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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Worst Movies Ever: The Room

the-room-movie-posterI’d vaguely heard of The Room and seen a few clips on YouTube, but it took the wise advice of trusted friends to get me to watch the entire movie and truly appreciate its great-awfulness.  So,  Andrew and Janet, this one is for you!

Just look at the poster.  What the hell is that look?  Who picked that photo?  Was that the only one they took?  And is he drunk?  Let this set the tone for something that is so bad it’s good.

spoiler alert

Charactersworst-movies-ever
The thing that makes this movie so interesting (it’s bad, but still interesting) is it’s insane characters.  Sure, their dialogue sounds like a toilet backing up onto a floor covered three inches deep in Pop Rocks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to listen to… or does it? It’s one or the other, I forget which. Read the rest of this entry

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other One

Let me start off by declaring my love and undying loyalty to the New York Times.  Their website, nytimes.com, is friggin awesome in every sense of the word and is recognized for it’s quality content (Google Page Rank of 9) and world wide popularity (Alexa rank of 88 out of a bizillion websites) by everyone in the online industry and beyond.

But every once and a while, something crazy slips through the cracks.  Observe:

ny-times-spider-man-turn-off-the-dark

The video segment, Times Cast, is sort of like a local network news show, but they only have a few minutes to disperse information.  And like a local network news show, They cover important issues of the day and also touch upon the lighter side of the day’s events.  Now this format works well enough over an hour or even a half hour, when you only have seven minutes and you choose two serious items and one more that frankly begs an explanation, the latter sticks out like a sore thumb.

So take the quiz!  Which one of these news items isn’t like the other?  And by ‘other,’ I mean which news item isn’t important to you or anybody else in any conceivable way possible.

Black Friday: Somebody’s Coming

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My local mall delivered Santa Claus’ chair a little early – this pic is from over a week ago.  Well, be good for goodness sake, I guess!

Anyway,  shop civilly and safely!

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Red State movie review

red-state-movie-kevin-smithstars-three-halfLet’s start this review up with  a quote from Wikipedia:

Kevin Smith announced at the Wizard World Chicago 2006 convention that his next project would move in a different direction, and it would be a straight horror film.

I was surprised to hear that Kevin Smith was working on a horror film, as I think anybody familiar with his body of work would be.
My understanding is that Mr. Smith stuck to this claim from 2006 until the eventual 2011 release of Red State, and the movie does play as a horror film…

spoiler alert

…for the first twenty minutes or so.  Read the rest of this entry

Go Big Or Go Home

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Yep, you never know when you’re going to need 1000 tabs of non aspirin pain reliever.  Well, I guess I obviously DO know when I’ll need that many anti inflammatories, because that’s how I roll.

What the hell is Tylenol, anyway?

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Moneyball movie review

moneyball-movie-posterstars-three-halfI often meet the claim, “Based on a true story,” with nothing less than trepidation, but with Moneyball, the expectations were raised:  baseball, Brad Pitt…  that seems pretty hard to screw it up.  The film makers sure did try, though.

spoiler alert

The movie starts at the end the Oakland Athletics 2001 season.  After winning the first two games, my beloved Yankees came back to take the series from them 3 games to 2 (which included the now legendary Derek Jeter flip play in game three) and ended the As season.  Because Oakland is always light on payroll, they will not be able to retain their two best position players, first baseman Jason Giambi (who signed an enormous contract with the Yankees) and center fielder Johnny Damon (who signed a hefty contract with the Boston Red Sox).  Making up the offense that these departing players contributed is the primary goal during the 2001-2002 off season, and Beane decides to ignore the advice of his scouts and coaches and instead embrace the Billy James philosophy proposed by  the Peter Brand character, which essentially evaluates players based almost entirely from their advanced statistics rather than traditional baseball scouting practices of believing what your eyes tell you and traditional stats such as batting average and RBI.

Essentially, the movie makes two arguments:

  • “You don’t put a team together with a computer, Billy,” says the Grady Fuson character.
  • “I can’t compete against a hundred and twenty million payroll with thirty eight million dollars,” says the Billy Beane character.  So, the logic is, don’t try, but instead, think differently.

As a lifelong baseball fan, I can tell you that both of these arguments are false.  You can put a team together with a computer, but that isn’t going to solve all of your problems (because you’re not going to be able to acquire much in the way of pitching using this method – small market teams develop quality pitching via draft picks and their farm system… like the 2002 As did, but I’ll get back to that later) and as any Yankee fan can tell you, you can’t buy a World Series victory with a checkbook, no matter how hard you try (see the Yankees 2004 through 2008 seasons) – New York Mets fans know this better than Yankees fans, and Boston Red Sox fans got a taste of this in 2011 that frankly boggles the mind.  Certainly, the Bill James philosophy has plenty of merit, but in my view, the teams with low payroll and a high level of success do it by drafting young talent (making the most of their high draft picks) and developing that talent into impact players at the Major League level.  Bill James’ philosophy has more than earned its place in Major League Baseball, but it’s not the answer to everything, just a new tool in the toolbox.

Here’s a few points that ultimately dropped this movie’s score from a 4 to a 3.5.

Editing

I love it when directors and editors let an actor play out a scene on their face – meaning no dialogue, just let the actor do their thing and convey everything you need to know without speaking a single word.  That is awesome – but this movie took it too far and used this device too often.  How many close ups of Brad Pitt driving around in his truck do we need, and why do they have to last for so long?  I half expected them to wedge a car crash into the movie because he’s in the car so damn much.

Subplots

The subplots concerning Billy Beane’s professional baseball career did not interest me.  I guess it was there to both flesh out his character and to perhaps show why he was willing to fly in the face of convention and reject the standard baseball scouting system, but I feel that this idea robs Beane’s character of his courage and forward thinking and just turns him into some spiteful prick.

I also couldn’t get excited about what was going on in Billy Beane’s personal life.  I’m assuming that the idea is to (again) flesh out his character, but this didn’t do anything for me.  Billy’s daughter, Casey Beane, is played by 13-year-old Kerris Dorsey, and she’s brilliant in the role, but nothing ever seemed to be at stake regarding their relationship, so it just felt like it was making the movie longer, particularly when she was singing.  I thought the inclusion of the scene where Beane is making them ice cream was more than enough to illustrate that he has a daughter, he loves her and if he loses his job, it would impact their relationship.  There’s your tension – that’s all we needed.  The rest just seemed like filler – I don’t care that there is tension between Beane and his ex-wife and her new husband… the scene concerning Casey having a cell phone was totally unnecessary.

What Year is it?

Kerris Dorsey’s rendition of Lenka’s “The Show” kinda pulled me out of the movie for a moment – I didn’t know what year that song was released until I looked it up (it’s on Lenka’s debut album of the same name, circa 2008), but I certainly knew that song was not out in 2001/2002.  To me, it seemed like a weird choice for a movie that was so ingrained in a specific time period and took the time to have year-appropriate cell phone models as props.

Music

I don’t have a problem with a minimalist soundtrack, but like The Social Network, Moneyball’s droning got on my nerves after a while.  However, the movie did make excellent use of silence – it’s rare that you can hear a film projector spinning for what seems like minutes at a time while you’re sitting in a theater.  If you’re going to reuse the same music cue over and over again, it had better be a good one – and this one was not.

The Big Three

My biggest proverbial beef with Moneyball is the nearly total absence of their starting rotation’s big three:  Tim Hudson, Barry Ztio and Mark Mulder.  You saw a guy with ‘Hudson’ on his back during one of the game scenes, but that’s it.  Why is this such a glaring omission?  First off, not mentioning a team’s starting rotation is like doing a bio pic on a government and not having any scenes with the president.  Also, these three guys put up serious numbers – check it:

moneyball-pitching-stats-barry-zito-mark-mulder-tim-hudson

If you don’t follow baseball, these numbers might not mean anything to you, so let me say this:  Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder both had great years in 2002, and Barry Ztio not only had the best year of his career, but he was probably the best pitcher in the league that year, earning him the Cy Young award.  So why would it be important to mention these guys?  They only had 57 wins between them and 650+ innings pitched, so yeah, doesn’t seem important.  Sorry, this might seem like a pretentious complaint, but these guys were the heart of the team and although it didn’t hurt the narrative flow of the movie, such a departure of reality is totally unfair to these guys, to baseball, baseball fans and the movie going public – and sometimes the baseball blogger in me comes out and shouts, “Are you kidding me?!?” when I watch baseball movies.

I believe the reason that these players and their place in 2002 Oakland Athletics history is omitted from this movie is because it doesn’t support the movie’s argument concerning the idea that specific players are undervalued for the wrong reasons… also, it kinda undercuts the idea that Oakland is an underdog when they have three of the best pitchers in the league on their starting staff.

Still, Moneyball is a good flick and worth a look for the baseball and non-baseball/non-sports fan.  The cinematography is pretty good and Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are all great in it.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie review

stars-two-and-a-halftransformers-dark-of-the-moonI finally got around to seeing Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third (and I hope final) movie in the series.  Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, this movie…  well, for one thing, it’s really fucking long.  I don’t know any other way to say it.  It’s 154 minutes, and I’m sorry, this is an aciton movie with a thin plot but no real point, so… if there is a next time, gimme a break, OK?  So yeah, it’s long, but it’s also the best movie in this god awful series.

spoiler alert

The movie opens with a scene from the end of the war between the Decepticons and Autobots on Cybertron, which you would think would be neat, but they manage to blow it.  An escaping ship, piloted by Sentinel Prime (voiced by Lenard Nimoy – seriously), who was Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots, crashes on the moon and the race to see what’s up there inspires the space race.  Seriously.  President Kennedy is in this movie.  Anyway, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Buzz Aldrin (the real Buzz Aldrin has a cameo later in the film – seriously!), land on the moon, explore the ship, blah blah blah.  We finally get to the present and for some reason, we’re still supposed to care about Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf), even though as far as I can tell, his involvement in the first two movies seemed entirely coincidental.  Also, I hate hearing, saying or writing the name ‘Witwicky’ – let’s just change it to ‘Sam Wikipedia’ and get it over with, or not even give him a last name – what’s the difference?  We’re forced to sit through this boring subplot that despite his secret world saving missions with the Transformers and his useless bachelor’s degree, he can’t find a job, which his comic relief dad is pissed off about, although his comic relief mom is somewhat sympathetic.  Welcome to the club, pal…  I feel so bad for you in your luxury apartment with your smoking hot girlfriend…  well, sorta.  What’s wrong with your face?  Anyway, nice legs.

rosie-huntington-whiteley-transformers

Specifically, your mouth.

Also, I just thought I’d point out that Shia means ‘sacred’ and ‘LeBeouf’ means beef – how awesome is that?  If I was him, I’d roll up on shorties and be all, “What up?  My boys call me Sacred Beef… and you will too.”  Just something to think about.

I find LaBeouf likable enough in his role – the dude’s funny, but the movie drags on and on, like a drunk grandmother on her wedding anniversary.  Anyway, he finally lands a job at John Malkovich’s company…  whatever, it doesn’t matter.  I have  no idea why Malkovich is in this movie – I guess he loves money.  I’m boring myself and recanting the plot and will have me sitting here for another 2000 words, and who needs that?

So here’s the quick version:  Sentinel Prime made a secret deal with Megatron to use some sort of worm hole technology to bring Seibertron (yeah, it’s not ‘Cybertron’) to Earth because the former is too dilapidated from the war to be habitable, and they’re going to use the humans as slave labor for…  something…  which makes sense, because when you’re 25 feet tall, it’s great having a workforce that checks in on average around 5 foot 9 inches, not mention the fact that they’re centuries behind you in technology.  Oh, and Sentinel Prime says something about “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or maybe he says it the other way around in this movie… I can’t remember,but it was funny either way, Wrath of Khan style.  (I had to have a third drink to get through this movie, and I made all three of those whiskey and egg nogs mad strong.)  Anyhow, Optimus Prime doesn’t like their plan, so he beats ass and flies around with a jet pack, which kinda reminded me of the end of Robocop 3, except I found a way to care even less about the end of this movie than I did that one.

There’s not much else to say.  From time to time, stuff blows up, but the movie is boring.  The exposition is not completely painful, BUT THERE IS A SHIT LOAD OF IT, and the attempts at balancing the crazy action and exposition with comedy ultimately do a disservice to the movie as it just makes the damn thing take longer.  Maybe a better editor/writer/director team could have hacked a half hour out of this movie, but I don’t want to waste my time talking about a hack like Michael Bay and whoever he parties with is.  I can’t say it enough:  the movie is so fucking long; two and a half hours long!  With the exception of one car chase during which Bumble Bee transforms from car mode to… uhm… person mode and then back to car mode with Shia LeBeouf inside, then outside, then inside again, pretty much all of the cool parts are in this two and half minute trailer. I  honestly don’t know why I scored it so high, but I did watch the entire movie (although somewhat inebriated), so I guess that’s something.

My Rating: 2.5 out of 5

transformers dark of the moon bumblebee the best action movie ever!

The back cover might exaggerate.

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Penn State Alumni & Students Should Distance Themselves From Demonstrators

By now, you’re well versed in the scandal that Penn State is well deservedly drowning in concerning former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulting young boys. Consequently, head football coach for the last century Joe Paterno was fired as an accomplice after the fact, along with university president Graham B. Spanier – which none of their students seemed to notice, by the way.  Read the rest of this entry

Learn Bartending: Whiskey & Eggnog

I am the worst bartender ever.  But, here’s the deal:

I like to mix whiskey and egg nog… and it’s that easy.  Drop some whiskey in a glass and cover it with eggnog.  I used to think that ‘mixed drinks’ meant half alcohol, half other ingredients, but fortunately, I’ve learned that it’s usually just 1 shot of alcohol and fill the rest of the glass with the other ingredient(s), so now when people come by for a drink, they don’t immediately pass out.   Yeah, back in the day, I would take a 12 ounce glass and fill it with half Captain Morgan’s spiced rum, half coke and just hand it to someone like that’s what it was supposed to be, and if you couldn’t handle, I would say, “Psh, you’re a light weight.”  Little did I know I was killing people’s livers.

Check out our Dark Rum and Eggnog recipe!

Anyway, I recommend the following materials for an eggnog and whiskey mixer:

  • 1 juice glass (something around 6 to 10 oz; an “Old Fashioned” glass)
  • silk nog (or eggnog, whatever – I generally use Silk’s Holiday Nog)
  • the cheapest whiskey you can find
    • I recommend at least one shot of whiskey, but one and a half shots is probably the right amount – add to taste.  i recommend cheap whiskey because you’re mixing it with the overpowering flavor of eggnog, so there’s no point in using the expensive stuff.  If it comes in a plastic jug, I think you bought the right product.
  • a sprinkle (don’t go crazy) of cinnamon is also a good idea, but you need to mix that in thoroughly

That’s it – it’s that easy.  Drink up, drink responsibly, and Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Whatever.

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5 Things Herman Cain Deleted from his Sexual Harassment Denial Statement

I love this guy!

Herman Cain’s denial to this latest allegation of sexual harassment is one of the greatest things I have ever read.  Check it:

Activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain.  All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain’s bold ‘9-9-9 Plan’, clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks.

Wow.  Just wow.  No “We categorically deny these charges,” no discrediting the accuser, just hard (ha, hard!) facts, Herminator style!  Here’s what I got out of this:

1.  Herman Cain didn’t harass anyone, ever
2.  Herman Cain is the Republican front runner
3.  I (and other American people) will not let these bogus attacks overshadow Herman Cain
4.  Mr. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is bold
5.  Herman Cain has clear foreign policy vision
6.  Herman Cain has a plan for energy independence
7. He’s the Herminator!

BEST STATEMENT EVER!

Being such a big Herman Cain fan, I have access to unreleased drafts of the statement. Here are my favorite 5 Things Herman Cain Deleted from his Sexual Harassment Denial Statement.

1.  It’s not sexual harassment if I do it, because I do it right
2.  Bitches love me
3.  I’m the Herminator!
4.  If women didn’t want me to grope them, they’d surround themselves with a 20 foot high electrified fence with barbed wire at the top and include a sign in English and whatever the hell language I speak that reads, “The liberal media will kill you!”
5.  My book, This is Herman Cain! is still on sale and is selling like hot cakes!

UPDATE:
ah, now he’s attacking the accuser’s credibility: “a woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy.”
He was on Jimmy Kimmel last night and announced tonight’s press conference and he said two things that are awesome all in the same sentence: “I will talk about any and all future firestorms, because here’s one thing people don’t know about Herman Cain: I’m in it to win it.”

1. referring to yourself in the 3rd person is awesome
2. “I’m in it to win it” What is the guy, a lottery?

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Bathroom Graffiti

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Bathroom graffiti can be great, and this time, it was.  Is it a threat or a promise? Either way, it made me chuckle – especially ‘us’ rather than ‘me.’  Well done, graffiti guy – well done.

Kent, party of 11?

clark-kent-dinner-reservation

My favorite Thai restaurant is expecting a fairly large dinner party tonight.  Eleven people probably nets a pretty sizable check, right?  Well, I have my doubts about whether or not they’ll actually show up given that the reservation was made by the Last Son of Krypton.
“Kent, eleven?”  That is pretty awesome.

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