Tuesday, July 31, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con: The Report

As promised (at last), here are some of the highlights of my first visit to the San Diego Comic-Con, in pictorial form. As always, I apologize for the crappy quality of my cell phone camera.

--This Batman is made of Legos.

I'm Batman. Made of Legos.

--This is Stormtrooper Elvis.

These aren't the droids we're looking for. Thank you very much.

--Here is a random woman in a Princess Leia slave bikini costume. Thank you, random woman.

You're welcome!

--And here is a corpse at the Girls and Corpses Magazine booth. Yes, Girls and Corpses Magazine. Say what you will, at least this is a magazine that found an untapped demographic and went after it.

There's a 50/50 chance this is not a real corpse.

--And this is Sheri Moon and Rob Zombie at the preview panel for Zombie's Halloween remake. They showed us the theatrical trailer, plus one extended scene of Michael Myers being a badass, before a Q&A session. It was tremendous. August 31, people, mark your calendars now!

Sheri is on the left.

Some other highlights, not in pictures:

--Hanging out with my friend Ian Brill, who knows a lot of the people at this damn thing. Like, a lot.

--Meeting a friend from the interwebs, Greg Burgas, of Delenda Est Carthago. He was every bit as funny and friendly as I would've guessed, and spent much of the day with me and Ian. Plus, he bought us dinner, which is awesome, and which favor I vow to return one day.

--Reacquainting myself with a friend I had lost touch with, comics creator Zander Cannon. (That's right, he's got a Wikipedia page and everything!) Much of his creative output these days is through the Big Time Attic art studio in Minneapolis. I found out he is working on a new Top 10 series, taking over as writer from Alan Moore (no pressure there!) and producing the layouts for finished art from Gene Ha. I also found out he is working toward continuing his excellent fantasy series, The Replacement God, which is one of my favorite comics ever. Woohoo!! And I also found out he is still an incredibly nice and funny and cool guy, and I should not let our friendship languish due to inattentiveness again, as it did over the past few years. My bad.

--Having to push past Matt Groening to pay for a book at the Fantagraphics booth. Hey, he was in the way!

--Meeting and talking to two of my comics writing heroes, Peter David and Mike Baron, at the exact same time.

Why, I tell yas, it's almost enough to make me not hate comics anymore!!

The disappointing:

--Having to park about a mile and a half away, then, when hiking back to the Convention Center, setting off on not one, but two dead end paths before finding the right way. Oops!

--The preview of The Mist, director Frank Darabont's adaptation of the Stephen King story. Man, that was some crappy-ass CGI.

--Believing Ian when he said I wouldn't be able to sneak liquor into the Con. I totally could've! It's probably for the best that I didn't... but it's nice now to know the option is there. (Unless I just ruined it for next year by talking about it here.)

--Not making it to the Richard Cheese concert after all. Oh well. There was no way we were going to be able to last that much longer anyway, what with a three-hour-plus drive ahead of us. It'll wear you out, looking at toys and comics and video games all day!

All in all, a tremendously fun and thrilling, if extremely tiring day. And there was still so much to see! If I go next year, I'm getting a hotel room and going for two days. Because I'm that much of a geek.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Hey, didn't I say on Saturday that I would write more about the San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday? Well, that was a big fat lie, obviously, since here it is Monday, and I still won't even get to it today. Because instead I'm writing about The Simpsons Movie, which I saw yesterday with Ian, who also went to the Comic-Con.

I laughed a lot. An awful lot. There are many truly hilarious moments. Such as when Ralph Wiggum sees a naked Bart skateboard past him, and says, "I like men now." Or when his father, Chief Wiggum, eats donuts off the end of his gun and almost blows his head off. So, with that as the benchmark: the movie was a success.

And yet, on reflection, it's the ways in which the movie didn't work that I keep dwelling on, and, since I like to complain, I will elaborate.

My primary problem lies in the fact that practically every single plot element is recycled from the TV show. It's like a feature-length version of the South Park "Simpsons Already Did It" episode.

--The Simpsons travel to a location outside of Springfield ("The Simpsons go to Japan!" "The Simpsons go to Brazil!" "The Simpsons go to New York City!"). In the movie, it's "The Simpsons go to Alaska!"

--Homer and Marge have marriage problems. Probably the single most overused plot from the TV series. At least in this iteration, it generates one genuinely touching monologue from Marge, but still.

--Lisa gets a boyfriend. How many boyfriends has she had now? She's eight, for Pete's sake! Why do they keep trying to give her boyfriends??

--Springfield is destroyed. (It's not destroyed destroyed, but you know what I mean. For all intents and purposes.) I can immediately think of two other times this has happened: it was flooded, and it was undermined by tunnels full of garbage. It's probably happened a lot more than that.

--Homer has a drug-induced vision quest, which reveals he really loves Marge. Well, duh. At least in the series, his guide was a coyote with Johnny Cash's voice. This time it's a completely nonsensical deus ex machina. With big boobs.

And so on. It gets down to incredibly specific repetitions, such as "Bart becomes a Flanders," or "Albert Brooks is a supervillain." At times, it made the movie feel like a greatest hits compilation ("Hey, they're jumping over Springfield Gorge again!") rather than an original creation.

And the movie can't quite pick an era of the TV show it most wants to emulate. At times, it harkens back to the very earliest seasons, with overly-earnest (and often underly-humorous) emotional character moments; at times, it's more like the most recent seasons, in which character development and plot advancement are completely abandoned in favor of random absurdity and flights of fancy. The best seasons of the TV series showed us that a balance can be reached between the two extremes; the movie, sadly, fails to achieve that balance -- hence, the uneven result.

Still, you get to see Homer flipping the bird with both hands at an angry mob, and you get to see Otto taking a deep hit off a bong, so the movie's got that going for it over the TV show. It's not a great movie; it's not a movie that justifies the "18 years in the making" hype. But it's pretty damn funny.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con: An Appetizer

I have so very much I want to talk about regarding my trip to the San Diego Comic-Con yesterday. I'll get to most of it tomorrow. For today, I will simply leave you with the most amazing of the images captured by my crappy cell phone camera.

At what I believe was the Weinstein Company booth, promoting Grindhouse, among many other films, there was this woman, dressed like Rose McGowan from the Planet Terror half of Grindhouse, complete with stripper pole and machine gun leg.

I don't know if you can tell from that first picture, but that is real: she really has a missing leg. That machine gun is really serving as her prosthetic.

See?? For REAL!! Now that is commitment to the role.


And then Danny Trejo came out to join her on the stripper pole stage. DOUBLE AWESOME.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Summer TV

This Summer has seen a lot of ambitious TV shows debuting, mostly on cable. Here's a quick look at a few of them.

Mad Men (AMC): A look at the advertising world of the early '60s, when casual racism and sexual harassment were still an accepted -- even expected -- part of office life. But the world was beginning to change; the big quandary of the debut episode, for example, was how to sell a client's cigarettes after health reports had begun linking smoking to cancer.

Jon Hamm (as Don Draper, our "hero," for lack of a better word) looks like a big slab of beef, but he generates an oily charm and a certain vulnerability that ground the show, even when he's storming out of a meeting because his client, a woman, and a Jewish woman, at that, dared to disagree with him. Vincent Kartheiser (from Angel) plays Don's junior colleague, Pete; John Slattery (from Ed and Desperate Housewives) plays Don's boss, Roger. I don't much care for either of those actors, normally, but they work here, much better than I've ever seen them. Elisabeth Moss (from The West Wing) and Christina Hendricks (this month's Object of My Affection) round out the cast as, respectively, Peggy, the new, not-as-naive-as-she-seems secretary to Don, and Joan, the worldly and battle-weary head of the secretarial pool. I also enjoyed Bryan Batt as Salvatore, an ad-man who reveals himself, if you're paying attention, as a closet case from his very first sentence. The relative subtlety of his introduction is undermined by increasingly blatant slips later in the episode, but he's still a character with plenty of promise.

It's a solid cast, and the show conveys very well both the perceived glamour of the advertising world of that era, and the decay at its core. Don Draper is the audience's focal point, yet he's a liar -- but a clever, amusing one; a racist and a sexist -- but that was just the era he lived in, right?; and an adulterer -- but one who clearly loves his wife and children. I don't really like him, but he's got my attention. As does the show. This looks like the biggest winner of the Summer crop so far.

Damages (FX): Glenn Close's highly-promoted return to TV, following what should have been her Emmy-winning turn on The Shield a couple seasons back -- if the Emmy voters would only watch The Shield. Close plays Patty Hewes, a high-powered barracuda of a litigator, for whom any dirty trick is fair play. Rose Byrne plays Ellen, the new recruit to Patty's team. The big case Patty is currently attacking is Arthur Frobisher (an awesome Ted Danson), who (allegedly!) screwed his employees out of their pensions, Enron-style.

The episode begins with a bloody and shock-stricken Ellen staggering down the sidewalks of New York; we then flash back and forth from her subsequent arrival at the police station to the events of six months ago, when she first hired on with Patty. Some intriguing mysteries are developed, but there are a couple of flaws that are keeping me from fully investing in the show. For one, Ellen is supposed to be a super-brilliant law school grad the top firms are vying over, but Byrne is so vacant and bland, the effusive praise lavished on her seems ridiculous. When Patty tells her she can see that Ellen's mind is always working, I laughed out loud. Byrne is as convincing as a genius lawyer as Denise Richards was as a genius nuclear scientist in The World Is Not Enough, or Tara Reid was as a genius anthropologist in Alone in the Dark. And secondly, Close's Patty is not merely manipulative or tough-as-nails or what have you; she's flat-out evil. Turns out Patty only hired Ellen because Ellen's future sister-in-law has a connection to Frobisher she can exploit. That's not the evil part. This is: to convince the sister-in-law to testify, Patty has her dog butchered, and frames Frobisher for it. Yikes. Am I really supposed to root for her over Frobisher? Do I really want to spend time with any of these people? I'll probably check out one more episode, but this first one, despite a few great actors and some interesting plot threads, left me a bit cold.

Eureka (Sci-Fi): Now in its second season, this clever, funny show, about a town full of super-geniuses and the average Joe sheriff trying to keep them in line, is a pure delight. While many other Summer shows seem to be trying to "out-dark" the other, upping the antes in sex, violence, and overall grimness, Eureka is sunny and lightweight. I mean, I've got nothing against sex and violence. More sexy violence, that's my motto! But it doesn't all have to be like that. There's room for shows like Eureka, too, and I'm glad.

The Kill Point (Spike): I may have spoken too soon; rather than Mad Men, this riveting bank hostage drama, on frickin' Spike TV, of all places, may have the highest potential for greatness this Summer. John Leguizamo, who can be so awesome (but, sadly, so often is not -- The Honeymooners, What's the Worst That Could Happen?, Spawn, The Pest, Super Mario Bros., etc.), is the leader of a group of ex-soldiers who execute a military-precision bank robbery. They're a hair's breadth from a clean escape when some unforeseen complications arise, and they have to retreat back to the bank. The robbery has now become a hostage crisis. Enter Donnie Wahlberg as the star police negotiator (who is oddly, but humorously, obsessed with proper grammar), and Tobin Bell (Wahlberg's co-star in Saw II and Saw III, weirdly enough) as a local bajillionaire whose daughter is one of the hostages, and who is trying to get Wahlberg removed from the case, and the real drama begins.

The two-hour premiere episode featured a great deal of thrilling gunplay action, as well as some intense head-to-head confrontations between Leguizamo and Wahlberg, neither of whom you might immediately think of as "action star," but both of whom excel in their respective roles. The clump of hostages don't quite measure up to the talents of the two leads (or the intense Bell), but the chess game Leguizamo and Wahlberg play with their fates is utterly engrossing. So far, this is shaping up to be a worthy successor to Dog Day Afternoon, with its similar bank robber who wins public sympathy with his charismatic grandstanding. I know, I know -- it's frickin' Spike TV. But seriously, it's damn good! Check it out.

Random IMDb fact (or possibly "fact"): Donnie Wahlberg is a distant relative of Madonna and Halle Berry. Wait, what? That's so crazy it can't be true. Or can it??? That would mean Madonna and Halle Berry are somehow related. That makes me inexplicably sad and tired.

Saving Grace (TNT): This much ballyhooed introduction of Holly Hunter to series television seemed to be the most promising of any of the new Summer shows. And it was one of the most disappointing to me. I love Holly Hunter; she's one of those actresses who seem to grow even sexier with age, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, or Katey Sagal (if you are inclined to disagree, you can just shut your piehole, posthaste). She plays Grace Hanadarko, a police detective scraping the bottom in her personal life: she's a drunk; she's having an affair with a married man, who happens to be her her partner on the force (played by Kenneth Johnson, the late, much-lamented Lemonhead from The Shield); she's belligerent and reckless. And then, she kills a man in a drunk driving accident.

Or does she? As she tries to revive the man, she begs God for help. And lo, the angel Earl appeared unto her, spitting his chaw into a Mountain Dew bottle. Seriously: that's what happens. An actual angel (Leon Rippy, Deadwood's Tom Nuttall), with feathery wings and a cheek full of tobacco, speaks to her, telling her she's going to hell unless she straightens out her act. And when he disappears, Grace finds that the man she ran down has disappeared; her car accident never happened.

Or did it? (Am I overdoing the rhetorical questions?) Despite the angel magicking away the bloodstains on her blouse, she finds a spot of blood behind a button. She has her police scientist friend (Laura San Giacomo) analyze the blood, and finds it belongs to a Death Row inmate (Bokeem Woodbine), who couldn't possibly have been out of prison for Grace to hit with her car in the first place. When she speaks to the prisoner, he tells her that he's been visited by the angel Earl as well, and gives her a few pointers.

It's a tremendous cast of actors. And, despite my atheism, I can appreciate a work of fiction relying heavily on the Bible, such as The Last Temptation of Christ (both the Kazantzakis book and the Scorsese movie), or Joan of Arcadia, or even Jesus Christ Superstar. But where Saving Grace fails is by being way too ham-fisted and clumsy. Earl's preaching to Grace lacks any subtlety or nuance -- it's just, "Be good or God'll getcha!"

It's not bad enough they gave him the gimmick of chewing tobacco -- the whole character is a gimmick, and a bad one. And when Grace's situation is accepted instantly at face value by San Giacomo (with neither of them wondering, for instance, why an all-powerful angel would leave DNA evidence on Grace's shirt after making everything else about the car accident disappear), and then Woodbine begins matter-of-factly discussing the ins and outs of angel interactions, any chance I could suspend my disbelief long enough to invest in the situation was completely jettisoned. Really, the show would work much better if it were just about messed-up Grace, and her efforts to redeem herself, without the angel showing up, rendering it all cheap and phony.

The last straw, for me, was the final revelation that the whole show would be riding the coattails of the Oklahoma City bombing -- it's how Grace's sister died, and she blames herself. Seriously, appropriating an act of terrorism to play on an audience's sympathy... who does Saving Grace think it is, Rudy Guliani?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Updates update

Harry Potter update: page 530. Still avoiding spoilers, but it's getting tougher. Hopefully I'll finish by tomorrow.

Patton Oswalt update: he's performing at Amoeba Music in L.A. tonight at 7 PM. I think I'm going to try to go. So there.

San Diego Comic-Con update: I'm still going! Remember? I'll be there this Friday. Leave a comment or email me if you're going to be there and you want to try to meet. Just don't try to schedule anything during the Rob Zombie Halloween preview. That's my only must-see panel of the day.

Richard Cheese update: he's playing a concert in San Diego on Friday night, after the con closes for the day. It would be very cool to go -- it's his Farewell Tour! -- but I'm still debating (along with Ian, my wise and fearless guide for the trip) whether it's worth trying to see the show, and then have to make the three-hour drive back home at, like, midnight. Maybe we should just find some famous people to drink with instead. Anybody else at the Con interested in going to this concert?

MySpace update: yes, I still have a MySpace. It's here, and the link has now been added to this blog's already-overcrowded sidebar. Go be my friend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That's sad.

Hey. I done a MySpace thing. Go be my friend.

I've actually been signed up on MySpace for over a year. I just never felt like doing anything with it until now. And look, already it's paying off: Patton Oswalt and Rob Zombie are now my friends. I'm going to show up at their houses and see if I can crash on their couches. Just see if I don't!!! (I won't.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monthly Sidebar Update

It's just about time for the Monthly Sidebar Update! In fact, since I'm doing it right now, it is exactly time for the Monthly Sidebar Update. Q.E.D.

This month's Object of My Affection is Christina Hendricks. You might not recognize the name, but you may recognize the face. She's currently playing Joan, the oh-so-worldly head of the secretarial pool on AMC's excellent new drama, Mad Men. Before that, she was mousy Nicolette on the short-lived Taye Diggs vehicle, Kevin Hill. And before that -- attention, nerds! -- she had a recurring role as the sexy con artist Saffron on Joss Whedon's Firefly. Noooowwww you recognize her, don't you? Hard to believe -- a spitfire redhead on a sci-fi show caught Tom's eye. It's as though that character were specifically designed to reach the Tom demographic. And it worked! She makes me go like this: grroOOOWWWwwlll.

Currently, in my Kurt Vonnegut Project, I'm working on the brilliant collection of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House. This was one of the Vonnegut books already in my personal library; you can see by its well-worn condition how much use I've put it through in the past:

This is what happens when you put a book in your back pocket to read later.

And currently, in non-Kurt Vonnegut reading -- well, what else could it be but J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm about 100 pages into it so far. If anybody spoils it for me I will pinch you so hard.

Under "Listening" I've got the new Fountains of Wayne album, Traffic and Weather. I told you last month it was the next album I should buy -- and so I did. It's very good in general, even if no track really matches the cleverness and catchiness of the first single, "Someone To Love." Though "'92 Subaru" comes close.

I haven't bought any new DVDs in quite a while, so nothing new for the "Watching" category. I had the Dodgers up under a combined "Watching/Loving/Hating" entry last month, and you know what? I'm leaving them up there again, under "Loving." No Hating this month! (Well, maybe there's a little bit left over for the Dodgers, as usual. It's tough being a fan!) The Boys in Blue have been rewarding me with the best baseball they've played pretty much since the last time they won the World Series (in 1988, half my life ago, as I believe I've mentioned once or twice before). And it's been a sheer pleasure watching them do it. They're going all the way this year, I can feel it!!

Guess that means we need another Bonus OoMA -- Dodgers style. Last time, it was Alyssa Milano in her Dodgers gear. This time, it's Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer -- and recent Playboy poser -- Amanda Beard, looking tremendously cute in her Dodgers top, while still frightening me somewhat with her disturbingly large choppers. (My fascination with Amanda Beard, and her massive teeth, goes back several years -- to the 2004 Olympics, in fact, as you can see here and here.)

The Lyric of the Month is in honor of my return from my Austin vacation to, and my impending permanent departure to Austin from, California. It's from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "California," off the tremendous soundtrack album, She's the One. I've been resigning myself to the difficult-to-accept fact that, once I leave California, it's entirely likely I will never return -- not as a resident, anyway. And that thrills me with the prospect of the unknown, but it also depresses and terrifies me. I was born in California; I've lived here all my life. And I've travelled enough to know that there is no place on Earth better than California. There just isn't. Sorry, all you other chumps, but that's the way it is, and deep down, you know it: California kicks all your asses. It's got everything you could ever want, and then ten times more. I love it passionately; I love the state more than I love my country. (Even before President Monkey took office.)

But -- I want to experience life outside California, for once. Sadly, moving out of California is pretty much a one-way trip in this day and age; once you leave, unless you hit the lottery, it's financially unfeasible to ever return. (Ask my sister in Colorado.) So I've been thinking a lot lately about my home state, about all its beauty and wonder and wildness and weirdness. I'll miss it deeply. Hell, I'm already missing it. As Petty sings, "It ain't like anywhere else."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (no spoilers)

Okay, I've got the last Harry Potter book in my grubby little hands. Complete avoidance of any possible internet spoilers is in effect. And will be strictly enforced -- under penalty of torture.

Helpful hint to those of you who couldn't find the book at your local bookstore: get it at the grocery store, like I've done for the past three chapters. They've always got plenty -- no lines, no advance sign-up, big discount!

Austin -- Part 2

Belatedly, here's the second part of my Austin vacation story. I'll try to skip to the highlights.

The Fourth of July was supposed to be the day we were going to inner tube down the river -- the river whose name I still don't know, despite seeing it and talking about it every day I was in Austin -- and actually being in it once. Quick research reveals it is the Colorado River. Wow, really? Somebody must've mentioned that while I was there, but I forgot. I'm not good with names -- even the names of rivers, apparently.

Like I said, we were supposed to go inner tubing, but all that rain I told you about in Part 1 had flooded the river beyond the point of safety. So instead, Memphis Brian came over and he, Forrest and I grabbed some breakfast at a neat little place called the Magnolia Cafe, which is open 24 hours a day. Highlight: the waitress who reminded us of the Bride of Frankenstein, but was still strangely attractive.

24 Hours a Day, 8 Days a Week

Then we went over to Memphis' apartment, and drank, and invited several other Mellow Mushroom employees over, and drank, and played some Guitar Hero 2, which was freakin' awesome, and drank, and then played a mini-poker tournament, which I won, because I am freakin' awesome, and drank a little bit more. Six of us went through a case and a half of Lone Star, plus several shots of varying degrees of intricacy. Well, how the hell else are you supposed to celebrate our nation's independence?

Oh, yeah: by blowing shit up. Which we proceeded to do once we got back to Forrest's place again. Rusty and Kendra -- with whom Forrest lives -- had driven that week from California to Texas, and bought a giant box of highly dangerous fireworks while passing through New Mexico. Bless their hearts. So we set 'em off in the street right out in front of the house. Why not -- everybody else on the block was doing the same thing. I took some pictures:




Look out, kids!

The last picture is of some nearby kids Forrest almost killed by accidentally setting one of the explosive devices on its side. It was a little box that shot out eight Roman candle-type fireballs; luckily, the first shot missed the kids, and the recoil was strong enough to knock the box right-side up, so the rest of the shots went into the air, like they were supposed to. Actual pre-explosion conversation:

Me: You put that on its side.
Forrest: No I didn't!
Fireworks: BOOM!!
Forrest: Oh, maybe I did.
Bad Forrest!

Among the other highlights, thrown out at random:

--Trudy's Tex-Mex Restaurant and Bar, a damn fine establishment whose specialty is the "Mexican Martini." It's a tequila margarita variation, served in a martini glass. Best of all: they give you the martini shaker, too. It's a lot of alcohol. There are three locations: the North Star, the South Star, and the one we went to, the original, Trudy's Texas Star.

Dos martinis, por favor!

--The Hole in the Wall, a terrific dive bar a block up from the Mellow Mushroom. We went there a couple times, and played darts (I won), flirted with the hot, tattooed, pierced, rainbow-haired women bartenders (I lost), drank much Jack Daniels, and generally had a blast and made a genial nuisance of ourselves, if a nuisance can be said to be genial.

--Funny Papers, a comic book store located near the Mellow Mushroom. I thought it was very nice -- clean, well-stocked, with knowledgeable employees. I was disappointed, though, that I never got a chance to check out Austin Books & Comics, which has a reputation as not only the best comic shop in Austin, but one of the very best in the entire country. Patton Oswalt calls it the best comic shop he's visited while on tour, which is good enough for me!

--We finally did get to the river on Friday, the 6th, but we didn't go inner tubing. There was still a lot of flooding. We couldn't even get into Barton Springs, our first choice, which is apparently one of the biggest tourist attractions in all of Austin. It was closed due to the flooding. So we went to nearby Campbell's Hole instead, and it was fantastic. Flat rock shores with many convenient chair-height outcroppings, lots of friendly folks with friendly dogs, lots of lovely young women in bikinis, and refreshingly cool (but not cold) water flowing over rapids through which you could float on your back.

I don't know these people.

I don't know these people either.

I do know this dog. His name is Sir Barksalot. As far as you know.

--After the river, we went to Rudy's Bar-B-Q, which was some of the most incredible barbecue (forgive my unusual spelling) I've ever eaten, in large part due to their world-famous "sause," and their incredibly friendly and helpful staff. And it's in a gas station! No foolin'. Rudy's was a gas station chain first. A few years ago, they decided to add attached barbecue joints to the gas stations, and the rest is history. Delicious, delicious history.

--I couldn't leave Austin without visiting the Alamo Drafthouse -- according to Entertainment Weekly, the best theater in America. Theater chain, really; there are over half a dozen. I believe we went to the one on South Lamar (don't hold me to that). It's basically a brew & view -- but the coolest brew & view ever. (For those who are unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the term, a brew & view is a movie theater that serves food and alcohol right there in the theater, during the movie. It's awesome.) The Drafthouse is famous for their specialty programs, such as Weird Wednesday (mostly MST3K-quality films), Terror Thursday, and Master Pancake Theater (breakfast and a "classic" film, such as Conan the Barbarian); they also have an annual Quentin Tarantino film fest, and Quentin Tarantino himself hosts an (almost) annual film festival of his own choosing (mostly grindhouse fare, naturally).

The film we saw at the Drafthouse was Transformers. The overall experience was so enjoyable, I could mostly overlook how awful the film was -- that's how cool the Drafthouse is. Check out the T-shirt I picked up for myself:

The Street Fighter -- Sonny Chiba!

And the one Forrest bought for me to give to our friend Richie in Ojai:

Isaac Hayes IS Truck Turner!

I can tell you now, when I move to Austin, the Drafthouse will become a weekly tradition. Even if I'm the only one who goes.

--Threadgill's, for some homestyle cooking and a show: we saw Austin band the Gourds, giving a CD release concert. Damn fine music, which could probably be described as alt-country; I'd only heard of them before because of their amazing cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice" (which, sadly, they did not perform that night), but they rocked the joint quite handily. You will have to take my word that this is a picture of them onstage:

With my mind on my money and my money on my mind

--Güero's Taco Bar, a very cool Mexican restaurant, and another location featured in Tarantino's Death Proof.

Watch out for Stuntman Mike!

I had the queso flameado, which is basically a big bowl of greasy, melted cheese with chunks of steak in it. It was delicious, and gave me seven heart attacks.

I'm sure I'm leaving out several other highlights. We packed a ton of activity into one little week! But that should give you a taste of Austin, and why I loved it so much. Thanks for the tour, Forrest. I'll be back soon!

Forrest and Memphis

Friday, July 20, 2007

Emmy Nominations

The 2007 Emmy Award Nominations were announced Thursday morning. Here's my quick take on the whole mess.

A lot of people are up in arms over 24's lack of a Best Drama nod. A lot of stupid people. 24 has never been anything close to the best drama on TV, despite its previous nominations and wins; at its best, at the height of its thrilling action, it still just barely avoids being a comedy, due to its insanely laughable lapses in logic and continuity, occasionally involving mountain lions. Kiefer Sutherland (who was nominated for Best Actor, the show's only nomination in a major category) has always sold the show as a credible drama with his outrageously committed hamminess. Not this year!

What did get nominated for Best Drama? Oh, it'll just make you sick. Boston Legal, which, like David E. Kelley's Ally McBeal, is definitely a comedy, not a drama; Grey's Anatomy, which is barely passable as a nighttime soap, let alone a genuine medical drama; Heroes, which I loved the hell out of, but come on; House, which deserves it; and The Sopranos, which I didn't watch, aside from the last five minutes on YouTube (which I loved - "Don't stop!"), but which couldn't have not been nominated if it consisted of 12 hours of James Gandolfini picking the lint out of his belly button.

Not nominated: the best show ever, Deadwood. The best show ever that I have yet to watch, The Wire. The Shield, whose complete shut-out boldly underscores the contempt the Emmys have for basic cable. If you can't find room to nominate Michael Chiklis or CCH Pounder, you don't deserve to watch television. Battlestar Galactica, which, as with any sci-fi show, will never gain any respect from the Emmys because the Emmys, for the purpose of this analogy only, are jocks, and sci-fi shows are nerds, and jocks hate nerds. (I guess you could count Heroes as sci-fi, but there aren't any aliens, or spaceships, or robots, which makes it palatable sci-fi to the jock mainstream.) Lost (similarly palatable sci-fi), which had a rough-as-hell beginning to its season, but which snapped back in the second half with its best run of episodes ever. And, of course, One Tree Hill, which cultivated incredibly touching observations of --

Nah, I'm kidding. Just seeing if you were paying attention.

The Best Comedy nominees are a much better batch, with one striking exception. See if you can pick it out: 30 Rock, Entourage, The Office, Ugly Betty... Two and a Half Men.

Really, Emmys? Really??

I've admitted to watching, and liking, Two and a Half Men before, though I pretty much gave up on it halfway through last season. But even at my highest fondness for it, I would never, ever posit it as one of the five best comedies on television. No love for the other two great Thursday night NBC sitcoms, My Name Is Earl or Scrubs? Not even a bone to throw to How I Met Your Mother, or The New Adventures of Old Christine? What about It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, whose second season was even more brilliant than its first, and which made the attention-grabbing move of adding Danny DeVito to the cast, for such genius episodes as "The Gang Exploits a Miracle," or "Charlie Goes America All Over Everybody's Ass," or the immortal "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom"? Nothing? Frickin' Emmys!

Lead Actor in a Drama -- does include: James Spader, Kiefer Sutherland. Does not include: Michael Chiklis, Ian McShane. Nuff said.

Lead Actress in a Drama -- I've said it many, many times before (often enough that I need to make it a tag), in many different ways, and I'll say it again: if you're nominating Mariska Hargitay for an acting award, you just ain't looking hard enough.

There are six nominees for this category. I admire the breaking of conventions, going beyond the traditional five nominees. But one of them is Mariska Hargitay. And one of them is Patricia Arquette. They should've gone with less nominees, not more.

Lead Actor in a Comedy -- three awesome nods: Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, Ricky Gervais; two awful: Charlie Sheen, Tony Shalhoub. Tony Shalhoub is proof that once a name gets imprinted on the Emmys' hivemind, it never leaves. Monk has been awful for a good three seasons now, but because Shalhoub, and the show, were so great in their first season, he will never stop getting nominated. In fact, he'll probably win.

Lead Actress in a Comedy -- pretty good picks here. I won't even argue that Felicity Huffman is in a show way past its prime -- and which is as much a comedy as Boston Legal is a drama -- just because I like her. So there.

There are six nominees each in the Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Drama categories, which makes me wonder all the more how they couldn't fit Chiklis or McShane in the Lead Actor category. The Actor noms are decent, if missing obvious contenders from Deadwood and The Shield. The Actress category, on the other hand, is 50% Grey's Anatomy, which blows. Six nominations, and no room for CCH Pounder. What a world.

Two and a Half Men snuck three nominees into the Comedy Supporting Actor and Actress categories (while ignoring the best performer on the show, the kid, Angus T. Jones, and I swear to you I am not kidding about that). At least they join several incredibly deserving nominees, such as Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer from The Office, and one of this blog's all-time favorites, Neil Patrick Harris as Barney from How I Met Your Mother. NPH's snub last year gave me great pain, and I'm thrilled to see him on the list for 2007. Hopefully either he or Rainn Wilson take the Emmy; even one of the two Entourage nominees (by which I mean Jeremy Piven -- who has retained his awesomeness while the rest of the show floundered this year -- and not Kevin Dillon) would be better than Two and a Half Men's Jon Cryer.

And that's enough of that. This should be enough to stir up some hatred for right now. I'll pick the winners in the 28 (!) main categories when we get a little closer to the actual date of the ceremony.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Hey folks.

I'm going to be paying a visit to San Diego Comic-Con this year! Or Comic-Con International. Whatever.

I'll be there on Friday, with buddy Ian Brill. This will be my first time ever at the Con. I'm pretty damn excited!

If any of y'all are gonna be there on Friday, too, leave a comment. Maybe we can meet up. Drinks are on me! (By which I mean, drinks are on you.) I'll tell you one place you can definitely find me: the Halloween preview, with director Rob Zombie and the cast, which takes place at 2:30, I believe. I'm a huge, huge fan of Zombie's Devil's Rejects, which I called the best film of 2005. So you'd best believe I'm excited to see his take on Halloween. Hells yeah!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Bionic Homophobe

Wow, way to sour me on the one show I was actually looking forward to in the Fall TV season:

Isaiah "I never called him a faggot" Washington to join Bionic Woman for a five-episode arc.

They already got rid of Mae Whitman (Ann/Egg from Arrested Development) as Jaime Sommers' deaf younger sister. So that's one person I like, out; one person I hate, in. Not a good trade-off.

If they dump Miguel Ferrer next, I'm quitting this show before it even airs.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Austin -- Part 1

Hey, have I told you about my Austin trip yet? No? Well why don't I do that now?

Monday, July 3, I flew into Austin to visit my friend Forrest and check out for the first time the city I've been planning on moving to. I won't keep you in suspense: I loved it, and can't wait to move. Hopefully by October, if all goes as planned (which, I've found, it rarely does).

The weather was humid, but not nearly as bad as I'd been preparing for; the Fourth of July I spent in St. Louis a few years ago was ten times worse. Normally, during this time of year, Austin would be experiencing many days of 100+ degree weather; this year, it was cloudy and gloomy, with frequent thunderstorms, just about the whole time I was there. You may have heard something about the rain -- about northeast Texas being pretty much underwater for a couple of weeks. Austin was on the fringes of that. We got plenty of rain, and even some flooding, but not the "disaster area" rain going on just to the north, thankfully.

So it was only in the mid-80s, most of the time. Even when it rained. That was fine by me.

After stopping at Forrest's place to drop off my baggage (and have a couple of Lone Stars, of course), the first site we visited was the Texas Chili Parlor, one of several Austin landmarks featured in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof.

Don't you feel more like you do now than when you came?

I had the chili cheese dog (with mild chili, because I'm a wimp), which comes with either a side of fries, or Fritos. I had the Fritos. Why not?

Where's Jungle Julia?

They don't serve Lone Star there, so I had to settle for a Jack & Coke. Shucks!

Oh, there she is.

It was a damn fine start to my Austin education.

Next up: the Mellow Mushroom, at which Forrest is a manager, bartender, and runs the weekly trivia game. Sadly, he had to work there that night, but I had a fun time hanging out there with him, meeting many of the cool, fun employees, and immediately forgetting their names. (Sorry, guys. Nothing personal. I do that with everybody.) Check out the website, which appears to have been created by the people behind Homestar Runner.

Wanna play some Jarts?

The site's even got a cast page (that's Dude and Mel, above), and cartoons! Well, one cartoon, so far. According to an envelope seen in the cartoon, Mel and Dude live at "420 Shroom St." That's hitting the drug references pretty hard, right there.

Check out the Longhorns T-shirts Dude and Mel are wearing. Hook 'em Horns!

The Mushroom's bar has 25 beers on tap. Very nice! And one of them is my favorite: Pyramid's Apricot Ale (or, as it's been renamed, Pyramid's Apricot Weizen; the hell with that, I still call it the Apricot Ale). They put this beer on tap the very day I arrived in town. Forrest handles the beer orders for the restaurant, and knew what I'd like. My boy is looking out for me! I thanked him by having about eight pints.

Free Willie!

Here's a shot from my camera phone. For most of my time in Austin, I would completely forget I had a phone, let alone one with a camera, so I took very few pictures. This fella on the waterfall is supposed to be Willie Nelson. Why Willie Nelson is kayaking down a waterfall in a restaurant, I have no idea.

After Forrest's shift, he and I and another Mushroom employee, Memphis Brian (there are three Brians, so they all have nicknames), drove down to check out the bar scene. We wound up at The Ginger Man on 4th St.

Named after the J.P. Donleavy book. Look it up -- I had to!

It's an excellent bar in what I believe is called the Warehouse District. It's very near the infamous 6th Street, which is legendary for its many bars and drunken debaucheries. I actually never did visit 6th St. while I was in town, and from what I hear, I didn't miss much. Fucked-up college kids looking for fights isn't quite my speed these days. I prefer a quieter, friendlier crowd. And a nicer beer selection -- the Ginger Man's got over eighty beers on tap. Very nice!

I had one of each.

The inside was very inviting, with little nooks with couches and shelves of books and whatnot, but it was crowded, so we stepped out to the beer garden out back, and had a pint under the stars. It was a lovely evening, and a fine wrap-up to my first day in Austin.

This Austin recap is already getting out of hand. It's all those pictures taking up space! But pictures are pretty.

So -- that's enough for one post. Up next -- my Fourth of July in Austin. It didn't go quite the way I was expecting, but it was still a hell of a lot of fun.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Going back to Cali

Howdy, y'all! I'm back from Texas, covered in bug bites and a little bit damper from all the rain -- but alive, just barely, and still a damn hippie liberal. Hell, Austin's just packed full of damn hippie liberals! My kind of place.

Austin was incredible. I'll write more about it tomorrow, but I'll just sum it up with: I miss it already, and can't wait till I get back to do all the things I didn't get a chance to do on this visit. There may even be a picture or two, if my crummy camera phone captured anything worth saving.

Here's the last of the music videos I had ready to take up space while I was on vacation. It's "Into Your Arms," by the Lemonheads. It's such a simple and silly love song, but it never ever fails to make me happy. (Please don't spoil it for me by telling me it's really about Evan Dando craving heroin or something like that.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vacation, all I ever wanted

Hey, all! I'm in Austin, and having a blast, despite the non-stop gloom and frequent rain. At least we're not getting the flooding that so many areas of Texas are experiencing. And actually, the cloud cover cuts back on this time of year's usual heat and accompanying humidity, so that's just fine with me.

Yesterday was glorious. The first Lone Star beer was cracked open at 8 AM, followed by shots of Jack Daniels. Well, how better to celebrate our country's birth? The alcohol flowed freely, and in many different locales. We had chili dogs and Fritos at the Texas Chili Parlor, which was a featured location in Grindhouse. Yummy! I also played Guitar Hero for the first time ever. It's frickin' FUN!! And I played in a mini-tournament of poker, and won first place, and thirty bucks, which was nice. And then we set off a metric ton of fireworks in the street. I'm really, really digging this city.

Here's your video for today, a tune from Blue Rodeo, a Canadian band I'd describe as alt-country before there really was an "alt-country" category. I first heard of them when I saw them open for Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, back in '89 or '90. (Yes, I'm old.) I was more impressed by the opening act than the headliner that night (even though Edie was pretty damn good -- and I sure did have a crush on her back then, I admit it), and the next day I went out and bought their incredible album, Casino.

My copy of that CD long ago vanished. But due to a passel of free downloads at eMusic, I recently rediscovered the greatness of that album, and pass along to you the video for one of its songs, "Til I Am Myself Again." I haven't kept up with Blue Rodeo much since then; I think now I should go check out some of their albums I've missed.

"I want to know where my confidence went; one day it all disappeared."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm on vacation!

Here's one from Bad Religion, one of the very best punk bands ever. Their hyper-literate lyrics and socially conscious ways certainly don't keep them from rocking your face off. I am a little upset with them this week; their Warped Tour hit Ventura on Saturday, and screwed traffic up royally. Still, it's not their fault their fans are assholes who don't know how to prevent gridlock. I can't wait for their soon-to-be-released new album, New Maps of Hell. This one's from their last album, The Empire Strikes First, a fun little indictment of the news media called "Los Angeles Is Burning."

I love the news crawl:

--Experts say, 'Be afraid of poor people.'
--Panic & Fear Widespread; Retail Up 25%.
--You are not being brainwashed.

"More a question than a curse: how could hell be any worse?"

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gone Fishin'

I'll be on vacation until next Monday, in Austin, Texas (as opposed to, I guess, the Austin in Indiana, or Minnesota, or Pennsylvania, or Arkansas -- all of which actually exist. Austin, AR has a population of 605!).

I'm going to try to post a few little things while I'm gone, just so the pain of missing me isn't quite so agonizing for you. They'll be music videos from some of my favorite bands. Hope you enjoy 'em.

First up is one from the Refreshments, one of my slightly more obscure favorites. They put out two fantastic albums of southwestern rock, as I like to call it, and then broke up. Most of them have gone on to reform as Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, but they just don't have the magic they did as the Refreshments. The video is for the song "Good Year," from their second album, The Bottle and Fresh Horses. It opens with a clip of the band on MTV's 120 Minutes, from 1997.

Bonus coolness: the video features Charles Rocket, whose infamous uttering of the word "fuck" on Saturday Night Live led to his firing, and precipitated the downfall of Jean Doumanian as executive producer, and the return of Lorne Michaels. Gotta love him for that!

"It's been a good year for bad days, and a bad year for good days."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies -- 10th Anniversary Edition (Part 4)

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

After blathering on in parts 1 and 2, I finally got to the actual AFI list in part 3. I covered the first 50 films, there; here are the remaining 50. Feel free to jump in with any notes!

51. West Side Story (-10)
One of my favorite musicals, as I recently mentioned. It's silly in many ways, if you turn too critical an eye on it, but sometimes you have to unplug from the irony machine and enjoy something for the pure entertainment it is -- and West Side is one of those instances.

52. Taxi Driver (-5)
My favorite Scorsese film, bar none. I'd put this way higher on the list, obviously, and I'm not pleased it's moving down.

53. The Deer Hunter (+26)
I'm very surprised by the big jump up the list for this. I loved the movie, and I think it's still tremendously affecting today, but I didn't expect the critical consensus of it would so dramatically increase over the past decade. I'm not displeased that it has.

54. M*A*S*H (+2)
Probably Robert Altman's fourth or fifth best film, but the one with the biggest pop culture impact, so of course it places highest on the list. What would I put ahead of it? Glad you asked! McCabe & Mrs. Miller, of course, which I think is one of the four or five best movies ever made. Nashville, which, if you'll cast your eyes downward, is five spots south of here. The Player, for sure. The Long Goodbye, I'd say. Maybe even Gosford Park. And of course O.C. & Stiggs. (No, not really. Sorry, Mike!) Then M*A*S*H. And I still haven't even seen California Split, so I might revise my opinion further. This is not to suggest I didn't love M*A*S*H -- I loved the film, the TV show, and the original series of comic novels. I just don't think this is Altman's best.

55. North by Northwest (-15)
Probably my second favorite Hitchcock. Cary Grant is awesome.

56. Jaws (-8)
If you're going to go with pure summer blockbuster entertainment, I'd put Raiders ahead of this. But then, this movie basically invented summer blockbuster entertainment, so I guess the ranking is fair.

57. Rocky (+21)
Another surprising big move up. I love this movie, and I think those who scorn it are thinking more of its sequels, or resenting it for the films it beat for the Best Picture Oscar, than of this excellent, heartfelt original.

58. The Gold Rush (+16)
Chaplin again. This is the one where he eats his shoe, right? I gotta watch me some of his films.

59. Nashville (N)
Most critics would probably call this Altman's best film. I'd call it his second best. Either way, I'm heartened to see it added to the list, and I hope to see it move up in revisions to come.

60. Duck Soup (+25)
More positive recognition for the Marx Brothers is just fine with me.

61. Sullivan's Travels (N)
I've never seen a Preston Sturges film, as far as I know, and I understand this is the one I most have to see. From descriptions of it, it sounds perfectly suited to my sensibilities, and I really, really have to rent it soon.

62. American Graffiti (+15)
I've never seen this all the way through. Shocking! Eh, I saw Happy Days. Same thing. (That's a joke.) I'm surprised again by a big move up the list. If anything, I'd expect Lucas films to be moving down, following the disaster that was the second trilogy. Oh well.

63. Cabaret (N)
Never seen it. I probably will, some day, but I'm in no hurry.

64. Network (+2)
I loved this movie. In some ways, it feels very dated -- but in other ways, it still feels ahead of its time.

65. The African Queen (-48)
Huge drop! I can't cast blame; it shouldn't have been a top 20 film to begin with. Still: John Huston + Humphrey Bogart + Katharine Hepburn = a slice of fried gold. I'm glad it didn't drop all the way off the list.

66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (-6)
Great stuff. Obviously.

67. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (N)
I really want to see this.

68. Unforgiven (+30)
I love this movie -- it's in my top ten, easily, maybe top five. To me, it's the film of the '90s, rather than Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction or Fargo or whatever else you want to name. I would go so far as to call it the best film of the past twenty years. I think it's brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Watch it again, and pay attention to the power of the stories told within it. Nearly every story turns out to be a lie, from the tales the whores tell to get a gunslinger to avenge them, to English Bob's florid exaggerations, to the Schofield Kid's boasts of his killing prowess. All of which make Will Munny's murderous reputation all the more powerful -- first, when we believe the stories being told to us, as a weapon of fear, and then, after we begin dismissing the stories, as a horrific reminder that some stories are still true. God, I want to quit this post and go rewatch it right now. Love, love, love this movie.

69. Tootsie (-7)
Never seen it all the way through, but I've seen enough of it to wonder what all the fuss is about. Dustin Hoffman puts on a dress -- ha ha? As I said in part 3, Some Like It Hot was the last time men wearing dresses was funny, so that's already a mark against it. How the hell has this gotten a reputation as one of the best movies ever made?? I thought it was funny, the bits of it I've seen, but 100 best movies funny? Uh-uh.

70. A Clockwork Orange (-24)
Big drop down. I think as it becomes less taboo, it becomes less appreciated. Still very powerful.

71. Saving Private Ryan (N)
One of my favorite Spielberg films. Some people think it craps out after the harrowing half hour Normandy Beach opening scene; I disagree. I'm happy to see it added to the list.

72. The Shawshank Redemption (N)
I've said enough about this in part 1 already.

73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (-23)
Another big drop down the ranks. This is tremendously entertaining, but I don't mind seeing it slip.

74. The Silence of the Lambs (-9)
A very good horror movie, with a crappy ending. (The Buffalo Bill ending, I mean; the Hannibal ending is satisfying, although the fact that we've come to root for a serial killer is disturbing, which is perhaps what helps to make it such a fine ending to his story.) I wouldn't put it on this list, though.

75. In the Heat of the Night (N)
I suspect this is a very dated film, even though I've never seen it. Its entry to the list surprises me.

76. Forrest Gump (-5)
I loved this movie when I first saw it, and pretty much every minute after I saw it, it has sunk in my esteem. It's so facile, so manipulative, so shallow. Doesn't belong on this list.

77. All The President's Men (N)
I dig Redford and Hoffman, and Nixon resigned on my fourth birthday, which somehow makes me feel strangely close to the Watergate scandal. I really should've seen this by now. And yet -- I can never build up the interest to watch it. Some day.

78. Modern Times (+3)
Chaplin again! Curse you and your skinny walking stick!

79. The Wild Bunch (+1)
I'm a huge fan of this film, which, along with Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood's famous trilogy, redefined the Western. But if Leone added (or glorified) moral ambiguity to the genre, Peckinpah turned the corner to nihilism, along with several kegs of blood.

80. The Apartment (+13)
Maybe my second favorite Billy Wilder film, and perhaps Jack Lemmon's finest role. I like that it's climbing up.

81. Spartacus (N)
I liked it. I don't know that I like it enough to add it to this list, but I won't argue against it.

82. Sunrise (N)
Another silent film I've never seen. And I'll tell you what: I'll do you all a favor, and completely skip commenting again on the next entry.

83. Titanic (N)

84. Easy Rider (+4)
A cultural touchstone, but is it really all that great? I would vote no.

85. A Night at the Opera (N)
More Marx Brothers is okay with me!

86. Platoon (-3)
My world was rocked by this film back in high school. I watched part of it again recently, and, while still good, it didn't hold near that same power. I suspect it'll be gone when the next list is made.

87. 12 Angry Men (N)
Sure, they're angry! They're too dumb to get out of jury duty! The previous joke was intended to divert attention from the fact that I've never seen this movie.

88. Bringing Up Baby (+9)
I can't believe I haven't seen this, especially when I was going through my Hepburn/Grant/Stewart frenzy, post-Philadelphia Story, about fifteen years ago. I bet I will love it, when I get around to it.

89. The Sixth Sense (N)
Good movie. Won't be here next time around.

90. Swing Time (N)
I should see more Astaire/Rogers.

91. Sophie's Choice (N)
I may never see this. It's hard to get primed for a good depressing flick.

92. Goodfellas (+2)
One of the best films from the '90s, and, having seen the ignominious treatment of Fargo, inexplicably dropped from the list, it should be grateful it's still clinging to the bottom ten. It's probably not, though. It's an inanimate object, after all.

93. The French Connection (-23)
Big drop. I thought this was merely okay. Maybe I should rewatch it, but I don't think my opinion will change.

94. Pulp Fiction (+1)
I think this should be higher, at least 20 spots higher. The one spot jump up doesn't bode well for its future on this kind of list; it's still scraping the bottom.

95. The Last Picture Show (N)
Pretty good. Shouldn't have been added to the mix.

96. Do the Right Thing (N)
My friend Matt tells me this doesn't hold up as well as I think it does. I need to rewatch it. But until I do, I maintain this should be way higher on the list.

97. Blade Runner (N)
I'm cool with seeing this fairly random choice here. But you know what? If you're gonna throw a bone to a genre film like this -- pick RoboCop. Seriously. Come on, do me a solid, people!

98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (+2)
Never seen it.

99. Toy Story (N)
I'd rather see The Incredibles up here, but this is fine, too.

100. Ben-Hur (-28)
Barely clinging on to the list, after a precipitous drop. I'd really like to see it. Add it to the "some day" list.

I've only seen 34 of this bottom 50, which makes a total of 75 out of the whole 100. Hey, three quarters ain't bad! But I've been reminded of the major gaps that still exist in my film knowledge. Which is what makes the list worthwhile in the first place. To the video store!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com