Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Siskel, Kubrick and my Dad

Ever have one of those dreams that are so vivid that you believe they are actually real. And when you wake up, it actually takes you a couple of minutes to realize it was all a dream. I had one last night about Chicago film critic Gene Siskel. He died a number of years back but is best known for working with fellow critic Roger Ebert on the weekly movie review show Siskel & Ebert.

My favourite memory of him is when the two of them reviewed the Burt Reynolds "classic" film Cop And A Half. Ebert went first and actually gave it a "thumbs up" and talked about the merits of a film where rough and tumble cop Burt Reynolds is forced to partner up with 10 year old big mouthed black kid. After Ebert's review, Siskel stared at him in shock for a split second and uttered, "Where's your red suit and hat, Santa?". He then proceeded to lambaste the film for the crap that it truly was.

Anyway, I dreamed I met him at some function and I was talking to him asking where he's been. He told me some crap about retiring out in the country etc etc. Yes, these are the kinds of dreams I have, nothing involving pillow fights with Mariah Carey and Paris Hilton...no, I get stuck with Gene Siskel.

I woke up and thought to myself...what a lame dream. 10 minutes later, I realized he was already dead and therefore the dream was even more bizarre than that.

I remember when he died quite vividly as it happened soon after my own Dad was killed. There are always people believe that deaths come in threes. I think that is the work of fiction in some lame horror movie. I mean anything like that has to be considered a coincidince. But whenever someone close to me dies, I always look for other people who have recently died (a celebrity etc etc) so I don't have to worry about another person close to me dying to make up that "death in threes" theory. Thankfully, within a couple of months of my Dad's passing, famed director Stanley Kubrick also passed followed quickly by Gene Siskel. This doesn't help with having to go through what I did with my Dad, but it helped give everything some closure.

Top 5 Musicians who died too soon.
1. Otis Redding
2. Duane Allman
3. Sam Cooke
4. Jimi Hendrix
5. Janis Joplin


Friday, May 26, 2006

Okay, seriously Van Halen...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Absolute has-been David Lee Roth has indicated that a reunion of him and his ex-Van Halen bandmates is an "inevitability".

Roth's post Van Halen career has been sad at best. His first solo release, a mini-LP called Crazy From The Heat was just cover songs from that ranged from the solid "California Girls" to the bizarre "Just A Gigolo/Ain't Got Nobody".

His second album, Eat 'em And Smile was pretty forgettable and 1988's Skyscraper benefited from the quality lead single "Just Like Paradise" and that was about it. Lately, Roth is best known for taking over Howard Stern's radio show when the King of All Media moved to satellite radio and was then soon fired due to lack of ratings. Musically, he handles lead vocals on "Jump" and "Jamie's Crying" on a bluegrass tribute album to Van Halen called Strummin' With The Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen.

Van Halen's own post Roth career is only slightly better. Sammy Hagar (ex of the band Montrose) took over and Van Halen's sound moved more toward pop as opposed to rock. I was a huge fan of their first release 5150, but the follow ups OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance were just pale copies that got worse and worse. F.U.C.K. featured the single "Right Now" which was a true "jump the shark" moment for the band as it was overplayed and just sad considering the sound from their earlier albums.

More drama for Van Halen as they hired Roth back in 1996 to record new singles on their greatest hits collection, hopefully entitled The Best of Van Halen, Vol. 1. Those new singles were stylistically a mess and not worth more than a casual listen. At the same time, Van Halen is rumoured to have hired little known singer Mitch Malloy but that never materialized. The band with Roth appeared at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards and old wounds resurfaced and Roth was out of the band again.

They tried hiring Little Angels' singer Toby Jepson who declined. So the next choice was the lead singer of Extreme Gary Cherone. Together, they recorded the immediately ignored Van Halen III in 1998.

Van Halen has done nothing since other than release a 2 disc GH called Best Of Both Worlds. SO I suppose, going back to Roth is the next logical step. Though, I for one will not be lined up for that new release. As i said, enough is enough.

Top 5 Van Halen Albums

1. 1984

2. Van Halen

3. 5150

4. Van Halen II

5. Diver Down


Thursday, May 25, 2006

American I-DULL

I am not really happy to admit this but I have actually followed American Idol for the whole season this year. Like a lot of people, I used to just watch the audition shows where you would get to hear alot of the really bad singers and the judges are at their most crankiest. But, I really liked eventual winner Taylor Hicks from the beginning and decided to follow his progress.

Rest assured, this is the last time I will ever watch this show.

Top 5 reasons I hate American Idol

1. The cross marketing. Whether it is the unsubtle way a certain car company and a certain soft drink company are pushed throughout the shows or the fact that genuine musicians appear on the show in order to push their new album. When it is Barry Manilow or Rod Stewart, I kind of get it. These are relatively soft, safe musicians who could use the bump in sales as they are clearly past their prime. However, last night's finale featured Prince. Or should I refer to him once again as, the Artist Formerly Known As Prince. To see him appear on this show was like the deathknell for his career. I can never respect him or his music again. At least he had the good sense not to sing with one of the idols or even talk to anyone. However, the damage was already done.

2. Randy Jackson. This man is an embarrassment to black culture in north america. He literally sets us back 10 years with his cliche way of talking. And why must he refer to everyone as either "dawg" or "dude"? And what is this "dawg pound" stuff? Does he not know that this phrase died with the Arsenio Hall show over a decade ago? And what does he actually bring to the show. Paula Abdul is clearly supposed to be the sensitive one while Simon Cowell is the mean one...what exactly is Randy's raison d'etre?

3. Paula Abdul. Okay, lets all be honest. She is either drunk or high on some recreational drugs when she does the show. Her meandering comments regarding the performers often make no sense and really can't be helpful to these struggling performers. Plus, how many times must she cry? Admittedly, I cried a little bit when I saw Prince on the show. But how that Elliott Yamin character's singing could bring her to tears is beyond me.

4. Simon Cowell. I used to like him. I used to believe that he was the only one speaking the truth. However, after spending the season watching him, I realize he is just a character. "The Mean One". It comes to a point where he is also not being helpful, he is just trying to come up with funny, insulting and memorable lines to help keep viewers at home awake.

5. It is just a karaoke contest. Seriously. Why do so many people care and why do so many people vote. Let's not worry about AIDS in Africa, the mess of the waterfront here in Toronto, the declining education rate mixed with the increasing obesity rate. Lets just worry whether Taylor Hicks or Katherine McPhee wins or whether Kellie Pickler can actually pronounce the word salmon.

And how sad is it that on a day when I write about American Idol, my pal at The Cogs Tabloid writes about The Allman Brothers? Clearly, he knows what is more important about music than I do. Honestly, this will be the last time I have an entry about American Idol...promise.

PS...what was David Hasselhoff doing there in the crowd of American Idol and why was he crying? Perhaps he was thinking of this video he did for his single Hooked On A Feeling.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hanks for the memories

So I was vindicated in the Da Vinci Code pool here at work. Admittedly, my guess of the first weekend gross being $92 million was not close enough to win the pool. The final gross was $78 million. However, I still had that side bet with the Captain here at work. He bizarrely guessed $43 million and I bet him seperately that my number would be closer. I won by about $10 million.
Yeah, it was only a $20 victory, but it is better than nothing.

The less than glowing reviews for the Da Vinci Code has me rethinking whether I want to see it or not. We originally planned to see it on Monday (notoriously the least busy day in the theatre) but since it was the two hour finale of 24 was on that night, the decision was made for me.

I came into the Da Vinci phenomenon rather late. I read it about 6 months ago. I then read Dan Brown's earlier novel Angels And Demons right after. Though Da Vinci Code has a sexier storyline, I liked Angels And Demons better. I would love to see that put on film but I think due to where they would want to film, it will almost be impossible. Plus the stunts, which may read okay in a novel, if put on film would just be ridiculous.

I used to think I was a big Tom Hanks fan...but actually, I'm not. He is a smart actor, who makes smart choices. He works with good directors. He never really plays a dislikable guy. Movies like like Philadelphia and Forrest Gump were a risk, but not a huge risk. Philadelphia is really Denzel Washington's movie. He has the tougher role. Forrest Gump has pacing problems which hurts the movies in some place.

It's just funny that back in the 80s, it was Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton on similar paths doing likeable comedies. Now Hanks stars in big blockbusters and Michael Keaton is relegated to a Herbie remake with Lindsay Lohan and the independant picture Game 6 (which still hasn't opened in Canada). And, honestly, I resent Tom Hanks for it.

Top 5 Michael Keaton movies
1. The Paper
2. Out Of Sight
3. Night Shift
4. Mr. Mom
5. Batman


Monday, May 22, 2006

Sideways (without Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen)

J-Mac and I tried to duplicate Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church's trip in the film Sideways by heading down to Niagara-On-The-Lake for some golfing and wine tours.

We talked in advance and J-Mac agreed to a $150 budget for wine purchases. I quickly realized that when she hit that limit before we'd even reached our hotel, that I wasn't really going to be able to have any say on the subject matter. Suffice to say, I drank more different kinds of wine than i ever have in my life and I am even more confused about what makes a good wine than I was before.

The higlight of that first night was this funky little restaurant called Zees. It was a little upscale but very friendly and fun. We had a popcorn shrimp appetizer and I had a steak for dinner while J-Mac went with Ontario lamb. I am not a big fan of lamb in general and this was served with polenta which I can't eat. Some people have a texture thing when it comes to found, I have a sound thing when it comes to food. The word polenta sounds too much like placenta...too gross...i could never eat it.

On the morning before we left, we were possibly going to meet up with Ricky B and Koop who were down in the Falls to see Regis and Kelly who were broadcasting from outside their hotel. I turned it on, just to see when it was over so I knew when to call them. I have never watched the show and I got to see them interview Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24. This interview was horrible. Clearly no research is done, they just ask stupid questions. I feel bad for the person being interviewed who must feel it is just a waste of their time.

Top 5 Talk Shows
1. The Daily Show with John Stewart
2. Late Night With David Letterman
3. Jimmy Kimmel Live
4. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
5. Late Night with Conan O'Brien

Monday afternoon included a round of golf at Oak Hall. I preceeded to have my best round ever despite the cool temperatures and sometimes brisk wind. I think I am finally getting it when it comes to this stupid sport.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

God bless coffee

Okay, I have to admit something right now. I own a $200 coffee maker. Before you judge me, trust me, it makes the best coffee I have ever had. However, here is what it doesn't do...it doesn't make anything other than coffee. No cappacino, no frappacino, no expresso...just coffee.

Here is what it DOES do, you put the coffee beans in the grinder, add water and turn it on. It grinds the beans, vaccuums the grinded beans into a permanent gold tone filter, then the water pours through those beans into a metal carafe. Plus, you can program this coffee maker to do this all for you at a time you set.

The coffeemaker purchased this at William Ashley which was a bizarre store to walk inside. First off, instead of being a big, wide expansive store, it was more like a store of little rooms. You walk inside one room, china, next room, appliances, next room glasswear. And then there is the store staff. If Russ Meyer was going to do a movie with 40 and 50 year old women, he would need to go no further than this store. Most of the employees were classy, older women, wearing nice skirts and having, well, let's just say they had large accoutrements.

The Da Vinci Code opens this weekend and I will be paying close attention to the box office grosses. As most of you know, the office I work in has bets and pools all the time. The latest one relates to the box office gross for the opening weekend of The Da Vinci Code. There are about 20 of us in it, we each put in a $1 and entered our guess. Your faithful narrator has guessed $92.5 million. What was interesting is that the Captain, one of my work colleagues bet $43 million. I found this to be so low, it was laughable. I offered him a side bet of $20 that the final grosses for the weekend will be closer to my guess than his. Despite people telling him it was a sucker bet, he agreed. I will let you know how that goes on Tuesday.

For tonight, I am probably going to watch The Squid And The Whale with Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. I have liked Laura Linney since she did this Law And Order episode where she played a woman who killed a man in New York who she used to work for years before while in Japan. It was a great episode. Plus, when I saw Love Actually at the Toronto Film Fest, she was there in the audience. And she has a nude scene in it. How bizarre is that for an actress. Watching a movie with dozens of other people and you are naked on the screen. I had to respect that. That had been the first showing of that movie and after it was over, all the cast members who were still there were hugging each other as everyone in the audience clearly loved the movie. Funnily enough, Colin Firth, who had been there at the beginning of the screening, didn't actually stay to watch it.

Top 5 Laura Linney movies
1. Love, Actually
2. Dave
3. Mystic River
4. You Can Count On Me
5. Primal Fear

Check out Friday's post by Wee Scunner and the Saturday's post on The Cogs Tabloid. Both feature links to funny videos.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Television, etc

I spent Thursday night watching the series finales of both Will & Grace and That 70s Show. I am not really a fan of either show, but I am always interested to see how shows end their run.

Will & Grace never really grabbed me as I always found the characters more like broad characatures more than real people. Plus, the constant "stunt" casting was just silly. Michael Douglas plays a gay cop who hits on Will, Britney Spears plays a televangelist, Kevin Bacon plays himself. It just goes on and on. Plus the secondary characters Karen and Jack just grew tiresome as they're consistent ability to both irritate and be self-centred made it difficult to believe that the main characters would still remain friends of them.

But I have to admit, once every show, there is always one killer line. The funniest ever was when was Jack was criticizing Will for not being gay enough. He said, "You are about as gay as Tom Selleck in In & Out." The killer line last night was with Jack and Karen talking about how hard it was to deal with the drama of the main characters Will and Grace. Jack says, "Yeah, it's like we are secondary characters on the Will and Grace show."

That 70's Show also never really grabbed me during it's run. I think that the biggest issue is that there were too many "dumb guy" characters that were played for laughs. Always the sign of lazy and desperate writing. At times either or all of characters from Jackie to Fez to Michael (and even little known sister Laurie Foreman) all had "dumb guy" punchlines. Though the show was always at its best when the characters sat around in a circle and smoked up (off camera-though the smoke haze would still be in the air). The camera would whip around from character to character as they discussed whatever people do when they are high. It might have been better if the whole show was like that.

One of the best seasons of the Amazing Race ended on Wednesday as the hippies (due to their ability to remember flags) were victorious over the frat boys and Ray and Yolanda. As most of you know, I had Ray and Yolanda in the Amazing Race pool at work. I chose them because Yolanda was the strongest woman among all the groups and Ray must have been smart as he was a lawyer. I definately bet on the wrong horse as neither of these two were all that brilliant. It was only big mistakes by other groups that had them last as long as they did. I should have just bet on Danielle and Dani, at least I would be cheering on the best looking of the bunch.

One more week of American Idol. I should have entered a pool for that as my early favourite from the audition phase of the show, Taylor Hicks is among the final two. I think he should easily defeat Katherine McPhee.

Getting back to Tom Selleck, is there another actor on the planet that I could feel more sorry for. First off, he is offered the role of Indiana Jones but the producers of Magnum PI refuse to let him out of their exclusive contract. Then he is offered the lead role in No Way Out. This would have been the perfect post-Magnum role for him but he turned it down as it was too unamerican. The role then went to Kevin Costner and the film was a huge success. And Selleck is now doing TV movies such as Stone Cold and westerns for TNT such as Monte Walsh.

Top 5 Tom Selleck movies.
1. An Innocent Man
2. Runaway
3. Three Men and A Baby
4. Mr. Baseball
5. Quigley Down Under


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Worst things ever to happen to music

Underdog music magazine Blender recently listed the Worst 50 Things Ever to Happen to Music. The list is rather tongue-in-cheek but relatively funny. For example, #49 is "That dude who yells Freebird at every rock show." That is so true! Though, as proven by the fact that there are four seperate entries related to Van Halen, this list isn't all that serious.

However, #38 is absolutely correct. One word, Sting. What the heck happened to Sting? My buddy Rickie B says that Sting essentially "jumped the shark" with the success of the single Fragile from his second solo album Nothing Like The Sun. This is probably dead right. Sting and his music have been getting softer and softer as he eases into old age (by rock and roll standards).

His work with the Police fused intelligent lyrics with a sound that ventured between ska, new wave and rock. Once The Police broke up after the massive success of 1983's Synchronicity, Sting immediately made a left turn creating a jazz-pop fusion band that included Branford Marsalis and Kenny Kirkland.

Their first album The Dream Of the Blue Turtles and the subsequent live release Bring On The Night was the soundtrack of my later high school years. But subsequent releases Nothing Like the Sun, The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner's Tales, Mercury Falling, Brand New Day and Sacred Love. Each of these albums have one or two songs that harken back to either his jazz or rock sensibilities but the bulk of the songs are just one notch above muzak. Truly, the career of Sting is one sad footnote.

Top 5 Sting albums
1. Bring On The Night
2. Zenyetta Mondetta (The Police)
3. The Dream Of The Blue Turtles
4. Synchronicity (The Police)
5. Outlandos d'Amour (The Police)


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hands in my pocket

Am I the only one who is disturbed when watching those Citibank card commercials where regular people are doing things like walking, playing tennis etc while a suit follows them around with his hand in their pocket.

For fans of Prison Break, visually this looks similar to what the character T-Bag had certain characters do for him. His character is a bit of a bully (let's call it THAT as my mother may be reading this blog) and any people who were "subservient" to him were forced to hold on to the out-turned pocket of his pants.

Canadian comedian Rick Mercer recently did a spoof of these commercials regarding the Canadian Revenue Agency called "Knee In My Package". It is about the funniest thing I have ever seen on CBC. I have also included a link to his blog under "Writers I like". Also added to that section is Coglero's blog. It should also be good for some laughs.

Speaking of the CBC, I am currently in a baseball pool with a number of employees of that fine network. Despite finishing second last year and winning it all in 2001, I am in a sad 11th place with only Emo keeping me out of the bottom. Screw you Derek Lee, Bartolo Colon, Jeff Weaver, Joe Blanton etc etc. The list goes on and on.

Watching some baseball last night, I have a new favourite pitcher, Russ Springer of the Houston Astros. He intentionally pitched inside on public enemy #1 Barry Bonds, actually hitting him with the fifth pitch on his back. Springer was kicked out but received a chorus of cheers from the Houston faithful.

My 5 most memorable Barry Bonds moments.
1. 1992 LCS vs. the Braves. Pirates LF Barry Bonds is unable to throw out the slowest runner in the history of Major League Baseball, Sid Bream. Bream's run gives Atlanta the victory in the series.

2. Russ Springer throws 5 pitches intentionally inside on Bonds preventing him from hitting a home run to tie Babe Ruth for second overall.

3. Bonds has a disagreement with Jeff Kent in the Giants dugout. They push and shove and at one point, Bonds grabs Kent by the neck.

4. The pressure is clearly getting to Bonds. In a late season 2004 press conference, reporters are asking Bonds numerous questions about the steroids scandal. He answers everyone of these questions with "Next Question!". When a reporter asks why he won't answer the question, he replies, "because they (the questions) are stupid."

5. 2005, another press conference, another time Barry Bonds looking stupid. When reporters begin asking him about the steroids scandal, Bonds decides to turn it around on the reporters. "You guys are re-running stories. This is old stuff. It's like watching Sanford and Son. It's almost comical, basically.... Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The art of the martini

I spent yesterday afternoon discussing theories on the perfect martini. For those of you who are interested, my gin preference always goes to Bombay Sapphire. My perfect martini is a little labour intensive, first it starts with the glass. I prefer my martini with a lemon twist, not olives. I cut off a small peel from a lemon and wipe the inside of the glass with it.

Then deal with the liquid part of the drink. Pour 1/2 an ounce of vermouth into your martini shaker filled with ice. Shake this concoction to break up the ice then pour the liquid out down the drain. Yes, I know this is a bit of a waste but since vermouth costs less than $10 a bottle, it should not be a big deal. Then pour 2 generous ounces of gin into the shaker with that broken up ice. You then stir this mixture and gently pour into your martini glass.

I expoused this theory to Emo and his father-in-law last night. They both looked at me like I was crazy, but trust me, it works. Emo's mother-in-law helped my desire to drink a couple of martini ASAP by advising me that my weight had not got any better since the last time she saw me.

To help my mood, I mixed my martinis with some of the music of The Black Crowes. What ever happened to them? They had a decent first album that had a fun single called Jealous Again, a respectful cover of Otis Redding's Hard To Handle and my personal fave, the gospel inspired Seeing Things.

Their second album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion is like a nuclear blast as compared to their debut album. This second album comes off like a mix of the Rolling Stones, the Faces and the Allman Brothers. It was a huge leap forward as the guitars were louder, the use of the organ is so good it will make you cry and some really ballsy back up singing.

But to me, the band then disappeared. The fact that the lead singer Chris Robinson married Goldie Hawn's daughter Kate Hudson just plain disgusted me. I would like to end this blog by listing my fave Kate Hudson movies but I don't believe I have ever liked anything she has been in. Sooo....

Top 5 Black Crowes song
1. Sting Me
2. Remedy
3. Seeing Things
4. Thorn In My Pride
5. Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye


Monday, May 15, 2006

Two wild and crazy guys

In honour of the current season of 24 wrapping up in the coming weeks, I decided to look for some interesting theories on the web about how the season is going to wrap up. Personally, I think this has been the best season so far. But I am a little stupid when it comes to the show. I still think Tony isn't really dead and that my favourite character, Chloe, will be the head of CTU next season.

The most interesting thing I found was a video clip of a drunken Kiefer Sutherland attacking a hotel lobby Christmas tree. According to one witness...

"At 2am bar staff refused to serve any more alcohol. Undaunted, Kiefer persuaded management to let them loose in the lobby.
He ordered yet more booze on room service, then staggered around the entrance hall, entertaining pals with a bizarre, flailing breakdancing routine.
It was then that a huge Christmas tree caught his eye.
"I hate that f***ing Christmas tree," he declared. "The tree HAS to come down."
Kiefer warned staff: "I'm smashing it - can I pay for it?"
A staff member replied: "I'm absolutely sure you can, sir."
The Lost Boys star - famously ditched by Julia Roberts five days before their wedding in 1991 - then hurled himself into the Norwegian Spruce, sending baubles and lights crashing to the ground. Pulling pine needles out of his hair and t-shirt, he said to a hotel employee: "Ooh sorry about that...you're so cool. This f***ing hotel rocks."

Here is a link to the footage...Kiefer vs. the tree.

Apparently, the numbers for the first two weekends of the release of the film Mission Impossible 3 has caused panic at Paramount. The paltry 47.7 million it made during it's first week is well below expectations. Hands up anyone who could not have guessed this? Perhaps his wacky behaviour with Oprah and Matt Lauer finally has people second guessing his sanity.

Top 5 Tom Cruise movies
1. Jerry Maguire
2. Minority Report
3. Mission Impossible
4. A Few Good Men
5. Magnolia

Played 18 holes of golf for the first time in my life. Let me just say this, I got a par on the 15th hole. However, the less said about the other 17 holes the better.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

As per Christopher Walken's request

The-not-so-obvious Top 5 Cowbell songs.
1. Dance The Night Away-Van Halen
2. Darlington County-Bruce Springsteen
3.Diamond Dogs-David Bowie
4. Calling Dr. Love-KISS
5. Some Like It Hot-The Power Station

For everything else cowbell related, here is a link with more information than you could ever use.

Weekend has been uneventful. I am golfing in a couple of hours. Went to the Danforth for Greek food on Friday. Went to Mr. Greek's. Any time I go to either Mr. Greek's or The Friendly Greek's, I always feel like I am taking sides in their divorce. Needless to say, after that meal, I will never go to Mr. Greeks again. Worst calamari I have ever had (too rubbery), worst pork souvlaki I have ever had (too burnt), worst martini I have ever had (asked for with a twist, got a wedge instead).

I know what you are thinking. And you are right. Who orders martini at a greek restaurant? It was at the top of their drink menu. It was with bombay sapphire gin.

The pinnacle of why I never want to go back occured at a nearby table. These "trailer trash" looking women are leaving and the one tries to pour the liquid from her remaining glass of water into her water bottle. This just looked so cheap. I am not blaming the restaurant for her, all I am saying is that I do not want to be at a restaurant that has clientel like that.

Watched King Kong last night. Can Peter Jackson make a short movie? My god this could not be any longer. I still resent Peter Jackson for directing those Lord Of The Rings movies. I am not a fan and I have never read the books. The first movie was long but I was able to keep myself awake by looking for editing mistakes between all the elfs, dwarfs, humans etc etc. (there were none). I was told the second would be better. Saw an afternoon showing of it. I was sitting directly in the middle of the audience, it was on a huge screen, I still fell asleep. I have yet to see the third one. Which I am actually fine with.

Anyway, this King Kong felt even more bloated than those Rings movies. Too many characters and just too much "stuff". It is like they crammed the movie with as much as they could, whether it made sense or not. They simply added it BECAUSE they could. Though watching Naomi Watts as the lead female, I am beginning to think she is a better actress than her friend Nicole Kidman. She certainly can do a better american accent. Anytime I watch Nicole Kidman do an american accent, I just become too aware of her "acting" and it takes me out of the movie. Bewitched, The Stepford Wives etc etc.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

"I gotta have more cowbell"

If there is one music that I have been obsessed with over the last couple of years (other than Paris Hilton's upcoming dance record) it would be music that features a cowbell. I can't explain why, but when I hear a song with a cowbell, I feel like I may have actually been able to be a drummer. I mean, come on, who can't play a cowbell? Who can't keep time with a cowbell?

Saturday Night Live once did a skit with Christopher Walken playing Bruce Dickinson during the recording of Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear The Reaper. Most of it is basic SNL humour with repetitive jokes and some overracting (this time by Will Farrell) but Walken is what makes the skit hilarious. When Walken says, "I got a FEVER...and the only PERSCRIPTION...is more COWBELL", I dare you not too laugh. The video is halfway down this page.

Top 5 obvious cowbell songs.
1. Mississippi Queen...Mountain
2. All Right Now...Free
3. Down On The Corner...Creedence Clearwater Revival
4. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love...Barry White
5. Honky Tonk Women...The Rolling Stones


Friday, May 12, 2006

I learned how to add hyperlinks!!!!

Searching around the internet last night, I found some interesting articles. The first is from the AV Club which lists 10 character actors that should be in every movie. It's a fair article as some of my favourite actors like Gary Cole and William Fichtner. I have liked Gary Cole ever since he starred in the TV movie Fatal Vision about the Jeffrey MacDonald case . Fichtner, currently being seen on the Lost/X-Files hybrid Invasion has been memorable in small roles from Crash (his one scene with Don Cheadle maybe the best one in the film), Go and Contact. My favourite scene ever with him was in the remake of the Burt Lancaster film Criss Cross called Underneath. He plays a mobster who just found out that his wife slept with her ex-boyfriend played by Peter Gallagher. Gallagher is explaining things to Fichtner's character, essentially trying to save his own life. Fichtner looks calm and then yells "I'D LOVE TO FORGET THE WHOLE THING UNFORTUNATELY YOU CAN'T UNFUCK MY WIFE." Best line reading ever!!!

Or maybe the best line reading ever is by Gary Oldman in The Professional. He plays a dirty cop who must kill this little girl and the hitman who is protecting her. Near the end of the movie, he realizes that he has to pull out all the stops to kill them or else he is screwed. So he tells another police officer to get back up. He tells that cop to "Bring me everyone". The cop is confused, "Everyone?" Oldman turns the word everyone into a six syllable word by yelling "EEEEEVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRRYYYYYYONNNNNNEEEEEEE."

Top 5 Gary Oldman films
1. JFK
2. The Contender
3. Immortal Beloved
4. The Fifth Element
5. The Professional

Fox Sports has posted an article about an LA psychologist who is suing the Anaheim Angels for age and sex discrimination. It seems he and thousands of other men were denied a red nylon tote bag during a Mother's Day giveaway at the ballpark last year. Personally, as a man, I don't own anything that is either red, nylon or could be considered a tote bag.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Bad, Bad Thing

Chris Isaak released his own greatest hits CD this week. Which is a shock in itself as does anyone really know more than two songs of his? Other than "Wicked Game" that came with that steamy video and "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" which was used in the teaser trailers for the Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut, did he really have any hit songs?

I always find artists who actually truly didn't have a lot of hits to have interesting greatest hits choices. Take a group like Night Ranger, they really had only one hit song Sister Christian. So when you look at their GH, the question is, is the most obvious song the first track? Is there more than one version of that obvious song? You know remix version, live version, updated version etc. How subtle are they going to try and be as they try to squeeze one last dollar out of it's remaining fans?

GH can also be rather bittersweet with artists you like who have had a lot of hits. Take Springsteen's GH from about 5 years ago. It missed great tracks like "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) but included songs that were actually hit singles but really aren't important to his fans like "My Hometown". Or Supertramp's first greatest hits compilation that didn't even include my personal fave "Even In The Quietest Moments"

The final issue is whether it is to be in chronological order or in a thematic order. In the 90s, Prince put out a two disc GH release that was in a rather bizarre order. Take for instance his rather dated R&B hit "Uptown" from 1980 is followed by the rock 'n roll bliss that is "Let's Go Crazy" which is then followed by the pure danciness of "1999". To the casual fan, it really would make the whole release difficult to listen to. However, take groups like The Pretenders or Bob Seger which really didn't change much throughout their career, it makes more sense for them to do it in more of thematic sense as opposed to worrying about chronology.

Getting back to Chris Isaak, I am still waiting for him to star in a film version of the Chet Baker story. I don't know if Chet Baker is deserving of a bio pic, but god knows no one looks more like him than Chris Isaak. Here is the trailer for Eyes Wide Shut with the Chris Isaak song.

Top 5 Stanley Kubrick films
1. A Clockwork Orange
2. Paths Of Glory
3. Dr. Strangelove
4. Full Metal Jacket
5. The Killing


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wednesday blahs

Wednesday is always a bit of a downer in the summer. It's the day after my Tuesday night baseball game. This means I usually have a headache from the draught at the bar that sponsors our team.

Last night's game was a victory over our hated rivals 24-6. The game wasn't without drama as this team clearly does not like us and I guess we are supposed to hate them as they knocked us out of the playoffs last year. However, I don't think any of us REALLY care that much. It is just something to do on Tuesday nights.

God help me, I was home in time to watch Gilmore Girls. I am not sure why I watch this show probably the smart writing, terrific acting by the two lead females and the interesting, if not too soapy, storylines. I can't believe this show has lasted this many years. It seems like one of those shows that would be cancelled too soon because of its' quirkiness.

Top 5 recent TV shows cancelled too soon.
1. Sports Night
2. The Secret Lives Of Men
3. Love Monkey
4. The Ben Stiller Show
5. Gideon's Crossing

Unfortunately, I fear that How I Met Your Mother will soon reach this list. I am still working out how to more personalize these blogs. It should improve in the weeks to come.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

First posting

Having spent the weekend listening to someone else's temporary depression. It became time for me to start on my own. So what better place to deal with that depression than a cheerful blog. Best part of the past weekend was going to The Rex to listen to some jazz. $8 cover charge is certainly worth it.

Plus, the ex-lead singer of the Lesley Spit Treeo was there accepting tips on behalf of the club. That was strange. Never sure what happened to them. Their cover of Angel Of Montgomery was pretty good back in the early 90s.

Now that the weekend is over, I have Steely Dan all over my car stereo.

Top 5 Steely Dan CDs
1. Can't Buy A Thrill
2. Katy Lied
3. Gaucho
4. Aja
5. Countdown To Ecstasy

Monday night, all the sudden the best night of TV of the week. Prison Break was terrific as the group (or most of them) have now escaped. More happens in one episode of that show than in an entire season of Lost. Why are people still watching Lost! Than 24 comes on. Another action packed show with someone almost arresting Jack Bauer. And then, in the last minute, a suprise phone call that sets events in motion for the following week. BTW, check out Dave Barry's blog after the show. It is usually humourous.

The night ends with CSI: Miami, but unless lead actor David Caruso is doing some specificly interesting style of cheesy acting on that night, I am usually asleep by 10:30. Everyone picks on Caruso's acting, why does no one ever pick on Adam Rodriguez' moodiness? This actor has two looks, the "I am mad at you" look or "Hey, here is my pretty smile" look.