Monday, November 30, 2009

The Quest for the Holy Grail

When I was first introduced to it, and for several years afterwards, I loved Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My friends and I watched it over and over, I caught every midnight showing at the Kentucky Theater in downtown Lexington and, much as I hate to admit it, I occasionally quoted the movie. Then I started working at a comic shop, and later for Hex Games, and after a few years I thought Monty Python and the Holy Grail was ruined for me forever.

If you’re not familiar with geeks, and especially gamers, you probably don’t realize that they really like quoting Monty Python (especially The Holy Grail). All the time. For no good reason. Loudly. Usually incorrectly. The logic that causes this behavior, as far as I can tell, is something like this: “I have no personality or social skills. Perhaps I can hide this fact by being funny. Monty Python is funny. Therefore, if I randomly quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, people will think I’m funny and not a socially retarded misfit.” Needless to say, this theory is very, very flawed. After dealing with gamers for well over a decade, most lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering if I could ever enjoy Monty Python and the Holy Grail again. About a year ago, when the local Circuit City shut down, I found a copy of the super-deluxe edition of the movie being sold for some ridiculously low going-out-of-business price. Even though I wasn’t sure if I could ever watch the movie again, I decided to buy it, just in case. So far, I haven’t taken the DVD out of the box. Every time I pick it up, I hear a choir of hundreds of geeky voices yelling “She turned me into a newt!” in bad British accents and end up watching Tank Girl or something instead.

When I saw that my local indie theater, Maiden Alley Cinema, was going to be showing Holy Grail, I decided that this might be my chance to find out once and for all whether I could still watch the movie without flying into a blind rage of gamer hate. Unlike the DVD copy at home, this showing of the movie was on someone else’s schedule, so I couldn’t put it off until later. Also, I’d be paying for it and probably buying popcorn, which I thought would decrease the likelihood I’d skip out early (or at least until the popcorn was finished).

When I got to the theater, I was a bit confused by the demographics of the audience. While there were a few people there who might have been geeks, nobody was immediately identifiable as such. In fact, the audience was mostly old people, which is typical of the Sunday afternoon movie at this particular theater for some reason. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the lack of geeks at the movie. On one hand, the movie would be much easier to enjoy without them shouting out lines. On the other hand, if the movie did send me into some kind of gamer hate rage, there could be broken hips.

As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. While a couple of lines did cause some mild wincing on my part, overall I really enjoyed the movie. No matter how many times geeks have offensively butchered the lines, they’re still incredibly funny when spoken in context by the guys who came up with them in the first place.

My standing QAGS rule that anyone who quotes Monty Python out of context loses Yum Yums still applies, however.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menciaed by Cracked

Did you ever read Cracked magazine? For those of you who don't remember, Cracked was kind of like MAD's less popular cousin. They didn't have Sergio Argonnes or Alfred E. Newman, but the stuff they printed was just as funny as MAD, sometimes even funnier. When I was a kid, I used to read both of them quite a bit. So when I found a web site called, I kind of assumed it was a continuation of the now-defunct Cracked print mag. Recent events have led me to wonder if I was wrong. Is it possible that these guys just picked up the Cracked name because "nobody was using it?" Because apparently they do that with articles.

Not long after discovering, I found out about their weekly Photoshop contest and eventually started submitting entries. I never won the $50 prize for best entry, but a couple of my submissions did make it into the top 20. So yay me. You entered the contests by posting your pictures to their forums, which (probably by design) led me to snoop around said forums to see if anything interesting was going on there. One of the things I discovered while doing this was that Cracked had a super-secret writers' forum where you could pitch ideas and, if the editors liked them, write for the mag (and even get paid). Since the site (at least in mid-2008, before they really started adding blogs) mainly did list-type articles full of dick and fart jokes and since (as QAGS fans already know) I'm a big fan of fine dick and fart humor, I asked for permission to join the super-duper-secret writers' forums.

Once I had access to the forums, I took the shotgun approach and posted several pitches for potential articles. One of these was called "X Singers Who Need Something New To Sing About." Over the next week or two the article made it to the "Stuff We're Considering," got some suggestions, and went through a rewrite or two. I can't confirm the exact sequence, but I did post a couple of the drafts to LiveJournal (locked so only select friends could see them). You can read those (now unlocked) here and here. In any case, after posting a couple revisions with absolutely no feedback, I assumed the article was dead.

Around that time, I moved across the state, got a new job, and started writing on a bunch of other sites and even occasionally for a print magazine. Since hadn't even given me a "thanks but no thanks" after multiple revisions, I kind of drifted away from checking in or submitting things to their writers' forums. I still read the site regularly, often passed on links to their articles, and even introduced a few new people to the site. I just didn't want to write for them (or more precisely, deal with their rather vague editorial process) any more.

Sunday evening, I opened up my Google Reader to see what kind of entertainment the internet had to offer me. Imagine my surprise when I saw this article in the feed.

"Well cool," I thought. "Somebody must have picked up my idea and turned it into an article that the editorial board actually liked."

At this point, I was assuming that the new and not-written-by-me version of the article would have a different structure, or at least be about different bands (one of the few pieces of feedback I got initially was that the topics I'd chosen were too common). At first, this seemed likely. The author was using my original format, but the first two musicians weren't even on my list. The next three were. Not only that, they were on there for the same reasons. And, while the author (Benjamin Dobson, who I will call "Dobby" if I need to refer to him again)had written new words, some of the ideas (and 2/3 of the chosen sample songs) matched my submissions rather closely. The choice of "Jamaica Mistaica" as the sample Buffett song really made it obvious that Dobby was familiar with my previous writings on the topic. There are a lot of songs that are much more obvious examples of the "It's awesome to be Jimmy" genre. I'd just chosen that one because it's a personal favorite.

Since I liked, I didn't want to jump to conclusions. "I haven't been to their forums in a while," I thought. "Maybe this guy asked to take over the article and, when I didn't respond, the editorial board gave him the ok." Granted, a personal message (which would have sent me an email notification) to the effect of "somebody else wants to write (and make 50 bucks off of) the article you submitted a year and a half ago" would have been nice, but if that's what went down, I would have probably been cool with it. When I went to the forum, I discovered that I no longer have access to the super-secret writers' forum, so I guess I'll never know the actual sequence of events that led to the article's publication.

Since Dobby didn't steal any of my text exactly, I don't think what he did really counts as plagiarism. Also, most forum terms have a clause that basically says "we own anything you post here," so even if he'd swiped my words directly, it might technically be legal. Still, there's a difference between "legal" and "not douchy" and since over half of the basic ideas he writes about were from my original article, I feel a little bit like Bill Hicks at a Denis Leary show.

I like, and would like to keep reading it, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to without wondering "did the guy whose name is at the top of the article actually come up with this?" Maybe I can just stick to Seanbaby's blog and Hate By Numbers, since I'm reasonably sure those guys come up with their own material. I don't know. The one bit of solace I can take from the whole affair is that, based on the comments section (admittedly not the most erudite forum of discussion, but still), many of Cracked's readers absolutely hated Dobby's article. So at least I got that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Men Who Stare at Goats

I don't usually cross-link my review here, but since The Men Who Stare at Goats book and movie are very Fortean (and since I haven't posted anything Fortean (or new) here in months), linking them seemed appropriate.

Book Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Movie Review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama's Black Panther (and other) Connections

Like many of you, I was SHOCKED and HORRIFIED when a friend forwarded me the following SHOCKING PHOTOGRAPH of our "so-called" President of the United States.

The photo shows Barak ADOLF HUSSEIN DRACULA OBAMA (approximately 5-8 years of age, based on our best guess as to the photo's date) holding a shotgun outside of a Black Panther rally in the 1960s. (Note: The photograph's "caption" is incorrect: the man IDENTIFIED as Darcus Howe is actually Panther party LEADER Bobby Seale).

I was MORTIFIED! I mean, it was bad enough that we'd allowed a Kenyan NAZI Fascist COMMIE to be elected to the highest office in the land, but a BLACK POWER ACTIVIST? Although I KNEW I wouldn't like the answer, I decided to search around to see what other "incriminating" photos lay in the President's past. What I found was shocking.

This one SHOULDN'T "surprise" anyone.

MORE surprising is HUSSEIN DRACULA's "involvement" in THE ARREST of "free speech" martyr Lenny BRUCE

This "photo" shows OBAMA meeting with his NAMESAKE in the 1980s

I always "thought" that Hunter S. Thompson's death was suspicious. Now we KNOW THE TRUTH. I will admit that the MULLET is a clever disguise.

I'm not sure "how" OBAMA was involved in Transformers 2, but it makes PERFECT SENSE!

I suspect that this PICTURE may be a "fake." Then again, you never know...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Pirate Playlist

Ahoy, maties! Even the landlubbers know that September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. To celebrate, I've put together this list of pirate (or at least nautical) themed songs.

The Arrogant Worms, "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate"

Reliant K, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" (Veggie Tales cover)

Jimmy Buffett, "A Pirate Looks at 40"

Iron Maiden, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

Ray Stevens, The Pirate Song

Martin Mull, "Men"

Alestorm, "Keelhauled"

The Lonely Island featuring T-Pain, "I'm On A Boat"

Warren Zevon, "Mutineer"

Face to Face, "Popeye the Sailor Man Theme"

Tom Waits, "Singapore"

Bruce Springsteen, "Mrs. McGrath"

Coconut Pete (aka Bill Paxton), "Pleasure Island"

George Harrison, "A Pirate's Life For Me"

"Spongebob Squarepants Theme Song"

Couldn't find a video for: Willie Nelson, "The Bob Song"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye West Sexually Assaults Seth Green

Rapper Kanye West was forcibly removed from a Cartoon Network studio earlier today after he allegedly molested actor Seth Green during a taping of Robot Chicken. "We'd invited Kanye to guest as the voice of Rubic the Amazing Cube on an episode we were working on," said Matthew Senreich, the show's co-creator. "Everything was going pretty well and all of a sudden the guy just went crazy and started doing stuff to Seth."

"I wasn't really phased when he whipped his junk out during the taping," said a shaken Green. "I mean, I've worked with Marsters, so I'm used to that kind of thing." Green is referring to fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer star James Marsters, whose penis-based "let me show you Spike's spike" routine was a consistent hit with the show's cast and crew. "Then I got little nervous when he started walking towards me saying 'it's gonna get you,'" continued Green. "When he started trying to rub his junk all over me, that's when I called security."

Today's incident was not the first time West has caused an awkward situation for a star of the Austin Powers movie series. Just yesterday, he confused and embarrassed Beyonce Knowles at the MTV Awards with his interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. Series star Mike Myers was similarly flabbergasted in 2005 when Kanye speculated about then-President George W. Bush's racism at a benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Less publicized was West's outburst at UCLA's graduation ceremony last May. In the middle of Verne Troyer's commencement speech, West wrestled the microphone away to deliver a lengthy diatribe on the merits of midget wrestling.

The purpose of West's bizarre public outbursts so far remains unknown. It is likewise unclear why West's behaviour seems to be targeted at members of the Austin Powers cast. Given the increasing frequency of West's antics, other actors who appeared in the movies are preparing for the eventuality of 'West situation.' "Just let that little fucker try something with me," said Robert Wagner, who played Dr. Evil's henchman Number Two in all three Powers films. "I'll teach him why you don't fuck with Jonathan Hart."

It is currently unclear whether or not Mr. Green will be pressing charges. When asked about the incident, West's publicist and agent refused to comment.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Obama Really Said To America's Kids: A Goat Head Gumbo Exclusive

Many people assume that the speech given to our nation’s school children by President Obama actually followed the transcript released by the White House, and that the footage aired by most major news networks was of the actual speech. In fact, Obama’s true “Back to School” speech was very different. Goat Head Gumbo has acquired a partial transcript of the actual Obama speech, which is reprinted below.

Hello everyone – how's everybody doing today? I'm here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we've got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I'm glad you all could join us for today’s indoctrination.

When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years. The school I went to there is called a “madrasah.” Now I know that’s kind of a funny name, but I learned a lot of important things there. For example, I learned that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammad is his prophet. I also learned that those of us who are righteous in the eyes of Allah must wage Jihad on the capitalist imperialist pig-dogs of America. This valuable lesson would eventually lead to pursue a career in politics, so that I could destroy America from within.

I decided as a youngster, not much older than many of you, that the best way to destroy American society was to attain the highest post in the land, namely President of the United States. Moving to America was the first step in this plan, but there was a lot more to do. For instance, I had to hide all traces of my Kenyan birth. That meant forging a birth certificate and adding a birth announcement to every single archive edition of several Hawaiian newspapers—including microfiche editions. I won’t kid you: it was a lot of work for a ten-year old. After that---

[Doorbell Rings]

Hey, I wonder who that is at the door. Let’s go find out!

[Obama opens door revealing SALLY THE SOCIALIST SQUIRREL]

Look Kids! It’s my old friend Sally the Socialist Squirrel. What are you doing here, Sally?

I heard you were giving a speech to the kids of America and thought I should probably interrupt before you bored them to tears with the story of how you became President.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [Sweating profusely]
Haw! Haw! Haw! That’s a good one, Sally! You’ve got pretty good timing, thought, because I was just about to tell the kids how working hard in school got me into Harvard, which is of course where you come into the story!

That’s right, kids! I’m a professor at Harvard, and like most East Coast Liberals, I’m a raging socialist! From the moment I first met President Obama, I knew he was just the Muslim terrorist we socialists needed! If we could only get him elected President, we could steal money from well-deserving inheritors, Wall Street geniuses, and other hard-working types through taxation and then redistribute the wealth to a bunch of shiftless, lazy, welfare moms. If we were lucky, we could even give them all free health care!

Sally took it upon herself to introduce me to all kinds of important people, like Albie the Abortion Ape, Gary the Gay Marriage Gazelle, Bill Ayers, and Franz the Facism Fox, just to name a few. All these new friends eventually helped me get elected President of the United States, but I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t stayed in school. So take it from me, kids, if working hard in school can help somebody like me—a mixed-race, fascist, gay-loving, baby-killing, socialist, Muslim terrorist from Kenya—get elected president, imaging what studying and working hard can do for you--especially you honky-ass crackers out there!

Now, before I get back to the task of destroying our nation, there’s just one more thing I’d like you to do. GAZE UPON THE HYPNOTIC POWER OF MY EVIL EYE AND REPEAT AFTER ME: OBAMA IS THE ONE TRUE LEADER—

[Transmission Interrupted, presumably through the heroic efforts of Glen Beck (God rest his sanity)]

Thursday, September 3, 2009


The Urban Dictionary defines Slactivism (they spell it with a "k," but that seems like a lot of extra work) as "The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem." Wikipedia cites awareness bracelets, internet petitions, and magnetic car ribbons as a few examples. I first read the term at several years ago, but I'm too lazy to dig through the site (and it's annoying pop-ups) to find the article. Basically, it's doing something that takes very little effort and is ultimately useless, but makes us feel like we're doing a good thing.

Perhaps my favorite example of Slactivism is the "repost this" meme. You know, the messages that say something like "I think it's wrong to use midgets to club baby seals. If you agree, please repost this message." The best thing about these memes, in my opinion, is their paradoxical nature. On the surface, they make it seem like we're taking a moment out of our obsessive narcissism in order to make the world a better place. At the same time, the idea that the world is going to change because you posted something to Facebook is hubris at its most absurd.

When a particular "repost this" message show up enough to annoy me, I'll change the wording a bit to make it stupid before reposting, mainly just to see if anyone notices. Because the internet makes it incredibly easy to do really retarded things (and because I often get bored at work), I've decided to start posting a new (and dumb) "repost this" meme to Twitter, theoretically on a daily basis. Check them out at https://twitter.comSlactivismDaily. And if you agree with me, please repost.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Glen Beck's New System (of cRazEe)

As many of you know, Glen Beck has spent the last year or so pioneering a new form of right-wing punditry that borders on performance art. In a recent piece, Beck "proved" that Barack Obama is an oligarch (or rather "oligarh")using a new form of problem solving that mixes cryptography with insanity and perhaps a bit of mysticism. The video below shows how Beck's new pseudo-logic works.

The obvious question, of course, is "What else can we prove using the Beck system?" As you may have already guessed, I've come up with a few things.

We'll start with former Vice President Dick Cheney:
  • former secretary of Defense.
  • voted Against making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a national holiday while a congressman.
  • served as Republican Minority Whip.
  • key player in the war on Terrorism.
  • close ties to Haliburton.
  • two terms as Vice President.
  • worked with American Enterprise Institute.
  • important figure in Operation Desert Storm.
  • held secret meetings with Energy companies.
  • was played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie W.

So, Dick Cheney is Darth Vader. No real surprises here. Jon Stewart called that one a long time ago.

I wonder if this system works for people outside of politics. Let's try Michael Bay:
  • directed the Bad Boys movies.
  • born in Los Angeles.
  • directed the video for Meat Loaf's song "Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are."
  • also directed a video by Wilson Phillips.
  • received the ShoWest 2009 Vanguard Award.
  • worked with Shia LeBouf.
  • produced The Horsemen.
  • directed The Island.
  • made buckets of money with Transformers.
  • acted in Coyote Ugly.
  • responsible for Pearl Harbor.

Michael Bay Blows Shit Up. Seems to work.

Now, last but not least, let's see what this system has to say about Mr. Beck.
  • used to work for CNN
  • lived in Utah for a while.
  • wrote The Christmas Sweater.
  • Screams and cries on the air sometimes.

Damn, this system is good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Song Lyrics That Are Funnier When You Think About Them

Sometimes song lyrics are funny when you think about what they're actually saying. In some cases, this is intentional. In others, not so much. Here are my top five "stealth joke" lines from songs.

1. "Roland aimed his Thompson gun, he didn't say word."--"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," Warren Zevon.
Funny Because: Roland really can't say a word because of the whole "not having a head" thing. It's really kind of a barrier to communication.

2. "We parachute in. We parachute out. 'DEATH FROM ABOVE' we're screaming now."--"Jungle Work," Warren Zevon
Funny Because: Paratroopers have been a vital part of our nation's defenses for nearly a century, and this noble profession has included such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix and Ed Wood. But really, how the hell do you parachute out?

3. "'Did you know that I live in your street?' I said and he looked at me like I was crazy."--"O'Malley's Bar," Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Funny Because: Context is really key here. This exchange takes place about halfway through the narrator/singer's murder spree.

4. "He's not conventionally handsome, he'll never be tall."--"Eyball Kid," Tom Waits
Funny Because: As the name implies, it's about a kid who's just an eyeball.

5. "I know I didn't see you hidin' your weddin' ring either did I?" --"We Didn't See A Thing," George Jones and Ray Charles
Funny Because: The above line is sung by Ray Charles, who hadn't seen anything for decades when this song was recorded.

Honorable Mention: "'No Albi you didn't kill me with your dragon flames.
I crawled to safety, but you did leave me very badly disfigured,' laughed the boy." --"Albi the Racist Dragon," Flight of the Conchords

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cinematic Kryptonite

It’s happened to all of us: you’re randomly flipping through the channels for some background noise, you find a movie, and you end up watching it to the end, even if you’ve got better things to do. If this is a good movie—Sin City, Pulp Fiction, whatever—this kind of reaction makes perfect sense. But then there are the movies that aren’t really what you’d call “great cinema,” but you end up watching over and over again just the same. Here are my top five movies that aren’t really that great, but consistently eat away at my valuable time:

5. The New Guy
Yeah, I’ll watch just about anything with Zooey Deschannel or Eliza Dushku, so a movie with both is going to get my attention. The New Guy is a funny movie, but there’s nothing to separate it from every other “geek gets the girl” movie in existence. When you first find this one, you think you’re just going to watch it for the two really great scenes (Lyle Lovett getting a flaming marshmallow to the eye and Eliza Dushku trying on swimsuits), but then you get sucked in by the funny gags and cameos (Henry Rollins, Tony Hawk, The Fat Kid From Stand By Me, The Fat Kid From Stand By Me’s Brother--even Vanilla Ice shows up in this movie). By the time Hasselhoff shows up, you realize that you’ve just spent a good chunk of your evening watching The New Guy.

4. Jason X
If anybody tries to tell you that Jason X is a good movie, back away slowly and call the authorities. I doubt that even the people responsible for this unholy union of slasher flick and bad sci-fi could keep a straight face while telling you it’s anything but crap. Still, it’s fun to watch Jason kill people, and space provides new and exciting opportunities for carnage candy. You think you’ll just watch it until the funny scene on the holo-deck, but by the time it comes up the movie’s almost over, so you might as well keep watching.

3. Gone In 60 Seconds
A case could be made that this is actually a pretty good action movie, but it would require a team of very expensive lawyers. With the incredible cast, you’d expect some really good acting, but everyone involved seems to have decided that it’s a dumb action movie that’ll pay a few bills. Delroy Lindo and maybe Tim Olyphant are the only ones who aren’t completely phoning it in. Sure, the movie has some great car chases and a few of good lines (“Are you ok?...Are you sure? Because you just went through a wall,” Mos Def described as a “ghetto smurf”), but it also has the dumbest bad guy in movie history (“Hey, I’ve got it! He’s a faggy Brit obsessed with wood! This is gold!”), which really makes you question why the hell you’re still watching this movie.

2. Bring It On
Eliza Dushku. Kristin Dunst. Cheerleaders. Yeah, the appeal to any straight male is pretty obvious. But when you actually watch this movie with the sound on, you discover that it’s also funny, and on some weird level actually works as a sports move. Still, I think there’s a way to make it better. You’ve already got Eliza (Faith), Clare Kramer (Glory), and a guy who’s doing a pretty good Xander impersonation. Swap Sarah Michelle Gellar for Dunst, Nicholas Brendan for the fake Xander, and replace the Nazi choreographer guy with Anthony Stewart Head. Now all we’ve got to do is find a spot for Willow and we’ve got a Buffy cheerleader move. These are the kinds of ideas that keep me from getting the really good jobs. That, and the fact that I’ve wasted valuable hours of my life watching movies like Bring It On.

1. Point Break
Busey! Swayze! Reeves! Any movie with acting powerhouses like this is going to be special, in a very short bus kind of way. Point Break is a terrible, terrible, movie, so you’d expect to keep watching it in that “so bad it’s good” train wreck sort of way. But somehow, while the movie’s playing, you manage to convince yourself that it’s pretty good. I mean, The Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn't be in a bad movie, would they? When the movie ends, you regain full use of your brain and realize that Point Break is absolutely awful. Of course, this realization won’t save you from watching it again the next time you find it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Top Five Edited For TV Moments

Laziness, Nick Hornby, and network television are to blame...

5. Ferris Beuller's Day Off
Ferris: I don't even have a piece of shit. I have to envy yours.
TV Ferris: I don't even have a piece of tin. I have to envy yours.
Piece of tin? Really? You can't even call it a piece of crap, or a piece of junk, or anything else that a teenager might conceivably actually say?

4. Mallrats
Brodie: She was going down on me and I farted.
TV Brodie: She was kissing me and I vomited.
The edited for TV version of Mallrats is funny for a lot of reasons, but I chose this one because of the "girlfriend in the fridge" aspect. What do I mean by "girlfriend in a fridge?," you ask. Well, there was an issue Green Lantern where our hero's girlfriend was killed and stuffed in a fridge. The Comics Code Authority didn't like the artwork showing her stuffed in the fridge, so the artwork was changed. The approved artwork only showed a few limbs sticking out, giving the impression that she'd been dismembered and stuffed in the fridge, which is a bit more disturbing. Likewise, vomit in the mouth is quite a bit grosser than a close up butt belch.

3. National Lampoon's Vacation
East St. Louis Pimp:
Yo man, fuck yo' mama!
TV East St. Louis Pimp: Who do I look like, Christopher Columbo?
This is just great because the actor doing the voiceover has "what the fuck am I saying?" tone. Also, he sounds almost nothing like the actual actor.

2. Die Hard 2
John McClane: Yippie-Ki-Yay, Motherfucker!
TV John McClane: Yippie-Ki-Yay, Mister Falcon!
High placement on the list because we go to Die Hard movies to see Bruce Willis get the shit beat out of him, kick some terrorist ass, and say this line. Also because the voiceover actor sounds absolutely nothing like Bruce. In fact, he sounds kind of like Eddie Murphy's "white guy" voice (this was from back when Eddie Murphy was funny. If you don't remember then, ask your parents).

1. The Big Lebowski
Walter: This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!
TV Walter: This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!
That doesn't even make sense.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Enjoy Every Sandwich

January 24 was officially named St. Zevon's day in the year 5 A.C. by Discordian Pope Kingyak the Fuqit. This declaration was a natural result of the Pope's earlier declaration that Warren Zevon "should probably be a Discordian Saint or some shit," which was made to a poster of Green Arrow one day after the aforementioned pope had downed 23 White Russians "in celebration of having just watched The Big Lebowski." Anyway, to make a long story, St. Zevon's Day became a P.O.E.E.-kindasanctioned holiday in 2008. More details to follow!

What is Discordianism? Why can this Fuquit just grant sainthood/declare a holiday? How did he get to be a Pope anyway? What the hell is the P.O.E.E.?
These questions and many others will be answered on the next episode of Soap. Wait. No. That's not what I meant. These questions and many others can be found in the Principia Discordia, or, How I Found The Goddess, and What I Did To Her When I Found Her (Wherein is Explained Absolutely Everthing Worth Knowing About Absolutely Everything).

Who is this Zevon guy?

Warren Zevon was an American songwriter and musician. He is best known for his songs "Werewolves of London," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money, " and "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me." Also, he occasionally filled in as band director on David Letterman's show.

Why January 24th?
It was Zevon's birthday. Some religions like to celebrate saints' days on the day the saint was killed by angry wolves or something, but that seems a little morbid, so we're going with a day when Warren might have actually enjoyed himself.

What is Zevon the Saint of?
Misadventure, Sandwiches, and Werewolves

What were St. Zevon's miracles?
Surviving all the shit he did in the 70s, getting The Wind finished before dying (against all doctor's predicitons), writing "Carmelita."

How should St. Zevon's Day be celebrated?
You should listen to some Zevon songs and enjoy a sandwich. If the moon is full, and you happen to be in London, it is also permissible to transform into a big ass wolf and terrorize the locals.

What's the deal with the sandwich?
When Zevon discovered that he had inoperable cancer and only a few months (or so the doctors thought) to live, he went on David Letterman's show to publicly make the announcement. When Dave asked him about the experience, Zevon replied that he had learned he should enjoy every sandwich. This became a motto among Zevon fans, and was later the name of the Zevon tribute album.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year In Short, Unhelpful Movie Reviews

In a moment, a collection of very short reviews of the movies I've seen this year. But first, an unrelated aside: On my way into Nashville last night, the transmitter that I use to listen to my MP3 player started getting interference, as often happens in new cities. Rather than try to find a usable frequency, I decided to try my luck with the radio--after all, Nashville should have some decent country stations in addition to the same 5 Clear Channel stations as every city in the nation, right? I occasionally have these moments of naive idealism. Anyway, on the way out of town today, the DJ is discussing the different types of country music--classic country, country rock, pop country, and "island country, which Kenny Chesney pretty much invented."

Really? You think so? There's a guy in Miami named Jimmy who I suspect would disagree. I hit the dial, and briefly had my faith in America restored by some Janis Joplin. Then that act of musical necrophilia that Kid Rock did to Sweet Home Alabama/Werewolves of London came on. I turned the MP3 player back on and returned to my musical bubble. I think I'll stay there. Now, about movies:

Sweeney Todd
Another Burton/Depp collaboration, only this time with musical numbers. The Depp/Burton thing is always good, but is starting to get a little tired.

Two hours of my life that I'll never get back.

Vantage Point
Nice concept, but the execution left something to be desired. I like having at least a fighting chance of working out the twist for myself.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Those fucking aliens in another movie? An an Indy one at that? Really?

Iron Man
A friend of mine keeps trying to tell me that Iron Man was in some way not awesome. I realize that this is a matter of opinion, but she's wrong.

Hellboy II
There were a couple of things I didn't like about this one, but they were vastly outnumbered by cool monster butt-kickin'.

Journey To The Center of the Earth
Maybe not great film-making, but fun.

I'm pretty sure the people who were disappointed by this movie were expecting too much. It's a Will Smith Fourth of July movie, people--enjoy the wisecracks and explosions, but don't expect a lot of depth.

Cool stunts, but overall I can't decide if the premise of this one is stupid in a wonderful and entertaining way or just stupid.

The Dark Knight
Classic Frank Miller style Bats, Joker, and Two-Face, Gordon the way he's supposed to be done, and all without the necessity of involving Frank who, let's face it, has lost his God damned mind.

Step Brothers
As funny as Ferrell and Reilly are, I think I think Richard Jenkins might have outdone them.

It's a cute kids' story about a robot. It is neither groundbreaking film making nor biting social commentary. Accept it for what it is and move on, please.

Pineapple Express
Funny shit.

Swing Vote
You had me right up to the end, then you lost me.

Death Race
It's really hard to fuck up a movie involving Jason Statham and cars. As for ways of improving the formula, you could do worse than adding Al Swearengen and a killer Mustang.

House Bunny
Anna Farris is better than this.

Eagle Eye
Yeah, that's kinda what I figured. In other news, who is this LaBouf kid and why is he in every third movie coming out?

I wanted to like this movie, but just ended up feeling kind of ambivalent.

Vicky Christina Barcelona
Yep, still don't get the appeal of Woody Allen.

Bottle Shock
Alan Rickman being snooty and British is always a good thing. Throw in Eliza Dushku (even if, as usual, she is criminally underused) and you got my eight bucks.

Lakeview Terrace
The Samuel L. Jackson movie equivalent of tofu. Filling but flavorless.

The Rocker
Worth it for the Will Arnett scenes alone, but the rest of it's actually funny, too. Also, they realize the true secret of making a good rock & roll movie--namely, make sure it's got Howard Hessman in it somewhere.

Burn After Reading
Quirky, funny, and occasionally ridicuous, but in that nice Coen brothers kind of way. As you know if you've seen the trailer, Brad Pitt was probably in his best form since Snatch.

Disaster Movie
Yeah, there's not much to do in this town, and sometimes you end up watching Disaster Movie. And yes, it's another shitty BLANK Movie. The death metal chipmunks were kinda cool, and Juno's overly clever dialog was actually well done for a scene or two.

Tropic Thunder
Stiller usually annoys me if he's a lead rather than part of the cast. Jack Black sometimes gets on my nerves. I went to see this for Robert Downey Jr. The fact that the rest of the cast did a great job was just a bonus. And holy shit, that was Tom Cruise!

My Best Friends Girl
I don't remember this one, but (according to my pile o' ticket stubs) I apparently saw it. I think maybe it had the piefucker in it. I can only assume there was nothing better to do that day.

Righteous Kill
De Niro and Paccino act at one another for two hours. This really can't go badly.

Hamlet 2
This movie had kind of a Napolean Dynamite vibe, only funny.

Considering Democracy
A documentary in which the film maker interviews people in other countries about America. Occasionally amusing and sometimes just depressing.

Much more symapthetic than you might expect.

Sex Drive
Funny if not particularly fresh and exciting. Plus it's got Seth Green as an Amish dude, and that's just cool.

Max Payne
Entertaining but forgettable.

Very funny unless you're defensively religious or don't like Bill Mahr, in which case you're probably not going to see it anyway.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
I'm just not cool enough for this movie, and I feel pretty good about that.

Nice, well-acted thriller.

The Fisher King
Yeah, not a new movie, but one of my favorites, so if it's on the big screen I'm watching it. It continues to be on of my favorite Gilliam flicks, and Gilliam is one of my favorite directors. You do the math.

Finally, a movie in the Blair Witch/Cloverfield style that actually kinda works. Not great, but not actively disappointing, which is a first for the genre.

Zack And Miri Make a Porno
Kevin Smith and Seth Rogan working together should probably be funnier than this, but this is still pretty damned funny (though I could have done without the Jay cock). Also, it's nice to see Elizabeth Banks in every third movie coming out. She's a lot cuter than that LaBouf kid.

Saw V

I didn't see the 3rd and 4th Saw movies, and apparently actually did miss some plot points along the way. This does not make me feel any obligation to go back and watch what I've missed.

Role Models
This movie was even funnier than I expected, and I expected it to be pretty damned funny.

Sould Men
Nice to see The Blues Brothers formula put to good use.

Quantum of Solace
I still haven't seen Casino Royale, so this was my first experience with the bold new gadgetless era of Bond. I enjoyed the movie, but am still not sure how I feel about 007 flicks without Q branch.

Ed Harris and Aragorn come to town and shooot some people while the extremely untalented Renee Zellwegger eats up valuable screen time.

Guy Ritchie movie about slightly higher-rent London gangsters, but still a Guy Ritchie movie about London gangsters. Not as good as Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, but still fun.


Punisher: War Zone
It's hard to be diappointed when you don't expect much. I wasn't disappointed.

Cadillac Records
I kind of felt like I'd seen this movie before, but that was ok given the great acting (and great music). Mos Def as Chuck Berry was as great as you might suspect it would be.

Christmas On Mars
I'm not sure why The Flaming Lips needed an excuse to make weird freaky space music, but aparently this movie gave it to them. I'm not entirely sure if this movie was good or bad, but it was definitely weird.

Seven Pounds
Well made, but don't expect any surprises. What's happening is just what you think is happening.

The Spirit
There is a line that separates the entertainingly misguided from the blindingly stupid. The Spirit walks this line. See also earlier comment about how Frank Miller has lost his God damned mind.


Lost Boys II: The Tribe

This wasn't the train wreck I was afraid it would be, but I'm still not sure that means it should have been made. Feldman's Seth Gecko tats were a nice touch, though.

Zombie Strippers
Strippers, zombies, and over-the-top Robert Englund. In Kentucky we have a word for that kind of thing: Trifecta.