Thursday, September 30, 2004

COMICS: Wed. 9/29/04

For someone who's listed on the Comic Weblog Updates page, I don't write about comics a whole awful lot. Well, here's some thoughts on yesterday's purchases.

Daredevil: Didn't read it.

Amazing Spider-Man: Didn't read it.

Invincible: Didn't read it.

New Frontier: Didn't read it.

No wonder I don't write about comics very much. By the time I read the damn things, it's irrelevant.

I did read all the Marvel 2099 books (and by the way, thanks a pantsload for putting them all out on the same day, Marvel! Way to serve the typical fan's budget best. Douchebags). I bought all five of them, because Robert Kirkman wrote them. Okay, I think I've finally been cured of that habit.

Not that they were all bad. Just that none of them were really spectacular. And I was surprised that all the issues were one-and-done. (I'm sure everyone else was aware of this, but I guess I don't really pay attention to much of anything that's happening in comics other than what I can see right in front of me on the shelves.)

I liked Punisher 2099 just for the fact that Kirkman followed up on the Punisher/Elektra love connection Garth Ennis threw out as a joke a year or two ago. So Frank and Elektra have a baby in 2038 (according to the dates on Cassandra's tombstone)? Let's see, Frank was in Vietnam, so, being extremely generous, let's say he was 21 in 1975. That would make him a proud papa at the age of 84! Take that, Tony Randall! Hell, forget Frank -- Elektra's the one who had to suffer through an octogenarian labor. That'll break a hip. Other than that little bit of backstory, I didn't much care for the issue, though. Even Pop Mhan's art, which I dig on SpyBoy, didn't really thrill me here.

Mutant 2099: The brain of Reed Richards in a Ben Grimm robot. That should have been a lot cooler than it was. I just kept thinking, why don't the Sentinels catch Reed and the kid, already? Reed's flying around in his jetcar, the kid's zapping Sentinels -- but they easily evade capture. And there's a gigantic mole people invasion right out in broad daylight, and no Sentinels show up? They're really pretty ineffective, aren't they? How the hell did they defeat every superpowered being on Earth?

Inhumans 2099: This had a very dark and interesting twist at the end, but I think it would've worked better for me if I knew who the hell the Inhumans were. I mean, I know who they are, I'm aware they exist, I've seen them in comics like Fantastic Four, and, I don't know, X-Men or Hulk, I guess, but they never really interested me. The only one whose name I knew was Black Bolt, and I didn't even know he had a brother. So, yeah, some of the impact of the ending was lost on me. Still: pretty cool.

Black Panther 2099: I know nothing of Black Panther. Does the current version often fight Doctor Doom? Seems like a bit of a mismatch to me, but whatever. And are the Sentinels confined only to America? You'd think, if they could've destroyed every single superhero, they could've gotten to Doom in Latveria, too. But again: whatever. And the issue as a whole? You guessed it: whatever.

Daredevil 2099: This was probably my favorite of the 2099s. I really liked the ending, where we learn Fisk is not just carrying on the tradition of Matt Murdock, he's carrying on his grandfather's as well, committing evil as the Kingpin and atoning for it as the Daredevil. How Catholic of him! And I liked that, in Kirkman's world, the original Kingpin eventually defeated and killed Daredevil. Good story.

So, all in all, I'd say this 2099 experiment was a bit of a failure. None of them were really designed to be continuing stories, but if they did turn into regular series, or if a generic Marvel 2099 title were launched, I doubt I'd buy any of them. Which is a failure in my eyes.

And I've learned to stop buying comics just because Kirkman's name is on the cover. Invincible and Walking Dead, yes. Anything else: doubtful. I mean, why the hell am I still buying Captain America? It's quite bad. (Although I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed the first issue of Kirkman's Jubilee. I'm a teenage girl, apparently.)

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

TV: Spaced

All this week, Trio is showing episodes of Spaced, the British sitcom (or Britcom, if you will -- but I hope you won't) from the creators and stars of Shaun of the Dead. (Possibly they've been showing the episodes for a while now, and I only just became aware of it.)

I've seen two episodes so far. The first one threw me for a loop -- I hadn't known what to expect, but certainly nothing quite like that. Lots of quick cuts and shaky cam and other irritating camera tricks -- it was going for the look of a film, but a really annoying film, one directed by Michael Bay. (Kind of like Keen Eddie.) It took me a while to get into the show's point of view; the creators are obviously heavily versed in and influenced by action movies (and video games and comic books), and are clearly spoofing those elements as they use them. (Most of the time -- sometimes I think they just use those elements because they think they're cool.) You can pick out about a dozen specific movie spoofs in each episode, from The Matrix to Star Wars to The Shining to Evil Dead to a bunch I probably didn't even get.

The second episode won me over completely. I had gotten used to the look of the show, and figured out who the characters were, and could just sit back and enjoy it. And I certainly did. When they got to a dramatic, elaborately choreographed shoot-out scene with no guns -- everyone's just using their fingers and making sound effects with their mouths -- I was laughing so hard I could barely see the TV.

The basic premise behind Spaced is that the two main characters (and the show's writers), Tim (Simon Pegg, Shaun in Shaun of the Dead) and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson, Yvonne in Shaun) are pretending to be a couple so they can rent a room in a house. Kind of a reverse Three's Company. Why they have to do that, I don't know -- I only got that much information from the IMDb page. It didn't really come up in the episodes I watched.

There's a lot of story packed into each episode. There are half a dozen main characters, and they split off into three separate plotlines each episode (or in the two I watched, anyway). And there are a lot of side characters with their various stories. But at the heart are the two leads, both of whom are very funny and very likeable, and who are going through the aimless, post-college, video game playing, bar hopping, still looking for a career and a mate, late 20s years.

It's a shame there were only 14 episodes made. Crazy Brits, with your seven-episode TV seasons. No wonder you have to fill up your TV with American reruns!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

This just in from Germany

Follow up to my post about being linked by a German blog: Björn, the author of the post that linked me, was nice enough to send me an email and clear up some of the comedic translation errors caused by Babel Fish.

"Thus the Gehasse goes to some on the nerves," for example, should more properly be translated as, "Some people hate the hating" (singling out Legomancer in particular as someone who disapproved of all the Star Wars negativity). And "because it Han equal solo ones a whole corner makes desert" actually means "since it makes Han Solo suddenly a hell of a lot more boring." Okay, that makes sense. Where "dte rodent years" came from, though, is still a mystery.

He also said some very nice things about my blog, which proves once again that Germans love David Hasselhoff... and Tom the Dog. Actually, according to Björn, they don't even love Hasselhoff that much anymore, "since he gave up his talking car and started to lose his hair... on his chest." Poor Hasselhoff!

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TV: Various premieres part 2

Yep, another TV post. You're gonna be seeing a lot of 'em in the coming month or so.

Joan of Arcadia: I love this show. I am in no way a religious person, and that's not what attracts me to this show (I mean, I don't believe in aliens, but I still liked The X-Files); it's the stellar cast and their interactions. Amber Tamblyn is wonderful as Joan, Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen add a great deal of acting weight and experience to the show as Joan's parents, and the large number of recurring players are consistently entertaining, from Christopher Marquette and Becky Wahlstrom as Joan's boyfriend and best friend (both of whom were promoted to regular castmembers this year), to Elaine Hendrix as the loopy teacher who seems to get physically aroused by science, to Mageina Tovah and Aaron Himelstein as the gawky nerds, to David Burke (Arthur from The Tick!) as the priest Joan's mother seeks out for advice.

And I loved how last season ended, with the life-shaking and all-too-plausible proposal that Joan had never seen God in the first place, that it was all hallucinations brought on by lyme disease. Where's your messiah now??

This season got off to a great start, with Joan returning from "crazy camp" believing she'd been cured of her visions. But that pesky ol' God kept popping back up. And it ended on a believably down note: Joan again accepts God is real, but after he basically abandoned her in last season's finale, she rejects him. Take a hike, Yahweh! I'm sure she'll be back to doing his dirty work next week, but it was a pretty bold move for a show that's proven to be so much smarter and open than its Touched by an Angel-like premise ever suggested.

Listen Up: This show, on the other hand, is a piece of shit.

There have been times I've written things here and worried (no matter how astronomically unlikely) that someone involved with the show might stumble across my blog while Googling their own name and take offense, or be hurt. Well, if that should happen with this show: seriously, you all know it's a piece of shit. Don't even try to pretend otherwise. Every single one of you can and should do better (except maybe the girl playing Jason Alexander's daughter, who is instantly one of the most shrill, unpleasant, unlikeable characters and/or performers I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing). This vastly stupid and supremely unfunny show should be taken behind the barn and shot like Old Yeller at the earliest possible opportunity. I don't like it, is what I'm getting at.

Still Standing: And this show may actually be worse, yet somehow it's entering its third season. Where's my messiah now?? Last week's season premiere was the first episode I've ever watched, and it most certainly will be the last. The grand twist they appear to have applied to this show is that not only is the father a drunken, clueless, boorish, irresponsible lout -- so is the mother! How refreshing. By which I mean: you suck. This show was so repellent, I wished I was Elvis so I could shoot the TV. It began with both parents arriving home drunk from a tour of one of the colleges their son may be applying to, and it went downhill from there. The creepiest sequence involved the father, trying to cheer up his teenage daughter, repeatedly telling her that she was developing a very nice figure. Where's Child Protective Services when you need them?

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Monday, September 27, 2004

TV: Various CSIs

I haven't watched a lot of CSI, but I've enjoyed the few episodes I have caught. I like that it appears to have an actual sense of humor, as opposed to the one episode of CSI:Miami I've watched, which was stupid in the extreme, with truly unlikeable, unwatchable actors, and the premiere episode of CSI:NY, which has the great Gary Sinise, but which was dry and dreary and disturbingly, off-puttingly morose from beginning to end.

I watched the season premiere of the original this week, and I enjoyed it. I like all the main actors, especially Marg Helgenberger, who just gets more beautiful year after year, and William Petersen, who has an oddly impish look in his eyes even at the bloodiest crime scenes.

But I especially got a kick out of how Jorja Fox and George Eads were made to eat crow. Both of those actors tried to hold out for more money over the summer; CBS fired them both, then hired them back after they made sufficiently humiliating public excuses and apologies. And even that wasn't enough, apparently. When we first see Fox in this episode, she's looking in the mirror, practicing an apology to her boss over a drunk driving incident. But if you're paying attention, the language she's using could just as easily be interpreted as a coerced apology to the CBS executives and/or producers.

And later, when Eads meets Fox at a crime scene in the desert, the ironic dialogue continues. Both actors had been fired for missing deadlines (Fox for failing to turn in a contract promising to show up for work, Eads for showing up 4 hours late on the first day's shooting). At the crime scene, Fox says to Eads, "How come you're so late?" "Oh, I'm late?" he shoots back. With just two lines, each actor has been made to poke fun at/assign blame to the other.

I'm not necessarily saying I'm taking sides against Eads or Fox. Actors play hardball with networks all the time, and despite the vast amounts of money they're making per episode, it truly is a pittance compared to what the network is raking in off their work. But still: it cracked me up, seeing the two of them forced to eat humble pie on camera. How long will the punishment last, I wonder?

Speaking of CSI:NY: I like that they're sticking with The Who for the theme song. CSI uses "Who Are You," which is the most appropriate theme of the three shows; the characters spend most of their time trying to determine who the victim is, then who the killer is. Who are you? CSI:Miami uses "Won't Get Fooled Again," which is also thematically apropos. The killer won't fool us. Fine and good.

But CSI:NY uses "Baba O'Riley." I love the song, and I love The Who, but I just don't think the song works well as the theme. "Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals, I get my back into my living." I guess you could stretch it to say, well, Crime Scene Investigation is their living, and it's a tough job, so you could say they fight for their meals... no, it just doesn't work. Maybe if they had gotten to the bridge: "Don't cry, don't raise your eye, it's only teenage wasteland..." Like, as some kind of commentary on the crime-ridden city and its victims. But the song doesn't go on that long in the credits, and it's still not a great match to the actual show.

I think if they wanted to stick to The Who, two better choices (without going really obscure) would've been "The Seeker" ("They call me the Seeker, I've been searching low and high, and I won't get to get what I'm after til the day I die"), or, even better, "I Can See for Miles" ("I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise, I know that you have cause there's magic in my eyes"). Maybe they'll use one of those when CSI:Jackson Hole, Wyoming debuts in fall 2006.

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Sunday, September 26, 2004

MOVIES: Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead is brilliant, the kind of idea I could kick myself for not having first -- but, I have to admit, realized far better than I ever could have. (On the other hand, I think Dorian -- who was one of the people I saw the movie with -- and I, as we joked on being subjected to the horrible, horrible preview for Hilary Duff's Raise Your Voice, really could write a generic teen movie far better than the actual teen movies that get made, and make a mint.)

Shaun is a zombie comedy, and amazingly, it succeeds at both genres. (It's also supposed to be a romance, I guess -- the creators have referred to it as a "rom zom com" -- but while it doesn't utterly fail at that part, it doesn't really contribute to its success.) It's truly hilarious, one of the funniest movies I've seen this year. I laughed out loud often, from the small details -- Shaun being completely oblivious to the bloody handprints all over his local market -- to the grandly hysterical --- the simultaneous pool-cue beating of a zombie, synchronized to a Queen song on the jukebox. Or there's Shaun and his best friend Ed confronted with advancing zombies, with only Shaun's record collection as weapons, and they actually take time to debate which record can be sacrificed. (Shaun wants to save Purple Rain and the Stone Roses, but Prince's Batman soundtrack is fair game.)

And it's also good and horrifying. There's no skimping on the gore -- Shaun is a true zombie flick, in the grand Romero tradition, with blood and guts and everything. Though the creatures are often played for laughs, there are more than a few scenes of genuine, frightening menace, gripping action, grisly violence, and emotionally affecting tragedy. The film plays off all the familiar elements of the classic zombie films (complete with in-jokes -- when Shaun and Ed call Shaun's mom on the phone, and tell her they're going to rescue her, Ed yells, "We're coming to get you, Barbara!" -- a great reference to Night of the Living Dead), but it uses them well, satirizing them and taking them seriously at the same time. It all works out to one of the best movies I've seen in the theaters this year.

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Saturday, September 25, 2004

I am a jelly donut!

I just discovered the coolest link to my site yet, from Welt am Draht, a German site that promises (according to the Babel Fish translator) "The world at the wire, that are comments, information, thoughts and naturally News approximately around the world of the Comics and beyond that." Awesome!

The post (written by Björn) appears to agree with my recent Star Wars entry, in which I said I couldn't get too mad at George Lucas' crazy revisions any more, because of how my interest in his films has waned. Björn begins by saying (again, via Babel Fish),

Even 27 after year the Erstveroeffentlichung cannot one star Wars escape. And since DVD release still many less. Thus some hates it (some hates it even still more). Thus the Gehasse goes to some on the nerves. I can divide the opinion of Tom the Dog very well.
Which made me nervous. I thought he was mad at me. I don't want strange Europeans mad at me. I don't want my Gehasse to go some on his nerves. (If the Gehasse is even mine to begin with.)

But then he says,

That is practically my history with star Wars. Since then I saw the film in the primary school the first time, could not get I from the universe enough. During my early dte rodent years Timothy of tooth Thrawn Trilogie heated my enthusiasm up again. One could have shown me a Alien from the film the fact that for a Frame occurred and I would have name, homeland planet, life history, social security number and shoe size down-prays to be able.
That's pretty funny. Score one for Björn! ("Timothy of tooth", by the way, is Babel Fish's translation of Timothy Zahn. What "dte rodent years" means, I have no idea.)

There's more:

I was so bad... and where the DVDs outside am now: Nothing. It is all the same to me. Without which I did not notice it have star Wars its relevance lost... the first Trilogie have I for 6 or 7 years no more looked.
He hasn't watched the original films for as long as I said I hadn't. Look at us connecting, all the way across the Atlantic! See, not everyone in the world hates America!

But this is my favorite part:

I like also Empire still. But apart from it... nothing. It is nearly already no matter to me that Lucas Hayden Christiansen builds into the film (only the Greedo first shoots, which disturbs me... because it Han equal solo ones a whole corner makes desert).
Even Germans hate Greedo shooting first!! That's so excellent. I don't know what "a whole corner makes desert" means, but still... excellent. You hear that, Lucas? You've alienated your European fans, too!

Okay, I lied: my absolutely favorite part is really this bit, which appears after he's done talking about me, and which I shall leave as it actually appears on the site, untranslated:

Kleines Follow Up zum letzten Post: Mehr Gründe warum John Byrne "an jackass of the highest order" ist.
Germans are the best!

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Friday, September 24, 2004

MOVIES: House of the Dead

Speaking of that actress I refuse to name again, a lot of the search queries I've been getting have included the phrase "House of the Dead". (Not to be confused with House of the Ded). And, yes, this actress appeared in that film. (And she does get naked in it, so you're on the right track, search engine people, but you ain't gonna find anything here. Try a Google Image Search, you stupid bastards.)

Oh, that film. That horrible, horrible film. Now, I've seen a lot of bad movies. I've seen a lot of horror movies. I've seen a lot of bad horror movies. But House of the Dead may very well be the single worst film I have ever seen, horror or non-horror. And that's including on MST3K. In fact, it may be the single worst thing ever to exist. (Opus: "Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but Lord, it wasn't good.")

When I watched the DVD earlier this year, I had to keep taking breaks from its hateful idiocy. And each time I took a break, I wrote a little bit about the movie in my other blog. I'd like now to share with you those posts, in the hope that all who read them will avoid the tragic mistake of viewing this cinematic crime against humanity. Note: as bad as I make it sound, and as many bad things about it that I list, the truth is it is actually much, much worse.

House of the Dead Break #1

Taking a break from watching the painfully stupid House of the Dead, currently listed at #28 on IMDb's bottom 100. The director has carved out a bizarre little niche for himself: the horror-film-based-on-a-video-game genre. (He is in post-production on Alone in the Dark, and his next announced project is Bloodrayne. What's after that, Ghosts n Goblins?)

It's very sad when you can honestly say that a movie is wasting Clint Howard's talents. And didn't Jürgen Prochnow used to be a somewhat reputable actor? He was in Das Boot, for Christ's sake! Now he's following one horrible film based on a video game with another.

I am enjoying in an ironic way how everyone who asks a question in this movie ends up dead. "What is that?" "Where are you?" "Did you hear something?" Dead, dead, dead. Declarative statements only on Zombie Island, please.

Also of note is the shameless fashion in which the film revels in the degradation of women -- and one woman in particular, who is vomited on directly in her face, then, when she's cleaning her top in the sink (no bra for this liberated gal!), Clint Howard enters the room. Instead of covering herself, she turns around and gives him a lingering, unobstructed view of her bare breasticles. "You like what you see there, perv?" she demands. I don't know if she's talking to Clint, me, or the director. I'll speak for all three of us: uh, yeah.

By the way, that was a question, young lady. I'd start writing my last will, if I were you.

House of the Dead Break #2

The five survivors are holed up in a cabin surrounded by zombies. They're low on ammo, and one of them has been bitten by a zombie. But wait! There's hope!

"Guys, check out this book!" says one of them. "It looks pretty old, maybe it'll help us."

That is where my brain, motivated by self-preservation, forced me to stop the movie and leave the room.

"It looks pretty old, maybe it'll help us."

Yes, that makes logical sense. Of course a random book, found by chance, will help you out of whatever situation you might be in, by sheer virtue of its being old. Don't bother reading it, or even finding out what kind of book it is, before announcing your discovery to the group.

"It's a book about defeating an island full of zombies?"

"I assume so, due to the fact that it is old."

"Don't you think you might want to, I don't know, skim the first couple of pages before jumping to any conclusions?"

"Maybe I haven't made myself clear: it's a book. And it's old. Problem solved."

"This... this is an atlas of Portugal! And it's written in Portuguese! Can you even read Portuguese?"


House of the Dead Break #3

Actual dialogue:

"You created it all so you could be immortal. Why?"

"To live forever."

Oh... kay.

As opposed to that other kind of immortal, which means of or relating to egg-bearing animals. No, wait, it means the irrational fear of clowns. No, wait, it means two words spelled the same, but pronounced differently. No, wait, it means TO LIVE FOREVER, you fucking idiot.

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TV: Various premieres

Smallville: I don't care for the Lois Lane character. I don't find the actress attractive at all -- which I may be alone on, judging from my recent search engine traffic, which I presume has been generated by my one mention of her name in this post. (I refuse to mention her name again, because, while I still find the search engine hits for "Misty May's ass" amusing -- by the way: Misty May's ass -- I'm not quite as pleased by all the "[actress' name]+topless+nude+naked+tits" hits I've been getting.) And the character is 100% unlikeable. I know, Lois Lane is traditionally brash and aggressive and so forth. But actresses such as Margot Kidder or Teri Hatcher have made those traits disarming and endearing. This actress just comes off as a royal bitch. I can't believe Ma Kent didn't smack the living hell out of her when she burst into her house like that.

Margot Kidder's appearance was fun, but what was with all the WB promos touting her "surprise" cameo? No, you just frickin' told us she would be on the show. That's not a surprise, dumbasses. And is black kryptonite a comic book thing, or is that a Smallville original?

Also, Lana's new boyfriend is a tool.

I enjoyed the hell out of seeing Clark fly, and that take-off was stunning. But this show greatly exceeded my daily allowance of Tom Welling's ass (which, for future reference, is 0%). (Man, I dread the search engine hits that sentence is gonna generate.) If you want to keep putting Lana in the shower, on the other hand, I'm okay with that.

So, Allison Mack and Sam Jones are out of the opening credits. Interesting. It looks like they've left the door open for Chloe to return, but Pete -- not so much. Did anyone even mention his name this episode? And why does Clark insist on being such a doofus about concealing his powers? He uses his X-ray vision on Chloe's coffin, sees it's empty, and instantly tells Lois, "Chloe's still alive." Way to play it cool, there, Clark.

A little too much business to deal with in this episode. Hopefully, now that everything's settled down, the next will be better.

Veronica Mars: The number of shows on UPN I have ever enjoyed has just doubled. (From one -- Enterprise -- to two. And I'm not counting Buffy; the WB developed it, they get the credit.) I really enjoyed this show. The lead actress is very appealing, and her character is smart, brave, and funny. I got a kick out of seeing two TV stand-bys as her parents: Enrico Colantoni (of Just Shoot Me), and Corinne Bohrer (whom I've had a crush on since she was on E/R -- no, not the one currently on the air, but the 80s sitcom starring Elliott Gould and, unbelievably, George Clooney).

The show was created by Rob Thomas, who also created one of my favorite cancelled-too-soon shows of all time, Cupid (which I've written about before). The look of the pilot is a little disappointing; I have to assume it was shot on the cheap, considering it's on UPN, and it shows. But the acting and the writing are more than entertaining enough to make up for that.

I got a little put off by how much misery is dumped on Veronica's head in this one episode. We learn: her best friend was murdered; her father, the Sheriff, botched the investigation and was fired, leading to their dreary financial situation; the man her father accused of the murder was her best friend's father, which led to both her boyfriend (her best friend's brother) dumping her, and her total ostracization by all her former friends; her mother, an alcoholic, ran out on her, and may even be having an affair with the best friend's father; and, to top it all off, at a party she was drugged and raped. It was at that point I said, "Oh, come on!" What else can be done to her? Will she develop a brain tumor? Will her dog get rabies? Will a piano fall from the sky and land on her? Geez, enough already.

But an awful lot of future plotlines were established here, and I think this show could be a real winner. Except for the fact that it's on UPN, which probably means eight episodes and out.

Lost: I loved it. But I'm holding off on talking about it here, because I've already written a column about it for Forces of Good, which will be going live a week from today. Don't forget to check it out!

So all I have to say is: seriously, do not miss this show. It's fantastic.

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

MOVIES: Mean Girls

I watched Mean Girls a couple days ago, and mostly liked it. It had a lot of sharp and funny observations about high school life toward the beginning, as well as about female-female interactions in general. In one of the DVD extras, Lacey Chabert quotes Chris Rock (that's a strange juxtaposition): "Women would rule the world, if they didn't hate each other so much." That's the main theme of the movie, how some women (or high school girls, in this case) will cut down or destroy other women out of jealousy, spite, or just because they can. It's a dynamic I haven't seen often, fortunately, but I have seen it, enough to know it's not some kind of a Hollywood fabrication, and it's ugly.

It makes for a good movie, too. Or about two-thirds of a good one. It begins by showing these dynamics in action, and the mean-spirited, subtle and not-so-subtle ways the girls have of cutting down outsiders ("I love your [skirt/bracelet/etc.], where'd you get it?" is code for "That's the ugliest f-ing thing I have ever seen"), each other, and even themselves ("I am so fat!") is funny and appalling at the same time. The way they indoctrinate others into this backstabbing culture is fascinating, too. But then writer Tina Fey decides to get a bit preachy toward the end (in a speech that actor Tina Fey makes), and things get wrapped up a little too neatly.

Lindsay Lohan is very good in her role as the outsider who gets sucked down into the mire. I was a little surprised, though, at how much the movie sexed up her, and all of her high school classmates. The talent show scene, for example, where Lindsay and the other "mean girls" perform a naughty dance number in skimpy outfits -- a little bold for the kind of movie I was expecting.

There are a lot of other good performances in the film: Rachel McAdams is a holy terror as the lead mean girl, although her eventual reformation is a little too quick to be believable -- and the incident that leads to her reformation is surprisingly brutal, a writer's punishment that's way too harsh for the "crimes" she's committed up to that point, and, though it's played for laughs, it doesn't come across as funny at all.

Lacey Chabert is great as the beta-mean girl, as is Lizzy Caplan as the misfit who harbors a burning resentment for the mean girls. It was nice to see Ana Gasteyer and Neil Flynn (the Janitor on Scrubs) as Lindsay's parents; Flynn can crack me up with the smallest of gestures. Tim Meadows was actually funny as the principal; I've never liked him much, but he's very good here. (His reaction on asking the school girls if they have any "lady problems", and being confronted with a tampon dilemma, is hysterical.) Amy Poehler has a small but hilarious part as the too-permissive mother of the lead mean girl. And of course there's Tina Fey as Lindsay's math teacher. I love me some Tina Fey. Plus, there's a scene with her in her bra, right at the beginning, and you can't beat that.

Overall, it's a good movie, but with a little more effort it could've been great. Clearly, they were going for Heathers (the director is even the brother of Heathers' screenwriter), but they came up a bit short. I think the main problem lies somewhere in the schizophrenic tone of the movie -- they were aspiring to R-rated, Heathers-type material, while still trying to appeal to Lindsay Lohan's PG audience. Also, like I said, they went a bit soft at the end. But a good movie nonetheless.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

MOVIES: The Star Wars DVDs

Here's my two cents on the Star Wars films, which have been revised yet again for the DVDs:

My license on being a Star Wars fan has expired. I no longer feel invested enough in the films to legitimately get righteously pissed off from a fan's point of view.

Ever since Greedo suddenly shot first, I've been outraged over the revisions Lucas has made to the films loved and treasured by such a vast audience. (On a day other than today, I probably will still be outraged, especially over the fact that he's trying to erase the existence of the original, un-tampered films from the goddam face of the earth... Calm, calm, find your center, Tom.) But with the new DVD release, I've been thinking: why should I care so much? Because I don't think I even like those movies all that much anymore.

It took me a very long time to admit it, but the truth is Star Wars isn't a very good film. The dialogue is almost uniformly stilted, and awkward, and bad. (As Harrison Ford once said, and as I love to quote ad infinitum: "George, you can write this shit, but you can't say it.") There are only a few genuinely quotable lines (other than of the "May the Force be with you" variety), and even those are pretty bad. "If money is all that you love, then that's what you'll receive" is my favorite, but it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? Or, "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." Maybe the double "suddenly" is Guinness' fault on the line-reading, but still, that repeated word really screws up the line.

And so on. I really don't want to get into a point by point deconstruction, but it's simply not a very good film. It was different at the time, revolutionary, even, and everyone still remembers it with the impact it first caused, but it hasn't aged well at all.

The second film is the only truly great one in the series. Lucas didn't write the screenplay or direct, which helped. But it was the only one that was allowed to be truly dark, the only one that didn't lower itself to the youngest, simplest mind in the audience. The third one did a lot of good stuff, but it had the Ewoks. Nuff said. As for Episodes I, II, and presumably III: pure shit. I don't know how to sugarcoat it. They suck ass, long and loud.

But still, I loved the original trilogy for years and years. Then, when the DVDs were released this week, it suddenly occurred to me: as much as I thought I loved them, I haven't watched even a little part of those three films (aside from clips on TV documentaries and the like) since I bought the VHS box set... what, seven years ago? Eight? It's been so long, I don't even know if the videos are the original version, or the "Special Edition". (I suspect Special Edition, but honestly, I don't remember.)

How can I claim to be a fan of these films, a fan with righteous indignation over the despoiling of his memories, if I haven't even looked at the movies for the better part of a decade?

So, fine, Lucas. Do what you want. Shit all over the films. Make Greedo shoot first. Put Hayden Christensen into Jedi. Replace Chewbacca with Jar-Jar. It turns out, I don't care enough about your films anymore to worry about what you do to them.

On second thought, you fuck with Chewbacca and I'll break your neck, you hack.

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I hate Charles Taylor.

I hate Charles Taylor.

A film critic for, Taylor's insane diatribes disguised as reviews are a glaring flaw at an otherwise stellar website. Maybe someday I'll go into his strange habits of using his reviews to attack movies completely unrelated to the one he's talking about (like his swipe at Blade Runner in his review of Hulk), or his tendency to blame the audience for not liking something he does, or even just not liking it in the way he does. I always know I'm going to hate everything he writes, so I try to avoid his reviews at all costs.

Every once in a while, though, I read one of his pieces, just to torture myself, apparently. Today, I did it again. It's not a movie review this time, but a ""defense"" of Gwyneth Paltrow. (As always, the extra punctuation is to indicate the bitchy sarcastic air-quotes I'm making.) What's so unintentionally hilarious and simultaneously infuriating about his defense is that it's more hurtful than an attack.

He spends the first few paragraphs detailing why everyone hates Paltrow. And quite honestly, I was unaware that there was such hatred for her. So thanks for bringing that to my attention. And frankly, in listing all those things, he makes a pretty good case for hating her. Score one for Taylor!

Then, in composing his defense, he proceeds to rip her apart. Talking about her new movie, Sky Captain Etc. Etc., he says,
But like every other element of the movie, the actors, including Paltrow, exist only to fulfill some iconic function and are part of an enormous, sustained conception that sits on the screen without ever coming alive.
A ringing endorsement!

He liked her "blasé" performance in Flesh and Bone, but then adds, "The trouble was, that same blasé affect defined her other work from the period." Referring to a play he saw her in at the time, he says,
It wasn't a good performance. Wan and resigned where Nina is tormented and lyric, Paltrow moped through the role, her flat, nasal voice finding none of the pathos or sad comedy of Chekhov's lines.
I have come not to praise Gwyneth, but to bury her!

Talking of Hard Eight, he says it made good use of "her zonked, bruised quality", which, at this point in the article, I don't even know, that might be a compliment. He adds,
But other times she just seemed dissociated from the pictures she was in, a promising actress who needed some training to refine her potential (and especially to bring some variety to her voice).
Again with the voice!

Saying that she's "only sometimes the actress she can be," he continues on to her "prestige outings," such as Emma, in which he says she "seemed wholly inauthentic". Still waiting for the defense, Charles. Ah, here it comes: Paltrow is "much more enjoyable in throwaway pictures". I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say that Paltrow would not be flattered by the description of any of her films as "throwaway," but I don't know, maybe that's just me.

The first "throwaway" picture he names: A Perfect Murder.

My colleague Stephanie Zacharek described what a fetching clotheshorse Paltrow made in the tepid "A Perfect Murder."
Clotheshorse? Tepid? Again: this is praise?

Then, after strangely finding nothing negative to say about Sliding Doors, he goes on to A View from the Top. After saying "The picture was a trifle" and describing it as a "silly comed[y]" (which, in any other context, would not sound quite so condescending), he chastises her for not liking the movie. "[An Entertainment Weekly] interview reveals one unattractive movie-star habit -- that of distancing yourself from your failures." So, she's to blame for not embracing the film he just called a trifle and a failure? Nice.

"Paltrow's priding herself on her honesty suggests that she's not the best judge of her work," he says in the same paragraph. So 1) it's bad to be honest ("sometimes telling a lie is simply a matter of being gracious to the people you work with" -- which probably is true when the film is current, to help the box office, but not in an interview years later), and 2) Paltrow can't tell the good from the bad in her work... so how she became one of the most successful and critically-acclaimed actresses in the world is apparently a complete mystery.

Taylor finally goes on to actual praise of some of Paltrow's films, but in doing so, he reveals another of my long-standing reasons for hating him: his overpraising of films the world at large recognizes as mediocre-to-crappy. I've got no real beef with his mentioning Great Expectations or Possession -- neither of which I despised, but neither of which amounted to much of anything, either, except in Taylor's eyes. But then, he goes on to lavish attention on Paltrow's "most affecting performance" (aside from Shakespeare in Love) (I think):

Shallow Hal.

Yes, according to Taylor, Shallow Hal is "one of the loveliest, most affecting, and most emotionally satisfying of American film comedies." No, really. He actually spends the last four paragraphs of this article, the culmination of his defense, the crux of his thesis, arguing that Paltrow should be loved and embraced for Shallow Goddam Hal. He interprets its "message". He refutes other critics who dared not to love it. He says things like,
As Rosemary, Paltrow expresses emotion that has the force of the elemental.... There's no distance between what Rosemary feels and what Paltrow makes us feel.
In the final paragraph, he even seems to lose track of who he's talking about, going on about the Farrelly brothers and their "radical humanism", their "deeply inclusionary movies" like Shallow Goddam Frickin' Hal and Stuck on You. He concludes with the dopey, preachy, pat, condescending, judgmental, and, considering he's spent the last few thousand words deriding Paltrow more than he's praised her, patently ridiculous statement:

Of course "Shallow Hal" is red meat to Paltrow haters, because it says judgments based on surfaces are the ugliest thing imaginable. A simple idea her most fervent detractors have yet to grasp.
Oh, snap! Take that, Paltrow haters! You just can't grasp how wonderful Gwyneth is because you just don't get the genius of her performance in Shallow Hal!

What has he even accomplished with this article? He set out to prove Paltrow doesn't deserve to be hated, then, after shredding her on his own, he finally offered up three of her weakest roles as his evidence. You know what I think: I think Taylor secretly hates Gwyneth Paltrow himself. And I think he wrote this article to passive-aggressively express his hate toward her. It's certainly one of the more damning things ever written about her, intentionally or not.

It's either that, or Charles Taylor is a goddam lunatic. And really, when I think about it: can't it be both?

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

COMICS: Kids stuff

Two of the most entertaining comics trade paperbacks I've recently purchased are intended for kids (or "all-ages," as is the current preferred term), which either says something about the entertainment level of the adult comics world today, or about my level of maturity. Or both.

The first, and the one probably more likely to be read by adults than children, is Peanutbutter and Jeremy's Best Book Ever!, by James Kochalka, creator of some other comics very much not suitable for kids. I could read this one every day. Peanutbutter is a cat who thinks she's an office employee; she wears a hat (a baseball cap on casual Fridays!) and a tie, she calls her owner "Boss," and she spends her days processing (sleeping on top of) paperwork with silly names like the Flibbledibble File.

And Jeremy is the mean and egomaniacal crow who lives outside her window, and keeps trying to steal her hats. Peanutbutter is trusting and naive, and Jeremy is sly and selfish, yet Peanutbutter generally comes out on top -- she even "tricks" Jeremy into being her best friend. Awww! Jeremy might be a little too mean for younger kids -- when Peanutbutter gets her hat stuck on her head, Jeremy's plan is to use his gun (!) to shoot it off. But that little bit of edge keeps the stories from being too saccharine sweet -- in fact, they're just the proper amount of adorable. Yes, I said adorable!

The other book is Grampa & Julie: Shark Hunters, by Jef Czekaj. Anyone looking for true absurdity can start here. Julie and her Grampa are on the trail of Stephen, the biggest shark in the world. Along the way they meet an underwater colony of sea monkeys (the primate kind of monkey), the world's worst rapping squirrel, a boat load of corporate pirates (their weapons are charts and graphs, until Grampa teases them so much, they make him and Julie walk the plank), a helicopter flying granny, a mad scientist alien, and, oh, everything. There's a funny (both strange and ha-ha funny) dream logic propelling these adventures, as if they were actually being told by a child: the alien has mercy on Grampa & Julie because Julie blesses him when he sneezes; the sea monkeys (or "ocean monkeys," as one of them insists) help Julie because she opens a jar of peanut butter for them. The artwork is simple but weird (one eye on each character is alarmingly distended), and the bizarre creativity of the book honestly kept me fascinated: here's a writer who remembers what it was like to have a child's imagination, yet can make his stories appeal to adults as well.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

TV: Fuggin' It Up

As a companion piece to my Emmys coverage, you might want to check out Heather and Jessica's Go Fug Yourself, a blog dedicated to the hilariously mean-spirited deconstruction of the fashion mistakes of the stars. There's plenty of Emmy coverage on the front page right now, including this insane loincloth outfit worn by Kristin Lehman (whom H & J identify as Tess Smith, for some reason). [EDIT: Yahoo News identifies her as Tess Smith, too, but I'm still with the commenter on that post who thinks it's Lehman. I mean, look at that picture, then look at this picture. Is that not the same person? Ah, whatever.]

I would have commented on the outfits in my own coverage if not for the fact that A) I'm a guy, so my knowledge of fashion extends only so far as to be able to note how much boob is hanging out, and B) Heather and Jessica do it much, much, much better than I ever could hope to.

But come on, you two: no Sharon Stone? You're slipping.

NEW EDIT, 9/20/05: Welcome, all you people from The Bastardly! Courtesy of their link to this site, I've gotten over 1,000 new hits over the past two days. Thanks, Bastardly!

So, new people: stay a while, why don't you? Take a look around. You came here via a post about hideous fashion at the Emmys; stop by the front page for plenty more bitching about the idiots at that show.

And, as a reward for your time, here is a picture of Olympic gold medalist Misty May's ass.

You're welcome.

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TV: Minute-by-minute at the 2004 Emmys Ceremony

8:00 -- We begin with the conceit that the Emmys are a reality show, and already I want to smack the shit out of someone.

8:02 -- Shandling participates in a pre-taped Extreme Makeover bit. Way to set the bar low, Shandling.

8:04 -- Shandling, live, tries to riff off the pre-taped bit. Instant death. Oh, Jesus, is this going to be a long show. By the way: he clearly has had surgery; his face is tighter than Katherine Helmond's in Brazil.

8:06 -- His first good line, lamenting the excess of reality shows on the air: "It's to the point now, when a television commercial comes on, I go, 'Thank God! Professional actors and a story!'"

8:07 -- Al Pacino now looks like Antonio Banderas' younger brother. When the hell did that happen??

8:08 -- Another good line: "We missed Osama Bin-Laden but we got Martha Stewart! Don't tell me we're not a focused country!" Also: Zach Braff is in the house! I wonder if he's presenting?

8:09 -- Early nominee for worst joke: "If the conservatives want to stop homosexuals from having sex, shouldn't they let them get married? That seems to stop my married buddies!" Ouch. My side. It hurts, from the laughing.

8:12 -- Shandling mispronounces presenter Chris Noth's last name (it should rhyme with "both", not "cloth").

8:13 -- For the 87th year in a row, David Hyde Pierce wins Supporting Actor for a Comedy for Frasier. Already my picks are 0-for-1, and all I can think is, man, Jeffrey Tambor has a darker fake tan than Sarah Jessica Parker. Disturbing. Seriously, the announcer says this is Pierce's 11th consecutive nomination, and his 4th win. You gotta imagine a load of audience members are thinking, "Happy retirement, motherfucker!"

8:15 -- Michael Imperioli wins Supporting Actor in a Drama for The Sopranos, which makes me 0-for-2. But I'm okay with that, because he really is quite incredible on that show, and this is an early signal that maybe The West Wing isn't going to dominate as in years past. Too bad for Buscemi, though. Geez, Imperioli's written five episodes of The Sopranos? Suddenly, I hate him. Jealous? Me? Nah!

8:22 -- Simon Cowell and Donald Trump take the stage to co-present an award. If the stage suddenly collapsed on their heads, I think the world would go on, don't you? (For the hostility-impaired, by that I mean: die, die, die.)

8:23 -- 1-for-3! Cynthia Nixon takes Supporting Actress for a Comedy. And strangely, that fails to make me happy. This is an early signal that Sex in the City will dominate as in years past, which just makes me ill.

8:25 -- Portia de Rossi and Jason Bateman come out to present other presenters. That's gotta be the worst gig in the whole show. "We don't matter enough to present an award, but we've been allowed to present other people who will present an award. Pity us." They present...

8:26 -- Laura Linney and John Turturro. Laura Linney is as lovely as the day is long, and I will poke you in the eye if you dare disagree. They present for Direction in a Comedy Series, and -- Arrested Development wins! Calloo, callay! Could it be they now have a shot at Best Comedy? No, no it couldn't. This award is always a consolation prize for the best show that doesn't have a shot at winning the big prize. But it's still cool.

8:31 -- Arrested Development also wins for Writing! Which is also traditionally a runner-up prize, but... both Directing and Writing? Hmm...

8:32 -- Michael Hurwitz (for Arrested Development) gives a very funny acceptance speech. When the music comes up to kick him off the stage, he continues, "And I'd like to sing this now, if I may." Nice.

8:33 -- Cutting to commercial, they show Drea de Matteo with the hairiest, greasiest, grossest-looking little shit in the auditorium. Hey, I've got a shot!

8:38 -- Amber Tamblyn and Zach Braff come out to present. Together, they're my favorite young female and male performer on TV. Which makes me afraid, for no logical reason. Braff to Tamblyn after a joke bombs: "Don't you know God? Couldn't we've got a better joke than that?"

8:39 -- Drea de Matteo wins for Supporting Actress in a Drama. I'm 2-for-4. She looks amazing. And again, apparently I have a shot!

8:40 -- Shandling brings his Larry Sanders co-star Jeffrey Tambor on stage with him. It's pretty funny, which is nice. Then they introduce a bunch of chumps from The O.C., which is not funny.

8:42 -- Wow, Walter Hill (director of The Warriors, among many other action classics) wins for Director of a Drama Series for Deadwood. That's old school, yo.

8:49 -- A montage of great moments from the last year in television makes me wish I had watched more TV, oddly enough. I'm a sad, lonely man.

8:50 -- Until they get to the reality show shit, and then I just want to kill everyone and everything.

8:54 -- Jeffrey Wright wins Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America. In other vital, breaking news, my left butt cheek itches. Wait, wait... ah, that's better.

9:04 -- Jon Stewart comes out, and my hopes are raised. His bit on a George Washington smear commercial "Paid for by Continental Skiff Boat Oarsmen for Veracity" is decent, not great, but it's excellent to see all the Daily Show correspondents in a piece on the Emmys.

9:07 -- I think Elaine Stritch, apparently a 150-year-old vaudeville veteran, is a fictional character, until she actually accepts her Emmy. Weird.

9:08 -- In the aftermath of Janet Jackson and Bono, they bleep the word "Jesus" during her acceptance speech. Dammit, is every network going to be a total pussy until a Democrat gets elected President?

9:13 -- Writing in a Variety/Music/Comedy Program goes to The Daily Show Which is just, yeah, that's obvious. If nothing else, Emmys got at least one dead on the nail.

9:16 -- Okay, somebody's fucking with me. Because Garry Shandling just introduced, in the audience, Kerri Walsh and Misty May. Geez, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water. Fine, I give up. Just in case my hit count is dropping: Misty May's ass, Misty May's ass, Misty May's ass.

9:21 -- When they show Kiefer Sutherland in the audience, I can see Bonnie Hunt behind him. And goddam if she isn't a bundle of gorgeous. Seriously, she's so lovely, and a comic genius to boot: no wonder ABC cancelled her. Dumbasses.

9:22 -- Mariska Hargitay and Matthew Fox have to do that thing where they present other presenters. They suck. And they present... Sharon Stone and the Shat! Winners for Guest Actress and Guest Actor in a Drama, on The Practice. Sharon Stone is wearing a silk handkerchief, by the way. And they present Writing for a Drama, which goes to The Sopranos. Okay, I'll say it now: if The Sopranos doesn't take Best Drama, I'll eat my hat. (Unless they lose, in which case I'll erase this before I post it.)

9:25 -- A montage of series finales, which oddly makes me wish I had spent less time watching TV. I remain a sad, lonely man.

9:31 -- Mary-Louise Parker wins for Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, for Angels in America. In other news: my right butt cheek itches. Also: damnation, that's a dress with some cleavage! It lifts and separates!

9:38 -- Wow, Antonio Banderas is actually in the audience, and, referring back to my earlier joke: he's also fatter than Al Pacino. Damn, dude, what happened?

9:39 -- The Daily Show wins for Best Variety/Music/Comedy Program, and again: obvious. The next year it doesn't win this category is the year after it goes off the air. Strange note: when they showed the audience as Stewart & Co. took the stage, there was the sound of wild applause... but I couldn't see one person in the lower level (the "talent" level) applauding. Bitches.

9:42 -- Anthony LaPaglia uses his American accent (he's Australian) even as a presenter. How odd.

9:43 -- Tony Kushner wins for Writing for Best Whatever Angels in America was nominated for because, well, duh. It's not going to lose anything it's nominated for tonight. It's the Return of the King of the Emmys.

9:50 -- In an insane, inspired bit, the presenters for Reality Series are two real people who have no idea that they are presenting -- they're led out on stage in earmuffs and blindfolds. Their reactions on discovering where they are and what they're doing are strangely moving. Stupid reality TV! You got me again!

9:52 -- The Amazing Race beats The Apprentice and American Idol for Reality Series, which is yet another sign that the Emmy voters are less bugfuck insane than in recent years.

9:55 -- Something the Lord Made wins Best TV Movie. I can't even muster a joke here. I've had a six-pack of Pyramid Apricot Ale since the ceremony began, people. Cut me some slack.

10:05 -- Al Pacino wins for Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America. Because, duh. Weirdly, director Mike Nichols looks like Austin Powers, 20 years later. Also: Pacino's speech goes for over three minutes, but the get-off-the-stage music never comes on. Hmm... could that be just because he's Al frickin' Pacino? I wonder.

10:08 -- Anjelica Huston and James Spader announce Mike Nichols wins for Best Directing for Whatever Category Angels in America was nominated for. Because, duh. He doesn't get the music, either.

10:12 -- Taye Diggs and Victor Garber come out to present. Dude, Taye Diggs is the most handsome man in the world, and I don't care who knows I said that. But I'm still very, very straight. Very. Well, mostly. No, very!!

10:13 -- The Emmy voters prove they go for the tallest nominee as Allison Janney wins for the 4th time for Lead Actress in a Drama, in the first category I had a pick in since 8:39. I'm 2-for-5.

10:16 -- The Bob Hope award is presented to Danny Thomas, accepted by Marlo Thomas. Which means, time for me to take a bathroom break.

10:24 -- Sarah Jessica Parker wins Lead Actress in a Comedy. I'm now 3-for-6, and again, I'm not happy about that beak-nosed, wart-chinned witch winning for the crapfest that is Sex and the City -- but at least I hit another one of my picks.

10:27 -- Conan O'Brien. He rips on Joan Rivers, which is a little too obvious, but makes up for it by saying, "Yeah, I'll take my time, I didn't see Pacino rush."

10:28 -- I was right in John Ritter losing, I was wrong in who would beat him. Kelsey Grammer takes his 87th Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy. I'm 3-for-7.

10:30 -- Tom Selleck has to pause because of all the women in the audience hootin' and hollerin' for him. I think one of them is my mom. Simmer down, ma!

10:31 -- That was some poor planning. They scheduled the Roll Call of the Dead following the Lead Actor in a Comedy award, presuming John Ritter would win it. Well, he didn't. No soup for him! He's just plain dead. Where's your messiah now?? Hey, they didn't mention Ritter in this montage at all. They must be planning a separate tribute. Unless -- did he die before the Emmys last year?

10:39 -- James Spader surprises me -- and probably many others -- with a win for Lead Actor in a Drama. I'm 3-for-8.

10:41 -- William H. Macy and Treat Williams? Okay, whatever.

10:42 -- Meryl Streep wins for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for Angels in America because, duh.

10:43 -- "There are some days when I myself think I'm overrated... but not today." Streep's acceptance speech is classic. Naming her co-nominees: "Emma Thompson, who will hold a grudge for the rest of her life... but who cares!"

10:50 -- Guess what wins Best Miniseries? If you said anything other than Angels in America, you win a swift kick in the ass.

10:53 -- The first "Holy shit!" moment of the evening: Arrested Development takes Best Comedy! Unbelievable! This is the first time the most deserving show has won in this category since... I don't know when! I can't, I don't... Christ, I have to go sit down for a moment. Wow!! I bet Fox is glad they didn't cancel it now. Until they cancel it midway through the next season. Bitches. I'm now 3-for-9 in my picks. But that's fine, Emmy did good, Emmy did good.

10:59 -- Aaaaand... The Sopranos wins Best Drama. Giving me an embarrassing 4-for-10 for the night. But good for them!

11:00 -- They squeezed everything into three hours, mercifully. Until next year! Unless I throw my TV out the window, which is entirely possible.

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COMICS: I'm not worthy. No, seriously, I'm not.

I've recently (like, within the last ten minutes) discovered that Fred Hembeck has linked to my blog, and yet for some insane reason I have until now failed to link to his blog.

That is a quality imbalance on the level of Robert De Niro thanking the third carrot from the left in your niece's kindergarten school play in his Oscar acceptance speech. I've changed my sidebar to link to his excellent blog, and I would advise all of you to go there right now. Well, not right now, finish with my excellent blog first. But when you do go to Fred's blog, tell him I sent you, because, come on, the dude linked to me for no reason. Let's give him a little positive feedback, okay?

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Sunday, September 19, 2004

TV: Minute-by-minute at the 2004 Emmys Pre-Show

6:54 -- The pre-show hasn't even started, and I've had five pints of beer already. (Come on, it was NFL Sunday! What do you expect?) I can already tell I'm going to be very mean this evening. I'm not guaranteeing a tasteless John Ritter joke... but I'm not not guaranteeing it, dig?

7:00 -- Countdown to the Emmys 2004 begins. And hostess Maria Menounos' fame license needs to be revoked. Why do I know who she is? I just feel sorry for Tom Bergeron, her co-host. Very funny, very sharp guy, but he's always relegated to starfucking roles like this. At least he's used to it from Hollywood Squares.

7:01 -- No one can accuse Dennis Franz of picking a trophy wife. Oh, snap! One minute in, and I'm already being a dick.

7:03 -- Patricia Heaton has had more renovations than the Statue of Liberty, and yet I still think she's just lovely. Backhanded compliments, thy name is Tom.

7:05 -- "What an incredible thrill to be nominated. That's actually not true. If we don't win, we'll be very bitter." Conan O'Brien gets the first funny line of the evening.

7:06 -- When Menounos goes off on some asinine comparison with The Apprentice, Conan shoots back with, "Now you've lost me. I don't watch TV. Read books, America. Books, they're more important than TV."

7:07 -- Miss Piggy is wearing the same dress as Menounos. "I hope you don't live too far away from here, Maria, cause I'm not changing!" Doesn't sound like Frank Oz is doing her voice, which is both sad -- you want to hear the original! -- and good -- you don't want his career to be at the red-carpet-interviewer stage.

7:08 -- John Spencer has to talk to the Muppets. It's ugly for everyone involved.

7:10 -- Extreme Makeover's Ty Pennington's hair makes him look like he got a swirly from the class bullies right before he went on camera. Seriously, is that intentional?

7:11 -- Menounos tells Pennington he cleans up nice. Pennington: "Well, thanks, man."

7:14 -- Laura Linney. I wish I could say one bad thing about her, but I can't. And if anyone of you do, I swear I will take a swing at you.

7:16 -- I hope Sam Seboura -- whoever he is -- is already outed, because he's ain't foolin' anyone any more than Jm J. Bullock fooled anyone.

7:17 -- Whoever he is, he immediately starts shilling for Buick, which means I instantly hate him.

7:20 -- Cheryl Hines gets thrown to the Muppets. It doesn't go better than John Spencer.

7:25 -- Bergeron speaks to the reanimated corpse of Barbara Walters.

7:26 -- Barbra Streisand?? What the hell? And, by the way, the way the media jumps on her like jackals on a carcass, I don't blame her for being publicity shy. Also: Tom Selleck. I've met Tom Selleck (and he's even taller than he looks), and I loved Magnum P.I. like nobody's business, but now I can only picture him as the right-wing voice in Hollywood. Which is disappointing to me. But I'll bet Tom doesn't let that bother him.

7:34 -- Bergeron talks to the Shat! William Shatner, winner of an Emmy at the other ceremony last week, says that when he won for his guest role on The Practice, he said, "What took you so long?" God damn, that takes some balls, from a guy whose acting style is mocked by every single comedian in North America. Shat rules!

7:35 -- Teri Hatcher has stopped hitting the tanning bottle so hard, which is a good thing. She looks lovely, and I can't wait for Desperate Housewives. Now I'm shilling for ABC. I hate me.

7:36 -- The Muppets talk to that beeyotch from The Apprentice. This is the first of their interviews that I feel sorry for the Muppets.

7:37 -- Bonnie Hunt looks hot. I love her. Figures she'd get nominated only after her show got cancelled. Stupid ABC.

7:42 -- Ellen DeGeneres. They couldn't get her back to host, rather than Shandling? My favorite Emmy moment ever was when she met Steve Martin, right after Anne Heche had left her for a man. And, if you don't recall, Anne Heche had left him for Ellen. There are probably very few people in the world who can bond over something quite like that.

7:44 -- The Muppets talk to... William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman. That hurts my soul. Felicity looks gorgeous, by the by.

7:49 -- The Queer Eye guys talk to the Muppets, and my head explodes.

7:50 -- 38% of the home audience thinks CSI will win for Drama Series. By a remarkable coincidence, 38% of the home audience are fucking idiots.

7:51 -- Menounos introduces Jimmy Kimmel and his "girlfriend, Sarah Silverman." The fact that Sarah Silverman can be introduced as an accessory to someone else makes me chew glass. She is so far out of his league it's not funny. And yet, here we are. Stupid universe.

7:56 -- Mischa Barton of The O.C. is surprisingly tall. Or Tom Bergeron is surprisingly short.

7:58 -- Bergeron winds it up with the Muppets, which makes me demote him even one notch further down the roster of celebrity. And now, on to the real disgrace!

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TV: Emmy Predictions

Welp, it's the Emmys tonight. I'll be doing live (in all its West Coast tape-delayed glory) blogging all throughout the pre-show (which, seriously, no foolin', features Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy as red carpet interviewers -- how can you miss that??) and the awards ceremony, which, considering how awful it was the last time Garry Shandling hosted, should be sheer pain. Thank goodness for TiVo -- I can fast forward through all the dead bits to get straight to what matters: bitching about idiots.

And of course I couldn't go into a major awards ceremony without posting my own predictions. I'll pick from the top ten categories only, since, although I could probably make an educated guess about the directing and writing categories, you people would care even less than what I'm already going to focus on.

Comedy Series
My Prediction: Sex and the City
Which does not make me happy. As I've often said, with Sex and the City, HBO finally made a show so bad that no amount of gratuitous nudity could get me to watch. But it just ended its run this year, so there's going to be even more of an unseemly orgy over this lame, lame show than there has been in previous years.

Should Win: Arrested Development, walking away. That's out of the nominated shows. Of any show on TV, I'd give the slight edge to Scrubs. But Scrubs was once again totally overlooked in the major categories this year, so fat chance of the best comedy on TV ever getting an Emmy.

Lead Actor in a Comedy
My Prediction: I'm gonna go against the consensus and pick Tony Shalhoub for Monk. I think the odds-makers are picking John Ritter for the sympathy win, but after watching Dave Foley on Dinner for Five last week, I now have to disagree. He told a story about going to the Emmys after Phil Hartman died. Hartman had been nominated for Supporting Actor for NewsRadio, and he still lost to David Hyde Pierce. After the show, a reporter asked Dave how he felt about the result. "Well," he said, "I don't know what else Phil can do to win one of these things."

Should Win: Monk had an off-year, which doesn't really leave anyone in this category that I'd like to win. Zach Braff should've been nominated for Scrubs, and Jason Bateman should've been nominated for Arrested Development, and of those two, I'd give Bateman the win.

Lead Actress in a Comedy
My Prediction: Sarah Jessica frickin' Parker. I'm so sick of her. I though I'd be done with her once this show was over, but now she's in those goddam Gap commercials with Lenny Kravitz, that air about eighteen times an hour. Begone, witch!

Should Win: Jessica Walters, Arrested Development. Again, not nominated. Of the nominees, I'd take Jane Kaczmarek for Malcolm in the Middle, a show I haven't watched much for the last couple years, but she's always so damn hysterical on it.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
My Prediction: Cynthia goddam Nixon for Sex in the City
Should Win: Megan Mullally, Will & Grace. Hey, I picked someone who's actually nominated! The show's gone way downhill, and she's already had her wins, but she's still the best thing about an often very funny show. My mom sure hates her, though.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy
My Prediction: Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Should Win: Of just the Raymond cast, Garrett isn't even most deserving. Give it to Peter Boyle, already. But the one who really should win is Jeffrey Tambor, again from Arrested Development. And he's nominated, so that should help his chances.

Drama Series
My Prediction: The Sopranos.

Should Win: The Sopranos. I don't even get HBO anymore, but I still know it's the best show on TV. But it's never won this category. The West Wing sucked so bad this year, maybe the Emmy voters will finally come to their senses and stop giving the award to that show.

Let's look at the other nominees in this category for just a moment. CSI? It's okay, but come on. 24? The West Wing? Both way past their prime. Jesus, 24 was a joke this last year, and West Wing not much better. And Joan of Arcadia? Now, I love that show, but even I would hesitate at saying it's one of the five best on TV. Then again... what the hell else is there? Oh, yeah, there's only the best show on non-premium TV: where in the hell is The Shield? Seriously, no Shield? You have got to be shitting me. This is the category where I really have to think, do the Emmy voters really suck that much? Or does TV in general just suck that much? Or both?

Lead Actor in a Drama
My Prediction: James Gandolfini.

Should Win: Gandolfini, but only because Michael Chiklis wasn't nominated for The Shield. And even then, it'd be close.

Lead Actress in a Drama
My Prediction: Edie Falco.

Should Win: CCH Pounder, from The Shield. Guess what? Not nominated. Which is almost more of a crime than Chiklis being overlooked. Because at least he won the Emmy in the first season. Pounder has never even been nominated, and she's just amazing. But of the nominees: Falco.

Supporting Actress in a Drama
My Prediction: Drea de Matteo, for The Sopranos. (And P.S., enjoy the Emmys this year, cause, like your new costar on Joey, Matt LeBlanc, you'll never be nominated again.)

Should Win: Probably her, but again: no HBO. I'd like to say Catherine Dent of The Shield, but by all accounts de Matteo just kicked ass this season. I'll tell you what, though: I am goddam sick of Stockard Channing being nominated in this category. You're not a Supporting Actress when you appear in three episodes a year; you're a Guest Star. But, hey, they're The West Wing, they can do whatever the hell they want.

Supporting Actor in a Drama
My Prediction: Steve Buscemi, The Sopranos.

Should Win: It should be Walt Goggins ("Shane") and Jay Karnes ("Dutch") going head-to-head on this one, with Karnes squeaking out the win. Both of them had incredible, jaw-dropping story-arcs this season, and gave performances to match. But again, The Shield can kiss Emmy's fat ass, and to hell with all that amazing acting and brilliant writing and revolutionary TV. We want to nominate 87 people from The West Wing! Bitches. Of the nominees, I'd like Buscemi to take it, as a small, small consolation for being overlooked for an Oscar for Ghost World a couple years back.

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Saturday, September 18, 2004

TV: Justice League Unlimited

Tonight's Justice League Unlimited was pretty amazing. More heroes than we've seen since the premiere, and definitely the most we've seen in action (even more than last week's magic battle). And I love that they went back to Amazo: nice continuity!

Very nice voice casting, too. Robert Picardo returning as the golden android, and John C. McGinley, a favorite of mine from Scrubs, and of course Office Space, as the Atom. (I have to admit, he sounded a little wooden in the role -- but still, that's more than outweighed by the coolness factor.) And at least the Flash made an appearance. Even if he got his butt kicked in, like, a second. And he still didn't have any lines! Seriously, has Michael Rosenbaum been fired from the show or what? The Flash's humorous personality is sorely missed. [Spoiler text, just in case -- and apologies to those reading this on the feed, the spoiler text is formatted to the Blogspot color theme.] And holy crap, Amazo killed the Red Tornado! I know, I know, he's an android, I'm sure he has, like, a back-up body and a reboot disk -- but still, pretty damn brutal.

And how about that ending? I can't believe they brought back Hawkgirl. She hasn't been forgotten! Sweet! They even gave Maria Canals her proper space on the first page of the voice credits at the end; even though she's been missing in action, and had only a couple lines, she's still counted among the first-teamers. Good for her. (Bad for Rosenbaum!) Man, Dr. Fate's really screwing with Green Lantern, isn't he? This has got to be leading up to some high drama. Can't wait.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Me Want

Pictures and Amazon links aplenty!

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Release date: September 20, 2004.

Stephen Lynch: Live at the El Rey. Release date: September 28, 2004. Stephen Lynch is one of the funniest comedians I've ever heard. His songs are generally very, very dirty, and very, very funny. Thanks to Dorian for making me aware of this one. And thanks to Reid for letting me know that the DVD does include possibly his funniest, most likely his darkest, and definitely his most controversial song ever, "Kill a Kitten". (Sample lyric: "To quote the Bible cuz that's where it's written/'If ye loveth Jesus ye must kill a kitten.'")

The Complete Peanuts 1953-1954. Release date: October, 2004.

George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows. Release date: possibly December 30, 2004. Or, considering that over the last four years a good half dozen release dates have come and gone: possibly never.

DVDs for Scrubs and Deadwood: not yet released. No current plans for release. Dammit.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

TV: Reality, or a reasonable facsimile thereof

The Amazing Race: Still the best of the reality shows, even though this season has been lackluster. I don't have a single team I can root for, and haven't for pretty much the majority of the season. Colin is emerging as one of the most villainous players ever, though, which is always entertaining. His exclamation during one of the challenges on this week's show is one of the funniest out-of-context lines in the show's history, and possibly in the history of all TV: "My OX is BROKEN!!!"

Survivor: The season premiere got off to a roaring start. I loved the one guy who was wearing a BOB BARKER shirt. How random is that? But the men's team is off to a bad, bad start, just as they were the last time they split the tribes into men vs. women. What is with men and balance beams? Is it their bait and tackle that throws them off balance? What? And they also made the stupidest mistake that can be made in this game: voting off the strong players first. The weaker, older players think they need to get rid of the younger, stronger players right away. Well, you can't win a goddam challenge if all you have left on your team is the worst players, dumbasses! If you vote out the strong too early, then you're gonna lose all your challenges! Wait until the tribes merge, then vote out the strong.

The best thing about the premiere: no Rupert. Oh, how I fucking hate that fucking Rupert. Two seasons in a row with him was sheer torture. I got sick of him in his second episode. But for some reason, America loves him! Stupid America.

The Apprentice: I swore I wouldn't watch this show. I do not want to reward Donald Trump in any way, even if it's only by giving him attention on the TV. But I saw one of the commercials, where he just rips into one of the players, berating him over and over, "You were stupid! It was a stupid move! Totally stupid!" And so I rewound the TiVo and watched the last ten minutes... and I may have been hooked. God damn it! It's devilishly addicting, watching Trump ream out the losers in the boardroom. I love that one of the players, who suffers from permanent bitch-face, got shot down by Trump when she blurted out at one of his decisions, "That's insane." "Why are you even talking?" he shouted at her. And I tell you what: right on. I wish I could yell at these reality show idiots like he does. I may have to watch a full episode, and see if I'm completely seduced by the Dark Side or not.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

COMICS: Wed. 9/15/04

Just so I have something to post today, here's a quick list of today's purchases, and my judgments based solely on the covers:

Strange: Straczynski. I'm a sucker.

Daredevil: Bendis. I'm a sucker.

Wanted: Millar. At least I'm not sucker enough to buy the special edition reprints of this thing. Seriously, what kind of chumps shell out for that kind of nonsense? I'm sticking with this series only because it's almost done. Despite his best efforts, Millar has failed to make interesting a comic in which every single character is irredeemably contemptible.

Fantastic Four: Stupid freakin' Disassembled crossover. Hopefully it only mentions the Avengers foofaraw in passing, and just gets on with the regular storyline.

Madrox: Peter David. Aw yeah. The only X-title I've been really interested in since David's run on X-Force. Even Grant Morrison's X-Men run merely got me to buy the comic, but never really got me excited about it. I can't wait to read this issue. In fact, I'm gonna do that right now. I'm outta here.

[EDIT: I mean, X-Factor. As Shane from Near Mint Heroes correctly commented, I got my X-titles mixed up. I blame society.]

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

MOVIES: The Punisher

From the "Beating a Dead Horse" dept.: I added a couple of comments to my entry about CGI vs. real stunts/violence in action movies post. And again, although I think it's pretty clear, I just want to point out I'm not trying to start a feud or some crazy thing like that -- if I didn't think Tim O'Neil had a smart and interesting blog with smart and interesting opinions, I wouldn't have him linked over there on the sidebar. It just turns out I have more to say on the subject than I would've first thought. I promise I'll stop now.

Speaking of action violence... I rented The Punisher this weekend, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. And the only possible defense I have is: it's a pretty darn good action flick.

The acting is decent; Thomas Jane/Tom Jane (he's credited as both, at different points in the credits, oddly enough) does as much as he can do with Frank Castle, which isn't all that much. Frank's emotionless countenance and delivery comes off as coolly menacing in the comics; in the movies, it's a little boring. You kind of want him to have some inflection in his voice, for crying out loud. And it's not helped by the fact that Jane isn't inherently an imposing figure to begin with; he's buff, and he is clearly doing a great deal of his own stunt work in the fight scenes (which I dig), but he's just not an overpowering figure of dread like the comics version -- or the Garth Ennis comics version, anyway, which is the version with the heaviest influence on the film.

Several characters created by Ennis in his "Welcome Back, Frank" story make an appearance here, including neighbors Joan (who's not quite so mousy when played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos), Mr. Bumpo, and Spacker Dave (who is only called "Spacker" in the end credits, unfortunately). Even better, the nigh-unstoppable Russian shows up for the best scene of the movie, a ridiculously over-the-top battle in Frank's apartment, which is heightened by one of Frank's few emotional reactions, a constant and comical look of disbelief. Pro wrestler Kevin Nash plays the Russian, and you couldn't find a more physically intimidating actor if you tried. He doesn't speak (as the Russian frequently does in the comics), but perhaps that's for the best.

Then there's John Travolta as Howard Saint, the man who ordered Frank's family killed. (And unlike the comics, he doesn't stop at wife and kids; everyone Frank's ever even met apparently gets wiped out all at once.) He's adequate. I'm surprised they got him, especially considering he takes second billing. I'm guessing most of the small budget for this film went to his salary. He makes for a decent villain, and really that's all that's needed here.

I said it was a small budget, and it often shows, but on the other hand, they sure as hell make the money they have count. There's no CGI; it's pure man-made stunts. And the director actually knows how to direct action. In one of the featurettes, he even mocks the directors who have learned their trade from music videos and commercials. There's none of the hyperkinetic, 87 cuts per second, camera whipping and spinning for no reason nonsense here. You can tell who's doing what at all times, which is a craft apparently unlearned by most action directors these days (I'm looking right at you, McG, you goddam hack).

The Punisher isn't brilliant. I mean, come on. It's the freakin' Punisher. But when you're in the mood for this kind of flick, it's a good-to-great rental, which is all it needed to be to surpass 90% of the action movies made in the past five years.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

COMICS: If we could just get Baron and Rude back on Nexus, it'd be 3 for 3

Over at his blog, Peter David makes official the best comics world announcement I've heard since Ostrander and Truman announced they'd be bringing Grimjack back:

So rather than it [his already-planned Hulk mini-series] being issues 1-6 of "Tempest Fugit," the Hulk series will simply start up again in January after a four month hiatus and my storyline will be issues 77 through 82 of the regular book. Which means that, to all intents and purposes, I'm back writing the Hulk.


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MUSIC: Are you what you are or what?

From the "How Quickly They Forget" department:

On the radio this morning, I heard a DJ introduce the song "What I Am"... by Eddie Brickell.

Eddie. He said it twice. Eddie Brickell. And he wasn't joking. He really had no idea who this person he was introducing was, or how to pronounce her name.

I remember seeing Edie (say it with me: Eee Dee) Brickell & New Bohemians play Zellerbach Auditorium on the UC Berkeley campus in my Sophomore year. Blue Rodeo opened for them. It was an incredible show. It was 1989. Fifteen goddam years ago.

So now, instead of getting irritated by this doofus on the radio, I just feel old. Damn. Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep.

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Friday, September 10, 2004


Welcome to those of you visiting from The Hurting!

Earlier this week, Tim posted a reply to my recent post on movie trailers -- specifically my comments about Sky Captain -- more specifically my wish for more real-life stunts, rather than CGI-created stunts. Since there are no comments on his site, I'm responding here.

(Note: I'm always hesitant about replying to things I see on other blogs, because no matter what you say, you're most likely going to look like a pissy jerk. Which is not my intent. And yet, here we are.)

Number one, let me just say that this sentence:

Watching real violence – or a realistic portrayal of fantasy violence designed to titillate the worst instincts of the average moviegoer - is just depressing.
is the only thing that really rubs me the wrong way. The rest is just someone having a different opinion from me, which I've learned to live with, despite the fact that I'm always right. But I really don't care for the implication that there's something wrong with me for getting a kick out of John McClane wasting Hans Gruber. Some of us average moviegoers are able to differentiate between fake movie fights and, say, the war in Iraq, and thus can enjoy action scenes for what they are, whether they involve human actors or CGI monsters.

Other notes:

--Action scenes with real people don't have to be violent -- I'm thinking of, say, the suspended from the ceiling bit in Mission: Impossible, or one of the comic car chases in The Blues Brothers.

--As for the ones that are violent, the CGI-type action scenes are generally violent as well, as in the Jurassic Park movies, or The Matrix movies, or Will Smith Kicks a Bunch of Robot Ass (known to some as I, Robot). Why is CGI-created violence acceptable and human-stuntman violence not, when you know they're both equally fake? And are there then varying degrees of acceptability? Is CGI-created human-on-human violence less acceptable than dinosaur-on-human CGI violence, which is less acceptable than alien-on-robot CGI violence?

--Speaking of which.... The specific scene I was thinking of when I mentioned "a million CGI robots fighting a million CGI aliens" was the Gungan vs. droid battle at the end of The Phantom Menace -- a movie which I hated almost in its entirety, but especially that bit, because after a while I started thinking, "There's nothing but a grassy field up there. I'm watching a grassy field, with 1s and 0s superimposed on it. Whee." That works for some people, obviously, but it bored the hell out of me. A real person doing a real thing can be exhilirating, like James Bond snow-skiing off a sheer cliff just before opening his Union Jack parachute; things that aren't there doing things that never happened is, as Mike put it so well, "like watching someone else play a video game."

--As far as the aliens vs. robots being "not something I can see outside my window every day": I've been in car crashes, too... but I've never seen 100 cop cars get demolished by a couple dozen 18-wheelers, like in Smokey & the Bandit 2. I've been in fights... but I've never seen Chow Yun-Fat and Zhang Ziyi in a treetop sword battle outside my window. Because it involves real people, that doesn't automatically mean it's something that's been seen before. Just as simply being computer-generated doesn't mean it hasn't been seen before -- if you've seen one CGI spaceship explosion, you've seen 'em all.

Damn. That's a lot of words about something no one will care about. Oh well.

And on a personal note: Tim, if you really see violence every day -- dude, you should move.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004


I recently borrowed the DVD of the animated version of Terry Pratchett's Soul Music from Dorian. I'd like to give it a detailed review. I'd like to, but I can't, since I could only get through one of the seven episodes on the disc. Here's my review: it's awful. Bad animation, bad voice-acting, and the things that are funny in print just don't translate into funny on the screen. But thanks, Dorian! I promise I'll return it today.

I've been catching up on some of the Saturday Night Lives that I've missed over the past couple of seasons, in repeats on E!, and I just saw the Lindsay Lohan episode. You know, the one where she plays Hermione in a Harry Potter sketch, and everyone keeps staring at her massive cleavage? Yeah, that was a good one. It's very difficult to feel guilty about looking at a 17-year-old girl's boobs when she voluntarily appears in a skit based entirely around looking at her boobs.

What? I'm just sayin'.

Speaking of Lindsay Lohan (and let's see, by the way, if talking about her boobs gets me as much search engine traffic as my post about a certain Olympian's posterior, which, seriously, has gotten me dozens of very creepy hits), it's time for another installment of This Week in IMDb Chatboard Idiots! Let's see what we can find on Lindsay's page.

So much to choose from! We have one thread titled "Damn girl, your orange!!!" which I can only assume from the use of "your" rather than "you're" is all about Lindsay's choice of citrus products. Then there's "this picture is real!" which includes a link to a very obviously fake picture of Lindsay and Hilary Duff smiling together, which is intended to disprove the two of them are feuding. But I think my very favorite is this thread in which, I swear on my life, these no-life trolls are ripping on her for having, in their opinion... an oddly-placed belly button. I swear to you.

From lookatthisboys, the originator of the thread:

She has such a LONG waist line, and her bellybutton is places to high, or from her belly botton to her privates there a HECK of a long distance there.
From G-Unit_Pimpette624:

And she has the strangest, highest belly button I've ever seen in my life...its like in the middle of her stomach! Ewww!
From 50_Cent_N_Eminem:

From OrlandoBloomRoxMySox:

omg! i've never seen that pic before, and i'd say i'm more concerned about her belly button! MAN that's weird!
And my favorite, from JAKEGYLLENHAAL16:

I totally agree about her long waist line because when i saw her in her bikini and low rise jeans and her belly button is like about 8 or soo inches away from the middle of her boobs i mean that can't be normal i thought i was abnormal cuz my belly button is normal now i guess cuz i wen i wear low rise i can't wear the jeans how she does cuz my butt would show lol and when she wears them its nothing its so perfect and her thighs r big i think she is that type of person who is thin at the top and huge and the bottom and oo ya she has a big ass!!
I'll bet talking to JAKEGYLLENHAAL16 in real life would sound like an exact transcript of that post. Only more annoying.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

TV: Family Guy

I've always liked Family Guy, and have tended to defend it from those who claim it's just a ripoff of The Simpsons.

But last night on the Cartoon Network, I watched an episode of Family Guy that ripped off the following Simpsons episodes:

--the soap box derby episode

--the Bart is a Boy Scout episode

--the Homer thinks Bart is gay episode

--the Marge has a gambling problem episode

--the Indian casino episode

--the Bart and Homer get lost in the woods episode

--the Homer has a vision episode

...and probably a few others I didn't catch. In one show!

Some of them are blatant (the soap box race, the gambling), some are maybe stretching the comparison (Homer thinks Bart is gay), but still. It's like they decided to steal every single episode of The Simpsons at once. I'm amazed there wasn't a monorail. Or a Planet of the Apes musical.

It would be funny to think they intentionally stole from as many Simpsons episodes as possible just as a jab at the people who had always accused them of doing so, but that's probably giving them too much credit.

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