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Monday, February 27, 2012

Jan Berenstain and her wonderful Bears

I Just read the news of Jan Berenstain's death on Twitter. I was especially moved by Goosebumps hack R. L. Stine's dickish tweet:

@RL_Stine: Did we all read the Berenstain Bears when we were little? Sad to hear that Jan Berenstain, 88, has gone into permanent hibernation.

I'm sure he meant well. He's never been much of a writer, I guess.

That's not fair. I've never read any of R. L. Stine's stuff. I mean, I don't usually read garbage. I usually just toss garbage into the trash can where it belongs.

Wow. Sorry. This wasn't meant to be a diatribe against R. L. Stine. I just wanted to remind everybody to cut up their R. L. Stine books before throwing them away. You don't want a seagull to choke on them or something.

Anyway, I've never read a Goosebumps, but me and my sister grew up on the Berenstain Bears books. We had them all. Or a lot of them at least. I don't know how you could have them all. There are tons of Berenstain Bears books. The titles I'm familiar with are the ones released in the 80's and 90's. But look at all the books that came out in the 2000's: The Berenstain Bears and the Baby Chipmunk, The Berenstain Bears Go On a Ghost Walk, The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Watermelon Money, The Berenstain Bears Go To Sunday School, The Berenstain Bears Discover God's Creation, The Berenstain Bears Show God's Love, and something called The Berenstain Bears Holy Bible, which I assume is a retelling of the Bible starring the Berenstain Bears in the various roles previously made famous by human beings. Obviously, the Berenstain Bears found religion later in life. I think they probably started going to church after Papa Bear got sober. He was an alcoholic, right? I always kind of assumed.

Look, I loved the Berenstain Bears books. Each one opened with a catchy poem, the stories had a moral but they weren't super preachy, and there was one about a spooky old tree I particularly liked. Stan and Jan Berenstain had quite an impact on my young life and I'm sure they'll continue to impact the lives of future generations. I'll read them to my daughter. You know, the ones that aren't about going to church or whatever. I'm not gonna let a bunch of bears tell me what to believe. We've got separation of church and bedtime stories in this country, man, and I'm not about to let a family of friendly bears take that away from me.

I hope someone takes the reigns and keeps pumping out Berenstain Bears books. I'd do it if I had the time. Seriously. I have a bunch of titles. No stories to go with them yet, but they're a start. Keep in mind, I've kind of imagined a series in which Brother and Sister have grown up a little. They're no longer little kids, but, rather, teenagers. With that in mind, here are some Berenstain Bear titles I've come up with:

The Berenstain Bears Get Hair in New Places
The Berenstain Bears and the Quest for Abstinence
The Berenstain Bears Say Hi to Acne
The Berenstain Bears Get A YouTube Channel
The Berenstain Bears Friend Request Denied
The Berenstain Bears Touching All Over Themselves
The Berenstain Bears Free Style Rap Battle
The Berenstain Bears Papa Off the Wagon
The Berenstain Bears With the Dragon Tattoo


You'll be missed, Jan Berenstain. Thanks for your words. Thanks for your pictures. And thanks, most of all, for your Bears.
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Giant Electric Penguin's Highly Anticipated Oscar Fashion Wrap-Up Report 2012 Edition!!!

I love Oscar fashions! The gowns! The baubles! The designers I've never heard of and their designs that I will never be able to afford! I may not have watched more than Billy Crystal's opening whatever-the-hell-that-was last night, but I wasn't going to miss 2012's parade of fashions. Here are some of my favorites:

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don't, what's wrong with you), you already know I'm weirdly fascinated with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara. Here's how she looked. I give this outfit five out of five boners. (Sorry, everybody.)

Rooney's sister and Ben Harmon's dead, baby-snatching mistress, Kate Mara, showed up in this stunning gown that really accentuates her awful posture.

The world's most boring super hero flew in special for the event. Her super power: the supernatural ability to make people's eyes roll with a mere word.

It was a big night for Milla Jovovich. First, she shows up looking amazing in this glamorous gown. Then, she goes home with a whole armload of Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for her role as Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers, Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris, which she wrote under the pseudonym "Woody Allen," and Best Actress for her role in 2010's Resident Evil: Afterlife. I didn't even know they could do that!!!

Here's what the person who judges everybody's appearance post-Oscars looks like. I call this look "Target-chic."

And congratulations to Nancy O'Dell, who was crowned 2012's Butter Queen on the Oscar's red carpet this year for some reason. I thought they gave that award out at a completely different ceremony. There is so much I don't understand about Hollywood.


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Saturday, February 25, 2012

My 10 Favorite Films of 2011

The 84th Academy Awards air tomorrow, and for the first time in a long time, I couldn't care less.

"But, Matt, Billy Crystal is making his triumphant return as the host this year! And think of the fashions! WON'T YOU JUST THINK FOR A MOMENT OF THE FASHIONS!!!"

Calm down, weird, fashion-obsessed reader. I'll check out the photos from the red carpet while I drink my coffee Monday morning like I always do (sadly true), I'm just not super excited about the nominees this year, that's all. When the nominations were first announced, I remember thinking, "Wow, 2011 was a shitty year for movies." I hadn't seen even one of the Best Picture nominees (in fact, I still haven't seen any of them), so, unfairly, I deemed 2011 the worst year in film ever in recorded history. I'm kind of dramatic.

But then I started catching up, and I slowly began to realize that 2011 may have been the best year in movies ever. I learned that there were so many good movies released in 2011, that there was no possibly way for all of them to receive the nominations they so richly deserved.

Anyway, here is a list of my Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011, along with some Honorable Mentions and my picks for the Worst. Enjoy.

10. BRIDESMAIDS
9. I SAW THE DEVIL
8. THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
7. SUPER
6. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL
5. 13 ASSASSINS
4. ATTACK THE BLOCK
3. DRIVE
2. HANNA
1. SUPER 8

HONORABLE MENTION
The Muppets: My wife isn't a big movie fan, but we do share a deep affection for Jim Henson's Muppets, as I think most people of our generation do. Those with a soul anyway. I think this was the only movie we saw together in a theater last year. I remember afterward we went to On the Border for dinner and she had a deep-fried avocado. I can't remember if she liked it or not. We both loved the film. It was a nice evening.

Captain America: The First Avenger: Of the three Marvel-based superhero movies I saw last summer (Thor, X-Men: First Class, and Captain American), this one was the best. X-Men: First Class was boring and, well, Thor was...just read on...

2 FILMS I HATED (or THE WORST FILMS OF 2011)
Thor: I never expected to like a movie based on Marvel Comics' Thor character (He's the actual Thor, right? Of Norse mythology?), so I went in with pretty low expectations. Actually, that's not entirely true. For some reason, the critical community largely gave Thor a pass, which, in turn, inspired me to adjust my apathetic feelings toward the whole endeavor. So, I entered the theater with slightly elevated expectations. And, boy, was I disappointed. Any movie that makes me loathe a Natalie Portman performance this much--and I looooathe her performance in this hunk of garbage--has something terribly wrong with it. I think that something is the fact that this was a movie about Thor.

Hobo with a Shotgun: Hey, I knew what I was getting into, and, frankly, I was damn excited to get into it. I love a good low-budget exploitation flick, specifically the kind that includes a whole bunch of revenge-related gore. But Hobo with a Shotgun didn't sit right with me. It made me queasy, but not in that fun way. I know what it was that turned me off, while turning my stomach. It was all the violence directed at children. Seeing a gutterpunk shove a hand cannon in a baby's face isn't my idea of a good time. Have a kid and tell me how funny the bus burning scene is, OK? Listen, if you enjoyed Hobo with a Shotgun, that's great. I didn't. I've told you why. Now, let's move on.

FILMS I STILL NEED/WANT TO SEE: Midnight in Paris (currently sitting atop my DVD player), The Tree of Life, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, 50/50, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia, Young Adult, The Artist, Beginners, Drive Angry


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

What the WTF?!?: Heart Attack Grill is not the enemy

A man suffered a heart attack at the Heart Attack Grill this week. Oh, you've never heard of the Heart Attack Grill? Well, the Heart Attack Grill is an American burger joint that proudly serves the most unhealthy food imaginable (the above menu is the ACTUAL, FOR REAL Heart Attack Grill menu) via waitress dressed as sexy nurses:
It's kind of like a Hooters for that portion of the fetish crowd who prefers burgers to chicken wings. Keep in mind, none of the waitress are actual nurses, so, if you do ever find yourself in a Heart Attack Grill having chest pains and shortness of breath, the big-breasted, booty short-clad hottie who just dropped a large order of lard-fried Flatliner Fries on your grease-splattered table cannot help you. You're boned, basically.

But guess what, my sweaty chum? You've boned yourself. That's right. The Heart Attack Grill isn't responsible for the lifetime of poor choices you've made, up to and including the decision to enjoy a quick bite to eat at the Heart Attack Grill. I assume thousands of people have dined at the Heart Attack Grill and suffered nothing more than momentary regret. Then again, people have, in fact, given their life for the Heart Attack Grill's cause. Blair River, a 575 pound fan and spokesperson, died in 2011, no doubt a result of his frequent trips to the Grill. But still, is this Grill's fault? I submit that it is not.

It's River's fault. Nobody forced him to weigh 575 pounds. I know some people have struggles maintaining a healthy weight--hell, I'm one of them--but River knew what he was doing. He was 575 pounds and he ate regularly at the Heart Attack Grill. He knew what could happen. IT'S RIGHT ON THE SIGN, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!! And this guy in the Las Vegas location this week. There's no way this guy was the picture of good health. He had a heart attack while chowing down on a Triple Bypass Burger. Who needs all that? No one needs all of that! You waltz into a place and order something called a Triple Bypass Burger, with a side of Flatliner Fries and a pack of filterless cigarettes for dessert, you deserve the resulting heart attack. And you should be required to pay your bill in full. Well, you or your heirs.

We do this shit to ourselves, guys. There wouldn't be a Heart Attack Grill if people didn't want a Heart Attack Grill. We can't control ourselves. People are dying in restaurants from ingesting too much beef and lard, drinking Jolt colas and Butterfat Milkshakes. What the fuck? Why would anyone do this to him/herself? I like unhealthy food as much as the next guy, but I have the sense at least to avoid a joint like the Heart Attack Grill like the plague it most certainly is.

We're our own worst enemies, everybody. Did we learn nothing from that Christian Slater show? I mean, I didn't. I never saw it. It was called My Own Worst Enemy, right? I'm pretty sure it wasn't about shitty eating habits, but the lessons still apply. Or not. Just stop cramming shit into your mouth, OK? Quit spending your money at greasy restaurants that don't give a crap about your health. Eat a salad. It's nice outside, so take a walk with your family. Keep eating burgers and fries, just eat them less often. WTF are we doing to ourselves? Sheesh!

I like those nurses outfits though. You ever thing about changing up the uniforms at Chipotle, Chipotle?


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STFU, People Who Somehow Don't Get it!

I love it when readers comment on the blog. It happens so rarely, that I when I do receive a comment notification, after giggling like a schoolgirl for five minutes straight, I immediately comment back. I like it when something from of my own brain compels--dare I suggest, inspires?--someone to take a few moments to share their own opinions.

Like I said, I love comments, but I'm not a huge fan of anonymous comments. I'll take them, mind you, but there's a certain amount of cowardice behind anonymously commenting on the internet. If you have something to say, say it. Own it. Here at GEP, you are allowed to speak/type your mind, in fact, I invite it. If I disagree with your opinion, I have no qualms about poking your argument full of holes, but I will always be nice about it, because I'm all about gathering more and more regular readers, cultivating an audience of people who share my love/hate relationship with all realms of pop culture.

So, there it is, I love comments, both signed and unsigned. What chaffs my hide--that's a thing nobody says, right?--are individuals who swing by the blog and comment on something without any knowledge of what I'm trying to do here. I'm not sure if you realize this, but Giant Electric Penguin is primarily a comedy blog, at least, I like to think it is. I like to believe I know my way around a joke, pun, or clever turn of phrase. I think my snarky take on Melrose Place has a place on the internet. I'm not trying to change the world, I'm just here to bang out ha-has on my keyboard and shoot them off into the ether. I'm rarely serious here, unless I'm attacking religion or posting videos of songs I despise. I'm fairly certain most people understand this site if they spend any significant amount of time here, which research shows most people do not. Every once in awhile though, I get a comment from someone, anonymous or not, who just doesn't get it. Like this one, on a piece I wrote about a yearbook staff
refusing to include a girl's "racy" senior picture in their 2012 edition:

"Award-winning yearbook? What the hell kind of weird organization hands out awards to high school yearbooks?" If you had done any research, you would have found such organizations. Check out, Columbia Scholastic Press Association,held by Columbia University and the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize. There are nominations, standards, and voting. Whether you believe it or not, yearbook is a journalistic endeavor, and the yearbook staff was right for refusing to print Spies, near porn photo.

Before I proceed to tell this dimwit...I'm sorry...valued reader to kindly STFU today, here's how I responded at the time:

You got me. I did the least amount of research required.

I do not, however, believe a yearbook is a journalistic endeavor, but I'm glad you are passionate about something. People need to find things they love and do them. Like me and writing humorous articles about dumb stories like this with the minimum amount of research required.

Also: you're not suggesting that the Columbia Scholastic Press Association award is anything akin to the Pulitzer Prize, are you?


Not too mean, right? I stated my opinion, but also validated this anonymous individual's love of yearbooking. The truth is, I did do a little bit of research, but, admittedly, not enough...FOR A REPUTABLE NEWS WEBSITE! I run a dinky little Blogspot blog here, madam or sir. If you are getting your news from GEP, um, you're super dumb? Not doing the proper amount of research and not knowing about the Columbia Scholastic Blah Blah Thing worked to my advantage, because my intention was to poke fun at yearbook staff nerds--and I did time on a yearbook staff, so I know of what I speak--not write a dissertation on the proud history of yearbook awards.

Also: If you think Ms. Spies photo is "near porn," you have obviously never seen porn. And neither have I, Mom. I swear.

Here's another clueless comment from another STFU post about a weird
atheist Christmas display on a courthouse lawn in Virginia, this time from an actual person, named Brian Westley, whose own blog, pacifistundeadpriest.blogspot.com, I admittedly don't really understand:

No. [I assume this is because Mr. Westley is an atheist and he refuses to STFU. Fair enough.]

Too damn bad for you, eh?

Love that first amendment.


My response:

I feel like you've only read this post and none of the other posts on this site. I invite you to read more. We're just a bunch of jokesters over here. You'll get it.

I too love the first amendment. That should be pretty obvious.

Thanks for reading!


My goal in writing this piece was to point out how stupid the atheist Christmas display was, not to say they shouldn't have done it. I mean, they shouldn't have done it, but only because it was unfocused, nonsensical, and totally hackneyed, all at the same time. The religious, the non-religious, and the anti-religious can put up whatever dumb display they want on whatever dumb lawn they want. And if I find out about it and do, in fact, decide that it is super lame, I will tell those people to, simply, STFU. In this case, my STFU should be read as "try harder." A skeletal Santa Claus hanging on a cross means nothing. Less than nothing. It is simply Christian-baiting and, therefore, not in any way helpful to whatever your cause is. But Westley's right, people do have the first amendment right to act like dumb assholes. Maybe I should just shut the eff up.

Look, keep (or start) commenting everybody, but try to understand what I'm trying to do over here a little first. OK? Can we all agree to do that. Let me give you an example of the kind of comments I'm looking for. Here's one from my 2009 review of Disney's The Little Mermaid that someone posted earlier this week:

Viagra said...
This is such a wonderful movie!


See? It's just that simple. A nice, non-anonymous comment from a brand I trust. Now that's good commentin'!
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Mr. Belvedere

Variations on a Theme looks at television theme songs/opening credit sequences and breaks them down for the average viewer.



Program: Mr. Belvedere (1985-1990)

The Song: Who's singing this thing, Leon Redbone?

Oh, that's exactly who's singing Mr. Belvedere's theme song, "According to Our New Arrivals." What a title! Can you imagine the television show theme songs of today having titles like that? Can you imagine television shows of today even having theme songs? Networks don't want to ease you into anything with a nice song anymore. You'll have a quick little stab of music, like How I Met Your Mother (which, technically, is part of a longer song called "Hey, Beautiful"), or a catchy little instrumental theme, but gone are the verse-chorus-verse themes of yesteryear. This isn't to say I like "According to Our New Arrivals." It's weird. I admire it for its weirdness, but I can't say I enjoy it. It does, however, explain the show you are about to watch perfectly. Mr. Belvedere is here to not only dust your bookcases, answer your front door, and serve you tea, but to make you a better person. Mr. Belvedere is a butler for your soul. Or something.

The Opening Credit Sequence: I did watch Mr. Belvedere occasionally. However, I only remember the plot of one episode. It's the one where Wesley gets braces and is forced to wear headgear. I guess the Owens can afford to employ a British butler, but they can't provide their youngest child with anything but the most hideous headgear in the history of television. Anyway, Wesley's all depressed about it and he has a nightmare about being a monster of some kind. That's all I remember. I'm sure Mr. Belvedere makes it all better somehow. So, per usual, I'll have to glean what I can from the opening credit sequence to figure out exactly what Mr. Belvedere--the man and the sitcom--was all about.

First of all, how does a man who has been featured on the cover of World Focus magazine and lived a Forrest Gump-style existence, end up in Pittsburgh as Bob Uecker's butler? I mean, Belvedere really wants to get to Pittsburgh! So badly, in fact, that he hitchhikes! Maybe I should give Pittsburgh another chance.

Also, is Mr. Belvedere supposed to be a vampire or some other mythical creature who never ages? He's been portly, mustachioed, and besuited seemingly forever. Or for a long time anyway. Does he simply suck the life essence of those nearest to him as he buttles? Is he some sort of chunky, butlering incubus? Creepy.

(Stay tuned after the theme for a creepy word from Jif. What's wrong with that little boy?)


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This Means Sweeping Government Reform

I've got a real problem with the new film This Means War. And it's not because it looks dumb or because I'm not very fond of Reese Witherspoon or because the two male leads seem super bland or because I don't find Chelsea Handler particularly funny or because it's currently got a 27% on RottenTomatoes. No, my problem is with the premise itself:

The world's deadliest CIA operatives are inseparable partners and best friends until they fall for the same woman. Having once helped bring down entire enemy nations, they are now employing their incomparable skills and an endless array of high-tech gadgetry against their greatest nemesis ever - each other. (
RottenTomatoes)

"Endless array of high-tech gadgetry," huh? And who's footing the bill for all this tech exactly? That's right: the American taxpayer. Is that what you're doing with all my money, President Obama? I'm breaking my back day in and day out at a job I mostly hate and paying my taxes on time and in full, so two sex-starved dipshits can ruin each other's dates with some chick Zack and Slater-style? Shenanigans!

How in the world can anybody find this concept entertaining? I'm serious. These two CIA buddies-turned-romantic-rivals are spending massive amounts of time and money not monitoring terrorist cells, but spying on Reese Witherspoon. That isn't funny. It's infuriating.

Also, I don't find Chelsea Handler particularly funny.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Catching Up with Rachel Dratch

So, what's former SNL cast member Rachel Dratch been up to lately? Apparently this:



And this:



Yes, Rachel Dratch has been driven insane by fried pickles. I'm not surprised really. Fried pickles possess an eerie power that has been known to effortlessly fracture even the strongest human mind. Let's all pray Rachel Dratch gets the help she needs in dealing with this fried pickle obsession she has developed. Come back to us, Rachel. Come back...


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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Punky Brewster

Variations on a Theme looks at television theme songs/opening credit sequences and breaks them down for the average viewer.



Program: Punky Brewster (1980's)

The Song: "Every Time I Turn Around" is the worst Billy Joel song ever. It is written and performed by a man who has, for some reason, chosen to record his vocals and have his testicles squished in a vice at the same time.

The Opening Credit Sequence: I've never watched Punky Brewster, so all I know about the story is what the opening credit sequence gives me. And what it gives me is the chills. Is this little girl homeless? Does that lady who gives Punky a single coin after she helps carry a bag of groceries wonder what's going on? "Why is there a ten-year-old girl hanging around outside of a grocery store offering to lug grocery bags to people's cars for spare change?" It doesn't seem as if she's concerned at all. What kind of world does this show take place in?

And this old guy. Why is he so angry? Did you see the way he kicked that door? And he obviously hates homeless people. I assume he and Punky are going to hook up at some point and have some wacky misadventures, as I'm fairly certain this was a sitcom and not a depressing expose on the homeless children problem in the 1980's, but by the end of the theme song, he's gone home and Punky's pulling her puppy up a fire escape. And who's feeding that puppy? This show is sick.

Things are starting to look up for ol' Punky in the Season Two opening however:


Punky lives with the angry old man now. She's going to Cubs games. She has African-American friends. She goes camping with the aforementioned African-American friends. Life is good. No more slinging grocery bags for a pittance for Punks. She's moving up in the world.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never seen an episode of this Punky Brewster. I am, unfortunately, familiar with this Punky Brewster:


Oh, brudder. Where do I even start with this thing? The theme song itself isn't so bad. It's sort of a Cyndi Lauper/Doo-wop mash-up that, like any 80's cartoon theme song worth a damn, lodges itself directing into the part of the human brain that collects dopey ephemera and saves it for future nonsensical use. I like it a whole lot more than the live-action Punky theme, which I absolutely hate.

But what of the show itself? While it is true that I watched this cartoon on a regular basis when I was a boy, I couldn't describe one episode to you. I seem to remember that furry gopher thingy having a grating voice, but that is where my hazy memories both begin and end. So, let's judge the entirety of the series through it's opening credit sequence.

1. Does somebody own the rights to leprechauns? Seriously. Is there a family in Ireland who receives a royalty check any time someone slaps a leprechaun on a St. Patrick's Day card or Warwick Davis dons his evil leprechaun costume? We all know what one will find at the end of a rainbow, right? A leprechaun's pot of gold. That's it. Now, I'm willing to consider the idea that a leprechaun him/herself may also live at the rainbow's end, maybe in a tiny, magical village. What I'm not willing to accept is the idea that this tiny village might instead be inhabited by magic gophers. That is clearly a leprechaun village, right? Leprechauns should be there, RIGHT?

(Note: A quick perusal of the Wikipedia entry for It's Punky Brewster, describes Glomer, the bipedal rodent Punky meets at the end of the rainbow, as a "leprechaun gopher." Yeah, that's a thing.)

2. Did every cartoon gang back in the day have to be in a band?

3. There's really nothing else. I mostly have a problem with the magic gopher thing.

(Note: I remembered correctly. Glomer's voice is irritating. Sounds like Slimer. On Slimer, the voice isn't so bad. Coming out of a leprechaun gopher's mouth, it's terrible.)


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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

OMIGOD, U GUYZ!!!

Did you guys get your exclusive invite to the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 midnight DVD release party this Friday at Target? I totally did:
I can't wait! This is going to be the best Friday night ever! I don't even know why I was one of the select few to receive this epic Save The Date, but I couldn't feel more honored. You always hope for something this amazingly special to happen to you, but when it actually does...I'm at a loss for words. I feel bad for the slobs that didn't get an invite to this event, an event I'm already calling The Party of the Year!!! I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the DVD release of a poorly-reviewed movie based on a series of mediocre books about an unappealing, sour-faced high school girl who falls in love with a sullen, sparkly, baseball-playing vampire and something about werewolves. Twilight is a high point for American culture, and I'm glad Target is showing it the proper respect.

Besides getting to see a sneak peek of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2, check out all of the cool stuff available for purchase:

--A DVD or Blu-Ray copy of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 with prop flowers from the film's wedding scene jammed inside!
--The The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 official movie soundtrack, featuring songs from Bruno Mars and a bunch of people you've never heard of!
--A gaudy replica engagement ring like the one Bella wears in the movie!
--A Trapper Keeper featuring a collage of shirtless Taylor Lautner pictures, most of them stolen from the actor's personal cell phone!
--A The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1 fleece blanket, perfect for smothering the obnoxious Twi-Mom in your life!
--The original Twilight series of novels, perfect for burning on these cold winter nights!
--An official Twilight Saga hammer, perfect for caving in your own skull!
--Twilight stickers!!!

This is gonna be great! I'll see you guys at Target this Friday night! I can hardly wait!!! Team Twilight for life!!!




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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Perving Out: Best Bet

So, I guess Extra correspondent, Maria Menounos, made a losing Super Bowl bet and this was the result. For Pete's sake, Mario Lopez, get out of the way!!!
That's better.

Hey, I wonder what bet Mario Lopez lost that forced him to star in A Crack in the Floor?


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Tawdry Tuesday: Am I At The Wrong Address?

All right, what's going on here? I thought Melrose Place was all backstabbing bitches and illicit sex with other people's lovers, not missing wedding rings and lovestruck dental students. This show is totes not tawdry. It's lame. Did the internet lie to me? Not the internet!

Let's see. In episode four, "For Love or Money," Jake and his coke-snorting gal pal Perry, hump some paint onto a canvas and attempt to con a dopey LA hipster into thinking it was done by an exciting new artist--played predictably unconvincingly by Jake himself--only to have Jake grow a conscience and reveal that the whole thing is a ruse. What gives, Jake? Insta-consciences have no place in the world of trashy prime-time soaps. And in episode five, "Leap of Faith," Jane discovers she is pregnant and decides to have an abortion behind Michael's back, but doesn't and the episode ends. Listen, I didn't want Jane to get the secret abortion. I wasn't sitting on my couch, going, "C'mon, Jane, abort that thing! Abort it!" waving a pendant. First of all, I was laying on the couch. Secondly, who owns a pro-abortion pendant? What possible use could an individual have for one?

The Melrose Place of Season One is all about flirting with danger, walking up to the edge of tawdriness and deciding, "No thank you. I'm gonna do the right thing. Now let's go to Shooters and play pool, guys!" The show seems nervous to unleash the full crazy I know will become its ultimate legacy. It's waiting for the crazy switch to be thrown that is so frustrating. I've been able to get my tawdry fix from ABC's Revenge and the CW's Gossip Girl (Holy shit, Louis is, like, totally evil now! Who saw that coming?), but Tawdry Tuesday was designed for Melrose Place, and so far the show's been a total dud.

When does this thing heat up, Melrose fans? Is it when Heather Locklear moves in? My wife keeps mentioning Jane's crazy sister. Does she waltz in and mix it up a bit? I don't think I can take much more of Billy's goofiness and Alison's casseroles. Somebody blow up Melrose Place already! Sheesh!

Characters' tawdry pasts: Sandy's had a trailer park abortion; Jake is a former coke addict.

Things I've learned about LA: It is perfectly acceptable to pat a homeless street musician on the shoulder instead of giving him your spare change if you enjoy the music he is performing on his beat-up saxophone

It is super easy to get a job as a barista. You don't need to know anything about coffee, your interview will take exactly 30 seconds, and the ruder you can be to your future boss during said interview, the better.

But seriously...: How did Jake get a job at that coffee shop? Completely ridiculous!

Actual dialogue from the show: Jake: I always liked you in red. Perry: You always liked me in bed. (Ugh.)


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Friday, February 3, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Monchhichi

Variations on a Theme looks at television theme songs/opening credit sequences and breaks them down for the average viewer.



Program: Monchhichis (1983)

The Song: This theme song is as cute and sweet as the characters that make up the program's cast. It is either the musical equivalent of a) a duckling sharing a bag of multi-colored cotton candy with a kitten wearing a straw hat, b) a baby snowman watching a family of hedgehogs ice skate or c) a half-Asian baby farting rainbows on an elf made of marshmallows. I'm saying it's cute, is all.

The Opening Credit Sequence: Here is the inner monologue that goes through my head whenever I watch the Monchhichi's theme song (Note: I am thinking this in a Brian Fellow voice):

"I hope that parrot doesn't get struck by any lightnings. Oh, what are these things? They're cute. Look at that one playing a piano. That's crazy! They should be careful riding their bikes on a branch like that. Oh, wow, lookit those things. They eat grapes, I guess. These monkeys can make inventions? What? That one is farting rainbows or something. That's silly. Holy shit! What the fuck is that thing? Oh, I don't like those things. They look crazy. Why are they jumping around like that. Hey, you leave those monkeys alone! Oh, hell yeah, them monkeys showed you! They flew away on a hand glider or whatever the fuck it's called. Oh shit, a wizard!"


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Movie Penguin Wednesday: #17. Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

The mystery of "shrim" has finally be revealed. On one level, I wish it hadn't. I could've gone my entire life ignorant to the ins-and-outs of "shrim" and its alleged benefits to the human psyche. Of course, my life would have been nothing but an empty, mirthless wasteland, much like the S'wallow Valley Mall and Pizza Court before (and after, I guess) Dobis PR gets their hands on it. What I'm saying is that I'll gladly endure three minutes of the most horrifying, yet oddly compelling and disgustingly hilarious, act I've ever seen in a motion picture. To be fair, I haven't seen The Human Centipede, but I can guarantee that the shrim/sex montage in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie gives that thing a run for its money.

I should admit right here at the top that I am a huge fan of both Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. I am, undoubtedly, the audience for this movie. That said, you should understand that all of the praise that I am about to spew shrim-style on Tim and Eric's first full-length feature is spewing from someone who loves everything these guys do. I proudly wear my Rats Off To Ya t-shirt to formal events. I am training my daughter to refer to her grandfather as Pep-Pep. I regularly sing medleys of Casey and his brother tunes before, during, and after making love to my wife. Like I said, I'm a fan.

What I'm trying to impart to you is that Tim and Eric are not for everybody. I can't readily identify with people who they aren't for (Well, that's kind of a lie. I get along with my wife quite well), but there it is. An audience at Sundance this year walked out of the film's premiere in droves, a lot of them before the "shrim" scene unleashes it's terrible fury. I don't understand these people. And I don't want to. They aren't people I want to know.

With Billion Dollar Movie, Tim and Eric are not--repeat, not!--looking to extend their fanbase, in fact, I don't think that was ever the plan. If it does, you know, grow their legions of loyal fans, I don't even think they'd give a shit. And that's why I like Tim and Eric so much. Tom Goes to the Mayor, Awesome Show, Great Job!, their calls to The Best Show on WFMU, Eric's music videos--they do whatever the hell they want. They know what they think is funny and they do it. They don't compromise. They don't care if it plays here, there, or anywhere on the planet Earth. They go for it. That's the kind of comedy I enjoy, the kind of comedy I respect.
Enough of my fan-fapping. What's this thing about? Is it about anything? My wife asked me during breakfast Sunday morning, "Is it just a bunch of Tim and Eric sketches edited together?" To this I say, no, but there are several elements of Awesome Show here: spot-on low-rent local commercial parodies; cameos from Awesome Show's stable of oddball regulars, including James Quall performing a bread-themed stand-up set at an all-bread restaurant; a preoccupation with father/son relationships; and gallons of various body fluids.
Billion Dollar Movie opens with, well, Tim and Eric's billion dollar movie, a three minute film based on the poem "Bonjour, Diamond Jim," starring a Johnny Depp impersonator whom the duo mistook for the actual Johnny Depp during filming. This, of course, only accounts for a small portion of the billion dollars invested by the Schlaaang Corporation. Heidecker and Wareheim have decked their leading man in a suit made entirely of diamonds, purchased themselves expensive Hollywood makeovers, and hired a spiritual advisor, Jim Joe Kelly (Zach Galifianakis). Upon seeing the finished product, Tommy Schlaaang (Robert Loggia), demands his billion dollar investment back.

Broke and unable to pay Schlaaang, Tim and Eric drown their sorrows in coke, women, and penis piercings. During their night of debauchery however, they see a commercial that offers a quick and easy way to make exactly one billion dollars: revive the S'wallow Valley Mall and Pizza Court, a rundown shopping plaza plagued by diseased vagrants, shitty stores, and at least one dangerous wolf. Tim and Eric, believing this to be the only way to pay their debt to Schlaaang, dub themselves Dobis (fashioned from the phrase "Doing Business") PR and journey to S'wallow Valley.

There they find, well, a rundown shopping plaza plagued by diseased vagrants, the diseased-iest being Taquito, a shuffling man-child who was left at the mall when he was little and now lives in the walls, played by John C. Reilly; shitty stores, like the used toilet paper outlet--the owner of which has his son stolen away by Tim--and the sword store owned by Allen Bishopman (Will Forte), who apparently is paid by the state to not sell swords; and at least one dangerous wolf. Tim and Eric offer to turn the mall around, previous owner/Top Gun super-fan Damien Weebs (Will Ferrell) gladly hands it over, and Dobis PR does what it can to make a billion dollars.

Oh, and then there's "shrim."
Something gross is about to happen...

I don't want to give much more of Billion Dollar Movie away because it really must be seen to be believed. Tim and Eric fans, this is the Tim and Eric movie you've longed for. Trust me. You will not be disappointed. Any loved ones you coerce/force/trick into watching it with you might be, but that's their problem really. I mean, seriously, what's wrong with them? Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have created an instant cult classic, a midnight movie that will bewilder, disgust, and entertain generations of weirdos until the end of time. Great job! (Read that in Bob Odenkirk's voice if you can.)

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