Saturday, August 25, 2007

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM: Other than age verification for R-rated movies, is there a reason why they still have human beings selling the tickets at movie theaters? Standing in a long, long line at the Loews Cherry Hill 24 last weekend made me wonder why these teens hadn't long ago been replaced by a bank of ATM-like devices for selling all movie tickets. I mean, it's not like people need a "film sommelier" -- as if the kid selling tickets could provide such advice -- so, why?

And you can solve that one issue easily -- have tickets for R-rated movies print out in a different color, so that the usher knows which groups to check for an adult presence. Or am I missing something?
IT'S A TRAP (GAME)! Why Cleveland's football team are the Jawas of the National Football League ("They are small, brown, and constantly trading for junk"), and 31 other Star Wars characters to describe the 2007 National Football League teams.

Friday, August 24, 2007


(Except for the makeup, dialogue, acting, YouTube poster name, synopsis, and comments.)

(Rejected racist post title: "With Mickey Rooney as Isaac Spaceman's Dad")

Thursday, August 23, 2007

ACCENTS OFF THE MARK: Deputy Dog makes his pick for the 13 worst fake accents in recent film history. Missing though is Mickey Rooney's take on a Chinese accent in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
MY INVESTMENTS IN PUGIL STICK AND TENNIS BALL-GUN MANUFACTURERS IS ABOUT TO PAY OFF: NBC will revive "American Gladiators" as a midseason replacement, hoping it will break through and conquer America one more time.
DUE TO A DECIDED LACK OF RON BURGUNDY: The illustrious list of television shows cancelled after one episode, including Emily's Reasons Why Not, Turn-On, and The Will, has a new member, with Fox cancelling their new reality show Anchorwoman today. Even more amusing is the list of television shows that got picked up, but never aired.
CRY ME A RIVER: I'm sure someone must care that Britney Spears' new single has leaked. Bizarrely, it's not dancepop candy of the sort that made her famous, but instead an Aguilera-esque ballad, apparently titled "Baby Boy," in which Britney lashes out at an unspecified male ("Baby Boy") for leaving her. K.Fed? Justin? Her babies? The psychoanalysis questions are endless.
GARAGE DAYS REVISITED: Top Chef viewing was put on hold last night in favor of a cup of Theraflu and 18 hours of sleep. Management encourages anyone with thoughts or observations on the Restaurant Wars Redux episode to share with the other assembled thing throwers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

YOU SHOULD [BLANK] HER AND THEN HAVE HER SEND YOU $12 FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY: Eww, gross -- according to the New England Journal of Medicine, old people still have sex.

USA Basketball: Men's Pan Am Games Team History -- 1987

SOME OF US ARE ABOUT TO FEEL OLD: In a game that I can remember watching with jaw agape, it was twenty years ago today in Indianapolis that Oscar Schmidt led the Brazilian national basketball team with 46 points to defeat the United States in the Pan-Am Games finals, 120-115. Schmidt, nicknamed Mão Santa (Holy Hand) scored 35 second-half points in the game, and was 7-for-15 from beyond the arc. Grainy video highlights here.

Your losing American roster that day, for what it's worth, featured David Robinson, Rex Chapman, Danny Manning, "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison and Keith Smart.
SOMEBODY MAY, HOWEVER, PUT BABY IN A COURTROOM: The fact that Lionsgate (which now owns the rights to Dirty Dancing) is suing people who have been putting "Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner" on products is amusing enough in itself, but it also gives an excuse to link to Neil Patrick Harris (as Barney) doing his best Swayze.
BOMBS AWAY: If you're a Rangers fan, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that your team scored the most runs in major league baseball in the last 110 years, beating the Orioles 30-3 (with 16 runs in the 8th and 9th!). No, you don't see a lot of 27-run victories in pro baseball.

The bad news: once the game got out of hand, all the Orioles were trying to do was get your batters tired from running around the bases in the first game of a doubleheader.
BATMAN OUT OF HELL: Yes, there is a little corner of the Internet where you can see the lyrics for and listen to demos of some of Jim Steinman's songs for Batman: The Musical.
YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT: Today was "Snack Day" at the office--an event almost as hallowed as Pretzel Day, but more frequent (about once a month). Today's featured attraction was frozen treats, and I opted for a FrozFruit bar. I head back to my office and begin to unwrap, preparing to take a bite. I chomp down and quickly realize that somehow, although the bar was sitting in a foam cooler, it was still cold enough that I was experiencing a "tongue on cold lamppost" moment. Trying to type while one has a popsicle stuck to one's tongue and lips, waiting for it to melt is perhaps not the most efficient way of dealing with things.
THIS WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED IN TIBET: Not even total consciousness could get Bill Murray out of a drunken driving charge. And yes, I know a DUI is never ever funny, but the fact that it was on a slow-moving golf cart in downtown Stockholm, Sweden, counts as mitigates the seriousness of the offense.

Via Pop Machine.

And while you are over at the Trib Web site, you may want to check out this feature on surfing in the movies and on TV that ran in the Sunday Arts section a week or so ago.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A BAD SMELL AND A BUSTED SCOREBOARD? WHO SAID KIDS TODAY DON'T KNOW HOW TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX? I don't believe I'm the only one who has found TWoP to be a little less essential over the past few months, between the general suckiness of summer tv programming, the oddly sized "weecaps" and just a general lack of desire to click page-by-page through the lengthier recaps and not be able to just print them out as single documents. Still, between nice interviews of tv critics Maureen Ryan, Eric Deegans and Our Friend Alan Sepinwall, and a return-to-form High School Musical (Original Recipe) recap by Miss Alli, you can click over there again now.
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE INTERNET, VOL. CLVII: So I was watching the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup over the weekend, and beyond being struck again by the surrealism of Harpo's tattoo gag, one line from Groucho (as Rufus T. Firefly) really jarred me: "Well, maybe I am a little headstrong, but I come by it honestly. My father was a little headstrong, my mother was a little armstrong. The Headstrongs married the Armstrongs, and that's why darkies were born."

And that's why what? Well, god bless the blogger who tracked down the line to its place in the 1930s pop culture universe. Short answer: it was a random song reference, but still kinda cringe-worthy.
HE WISHES YOU COULD MEET HIS GIRLFRIEND, BUT YOU CAN'T, BECAUSE SHE IS IN CANADA: Playbill takes a moment to profile one of Broadway's more elusive and felt-y stars--Rod from Avenue Q, and the interview is well worth your time.
GOODBYE, EMMANUELLE: ALOTT5MA friend and commenter, House Next Door contributor, and culture pro Edward Copeland, after soliticing nominations from critics, bloggers, the academy, and "just plain movie fans," has compiled a first ballot for a consensus list of the best foreign-language films. Although he says it's "similar to what the AFI does," one key difference is that it doesn't suck.

On a quick review, it's hard to argue with what did get the requisite three votes to make the list (although Umbrellas of Cherbourg kind of makes me scratch my head -- actual translated quote from opening song: "hey, Joe, can you fix my car?"). I suppose if I were inclined to complain, I would wonder about the exclusion of genre fare like Hard Boiled and La Femme Nikita (the former particularly in light of the inclusion of Chow Yun Fat's other big role, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), and I might snit a little that my favorite of Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy, White, was the only one that didn't get an individual vote (it apparently got a sponsor's exemption). I'm a little surprised that the Samurai Trilogy didn't make it too, though I didn't like it as much as I expected, so I'm okay with that.
TYRA COLLETTE IS MORE LOATHSOME THAN SHARPAY: If you still have any hesitation about purchasing Friday Night Lights: The Complete First Season on DVD, perhaps NBC offering a full money back guarantee for any DVD purchase will get you there.
THE NOSE PLAYS: Broadway will see its first revival of Cyrano De Bergerac in over 20 years this fall, with Kevin Kline as Cyrano and Jennifer Garner as Roxanne. No word on if Garner will be putting on that red dress each and every night or walking the streets for money, not caring if it's wrong or if it's right.
CHICKEN MAKE GOOD HOUSEPET: Because Adam started it, American movies that made me proud to be Asian:
  • The Last Samurai: It is an honor to be almost as good a samurai as Tom Cruise. Wait, what?
  • Sixteen Candles: Sure, Long Duk Dong let us down a bit with the drinking and the falling out of trees and the general geekdom, but he lived the dream of a nation (Japbodia? Vietpan?) when he nestled himself in Lumberjack's ample bosom.
  • Big Trouble in Little China/Rambo: Some would say that one-man-against-yellow-army Asian-killing porn is exploitative, but I think it's empowering.
  • Harold & Kumar: Wherein we have both our model-minority cake and eat it too. Frankly, I'm way more Harold than Kumar. Look at it this way, though -- Harold has to be in the extras scene-stealing hall of fame for the MILF stuff from American Pie.
Yeah, that's about it. Look at it this way, Jews: you may not have had Rogens and Hills then, but at least you have them now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

PETRIFICUS LANDO'LAKESUS: As part of the 2007 Iowa State Fair, Harry Potter was sculpted in butter.

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - film: Movies that make me proud to be a Jew

3000 YEARS OF BEAUTIFUL TRADITION, FROM MOSES TO SANDY KOUFAX: The Guardian U.K.'s Andrew Pulver lists "movies that make me proud to be a Jew."

(Via Carrie.)
YOU CAN DO IT, PIMP LUCIUS! Okay, we're up to chapter 20 of "Trapped in the Closet", and it's abundantly clear that R. Kelly is in on his own joke, and there may be no point to the whole enterprise other than that telling a twisted soap opera story can be fun. And it is.
AND THIS I KNOW, HIS TEETH AS WHITE AS SNOW: I've said before that I'm just lukewarm on Big Love, a show that often seems a bit bland and inconsequential to me, with all of the exciting stuff just pasted on. I'm not admitting I'm wrong, but I wanted to show a little appreciation for the turn the show has taken.

To recap, Season 1 seemed to me to be a cheerfully nonjudgmental view of polygamy. In that season's guns-don't-kill-people-do thesis, there were good (righteous, well-intentioned, spiritual, normal) polygamists and bad (self-righteous, venal, incestuous, creepy) polygamists, and the only things they had in common were plural marriage and the need for a buffer against legitimate society. For the Henricksons, plural marriage wasn't so different from regular marriage. As a result, three of our heroes were saintly and well-adjusted, and the other's problems seemed to stem more from her relationship with the bad polygamist camp than from her current polygamy.

If Season 1 was about how plural marriage could be normal within a family of normal people, Season 2 is about how very hard that can be, particularly when the people aren't as normal as they first seemed. Season 1's most nominally mature Henricksens -- Bill and Barb -- have both revealed themselves as self-absorbed, self-aggrandizing, and manipulative (the musical pun in the post title is apt -- this season Bill literally bares his teeth quite a bit, in both aggression and in grimacing pain). Nikki continues to have hysteria and impulse-control problems, and Margene and the eldest kids are struggling to reconcile polygamy with their interactions with the rest of the world (excellent work by Amanda Seyfried this week, as Sarah lets Bill know how little he understands his relationship with his family). And everybody seems at wit's end with Bill's autocratic caprice. It's been a pretty subtle and satisfying unraveling of Season 1's hard work.

After all that, though, unless something really unusual happens next week, the signature image for me will still be Selma, the transgendered polygamist with a blow torch and branding iron.
HE'S A MAN, EATEN (OR JUST LOOKS THAT WAY): Back when I was working in Seattle, my 70-year-old office manager had a beehive hairdo tinted to a deep fluorescent yellow, Fuller-brush applications of blue eye shadow, and a knee-length purple leather coat. Gloria was the inspiration for my realization that if you're not careful, your fashion sense might silently fossilize. This explains why we accept our grandparents' matching track suits, our neighbors' guy-ponytails and goatees (or, if you live on the other coast, brush cuts and goatees), and Paulie Walnuts's wispy pompadour. They reached a point where they were comfortable with the contemporaneity of their appearance -- for some, the apex of their hipness -- and they locked it in. I live in fear that my own personal style ossified in 1995, leaving me unable to register the pitying glances of the more stylishly current and currently stylish.

Although I am aware of this phenomenon, it was still a shock to see Darryl Hall's cameo on this week's Conchords, with his trademark nimbus of early-'80s moussed mullet casting a shadow over really tired eyes. I believe that I actually yelped at the shock of it.
THERE ARE WORSE THINGS KATHLEEN MARSHALL COULD HAVE DONE: According to the NYT's Ben Brantley, this latest edition of Grease may not be the one that we want: "[I]f you last until intermission, you sit through more than an hour of a musical set in a high school that feels like a musical put on by a high school — and I don’t mean a high school of performing arts.... [T]here’s the numbing sense of performers of undeveloped talent conscientiously doing what they have been told to do and failing to claim their parts as their own."

Says Newsday of stars Laura Osnes and Max Crumm, "She sings with the sweet pop-lite voice cultivated by Disney heroines and can touch her nose with her leg while wearing Spandex. He can dance and has the haplessly endearing quality of an adolescent beagle. To be heard, however, his singing requires increasingly aggressive help from the sound technicians." The Hollywood Reporter complains, "this is a 'Grease' that only will be appreciated by young TV viewers who don't know any better," and all you need to know about Clive Barnes' NY Post review is that it's titled "Grease Frightening." The AP is more kind.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Haka of the All Blacks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UNLESS YOU'D RATHER HEAR BURGESS MEREDITH SAY "WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?" ONE MORE YEAR: Leaving concerns about cultural misappropriation to one side, just how awesome would it be if all Philadelphia Eagles games were preceded by Brian Dawkins leading the team (or just the defense) in a Haka like the ones the New Zealand All Blacks do?

(At least one Texas high school football team, the heavily Tongan squad at Euless Trinity, has adopted the practice.)
THIS TIME, THEY GO TO KRYSTAL: Between The Namesake, his new recurring gig on House, and his job as a visiting professor at Penn, Kal Penn is trying to be serious, but I'm sure many here will be thrilled to see that not only is he back for Harold and Kumar 2, but so is someone who's still looking for a lapdance, at least if the trailer is to be believed.
NOT FEATURING JAY-Z: What happens when you take a #1 dance hit, slow it down by about half, make it acoustic, and give it to a former teen queen who's trying to reinvent herself as a serious artist? Well, you get the (surprisingly good) cover of "Umbrella" by Mandy Moore.
SEPARATION ANXIETY: Superbad is a worthy successor to the last-day-of-school movie genre, a lewd, raucous, warm and not even subtly homoerotic Bildungsroman that gave me a big pile of out-loud laughs last night. It is limited by the fact that it is very much a boy's movie -- by them and about them, with their female counterparts as mysterious to us as they are to Seth, Evan and McLovin. But given that, it's still honestly warm and sweet in ways that such films often aren't, and if you're a fan of erection jokes and seeing Jonah Hill fall down, you'll get more than your money's worth.

On a personal note, I might have been a lot cooler growing up had there been movie stars back then who looked like Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen. Just saying, is all.
MISTAKES, I'VE MADE A FEW: Is there some reason, any reason at all, that I am suppose to think that it's great that Elizabeth Patterson will now spend the rest of her life with Anthony? He's a spinless bitch who felt the right time to confess his needy love was a few hours after she was nearly raped. She's a tease who felt it appropriate to dump a long-term boyfriend after he'd obtained a transfer so he could be with her. I've read every single solitary panel of FBOFW, and I've come to regard every single character in the Lynn Johnston foobiverse with complete contempt.

ETA: Okay, now here's Monday's strip. Liz is talking as if they aren't now engaged. Yesterday was a proposal, right?