Saturday, October 22, 2011

WE WILL DRINK NO WINE BEFORE ITS TIME: An actual transcript of my thought process, on the occasion of a visit from a friend.
  1. [Email from friend: landed at SFO]
  2. I should text Spacewoman. "The Eagle Has Landed."
  3. Song stuck in head: The Eagle Has Landed, Saxon.
  4. "To find tranquility ... TO FIND TRANQUILITY!!!!"
  5. If I were making a movie where the soundtrack were all 1980s heavy metal songs, that would definitely be on the soundtrack.
  6. If I were making a movie where the soundtrack were all 1980s heavy metal songs, what else would it include?
  7. Definitely something from Manowar.
  8. Remember when Manowar did that song where Orson Welles did the ridiculous voice-over?
  9. "When you are old enough ... to read these words ..."
  10. [giggling]
And ... scene. But you really should look at that Manowar cover, because yes, I was a Manowar completist.
SUPERSEDING ALL REGGAE COVERS OF NON-REGGAE TOP-40 SONGS: The country version of "Tainted Love"* that I heard in Starbucks this morning** is [Chris Traeger voice] lit-rally*** the worst thing that I have ever heard in my life or in any of the prior lives that some religions believe that I have had.

*Not that a country version has to be terrible. See, e.g., this Ali Dee**** country-bluegrass version.*****

**For all I know, the version I heard was Ali Dee. It was not, however, the Ali Dee version linked above.

***Not literally.

****Country artist Ali Dee, not rap artist Ali Dee.

*****And I feel like I need to say that this isn't really my style, except that I like the little bit of rockabilly sprinkled in in the middle, when the band comes in with the chanting and stuff.
TOM RIDDLE AND HIS MAGICAL DIARY:  Posters for 26 classic movies remade from the villain's point of view.

Friday, October 21, 2011

C-3PO VS. ROSIE THE MAID:  NYMag asked two experts from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to handicap a boxing tournament featuring pop culture's favorite robots. Unfortunately excluded: T-1000, Dot Matrix, Twiki and Small Wonder's V.I.C.I.
"MY BIGGEST HOPE IS THAT IT COMES ACROSS AS A MUPPETS FILM AND NOT A JASON SEGEL FILM THAT THE MUPPETS HAPPEN TO BE IN" : Disappointed by the fart joke in the trailer and a script which they believe "creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie," Muppets veterans including Frank Oz kvetch to The Hollywood Reporter about the upcoming film.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

AN 'H' AND TWO 'D'S, AND ISN'T A SEVEN-LETTER WORLD FOR ANYTHING: Today was not a good day for Colonels, whether it's the tyrant who looked much more studly and un-Jeffrey-Ross-like in 1970 and died today without having avenged Emmett "Doc" Brown's theft of his plutonium in 1985, or the one with wee, beady eyes from Kentucky, who counterbalanced all the positive publicity this week from adding bacon to his Famous Bowls by the actions of his branch in West Sussex, England, which declined to honor a reservation request from John Travolta because KFC doesn't take reservations. (What, did he want a table overlooking the kitchen?) Back to that ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation:

HANGING WITH THE RAISIN GIRLS:  So did Tori Amos write "Cornflake Girl" after having read Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar or because in 1984 at the age of 21, she beat out Sarah Jessica Parker to star in an ad for Kellogg's Just Right cereal?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

R.I.P., HERPES MONKEY: This did not end well. As Matt noted on Twitter, there were probably better ways to cross-promote Cameron Crowe's holiday flick We Bought A Zoo.
YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG: Not to get political here,* but Spacewoman reports the first sighting of a nascent Occupy Berkeley encampment. Yes, Berkeley, civic avatar of corporate rapacity, the Vatican of the Church of the Almighty Dollar. Your day has come, you fat cat Berkeley hemp bracelet barons and cigar-chomping reggae jam tycoons.

Apologies for stating the obvious, but why would the Occupy movement need a tent city to occupy Berkeley? Couldn't they just declare their own residences occupied? Like maybe by hanging "occupied" signs (or gym socks) on the doorknobs? Or is just it that Berkeley is a territory that is particularly easy to seize right now, on account of every resident capable of defending it currently being across the bay occupying San Francisco?

So until further notice, I am declaring this particular submovement: Occupy San Francisco No BART Pass Sad Emoticon.

*No, really, don't get political here.
NO, THIS EVENT IS NOT IN CAVE-IN-ROCK, ILLINOIS: As noted in a few threads previously, some NYC ThingThrowers, including myself, are gathering this weekend. Current plan is to meetup at the American Museum of Natural History (North/Rose Center entrance) around 2 PM on Saturday afternoon and hang out there for a few hours, followed by burgers, beverages, and other deliciousness across the street at Shake Shack after the museum closes at 5:45 (additional merriment may follow). Folks are welcome to join for either or both parts of the event. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you want/need more info.
THE FALL CLASSIC:  St. Louis. Texas.  Who ya got?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"IF ONE IS PERCEIVED TO BE 'OVER-THE-HILL,' I.E., APPROACHING 40":  An actress has sued IMDb for listing her real age in her online biography. While this may seem silly -- suing someone for printing truthful information, really? -- the complaint itself has a bit more teeth, alleging that the site's employment of information she submitted in setting up her IMDbPro subscription for this purpose constitutes breach of contract, fraud, an invasion of privacy, and a violation of state consumer protection law.
A VERY SPECIAL SITCOM MONTAGE:  If phrases like "Uncle Ned," "pedophile Gordon Jump," and "the Punky Brewster refrigerator episode" activate a deep well of nostalgia for you, then you will be so excited, so excited, or so scared to view a few clips with us:

HT: Our Friend Dan Fienberg, even if there's no "A, My Name Is Alex."

Monday, October 17, 2011

DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT THIS: I've long thought The Breakfast Club could make a solid play--almost entirely one setting, small cast, brand name recognition for a run. You could either keep it a period piece or make fairly minor adjustments to plot (have their cell phones taken away) and dialogue and set it in the here and now. We're not getting that, but Jason Reitman is directing a one night only staged reading of the screenplay in LA. While billed as a surprise cast, he's announced on Twitter that James Van Der Beek will play the Emilo Estevez part, Patton Oswalt the Anthony Michael Hall part, Mindy Kaling the Ally Sheedy part, and J.K. Simmons will play the janitor. Any suggestions for who fills Molly Ringwald's princess and Judd Nelson's criminal shoes or who will remind people not to mess with the bull as Principal Vernon?
FROM THE LONG-DORMANT-BUT-FONDLY-MISSED (RIGHT?) ALOTT5MA MUKTUK DESK:  The NYT goes along for the ride on a whale hunt in Barrow, Alaska.  There's a rather nice video which accompanies the piece.
SURVEY SAYS!  Top seven answers on the board, here's the question: Name something you put in your mouth, but don't swallow. 

Yes, this aired:

MIDDLE AGE RIOT: I know we don't usually do gossip here, but it seems relevant to me that Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon are splitting up after 27 years of marriage. That, on top of the fact that I read in Everybody Loves Our Town (an oral history of Seattle's music scene from the late 1980s to the late 1990s or so) that the Novocelics (Chris/Krist and Shelli), the Cornells (Chris and Susan Silver), and the Bucks (Peter and Stephanie Dorgan) also are all divorced, weirds me out a little bit. In the early 90s, those couples all seemed, from the outside, like permanent fixtures, matched pairs lucky enough to have young love, a little maturity, exciting lives, and mutually-reinforcing careers. 20 years later is, well, 20 years later. It just makes me feel old, that's all.
AMERICA WANTS TELEVISION WITH BRAINS: After last night's huge ratings for The Walking Dead, particularly among young viewers, I expect shows will be looking for ways to add zombies. Some are easy--Desperate Housewives becomes far more desperate when Mary Alice Young rises from her grave, hungry for flesh; Gossip Girl gets Blair Waldorf to fend off a newly zombified Dan Humphrey after Dorota brings her an old Louboutin which she uses to smash in his head; and I can already picture "Dr. Cristina Yang, bad-ass zombie fighter." Please provide your suggestions for how we can add more flesh eating to television.

ETA: Apparently, the correct answer is Zombieland: The Series, which I can actually get behind--the movie felt like a (very big) TV pilot in a lot of ways, setting up 4 characters for a long haul.
BUT JOEL MCHALE STILL HASN'T BEEN ASKED: Either ALOTT5MA has power or is psychic, since two people we've been demanding host SNL will host SNL for sweeps. Your November schedule?

  • November 5--Charlie Day with musical guest Maroon 5. (Almost guaranteed--Day playing Blake Shelton in a Voice parody, with Christina Aguilera as the overeager contestant.)

  • November 12--Emma Stone with musical guest Coldplay.

  • November 19--Thanksgiving show! Jason Segel with musical guest Florence + The Machine. (I'm banking on at least one Muppet appearing during the show and a nudity joke.)
THE BATTLE OF THE BARBECUE STYLES?  Normally I can locate some easy cultural fault line between the two cities vying for one of America's major sports championships, but Texas (Dallas) v. St. Louis in the 2011 World Series isn't yet doing it for me. Or, put another way, I need something more than Nelly and fried ravioli around which to build a post.  In the meantime, I've got two pitching changes and a quintuple-switch to arrange.
THE TALKING DEAD: Apropos of the return of The Walking Dead, if there is one thing on a television show that sends my thumb straight to the fast-forward button, it's somebody in a church talking to God. I don't care if it's President Bartlet or Sheriff Keira Knightley's Secret Admirer, it just never rings true.

Other than that, with The Walking Dead, you know what you're getting, and you can't get anything else. Spoiler alert: there are zombies, and the tension is getting to people, and you alternate between attrition and non-elimination episodes. It's basically exactly like a season of Survivor, except with decaying bodies instead of tropical kitsch. I like zombie stuff, but the moment you play the zombie card, you've painted yourself into a pretty tight corner, creativity-wise. What are the plot moves you can make? There's (a) Another Person Just Died; (b) We're Running Low on Supplies; (c) Battlestar Pegasus (otherwise known as We Just Ran Into Another [Band of] Survivor[s]); (d) Is This a Cure? No It Is Not; (e) We're Surrounded; (f) We All Hate Each Other; (g) Survivors Get It On; (h) Birth in a Hellhole; and (i)(1) Go Gently Into that Goodnight or (i)(2) Is This a Cure? Yes It Is. Am I missing anything?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

END OF AN ERA:  There are plenty of folks who may receive the honorific Our Good Friend on this site, but when it comes to the Inquirer's Carrie Rickey (an occasional commenter here) it is more than true. Most of you know at least one way in which her impact on my life has been profound, but that's just one of many ways in which she has been generous in offering her counsel and connections over the years.

After twenty-five years here, Carrie bids farewell today to her fulltime job as movie reviewer to transition to longer-form pieces (and occasional free-lance reviews), and uses the occasion to mark how filmmaking, and Philadelphia's movie culture, have evolved during her tenure.
EVERYBODY CUT WHAT? Both out of my own personal interest and as an anthropological experiment, yes, I saw Footloose last night. I've never seen the original (heresy, I know!), so I don't have that baggage, but a few thoughts:
  • From a casting perspective, they clearly cast dancers, with acting ability as a secondary concern. Both of the young leads can dance, but the acting, particularly from Kenny Wormald, is much more scattered. He's not helped by the fact that (at least in this remake) Ren is an underwritten character, with motivations that are, at best, hazy. Wisely, rather than letting them verbally flirt, the screenplay and director have them dance it, and Hough in particular shines when she gets to dance.
  • The one apparent big change in the film from the original is that while it opens with the "dancing feet" sequence from the original film (with updated footwear/wardrobe), rather than cutting from there to Ren's arrival in town, those feet are the dancing feet of Bomond's seniors three years prior to the events of the film--we see the dance, its consequences, and the town council vote on the various ordinances, including the anti-dancing one. This equalizes the film a little bit, making the Reverend a little less of a one-dimensional villain, which is also aided by Dennis Quaid's performance in the role, which is softer and less rage-fueled than I expect Lithgow's was.
  • I haven't seen a movie with this many endings since Return of the King. We have the council meeting where Ren delivers his impassioned speech, we have the Reverend's change of heart, we have a lengthy setup/cleanup for the dance, we have a tender scene between Hough and Quaid as she leaves for the dance, a fistfight, and a big dance sequence. (Inexplicably, we don't get Quaid dancing at the end, which was a missed opportunity for an emotional moment.)
  • There's a lot of plot mechanics that don't seem to make much sense--Ariel apparently doesn't have a car and must rely on her skeezy boyfriend to get her from place to place, but is able to show up at random locations to stalk Ren to further the plot, that boyfriend appears and disappears as a plot device as needed, and the timeline is a complete mess.
All that said, I quite enjoyed myself, and can certainly see how this story could easily become a touchstone for folks--the updated music (several major songs from the original have been re-recorded by new artists, and there are a few new songs) and dancing (in particular, Ariel's been sexed up for the remake, and I expect to a certain demographic, jean shorts and red cowboy boots may be their "Princess Leia in a gold bikini" moment) certainly make it fresh for a new generation.