Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This may seem silly at first--and it is--and it may be funny--sure--but it's also beautiful and inspiring and loads of giddy fun. For me anyhow.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." Read the rest of this article.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
While the 80's remain a dismal chapter in Disney history, The Great Mouse Detective, based on the books of Eve Titus, is not without its charms. The animation may be fairly horrible, the backgrounds unnecessarily horrific, and the songs instantly forgettable, but the sheer Britishness of it all makes the film at least halfway decent.
My favorite part: Basil, Dawson, and Olivia's first encounter with Fidget, a peg-legged bat-goon who works for Ratigan, in the creepiest toy store ever; the Big Ben finale.
Ever go to the library to check out a book and find out it's been banned? Me neither, but, in the grand, retarded sweep of human history, we're probably the exception to the rule. Ever since some asshole with a little bit of authority realized someone else's ideas threatened his worldview, we've had banned books (or "scrolls" as they were called in olden times).
We are truly motherfucking lucky to live in a land and a time when banning books is seen by most people as the opposite of the right thing to do. At the very least, most hard working Americans know they have to come up with a pretty good reason to ban a book. After all, wasn't the U.S. Constitution a book or something? The British tried to ban that, and we shot 'em, right? Damn right we shot those fuckers.
But back in caveman days, the pope and his dark minions didn't even have to have a reason to ban science books and stuff. They just burned books on a whim. Shit's cold. And they didn't throw you in Gitmo for reading bad things either. They just killed you or had God strike you dead or something. The pope was wicked, and it wasn't even just the pope. Way back in 1962 the evil overlords of a place called Boston, Mass. banned a snappy little tome called Naked Lunch for its overt references to deli meats. And 1962 wasn't even that long ago. Some of you may have even been alive then, bless your hearts.
What about banned books today? Well, like I said, it's not cool at all to ban books...without a reason. Thing is, reasons are pretty easy to come by.
So this banned books week THINK about how lucky we are to have access to all sorts of different viewpoints, even some we don't agree with, and remember how easy it would be for some asshole with an army to take away something you hold near and dear. It doesn't even have to be a book. It could be a sexual aid. Or a thing you do while you're hanging out with the fellas. Or it could be something genuinely harmful that you, with eyes wide open, choose to enjoy periodically 'cuz, you know, you assumed you at the very least owned your own body.
To help celebrate, the good folks at Tor are providing us with access to the new graphic novelization of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic distopian tale of passion, intrigue, and book burning, for FREE. Every Tuesday they'll put up a new section. Parts one and two are up now.
The new Fahrenheit 451 graphic novel comes complete with a new introduction by Ray Bradbury himself, which includes the following suggestion:
May I suggest that anyone reading this introduction should take the time to name the one book that he or she would most want to memorize and protect from any censors or "firemen." And not only name the book, but give reasons why they would wish to memorize it and why it would be a valuable asset to be recited and remembered in the future. I think this would make for a lively session when my readers meet and tell the books they named and memorized, and why.
I'd memorize Fahrenheit 451 (no shit!). It was my first encounter with real thought-provoking literature, and it either created or rang true with a great anti-authoritarian streak that runs straight through my ears and right out my asshole. If it had a hand in making me the skeptical jerk I am today, then maybe it can do the same to others. And maybe, just maybe, someday we won't have to worry about banned books or anything else. We'll let folks be right, wrong, gay, non-gay, antagonistic, accommodating, counter, original, spare, strange, swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim; we'll let 'em do naughty things to their lovers, eat french fries, read about things that might make someone uncomfortable, and post it all to the internet.
- Read the rest of this article.
Monday, September 28, 2009
I like that it takes a curtsy from a little girl and a bow from a kitten to wipe the sour looks off of those two geezer's faces. What were they so pissed off about? Stupid geezers.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
When I started this sweeping review of Disney classics almost four and a half weeks ago, I promised no talking chihuahuas. I did not, however, say anything about Bratislavian sheepdogs with the power of human speech. Promising such a thing would have meant banning The Shaggy Dog from our list and that would have meant denying you the pleasure of reading my thoughts on this endearing goofball classic.
Whenever I watch live-action Disney film from the 50's and 60's, I always think the same thing: What happened? Old live-action Disney flicks are fantastic. They are moving, thoughtful, legitimately funny, and devoid of fart jokes. They haven't been dumbed down for a generation of kids raised by cable TV and nourished by Happy Meals. The family life depicted in The Shaggy Dog may not be the norm in 2009 (though I would argue that plenty of families still look and conduct themselves similarly), but there's something to be said about wholesome-but-not-at-all-cheesy entertainment. Let's put it this way: I spend a lot less time groaning when I watch a Disney movie with Fred MacMurray than I do when Tim Allen stars. Movies targeted at a family audience today are either tremendously dumb, rife with unfunny pop-culture references, or both. The Shaggy Dog, however, is none of these things. I've proudly added it to the list of movies I plan to show my own child one day. You should too. In fact, if you are one of those couples who are considering not even having children, I believe the existence of films as charming as The Shaggy Dog and The Three Lives of Thomasina, should be enough to change your mind and throw those condoms away.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Things I didn't remember about The Fox and the Hound:
My favorite part: Little Tod and Little Copper frolic gaily through the forest; Tod attempts to catch a fish for Vixey; the bear scene.
On September 25th there will be a national prayer gathering of Muslims on the west front of the U.S. Capitol Building. They are expecting at least 50,000 to attend from mosques all across America. They will gather to pray from 4:00 AM until 7:00 PM. ......They have a website set up for this event. If you never look at another website look at this one, especially the final words: www.islamoncapitolhill.com Obama said No to the National Day of Prayer but Yes to this? MAY GOD HELP AND BLESS AMERICA. THIS IS JUNK!!!!!!!!!!!
Eleven exclamation points? Wow, this is some serious-ass junk.
I checked out the Web site just so I could check out these horribly offensive "final words" mentioned in my "friend's" message of unwarranted fear. Prepare yourself, reader, because this is some frightening stuff:
OUR TIME HAS COME
Oh, shit! We're screwed! Code Red! Code Red! Is it too late to hire Gamera to protect our country's tallest structures?
I suspect that the biggest problem my "friend" has with the Islam on Capitol Hill event is that he incorrectly believes it is an affront to his religious beliefs and yet another liberal victory in the War on Prayer. I was intrigued first by the bit about President Obama saying no to the National Day of Prayer. "Surely, Obama didn't cancel the most important holiday on the calendar," I said to myself, tears welling up in my eyes. I visited CNN.com to find the truth and came across this article from NINE MONTHS AGO!!! Obama never denied American citizens the right to their National Day of Prayer celebrations, he just decided not to have the interfaith prayer meeting some of his predecessors used to hold on White House property. He didn't take to the airwaves, break into 2 And A Half Men, declare "Suck my balls, National Day of Prayer!" and flip Christians the finger; he simply decided to spend that day, I don't know, working on shit that really mattered, like, I don't know, fixing the economy. By the way, "interfaith" in this scenario means "Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish" only. That being said, even if Obama had continued in the Bush grand tradition of using Christianity to win the hearts and minds of the American people while simultaneously committing horrible acts of extreme evil, what would be the harm in the Muslims throwing their own little prayer party later in the year?
There is no War on Prayer, people. Do you know why? Because you can pray whenever and wherever you want. The National Day of Prayer, which incidentally was established to include every concievable faith on the planet, is stupid. That's right. Giant Electric Penguin is doing what Obama didn't have the balls to do. We're saying "NO" to the NDP.
I pray every day. I don't make a big production out of it, in fact, I think that kind of "sport praying" is frowned upon in the Bible, isn't it? But, yeah, I pray, as do millions of others, and I haven't been asked to "knock it off" or "take it somewhere else, God-boy." The War on Prayer is a lot like the War on Christmas: a fiction Christian wackos tell their kids at bedtime to scare them.
I've been checking my "friend's" Facebook page periodically to see if anyone has commented and came across this little nugget of ignorance this morning:
My mom was telling me about this!! Its the last day of Rahmadam..(not sure hot to spell it) on the first day, Obama had a dinner for them at the white house!! We need to be on our guard!!
Obama had dinner with Muslims? That proves it. He's the Anti-Christ.
Listen, last time I looked, Obama doesn't schedule the events on Capitol Hill. Private citizens probably get a comittee together, fill out some paperwork, submit a fee, and BOOM, there's a NAMBLA Pride gathering in full swing! I don't think Obama and his Cabinet sit down and plan out each year's Capitol Hill events.
"Oh, you know what might be fun this Fall? Pro-Choice Chili Cook-Off."
"That's a great idea, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Let's schedule that right after the Keep Kids of Drugs Prayer Breakfast."
"Guess who I got to play the Save the Seals bake sale next July, you guys?"
"Who, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan?"
Awesome!" (high fives all around)
You get it.
Let the Muslims have their day of prayer, dammit! Calling the event "junk" makes you look like a bigoted idiot insecure in his own religious beliefs. If it pisses you off so much, get some folks together and throw a big prayer hoedown. I don't care. Leave the Muslims alone, read something other than the Bible for a change, and STOP ALREADY!
Read the rest of this article.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
So, yes, there is a cheapness to it, but other than that, how does Robin Hood stack up against the other films on our list?
Secondly, Robin Hood just isn't that interesting. I guess I made that clear when describing my wife's reaction. I didn't fall asleep, but I couldn't honestly tell you what kept me awake. I remembered from a childhood viewing that there was an archery contest at one point, but even that scene comes off as kinda hokey with it's out-of-place psychedelic guitar riffs and allusions to American football. And, dammit, in what part of England do people speak in Southern accents?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Finding Nemo is a moving testament to the lengths a father will go to make sure his child is safe and sound. Nemo's father, Marlin, dodges shark attacks, braves a field of highly poisonous jellyfish, and swims many miles, all while babysitting a mentally disabled regal tang named Dory, to save his his gimpy-flippered son from a life of maddening monotony in an Australian dentist's office. Now that is fatherly love, my friend. You could learn a lot from Marlin, deadbeat dads who regularly read GEP. Instead of tooling around town in your Ferrari 250 GTO, wearing your Ed Hardy t-shirts, smoking your clove cigarettes, and tongue-kissing your 21-year-old personal trainer girlfriend, you should try paying attention to your kid and teaching him about the dangers of drinking out of fishtanks or whatever. I'm just saying.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
To me, Lilo & Stitch is just as visually stunning as anything by Hayao Miyazaki, assuredly the most innovative talent in animation since Walt Disney himself. One of the reasons I love Miyazaki's films so damn much, is the endless parade of odd-looking creatures. From the shape-shifting, swollen-nutted tanukis of Pom Poko to the mumbly and mysterioius No Face of Spirited Away, Miyazaki fills the screen with stunningly original and, in the case of My Neighbor Totoro, super cute beasties. Lilo & Stitch is full of nifty-looking, candy-colored extraterrestrials, each more fun to look at then the last.
My favorite part: the character design--both human and alien; Lilo and Stitch are just so cute no matter what they're doing; The Kids in the Hall's Kevin McDonald is the voice of Pleakley, the one-eyed, Earth expert sent to retrieve Stitch from Hawaii--I love that guy; Stitch as gramophone; I'm a sucker for a good spaceship chase.
Just a sample of Lilo & Stitch's appealing visual style.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Listen, goth kids, you can be into whatever you like, ok? I'm just some crusty old guy who loves animation in all of its many forms and doesn't want to see one of his favorites reduced to a simple accessory for the misunderstood. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great movie beyond the fact that its hero is a creepy skeleton guy. That's all I'm saying. It's an incredibly original film, but at it's heart it is basically a traditional redemption story, and don't goth kids--famously the most "original" individuals in any given population--hate the idea of tradition? They hate the conventional, they strive to be different, distance themselves from the herd by dressing in black and spending their summers in the basement listen to The Cure and spray painting roses black. The Nightmare Before Christmas is about Halloween--one of the goth nation's most beloved holidays, second only to Arbor Day--but it's also about Christmas, the happiest holiday of them all and, therefore, enemy to the goth cause. And by the by,if you'll remember, Skellington preferred Christmas. I'm just saying.
All of the songs are great, but this one is my very favorite.
Arbitrary Grade: B+
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Bagheera: fond of abandoning Mowgli; Mowgli is often faced with mortal danger immediately following these abandonments.
The Jungle Book gets one thing right though: when a hot piece of ass enters the picture, your buddies can suck it. Bear Necessities? Hell, I want some Bare Necessities. You know, like, "naked?" You get it.
Gather your children around the computer screen and tell them to heed the warning of BJ the Messenger's "heavy rap." Le-le-le-le-leave it alone indeed.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
My viewing experience didn't start out as a love-fest. As the opening credits rolled, a cutesy song about the titular orange kitty brought a smile to my grizzly cheeks (Damn, I need to shave. I am so lazy!). I stopped grinning, however, when the credit "And Elspeth March as the voice of Thomasina" popped up on screen. "Thomasina talks?" I said to the empty room I spend nearly 99.9% of my time in when I'm not warding off suicidal thoughts at the office or taking a dump. I thought the "real" animals talking thing was a fairly recent, completely ill-advised, addition to the wonderful world of Disney, but here we were in 1964 with a talking damn cat. I prepared myself for the worst.
My favorite part: the funeral procession and eventual funeral for Thomasina; any scene between Lori MacGregor, the "witch" of the glen, and Geordie, the good-natured ginger kid.
Saturday Morning News Bits: Salvation Army smackdown, monkey news, misguided stalking, Jon Gosselin, football hijinks, and Xena: Warrior Kitten
Gloria Ballard is accused of swatting a toddler's behind at an Over-the-Rhine store on Tuesday.
Court documents state that Ballard was at the Salvation Army store when she confronted the toddler's mother, Dannay Jones.
Jones told News 5's Brian Hamrick that her son had talked back to her at the store. Jones said that's when Ballard came over and told her to do something about it.
"She was basically telling me what to do with my son," said Jones. Jones said she responded to Ballard by saying, "Lady, you don't know me. I handle my business. I'm doing right to take care of my son."
That's when Jones said Ballard grabbed her son, 2-year-old Sean Goode, from her.
"She took him (off) my lap, bent him over her legs and spanked him like three or four times. He started crying," said Jones.
3. THE HILLS HAVE EYES...STALKERY EYES.
Santoro, 23, tells the sordid tale in an exclusive interview with In Touch magazine, with even more details of how the lumpy lothario seduced the woman who was supposed to be taking care of his children.
It all started with the classic "Can you rub my shoulders? Now, can I rub yours?" lead-up to some serious hot-tub smooching.
Then, Jon laid down a line every man would do well to avoid.
Santoro says on their first night together, Gosselin told her: "Whatever you do, don't fall in love with me, because it's going to be impossible for me not to fall in love with you."
Neighbors of McKelvin noticed the spray paint on the cornerback's lawn Monday evening, which sources tell Eyewitness News contained an obscenity, along with the game's final score and the words "Take a Knee".
6. POMPANO BEACH HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: CATCH THE SUCK!
"We did not go into the game looking to score that many points,'' he said, "and a lot of them came in bunches and off big plays.
7. OBLIGATORY CAT STORY
A good Samaritan said she found the animal wandering in a parking lot and brought it to the shelter in Santa Rosa.
There veterinarians found a pellet lodged in the kitten's jaw.
Vets removed the pellet Monday and said the kitten is expected to fully recover.
Humane society staff members have named the kitten "Xena" -- after the warrior princess from the television show -- and said she'll be ready for adoption later this week.