop, I especially love him with David Bowie, my favorite singer. Such a perfect song; a great combination of punk and glam, and a song apparently about heroin abuse. I like the Lust for Life album a bit better than his previous collaboration with Bowie, The Idiot, because it sounds more like Iggy. And that's Carlos Alomar on guitar in there. Great, great song.

Love It

Twilight Summarized by a Smartass, Chapter 5

I liked it so much better when they weren't talking to each other.

The relationship between Bella and Edward, such as it exists at this stage, is moronic and frustrating. In this chapter, he goes from figuratively pushing her around to literally pushing her around. I mean, physically; he grabs her an awful lot and forces her to do things. At the end of the chapter, he makes her let him give her a ride home. Great. Kidnapping is really cute, right, ladies?

Now that he's manipulated her into letting him take her to the library in Seattle, she goes about the rest of the school day in a daze. And again, I don't think she's really obsessed with Edward so much as she's obsessed with the fact that he likes her, because it's always about how people relate to her, isn't it?

It's weird reading a book when I have no sympathy for the main character at all. It's hard to care about her feelings when she treats people with such cavalier cruelty. In this chapter, for example, she describes her supposed friend Jessica's talk about the upcoming dance as "babbling on and on about her plans." I feel like we must know Bella as the people around her know her--that is, at arm's length, hidden behind a veil of falsehoods that are meant to make her more sympathetic but completely fail. And like I said last week, I think it's because Stephenie Meyer is writing about herself and not being honest about her feelings. At all.

There's no emotional resonance to this story whatsoever, and I think people who find it there are reading it in--certainly possible, since Bella only exists as a vessel for the reader to put their own identity on, and not as a three-dimensional character. This is The Bella Show, and the other characters only exist insomuch as Bella needs people to bounce her own image of herself off of.

I mean, seriously, there's a scene at lunch where Edward, sitting alone, points at Bella and motions for her to come over. Like, just wags his finger at her, like, get over here. And she GOES! Are you kidding me?

It reminds me of an oft-repeated story about my late Grandpa, who once refused to let my Aunt Cherry go out on a date because the boy picking her up pulled up to the house and honked the horn. If he wasn't good enough to come to the door, he wasn't good enough to take her out.

Christ, I hate Edward. I hate the way he manipulates her with his awful "I'm so interested in you, but it's not safe for you if I am, but I can't stay away from you anymore, so you should stay away from me, but if you can't, let the chips fall where they may." It's a sort of verbal abuse that shows how little he respects her. This is the kind of stuff a high school guy says to an impressionable girl to get her in the sack. And you know what? As much as I hate Edward for doing it, I hate Bella more for falling for it.

I thought Stephenie Meyer insisted this girl was smart.

A couple of other complaints.

:: Mike really, really wants Bella to go on this beach trip, even though Bella says it's in the forties and I figure a Washington beach must be a really sad, depressing thing. He really likes Bella and wants to get closer to her. So what does she do? She invites Edward to come along, too. He declines, but still, what a bitch. God forbid she just be honest with Mike and tell him she's not interested.

:: "My mom always says I was born thirty-five years old and that I get more middle-aged every year." No, sweetie, you're just dull as shit and take everything way too seriously. It's not a sign of emotional maturity. And if you think you're very mature, you definitely aren't.

:: Bella liking Classical music doesn't make her more interesting or smarter than everyone else, it just makes her another person who likes Classical music. BFD.

:: Bella still can't come up with a single reason why she just had to move away from her mother so badly. She's still lost in this fantasy where she left home to "let" her mother and stepfather be together for the whole year before she'd be a legal adult and could just move out, anyway. How fucking magnanimous of her. Did her stepfather touch her, or something? Why is Bella so mysterious and evasive about why she moved? For this much build-up, it had better be something really traumatic.

:: Bella describes her mother: "She looks a lot like me, only prettier. I have too much Charlie in me." Why is she such a casual little ingrate about her father? She just keeps cutting him down behind his back. From what I can see so far, his only crime is doting on her, buying her a car, and being thrilled that she wanted to live with him in the first place. I feel bad for the guy, because she doesn't even want to live with him at all.

:: Bella gets sick at the sight and smell of blood. Edward says "People can't smell blood." Bella then describes the exact smell of blood: like rust and salt. Everyone has smelled blood at some point or another in their lives. Does Stephenie Meyer really think this makes Bella unique? It's not a freaking superpower.

I'm going to end on this image I first encountered at the Cave of Coolness:

Please make sure to stake them both.