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Monday, August 30, 2010

6 Films We Are NOT Looking Forward To At All


1. Jack and Jill

What's up next for funnyman Adam Sandler? Well, if you guessed a Thanksgiving comedy in which Sandler plays the the roles of both Jack and Jack's twin sister, Jill, and the shenanigans that transpire when Jill decides to hang around her brother's house in LA, thus throwing Jack's life into a hilarious whirlwind of chaos, rather than return to her dysfunctional life in the Bronx, then you'd be right. Jack and Jill is all of those things. And, if that isn't enough, Al Pacino shows up...AS HIMSELF! Do not adjust your glasses or contact lenses, gentle reader. You read that correctly: Al Pacino plays himself in an Adam Sandler-in-drag movie. Throw space cadet Katie Holmes in as Sandler's wife and you've got a recipe for suck that should make millions upon millions of dollars. Do everyone a favor, all right? If you just read this synopsis and thought, "I like Adam Sandler and, true, while he hasn't made a funny movie in years, I'm willing to once again shell out ten bucks in the hopes that this feature will prove to be an upswing in a career I long ago gave up on but have continued to passively bankroll by continuing to purchase tickets to travesty after cinematic travesty," please, for the love of all that is still good and pure in this world, throw yourself headfirst off of the closest bridge, like the young ladies in our next film...

2. Triple Dog

Who doesn't want to watch a high school girl squat on someone's front porch and take a big, steaming dump? Oh, yeah: no one! Proving once again that even the thinnest of concepts can be made into a terrible, terrible movie, Triple Dog is essentially Truth or Dare: The Movie. Yes, the popular slumber party game in which young people dare one another to jog a lap around the cul-de-sac naked or simulate fellatio on a beloved stuffed animal (I am so very sorry, Mr. Cuddlebumps--I still feel guilty for abandoning you in the attic the next morning.), has been turned into a horror movie about high school girls shitting on things. And jumping off of bridges. And dying. Dying? Oh noes!

Anybody who has ever played the made-up-so-a-movie-could-be-made-about-it game Triple Dog knows that you don't videotape your friends doing the dares. That's how junior class presidents lose their illustrious roles in student government. As much as I don't ever want this film to enter my eyes and/or ear holes, I do want to know why Chapin got kicked out of Sacred Heart. I bet it was for forcing girls to jump off bridges into big piles of rocks by threatening to shave their heads if they didn't. Slumber parties will never be the same. Or they'll be exactly the same. I bet they'll be pretty much the same.

3. I'm Still Here

Remember when Joaquin Phoenix quit acting to become a rapper and nobody on the planet thought it was real? Then, remember when Phoenix's brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, started following him around with cameras and filming his tumultuous ride to the bottom of the rap game and still no one thought it was real or funny? Well, turns out, it was all for a movie called I'm Still Here, to which I think audiences will respond with a rapturous, "Who cares!?" Look at this thing:

Who the fuck does Joaquin Phoenix think he is? If this is a mockumentary, it doesn't seem particularly funny; and if it's a straight up serious doc (Which it can't possibly be, can it?) about one actor's voyage of self-discovery through the medium of rap music, it doesn't look particularly interesting. Or rap-filled.

4-6. Battleship/Monopoly/Candy Land
By now everyone knows that in the coming years Hollywood will be unleashing a barrage of big budget films based on popular board games of yesteryear on an extremely suspecting public. But how can Hollywood hope to make a successful movie out of a game that essentially involves two people sitting behind their own plastic briefcases with a fleet of tiny ships and a well full of white and red pegs, shouting number and letter combinations at one another? Easy. Put aliens in it (but not at the beginning, for some reason I don't understand...). And what in the world will Monopoly look like? Probably a lot like Blade Runner, as Ridley Scott is signed on to direct. And then there's Candy Land, based on probably the stupidest board game of all time, from the minds that brought you Tropic Thunder and Enchanted. Wait...WHAT? Those are legitimately good films! What the hell is going on here? Have I entered some kind of topsy-turvy world where a board game movie is considered a million dollar idea? What's next, Barrel of Monkeys: The Movie? Gator Golf: Rise of the Gators? Jenga: Battle for the Space Colonies? Or a movie based on this:

You heard the man: he wants our balls! I can't think of anything more horrifying, 'cept maybe Adam Sandler doing his Gap Girl character for two hours on the big screen. Ugh.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Week in Movies (8/22-8/28)

Near Dark (1987)
Before the tortured, overwrought, sexless relationship between Twilight's Edward, a sparkly Mormon vampire, and Bella, the single worst protagonist in modern popular fiction, there was Mae, the sexy vampire drifter, and Caleb Colton, the horny, small-town redneck. Where Eddie and Bells took it slow--and I mean glacier slow!--Mae wastes no time before chomping Caleb's neck and infecting him with vamp disease. Almost immediately, Caleb finds himself sick with a mysterious hunger not even bus station snack machine fare can quench. Oh, yeah, and there's the whole thing with the sun setting his skin on fire--no sparkly vampires in this world, man. Caleb is kidnapped by Mae's "family" and whisked away on the bloodiest road trip since Charles Starkweather and his underage girlfriend's infamous killing spree. The leader of the gang, Jesse Hooker, gives Caleb three days to make his first kill, but this turns out to be much too difficult a task for the kind-hearted Caleb, who endears himself to the group instead by saving their collective asses during a shoot-out with police. There's more (a lot more!), but Near Dark is must-see viewing for cinephiles and fans of vampire fare alike. In fact, those who believe Twilight and its sequels to be the very pinnacle of vampiric filmmaking, need to rub the sparkly vampire dust out of their eyes and give Near Dark a watch. Near Dark is both hardcore and heartfelt. A vampire classic!

My grade: A-

Bill Paxton: Best. Vampire. Ever. If the movie was just two hours of him effing with people in that redneck bar, Near Dark would maintain its classic status.

Near Dark Fun Fact: Near Dark was written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the very first female to win the Academy Award for Best Direction.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010)
I saw Scott Pilgrim again, this time with the wife. I'm pleased to report that it still rules.

My grade: A+ still

Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
The following two films on this week's list employ what critics call a "plot twist" or "the old Shyamalan." Both films are successful, in that, both plot twists are, in fact, textbook twistings of the plot, but only Bunny Lake is Missing's last minute game changer proves satisfying. But look at the time. I'm rambling on and on about plot twists and I've still got a synopsis to type.

As the films title suggests, Bunny Lake is missing. Who is Bunny Lake? Well, she is the 4-year-old daughter of one Ms. Ann Lake, an American who has just moved to London with her brother, Steven. Bunny is kidnapped right out from under the noses of the staff at The Little People's Garden preschool on her first day. Ann is understandably upset and Steven, after scouring the school for several hours himself, phones the police. Police Superintendent Newhouse takes the case and after various interviews with Ann and Steven, he suspects that Bunny Lake is nothing more than a figment of a lonely woman's imagination, kept alive by her overprotective older brother. But does Bunny Lake actually exist? Well, what kind of person would I be if I told you that? A jerky spoiler guy, that's what kind. Find out for yourself. I can't do all the heavy lifting for you. Sheesh!

My grade: B+

Laurence Olivier: Best. Police Superintendent. Ever. He gets all of the film's best lines, like this one, said to an uncooperative travel agent when trying to obtain the manifest for a particular ocean liner: "I don't want it tonight, I want it now!"

Strait-Jacket (1964)
Robert Bloch is still working through his mommy issues in this mostly unlikable psycho-biddy film about a murderous mother and her unbalanced progeny. 20 years ago, Lucy Harbin came home early from a trip to find her significantly younger husband in bed with a brazen hussy from the local tavern. Rather than waking her philandering husband to give him a stern talking to, Lucy grabs an axe from the backyard and proceeds to decapitate her husband and his girlfriend while they sleep. Oh, I almost forgot: Lucy's daughter, Carol, witnesses the whole thing. In present day (i.e. 1964), Lucy is released from the mental institution and goes to live with her brother, Bill, his wife, Emily, and Carol, who is now all growns up. Carol is happy to see her mother and does everything she can to make Lucy feel comfortable in the outside world. But is Lucy really cured of her head-chopping ways? Not bloody likely! Almost immediately she begins hearing sing-songy voices describe her crime and hallucinates decapitated heads on her pillow. When one of her doctors from the asylum comes calling, he swiftly finds himself at the business end of an axe. As does greasy farmhand, Leo, after he finds the doctor's car and decides to use it as blackmail against Carol and her loony mother. And I haven't even mentioned Carol's pseudo-fiance, Michael, his milk-swilling father, and his bitchy mom. Will Lucy's reign of bloody terror ever stop? Is Lucy really the one committing all of these fresh axe murders? Spoiler alert: No. It's not her. It's her daughter. Wearing a Joan Crawford mask. A really creepy Joan Crawford mask. Ugh.

My grade: D+

A note on the poster's "WARNING": I've never witnessed a real one, so I might be off base her, but I'm pretty sure an axe murder, specifically one involving decapitation, does NOT resemble a mannequin having its head knocked off, bloodlessly, I might add, with a single whack. I thought that was why the French invented the guillotine. I thought beheadings up until then involved a black-hooded dude whacking away at the guilty party's neck a few times before the old noggin came loose.

Ah, to be a milk baron: Michael's dad made his fortune on milk and to make sure visitors to his fabulous mansion never forget this, he always keeps a pitcher of milk at the bar. Yes, Mr. Fields spends his days drinking room temperature milk. Ugh.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Going Back to School in Style: A Guide to Looking Good

It's that time of year again--back to school time! Can't you just feel the excitement in the air? You can't? Well, maybe you don't hang around as many high school parking lots as I do. I assure you, school is back in the session and this year the focus is on fashion. And who better to clue teenagers in on what is hip and cool in the world of young people's fashion than a 31-year-old man who leaves the house most mornings looking tragically unkempt and on weekends can't even find the strength to pull on a pair of pants? If you answered "nobody," then you are certifiably insane and should be locked away in a state mental health facility until further notice. I know nothing to less-than-nothing about fashion, that's why I turned to my good friend the internet for our first official Back to School Fashion feature. Things is about to get a whole lot hipper in here, dogs! Let's do this thing now!

1. Political Tees
Show your classmates how little you respect their right to freedom of religion with this controversial, yet extremely comfortable, t-shirt. It doesn't matter that the proposed mosque is two blocks away from the site of the 9/11 tragedy. It doesn't even matter that the mosque isn't a mosque at all. All that matters is that everyone will finally know that 9/11 made you more sad than anyone else. If this shirt is a little too straightforward for you, however, there is a shirt available for the more artsy bigot:
Frankly, I find this one a tad confusing. To me, it seems to read, "No more Twin Towers. Hooray, a mosque!" But who am I? Just a folk-singing, hippie liberal with a brain, I guess.

2. Tighter Pants Then Ever Before!
What's the latest trend in cutting off your circulation? That's right: jeggings! What are jeggings, you ask? Keep in my mind, if you are asking what jeggings are, you are probably so tragically un-hip that you should either kill yourself right this second or develop an eating disorder, because jeggings are only for the coolest of the cool (i.e. skinniest) girls in your school. Jeggings, for uggo readers, are a combination of jeans and leggings, making them the most skintight of all the pants. Anything tighter would have to be painted on. What are you waiting for, girls? Those jeggings are just waiting to choke the life out of your vag! (I hope there are no uggos reading this site. Ew!)

3. Whore Gear from the Shore, Dear!
Mtv's Jersey Shore isn't just for watchin' anymore! Now you can dress like Jersey Shore superstar Jenni "JWoww" Farley, whose new line, called, appropriately, Filthy Couture, is currently available for purchase at fine boutiques and off the backs of desperate meth-addicted strippers everywhere. This year you can saunter down the halls of your middle school in one of JWoww's fabulous designs confident in the fact that you are filling your math teacher with epic amounts of shame.

4. Accessories Are Totes In
Believe it or not, accessories are totally cool. I know, I was shocked too. Of course, not any accessory will do. According to, funky accessories are all the rage this year and what could be funkier than this The Last Airbender necklace? That's right. uses this The Last Airbender necklace as an example of a "funky accessory." This necklace based on the biggest flop of the entire summer, quite possibly destined to join the ranks of the worst reviewed films of all time, is something with which feels--nay, strongly suggests --one should adorn one's body. Seriously. Who are you to question Just buy the fucking thing, all right? It's funky!

5. V-Neck T-Shirts...For Boys???
Believe it or not, this is a thing men are doing. Heterosexual men. No, really. I'm not kidding. Couple it with a man purse or a Gilligan hat, and you've got yourself a hip, happening look. Or a bloody nose. (Probably just a bloody nose.)

6. ???
You know, it's not even close to prom season yet. We'll wait on this one.

Now get out there and get fashionable, boys and girls. Remember, you only get to experience school once in your life (unless you're some kind of dumb ass who gets held back repeatedly for being dumb), so make it count. Life is a fashion show and it's up to you, the hip kids, to mercilessly torment anyone who fails to meet your exacting standards of coolness.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Last Week in Movies (8/15-8/21)

The Stranger (1946)
There's a Nazi war criminal hiding out in the sleepy town of Harper, Connecticut, and Edward G. Robinson has been sent to capture him. The Nazi scum-sucker in question is notorious mastermind Franz Kindler, who now goes by the name Charles Rankin and teaches history at the local boy's school. Rankin has carved out a nice quiet life for himself in Harper, but he is always ready to spring back into Nazi action, as evidenced by his welcome-cum-murder of the only man who knows his identity, weaselly henchman Meinike, when he saunters into town to urge Rankin to confess his sins and ask Jesus to be his personal savior. Slowly, Rankin's new life begins to unravel, taking a real turn for the shit when Mary, his wife, finally stops deluding herself and accepts the fact that she's fallen in love with a Nazi. That's never an easy thing to admit.

My grade: A

Proves the old adage...: If a clock tower appears in the first act, someone will fall off of it in the third.

Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Wendy and Lucy is a charming, albeit mildly depressing, film about a girl and her dog. Unlike the other film in GEP's Summer Viewing Program about an out of luck vagabond with a canine companion, Wendy is not treading the post-apocalyptic desert in search of frightened young women to sexually assault. Wendy is headed to Alaska to work in a cannery. Hooray? Yes, apparently there are plenty of canning opportunities up north, so Wendy packs up her piece of shit car and takes off for the Land of the Midnight Sun with her trusty dog, Lucy, in tow. Unfortunately, Wendy's car breaks down in Bumblefuck, Oregon. To make matters worse, she spends an afternoon in jail for stealing dog food and ends up losing track of Lucy. For the remainder of the film, Wendy wanders around the small town in which she's stranded, chatting with the locals and humming to herself. There isn't much to it really. It's quiet, slow-paced, and well-acted, and there's something damn endearing about it.

My grade: B

The Hammer (2007)
The script is right out of the First Time Screenwriter's Handbook--it hits every expected beat at every expected time without fail--but there's something about this Adam Carolla boxing comedy that I liked. It's funny enough (not "hilarious," as noted film critic Howard Stern is quoted as saying on the poster), sweet, but not overly so, and surprisingly tame considering its star helms one of the filthiest (and most popular) podcasts on the internet. Quite frankly, I like Adam Carolla. I've been a fan of his since The Man Show, a program I never particularly cared for, hosted by two people I knew would someday do better things. I think Carolla is hilarious, which is why his film debut is kind of an anomaly. The funniest scenes are when Carolla is allowed to simply riff, like in the scene where his character, Jerry, takes love interest, Lindsay, to the La Brea Tar Pits on a first date. There is a breezy quality to the scene that this by-the-numbers film as a whole lacks. Oh, yeah, it's about boxing and stuff.

My grade: C+

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
I'm still reeling from my first viewing (Oh, yes, there will be more...many, many more!) of this summer's greatest film, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Granted, I've only seen four movies this summer, but, c'mon, it's Scott Pilgrim.

Scott Pilgrim takes the title for a lot of movie "bests," as far as I'm concerned. It is the Best Comic-to-Film Adaptation (Non-Super Hero) that I've ever seen--though, the film does contain several seemingly super-powered beings engaging in highly stylized fights of an epic nature AND I haven't technically ever read the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels; hadn't even heard of them until I first saw the trailer for the film, so I don't know it's faithful to the source material or what (my hunch is that it is). It is the Best Video Game Film I've ever seen--though I'm marginally certain that it is not, in fact, based on a specific game, but, rather, uses elements from many different games to pepper it's cinematic world with colorful highlights that should delight old school gamers endlessly. It is also the Coolest Movie I've ever seen. It's just fantastically great, you guys, and since I promised some readers I wouldn't spoil anything, I'll shut my trap. I will say though that you are not going to wanna catch up with this one on DVD or On Demand cable. You'll kick yourself in the balls. Scott Pilgrim has to be experienced on the big, loud screen. See it. Right now. Leave your house and drive as fast as you can to the closest multiplex! Do it, asshole!

My grade: A+

My favorite character: Knives Chau

My favorite fight: Sex Bob-omb vs. The Katayanagi Twins

My favorite moment: Ramona pulls a big-ass hammer out of her purse. This hammer:
I'm getting geek chills just thinking about it. SEE THIS MOVIE!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Porn Friday: Fried Chicken and Waffles

I experienced the slice of breakfast food heaven that is fried chicken and a waffle for the first time recently, and I can say without a single doubt that it is quite simply THE BEST FOOD COMBINATION OF ALL TIME! All hail the new king of breakfast, second breakfast, and brunch! Read the rest of this article.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Morning Music: Trade Martin-"We've Got to Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero"

Everybody's favorite idiotic cause now has an idiotic anthem, complete with poorly-made video, to go with it.

Can we just get clear on a few things, please? Nobody is building a mosque at Ground Zero. From what I've read it's more like a recreation center with a mosque inside. But it's also two blocks away. Have you been to Ground Zero? I have and it is surrounded by lowlifes selling 9/11 trinkets, t-shirts, and post cards. "Yes, I'll take two post cards of a big empty hole, please." Getting rich in the wake of a horrible tragedy--that's offensive. I'm more offended by those American flag infomercials that popped up on TV practically right after the towers fell than I am by an Islamic community center being built two blocks away almost 9 years after 9/11. Gothamist recently showcased some other business establishments that are two blocks away from Ground Zero, including fast food restaurants and a strip club. You wouldn't put a Burger King in your church's vestibule, but it's OK to have a Dunkin' Donuts across the street from the "sacred" site where the Twin Towers once stood? Of course it's OK to a have Dunkin' Donuts there! It's a doughnut place people like! GAH!

I like how Trade Martin points out that he gets the whole "freedom of religion" thing, but then proceeds to whine and moan about that freedom being practiced. And what's he talking about when he calls Ground Zero a "sacred place?" It's the site of one of the worst tragedies in American history, but when you refer to a place as "sacred" and couple this with a whiny anti-mosque building message, it seems to me like another case of the Christians co-opting a national tragedy and making it their very own, turning Ground Zero into a satellite battlefield for Armageddon. Trade Martin, you and your Muslim-hating chums can sing all the goofy, poorly-recorded songs you want, but don't for one second think every American agrees with your narrow-minded, Right Wing Christian bullshit, sir! I'm sure there are thousands of Christians even who think building a Muslim community center in New York City is perfectly fine. It's certainly not threatening the First Baptist Church of Topeka's Support Our Troops bake sale, so who cares?

And how exactly is a mosque "thumbing its nose at every victim and hero?" First, and I don't think I have to tell you this, but mosques don't usually sport noses. Many mosques are built without eyes or working mouths. Several mosques, as well as many churches and synagogues all over the world, are full of assholes however. Second, I'm sure the people who want to build the Muslim community center two blocks from Ground Zero were more interested in the available space and the affordable price. I'm certain that spitting in the face of every fireman, police officer, and 9/11 survivor was not high on their priority list. In fact, I bet if they had an actual, physical list of priorities, mocking 9/11 and its participants, both living and dead, wouldn't appear on it.

But the most offensive thing about "We've Got to Stop the Mosque at Ground Zero" is how horrible it sounds. Did Trade Martin record this thing in a broom closet? More than likely he polished the whole thing off in about 15 minutes, seated in front of his computer, wearing nothing but a stained pair of tighty whities.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Faces of the Juggalo Nation

I've been reading a lot about this whole Tila Tequila versus the Juggalos thing for the past two days and something just don't sit right with me. I've seen the Twitter transcripts (tweetscripts?). I've watched the video, complete with Tom Green dance, on TMZ. I've read the words of my companions in snark. Frankly, I'm more than a little turned off.

Like most of you, I don't know what it means to be a Juggalo. I have a vague impression. I know Juggalos enjoy the music of the Insane Clown Posse and other clown-painted, horrorcore artistes. I've heard that they gather somewhere in the Midwest once a year for four days of music and clowny mayhem. I've also heard that they have a fondness for Faygo, a beverage I too very much enjoy. In fact, many of my favorite memories of growing up in Michigan involve the consumption of large quantities of Faygo. Of course, I liked to drink it. Juggalos, apparently, enjoying hurling bottles of it at musical acts they don't enjoy or spraying it on the breasts of their ICP-loving wives and girlfriends, known as Juggalettes. But why take my word for it, when a young person, known simply as The.Juggalo.Jester, defines the terms so eloquently on the Urban Dictionary:

Well. The juggalo and the juggalettes are hard to describe in general, even as a juggalo it's hard for me. So i'm going to try. A juggalo is a male fan of the Insane Clown Posse A juggalette is the female fan of the Insane Clown Posse ICP for short. Juggalo's and juggalettes are fans of ICP that have been saved by The dark Carnival and have realised that being different isn't a bad thing, for it makes us just that. 'Different' from everyone, we are all crazy in our own ways and we are all hated for some reason or another. Us Lo's And Lette's Are loyal fans to ICP and any of the bands under the psychopathic record's logo. We love them as family as well as other Lo's and Lette's as family and we would die for eachother. Poeple always dis on the fam but we are strong and most true juggalo's and lette's ignore the threats and the insults. Most of the fans connect with ICP, Twiztid, Boondox, ABK, AMB, Blaze cause they grew up unwanted as many juggalo's and juggalette's did. Me included. We are outcasts. But the truth is we don't care, we don't give a fuck. We paint our faces and we talk the way we talk to be different. Though many people say yea, yea, they want to be non-conformists, most of us are. We are all crazy and mentally unstable. Me for example. I've been to about 8 different therapists. My parents trying to scrounge up money for it all. Luckily we have rich grandparents. Me myself, i've grown up with no moeny for myself and the thing is i don't have friends...

There's more, but it gets kinda creepy and self-indulgent. The point is, Juggalos believe in something, they stand for something. Sure, it's something called "The Dark Carnival," but who amongst us doesn't have our very own "dark carnival?" Maybe your "dark carnival" is Jesus. Or Buddha. Or shoe shopping. Or carnivals.

Listen, it's easy to look down on the Juggalos. Many of them are obese, physically incapable of love, learning disabled, high on face paint fumes, sociopathic, dangerously violent and/or the products of a trailer park upbringing. But before you blow them off as simple-minded, Tila Tequila-battering psychopaths, take a moment to look into the faces of the Juggalo Nation.
See, women do let Juggalos sleep with them. Sometimes without a condom. These proud Juggalo parents will someday raise their own Juggalo, instilling in it the core values of all Lo's and Lette's: You must always notice and recognize miracles and Faygo-brand pop is meant to be sprayed on women's boobies.
Look at this normal, well-adjusted young couple? Don't just look at their offputting black and white make-up and write them off as typical suburban dregs of society. There is so much promise in these grimaces, so much hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. Riddle me this: who would you rather your daughter show up with for Sunday brunch: this young gent or Hitler? Something to think about.
Juggalos celebrate Christmas, for Pete's sake! Would God-fearing, yuletide revelers such as these wish anything but tidings of comfort and joy upon the Tila Tequilas and Method Men of this world? Christmas is a holiday celebrated by only the strictest of Christians, so I can only assume the three young people pictured above are active members in their church youth group. I've never heard of youth groupers filling balloons with their own urine and hurling said pee-filled balloons at Canadian comedy legend Tom Green, have you?

And who could believe that these sweet, innocent Juggalettes would even hurt a fly, let alone participate in a bottle-tossing riot at an outdoor clown-rap festival:
I think I've seen that girl on the right reading to blind kids in the children's hospital downtown. I know that shirt looks familiar.

Leave the Juggalos alone, America! Seriously. What happened to hating Mel Gibson? Or making fun of Jon Gosselin? Let's get back to that for awhile.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

100 Songs I Love presents...10 More Songs to Crank Up When the Windows are Down (Songs 40-49)

There seems to be no end in sight to this infernal summer season. Here's a Summer Fun Fact for all of my North Carolina readers: Didja know that the Summer of 2010 is the third hottest summer on record for the state? Now you know and you're probably cursing your father for being transferred here for work more than a decade ago. Or is that just me? Oh, want to hear an even funner Summer Fun Face? Too bad. I'm going to give you one anyway. Didja know that the summer my family moved to Charlotte was the second hottest summer in North Carolina history? It's true unfortunately.

Summer sucks, but at least we've got music to distract us from the brain-boiling heat. Here are 10 more kick-ass tunes that I turn to whenever the summer sun gets me down.

40. Hola' Hovito by Jay-Z
41. All Hail Me by Veruca Salt

(In 1994, I would've killed to have Veruca Salt play my birthday party! And goats on the table?! Awesome!)
42. Mother Knows Best by Crystal Castles
43. Be My Head by The Flaming Lips
44. Fresh Born by Deerhoof

Wolves and Libertines by Heartsrevolution
46. Doctor Rock by Ween

Frankie's Gun! by The Felice Brothers
48. Jail La La by Dum Dum Girls (can't embed the video, so be sure you click the link and check it out)
49. Deep Space 9mm by El-P

Enjoy and pray that this summer doesn't kill us all.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Week in Movies (8/8-8/14)

Red Road (2006)
Jackie Morrison, a haunted woman with a tragic past, makes her living monitoring a small section of Glasgow, Scotland, that includes the Red Road flats, a real-life housing complex that you can visit and tour if you ever find yourself vacationing in Scotland.* One day, Jackie spies Clyde, a ginger-headed man from her past, on one of the many screens she sits in front of daily. Jackie takes to following Clyde outside of work and, eventually, becomes intimately involved with him, for reasons I will not spoil for you here. Red Road is slowly paced, but the build up is incredibly effective, even if the ending, while both tragic and hopeful, is fairly hackneyed.

My grade: B

Re: "*": I don't know if you can take a tour of the Red Road flats. You probably can't.

Ponyo (2008)
Ponyo is the most recent insta-classic from Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki. It tells the story of a magical little fish girl who after spending an afternoon with a human boy named Sosuke and ingesting just a smidgeon of his blood, decides to rebel against her weird-looking father--seriously, what's with that guy's hair?--and turn herself all human and stuff. This brazen act, unfortunately, upsets the balance of existence. Only the true love of two five-year-olds can put things right again.

My grade: A+

A reflection on death: If there is an afterlife--and I sincerely hope that there is--it will look like a Miyazaki film. Ponyo, while light on plot--which, believe me, is not a problem at all--is brimming with sumptuous beauty. There is always something colorful, frightening, impossible, beautiful, or downright odd to look at. I could get lost in the little world that Ponyo and Sosuke inhabit and be just fine with it.

Other Miyazaki films you might enjoy: I like all of Mr. Miyazaki's films, but some of my favorites include: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke (my very favorite), and Kiki's Delivery Service.

Other films Miyazaki has had a hand in that you also might enjoy: The Cat Returns, Pom Poko

The Fog (1980)
100 years ago, the founders of Antonio Bay, California, tricked a ship full of lepers into crashing, sinking, and dying a horrible drowning death collectively. Oh, yeah, they also stole all of the lepers' gold, melted it down, and sculpted it into a gaudy, golden cross for some reason. On the 100th anniversary of this mass leper drowning, Antonio Bay is visited by a mysterious, glowing fog chock full of zombie leper pirates (pirate lepers?) who want their gold back. Various people--including a sexy teenage drifter, a sexy radio DJ/MILF, and an un-mustachioed Tom Atkins--fight the zombies the only way they know how: stupidly. Seriously, I've seen a lot of stupid moves in the horror genre, but the actions taken by the brain-damaged characters that populate The Fog approach super dumb status.

My grade: C

A short list of the stupidity on parade in The Fog:

1. To escape from two hook-wielding zombie lepers, Adrienne Barbeau CLIMBS ONTO THE ROOF OF A LIGHTHOUSE. Whuuuuuut?

2. An elderly woman instructs the young man she is babysitting to hide when the sinister fog comes knocking at her door, but instead of joining him she ANSWERS THE DOOR. She is subsequently murdered. Duh.

3. Once it is discovered that the fog is merely a cover for revenge-seeking leper zombie pirates, you'd think everyone would just leave town, right? Packing up your belongings, hopping in the car, and abandoning Antonio Bay seems like the best course of action, I think. But, no, our heroes LOCK THEMSELVES IN A CHURCH. And, oh yeah, THE CHURCH IS WHERE THE CURSED GOLDEN CROSS IS KEPT. And, I forgot, THE ZOMBIES WANT THEIR GOLD BACK. Could things get any stupider?

Margot at the Wedding (2007)
Noah Baumbach movies are painstakingly designed to make viewers feel better about their own fucked up families. In Margot at the Wedding, Nicole Kidman plays the titular role, an overly judgmental, probably bipolar, intellectual with an acid tongue. Margot and her son, Claude, spend the weekend with Margot's hippy sister, Pauline, Pauline's rotund, unemployed, mustachioed ("It's meant to be funny.") fiance, Malcolm, and Pauline's spacey daughter, Ingrid, and the darkest of wackiness ensues. Margot at the Wedding is uncomfortably funny and oddly comforting at the same time. No matter how many times my father has questioned my facial hair choices over the years or how frequently my mother grills me on my largely non-existent religious believes, I am comforted by the fact that I don't have a sister, aunt, grandmother, godmother, step-aunt, second cousin, etc. like Margot.

My grade: A-

Favorite lines #1: "Dude, you're an asshole!" -Pauline, to Margot during a fight.

Favorite lines #2: Claude: Did she poop her pants? Margot: It happens to everyone, not just babies. It'll happen to you someday.

Favorite lines #3: "I left a piece of skin in a movie theater once so it could watch movies all its life." -Ingrid

Favorite lines #4: Malcolm: I have the emotional version of whatever bad feng shui would be. I don't know. You tell me. You understand this shit. Pauline: Did you drink your teas? Malcolm: Yeah, I drank my fucking teas!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Porn Friday: Denny's Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich

Back in June we told you about Friendly's Grilled Cheese Burger Melt, calling it "the greatest achievement mankind has ever made." Well, apparently, we spoke too soon, because this week the internets are all abuzz about a new taboo-smashing sandwich innovation: the Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich from Denny's. I, for one, never thought Denny's would beat their genre-bending classic, the Grand Slamwich ("Two scrambled eggs, sausage, crispy bacon, shaved ham, mayonnaise and American cheese on potato bread grilled with a maple spice spread."), but I have been proven wrong. Who doesn't love fried mozzarella sticks? Who has a beef with sandwiches? Who wouldn't want to dip a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks into a bowl of tangy marinara and cram into his or her mouth-hole? GEP salutes you, Denny's. The Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich is truly a god amongst sandwiches. The ball is in your court, Perkins

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Last Week in Movies (8/1-8/7)

So, here we are, another Last Week in Movies entry with only 2 movies. What happened? Well, life happened. That's as cheesy and cloying as I can put it. I'm a busy man, people. I'm constantly running hither, thither, and yon, blazing trails and staking claims, building walls and smashing through 'em Kool-Aid Man-style. That, unfortunately, leaves little time for movie viewing sometimes. Am I giving up on my summer long quest to watch and enjoy the films on my illustrious list? Hell naw, son, I'm just switching things up a titch. For the remaining weeks of my summer viewing experience, every film on the list is fair game. I will no longer follow the rigid pattern I originally set up. I will not be shackled by my love of making lists and doggedly following them.

Anyway, here's Last Week in Movies. Enjoy.

The Warriors (1979)
In a nightmarish future where 70's hair is all the rage, New York City is crawling with hundreds of oddly-dressed "gangs" with little to do but protect their various turfs from outsiders. Cyrus, the charismatic leader of the Gramercy Riffs, wants to change all that. At an open-air gang summit meeting, which sort of looks like how I imagine the San Diego Comic Convention's Masquerade might look, Cyrus proposes the unification of all gangs and the subsequent takeover of New York City. Can you dig it? Well, one dude can't, so he shoots and kills Cyrus, and blames Coney Island's own The Warriors. The Warriors spend the remainder of the movie trying to make it home safely while be hunted by the cops and literally every other gang in the city. It's pretty much as cool as it sounds.

My grade: B

Costume ideas: I don't dress up for Halloween because I'm 31-years-old and I hate fun, but if I were to participate in American's second most useless holiday, I think I might dress up as a member of the Baseball Furies.

Iconic lines: You want iconic lines? I got your iconic lines right here:

The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
A prehistoric beast is released from 20,000 fathoms. It wreaks havoc on New York City (Is there really any place better for havoc wreaking? I think not.). Some scientist and his friends save the day. Whatever.

My grade: C

Breaking news from the distant past: I was going to poke fun at this flick, call it a Godzilla rip-off and what-not, but apparently Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was released a whole year before Godzilla. It's all there though: the nuclear bomb, the boat attacks, the pissed off building-stomping. You win this time, Time.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Reality Report: Reality TV in Upheaval

1. Teen Mom (Mtv): My favorite reality show of all-time is back for a second season and, praise the Creator God, all of the original cast members have returned: Amber, the young, bipolar woman whose eyes continuously leak black sludge; Gary, Amber's lumpy life-mate; Tyler and Catelynn, the cutest couple since
this kitten and puppy; Maci, TV's cutest redneck; Ryan, an asshole; and Farrah, this seasons break-out star. Season 2 has only been running three weeks, and, so far, Farrah's parents have displayed more erratic, downright insane behavior than most mental patients are capable of in a whole lifetime of crazy. Farrah's birthday dinner with Sophia, her 1-year-old daughter, in the most recent episode was as heartbreaking as it was darkly hilarious. I watched with mouth agape as Farrah's repeated attempts to share an intimate moment with her child were brazenly interrupted by the inane babbling of her supremely effed up parents. The other teen mom's stories have seemed a bit contrived this season, but Farrah's tale of woe has been uncomfortably funny, disturbing and sad. And isn't that what we look for in our reality TV? I know I do.

2. American Idol (Fox): The news of Ellen's departure and Kara's dismissal from their judging duties is old news by this point, as is the announcement of J-lo's triumphant (?) return to the small screen as the new Paula, a dubious honor really, and the possibility of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler taking the Cowell seat, much to the chagrin of bandmate, Joe Perry. Listen, Idol fan or not (I am mostly "not"), Simon Cowell was American Idol. Sure, Paula made struggling, untalented teenagers feel good about themselves by describing the rainbow of colors only she could see surrounding them, and Randy Jackson is good for a "you did your thing, dawg" or two, but Cowell made the show interesting. He was honest, brutally honest. Contestants strove to impress Cowell, and only Cowell. If he said, "Jump," they asked, "Into what ocean and how long should I submerge myself?" I'm not familiar with Steven Tyler outside of his snazzy microphone stands and fish lips, but there is no way he will bring the delightfully cruelty that Cowell made an American Idol tradition.

So, who then if not Tyler. Well, how about another completely unknown, British music producing asshole? Who the hell, in the US anyway, knew who Simon Cowell was when American Idol first debuted 50 years ago? "Who's this English bloke in the tight black t-shirt think he is telling our nation's teenagers that they can't carry a tune or would be better off performing in a Busch Gardens barbershop quartet?" we collectively asked. One season later, America had Cowell Fever. I contracted quite a severe case in 2003. The only cure turned out to be watching each episode religiously with my dear friend, Nick. But, anyway, there have got to be hundreds of acerbic, asshole Brits who would love the job.

Or why don't they just hire this guy:
Toby Young is the funniest, most assholey British guy ever! You think it was fun watching Simon crush young people's dreams, Toby would take it to a whole new level, guaranteed.

3. Celebrity Grilled Cheese Challenge (The Cooking Channel): The Cooking Channel, or TCC, as the cool kids call it, finally released the cast list for the first season of what I think will probably be the best celebrity cooking challenge reality show of all time. And who are the lucky celebs?:

*Bobby Brown ("On Our Own" from Ghostbusters II)
*Henry Winkler (I Could Never Be Your Woman)
*Bianca Nardi (of being allegedly sexually harassed by Maury Povich)
*Ian Walsh (the police officer who punched that 17-year-old girl in the face in Seattle)
*Joseph Utsler, aka Shaggy 2 Dope (of mean clown rapping)
*Lady Sovereign (the "shortest midget in the game")
*Stephen Baldwin (Silent Warnings, the upcoming I'm In Love With a Church Girl)
*Muggsy Bogues (motivational speaker/short guy)

I'm pretty excited. I bet the Fonz can make a pretty mean grilled cheese.

4. Hell's Kitchen: Once again, the final two chefs battling for a chance to "run" one of Gordon Ramsay's multi-million dollar restaurants, are a hot chick and lumpy weirdo. Tradition says the hot chick wins and Hell's Kitchen ain't much for surprises, so, yeah, expect Holli to prevail.

5. Jon and Kate Plus 8 (TLC): Yours truly was blocked by Jon Gosselin on Twitter this week. I'm awesome, right? I've been mercilessly trashing the one-time reality star for months now, but apparently this is what sent him over the edge:

giantpengy: Tanking up for a day of douchebaggery! RT @jongosselin1 making breakfast!!

A little touchy, don't you think? Sheesh.

6. Ghost Dog Whisperer (Animal Planet 2): Did you know that ghost dogs are responsible for 2/3 of all ghost infestations in America? It's true maybe. That's where the ghost dog whisperer comes in. This exciting new show doesn't start until September, but the critical buzz is already so nonexistent, it's deafening. It'll probably be like all those other ghost hunting shows where a bunch of douchebags run around in the dark breathing heavy, but don't actually see or hear anything. Expect a lot of whispering. And, no, Forest Whitaker does not make an appearance.

That's the Reality Report, bitches!

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday Morning Music: The Gregory Brothers-"Double Rainbow"

I don't throw the word "genius" around very often, but what the Gregory Brothers do is pure genius. Take for instance what they've done with the above video. In the Gregory Brothers' genius hands, a simple, kinda silly clip documenting one man's enthusiastic discovery of a "double rainbow" in his backyard, becomes an emotional journey of self-discovery brought on by the majesty of nature through song. In typical Gregory Bros style, "Double Rainbow" is both silly and stirring. I love it! Genius!

Watch all of the Gregory's genius songs HERE. I find the "Bed Intruder Song" particularly catchy.

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