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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last Week in Movies (7/25-7/31)

Sorry, dudes, but I forgot I was visiting the in-laws in NJ this weekend, so Last Week in Movies is gonna come up short again. I've got a lot of films to get through next week, but I'm game. Tune in to watch me possibly lose my mind. Anyway, here's the last week in movies...
Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
David, a writer/less-than-stellar father, returns home from a book tour to spend time with his schizophrenic, recently-released-from-the-mental institution daughter, Karin; Martin, Karin's husband and a giant; and Minus, his unfortunately named son. The characters go for a swim, enjoy a meal together, perform an original stage play, brood, talk about God, talk about love, talk about love and how it relates to God, brood some more, etc. The whole thing is gorgeous, stark, and fascinating. A young man never forgets his first Bergman!

My grade: A

What's with the title?: What, don't you read your Bible regularly? It comes from 1 Corinthians 13:1: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

Yes, but how does that relate to the film?: What am I, a Biblical scholar?

Lingering question: Seriously, is Max Von Sydow a giant or were those doorways just really small?

Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
Once a highly successful concert pianist, Eduard Saroyan (aka, Charlie Koller), finds himself banging out up-tempo dance numbers in a scummy Parisian honky tonk. The work isn't as glamorous as he's used to, but "Charlie" pulls in enough dough to take care of his younger brother, Fido, and occasionally sleep with the attractive hooker next door. It appears as if "Charlie" has successfully left his terrible past behind, until another brother, Chico, shows up at his place of employment one evening with a black eye and two pipe-smoking thugs on his tail. From there, "Charlie" falls in love with Lena, a pretty barmaid with a secret crush; reminisces on his days as a world-renowned asshole; murders his boss in self defense; has Fido stolen away by the aforementioned pipe-smoking thugs; and comes to terms with his social anxiety disorder, as well as, his family's less-than-perfect local reputation.

My grade: B

Random observation: No one actually ever fires a gun at "Charlie." He has a gun shoved in his face and another gun thrown in his general direction, but no one ever takes a shot. False advertising as far as I'm concerned.

Sweet and tender hooligans: Shoot the Piano Player sports the most polite bad guys ever committed to film. That is, until they shoot "Charlie's" girlfriend for no reason. That was pretty damned impolite actually.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Food Porn Friday: Cheese Fries w/ Bacon

Finger-lickin' delicious! Hell, I'd even lick that guy's weird toe-thumb, that's how much I love cheese fries.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things I've Learned From the Internet


#5. It's never been easier to find videos of people falling off of stages.

Say what you will about the internet's downsides--easy access to the most degrading porn one could ever imagine, cyber-bullying, Jon Gosselin's Twitter feed--for a laugh junkie, like me, the world wide Web-o-sphere is a non-stop roller coaster ride of bumbling imbeciles making braying jackasses out of themselves, falling thither and yon like a gaggle of doofy, drooling nincompoops. Yes, my name is Matt, and I love watching people fall down. And I'm not one of those snarky jerks who enjoys exclusively the tumbles of the tubby. No, I'll watch the fat and thin alike, and laugh as if laughing were going out of style for some reason beyond human comprehension. And if that individual is a respected celebrity, even better. Who can forget this classic:

Listen, I don't have anything against Kelsey Grammar--I was an avid watcher of the Stuffed Shirt Comedy of Errors Half Hour (aka, Frasier)--but there's something satisfying about watching him fall off of a stage. I think it might be the phony story he's sharing when the fall occurs that makes the situation not only palatable, but epically awesome. The cry of "Oh, good Lord," doesn't hurt either.

But it doesn't have to be a caveman-headed TV star or one of Destiny's Children doing the falling. It's just as fun to watch the stars-of-tomorrow take a dive, as in this soon-to-be-classic bit of footage:

Sure, Helen Keller falling off state is kinda obvious, but it's also beautiful in it's simplicity. Of course Helen Keller falls off stage during the performance. They should have her fall off a bunch of times. It would kind of drive home the fact that Keller had it tough, don't you think? At least the audience seems concerned for the performer's safety, which is more than I can say for this crowd of lowlifes:

You think it might be time to hang up your rock star dreams when you fall headfirst off stage and no one seems to care? I can't even figure why this even happened? Did he trip over that monitor? Who knows. Reminds me of an old Chinese proverb: If the leader singer of a shitty, post-grunge garage band falls off stage and the bulk of the audience is there for the headlining band or high as balls, does he make a sound? It's worth thinking about.

I shouldn't be so mean. That dude might be an all right guy. But some performers deserve to fall off stage, like this strutting goofball:

Show off! It's a hoot to watch fat blowhards trip up and find themselves careening to the ground, toppling head-over-heels into the unforgiving pavement below. Some performers, however, don't deserve the pain and embarrassment of a stage fall, like this poor bastard:

He's just trying to give the audience a magical Christmastime experience! Don't get me wrong, it's funny, I just feel bad for the guy.

I know what you're thinking: "Won't someone think of the children?" Well, I did think of the children and I've decided that they are not off limits. No, I will laugh just as hard at an innocent child crashing to the ground from on high as I will at an adult in a Mrs. Potts costume eating it during a Beauty and Beast musical revue. I give you now, The Greatest Stage Fall Ever: Child Division:

That looks like it hurt. Even before the required replay, the clip takes on a surreal, slo-mo quality. You can see it happening and you want to cry out, "No, little girl, you've got to turn back! There are no stairs where you are stepping! You will regret the course of action you are currently embarking on! You've got to turn back!" I've repeated this warning each time I've viewed this video and it never works. She never stops, she just smiles, waves, and tumbles.

Yes, my name is Matt, and I am unapologetic when it comes to my love of watching people fall off of things.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome Back, Amanda Bynes

The long national nightmare is over: Amanda Bynes has returned to acting! And how did Bynes announce her decision to give mankind a second change and once again grace movie screens all over the world? Through a simple tweet: "I'm unretired." No two words have ever been sweeter! And get this: we only have to wait until September for our next Bynes fix, Easy A, a modern retelling of Hawthorne's Scarlett Letter sort of. Let me tell you, dear readers, I have seen the trailer for Easy A and it looks amazingly awful! Go get 'em, Bynesy!
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Monday, July 26, 2010

The Movie Penguin Podcast: Episode 2, or "Gibson, Gibson, What Have Ye Done"

In the 2nd episode of the Movie Penguin Podcast: Jonathan apologizes for past indiscretions, Matt and Jonathan take a few last kicks at the dead horse that is the Mel Gibson story, and we present Matt and Jonathan's Must-Sees/If-You-Haftas: Volume 1. Plus: Matt hates A Boy and His Dog; Jonathan gets distracted by Billie Piper; Matt Ps on Hamlet's mom's B's; and Jonathan presents SPOILERS! All that and 12 fruits and veggies that could kill you.

Movie Penguin Podcast: Episode 2, or "Gibson, Gibson, What Have Ye Done"
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Last Week in Movies (7/18-7/24)

A Boy and His Dog (1975)
"This is gonna be a rough week," I told my wife after sitting through the first 30 minutes of L.Q. Jones' A Boy and His Dog and switching it off in disgust. Ugh. From what I can tell the film is about a young man who roams the barren wastelands of a post-apocalyptic America with his dog looking for young women to rape. Oh, and the dog communicates with the young man telepathically and has a stuffy, Britishy, smarter-than-he-looks-'cause-he-looks-like-a-mangy-mutt accent. Again, ugh. There are also these things called "screamers" which are mutations created by the various nuclear bombs that were dropped hither and thither over the duration of World War IV, but we never get to see them and they don't really scream as much as lethargically moan. And there's boobs. Dammit, eff this movie!

My grade: ---

Peeping Tom (1960)
A psychologically damaged young filmmaker prowls the streets and studio backlots of London stabbing women to death with a blade he has cleverly affixed to a tripod and filming the results for a documentary he is making about a young man stabbing women to death with a knife-tipped tripod. Mark, the homicidal filmmaker, falls in love with his downstairs neighbor, Helen, and slowly lets her into his sick, twisted world. They share a glass of milk, Mark shows Helen some old home movies of his father torturing him with flashlights and lizards, and love blooms. The good times don't last long however, and pretty soon, Mark is setting up the conclusion of his magnum opus: his own death.

My grade: C+

Here's the thing...: I get that Peeping Tom was ahead of its time, but I've seen the films inspired by it first and, therefore, kind of felt lukewarm about the film. The last three minutes though are amazingly creepy. Now that's the way you kill yourself! Suicidals take notice.

Thieves' Highway (1949)
So, the week didn't start out great. I was rendered both disappointed and confused by A Boy and His Dog (It really is quite awful!) and entertained, but not terribly impressed, by Peeping Tom (Maybe not enough peeping? There was the suggestion of peeping, I guess.). Then, on Friday, after a night on the town with my wife (i.e. stuffing my fat face at a local Mexican restaurant), I stretched out on the couch and viewed Thieves' Highway, a dark thriller about the dangerous world of produce sales. Yes, Thieves' Highway is a movie about the transportation and sale of Golden Delicious apples. It's also one of the best movies I've seen in, well, at least a week.

Nico "Nick" Garcos returns home from his post-WWII travels with a wallet full of cash and gifts galore. He also returns to a father who has recently become legless. Garcos blames his father's newly legless state on a corrupt produce dealer out of San Francisco named Mike Figlia. Nick teams up with Ed Kinney, another shady dude who eventually becomes both Nick's partner in apples and guardian angel, to deliver a load of Golden Deliciouses to Figlia's market and, as singer-songwriter Beck once put it ever so eloquently, get real paid. Nick's not above getting a little revenge on the crooked fruit merchant either. The story gets deeper and more exciting from there, but I'm going to let you discover this one for yourself, because it is totally worth it. You'll never look at roadside produce stands the same.

My grade: A

I sort of ran out of time to watch King of Kong and Through a Glass Darkly. I had the opportunity this evening, but I chose to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on AMC instead. I'll catch up with Kong during my Summer Viewing Bonus Week and hit Through a Glass Darkly next week. Until next Saturday night, dear readers...

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Saturday Morning News Bits: mom love, train slapping, and hugs


40-year-old Cathleen Miller of Chicago Ridge, IL, was charged with banging teenagers this week. What else is new?

According to court documents obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, the 40-year-old woman held parties at her home between Feb. and June and allegedly provided teens with alcohol and marijuana.

Prosecutors say Miller had intercourse with two of the teens, had oral sex with a third and fondled a fourth.

Police say the four victims were all between the ages of 14 and 15, according to the Sun-Times.

I'm sorry, but where were these moms when I was 15? Believe me, when I was 15-years-old, if a halfway decent woman in her late 30's-early 40's shoved her freshly-pedicured hands down my pants and started fondling my junk, I would have been the happiest young man on the block. I'd damn sure not tell anybody. Who wants to put the kibosh on free handjobs? And that's my favorite part of the story. Apparently it was a fifth teenager who came forward, told his parents what was going on, and got Miller in trouble with the law. This killjoy attended the parties, but never got the mom love, so he ratted out his friends. Pussy!

Imagine if you're that kid though. It's got to hurt to watch friend after friend disappear upstairs with some MILF, but when your turn comes up, the party ends. Sure, you got to underage drink and smoke free weed, but you didn't get that blowjob your buddy won't shut up about on the bike ride home. What if I'd been that kid? I'd probably be pissed off enough to ruin everybody's good time too. I take back that pussy comment, unnamed teenage boy.


How many birthday parties need to be ruined by trains before we, as a society, take notice and do something about it? It happens so often, we've grown blind to the problem, and it will keep happening until we do something about these trains. It can't be human error. It can't be all the booze.
This story out of Summerville, SC turned my stomach this week:

Authorities say a 23-year-old man died on his birthday Thursday morning when he was sucked into a passing train that friends said he was trying to slap.

Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet said Justin Helton of Summerville was killed around 2 a.m.

Nisbet said Helton had been drinking at a bar to celebrate his birthday, got into a fight and went outside. Helton told someone he was going to slap a train that was passing by and was sucked into it.

Helton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Damn youse, trains!!!!


This is America. I thought we had the right to hug and be hugged whenever, wherever, and by whomever we wanted, or didn't wanted, to. I'm sorry, but did I read the Constitution wrong? Have I read the Constitution at all? And what's this Constitution I keep hearing about?

Listen, some people enjoy hugs, other people want to shoot hugs in the face. It's probably a bad idea to hug random strangers anyway. You never know who's gonna hug back and who's gonna stab you in the stomach with a broken beer bottle. Then again, maybe it's a bad idea to refuse a hug from a random stranger. Some poor schmuck in Iowa City learned that the hard way this week:

Police arrested a man who they said punched another man who refused to hug him. Iowa City police responded to a report of someone being aggressive and punching cars Sunday night. The suspect, a 23-year-old man, told police he became upset after he tried to hug a man and was pushed away.

Police said the man punched and dented the hood of a car before punching the man he tried to hug.

I think somebody needs a hug.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Food Porn Friday: Waffle Banana Loaf

Yet another culinary delight from our second favorite Web site, My Food Looks Funny.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Morning Music: GAMBLE-"Duck Face"

I've got to thank Gina and Randy from the Pretty Good Podcast for turning me on to this song and finally providing me with the term for that stupid thing ladies (but not exclusively ladies...but mostly ladies) do with their mouths in the majority of self-snapped bathroom mirror photos you see on whatever social networking site you choose to frequent.

This one will get stuck in your head for days, son! You're welcome.

Best line: "Thanks to you, I threw up/and shit all over the fucking place." --->This guy hates the duck face so much, he actually shit his pants. That is true disgust.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Night Trailers: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: The Town

The "acclaimed director of Gone Baby Gone" is Ben Affleck, right? That aside, holy crap in a bag do I want to see this movie! I'd never even heard of it until tonight and now I've got my wife packing up the camping supplies so's we can be first in line when tickets go on sale.

OK, not really, but the cast is great, the look of the film is both gritty and beautiful--a combination of which I am quite fond--and, who knows, this could be a return to form for Ben Affleck the actor. Plus, ever since The Dark Knight, I've desired more movies about well-planned bank robberies perpetrated by dudes in creepy costumes, and The Town looks to have an assload of 'em. I'll be there for sure, Mr. Affleck.

The Bad: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole

This isn't real, right? It can't be. Listen, I'm as sick to death of talking cat and dog movies as everyone else, but is owl really the next logical step? Here is a quick list of animals I'd rather watch take on a mystical quest of self-discovery before owls: whales, squirrels, bottle-nosed dolphins, a swarm of tsetse flies, miniature ponies, hammerhead sharks, jackalopes, armadillos, algae.
But, fine, here they are, owls. And apparently the live in a world comprised of nothing but owls. British owls, Australian owls, American owls, but owls nonetheless. This is a feature-length motion picture about owls! Are you getting this? I know this is the second Sunday Night Trailers in a row where our "Bad" offering is an animated film for children, but, c'mon, don't our children deserve better than owls? I think they do. Who will stand with me?

The Ugly: Valhalla Rising

This shit just looks all kinds of brutal and cool, like a way less completely terrible 300. Let's go see it and cringe together. What do you say?
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Last Week in Movies (7/11-7/17)

Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
Dalton Trumbo's 1971 anti-war semi-classic, Johnny Got His Gun, tells the story of a young soldier (not even named Johnny, by the off) who has his arms, legs, and face blown off during the final days of WWI. Unable to do anything but lay there and creep people out, the young man, named Joe, slips in and out of disturbing dreams and memories, one of which involves a poker game with Jesus Christ. A pretty young nurse eventually shows Joe a modicum of kindness which inspires him to communicate with the outside world through Morse code, i.e. twitching his scooped-out head wildly on his pillow. His message to the world: put me in a traveling carnival or kill me. Johnny Got His Gun is disturbing and sad and, unfortunately, all kinds of boring. It did make me realize that war is bad however. Oh, wait, I already knew that.

My grade: C
The Unseen (1981)
What was it my mother was always saying about accepting invitations to spend the night in a creepy, slightly effeminate fat man's farmhouse? Oh yeah: don't do it. Jennifer, Karen, and Vicki learn this the hard way in The Unseen, a relatively benign horror flick that slowly becomes equal parts offensive and dumb as it lumbers toward its predictable end. Our heroes are a trio of lady reporters on assignment in Solvang, California ("The Whitest City in America") to cover some dumb beer festival or what-not. The festival is so popular, that every hotel in the area is booked, so Jennifer and her gal pals are forced to spend the night with quirky museum owner, Ernest Keller, his weirdo wife, Victoria, and whatever it is they keep locked up in the basement. And who is this mysterious basement dweller? Well, it's none other than "Junior" Keller, a mistreated, lonely, autistic man-child. Oh, yeah, he's also the result of Ernest and Victoria's sick, incestuous love. Ick.

My grade: D

Rear Window (1954)
A temporarily wheelchair-bound photojournalist living on a Hollywood soundstage made to look like New York City, thinks he's witnessed a murder during a round of late night peeping tomfoolery. The photog, played by poet/rabbit hallucinator James Stewart, ropes his girlfriend, played by Grace Kelly, and his insurance company-issued nurse into the spy game and pretty soon the three of them are snooping around Scooby-style, searching for clues that may not even exist. Is L.B. Jeffries just suffering from a severe case of paranoia brought on by cabin fever or did his creepy, cigar-smoking neighbor really kill his wife in cold blood? You'll have to watch this Alfred Hitchcock classic to find out. Or shoot me an e-mail. I don't mind ruining it for you.

My grade: A

Lingering question #1: I know I shouldn't care, but how did Jeffries use the bathroom? It looks as if his cast covers just about everything down there--his lower half was crushed by a race car after all--and he can't walk, so what gives? His nurse is always giving him back massages, but I never saw her empty a bedpan or insert a catheter. Maybe I need to read the Cornell Woolrich short story the film is based on for the answer to this question.

Lingering question #2: When Jeffries calls his detective pal, Tom Doyle, to discuss his latest discoveries, why is the babysitter he talks to an offensive racial stereotype? It seems so weird and out of place.

Gojira (or, if you prefer, Godzilla) (1954)
The same year Jimmy Stewart was fighting crime from a wheelchair, Japan was being trashed by a 400-foot mutant dinosaur named Godzilla. Yes, everybody's favorite Tokyo-flattening, train-kicking, nuclear mist-spewing terrible lizard makes his illustrious debut in this darkly tragic tale of atomic-testing run amok. In fact, Godzilla kind of ends on a super bummer. That being said, the premiere Godzilla film, for all of its problems--which, in my opinion, are very minor--pulls off something no sequel, reboot, or shitty Americanization of the basic story ever could, and that's be genuinely frightening. I imagined myself as a Japanese child in 1954 going to the movies with my folks and sitting through those opening credits--a combination of thundering orchestral music and Godzilla's trademark howl--and I almost shit my pants. Almost.

My grade: B

An observation: Saying "Gojira" out loud kind of sounds like you're making fun of Japanese people. It is also kind of fun.

One complaint: Not enough Godzilla attacking the city. Seriously. He does it once, for, like, ten minutes. Lazy dino.

Let the Right One In (2008)
Ah, young love! Who can forget their first crush on the living dead girl next door? Oskar sure won't. His undead crush comes in the shape of Eli, a vamp who has been 12-years-old for a long time. Eli inspires Oskar to stand up to the bullies who constantly harass him at school, she teaches him how to figure out a Rubik's cube, and even though it makes her physically ill, she samples a piece of the mixed candy sampler he buys for her. There is a lot more to the movie, but I refuse to go any further because Let the Right One In is a major must-see. In fact, it is officially a candidate for my favorite film OF ALL TIME!

And it's so much more than a vampire movie, in fact, I hesitate to even give it that label. It is a story of first love; a tale of the trials a lot of us face during that awkward tween phase; and, OK, it's a story about a little vampire girl and the homicidal father figure who sometimes drains bodies for her, but mostly just screws up.

There is apparently an American version of Let the Right One In, called simply Let Me In, coming soon to a theater near you. Now I haven't heard anything about it, nor have I watched the trailer or investigated its Wikipedia entry, but you can be sure it will in no way capture the beauty, brutality, and dark humor of the original. It may have the CGI cats though.

My grade: A+

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Movie Penguin Podcast: Episode 1, or "Of X-mans and Corn Pone"

Yes, dear readers, The Movie Penguin Podcast is ready for your eager ears. Download it for whatever listening device you use on a regular basis AND/OR stream the crap out of it HERE. Or just listen to it right here:

Movie Penguin Podcast: Episode 1, or "Of X-mans and Corn Pone"

Either way, listen a lot and tell your friends to do so as well.

In the premiere episode of the Movie Penguin Podcast: Jonathan reminisces about corn pone and funny books, Matt offers some free advice to Rob Zombie, and we ask the question, "What movies can you not wait to show your offspring?" Plus: 3-D movies: yes please OR no thank you, sir; Matt confuses Ellis Island with Parris Island; the 200th anniversary of the film Titanic; and Jonathan tries out some sound effects. All that and only marginal spoilers!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last Week in Movies (7/4-7/10)

The Big Sleep (1946)
Bogart at his best! Recounting the the plot of The Big Sleep would be akin to listening to the mad ravings of a backwoods mental patient while he tries to convince you that every branch of the American government is somehow in cahoots with the Kingdom of Mars to overthrow the world and turn mankind into the slaves of our conquering Martian overlords. It's complicated is what I'm trying to impart to you. I suggest keeping notes. There's something about the patriarch of a prominent family being blackmailed; a low-level hoodlum posing as an antique book dealer being murdered and the aforementioned patriarch's youngest daughter being photographed at the scene; there's a suburban casino owner named Eddie Mars (Oh, shit! The Martians are among us!) who may or may not have had something to do with the disappearance of Sean Regan, a dude who used to work for the the afore-aforementioned patriarch (AKA Capt Sternwood), and was probably carrying on an affair with Mars' wife; there's a bit about Carmen Sternwoods' driver being drowned to death; etc. etc. Somehow ace gumshoe Philip Marlowe keeps everything from getting too knotted up. Does he solve the mystery, or, rather, mysteries? I'll let you find out...and then you can tell me if you actually figure out what the hell is going on.

My grade: A

Proof old movies are largely better than new ones: Screenplay by, oh, I don't know, William Faulkner!

Confession: Fifteen minutes in, I realized I'd already seen The Big Sleep. Oh, well, it's a great flick. No harm done.

The 400 Blows (1959)
Antoine Doinel isn't a bad kid. It's the people around him that are all messed up. His teacher, whom he dubs "Sourpuss," is cruel and joyless; his mother is probably bipolar; his stepfather is quick to anger and too obsessed with his racing club to take much of an interest in his son's life; his best friend, Rene, whose own parents leave much to be desired (his mother is an alcoholic, his father is a gambler), teaches him the delicate arts of petty theft and school skippery. Society in general seems poised to cut Antoine down at every pass. So, naturally, the boy rebels.

Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows is a classic of French New Wave cinema and, as such, is totally worth your time. It's a brilliant slice-of-life film that proves being a teenager in the US in the 2000's is just as difficult and weird as it was in 1950's Paris.

My grade: A

Shocking discovery: Did you know they had the Gravitron ride way back in 1959? It's true! The first time Antoine skips school, Rene takes him downtown for a ride. It is a truly nauseating experience.

The Devil's Rejects (2005)
I like Rob Zombie. I find the handful of films he's made visually stunning. Even when the action on screen is depraved and horrifying, it's a thrill to watch. I see a lot of potential in Mr. Zombie as a film director, I just haven't really enjoyed any of his films. That being said, The Devil's Rejects is my favorite movie of Zombie's thus far. It is technically a sequel to 2003's House of 1,000 Corpses, which I rewatched last month and still felt meh about, but the films are thematically very different. While Corpses was a disturbingly nauseating, sometimes very funny, horror movie about four road-tripping college coeds (Two of which were played by Chris Hardwick and Rainn Wilson!) getting mixed up with a family of depraved thrill killers, Rejects is a Western-tinged, sometimes very funny, revenge movie in which a deeply disturbed sheriff hunts down three of the depraved thrill killers from the first movie. It's less horror, more crime thriller. Lovers of filth talk will be excited to know that Rejects is filled to the brim with profanity! There's also plenty of torture, murder, and sexual assault, if you're into that sort of thing. The film gets so bogged down in it's headshots, gun-rape, and toilet language, that any semblance of a coherent, or interesting, plot is nonexistent. The final scene, however, which is basically Bonnie and Clyde set to "Freebird" is pretty spectacular.

My grade: C+

Last Tango in Paris (1972)
Ah, Paris: the only place where two complete strangers can meet in a dilapidated, rat-infested apartment and be awkwardly humping each other within minutes. It truly is the City of Love. Love, in this case, looks like a 45-year-old widower (Brando) who harbors supremely odd ideas on life, death, and sexual intimacy with swine and a bratty, 20-year-old French girl (Maria Schneider) who may or may not marry her filmmaker/douchebag boyfriend, engaging in increasingly strange sexual behavior with one another between rambling conversations that make little to no sense. The whole endeavor is simultaneously dreamlike and gross. Then, something happens in the film's last 14 minutes: humor rears its mostly-ignored-up-to-this- point head. There's drinking. And more drinking. And dancing. And then kind of, like, flopping around on the floor. Then Marlon Brando pulls his pants down and moons an elderly Parisian woman. Then there is a spirited, drunken chase through the streets of Paris, which from the reactions of the flummoxed passersby, was filmed in secret. Then there is the final minute, which I will not reveal here, that kinda, sorta ruins things. Oh, well.

My grade: B-

Common misconception: Last Tango in Paris has nothing to do with The Last Airbender.

Weirdest thing to say while the stranger you are having casual sex with on a regular basis fingers your butthole: "I'm gonna get a pig and I'm gonna have the pig fuck you. I want the pig to vomit in your face and I want you to swallow the vomit. Are you gonna do that for me? I want the pig to die while you're fucking him. Then you'll have to go behind him. I want you to smell the dying farts of the pig."

A warning to the ladies: If you and your movie snob husband or boyfriend are about to get intimate and he says, "Get the butter," this means he intends to have anal intercourse with you. You are in charge of what happens next.

The Constant Gardener (2005)
Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) picks up where his muckraker wife, Tessa (Rachel Weisz, in a role that won her the old Oscaroo), leaves off after she is murdered for having the audacity to uncover an international conspiracy involving half-assed drug trials in Africa. Exposure could be a career ender for several stuffy British bigwigs and the besmirched reputations of many of Justin's fellow diplomats. Justin stops at nothing to make sure his wife didn't die in vain, though he is given multiple outs over the course of the picture. The Constant Gardener is both engaging and relevant, a conspiracy thriller of the highest caliber.

My grade: A

But what's with the title?: That's an easy one: Justin Quayle loves to garden. Got any harder questions for me?

Would you do the same for your wife?: Ummmm. I'd like to think so, but who knows what I'd do if a pick-up truck full of African hoodlums with semi-automatics arrived to snuff me out in Middle-of-Effing-Nowhere, Africa. I might stand my ground or I might just piss my man- panties and cry. Here's hoping my wife never decides to expose a major pharmaceutical conspiracy on the African continent, though, it goes without saying, I support her in any endeavor on which she choose to embark.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Food Porn Friday: Chipotle Burrito

I like mine with barbacoa. My wife turned me on to Chipotle recently and I can't get enough. Eff you, Moe's! I'm a Chipotle guy now.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

6 Creepy Toys I Never Want Near Me...EVER!

1. Mr. Game Show

Can you imagine opening the game closet and this ghoul is behind the door waiting for you? Just writing that sentence sent a shiver down my spine.

I never had a Mr. Game Show, but it can't imagine it was any fun. I think it's safe to imply from this commercial that Mr. Game Show comically insults your family during gameplay. Who doesn't want to spend a Saturday night seated around the kitchen table watching a demonic Guy Smiley spit sarcastic insults at Grandma?

Let's get things straight right here and now, Game Show: the first time you put me down, as you say, I'm putting you in the ground. You think I can't crush your grinning plastic skull with one hand? Try me.

I think it's funny that Mr. Game Show thinks he is the "most advanced game system in the world." I guess that's how it is for toys though: one day you're the most amazing advance in board game technology and the next you're sitting battery-less on a card table between an old TV antennae and some Boz Scaggs records, a ten dollar price sticker affixed to your paint-chipped pompadour.

2. Operation

The game itself doesn't creep me out--though the worrisome concept (Surgery is so fun and easy, even a child can do it!) makes Operation's ultimate creepiness debatable at least--it's the sound, the gut-churning buzz when your pincers touch Cavity Sam's robotic innards, that makes every orifice on my body pucker simultaneously, every muscle spasm in unison, and everything with cringing capabilities cringe in congress. Just thinking about it makes my teeth ache.

3. My Buddy doll

You ain't my buddy, pal! To be honest, I didn't really have a beef with My Buddy before the introduction of Chucky, the doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer from the Child's Play film series, into my life. In fact, I don't even think I'd seen Chucky good and proper before I started to develop a healthy fear of the largely innocent My Buddy doll who sat quiet and smiling in the shared bedroom of the two brothers I used to babysit every Friday night when I was in eighth grade. I never expressed my fear to them, after all, I was their babysitter, I was supposed to be their fearless protector against monsters, of both the closet and under-the-bed variety, the vanquisher of the inevitable nightmares brought on by my allowing them to stay up an extra half hour to watch Are You Afraid of the Dark? And here I was, shaking like a newborn puppy, pants slowing filling with urine, because My Buddy was sitting in a rocking chair minding his own business. "Doesn't this thing frighten the shit out of you?" I desperately wanted to ask. Surely I wasn't the only one. I didn't trust that face, those freckle-flecked cheeks, those dead blue eyes.

As an adult I'm a pretty big fan of Chucky (I own all of his films, even the supremely shitty ones), but I still hate My Buddy and his stupid face.

4. Boglins

Here's the effed up part: I always wanted a Boglin growing up, but my parents wouldn't let me get one. Sure, I used to pal around exclusively with a knee-high plastic representation of my favorite Gremlin, Spike (He even appears in an infamous Easter photo), but I was not allowed to have what is essentially a puppet resembling a lump of excrement with teeth. Sure, Mom and Dad, that makes perfect sense...I'm being sarcastic--you ruined my life!

Nah, I had plenty of weird-ass toys and in retrospect I'm glad I was denied my very own Boglin. Know why? The eyes. Those eyes, man! Brrrr...creepy. I've seen enough YouTube videos of people messing around with Boglins, moving those eerie, human-esque eyes all around, to know I don't want one within 50 feet of me. Speaking of which...

5. Ventriloquist dummies

I know, Neal Schweiber, they're called figures. I don't care what you call them, just keep them all away from me. As far away as humanly possible. Seriously. I cannot stand ventriloquist dummies. They make me physically ill. And why do they always have to be so mean to the hacky comedians that give them life? You think dummies would be a little more appreciative.

I'll never forget attending a camper show with my family (jealous?) and actively trying to avoid a ventriloquist and his little demonic buddy who were making the rounds on the showroom floor. I couldn't even enjoy the campers and motor homes, man! That stupid dummy ruined the whole camper show experience. I have never been to one since. I'm too afraid of who, or what, I might run in to.
6. Any old baby doll

You see them all the time: languishing in the bottom of the toy box at a daycare center; sprawled out on the guest room bed at your parent's house; nude with a dented head covered in violent crayon slashes, winking with it's one good eye from the top shelf at a thrift store. Old dolls: is there any toy sadder or creepier? We don't just throw aborted fetuses all over the place--no matter what they try to tell you in Christian school--so why are discarded baby dolls left out in the open to inspire nightmares? I'm at the Raleigh flea market with my wife and I have to walk by a table covered in naked, dead-eyed baby dolls? My wife doesn't need to see that. We're trying to have a special day and you've got gross, naked dolls all over the place! And why are they always nude? We don't just leave butt-naked babies all over the place. Put a gown on that thing, man! Sheesh!

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Awesome Animal Thursday: Cats!!!

Are these truly the very top ten cutest cat moments of all time? Well, I don't rightly know, but they're pretty damn cute, I reckon. Prepare to be kicked in the nuts by cute.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last Week in Movies (6/27-7/3)

Body Heat (1981)
Around the 10 minute mark of Body Heat, I sighed and said aloud, "I get it! You're a noir!" Maybe I can only stomach noir-style dialogue when the movie is in black and white, but something about the first half hour of Lawrence Kasdan's steamy thriller turned me off. As the plot thickened however, I found myself growing more and more engrossed in the doomed love affair between shady defense attorney Ned Racine, played to sleaze-ball perfection by a mustachioed William Hurt, and Matty Walker, an unhappily married sexpot with a penchant for wind chimes, played by a young, frequently nude, Kathleen Turner. Hurt and Turner smolder and sweat and eventually scheme to murder Matty's ridiculously rich, ridiculously elderly husband and take all his money. It's all pretty rote and predictable, but Hurt and Turner give particularly good performances and watching a young Ted Danson dance Fred Astaire-style all over the place is endlessly amusing and weird.

My grade: B-
Best pick-up line ever: "Hey, lady, ya wanna fuck?" -Ned Racine, accidentally, to Matty's gal pal, Mary Ann
My tagline: "The heat can make a man do crazy grow a dumb mustache."
In the Mood for Love (2000)
Friend of the blog Gabe Sealy-Morris calls director Wong Kar-wai's 2000 film In the Mood for Love a "perfect movie," and I'm inclined to agree. The film is gorgeous to look at. The actors, music, and colors (yes, colors) meld together beautifully, engulfing the viewer in a movie experience that is incredibly moving. Love is the story of two neighbors who learn that their significant others are carrying on a secret affair with one another. The two jilted spouses bond over this as well as their shared love of martial arts serials, in fact, much of the movie sees the two of them writing a martial arts story of their own. Lovers of sappy, predictable love stories will not enjoy In the Mood for Love--they may find it just a little too real. Hey, whatever, man. Love sucks sometimes, especially the awkward, unrequited kind. Get used to it.

My grade: A
Die Hard (1988)
I'm just going to say it: Die Hard might be the coolest movie ever made. The fact that it took me this bloody long to see it is criminal and I'm ready to accept any ridicule one might want to heap on top of me for this folly. Let's be fair though: I have finally experienced it and am now a die hard member of the Die Hard cult.
For those who haven't seen it yet (i.e. joyless losers), Die Hard tells the story of NYPD officer John McClane, who with the help of Family Matters' Carl Winslow, foils the plot of a greasy band of Eurotrash thieves, led by the sinister and sophisticated Hans Gruber, to steal large quantities of money from a major Japanese corporation in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. Phew! You think reading the above sentence was exhausting, wait until you've run around a high-tech, super skyscraper shooting German bad-guys with John McClane for two hours.
I know he's in the next three sequels but...: During the scene where McClane jumps off the roof of the Naktomi building just as said roof explodes in a fireball of death, my body actually folded in on itself. It was intense is what I'm trying to get across to you.

My grade: A
Not buying it: You mean to tell me that the LAPD and the FBI are going to let Argyle and the McClanes simply leave the scene of a major terroristic crime and drive off into the night without being debriefed?
Jon Morgan's favorite part: "My favorite part is the fact that it is perhaps the only movie in history to feature not one, but TWO black nerds." (I assume he means aforementioned limo driver, Argyle, and Gruber's computer-savvy friend. I submit however that Die Hard actually features THREE black nerds: Argyle, computer dude, and Reginald VelJohnson who plays chubby snack cake aficionado, Sgt Al Powell.)
Chinatown (1974)
The battle for control of LA's water supply results in murder, corruption, and incestuous rape. Who knew the water business was so damn cutthroat. Jack Nicholson stars as J.J. Gittes (his last name is pronounced differently so many times, I have no idea what's correct), a private dick who is initially hired to shadow Hollis Mulwray, chief engineer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, but ends up getting involved in all sorts of shady dealings once Mulwray's body turns up dead in a local reservoir. To explain any further would take away the magic of discovering Chinatown for yourself. It is a beautifully shot, expertly written, multi-layered neo-noir classic that better be on your Must See list, provided you have one of those. I do. I keep it in my back pocket at all times. I'm a nerd.

My grade: A
Jake Gittes tells a joke: Use it at your next office cocktail party.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Food Porn Friday: The Club Sandwich My Wife Made For Me

Turkey, bacon, tomato, mayonnaise, and avocado on toasted rye bread. Perfection. My wife is the best ever!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stop Already: How Do You Like Your Kid Cooked?

Children: love 'em or hate 'em, they exist. Not only do they exist, but for the first, I don't know, 10 to 11 years of their lives, children are pretty much dependent upon their parental overlords to clothe, shelter, feed, and generally take care of them. That isn't much to ask, is it, people with kids? You created a brand-new life form, now why not do everything you can to help it grow and flourish. Seems perfectly logical to me.

So why have 19 kids already died in hot cars so far this year? That's a record by the way. According to USA Today, 30 to 40 children fry to death in the back of parked cars a year, but this is the first year since researchers started tracking this shit in 1998, that so many have perished in the first half of a year. Congratulations, America. You are dumber than anyone could have ever imagined.
Is the fact that babies and toddlers will most assuredly die the most horrific of deaths if left unattended in a parked car during the summer months a news flash to anyone? It shouldn't be. If it is, you need to get out more. Or, I don't know, rev up that slimy mass between your ears and think about someone other than yourself for once. You've climbed into your car after a day at the office and felt how sweltering the interior can be. "Man, it sure is hot inside this car!" you've probably said to yourself or the ladies you carpool with or the dead baby in your backseat. It's difficult to breathe. The steering wheel feels like a frying pan. Now imagine that you sat in that car all day long. And imagine you didn't do it willingly, but, rather, the person you look to for comfort and protection abandoned you there without a second thought. Maybe that person was frazzled, had other things on his mind. Doesn't matter what the reason is: you've just watched the person you trust more than anyone else leave you in an incinerator. "He'll be right back, I'm sure," you'd think. Oh, man, are you wrong though...
I'm sorry, but if you've got a baby in the car, what other things do you have on your mind? You've got a laughing, cooing human life wiggling around in the backseat and you just plum forgot? Eff you! You're a scumbag! You made sure the twenty-something barista got your coffee order right, why not make it a priority to keep your kid alive.
But, hey, some people forget. Life is hectic. Maybe you got stuck taking the kid to day-care and it's something you don't usually do. There are countless chapters in that story. In fact, Peter Pronovost, a safety researcher interviewed for the USA Today story that inspired this piece, suggests that our cars be responsible for reminding us that we've got our offspring along for the ride and that if we had alarms and magic seatbelts, we'd be less inclined to absent-mindedly murder our children.

"We should not focus on punishing the moms or saying 'Try harder,' " Pronovost says. "We need a system solution. Moms and dads will always be sleep-deprived and forgetful."

Shut up, Pronovost! We should punish moms and dads and daycare employees and whoever else is driving our kids the hell around when they do stupid shit like this. And we should keep punishing them until the rest of the brain-dead dolts we allow to procreate in this country learn that leaving your children in a hot car while you get your nails done or receive a lap dance or work an 8-hour day is not only morally wrong, but utterly insane, and if you do it you are fucked. Pronovost isn't a fan of telling parents "try harder?" Well, I sure as shit am! Try harder, you jerks! I should never have to open a newspaper and see a story about a kid frying to death in the backseat of a parked car. It just shouldn't happen. You work on those car alarms, Pronovost. I'll stick with shouting at idiots. Don't leave your kids in the car! Just stop already! Read the rest of this article.