Sunday, August 31, 2014

WHO YA GONNA CALL?  Ghostbusters is back in theaters this week, and yes, it remains a charmer, even if many of the effects have not aged well at all.  Two thoughts from my viewing of it yesterday:
  • I'd forgotten how much smoking there is in the film--Stantz pretty much constantly has a cigarette dangling from his lip, and it's kind of shocking to see.
  • Perhaps because Ghostbusters II was such a staple of afternoon cable growing up (which 'ships Janine/Louis), I'd forgotten about not only how much the first film 'ships Janine/Egon, but how explicit it can be about that.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I REMEMBER HATING YOU FOR LOVING ME:  What do we like around here?  Maps? Sure!  Games? Absolutely.  Urban planning?  Well, I'm sure many of us.  But what do we really, really like?  A good time sponge!

Ladies and gentlemen, Mini Metro.  (The expanded version is worth the $6.99)


SPIRITED:  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will award honorary Oscars this year to Hayao Miyazaki, Maureen O'Hara, and French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, and present the Hersholt Award for humanitarian work to Harry Belafonte. For the fourth straight year, no Thalberg.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT: Fox is rebooting The Greatest American Hero, with Lego Movie/Jump Street masterminds Phil Lord and Chris Miller.  Same "goofy hero, stoic handler" pairing.  Zachary Levi and Nick Offerman, anyone?

Friday, August 29, 2014

I CALL LEDGERMAN!  At GenCon a few weeks ago, the first ever full game of The Cones of Dunshire was played.
JUST ONE MORE THING:  A reader writes:
I have been torn between guilty and unabashed in loving the MEtv Sunday night airings of Columbo - caught the pilot a month or so ago (though the character had appeared in other places and so was pretty formed, though Falk looked so young and less rumpled) and  since then they've been doing selected episodes - and good ones, ones with either great guest stars or interesting plots.  It's great how they enjoy ripping apart cliches - recently there was a confession triggered by a piece of evidence ridiculously being found in an item that had been moved around a bit and which anyway had only the slightest chance of being there and I was incredulous - in the denouement Columbo admitted he had planted it.  
Anyway, was going to urge you to post next weekend when they air the one with Johnny Cash (directed by Nicholas Colasanto!)   The ads make it clear I am several decades younger than the target market, but oh so good. 
THE FUDGE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD:  Assigning an official dessert to each of the 50 states.
EVEN IF IT LACKS A FLAT MEMBRANE KEYBOARD:  Finally, a computer that will never go obsolete.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FIRE BAAAAD!  There can never be enough appreciations of Phil Hartman:
“There is no Costello without Abbott,” explained Mandel, who went on to become an executive producer of Curb Your Enthusiasm. “They called him Glue for different reasons, but one of them was you can’t have that Matt Foley character if Phil Hartman isn’t there to be the dad reacting off it.”
They also called him the Glue for his willingness to cloak his own personality — which perhaps came easy to Hartman. It’s the defining trait of SNL glue guys, starting with Aykroyd and running through Joe Piscopo, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Taran Killam. “That’s the way he was like Danny more than Belushi,” said Rosie Shuster, a former SNL writer. “He poured the Phil out and morphed into the madman inside of his character.” ... What the ’70s SNL offered in danger and snorting ambition, the early Hartman years matched with consistency and professionalism. In Carvey, Hooks, and Hartman, the show had three actors who might have time-traveled from a ’50s sketch show, and a writing staff that was happy — after updating a few references — to treat them as such.
GIMME A HAM SCRAM SLAM:  For its first NYC location, Denny's is going upscale, with craft cocktails and a $300 breakfast special consisting of two Grand Slam breakfasts, a bottle of Dom Perignon, and a "bartender high-five."
NORDIQUE RESURRECTION?  Greg Wyshynski passes along word that by 2017, the NHL may expand to Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City, and a second Toronto franchise.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HEROES ON A HALF-SHELL (TURTLE POWER!):  The AV Club helpfully points out that a wide range of phrases fit the metric pattern of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song, so if you want to write a song about the Windows Vista Startup Process or the Russian Women's Fascist Movement, you've got a starting point.
HE TOOK AN EARLY FERRY: An ABC special on September 7 will finally try to settle a debate that had raged on in my household since the dawn of time: What is the best Schoolhouse Rock song of all time? The answer of course is not a perennial favorite like "Conjuction, Junction" or "I'm Just a Bill", but "A Noun Is a Person, Place or Thing". (Feel free to make the case for your favorite in the comments.)
PULL MY FINGER: When there's intellectual property litigation over a farting hippo puppet, we'll be there.  (And to point out the amusing typo of "Navel Criminal Investigation Service" in Paragraph 13.)
I AM GROOT:  Todd VanDerWerff criticizes the emotional emptiness of Guardians of the Galaxy:
[M]ost traditional narrative storytelling is about characters changing, or at least revealing more of who they really are. How do we see Quill change over the course of Guardians? What more do we learn about him that we don't already know? And why does he become a man worthy of the title "Guardian of the Galaxy," beyond simple plot logistics? 
This is not to pick overly much on Guardians, which is a ridiculously fun film that very much deserves its title of the summer's biggest domestic hit. It's simply to say that when the film falls short, it falls short on something very basic and primal, which may be what makes it ultimately feel so disposable.

Monday, August 25, 2014

YOU HAD ME AT "MEAT TORNADO:"  It's not on the menu, but if you order it, Arby's will make you the "Meat Mountain," a sandwich with 8 different kinds of meats and 2 different kinds of cheeses.  Arby's Sauce is optional.