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Thursday, February 28, 2008

America's Next Top Model-Cycle 10: Week 2

ANTM, Cycle 10, week 2 - boringest 1st photo shoot EV-AR???

so, we all know Tyra's causes and desires to heal the world and make it a better place...but she's gone too far - making top model wannabes dress like homeless tramps. we want to see hotness and skin...instead we saw frizzy hair and winter coats. for shame, Tyra. who do you think you are, trying to promote a cause through reality TV? haven't you learned anything from Flavor Flav, Tila Tequila, or former ANTM winner, Adrianne Brady? this week combines lists and superlatives...there wasn't enough substance to make too many lists...

i'll start with the good:
Best catch phrase - "tragic tranny" in reference to Dominique

and now, my disappointments:
Biggest rip off from "A Shot at Love" - one super huge bed - too bad they aren't all lesbians

Most self-promoting moment - Tyra's plug for her "talk show, The Tyra Banks Show"

Dumbest model ever - Kim - "I don't believe in paying that much for an outfit." Then, she asked to go! I have some advice for her - why doesn't she check out Wal-Mart and see if they're looking for someone to promote the newest Hannah Montanna line?

It's only week 2, and I'm already tired of hearing about _____. (feel free to add your own!)

*Marvita being poor and homeless
*Fatima being damaged
*Amis being weird
*Jay being gay

thank goodness makeovers are next week...
My wish list:

*get rid of Marvita's fauxhawk
*make Dominique look less like a man
*eliminate Anya's accent (just like to were able to rid Jaslene of hers!)

outie like an ugly belly button

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Most Likable Person in the World?

American Idol winner and close personal friend of Giant Electric Penguin (check the MySpace, haters!) David Archuleta gave another great performance Tuesday night, but still failed to mention GEP. That's OK, it's early yet.

I'm not a huge fan of this particular song, I think it's kinda cheesy and overdone, but The Arch rocked it. Read the rest of this article.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pinocchio Smack-Down: Part 2

I don't know about you, but I like my Pinocchio innocent and corruptible, you know, kind of like a little, wooden Clyde Griffiths. I'm not ready to accept him as a psychotic killer in lederhosen. Of course going into film two in our Pinnoke-a-palooza I knew I was going to have to get over that pretty quick, so Sunday morning I stretched out on the couch, turned off my brain, and settled in for Pinocchio's Revenge.
Title: Pinocchio's Revenge

What the hell?!?: Five years ago, local wood sculptor Vincent Gotto, ventures into the forest with his son for a fun-filled camping weekend. They roast marshmallows, sing songs, incorrectly point out the constellations, Vincent even lets Junior have a sip of his beer.

Nah. I'm kidding. He's killed his son and is burying him in the ground when we join the story. Thankfully a rookie cop happens to be driving blindly through the woods at this precise time and makes the arrest of a lifetime. The next morning the woods are crawling with police officers, drug-sniffing dogs, and a highly specialized forensics team using the very latest in high-tech gadgetry...sorry, joshing again. There's like four guys. This is a very low budget film, friends. Anyway after digging up Gotto's son, they make an odd discovery a little further away: a wooden puppet is buried in the dirt also. The officer in charge loses his shit for some reason, and we're whisked away to...

...present day, where we meet public defender/total MILF, Jennifer Garrick. She's Gotto's lawyer and she is convinced that he is innocent. She's convinced Gotto is covering for somebody, but who? As Jennifer herself says later, upon seeing the hand-carved Pinocchio puppet Gotto made for his son, "How could a man who made this murder his child?"
Wait, really? That?! That thing is hideous! That's a cry for help. A person who carves that monstrosity has serious mental problems and should be kept locked away from society for the duration of his poor, deranged life. Oh, but not in Pinocchio's Revenge--no, sir! As in any Killer Doll movie, every character in this film suffers from Ugly Doll Blindness, or UDB as it's known in the medical world. You see, it is essential in Killer Doll movies that nobody finds the killer doll in question the least bit creepy. If they did, the parent character wouldn't buy it from a bum in an alley for their child's birthday and the kid wouldn't take an instant shine to and start palling around with it, and then there wouldn't be any murder or mayhem. In reality, people like cute things, like Pound Puppies and Furby--I mean, how long did the Boglin craze last? I'll answer that for you--it didn't last any amount of time because there was no Boglin craze because Boglins were ugly and gross. Didja see a lot of kids hugging Garbage Pail Kids to their cheeks in the 80's? Hell no! They were all about some Cabbage Patch action. But, you know, maybe there's a message here. Maybe by showing us people with UDB, the filmmakers are saying that we should give everyone a chance no matter what they look like. I guess if that were the case though, Kevin S. Tenney should have made Sophia, the Italian girl who hangs around the Garrick house and occasionally showers in the middle of the day, a 500 pound Russian woman with a mustache, cankles, and a festering sore on her face.

How did I get this far and not mention Zoe. Zoe Garrick is a real bitch and if you don't believe me, here is a short classroom exchange that should clear things up.

Teacher: (upon finishing a book she's been reading to the class) OK, next week we're going to start Dr. Dolittle.
Zoe: Good. Beth loooooooves to "do little."

And she wonders why Beth throws all of her party invitations in the mud.

Anyway, somehow Jennifer, whose nipples are usually erect, brings Pinocchio home, and her lummox of a boyfriend gives him to Zoe thinking it is one of her birthday presents. Either this guy is retarded or he's never been around a little girl ever. Luckily, Zoe is not like other little girls, and before you can say, "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play," she's carrying on long conversations with her new wooden pal, conversations that eventually prove dangerous.

I could go on and on about this straight to video mediocrity, but I won't. You can probably guess what happens anyway. In fact, before you go on to the following list of events, make your own, then see how many you get right. Ready?

-Pinocchio pushes a rake handle into Beth's bicycle spokes and she goes flying under a moving bus! Don't worry though--she's just stunned.

-Pinocchio pushes Dumb Boyfriend down the basement stairs, then visits him in the hospital and finishes the job.

-Pinocchio kills a cricket that Zoe finds to be his conscience.

-Pinocchio beats Sophia to death with a poker.

-Pinocchio attacks Jennifer with a knife, repeatedly screams "Die," and gets his ass thrown through a glass table.

How'd you do? Score yourself accordingly. The rest of us are going to move on.

What's to like: Jennifer: Sophia said you sneaked into her room this morning?
Zoe: Not me. Pinocchio. He was curious about ladies' bodies.

Also, and I hate to admit it, but I didn't totally hate this movie. It's far from perfect, but it was also probably made for, like, 500 hundred bucks over the course of several weekends. The acting is bad, but the women are hot (as they should be in ALL direct to video horror movies). The score at times is quite good too, like, maybe it was lifted from another movie. I'll have to look into that.

What's to not like: Is Pinocchio possessed by the malevolent spirit of Vincent Gotto's dead son? Is Zoe Garrick schizophrenic and committing the murders she blames on Pinocchio herself? Are all Episcopalian ministers that goofy? There are so many dumb, cliched twists, that the movie finally collapses on itself and ceases to make any sense, like, High Tension, in my opinion one of the worst abortions ever shat into existence. Wow! Sorry. I don't know where that came from.

The truth: Here is how I liked to imagine the genesis of this movie: Kevin S. Tenney decides to stay in one Friday, just enjoy a relaxing evening by himself. I'll make some popcorn, he thinks, soak my feet in some rose petals, and watch whatever movie is on the USA network. The movie, fortuitously, is Child's Play. As the final credits roll, Tenney picks some errant kernals from his t-shirt, and smiling to himself thinks, "I could do that." Then he does.

Next time: Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio (oh, no...really?)
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Hollywood's Longest Night

2 Things I learned from the Barbara Walter's Special preceding the Academy Awards telecast:
1. Miley Cyrus has a Jesus-complex
2. Barbara Walters doesn't "get" the Moldy Peaches (but that didn't stop her from creepily singing along with Ellen Page as she sang "Anyone Else but You.")

And now...memorable Oscar moments (or, things I remember before I slipped into unconciousness around hour 7)

-Viggo Mortensen looked like a derelict who found a suit in the trash and wandered onto the red carpet in a whiskey-induced haze.

-Was John Travolta sporting Spary-On hair? That is truly the only explanation.

-What the hell was Steve Guttenberg doing there? I thought at first Michael Winslow was receiving a lifetime achievement award.

-Jack Nicholson to Regis Philbin, host of the red carpet ass-kiss-a-thon: "How's the Reeg tonight?" -Jon Stewart on Norbit's Academy Award nomination: "Too often the Academy fails to recognize movies that aren't good." Classic! I enjoyed him watching Lawrence of Arabia on his i-Phone as well. Oh, yeah, and I think Gaydolph Titler would have been an excellent president.

-My love for Amy Adams knows no bounds. Her performance of "Happy Working Song" was the second best musical performance of the night and the least annoying Enchanted performance (sorry, Kristen Chenowith).

-Oscars' Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes and A Tribute to Bad Dreams.

-So apparently the folks at Entertainment Weekly did not enjoy Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen's onstage banter-an argument on which of them looked more like Halle Berry and should therefore read her lines on the teleprompter. I thought it was hilarious, so, I don't know, suck it, EW.

-Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's performance of "Falling Slowly" was the best musical performance of the night. Jon Stewart bringing Irglova back on stage to finish her thank you speech was classy.

-Daniel Day Lewis is an amazing actor, but he is so low-key. I mean, that speech scared me more than his work as Daniel Plainview, and that guy killed someone with a bowling pin!

-I'm not sure why Diablo Cody dressed like a citizen of Bedrock, but I'm glad that she won and I enjoyed her speech. I also like how Ellen Page shrugged off the "super human" comment.

-Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie thing was kinda funny. I mean, you know, it was cute. Prolly funnier than Bee Movie, so...

-"Hi. We're the Coen brothers. Look how quirky we are. We are so delightfully quirky. Look at us up here being all weird and shifty and quirky." (But seriously, I'm glad they won, they deserved it...but, C'MON!"
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

There Will be Oscars

My sister and I rarely agree on movies, but since she was the only person I knew who had seen all of the nominees for this year's Best Picture, I asked her and my brother-in-law to give their thoughts on the five nominees and pick the winner.  Keep in mind that whenever my sister hates a movie, she automatically assumes that I will love it.  Keep in mind also that she is usually correct.
Kristen: I am so pleased this movie is nominated for Best Picture, especially considering comedies, even smart ones, are often overlooked by the Academy.  You know a movie is good when you keep seeing the same lines played over and over again on TV previews and still laugh every time.  My only complaint is that I wish there was more Michael Cera.  Because I believe everyone should love this movie, I am personally offended at the 7% of critics at Rotten Tomatoes that don't like it.  Well, screw you, Walter Chaw from "Film Freak Central."  No one has ever heard of you or your fake company.

Jared: This movie won’t win best picture, but I’d argue that it should, just because I’m personally tired of seeing films that are such downers win every year. Ellen Page was phenomenal. Her delivery was well timed and hilarious. I especially appreciated the fact that her character, a teenager, was allowed to make intelligent jokes without falling into the Dawson’s Creek habit of using vocabulary and historical references far over the heads of 99% of actual teenagers. See this movie. If you don’t like it, you’re stupid. 

I started with Juno because this is a rare time when my sister and I agree on a movie.  Don't get to excited though, that won't last long.

There Will be Blood
Kristen: Really? This is nominated for Best Picture? Best Picture? These are the questions Jared and I asked one another as we walked out of theater. While the acting is fabulous and should definitely be recognized at the Academy Awards, the movie leaves much to be desired. Daniel Day-Lewis should win the Best Actor award, and Paul Dano should have been nominated for Supporting Actor. I think the movie was a platform for good acting, weird (but arguably genius) music, stunning cinematography…pretty much everything but the storyline. I bet you’ll love this one, Matt. Oh yeah, I do appreciate the fabulous catchphrase we now have as a result of this movie: “I drink your milkshake [emphasis on milkshake].” Jared randomly calls me and screams that phrase on my work voicemail.

Jared: If there were a category for “best general acting by an ensemble cast,” this movie would be the winner hands down. Daniel Day-Lewis was great. Although I have no idea what the actual point of the movie was, I can relate to his character. He was just a guy that wanted to do what he did, not be bothered, and didn’t want to put up with unnecessary crap from annoying people and social parasites. As a man with little tolerance for idiocy, I can get behind this character, and the movie in general. On another note, Paul Dano was fun to watch just because after seeing him remain silent for the bulk of Little Miss Sunshine, seeing him be more vocal was great. The biggest problem I have with this movie is that I can’t walk into an ice cream shop without feeling like I have to screem, “I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!”

You would win that bet, sis, because I LOVED There Will be Blood.  But, I will also say that I was the only one of the group of people I saw it with that felt this way.  You win this round. And Jared is totally like Daniel Plainview, only without the bushy mustache.  He slapped me around in the mud once and I'll tell you what, I learned my lesson.

Kristen: I am blissfully in love with this movie. One of the best film romances and on-screen chemistries of my time (also on my list: Moulin Rouge, The Notebook, and Untamed Heart). Although I absolutely loved James McEvoy in this and could even tolerate Keira Knightley for the first time in my life, my favorite actor in the movie was newcomer Saoirse Ronan. Going into the movie, I thought I was going to hate this devious, betraying little brat of a character who tears two lovers apart. However, she was brilliant with her complexity, and in fact, I ended up empathizing with her. The story is genius, the filming is amazing, and the music is fantastically creative, turning even the sound of a typewriter into poignant music. I can’t say enough about this movie.

Jared: Can’t say much different from Kristen on this one. Several things about this movie surprised me. One, child actors tend to annoy me. Not in this movie. Period movies usually have really boring music and cinematography. Atonement managed to be creative on both these fronts while not becoming pretentious. Keira Knightly managed to deliver most of her lines without speaking so fast and high pitched that I was stricken with vertigo. Great move.

No Country for Old Men
Kristen: Admittedly, I am not a big Coen brothers fan even though, as a UNC Media Studies major, it’s a sin to say so aloud. However, every time they put out a new movie, it’s so built up to be their biggest masterpiece yet that I ultimately can’t resist. And every time I come out scratching my head, feeling unsatisfied with yet another ambiguous ending and unsettling storyline. This movie was no exception. Bring back the Raising Arizona Coen brothers!

Jared: Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh…brilliant. Maybe the creepiest character since Hannibal Lector. Like Kristen, I’m not huge fan of the Coen brothers. If the only movies they ever made had been Raising Arizona and The Big Lebowski, I’d be pretty happy. Tommy Lee Jones did a fine job in this movie as well, but I’m not sure how much of that can be attributed to acting. I mean, basically he played a grizzled old man. So, he was just being Tommy Lee Jones, am I right?

I am a HUGE Coen brothers fan--from Raising Arizona to Fargo, Hudsucker Proxy to The Big Lebowski--Intolerable Cruelty was a misstep, but cut the boys some slack!  I thought No Country for Old Men was a return to form, and while I haven't read this particular novel, I've read plenty of other Cormac McCarthy books and I'm a big fan.  But this was a fantastic film, friendo.

Michael Clayton
Kristen: Interesting fact: I saw this movie the most recently of these five and can remember the least about it.

Jared: Good movie, but honestly, it shouldn’t win anything. Really, I think the various organizations that choose the nominees have just gotten used to having George Clooney around in some way. Save the eight dollars and see it on video some night when you have nothing better to do. Better yet, always find something better to do. As I’ve typed this, I changed my mind. It’s not that great a movie after all.

Final Picks:

Kristen: It should be no surprise that Atonement is my pick for Best Movie of the Year. It should be your choice as well, Matt.

Jared: My pick for best movie is No Country For Old Men, even though I don’t really want it to win.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

The Most Likable Person in America?

If America were to hold a 1st Annual Most Likable Citizen contest right now I am 100% convinced the above young man would take home the title. If you don't know, he is 17 year old David Archuleta, a top tier competitor in this year's American Idol contest and all around nice guy. I mean, this is the dude that parents want babysitting their kids when they need a night out. He's the kind of guy who makes tator tots for dinner and performs puppet shows behind the couch and lets the kids stay up an extra half hour past their bedtimes. Damn, is this kid likable! I don't even especially like American Idol, but I'm watching it because of friggin' David Archu-damn-leta! The first time I heard him open his mouth and tell his sad tale of woe--the paralyzed vocal cord- I was hooked. I just wanted to wrap him in a blanket and rock him to sleep. You know, just dress him up in footie pajamas and read him Goodnight Moon.

Anyway, I dare you to not fall under Archuleta's spell. It's impossible not to--you are a fool to resist. Soon all of America will be in agreement and they will join me in crowning him not only our American Idol, but the prince of our hearts as well.

I'm calling it now: Archuleta wins this season of American Idol.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008


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America's Next Top Model-Cycle 10: Week 1

List lady here, with umpteen, useless, pointless, but totally necessary lists from ANTM, Cycle 10. Wow, it's hard to believe we've had 9 fierce cycles with our fat ass host and her gay minions. But, for better or worse, we continue to watch and revel in all that is ANTM.

To the lists!

3 phrases I didn't need to hear
*Want to see my pubic hair?
*I'm drinking the breast milk I pumped.
*Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious

My 3 wishes for this cycle
*Lauren to actually open her mouth when she speaks
*More Covergirl commericials featuring cycle 8 winner, Jaslene
*Heather to win Covergirl of the week, EVERY WEEK

Top 3 I hate (already)
*Marvita - who names their child Marvita?
*Stacy-Ann - one word, dumb.
*Anya - do Hawaiians REALLY talk like that?

'til next week.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pinocchio Smack-Down: Part 1

Since the introduction of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi in 1883, the little wooden bastard has warmed our hearts time and time again with his puppety antics and youthful tomfoolery. His story has been told many times, from Walt Disney's 1940 animated classic to the Kubrick-Spielberg team-up, AI. But what of the the thousands of other Pinocchio-related films? Where do they fall on the "wooden-boy-comes-to-life-has-adventures-becomes-a-real-boy" spectrum?

We here at G.E.P. have heard your cries in the wilderness and have decided to come to your rescue with a little guide we're calling PINOCCHIO SMACK-DOWN wherein we will attempt to find the best Pinocchio-ish fare for your viewing pleasure. And remember, as always, we watch this stuff so you don't have to!

Title: Pinocchio in Outer Space

What the hell?!: "The adventure you are about to see is based on a true portrayal of outer space and could actually a puppet...come alive," says the narrator as the opening titles come into view across a field of stars. He is lying, of course, because this is perhaps the most untrue portrayal of outer space since Gumby walked on the moon (unless that came later, in which case you'll have to reverse the last sentence).

In the movie's prologue we are informed by the Blue Fairy, who lives in outer space with her elderly mother, that Pinocchio has once again become a wooden puppet after failing to cut it as a real boy. Apparently he started off well enough--breaking up fights between his classmates, telling the truth--but quickly degenerated into a blue-eyed bully--bashing the aforementioned classmates' heads into one another, tying a pot to his dog's tail. The only difference between his human and puppet appearances seems to be that his nose becomes a cork though, so...

As the movie proper opens, Pinocchio is studying facts about the various planets in our solar system. He finds these studies tedious and it's up to Geppetto to remind his ersatz spawn of the importance of a solid education. A news bulletin on television interrupts their heart to heart however. Apparently Earth's space program is in dire straits and who is the culprit?

Why it's Astro, the Space Whale, a gigantic whale with razor sharp teeth and a Snork nozzle on his back that propels him through the stars. Neat!

Pinocchio, desperate to be an obedient son, but also obsessed with making enough
money so that he and Geppetto can eat more than cheese for supper, decides that he is going to capture Astro and receive the cash reward being offered by NASA. He is convinced that this plan will succeed after listening to a mind-numbingly boring song performed by his old pals, the fox and
the cat, in this version of the story a fine, British gentleman and a shifty, Beatnik respectively. They sell him a book on hypnosis and after successfully hypnotizing a plastic duck, Pinocchio decides he is ready. 'Course he needs a way into space, but that won't be a problem for long.

Enter Nurtle, a Twurtle, who Pinocchio mistakenly thinks is a turtle, but who actually looks like the Disney character Jose Carioca, who if I am not mistaken is a parrot. Nurtle is from the planet Twurtle Dee which is sister planet to Twurtle Dum (omg--I just got that!). He is a secret agent on a mission to Mars. Pinocchio convinces Nurtle to take him along and adventure ensues.

Actually, an hour long break ensued. I had to pause this thing and get some perspective. I surfed the internet for awhile, had some Cheez-its, took a piss, than returned to the couch for the second half of a 70 minute film that felt like it had already been playing for three hours. I mean, it was about 30 minutes in and Pinocchio's ass was still Earthbound.

Nurtle spouts a bunch of space facts that may or may not be true as the two intrepid explorers make their way to the red planet. Once there they find it quite desolate and mostly deserted 'cept for a few King Kong sized sand crabs who chase them around for a bit. It's all very harrowing if you possess three or fewer brain cells.

Pinnoke (as Nurtle, who sounds kind of like Regis Philbin, so therefore, annoying, likes to call our hero) and the Twurtle find a Martian city and following some sort of device that detects radiation, the two friends make their way into an underground lair. Here they find pits filled with smaller sand crabs and scorpions. Nurtle proposes that there must be some kind of radiation in the little creatures' food that has turned them into mutants. Then he teaches Pinocchio about mutants. Then they take a dump.

OK. Not really. Actually, a bunch of huge animals start charging out of the woodwork including spiders, scorpions, dinosaurs (?), and whales--WAIT! Whales? Pinocchio suddenly has an epiphany. "This must be where Astro came from!" Really? How long did it take you to forget that one out, Einstein? Anyway, Mars goes apeshit and Pinocchio and his alien-parrot friend fly into space in Nurtle's raggedy-ass UFO just as the Martian city goes up in a mushroom cloud. This happens, apparently, because sand gets into the radiation generator in the underground bunker. OK, whatever, Nurtle.
By this point I was ready end it all, but suddenly Astro appears and promptly swallows the duo. The trip down his esophagus looks like a vagina, but that's beside the point. As Pinnoke and Nurtle float around inside Astro's guts, the Blue Fairy appears to the sobbing puppet, chastising him for disobeying his father once again, but then helping him figure out how to escape: through the Snork nozzle. They fly up and out, damaging the ship only slightly, but in a way that will make the stupid conclusion of the stupid film stupidly possible.

Astro becomes hip to the whole "let's-escape-through-his-blowhole" thing and begins to chase our heroes. Nurtle pleads with Pinocchio to hypnotize the beast, since that was his ticket into space in the first place. Pinocchio of course doesn't realize that the book he bought was a rip-off and the duck he hypnotized was a hunter's decoy. Nothing seems to work, until Nurtle realizes that the ship's damaged tail fin is actually making it spin in a rather hypnotic way rendering Astro harmless, but hurtling too fast toward the Earth. Something must be done to slow the whale down or else Pinocchio will end up with whale jerky and no way to collect his thousands of dollars. Using your standard issue rope--not a space rope, just a rope--Pinocchio wrenches open the spaceship's protective bubble, leaps down onto Astro's back, twists the Snork nozzle just in time to slow the beast down, and dies.

On Earth, Geppetto, Fedora, the family dog, and Nurtle the Space Parrot mourn while a deceased Pinocchio lies in bed, burial bouquet in hand. The Blue Fairy appears and not only resurrects Pinocchio, but turns him back into a flesh and blood boy again.

In the end, the world throws Pinocchio a carnival, Astro's corpse becomes a helium balloon somehow, and Nurtle returns to his home planet to annoy his fellow Twurtles with his constant exclamation of "Ursa Minor!"

What's to like: I actually kind of liked the animation style and the song during the opening credits, "In the Little Toy Shop," was kind of charming. I also like the idea of a giant whale flying through space for some reason.

What's to not like: Whereas the first song made me smile, the remainder of the songs, all of which are sung before Pinocchio heads into the cosmos, made me cringe. For some reason the songs disappear after the first act. Also, there is a big chunk in the center of the movie that is hopelessly boring even though it is often filled with giant, scary-looking bugs...oh, yeah, and dinosaurs. Plus, Nurtle the Twurtle, is no replacement for Jimney Cricket.

The truth: Pinocchio in Outer Space is a pretty lame film. For all its emphasis on the importance of education, the filmmakers seem unaware of the simple and quite well-known fact that a whale is not a fish. You'd think at some point during the final editing process someone would have let them know, like a third grader or something. Also the mechanics behind Pinocchio's existence are confusing. He does not need a helmet while in outer space because apparently, as a puppet, he doesn't need to breathe. Yet it is implied that he needs to sleep and ingest food at regular intervals to live. Oh yeah--and he can die, which he does presumably because he is in outer space too long without a helmet! It's not a good film for children, because it is boring. And, frankly, it's a little weird, but not in a way that makes me want to recommend it to friends or fans of bad films.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Caligula led to much better things

There is nothing I hate more than married couples who plan "date nights" ('cept, maybe, couples who remind each other that "date night" is coming up via MySpace comments). My wife and I spend quality time together whenever we feel like it, we don't need to set aside a special day. Maybe "date night" is a byproduct of a baby's introduction to the equation, so maybe I should just shut up.

Not long ago, though, the wife and I had ourselves a little "date night" (though we didn't officially call it that, so I'm not being a hypocrite). We went out, had a nice dinner, and took in a movie. It was all very romantic, or it would have been if the dinner wasn't at the Chinese buffet up the street and the movie wasn't CALIGULA.

I was actually quite amazed to find that much of CALIGULA is historically accurate, I mean, as long as Wikipedia is the limit of your historical research. Sadly, my favorite scene probably didn't occur according to internet historians. Caligula sits surrounded by friends, family, and the citizens of Rome watching from the stands as three or four prisoners, including Caligula's former friend Macro, who are buried in the dirt up to their necks in the center of the stadium, are decapitated by a giant, ornately-decorated, slow-moving wall equipped with lawnmower blades. Turns out, though, Caligula probably didn't have one of those, so, eh.

Of course, CALIGULA is famous for it's inclusion of hardcore sex. I guess this was an attempt to make it more erotic or sexy? Unfortunately it is a well-known fact that hardcore pornography is in no way sexy at all EVER. So, instead of being arousing and sensual, the whole affair is just creepy and disturbing. I read later that director Tinto Brass had originally filmed hardcore scenes involving the obese and the deformed, but Bob Guccione reshot these sequences, feeling, rightfully so, that people didn't want to see a bunch of overweight midgets and elderly circus freaks copulating on the big screen. Some of these freaks pop up though usually in the scenes taking place in Tiberius' strange Bat Cave-like lair.

Speaking of Tinto Brass, I'll be watching and discussing some of his later masterworks in future posts. I was inspired to view some more of his canon when I came across this description of his 2000 film CHEEKY! at Netflix:

"Italian director Tinto Brass has often been compared to American auteur Russ Meyer for his artfully erotic over-the-top sex romps, but unlike Meyer, who's obsessed with breasts, Brass focuses his attention on another part of the female anatomy -- the derriere."

As a confirmed "butt man" I await CHEEKY! with open arms!

CALIGULA is a terrible movie (Did I mention that yet? If I haven't, please forgive me), but it did rekindle my love of Ancient Roman history. I visited my local library and checked out copious amounts of books on Roman history, especially books focused on the lives of the emperors (I also got some Tintin and Asterix, but I always do that). On a whim I also borrowed Robert Graves' I, CLAUDIUS and consumed it in a week. I loved it and my wife bought me its sequel, CLAUDIUS THE GOD for Valentine's Day.
So in the end CALIGULA had some good effects: it reminded me why I became a History minor in college, it gave me an excuse to read Wikipedia at work, and it brought me and my wife closer than we've ever been.
Thanks, porno!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Do you like Coca-Cola, Skittles, and McDonalds? Then you'll love MAC AND ME!Photobucket
Wait a minute. I like all of those things and I hated MAC AND ME. Some of you are probably saying, "But Matt MAC AND ME is a movie for children." To you I say, if you allow any spawn of your loins to watch this atrocity you should have your children removed from your home and your genitals removed from your person so you can never again procreate.

Now, why is it awful? It's got a lovable alien baby who gets into all kinds of mischief, right? Well, yeah, I guess, but he also has a mouth like an asshole from which he can only emit whistles. Not to mention we get a disturbing vision of what he will look like after the cute baby stage when we meet his horrendously ugly parents. Mac (the alien baby) is likable, but he's also named after the popular McDonald's sandwich (I'm guessing on this because all of the characters start referring to him as Mac halfway through a movie that has been rife with McDonald's references up to this point--nobody ever discusses it, they just all start calling him Mac) and that is dumb.
But, c'mon, there's a kid in a wheelchair. You can't slag him, can you?Photobucket
That's Eric.

As you can see in the above photo he is never far from a Coke. I have a theory that he is crippled because during pregnancy his mother drank nothing but Coke and ate nowhere but McDonalds and ate bag after bag of Skittles for dessert with the occasional bucket of Carvel ice cream to wash it all down. Now, Eric can only survive by ingesting these things on a daily basis. It's sad really. Eric does provide my favorite moment of the film when his wheelchair takes off at break-speed down a steep ass hill and he flies head first into a river at the bottom of a deep ravine (I watched that scene three times). Don't worry, Mac saves him with the power of love...and whistling.

I could go on and on about why this movie is horrible, but I won't. I will say that this movie is nothing more than an hour and a half long commercial for Coca-Cola. My second favorite scene has Michael, Eric's douchebag brother, offering Mac a cup of water after a particularly action-packed chase with the FBI. Mac refuses. Eric is quick to the rescue. "Here," he smiles, handing Mac a Coke, which the little bastard sucks down like a rabid crackhead. Oh, the power of Coke also brings Mac's family back to life. Ironically the alien family's theft of large quantities of Coke from a local supermarket results in a gun battle and gas station explosion that kills Eric (no, really).
In the end, Mac and his family, dressed in their Sunday best (Mac in his brand spanking new McKids brand clothing looks particularly adorable), become citizens of the United States and drive off in a pink Cadillac. Ah, the American dream.Photobucket
A couple more points:
*There is a dance contest held in a neighborhood McDonalds...and yes, Ronald McDonald appears. He dances a little, but he does more of a sarcastic, sitting down dance and seems to be laughing at the twenty-somethings that are doing the most enthusiastic fast-food dining room dancing the world has ever witnessed. Also, the McDonald's dining room is surprisingly roomy and void of places for actually customers to sit and eat. And Mac, dressed as a teddy bear, dances on the counter. Dumb.

*The only extra on the DVD is the trailer which begins with some words from good ol' Ronald McDonald himself. "Hi," the hellish clown-ghoul smiles, "I'm on the set of my new film MAC AND ME." HIS new film? WTF? How did director Stewart Raffill (Tammy and the T-Rex, Mannequin: On the Move) feel about that. Ronald makes a 30 second cameo, does some magic trick that literally none of the kids at McDonald's give a shit about and makes fun of the dancing as I mentioned above. But it's your new film, Ronald? Whatever! What a dick! Read the rest of this article.