Monday, January 28, 2008

Another tidbit

Attention, game show fans: Jeopardy is holding its Online Contestant Test over the next three days. The schedule is as follows:

East Coast: Tuesday, January 29 at 8:00PM EST
Central/Mountain: Wednesday, January 30 at 8:00PM CST
West Coast: Thursday January 31 at 8:00PM PST

Go to to register to play. And good luck! You'll need it. It's hard. As you may or may not recall, I attempted this test last year, and got my ass handed to me. "Here is your ass," they said, "our test just kicked it right off your body." "Oh, thanks, I probably need that," I replied. It was a bittersweet moment.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Not a real post, just a little something to let you know I'm still here. Hopefully something new soon.

I did want to share one thing with you, which I only recently learned myself via Sean Collins. It's possibly the only good reason to visit Ain't It Cool News: the hilariously overenthusiastic and underinformed reviews by "Neill Cumpston" are actually written by Patton Oswalt. I did not know that!

His latest review is of Cloverfield, or, as "Neill" calls it, Cloverfield Monster Goes Apeshit. Sample:

The movie starts off really shitty though, with all this stuff about a young couple that's in love, and she's hot and he's hot and I'm all like, "Who's filming the Ambercrombie and Fitch catalogue?"

But then it's like the movie heard you calling it a pussy so it puts on its dick-stomping boots and then surprises your dick with a punch from a fist wearing a cock-punch glove.
Hell, I don't know about you, but I'm sold!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tom's Year in TV, 2007 (Prelude)

I regret to inform you that my post recapping the year in television has been indefinitely delayed due to the Writers Guild strike.

HA! Of course this is not the case. I am simply a lazy, lazy man. I'll get that post up soon, I promise. (Note: not a promise.)

In the meantime, for no reason, here is a picture of Jenna Fischer in sexy underwear.

You're welcome.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tom's Year In Movies, 2007

Critics are hailing 2007 as one of the best years for movies ever. But you wouldn't know it from some of the crap I saw.

As in 2006, I don't feel like I can attempt to craft a Top Ten list, since, by my count, I watched less than two dozen movies released during 2007. If I make a list, then I'm going to be forced to say that Epic Movie was my 23rd favorite movie of the year, which is way, way too high a ranking, even out of a pool of 23.

My year in movies is actually more defined by the movies that I wanted to see, but didn't. So following my rundown of the movies I did see this year is a rundown of the best movies I didn't see. I hope to catch most or all of them on DVD (or, for the few still out there, at the Alamo Drafthouse), but for now, I can only sigh and shake my head and say, "I really need to get out more."

Enough preface! It's time for a look back at Tom's year in movies!

Best Movie Of The Year, Even Taking Into Consideration All The Great Movies I Have Yet To See

No Country for Old Men
Not even close. This brilliant, beautiful, brutal and bloody, twistedly funny, relentlessly gripping thriller may very well be the best film yet from the Coen brothers, and for a pairing that has created Fargo, Miller's Crossing, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Raising Arizona, among other classics, that's saying a whole awful lot. I find myself reflecting back on this movie again and again, and still failing to find fault. Anton Chigurh is the most disturbing and genuinely menacing movie monster since Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, and like Anthony Hopkins before him, I expect Javier Bardem to take home the Oscar for his magnificently unsettling performance.

Probably The Best One-Two Comedy Punch In A Single Year Since Mel Brooks in 1974

Judd Apatow, for Knocked Up and Superbad
Apatow produced both, and wrote and directed the former, and that's pretty damn impressive, considering they're perhaps the two best comedies of the year. And I haven't even seen Walk Hard yet (which he wrote and produced)! Some critics, mostly touchy broads, have accused one or the other of these films of sexist cruelty. And you know what? They've got a point. When Seth Rogen runs out of the house during the earthquake in Knocked Up, leaving the mother of his unborn child behind, it's pretty hard to disagree that we're dealing with a total douchebag. Even I was upset by that. But in my eyes, the comedy wins out in the end. And I'd say Superbad, though perhaps even raunchier and more sex-obsessed, and thus open to similar accusations, is actually far sweeter (and a bit funnier) than Knocked Up.

Funniest Film Of The Year Which Had Nothing To Do With Judd Apatow

Hot Fuzz
Strangely, I think I'd say that both Knocked Up and Superbad are funnier on first encounter than Hot Fuzz, but I'd far rather rewatch Fuzz (and have, often). Another meticulously scripted action comedy from the Shaun of the Dead team, packed with sublime references to classic (or, as with Point Break, "classic") action films, and with a plot and dialogue that echo and fold back on one another in layer after layer, making each viewing more rewarding. I wish these guys would make new films more often!

Best Performance From A Filthy Rodent

Remy in Ratatouille
Narrowly edging out Mickey Rourke. HA! After a drop-off in quality with their previous (but still very enjoyable) film, Cars, Pixar comes roaring back with another dose of pure animation magic. Best film of the year to watch over and over again with your four-year-old niece. Is Mickey Rourke too dated a reference? Should I have gone with Kevin Federline?

The Other Great Animated Movie This Year

The Simpsons Movie
Sorry, I didn't see Persepolis. (And honestly, I probably never will.) So even though I had a lot of problems with the recycled plot points in this film, it was consistently hilarious enough to easily serve as runner-up to Ratatouille. Let's hope the next Simpsons flick doesn't take another 18 years.

Best Acting Performance Not In No Country For Old Men

Chris Cooper in Breach
Funny thing is, you can totally see Cooper in No Country, can't you? No matter: Cooper knocks it out of the park in this film. By turns piercingly intelligent, terrifying, paranoid, craven, needy, and twisted, it's a brilliant performance in a sharp and gripping thriller.

The Best In Horror

28 Weeks Later
Grindhouse was the best of the lot, creating a movie-going experience greater than the sum of its parts (and I've previously bitched about the flaws in one of those parts, namely Death Proof). 28 Weeks Later overcame my serious questions as to the necessity of a zombie sequel following the recent zombie glut by proving to be as smart, scary, and epic as the original. And Halloween was another success from director Rob Zombie, dark, dirty, and disturbing.

The Best Of The Rest

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: I honestly don't remember much about this one -- did it have the dragon? Or the hot French chick? -- but I remember liking it, and I can't be bothered refreshing my memory any more than that.

Shoot 'Em Up: Totally ridiculous, hilarious, awesome action from beginning to end. It begins to wear you down after a while, but Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti never cease to entertain.

Reno 911!: Miami: Funny stuff. Patton Oswalt's second best performance of the year. The Rock's best performance ever.

300: The more I think about it, the more it kind of loses its luster, but I was certainly wowed by the visually creative and brutal action at the time I saw it.

Meet the Robinsons: I guess this is the first Disney computer animated film following their split with Pixar, and it's a worthy effort, fun and visually exciting.

A Couple Of Disappointing Sequels That I Still Kind Of Liked

Spider-Man 3
Hostel: Part II
Spider-Man is the real shame here, since I loved the first two films so much. Everything they got right, this one got wrong. From villain overload like the later Batman movies, to Peter Parker's laughably emo dark side, to the rushed feel of the entire project, this could've and should've been a much better film, if they had only taken a few more months to fine tune it. As for Hostel: Part II, it was nowhere near the awfulness of director Eli Roth's Cabin Fever, but it was certainly a letdown after the superior Hostel.

Movie I Didn't Even Bother To Finish

Evan Almighty
I had heard it was bad, but still, I though I might as well check out my buddy's copy. It took ten minutes to decide I had better things to do with my life.

The Really Bad

Cashback: You wouldn't think a film with so much gratuitous nudity could be this boring.

Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer: I actually liked the first movie, kind of, but this childish mess was a chore.

Transformers: Even with a pitcher of beer (I saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse), this was wretched, more awful, soulless excess from Michael Bay.

Hot Rod: The worst film from an SNL castmember in a long time, which is really saying something.

The Worst Film Of The Year

Epic Movie
I found myself watching this brainless, insultingly unfunny garbage all the way to the end out of sheer disbelief -- jaw slack, head shaking, wondering how on earth a 90 minute "comedy" packed with such genuinely funny people as Kal Penn, Kevin McDonald, Jennifer Coolidge, and Carmen Electra Fred Willard, couldn't generate a single laugh, even accidentally. Awful, awful, awful.

And now, a list, presented without comment, of the great films, and the perhaps not-so-great films (but I still really want to see them), that I managed to miss this year. There are 29 of them, a half dozen more than the total of all the films I did see in 2007; there was quality out there, but I mostly avoided it like the plague.

Fay Grim
Rescue Dawn
The Bourne Ultimatum
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
3:10 to Yuma
I'm Not There
I Am Legend
Charlie Wilson's War
Sweeney Todd
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
There Will Be Blood
Black Snake Moan
Eastern Promises
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Into the Wild
The Darjeeling Limited
Michael Clayton
Lars and the Real Girl
Gone Baby Gone
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Sad, isn't it?

Okay, people, your turn: tell me which were your favorite flicks of the year, and especially tell me which of the stuff I missed I absolutely must see immediately. I'll be back soon, I hope, with my 2007 TV round-up!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy Slightly Less Than New Year

Yes, I'm still here, and I'm still slacking on the blog, but rest assured, I still love each and every one of you, except for the ones that I don't, which is all of you, because I've never met you and that would be weird and a little icky.

Tomorrow (fingers crossed), I'll finally get around to posting my look back at the movies of 2007. Meanwhile, I've added two movie blogs to my sidebar, both of which are written by my very good friends whom I have never met:

--Monty on Movies, by Monty Ashley, which I could've sworn I had added a long time ago, but apparently had not. It's a nicely informal and to-the-point record of the movies Monty watches, many new, many old and eclectic, if I am using the word "eclectic" correctly here, and I'm not entirely sure I am.

--Ken Lowery, the less-than-imaginatively named site (I calls 'em like I sees 'em, buddy -- and speaking of which, where did that phrase originate?) by Ken Lowery. Quite a change from when his site was named "Ringwood Ragefuck." Perhaps he is trying to put that behind him, so forget I mentioned it. Lots of sharp, insightful reviews, and I like that in his Top Ten list (11, actually) for 2007, he remembered back to Breach and its powerful performance from Chris Cooper.

See you tomorrow. Meantime, I'm going to watch this movie I got for Christmas:

Super Sisters On Cycles!

Darktown Strutters! A blaxploitation spoof, as I understand it, co-starring Roger E. Mosley, who played a character in Magnum P.I. named TC, which is the nickname most people know me by in Austin. Whoa, heavy! Looks awesome. Thanks, Santa!

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