Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cricket Pie

The best of June 2007, according to the Back of the Cereal Box. (And yes, I realize the lameness in posting this when the majority of June's content is still on the page. Rules are rules, self-imposed though they may be.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Resourceful Ninja Secretary

After having kept this blog as long as I have, I never thought I would be typing this. But following Sanam and Dina, both of whom let work stress squelch their love for regular blogging, I've decided to return the Back of the Cereal Box to the kitchen cupboard, at least for a bit. Funny how editing everybody else's verbal output has only motivated me to write less, but the thought of now spending my free time glued to a computer and contributing to the din that is the world of online writing passes through my brain about as pleasantly as an emory board thrown at high speed through one ear and out the other.

This URL may be quiet for a few days or weeks or possibly even longer, depending on how long it takes me to unwind and devise a plan to balance my pleasure writing with what I have to do at the paper. Besides, readership has been way down lately, so whatever I've been doing lately doesn't cut the mustard.

Sit tight then, you handful of loyal readers who have stayed with me. I will be back. In the meantime, I'm leaving you this baby duck. Play with him.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mario Kart: Santa Barbara Circuit

I wonder how many reading this will grasp the fatal impact banana peels have upon automobiles.

We ran an article in the Indy a few weeks back about a UCSB-based contest that had would-be directors making short films for Harley-Davidson. I didn't give it much thought, really, as the idea of shilling for a big-name corporation didn't appeal to me. Today, however, I ended up on a video game blog and realized that one of the contestants worked the Harley-Davidson product placement into a Mario Kart parody called Invisible Harleys.



Not only do I enjoy seeing these two putting around in mockery of a beloved pastime, but also to have them do it on my old college campus rates a big extra fancy in my book. The woman — who I think I trained to work at the Nexus and who looks a little like Laura Palmer and who I think is supposed to be Princess Peach — stole my heart when I saw her use this film's version of the star item. I can't imagine how long it took to do the stop motion fun necessary to create the effect of invisible motorcycles.

Happily, I can announce that Invisible Harleys won the contest and the resulting $5,000 prize. Makes sense: the polls were open to the public and there's no better way to appeal to a college-aged audience than by mining their pop culture memories. Either that, or everyone just loves Mario Kart.


If anyone would like to challenge me on the Gervitz Loop, I'm up for it.

The State of the Kingdom Address

In a strange publicity stunt, Nintendo has posted a strange "letter" from the numero uno Mushroom Kingdom monarch, Princess Peach, regarding the company's real life profits.

Oh, my! All this attention is enough to make a girl blush!

As a princess I’m used to being adored, but this is just too much! I know I’m probably sounding like a broken record, but once again my friends at the NPD Group are telling me that Wii and Nintendo DS finished May as the most popular systems in the United States.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful support! Nintendo couldn’t have made it back to the top without you. You’re all Mario-caliber heroes in my book.

Now I’m not one to brag, but some of the top games of this month happen to feature someone very pretty and popular – me! I’m talking about the super-fun Mario Party 8 and Super Paper Mario for Wii. Sure, Mario gets top billing, but from where I sit (on my throne), I’d say he’s earned it. Besides, my own game on Nintendo DS, Super Princess Peach, is still selling strong, showing that a girl can do anything she puts her mind to.

I think all my Super Princess Peach fans would have just as much fun working to earn their Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree. I’m not in that one, but don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. Be sure to watch for me in my super-stylish soccer gear in Mario Strikers Charged, which arrives on Wii on July 30. I can’t wait!

Kisses!

Peach
Huh. That's all you can really say to that. Props to Nintendo for being creative, I suppose, but boo on them for having their psuedo-corporate head sign off a semi-sorta-business letter with the salutation "Kisses!"

She's an Almost-Maneater

Random fact for the day, courtesy of Wikipedia:


The plant known as Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), aside from being edible and known as a local delicacy in parts of China, is apparently considered "borderline carnivorous" because its seeds, when wet, become sticky then entrap and kill aquatic insects.

Crib Notes at Sixty Miles Per Hour

Found on a random, foreign website whose domain ends in a domain suffix I don't recognize.


[ Source: Kishkush.co.il ]

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An Open Letter to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Dear Mr. The Rock,

I want to like you. Seriously. You're big and interestingly ethnic and your face is all smooth like some kind of neato computer animated character. I had never given you much though, really, until you hosted Saturday Night Live a few years back. You did a pretty good job. You're a trained live performer, after all, and if given the proper script, I believe you can crack a good joke. However, when I went to see Knocked Up and sat through the trailer for your new film The Game Plan, I rolled my eyes so hard that I severed my optic nerves and now blind and typing this using a hired personal aide named Mischa.

For all I know, The Game Plan will actually change the way America watches movies. For all I know, The Game Plan will prove to be my generation's Citizen Kane. I haven't really seen it, after all and am in no place to pass judgment on it yet. Providing that The Game Plan actually doesn't suck, then, whoever assembled the trailer for it should be fed to hyenas. Maybe you haven't seen it yet. I've enclosed it in this letter.



This trailer won't make people want to see your movie. This trailer will drive people to find the prints of The Game Plan and burn them. It's possible you intended this trailer to appeal to the dumbest people able to scrounge together the cash to buy a movie ticket, but I feel even they will be far too busy commiting incest and smoking rolled-up newspapers to bother. I base my negative review on the trailer's every flat joke, every corny reaction shot and the deadeningly cliched serious narrator-becomes-lighthearted narrator a third of the way through. Almost got me, narrator! I thought this would be a balls-to-the-wall football movie, but it's actually a piece of shit.

Foremost among this trailer's sins, however, has to be the presence of the single most-overused movie soundtrack song ever: James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." You know — because just as James Brown has a new bag, so too does your character have a "new bag" in the form a previously unknown daughter who apparently ran away from her dead mother's family to change and better your life, likely using a montage or montages. GAH! Why? Why use a song that was never that great to begin with and which has been drained of any remaining flavor by the previous five hundred movies and ten thousand movie commercials that also featured it? Why further soil James Brown's memory by reminding the moviegoing populace that his hits have been and will be forever appropriated by whatever commercial venture wants to use them to sell something? "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," in fact, has become so overused in movie trailers that the author of I blog I read actually included it in a screenplay mock-up for a purposefully cliched trailer to a nonexistent bad movie. (The faux trailer, for would-be Shelley Long vehicle Byron Softheart, Attorney at Law is quite good and demands reading.)

As a result of this terrible, terrible trailer, I will not be watching The Game Plan. My eight bucks will instead go to another of this summer's cinematic offerings. Though I won't be able to see any films, really, I'm sure just hearing them and having Mischa tell me what's happening will be adequate. However, I will be asking the stupidest person I know to see The Game Plan. Pending a positive review from her, I will be affirming my prediction that your film is neither good nor revolutionarily good.

I think you for your time, sir.

In closing, I look stupid and don't pay Mischa enough to record my ramblings. Barf barf barf. I smell.

Sincerely,
Drew

Not-So-Suddenly I See

Names I've accidentally called singer KT Tunstall: KC Turnstyle and KD Tungsten. Other possibilities: KJ Tonguestuck, KZ Tanskin, KG Tangscrape, KB Toystore, KP Tinsong.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The All-Night Nippon Retrogaming Extravaganza

The three of you I've managed to retain for the last two months may remember a post I wrote on Penguin Kun Wars, a game released for the Famicom — Nintendo's Japanese version of the original NES console — that I was only able to play through the beauty of Nintendo8.com. I've since revisited the collection of Japan-only ROMs available at the site. No single title managed to recapture the frustrating delight of Penguin Kun Wars, but below you'll get a good cross section of downright infuriating.

First up: Cool World. Yes, as in the 1992 Ralph Bakshi film, which I've always wanted to see even though it's notoriously bad. Though the film was released in the United States, the Nintendo video game version of it never made it out of Japan — and with good reason.


Well, that's a copyright for Paramount Pictures. That means it's at least officially sanctioned... by the movie house that made a bad, bad movie.


And then there's the title, right there on the very game I'm playing! That's encouraging!


Oh! A map! Well, "Cool World Street" seems as good as anywhere else to start.


This eight-bit monstrosity, as near as I can tell, is meant to be the film's female lead, Kim Basinger. I don't think even Alec Baldwin ever wished a fate on Basinger so unpleasant as being reduced to as crude a pixelated representation as this. I mean look at her — she lacks any facial structure and what features she does have float on her self-tanner face. It's just creepy.

And you don't think I can stop you, Ugly Pixelated Kim Basinger? "No way"? Way, Ugly Pixelated Kim Basinger. Way.


Okay, now I'm playing. Apparently I'm playing as the film's main character, Gabriel Byrne, thus making this the only video game existence or even future existence in which you can play as Gabriel Byrne. Also, poor Gabriel is apparently in a city with purple cobblestone streets. Like in the movie, I'll presume. Also, the streets of Cool World are apparently decorated with architecture depicting grimacing demonic faces and lined with nondescript anthropomorphic rodents, all of whom apparently want to kill me. Maybe I don't want to see this movie.


More mean faces. Also, rodents attacking me with pea-shooters from second-story windows. And a strange empty glass vial that I can't get to. Did I mention that I didn't have access to an instruction manual? Even if I did, it would presumably be in Japanese anyway. Jumping is difficult and I'm quickly growing weary.


Ooh! A club! Surely some patron inside will impart valuable information to me — and by me, I of course mean Gabriel Byrne. Also, let's hope they speak English. Oh, what's that? No combination of pressed buttons will open the door? Awesome! And I can't reach the police badge sitting up on the ledge for no apparent reason? I suppose that makes sense, given that the badge would probably grant my little guy some sort of invincibility or — God in heaven! — a weapon. Did I mention that Gabriel Byrne can't attack? That even Super Mario Bros.-style stomping doesn't seem to affect all the things that want to kill me? The rodents, by the way, are both relentless and identical and I don't understand why they won't leave me alone, aside from the fact that Gabriel Byrne is clearly not a rodent.


Well, okay. The rodent seem to have abated. I'll just walk around in this suspiciously rodent-free street. La tee dah, I'm Gabriel Fucking Byrne. And then—



BAM! In case the above screens don't properly explain the sequence of events, Gabriel Byrne was struck by a runaway black car, causing him to face forward and leap off the screen — a Super Mario-style death for a game that permits none of the fun or logic of Mario's universe.

Upon my initial failure, I immediately became discouraged with Cool World: The Video Game Based on the Hit Motion Picture and decided to switch to a different title. Fortunately, a new title arrives with just a few clicks. Given the crappiness of what was a mildly familiar video game-based-on-movie selection, I decided to go for new and different.

My pick: Jesus — Kyoufu no Bio Monster. Anything that includes the words "Jesus" and "Bio Monster" in the title has got potential, you have to admit.


Start please!


In the opening cinematic, the above monster leaps across the black background once or twice. When I say "leap," I just mean the static image of it — which, by the way, I'm assuming is the Jesus Bio Monster — slides across the screen in the style of cheap Flash animation, which of course hasn't been invented in 1989. So I'll forgive it. For what it's worth, it looks pretty good, considering the age of the game.


Okay, first real screen of the game. That awful man appears to be choking on a submarine sandwich. And he's nonetheless talking. In Japanese. I press the button. More text. Button. Text. Button. Text. Perhaps he's asking for medical assistance? After all, he does suffer from the unique condition of having an entire sandwich crammed into his bastard mouth. Button, button, button. Text, text, text.


Oh, something else. I assume Mr. Sandwichmouth passed away. Apparently I'm on some sort of space station. It certainly looks like the kind of place someone would name a Bio Monster after my lord and savior.


I can read that! Something is 20,000 years old. Maybe that's the year? Maybe that's a cost? Must I collect 20,000 submarine sandwiches to kill the fat man? To kill the remaining crew? Am I the true monster? And is that my mane of unruly scarlet hair? I'm the anime Brendon Small. I'm the Captain of Outer Space.


Oh, hello! A new man to talk to. You seem stern and powerful, like Dennis Franz. Again, so much talking. But at least now I have three choices. I'll be lazy and pick the first one.


Shit. That first option was apparently Japanese shorthand for "Please, I'd rather speak to another obese member of the spacecrew, only one without a sandwich humorously lodged in his mouth." And boy can this one talk. I think I've realized how the Jesus Bio Monster was allowed to wreak so much havoc on the good Space Station Japanimation: Everyone sits around blathering on instead of following the example of every other video game ever and just killing the thing. How diplomatic. Button, button, button. Text, text, text. At this point, I've been playing for nearly ten minutes.


Finally! Not a man! That pink, fanny-shaped hairdo leads me to believe this lass is my lady love. And what a girlfriend to have! I suppose beggars can't be choosers and those stuck in space need to jump on the first thing that isn't choking on a sandwich. Rather than treat me with a conjugal visit, Princess Fanny Hair seems to be talking a lot. Button, button, button. (By the way, I would make fun of her outfit, but I think I saw something remarkably similar being sold at American Apparel today. That's not a joke.)


WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?! Fanny Hair leans in for a kiss and there's some kind of robotic big fuming at our feet? Seriously, what is that thing? I want to kill it. I want to kill something. Hell, I want the Jesus Bio Monster to eat me. Also, nice leg warmers, Fanny Hair. I'll pick the first available option again, and hope that one translates as "Kill the horrible thing."


FUCK! It's Dennis Franz again. Goddammit, I'm beginning to think this endless series of text windows is the game. Like, maybe the choices offered lead you through the game Choose Your Adventure-style. Of course, with all the text in Japanese, I am unable to make any sense of anything. Fine, you fooled me, Jesus — Kyoufu no Bio Monster. I mistook you for a game when you were actually a stupid book masquerading as a game. Utterly defeated and angry, I decide to give one more untranslated game a shot, suspecting that the game totally would have gotten good had a persevered over another dozen conversations.

A last shot, picked only because it was directly above Bio Monster: something with the tragic name Ikki.


Just one player for me, thanks. Also, this blog cannot reproduce sound, but anyone reading this should know that selecting "one player" resulted in a cheery, very Japanese and unexpectedly long intro jingle. I'd imagine they were trying to compensate for the fact that I didn't have anyone to play along with. And I appreciate that, Sunsoft.


Yep, that's right. Just me. I'm getting ready.


Oh! I already died! See, there I am in the bottom right quadrant of the screen, with a little halo over my head. How sad. The little man who doesn't move the way I wanted him to and only throws boomerangs in the direction the computer wants him to was somehow slain by marauding ninjas mere moments after setting foot into this lovely Japanese garden. Well, surely my Ikki skills will improve with another try, right?

I mean really — what the hell was that? That wasn't a game. I derived neither fun nor joy from Ikki. Six hundred lousy points and little men slain by ninjas in less than three minutes? Gah. GAH!

And then I stepped away from the computer for a few moments and collected myself.

This has been the second installment of Drew being frustrated by Japanese games intended for Japanese children. If any of you all think you'd fare better braving the Japanese psyche, I encourage you to test your skills at Nintendo8.com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Super Mario Bros. Meets Inside Edition

It's a well-circulated clip, but The Tanooki's posting of it recently reminded me that I should put it here on Coin Heaven. It's Mario as interpreted by lousy tabloid TV news from the 80s.



And yes, that is the very same Bill O'Reilly. How very far he's come.

The Monster Squad (Steampunk Version)

Hello!


This cheerful-looking lass says hi and that you should check out this kick-ass website, The Fantastic in Art and Fiction. It's a compendium of illustrations from vintage books that Cornell has put together in order to add to online academic resources and spruce up your invitations to next year's Halloween party. It's even arranged into nifty — but nonetheless macabre — categories like Weird Science or Freaks Monsters and Prodigies in order to make sure you get to see the horrifying thing you're looking for all the more quickly.

[ Source: Little Hokum Rag ]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good Dogs Get Biscuits

Okay.



One: Just like the story about that horse who could do math that was totally in all of our elementary school reading books, the dog is clearly just matching his crazed owner's voice, syllable-for-syllable with a corresponding groan. Two: When the dog said "Eric Clapton," I could have sworn he actually said "Someone help me." And three: I don't know what's creepier, the dog's apparently human mimicry or the owner's insane sputterings at the end of the clip.

[ fyi, all the post titles mean something ]

Gizmometer

Stolen from George.

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

The reasoning: nine instances of "death," six of "dead," five of "shit," three of "suicide," two of "penis" and one of "sexy." I'm assuming that this particular feature checks only the posts on the main page.

Spice and Exclamation

In helping his college friends move out of their house in Isla Vista, Spencer accumulated a wealth of cast-off kitchen supplies, including a jar of the below pictured spice blend.


As you can see, the makers of Oh! So Garlic! felt it necessary to frame the product in the linguistic markers of surprise. I guess that they were intending for the "oh-so-good" kind of expression but had no clue how to punctuate it. Nonetheless, the result of their lameness amuses me.

For your consideration, potential sister products for the Oh! So Garlic! product line:
  • Whee! It's Cinnamon!
  • Mmm-mmm! Allspice!
  • Look Out! It's Fennel!
  • Hummina-Hummina-Ginger!
  • Ooh La La! Coriander!
  • Whadayaknow? Saffron!
  • Mother of God! Thyme!
  • Whoa! That's Some Great Cumin!
  • Eh?! I Believe That's Cardamom!
  • Anise In Your Face!
  • What?! Chickweed Again?!
  • You Bought Paprika?
  • Anything But Celery Salt!
  • Shit, It's Dill...

Of-Fucking-Course It's Eric Roberts

As I have with every video game-to-movie adaptation since the Super Mario Bros. film, I have been following the progress of Dead or Alive with mild interest. Not so much to find out whether it's bad — the video game characters themselves must already know that it sucks — but more to hear whether it will go straight to DVD or actually screen in a theater or two.

i like the one with the cowboy hat.

"Scathing" movie review site Pajiba has their take on it up. I think lead critic Phillip Stephens gets his point across rather well in the paragraph in which he discusses Dead or Alive's bloody nub of a plot.
The plot is so repellent that I’m not going to waste precious seconds of my life rehashing it. Suffice to say: three women, all of whom are ambulatory tits with no higher-brain function, compete in a fighting tournament and kung-fu kick the Christ out of each other while an evil Eric Roberts (of-fucking-course it’s Eric Roberts) plans to take over the world with sunglasses that can predict the future. Also, Jaime Pressley is top-billed.
Point taken, Mr. Stephens. A ding against Pajiba: Now I want to see Dead or Alive and make a drinking game out of it.

Not Exactly The Kelly Affair

Unlike how I reported it in an earlier post, the video for The Pipettes' "Pull Shapes" is a remake, not a "Just Like Buddy Holly"- or Forrest Gump- or Nikki and Paolo on Lost-style of splice-in. I found the original scene, featuring The Carrie Nations performing "Sweet Talkin' Candyman" from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.


Monday, June 18, 2007

14th Arrondissement

About a week ago, I saw Paris, Je T'aime, which despite its title and the odd segments involving mimes or vampires managed to make me reminisce fondly about a city that I have only spent a few days in. I like the idea of directors of different nationalities taking on the districts of a city many of them do not live in and proving that, in each, people live beautiful, complex lives. I'm happy to report that the end product works well rather than being the uneven mishmash such collaborative projects often turn out to be. Clearly, the inclusion of top-notch directors has made all the difference. While Gurinder Chadha's segment ranks a close second, Alexander Payne's take on the 14th arrondissement both concluded and stole the show.

Happily, I can report that it's posted in its entirety on YouTube — and below this paragraph as well. Watch it now, before the gods and demons of YouTube yank it into nonexistence.



The adult education accent, the overall cluelessness, the fact that the narrator has left only her dogs behind in order to walk the streets of Paris alone — Payne had nailed the dopiness of the American abroad, or at least how some foreigners view us and how some of us fear we might be viewed. The narrator — capably played by Margo Martindale — almost elicits the viewer's pity, but then Payne benevolently allows her that moment of realization at the end and makes her real and sympathetic. Dopey though she may be, she understands the reason why and beauty of traveling. It's perhaps all the better that she states it in the limited vocabulary of someone who has only newly learned the language because, to me, she's getting at a very basic, very fundamental human feeling that does not translate easily into words and perhaps has not ever been so beautifully rendered on film.

On a less serious note, seeing Paris, Je T'aime has given me the notion that a similar film must be made about Santa Barbara. I see it as a collection of vignettes detailing apathy and anomie called Santa Barbara? Meh... So who all wants dibs on different neighborhoods. I call Isla Vista and Montecito, as I think they'd be the most fun.

I'm Tired of Your Moms

While reading Scrubbles, I found this the below video, a clip from NBC's 60th anniversary gala featuring stars of the network's 1986 shows singing a re-written version of "Family" from Dreamgirls. Scrubbles author Matt Hinrichs accurately notes how overwhelmingly gay the whole concept is.



Witness Nell Carter (Gimme a Break), Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life), Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster), Alfonso Ribeiro (Silver Spoons), Marla Gibbs (227) and Bea Arthur (Golden Girls), taking turns singing, awkwardly walking about a hardcore 80s set as if it were the home they all share. You know, because they are a family. What did I tell you? Hardcore gay bomb. Makes you feel a little bad for Alfonso Ribeiro for apparently being the only male member of a family that includes several women who could crush him with a simple flick of the wrist. On that note, Nell Carter is the clear star of this clip. Walking into the shot during Bea Arthur's part, sharing a one line duet and then running away, giving the impression that the quick pop-in was entirely accidental? Classic.

Oh, and Barbara Eden was there, too.

Dracula, Blacula, and Son of Kong

Every movie I've rented through Netflix, beginning with the most recent. Anything especially good is linked to the corresponding page on Netflix.
  1. Little Miss Sunshine
  2. Trilogy of Terror
  3. Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People
  4. Evilspeak
  5. Radio Days
  6. Imprint
  7. Big Doll House
  8. The Batman Superman Movie
  9. Badlands
  10. In the Flesh
  11. Office Killer
  12. The Candy Snatchers
  13. Picnic at Hanging Rock
  14. I Spit On Your Grave
  15. Thank You for Smoking
  16. What Have You Done to Solange?
  17. Melvin Goes to Dinner
  18. Angel Heart
  19. The House of Yes
  20. The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom
  21. 200 Cigarettes
  22. Citizen Ruth
  23. The Prestige
  24. Wolf Creek
  25. Manhattan
  26. The Outsiders
  27. The Purple Rose of Cairo
  28. The Sentinel
  29. Magnolia
  30. How the West Was Won
  31. The Fisher King
  32. The Long Goodbye
  33. Auntie Mame
  34. Idiocracy
  35. Cemetery Man
  36. Prick Up Your Ears
  37. How to Steal a Million
  38. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  39. They All Laughed
  40. His Girl Friday
  41. My Beautiful Laundrette
  42. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  43. Hard Candy
  44. Layer Cake
  45. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  46. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  47. Blow Out
  48. Shogun Assassin
  49. Fear No Evil
  50. Slither
  51. Troop Beverly Hills
  52. Eyes of Laura Mars
  53. Ed Wood
  54. Steel Magnolias
  55. The House on Sorority Row
  56. Daria: Is it College Yet?
  57. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
  58. Manderlay
  59. Reefer Madness: The Musical
  60. Valley of the Dolls
  61. American Graffiti
  62. Junebug
  63. Airport / Airport 1975 (Double Feature)
  64. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  65. Kiki's Delivery Service
  66. The Stendhal Syndrome
  67. The Wicker Man (the old version)
  68. The Gumball Rally
  69. Persona
  70. A History of Violence
  71. The Devil's Rejects
  72. Happy Birthday to Me
  73. Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks
  74. Death Race 2000
  75. Arlington Road
  76. Blow
  77. Dogville
  78. Funny Games
  79. The Five Obstructions
  80. What's the Matter with Helen? / Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (Double Feature)
  81. Martin & Orloff
  82. 12 Monkeys
  83. Palindromes
  84. Murder on the Orient Express
  85. The Dreamers
  86. Die Mommie Die
  87. Edge of Seventeen
  88. Y Tu Mama Tambien
  89. Contempt
  90. Play Misty for Me
  91. Lost Highway
  92. Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
  93. Gilda
  94. D.E.B.S.
  95. Strait Jacket
  96. The Cat and the Canary (the Olivia Hussey version)
  97. Betty Blue
  98. Death on the Nile
  99. Spider Baby
  100. Swimming Pool
  101. The Secret of N-I-M-H
  102. Punch-Drunk Love
  103. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  104. Johns
  105. Jungle Holocaust
  106. The Last of Sheila
  107. I Don't Know Jack
  108. Dance with the Devil
  109. Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
  110. What's Up, Tiger Lily?
  111. Reservoir Dogs
  112. Graduation Day
  113. Lady Snowblood
  114. In the Realms of the Unreal
  115. High Fidelity
  116. The City of Lost Children
  117. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  118. Cry-Baby
  119. Prozac Nation
  120. Own Private Idaho
  121. The Baby
  122. Yojimbo
  123. The Order: From Cremaster 3
  124. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  125. Touch of Evil
  126. Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero
  127. Speedway Junky
  128. Man on the Moon
  129. Following
  130. Band of Outsiders
  131. Latter Days
  132. The Hours
  133. Terror Train
  134. Winsor McCay: The Master Edition
  135. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  136. Laura
  137. Fantasia 2000
  138. Ichi the Killer
  139. Millennium Actress
  140. Storytelling
  141. Harvard Man
  142. Spun
  143. The Happiness of the Katakuris
  144. Blood Simple
  145. Pieces of April
  146. Deathtrap
  147. The Incredibles
  148. The Frighteners
  149. Titus
  150. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  151. American Splendor
  152. Kiss Me Deadly
  153. Happy Together
  154. Reality Bites
  155. Videodrome
  156. Cruel Intentions 3
  157. Shaun of the Dead
  158. Death Wish
  159. Sunset Boulevard
  160. Fantasia
  161. Casino Royale (the bad David Niven version)
  162. Henry & June
  163. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
  164. The Muppets Take Manhattan
  165. Sleepaway Camp
  166. Irreversible
  167. Charade
  168. Cannibal! The Musical
  169. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
  170. Desperado / El Mariachi
  171. Raw Heat (only because Adam asked me to)
  172. Bubba Ho-Tep
  173. Freaks
  174. The Brain That Wouldn't Die
  175. Five Deadly Venoms
  176. Out of Sight
  177. Policewomen
  178. Audition
  179. May
  180. Brazil
  181. Apt Pupil
  182. Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS
  183. The Serpent and the Rainbow
  184. All About Eve
  185. The American Nightmare
  186. Six Degrees of Separation
  187. Human Nature
  188. The Hills Have Eyes (the original version)
  189. Killing Zoe
  190. Barbarella
  191. Throne of Blood
  192. Apocalypse Now
  193. Richard III
  194. Switchblade Sisters
  195. Three Kings
  196. The Straight Story
  197. The Elephant Man
  198. Bonnie and Clyde
  199. The French Connection
  200. Four Rooms
  201. The Bird With the Crystal Plumage
  202. Master of the Flying Guillotine
  203. The Road Warrior
  204. Castle in the Sky
  205. Dr. Strangelove
  206. Citizen Kane
  207. Annie Hall
  208. Taxi Driver
  209. 8 1/2
  210. Dolemite
  211. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  212. The Ice Storm
  213. Onibaba
  214. Pumpkin
  215. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
  216. Buffalo '66
  217. High and Low
  218. Caligula
  219. The Celluloid Closet
  220. Five Easy Pieces
  221. Lost in Translation
  222. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
  223. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  224. The Hudsucker Proxy
  225. Xanadu
  226. The Graduate
  227. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
  228. Spirited Away
And only 305 left to go.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Not Exactly The Carrie Nations

Girl band The Pipettes — pronounced more like "whippets" rather than like the type of chemistry equipment — first came into my life more than a year ago, when I was in Sydney and picked up an Australian Rolling Stone, which touted the group as the best think to happen to music since the kick drum. I downloaded them upon my return to the states, enjoyed them and then tired of them. Reminiscent of classic girl groups though they were, these leaders of the pack didn't have staying power.

Unless I'm mistaken, however, The Pipettes have been re-releasing their songs for American audiences with a more polished sound. A good example of this trend is the below video.



In the style of the Spike Jonze-directed video for Weezer's "Just Like Buddy Holly," this digitally inserts the Pipettes into the party scene from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, with the girls on stage and the movie's characters providing corny reaction shots to their poppy sounds. It works well, I guess, but it makes me imagine a bad end for this British threesome. You see, in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, the central three characters form a girl rock group as well. One of them ends quite happily, one is murdered after her newfound lesbian lover dies from a gunshot to the brain, and the third — the black one, Petronella horrendously nicknamed "Pet" — takes a bullet to the torso. That's not taking into account the various drug- and jealousy-fueled shenanigans the girls somehow manage to overcome.

So yeah — cool video. But bad life plan. Good luck, Pipettes.

[ Source: The Planet of Groove, where I apparently now get my music-related news. ]

EDIT 6.19.2007: It's a remake, not a "Just Like Buddy Holly" or Forrest Gump or Nikki and Paolo on Lost kind of splice-in. I found the original scene, featuring The Carrie Nations performing "Sweet Talkin' Candyman."


"Bad" Doesn't Even Begin to Describe It

You know, if you let your eyes blur for a second, you can actually forget that it's Celine Dion performing as Michael Jackson and not the real deal.



And yes — that marks the first time in more than a decade that anybody used the phrase "the real deal" to describe Michael Jackson.

[ Source: Fast Hugs ]

Saturday, June 16, 2007

But Padma's Still There, Right?

The third season of Top Chef is underway, as of last Wednesday. This cable-poor, Bravo-less yet iTunes-savvy viewer will presumably be playing catch-up as quickly as Apple can post the new episodes online. But already I can tell that Bravo has fiddled little with the show's format. For this, I'm thankful. Padma still glows beautifully, Gail is still being edited to seem meaner than everybody else and Tom is still bald. A plus: Queer Eye refugee Ted Allen has joined the regular judging panel and using his honed skills to mock people's haircuts. In his defense, the season three sneak preview — The Four-Star All-Star Challenge, which pits the top four contenders from Season One against those from Season Two — proves that in the wake of the competition many former contenders celebrated by butchering their hair.

For your consideration: exhibits one and two.



Ilan has molded his head into a relief map leading to Pseudo Cornrow City and Elia is biting the style of freak hybrid Cyndi Lauper and your grandma's friend Rita.

Other familiar faces haven't changed at all. Marcel, for example, still brags like he wants someone to assault him — again. He even showcases his rapping abilities once more. I'm only mentioning this because his rhymes namecheck my online alias's namesake, Kid Icarus. To quote the Marcel:
I'm gonna bust at the shit in the kitchen
Because I have a serious itchin'
To lay it down like the serious dishin'
Rappin' about what's gonna happen'
I'm like Kid Icarus
My shit is gonna be delicious
Seriously, this is noteworthy, not only because it's lame but also the notion of this particular video game being mentioned on a reality show about cooking is unheard of. Kid Icarus is not a well-known game. It's no Legend of Zelda or Mega Man. It's a series that consisting of only two titles — one for the original Nintendo in 1986 and another for the Game Boy six years later — and with a handful of cameos besides. This makes the Venn Diagram of personality for me and Marcel overlap just a tad more, and that makes me a little sad. (Another lingering question: When he says his shit will be delicious like Kid Icarus, does he mean the game, the character, or the literal shit of the character?)

Arcane video game references aside, more pressing matters are at hand.


The other Top Chef-related item worth mentioning regards Clay, the third-season contestant who hails from Santa Barbara's own University Club. The Food Critics Legiono of Doom asked Clay to pack his knives at the end of the first episode — even in light of a touching backstory involving his chef father having committing suicide. That's the lesson, I guess: Don't appear vulnerable right from the get-go. (Though if this rule truly does apply, then Clay could have learned from Season Two's Suyai, who was also the first to get kicked off even though she had one of the best reasons for being there: Cooking helped her overcome her eating disorder.) For what it's worth, I interviewed Clay for the Independent. The story, which ran online Tuesday, made him sound like I nice enough guy — and that wasn't my doing, since so much of it was just framed around his quotes. Total bummer, though. I don't know if I can spare the mental energies to pick a new favorite.

Those Germans Have a Word for Everything

In case you were wondering where they came from or how much they were.


Schadenfreude it ain't.

Set-Ra, the Egyptian God of Miscellany

Odd ways people have been finding my blog lately.

Bad Angel Why You So Bad?

With iTunes installed anew and a fresh iPod to hold my songs, the list of my most recently played songs has meaning again. For the sake of comparison, here's what ranked as my twenty most-played songs back in January.

As the iTunes on the old computer stands now, here are my top-twenty most played songs:
  1. The Features - "The Idea of Growing Old"
  2. Nada Surf - "Indochine"
  3. Stephen Malkmus - "Kindling for the Master"
  4. Teenage Fanclub - "Cells"
  5. The Clash - "Lost in the Supermarket"
  6. The Apples in Stereo - "Magic"
  7. Gorillaz - "Dare"
  8. The Gossip - "Listen Up!"
  9. Father Bingo - "Ginger Prince Is Not Shirley Temple"
  10. Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra - "Some Velvet Morning"
  11. Scissor Sisters - "Laura"
  12. Ween - "Voodoo Lady"
  13. Aimee Mann - "Pavlov's Bell"
  14. Need New Body - "Show My Your Heart"
  15. Cathy Dennis - "Waterloo Sunset"
  16. The Church - "Under the Milky Way"
  17. Fool's Garden - "Lemon Tree (I Say You're a Scream)"
  18. Kitty Lester - "Love Letters"
  19. The Talking Heads - "Popsicle"
  20. Donovan - "Sunshine Superman"
And what's hot as of June 16, 2007:
  1. Smith - "Baby It's You"
  2. Grand National - "Talk Amongst Yourselves"
  3. Talking Heads - "This Must Be the Place"
  4. M. Ward - "Right in the Head"
  5. Of Montreal - "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games"
  6. Of Montreal - "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
  7. Amy Winehouse - "Back in Black"
  8. The Apples in Stereo - "Same Old Drag"
  9. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mich and Tich - "Hold Tight!"
  10. Nancy Sinatra - "Friday's Child"
  11. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mich and Tich - "Bend It"
  12. Le Tigre - "Nanny Nanny Boo Boo"
  13. The Slits - "Heard it Through the Grapevine"
  14. Talking Heads - "Road to Nowhere"
  15. The The - "This Is the Day"
  16. April March - "Chick Habit"
  17. The Polyphonic Spree - "Lithium"
  18. The Fratellis - "Whistle for the Choir"
  19. Mates of State - "Along for the Ride"
  20. Menomena - "Wet and Rusting"

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Key of D Demolished

I shun most memes, but I need to post something here, so I'll accept George's prompt. First, the rules:
  1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
  5. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  6. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  7. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  8. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
May I present to you: the eight most random things I could think to tell about myself:
  1. In second grade, I learned the word "slut" from Sophia on The Golden Girls and used it with reckless abandon on the playground, thus prompting my parents to prohibit me from watching NBC's Saturday night line-up.
  2. There's a good chance I was the first person in Santa Barbara County to contract West Nile.
  3. I beginning to think my fixation on slender, pointy dogs — borzois, Afghans, greyhounds — may have something to do with an earlier fixation on anteaters.
  4. The following songs have made me cry:
    • Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle"
    • Harry Nilsson's "Without You," but only after I watched the suicide scene in The Rules of Attraction and, months later, heard it while very drunk
    • The English Beat's "Save It For Later," shortly before I left for London
    • Willie Nelson's "Are You Sure?"
    • And, most recently, The Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place"
  5. When I was vacationing in Disney World with my family in 1992, a Midwestern family mistook me for Macaulay Culkin.
  6. My biggest fears, in order: bums, insanity (in my own head), and aliens (from space, especially the abducty kind). They may be connected, because, you see, the aliens could abduct me and turn me into a crazy bum.
  7. At the risk of losing any hipster credibility, one of my favorite movies is Xanadu.
  8. When I was very young, I was in bed, trying to fall asleep. In the dead of night, I felt the distinct sensation of someone sticking their finger in my ear. I shot up in bed, turned on the lights, saw no one. To this day, I've never determined what happened.
Next in line: Dina, Bri, Josh, London Meg, Meg H., Batalla, Stevi, and Li'l Alley.

And for more of the building blocks that make up Drew, read this previous list of Drewfacts.

Your Mind, Chromatically Killed

It's enough to make the brain bleed through the eyes, really. But I suppose it's appropriate, given the above graphic.


More on YMCK at The Planet of Groove.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Don't Forget Large Marge

A few of the many examples of the rhyming duplications or "echo words" that follow the rule of the first half beginning with a softer sound than the second.
  • Achey-Breakey
  • airy-fairy
  • artsy-fartsy
  • backpack
  • bedspread
  • brain drain
  • chill pill
  • double trouble
  • fancy-schmancy
  • fender-bender
  • fuddy duddy
  • hanky-panky
  • heebie-jeebies
  • helter-skelter
  • herky-jerky
  • higgledy piggledy
  • hobnob
  • hocus-pocus
  • hoity-toity
  • hokey-pokey
  • holy moly
  • hootchie-kootchie
  • hurdy-gurdy
  • hurly-burly
  • hurry-scurry
  • itsy-bitsy
  • lovey-dovey
  • miminy-piminy
  • namby-pamby
  • night flight
  • nitty-gritty
  • okey-dokey
  • pell-mell
  • pooper-scooper
  • ragin' Cajun
  • razzle-dazzle
  • roach coach
  • roly-poly
  • sci-fi
  • Slim Jim
  • super-duper
  • Super Trooper
  • walkie-talkie
  • Wavy Gravy
  • willy-nilly
  • wingding
It's amusing to me that the pairs follow this rule so closely and that people would so naturally chose "super-duper" over "duper-super," even though the latter might easily make as much sense to someone who had never heard the expression before.

There are, of course, many exceptions — "Plain Jane," "tutti frutti," "teeney-weeney," "Maui Wowee" and "peg leg" perhaps among the most familiar — and some of the calls on which letter sounds softer are arguable, but in general the ones that get spoken most often adhere, I'm told.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mr. Tater, I Presume?

Another winner from Wordsmith.org's word-of-the-day.
scrutator (skroo-TAY-tuhr) noun

One who investigates.

[ From Latin scrutator (searcher), from scrutari (to examine), from scruta (trash). ]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Given the terse description accompanying this YouTube clip — "the DVD advert for Skippy" — I can only conclude that Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was a once-popular television show about a peppy kangaroo who played the drums, rescues children Lassie-style and stuffed objects into her pouch, where the mucous therein would doubtlessly prevent any humans from ever wanting to touch them again.



Oh, and also Skippy's hands apparently suffer occasional paralysis.

The Roving Ambassador of Romance

Ahem.


During discussion of famously unhappy heiresses — namely Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton — I learned of the existence of one Porfirio Rubirosa, a notorious Dominican playboy who kept his name in tabloids during the first half of the twentieth century by romancing a succession of ladies that reads like a Who's Who of Bombshells. The list includes, but is not limited to, the following: Delores Del Rio, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Soraya Esfansiary (wife of the Shah of Iran), Veronica Lake, Kim Novak, Eva Peron, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and of course Duke and Hutton. Beyond his ladies, Rubirosa was the subject of gossip also for the purported size of penis. The Wikipedia states that his member was described by Truman Capote (!) as "an 11-inch cafe au lait sinker as thick as a man's wrist." The Rubirosa wang was so famous, in fact, that today large restaurant-style pepper grinders are apparently known as "rubirosas."

This is perhaps one of the best legacies I've ever heard of anyone leaving, ever.

This is a fact that I find all the more hilarious in light of the following fact: At my birthday dinner, Hannah suffered the indignity of having the waitress's pepper grinder partly disassemble and drop its cap in her risotto.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Death and Life on June 4, 1982

More often than not, I read Ain't It Cool News for movie and TV geek gossip the likes of which I can't find elsewhere. Entertainment Weekly or TV Guide, for example, both love Lost and faithfully report its cast changes and smoke monster attacks, but only Ain't It Cool News writes about upcoming episode with the shameless fanboy frothing — and complementary diehard expertise — that I crave. Yesterday, however, I happened upon an entirely different sort of article that initially caught my eye only by virtue of the headline:
"Death and Life on June 4, 1982"
For those sitting at the back of class, that's my birthday, in the literal sense of the word.

The post details one film lover's viewing of two films that opened in my birthday: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Poltergeist. I've seen the latter many times, but never the former, so I will just take the writer's words assurance of thematic overlap between the two films' notions of life and death and loss and suffering do indeed share some similarities. The author then discusses his own experience with Poltergeist-like explained phenomena, but not in a way that makes him seem like the kind of loony, superstitious spiritualist who usually posts such stories online.

In all, a beautiful piece brimming with unabashed geekiness and honesty about the authors marvel at how pop culture intersected with his life in a meaningful way.

That's what I've been shooting for here, though I fear I've often missed my mark.

Funny Show Triumphs Over Funny Lady

As a follow-up to my original post on the subject, a judge has dismissed Carol Burnett's lawsuit against FOX and Family Guy on grounds that the show's parody of her Charwoman character in the "Peterotica" episode was protected under the First Amendment. An E! News article quotes the judge, who seems to be sympathetic to Burnett's complaint but otherwise unable to help her strike back at Family Guy.
"In the new media, any self-imposed restraint essentially has been eliminated. Public figures, such as Ms. Burnett, are frequent targets of parodies and crude innuendo," the judge continued. "As Ms. Burnett well knows, it takes far more creative talent to create a character such as the 'Charwoman' than to use such characters in crude parody. Perhaps Ms. Burnett can take some solace in that fact."
Somehow, I doubt that someone who can't see the humor in making the Charwoman mop up in an adult bookstore would take much solace in that, but nice words anyway, Your Honor.

Calling John

An article posted at Wirelessinfo.com claims that the British cell phone users lose a whopping 850,000 portable telephones each year by dropping them down the toilet. I find this boggling. Aside from that questionable factoid, however, the article continues that another common cause of cell phone destruction is being dropped on bar floors — and the writer does so with a remarkable flair for language.
Second to the death by watery grave, 810,000 handsets end up amongst the peanuts and broken hearts at a local pub, 315,000 stay behind for an extra long cab ride, 225,000 keep riding public transportation after their owners leave and 116,000 ended up in some dirty laundry.
Also, I pledge to stop blogging about toilets.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bathroom Humor Birthday

On my birthday, I could write some poignant retrospective of my twenty-fourth year and note how I've grown and changed and accumulated more stuff. Instead, I'd like to discuss something that better describes me as a person: toilets.

As members of a certain female gender have strained the current facilities beyond what they can handle, the Indy has decided to spring for new ones that don't waste water. Currently, they're sitting in their packaging on the floor of one of the men's rooms. This particular men's room has no available literature, so when I'm there I just read what text is on the box. Admittedly, it's not much, but it beats staring at the peeled paint on the wall. One piece of text explains that the holes in the packaging are not handles, only — ahem — access holes.

access_hole

I take great pleasure in that the text cautions against using the "access holes" for anything other than an entry point. Using it for lifting, sliding or gripping can undermine the holes integrity, possibly even tearing it. Given the context, I find this hilarious to the point that I assume whoever wrote it must have understood the implications.

The other point of note regarding this toilet packaging is that the toilets are manufactured by Kohler, a company whose motto is "The bold look of Kohler."

toilet_kohler

I, for one, do not enjoy the prospect of a bold toilet. If I had to assign any adjective to my toilet other than "dutifully receptive," I think I would pick "submissive." Other contenders: passive, clean, odorless, dry. But boldness, for sure, would not be a quality that would figure into my pleasant, eventless toilet-using. When I think of bold people, I tend to associate with them behavior I deem "a little forward." How this could translate to toilet interactions, I'm not so sure. But worry about us, the staff of the Independent, as we brave this possibly aggressive appliances. Pray that I survive my twenty-fifth year with my dignity intact.