Thursday, August 31, 2006

Do you realize...

That in the 12 or so years sinced they have been in existence, I have never been able to see a single "Magic Eye" 3-D image. Not one.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Short Ends

Just a few bits and bobs here and there:

1) Sufjan Stevens "Chicago" has become my favorite song of the summer. It was tough, but this one came in at the end, at the right time. You can find it on a bunch of albums out there right now. On Stevens' own "Illinoise" is where first appeared, but you can also catch alternate versions on his just released "The Avalanche", which is pretty badass, and it's also on the "Little Miss Sunshine" soundtrack.

Other rockin' albums I've enjoyed this year include (in no particular order) Tom Petty's "Highway Companion", Gomez's "How We Operate", Hot Chip's "The Warning", Jurassic 5's "The Feedback", Gnarl's Barkley's "St. Elsewhere", Thom Yorke's "The Eraser", Built to Spill's "You In Reverse", the Soundtrack to "Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift", Nick Cave and Warren Ellis's soundtrack to "The Proposition", Eagles of Death Metal's "Death By Sexy", New Maximum Donkey's "Spirit of the Donks", and Massive Attack's "Collected". I'd also like to throw a shout out to local boys City Museum. They're pretty cool.

And in the "Brrrraaafffffffffff!!!!!!" category, I must say the soundtrack to The Last Kiss, which he helped compile, is pretty damn solid.

(The curse of the ex with awesome music taste still remains in me. I love music again, and I need to constantly seek it out, and there's a lot this summer! And I missed a lot of live shows, including Gomez AND The Shins, which hurt in oh so many ways.)

2) Fans of Ricky Gervais and The Office need to go check out this link at Defamer as long as it's still up, and you have at least 20 minutes to spare. It's an office training video for Microsoft, featuring Gervais' David Brent character from The Office. It's brilliant. I wish I could be as funny as that man.

FUN SIDE FACT: I have a friend. She works in Post on a successful television series. She cut the gag reel for the show's wrap party last season. Anyway, she gets into work, and finds Gervais in her office (he might be involved with this season, I'm being vague to protect everybody, just in case). Gervais is watching her gag reel, and laughing his ass off. The kicker is, she had no idea who he was, and how utterly cool it is for Ricky Gervais to be laughing his arse off at something she did. NOW, she gets it, but still. That is the coolest thing I heard this summer.

3) Off topic rant about Snakes on a Plane for a second, that I didn't realize stayed with me until this morning. So the film opens in Hawaii, and the doomed flight departs Hawaii for LA. At the airport, there's a passenger boarding the plane (who I believe becomes nameless snake fodder in the latter half of the film, not too sure) with a baseball type t-shirt with the name "Honolulu" clearly printed on it. I get it, the movie takes place in Hawaii, so it kind of makes sense. What sticks in my craw is that I have the exact same T shirt. EXACT SAME, I swear. And I got it not in Honolulu, but at the Old Navy in Wayne, New Jersey. It's the shirt I had my mug shot taken in. It's an Old Navy shirt, clearly purchased for the production of Snakes on a Plane, because it takes place in Hawaii. But for some reason, (after putting on the shirt this morning and making the connection) this really bothers me. There are a lot of reasons why, but they're all too stupid to even get into. Point is, I'm terribly vexed by this.

I was bored at work, hence all the links. Have a great rest of the week. And sucker punch any loser who tries to tell you today is "Hump Day".

Right in the throat.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


For two weeks in a row now, I'm encouraging the viewing of a motion picture in a not entirely sober state of mind. However, when you call your movie Beerfest, it's pretty hard not to draw the comparison. In fact, it's almost challenging you NOT to drink while you watch it. And it's a damn hard challenge.

Beerfest is the latest fillm from the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, who have brought us Puddle Cruiser, Club Dread, and their biggest claim to cult fame Super Troopers. (They were also partially responsible for last year's Dukes of Hazzard movie, with
Jay Chandrasekhar directing, and all five lizards contributing to the script, but it wasn't a full Lizard production). This time, the fellas tackle something that seems so natural: Drinking games. Yes, the art of the drinking game is met with the underground ferocity of a fight club to become the movie you see before you: Beerfest.

The movie opens with Jan and Todd Wolfhouse (Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske) as they return the ashes of their recently deceased beer loving grandfather (Donald Sutherland, of all people) from Colorado to Germany. For Oktoberfest. Once they get to Germany, they stumble upon an underground beer drinking competition, full of all sorts of drinking games, but taken to the greatest level of competition: Beerfest! (Title). Jan and Paul meet their Bavarian cousins, who represent the German Beerfest team. Naturally, our heroes are humiliated, and flee back to the states with their tails between their legs.

Once back home, the boys concoct a plan to put together their own team to defeat the Germans in next year's competition. They pick up Steve "Fink" Finklestein (Steve Lemme), the beer nerd; "Landfil" (Kevin "Farva" Heffernan), beer drinker extraordinaire; and Barry (Jay Chandrasekhar), an expert at all beer games, especially quarters. The movie follows the motley crew through many grueling beer drinking exercises, leading up to the big showdown.

It's a sports movie for a sport that doesn't exist, but damn is it funny. The Broken Lizard guys always have a nice layer to their comedy. They excel at sight gags and frat humor, but they also have a lot of smarter, quieter and subtler jokes happening, that a lot of the time are missed. And the gags are pretty much nonstop in this film. If there's something you don't find funny, wait ten seconds. I wish I could tell some of the funny things in the film, but I can't. It will take away the surprise. I will say that two of my favorite moments occurred in the "Day after" sequence from the first day of training. Actually, three moments happened in that sequence. See? It's too much comedy for one motion picture.

In addition to the lizards, there are plenty of funny people scattered throughout. Cloris Leachman as the Wolfhouse Gram Gram gets to be filthy and hilarious all at the same time. Jurgen Prochnow (from Das Boot) lightens up, but doesn't play his role as a complete idiot, as the leader of the German team. And Will Forte (from SNL), Eric Christian Olsen (From Dumb and Dumberer) and Nat Faxon (from Club Dread) are downright brilliant as the German team. Too damn funny. Most everyone in this film is hilarious, and it shows. For once it feels like everyone making the movie is having as good a time as the audience seeing it. (Which is far more rare than you'd think).

Quick digression: I used to have a roommate named Bill, and bill had one of the greatest laughs of all time. Granted, it was easy to make him laugh by simply yelling the word "BALLS!" to him. (This proved outright hilarious to him, no matter what time of day you did it, even if it was 4:30 in the morning and he had to get up for work in an hour). But you knew something was downright genius when he busted out the great laugh. Now, I live in California, and Bill lives in New Jersey, but there were things in this movie so funny that I swear I could have heard him laughing across the country. It has the Bill seal of approval, and that should be enough for you right there.

It's a movie called Beerfest, it's not exactly a movie trying to solve the world's problems. It's there to make you laugh, play some loud music, revel in a bit of raunchiness and unexpected nudity (the gratuitous bit at Oktoberfest is well done, considering how random it is) and it succeeds. It may try a little to hard at points, but there are at least ten laugh out loud, "holy crap that's funny" moments in the film. Things that make you lose control of bodily functions, which is fitting for the film. There is a fair amount of frat humor involved, but like I say, they work the spectrum. Ranking the Lizard films, this comes in just slightly under Super Troopers. It's that entertaining.

A word of warning: It will make you want a beer. Please don't drink and drive. But if you can, beer will just make it that much more enjoyable. If this movie fails theatrically, fear not. This film will live a long happy life on college dorms for YEARS to come.

NO! I was on the 18th Ho-oo-le!

A little bit of Tuesday fun for you all.

I still regret not playing this with the Educated Spoke. I was so down for Jeepers.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Box Office Report for Moviesonline

Dude here again. Another weekend comes and goes. Money has changed hands. Popcorn has been swept up from the cinema floor, and what does it all lead to? Money. Lots of money. Money that you possibly once possessed, but now belongs to a bizarre split between theater owners and studio heads. And for some strange reason, Tom Cruise gets a cut, too. Hey, the guy just lost a gig, he needs what he can get.

This week, we had four new contenders for most popular/successful film of the weekend. Did any succeed? Is success really just proportional? Or merely an illusion? You be the judge. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates, rounded to the nearest number. Numbers might change slightly when actuals are reported on Monday)

1. Invincible (BV) - $17.0, 2917 screens, week 1, $17.0 total

2. Talladega Nights (Sony)- $8.0, 3370 screens, week 4, $127.68 total

3. Little Miss Sunshine (FoxSrc) - $7.5, 1430 screens, week 5, $23.0 total

4. Beerfest (WB) - $6.5, 2964 screens, week 1, $6.5 total

5. Accepted (Uni) - $6.476, 2917 screens, week 2, $21.1 total

6. World Trade Center (Par) - $6.39, 3021 screens, week 3, $50.4 total

7. Step Up (BV) - $6.187, 2647 screens, week 3, $50.4 total

8. Idlewild (Uni) - $5.89, 973 screens, week 1, $5.89 total

9. Snakes On A Plane (NL)- $5.86, 3555 screens, week 2, $26.0 total

10. Barnyard (Par) - $5.4, 3003 screens, week 4, $54.7 total

Ok, those are the numbers, so what does this all mean? Well, if you're much more (or less) clever than I am, there is a terrible pun to be made about the performance of Invincible. ("Invincible lives up to it's namesake","Invincible truly is", etc. Look in the papers, you'll see what I mean). Disney once again proves that they have that uplifting sports formula perfected to a science as Mark Wahlberg's football drama takes the lead spot, far outshining any competition. With football season fast approaching, it seems like people wanted to catch that pigskin fever, and catch it, they did. (I can't stop these, I need help).

If you're the Broken Lizard guys, keep drinking guys. Beerfest opened up to some not very good reviews, and to a less than predicted opening. As with most Broken Lizard films, this movie will eventually find it's audience on DVD across college campuses everywhere. It's just a matter of time. The movie is outright hilarious, quite possibly their funniest effort yet. Remember, just because a movie doesn't make tons of money doesn't mean it's a failure. At least in my eyes. Which means nothing.

If you're Outkast, people pretty much didn't care for your new rip-roaring musical. Idlewild barely beat Snakes on a Plane, although to be fair it opened on the fewest amount of screens in the top ten. Mixed reviews for this one might have kept people away, along with the fact that it's a musical. Who knows?

The holdovers from previous weeks are doing just that. Snakes on a Plane went from #1 to #9, with a 57% drop from last week. The hype was short lived. The only film that improved in the top ten was Little Miss Sunshine, which is steadily growing due to good word of mouth and a slowly building release pattern. It will most likely be dubbed "the sleeper hit of the summer", and this will happen in the same publications that proclaim Invincible "invincible." There will also be a reference to August as the "dog days of summer". Mark my words.

Below the radar, the fourth wide release of the weekend, "How To Eat Fried Worms" made $3.95 million dollars to come in #12. And Pirates finally drops out of the top ten, having passed Spider-man in all time domestic gross.

And in the "just because it's there and because I can" series: Strangers With Candy took in $17,900 on 40 screens, bringing it's tally to $2,031,000 in 9 weeks.

There you have my glorious break down. Next week, I know there's a movie with Jason Statham. And that means somebody's getting their ass kicked.

Until next weekend....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quote of the week!

From Chuck Klosterman's "Killing Yourself To Live", which I recently began reading. This line had me laughing for about five minutes straight. Out loud. In public.

"In all probability, you will also complain about the author's reliance on self-indulgent, postmodern self-awareness, which will prompt the person you're conversing with to criticize the influence of Dave Eggers on the memoir writing genre. Then your cell phone will ring, and you will agree to meet someone for brunch."

DanSpeak 8-24-06

When asked what beverage he's imbibing at a rapid rate of consumption: MILK!!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An impassioned plea to the Boston Red Sox

Dear Boston Red Sox,

Hi. You don't know me, but most folks call me The Dude for reasons I don't even remember anymore. I've seen you guys a few times, most notably Game 1 of the '86 world series against the Mets. You lost that one, but that's ok. You had heart. Many moons later, I would find myself sitting beside the famed Green Monster in Fenway park. You kicked the Indians' ass. It was a very impressive display.

Back in '04, I was actually KICKED OUT of my local pub for rooting for the Sox in a predominantly Yankee friendly environment. I watched game 7 in an empty bar down the street, along with a few otheer Sox fans and/or Yankee haters. Oh yes, my friends, I am an avowed hater of the Yankees. I bought numerous items outside Fenway, all of which contained a variation on the phrase "Yankees Suck". (Which reminds me, I need to get one for my godson in his size.)

I am writing to you as a Mets fan. My blood runs Blue and Orange, I'm afraid. But being a Mets fan, despite the aforementioned series, by default it makes me a Sox fan. Why? Because the Mets are forever the 2nd place guys. Always forgotten in the shadow of the Yanks, much like I live in the shadow of an imaginary brother my parents made up, who's better at everything than I am, and is currently curing diseases with my ex girlfriends. (I hate you Mark). Mets fans are a different breed. It's almost as if we truly believe the maxim of "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game". We're certainly a rare breed. And most dyed in the wool Mets fans hate the Yankees as well, thus allowing us a team to watch destroy their chances and make that mupppet-lookin motherfucker Derek Jeter cry.

Now, this year it seems that all our hoping has finally paid off, as we've been having an amazing year. We're fairly close to clinching our division already, and I'm fairly certain we haven't left that perch since the season began. If so, it was only for a brief moment. Granted, it means nothing when it's playoff time, but still, it looks like we have an excellent shot of making it to the series this year.

And because I'm a cyclical kind of guy, I was really hoping that we'd have a rematch of that famed series from 20 years ago. The only problem is, the Yankees aren't allowing it. And they're spanking you in the process. I implore you to not let this happen. Yes, we all have our bad days, but you guys have to get back up on that horse again, and show the American League you mean BUSINESS! This is something to not take lightly. There's only a few more weeks left until playoffs, and with the Yanks in first, your chances of wild card are getting slimmer by the day, with Detroit and Chicago constantly jockeying for position.

Two years ago you were champions. I still believe in you. To quote Rob Schneider in that cinematic opus The Waterboy, "YOU CAN DO IT!" I have faith. All Mets fans have faith. You CAN do it. You MUST do it.

You WILL do it.

On behalf on Mets fans everywhere, I'd like to extend whatever help I can to make sure you achieve this goal. We need this more than you realize. But the question is, do YOU realize it? Let's get our act together, and keep our head in the game. Don't let the Yankees intimidate you. That will be our job in the series.

Best Regards,
The Dude

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ahhh, potheads: The jesters of the criminal underworld

Seeing this just brings a smile to my face. Maybe it's because I've smoked more than my share of grass back in the day. Maybe it's because I've probably smoked your share as well. Regardless, once again, the ubiquitous pothead has proven that sometimes waiting for the guy to call back is just too long a wait, and you need some greenery STAT.

I present to you dumbasses from New Zealand who don't know the meaning of the phrase "Promotional Materials".

With that in mind, I'd like to give a shout out to actual show "Weeds", whose promotion this is. The show is quite excellent, and I wouldn't mind a gig writing for the show. It airs on Showtime, which I don't have yet.

The return of the Box Office report: 8-21-06

So, I received an email from the good folks at today, asking me to once again take care of the box office report. (I had done it from last August until March or April this year, I slacked off because I had a girlfriend and I chose sleeping in with her over waking up early and writing about the weekend box office, I was replaced, but then they asked me again).

Anyway, the long winded point is that Rico had mentioned how much he enjoyed the old reports, especially when movies I liked failed to perform while crap would reign supreme. And being that he is one of maybe 8 people who now read this (A hearty hello to our Canadian screenwriting Star Wars fanatic friend, who's linked over at the side), I figured I'd put them up here for your reading enjoyment as well. So here you go:


Dude here again. Been a long time since the rock and roll, I understand. Rest assured, I have returned to do what I do best: Tell you about how much money other people are making off of us, the unsuspecting public. And do it in a fashion I hope all you appreciate.

This week, there's a small controversy-a-brewin'. Snakes on a Plane took in far less money than expected, but with it's gross from special preview shows late Thursday night (for all us hard core fans that had to be there at the very beginning, like I did) it winds up taking in more money than the number one movie of two weeks Talladega Nights. So, going from my sources, I am going to state, against my will, that Snakes on a Plane is NOT the #1 movie in America this weekend. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. Numbers might change slightly with actuals)

1. Talladega Nights (Sony)- $14.1, 3741 screens, week 3, $114.686 total

2. Snakes On A Plane (NL)- $13.85, 3555 screens, week 1, $15.25 total

3. World Trade Center (Par) - $10.8, 2998 screens, week 2, $45.0 total

4. Accepted (Uni) - $10.1, 2914 screens, week 1, $10.1 total

5. Step Up (BV) - $9.867, 2639 screens, week 2, $39.45 total

6. Barnyard (Par) - $7.489, 3227 screens, week 3, $45.995 total

7. Little Miss Sunshine (FoxSrc) - $5.675, 691 screens, week 4, $12.756 total

8. Pirates Of The Caribbean (BV) - $5.0, 2277 screens, week 7, $401.1 total

9. Material Girls (MGM) - $4.6, 1509 screens, week 1, $4.6 total

10. Pulse (Dim) - $3.5, 2323 screens, week 2, $14.7 total

Ok, those are the numbers, so what does this all mean? Well, if you're Will Ferrell, you're pretty happy that your film managed to compete with Pirates of the Caribbean, and be the only other film this year to stay at the top of the box office for three weeks in a row. And if you're Samuel L. Jackson, you want to get that... you know what? I'm tired of jokes about getting snakes off the motherflippin plane. Snakes on a Plane proved and disproved a lot of things this weekend. It proves that you can have all the hype in the world, but it still means nothing if you don't strike while the iron's hot. Had SoaP come out in June, it would have cleaned up. People wanted to see that flick. But by holding strong until August, I feel a lot of the hype surrounding the "must see" worthiness of this one died heavily. In a way, it's good that it didn't make that much money. It kind of makes the film that much cooler. Like, it flirted with mainstream acceptance, but at the end of the day the movie is about a bunch of snakes on a plane. DVD should provide a happy future for the film, as this one is a movie to watch with large groups of friends, with alcohol very close by.

If you're Accepted, you would expect to find a pun about overachieving. However, I'm lazy and knocking this out at work, so make up your own. the Justin Long college comedy seemed to attract a fair amount of perspectives this weekend, and given it's low budget, this film will make some cash at the end of the day. However, it faces a challenge with next week's Beerfest. Given Accepted's PG-13 rating over Fest's R, it might be a tough call. (Or people sneaking into R rated movies next week may give Accepted a smaller boost).

If you're Material Girls, all I gotta say is where the hell did you come from? I know nothing about this movie. Looking it up, I se it contains not one, but TWO Duffs. Anyway, this flick tanked, as it should. Really, is there that big of a glut since Lohan went all "serious" on us that we need to sit through this crap? This film angers me. Moving on.

The holdovers from previous weeks are doing just that. World Trade Center, in it's second weekend, managed to hold on strong, which is natural given that it has no other direct competition in the playing field. Seriously, the Material Girls crowd isn't exactly aching to get into WTC afterwards and make it a double feature. Anyway, it's doing well, much better than expected, and it will most likely continue along this path, what with the nifty MySpace page the film has, dawg. Step Up, another movie I have no idea of that has it's official webpage as it's myspace site (I hate you Tom and MySpace), continues to dupe teen girl squads into spending their hard earned cash in a quest to find their generation's Dirty Dancing. Barnyard continues doing just alright, along with almost every other CG animated flick this summer. Pirates opened it's own bank and has just been printing it's own money for three weeks now. Pulse is history. And Little Miss Sunshine climbs up the ranks and makes the top ten this week. Best film on this top ten, it should be noted. COntinued good word of mouth will have this film playing well into the fall.

Below the radar, the magic themed period romance The Illusionist opened on 51 screens accumulating a grand total of $925,000, with a per screen average of $18,137, the highest of any film this weekend. Look for it to possibly open wider soon. The Fox Searchlight comedy Trust The Man opened on 38 screens to take in $176,000. And Factotum opened on 6 screens for a grand total of $60,800. Good word of mouth will see if these continue to perform well.

And in the "just because it's there and because I can" series: An Inconvenient Truth took in $246,000 on 221 screens, bringing it's tally to $23,800,000 in 13 weeks.

(Again let me state that An Inconvenient Truth is a film you should have already seen, but if not, you should go after you finish reading this)

There you have my wonderful break down. Next week, we have a Marky Mark football movie from the studio that made Remember the Titans, we have the Broken Lizard guys returning to hopefully make me wet myself with laughter, and there's probably a kids movie, or something even dumber coming out. Strangely, I don't think there's a horror flick coming out, making it the only weekend this year that wouldn't.

Until next weekend....

ADDENDUM: The final numbers were posted about an hour after I submitted the story in for publication, and the final tally is this:

1. Snakes on a Plane - $13.806
2. Talladega Nights - $13.755
3. World Trade Center - $10.9
4. Step Up - $10.157
5. Accepted - $10.023

Sorry for the confusion. Snakes is indeed, the champion.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes... the review

Somehow I feel like my life is now complete. As if the moment I had been waiting for has finally come and gone, and now I emerge, a fresh young man, ready to take on the world, and face down any complications that life seems to throw in my... Who the hell am I kidding? It freakin ruled!

Snakes on a Plane is exactly what you'd expect. It's not very good at all. In fact, it's downright crap-tastic. The acting is pretty bad, save for Samuel L. Jackson, but even he seems a little disappointed. The dialogue is so atrocious, it feels like it was purposefully written that way, and the actors seem to be intentionally acting badly and embracing the cliches. But that's not what the movie's about. You came to see some snakes on a plane, and by God you get some muthaf#*@in snakes on a plane. And after a dreadful twenty minutes that literally introduces every single character (not to mention a scene of the villain that needlessly has him kung fu fighting) in such a mind numbingly dumb fashion they may as well have been wearing nametags stating their main (only) characterization, the snakes finally show up. And man do they show up in style.

The snake attacks are the highlights of the film. They're inventive and fun. The snake vision, anytime it comes on, you get a chuckle. I don;t want to give anything away, but there is a scene involving a dude taking a leak and a snake in the bowl. In fact, most everything in the film elicits guffaws, whether intentional or not. The film's a laugh riot, beginning with the opening sequence of stock footage from Hawaii and never stopping.

In between, there's a lame B plot about Bobby Cannavale (From The Station Agent, which if you have not seen you must go out and rent immediately) trying to track down who put said snakes on aforementioned plane. It's mildly entertaining, but it takes away from the real meat. But it's just as good as the rest of the stuff.

I must take issue with a few things, however. First off, the "efforts on behalf of the fans to make the film more of an R Rating" are pretty weak. Yes, the awesome line about getting the motherflippin snakes off the motherflippin plane was met with uproarious applause when I saw it (and actually cut off the line that followed). But any other time the "f" word is dropped, it's done off screen, and with some pretty poor ADR. HOWEVER, the completely gratutitous sex scene is made even more hilarious because for no reason whatsoever, other than the fact that they're in a rated R movie, the young lusting couple decide to smoke a joint at the same time. I'll repeat that: THEY SMOKE A JOINT WHILE HAVING SEX, AND SOLELY BECAUSE THEY'RE IN AN R-RATED MOVIE. I laughed quite heartily at that.

You know what my main problem with the movie is? It didn't go far enough. I loved the idea of this projecct when Ronny Yu was attached. Yu is the man who brought us two quite underrated genre gems of the 2000s, Freddy vs. Jason and Formula 51 (also starring The Man Jackson). Freddy vs. Jason, while ridiculous for the first half, becomes something transcendentally amazing for the second half. And Formula 51 is so unbelievable that you have no choice but to go along for the ride. Had he been allowed his vision, I'm sure we'd have tons of even more ridiculous scenes. The one that springs to mind would involve Sam Jackson ripping a dead snake in half and fashioning a belt from it.

God is in the details, after all.

Or, there's a character on the plane who's a kickboxer. With Yu in charge, you KNOW there would be a scene involving him running down the aisles kicking as many snakes as humanly possible, with lightning fast speed. As it stands, David Ellis did a decent job.

But Snakes on a Plane delivers exactly what it promises, mostly. It could have gone that extra mile, and been crazy as a shit house rat, but it didn't quite go there. And the ending is kind of weak, and sort of a stockpile of airplane cliches instead of an all out Jackson vs. Snake bloodfest. For what it's worth, though, the movie is a hoot from start to finish. I highly recommend you watch this movie with an audience. That's the best way to get the full experience. Gather a group of friends, go to the theater, and cheer along. There was a lot of applause at the screening I went to this evening, and the crowd was having an awesome time, laughing at the horrible dialogue, cheering on the snakes, and creating this amazing moviegoing experience usually reserved for a film of Star Wars calibre. I hope Snakes on a Plane does midnight shows, involving the tossing of rubber snakes at the screen. Like a more violent Rocky Horror Picture show. You know, only not as annoying as Rocky Horror.

I'm gonna take a lot of grief for that statement, but I stand by my words.

Snakes on a Plane: It's what you thought it was gonna be.

(PS- I realize I didn't really mention anyone in the cast, or even give a plot summary. But everything you need to know is on the poster: Samuel L. Jackson... snakes on a plane.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

There's another movie that opens tomorrrow that doesn't involve snakes OR planes

I won't be the first critic to note that Neil Burger's The Illusionist is the first of two magician themed mysteries this year, with Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, following in two months time. I will, however, be the first critic who says that and immediately follows it with the word "Balls".


The Illusionist takes us back to turn of the century Vienna (turn of the 20th century, not the 21st), where a magician, or Illusionist (title), comes to town. Said Illusionist is played by Edward Norton. Or more to the point, Edward Norton's facial hair. Eisenheim the illusionist strolls into town and puts on a magic show, much to the delight of the crowds. The buzz around Eisenheim grows so much that the crown prince himself simply has to go and see for himself. Sure enough, Prince Leopold's fiancee Sophie turns out to be the grown up version of Sophie, whom a young Eisenheim fell madly in love with many moons ago. They rekindle their passion, much to the chagrin of the aforementioned prince. Naturally, this leads to murder, and a relentless pursuit of the truth courtesy of Chief Inspector Uhl. Will the mystery be solved? Will you ask yourself what is real, and what is... illusion?

It's actually not nearly as stupid as I make it sound, if you can believe it. Sure, Will Arnett's voice would constantly linger in my head every time the word "illusion" was uttered. What matters is that film is for the most part marginally entertaining. What makes it worthwhile are the performances and the look of the film. What makes me angry with it is the ending. More on that in a bit.

Edward Norton has been missed of late. It seemed like he disappeared for awhile there. He's still got it, though. He manages to pull you in, and believe him, even if his accent and face are a little silly. You believe Eisenheim. At least, you want to believe him, which is the greatest trick a magician... excuse me, illusionist, can do. Paul Giamatti portrays the good inspector, and adds another great beard to his mighty collection. Luckily, I can watch Paul Giamatti doing pretty much anything and think he's brilliant (check out the scene in Sideways when he's reading on the toilet and try to tell me that's not Oscar worthy stuff), so it helps that he imbues his character with enough gray area so you never quite know where he's coming from. Always a good choice to cast him. Jessica Biel is actually decent in this, as she plays Sophie. The character is a little weak, though, but she steps up to the challenge. And easy on the eyes to boot. And as the prince Leopold, all I can say is it's nice to Rufus Sewell in movies. Even if they aren't Dark City 2: Darker City.

Neil Burger's film portrays a place I can't recall ever having seen on film before. Possibly, but I can't fixate on anything concrete. AS a result of this, I enjoyed the film quite a bit more. It's fun to see where Vienna stands at the turn of the century, and it's fun to see this world he's created. It's also a world where people, while still a bit skeptical, are a lot more inclined to believe what they see for what it is. There are several layers at work, especially with a title like the Illusionist. And the beautiful cinematography from Dick Pope just adds to the splendor. I can;t stress enough how much I enjoyed this aspect of the film.

It should also be noted that Philip Glass provides a Philip Glass score. I happen to like him, so this is a good thing, but some may take that as a warning.

Now, my main problem is that I quite enjoyed the film as a whole until the last five to ten minutes or so. And my other problem is it's not really fair of me to tell you why, even in vague terms. Suffice it to say that the ending has a very strong resemblance to the conclusion of another, similarly themed film. Which wouldn't be quite so bad if it wasn't an almost shot for shot rip off. That really irritated me, and unfortunately that stayed with me, and skewed my opinion of the film a little bit. Or a lot. Enough to cause commotion.

But this is a problem of my own. I'm sure that many people will find no problem at all with it. And that's fine. But you don't write here, I do, so...

I recommend The Illusionist because it succeeds at presenting a world I have never seen. For that alone, it's worth it. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually. The performances are top notch and there's a great air of whimsy and mystery to the whole project, which is a nice change from most heavy handed drama normally reserved for this time period. Now we just have to see if The Prestige can one up the Illusionist's trick.


For my NY peeps!

any of my old friends out there on the east coast want to meet Tony Jaa? Of course you do, who am I kidding? Anyway, I saw over on Ain't It Cool News that Tony Jaa will be in New york on Tuesday to promote "The Protector" which is a much more badass title than "Tom Yung Goong" which is the original title. Either way, the new marketing for American audiences seems to neglect the fact that Tony Jaa is protecting his pet elephant. Seriously. Then he kicks everyone's ass. EVERYONE!!!

Anyway, the link to the info about the evening is here. I strongly urge you to make it if you can. The dude's ridiculous. Ong Bak is amazing, and Tom Yu... sorry, The Protector, is even more so. Check him out, because if he's around for awhile, I can put him in things.

Penultimate Snakes Piece

I blame myself, really. I've been honestly excited for this film, and talking it up for almost two years now. Granted, the hype peaked awhile ago, and like pirates or Ozzy Osbourne or fantasy or anything that dorks like us have cherished and embraced for years only to watch pop culture come and snatch it away from us and appropriate it and make it dull and stupid, Snakes on a Plane was fast on that road.

But I never gave up hope. The film might in fact, suck balls, but I don't care. I know they're not gonna skimp when it comes to snakes. Or a plane. So, already, it's the movie you expect it to be. In my opinion, (as everything on this site is), the film will probably be on the level of Transporter 2. I loved Transporter 2. It's such a ridonkulous film. And it's not very good, but it was fun as hell. That's what Snakes must achieve for me. And I have a strong feeling it will.

Fact is, I haven't been this excited for a flick since the last Star Wars. And at least I don't have to go to court before Snakes, like I did for Star Wars. Again, my biggest regret is not being at the theater, where I could screen it for all of you. Provided you brought me apple juice.

And thus begins what so people may consider the beginning of the end. Fan based influenced films that will soon ruin filmmaking as we know it, except for the small core of us who loved what Snakes on a Plane originally intended: to have fun. Sam Jackson knows this movie won't change the world. But he did it out of love. And that, my friends, I respect a lot more than a film like All The King's Men or Cold Mountain, which seem to be made for Academy Awards. Give me the motherfuckin' snakes on the motherfuckin' plane any day of the week.

And with recently purchased ticket warm in my hand, I begin the 7 and a half hour wait to see... you know. The flick with the plane.

(Not to be confused with what Matos called "The one with the boat" referring to Titanic.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What's up with everyone liking pirates now?

For the longest time, people didn't. And now, pirates are cool. Possibly due to Johnny Depp's involvement. Now all of us who liked pirates to begin with, are left out in the cold.

There's always vikings.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

There's Always Mini-Golf... but why?

Recently, I was asked as to why I call this blog "There's Always Mini-Golf", and I often respond cryptically, saying "Because there always is". But some of you might actually wonder WHY there's always mini-golf, and why I feel the need to name a blog after it. (And make it the signature on my non-work e-mail).

This takes us back to the dark times in the long long ago. (Give it up for Thunderdome). Resigned with accepting that I am a better projectionist than pretty much anything else in the world, I fancied myself a slacker philosopher, dispensing pearls of wisdom to the unsuspecting. What would make them more unsuspecting is the fact that I came up with most of my bon mots while high, which would explain the slacker part. (Well, support the slacker stuff, really. Who would listen to a slacker that ISN'T a pothead?)

I don't recall many of my brilliant philosophies due to poor penmanship and a mysterious condition that doesn't allow me to remember too many things. (Never could figure out why). But the one that stuck with me through the years, and with others if you can believe it, is "There's always mini-golf".

What does it mean? Well, life is pretty vast. Ebbs and flows are always ever present, and sometimes we tend to lose focus on things. Sometimes we get hung up over a girl, (If you're me, this is usually ALWAYS the case), a jackass at work, an obnoxious family member or members who take advantage of you and your kindness, etc. not to mention all that fun stuff going on in the middle east, political corruption, reality television, etc. All that stuff can be very taxing on the mind. And rightly so, don't feel I'm dismissing these events and people in life.

But for all the negativity, all the things that are holding you down and making your life a living hell, there's gotta be something good to hold on to. Something to look forward to. That's where mini-golf comes in. Because there's ALWAYS mini-golf.

Mind you, mini-golf is not mini-golf. It's that one thing in life, kind of like Jack Palance's belief system in his academy award winning turn as Curly in City Slickers. (Not his bullshit nihilistic tendencies as Duke in the far inferior City Slickers 2: The Legend Of Curly's Gold). There's the one thing in life that makes it worthwhile. It could be your kid, or going to the movies, or playing video games on your friend's couch after a long day of work, or that one day a month when you meet your friends for a drink and catch up. It can be anything, really. That one activity/person/element in your life that no matter how bad things get, that will always be there for you. And yes indeed, sometimes mini-golf can in fact mean mini-golf. (Or putt-putt for you down south folk).

So go out there and seek your own mini-golf. Lord knows that in these times, sometimes you just need that one thing in your life to be a stop to the swirling chaos around you and give you inner peace. Lame ass philosophy, I realize, but it's true and it works.

And for the record, mine used to be mini-golf. Especially when I realized I could play out here all year round. And despite the fact that the titlee of "Greatest First Date Ever" did indeed include a rousing game of mini golf (which I won, I'm no pushover just because I want to date this girl), there are now too many bad memories associated. now I must seek my own NEW mini-golf.

And this week, it's that midnight show of Snakes on a Plane.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A ray of "Sunshine"

You like that header? I've been working on them to sound more and more lame, so that I can get a job replacing Joel Siegel.

Little Miss Sunshine is, in a word, fantastic. I loved this movie and everything about it. There is not one false note in the entire thing, and anytime the movie seems to be going for schmaltz or the sitcom route out, it doesn't take it. Granted, dysfunctional family "comedies" are a dime a dozen these days, but this one stands out for two major reasons: it doesn't take place at Thanksgiving, and it's actually funny.

It tells the tale of the Hoover clan, wannabe motivational speaker Richard (Greg Kinnear); trying to hold it together mom Sheryl (Toni Collette); horny, heroin addicted grandpa (Alan Arkin, always wonderful to see in a flick); teenage son Dwayne (Break through Paul Dano) who's not spoken a word to his family in literally almost a year; suicidal Proust scholar Frank (Steve Carrell); and child beauty pageant contestant Olive (Abigail Breslin, who is so utterly adorable it's almost sickening). The family is all together when word comes that the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in Redondo Beach, CA has selected Olive as a semi-finalist. The clan grudgingly packs into the yellow VW bus, and hit the road from Arizona to California. Naturally, chaos ensues.

What separates this film is that it's funny in addition to being depressing as hell. This is not a healthy family. And even THEY are aware. But the family all seem to possess this gallows humor that feels ever so appropriate for the trials and tribulations they encounter on their journey. I won't spoil any of them, because half the fun of this movie is seeing what happens next. I will say that there's this very silly moment with a busted horn and a traffic officer. Actually, I should mention that the VW bus is it's own character, providing many moments that can only be fittingly described as "pure hilarity".

The actors NAIL their roles. I always liked Toni Collette, but I've never loved her like I do in this one. Greg Kinnear plays the overly humiliated character well, and proves once again to be a damn solid actor. Steve Carell, the one whom they've been promoting the most in the ads, pulls off a lovely more dramatic turn. Maybe dramatic isn't the right word, I think tragic might suffice. Don't let the fame stop you, this man is a professional, and his role here couldn't be more different than his roles in The Office and The 40 Year Old Virgin. And yet, he nails this one, too. Alan Arkin is funny as the foul mothed older person who doesn't care, which again is a cliche of the genre, but somehow he makes it feel fresh again. The standouts, though, are Dano and Breslin. By barely speaking a word, and still managing to make me believe every beat of his character, Dano almost manages to steal the flick away from seasoned pros. He's complex and knows what he wants, and even though he quotes Nietszche and realizes how pointless life is, you forgive him because he's in high school, and these are the things that high school seniors are supposed to be involved in, not how many friends are in their MySpace or who's stonefacing whom in the cafeteria later on. Abigail Breslin, however, is the true, uncorrupted heart of the flick. It's her journey as well, and she manages to pull off everything an adorable child should do in a movie that isn't rote and done before. I hope this girl continues along this path, and doesn't feel the need to pull a Dakota Fanning, and get too big for her britches. (Or occupy two hours of my time by screaming and being anoying with Tom Cruise).

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a married couple who have previously made music videos (including the Smashing Pumpkins "1979", of which there is a tiny nod in the flick), their feature debut is almost flawless. The understand the characters' lives, and depth. They tell the story simply, which is something not commonly associated with music video directors. (Says the guy who watched The Rock this past weekend). Working with Michal Arndt's screenplay, they weave a film so well, that it makes you smile without you even realizing it.

Visually, the film looks good, and it has a really good soundtrack by Mychael Danna and DeVotchka. Everything about the film works well within itself, and it all adds up to one of the best experiences I've had in a theater this year.

While describing the film to a friend, I mentioned that it's a lot like the Full Monty, where a group of people in a rather depressing situation in their lives, have to make a journey and in the end, wind up being a little bit better off then when they began. I stand by this assessment. Thinking about the film a week later, I'm still tickled by a few of the gags, and especially the finale at the pageant itself.

Little Miss Sunshine delivers the goods. Believe all the hype you're hearing about the film, because for once, finally, it's true, and the film is worth it.

Weekend Update: Without those chicks from SNL (sadly)

Alright, it's Monday. After a hellerific Friday (that surprisingly did not include any lemon beverages), the weekend was a nice fun time to chill and relax, and have friends make me dinner. (Thanks again Rico).

A few of the things I learned this weekend?

1) Nip/Tuck is a DAMN fine TV show. Dan and I watched almost the entire first season in a day. (Stupid Dan going to work). So we're only the first season in, and I'm hooked. I really dig it. And as much as I'm looking forward to Daniel Craig playing James bond, I feel bad that Julian McMahon isn't playing him. That guy is hard core awesome in this show, which makes Fantastic Four that much more unforgivable.

2) Continuing along this pattern of TV shows I need to catch up on, Battlestar Galactica. I caught the first 3 hours of the mini series (of the new one on SciFi, that is). It, too, is pretty damn solid. I want to watch more of it, which is a good thing. The show itself has a feel of a little more serious Firefly (look wise), and the subject matter is pretty damn awesome. I loved the performances and the FX, and towards the end, I decided I must continue along with the series. Looking forwad to the rest of it.

3) They just don't make good action movies anymore since the Matrix came out. I was watching pre-Matrix action movies like The Negotiator, The Rock, and Executive Decision (Good call, T-Bone, and US Marshalls came on HBO right after it, making it a double feature from the director Stuart Baird). These movies are pretty badass, but they're not full of Wire-fu. They really on suspense and total bombardment of senses. But I miss them. Bruckheimer's too big now to make them like he used to, and Silver had the Matrix thing, but nowadays, it seems only Luc Besson is making anything close to these old action flicks. And he's not even directing them anymore. They are lost. It's a damn shame. Oh, and Executive Decision is a weird flick to watch when the World Trade Center movie just came out. Just sayin...

4) I didn't think it possible, but there was still a little bit of my heart left to be destroyed. Which it is now. Thank you V.

5) This doesn't count for the weekend, because it happened today, but I am now COMPLETELY MYSPACE FREE!!!! I confirmed it, and now my account with myspace is gone. I feel kind of bad. To all the people on there who ARE my friends and such, but the fact is, Myspace is evil. It wastes obscene amounts of time that can only be attributed to stalking. You create tension and anger with your placement of "Top 8" friends. You add friends like they're going out of style, and then don't even talk to them. You post your life for the world to see, and it usually consists of horrible poetry. And you wanna know something else? YOUR FRIEND'S BAND SUCKS!!! There, I said it. I don't give a shit if they're playing Zen Sushi in two weeks, they suck balls. Stop reminding me all the time to go see them. So it is with a proud heart that I gladly say "Fuck MySpace" and move on.

6) Rico and Shana make a mean Steak dinner, and a killer Ceaser salad.

7) I like the lady in the haircut place for staying open, and offering to cut it more if I don't like it after a few days... for free!

8) I need my groove back.

9) At least I'm not Screech. (This story gets even worse, but I can't find the link to when he got mugged at a motel this past week.

10) Despite what can only be called as the worst summer of my life since '02, at least the Mets are kicking some serious ass. Seriously. the only thing that's kept me going are these games, and the hope of Mets/Red Sox rematch: 20 Years Later. And here's hoping that the Dodgers keep it up too, so I can catch a live Mets game before the year's over. (Seeing as how SOMEONE already took my unofficial godson to his first game already without me, I need to catch a game soon).

So with that, I say, you should check out the Gamers review down below, and keep your eyes peeled for more fun updates I will likely post. (Gotta review Little Miss Sunshine, still).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gamers: A movie for people like me. And, by default, you.

Alright, I think it's time I let you all in on something a little shocking. I was never that big into RPGs. (Role playing games, not rocket propelled grenades, which, sadly, Dan can attest my love for after seeing Miami Vice). And yet, I know so many of my friends who love them, and play them still, to this day. And I attended a fair amount of gaming nights in high school (and middle school, back when Alex Meyer was still around, and had the cool basement). I remember these evenings vividly. And while that's part of the charm involved with "Gamers", luckily it's not all the film relies on.

Gamers is a new indie film written and directed by Christopher Folino that chronicles an evening of gamers, still playing every Saturday night 13 years since high school has ended, as they are about 12 hours away from breaking the all time record for consecutive play. The gamers in the film play Demons, Nymphs, and Dragons (DND, get it? ) and have been doing so every night since high school. They are comprised of Kevin (Kevin Sherwood), Gordon (Kevin Kirkpatrick), Paul (Scott Allen Rinker), Fernando (Joe Nieves), and Reese (Dave Hanson), all geeks and gamers who occasionally take the game a little too far. Each has a dead end type job, and most live with their parents still. All but Fernando, who became a gamer simply because he sucks at soccer. (Or as they call it everywhere else in the world and in the pizza parlor I used to work at, football).

Gamers is done in mockumentary fashion, which I had started to grow tired of, but in this film it works quite well. While showing our heroes in their jobs/lives, the style allows for moments of improv that are far funnier than they should be. (I'm a particular fan of Kevin's job as a man who sings songs with your child's name in them. If there is justice in the world, "Wake Up Dick" will become a song that sweeps across the myspacers' ringtones). In fact, what Gamers does best are these moments of character, and it mines the humor from them, as opposed to putting nerds in a silly situation. That's one of the prime factors of enjoyability with the film. Although the moments can feel absurd, they are never out of place, and simply there for the purpose of "The joke". (Although, the Dungeon Lord grand robe pushes it a little, but it's too damn funny to really nitpick about). There are a lot of moments in the film that are filled with outright hilarity, crafting a mighty enjoyable time.

Filling out the cast are some familiar faces, such as John Heard and Beverly D'Angelo as Gordon's parents, who are much more cool than he is. The Greatest American Hero himself, William Katt (although I'll always remember him from House, not the doctor show), has a small role as Reese's boss who used to be a hard core gamer until he kicked the dragon and began playing Madden. And Ms. Weird Science herself, Kelly LeBrock, playing the role of hot mom. Far too brief a role, the film could have used more LeBrock. (But the scene she's in is quite good).

What I liked best about the film is that it had heart. You could tell a real love of these characters from Folino and the actors. Situations in the film rarely feel forced, instead having a nice natural flow. These characters would do these things. I must heap praise on the character of Reese, whom my fellow D&D players from High School might call Brock from the sheer amount of abuse Reese has to take from the Dungeon Lord Kevin. (Reese phoning Kevin with death threats for killing off his oldest character are priceless, and it was that scene that sold me on the film.) And how can you not like a movie where one of the main characters, after being told he won a trip Costa Rica, immediately responds "All right! That's where they shot Predator!" ?

I highly recommend Gamers to you. Mainly, to my friends, but to all people who would understand and appreciate the humor and time and love that went into crafting this film. I look forward to what Folino has next in store for all of us. Gamers is definitely one for those who like to look a little deeper to find a good movie. Thankfully it delivers in spades.

Because I'm a whore, I shall pimp out the place you can see Gamers (I'm not sure if it's available on Netflix, and aside from comic cons and festivals, your best bet is to purchase a copy. I know, I know, I'm whoring out, but I only whore out for stuff I believe in. Like Gamers. And Vitamin Water.

Gamers the movie info. Tell them The Dude sent you, so they'll look at you crazy.

OK, I was wrong.

So, due to my joy at the potential news, it failed to occur to me that Escape From Earth is something that will NOT actually happen. And the story I posted the other day is not indeed true.

Which is a damn shame. The world needs Snake Plissken, even if it is about him leaving said world.


In other news, I've heard from about four or five people who are doing this horrible master cleanse thing, or at least want to do it. What about my lunacy made you think that it would be a good idea? I still have lemon scented nightmares laced with cayenne pepper demons. It's stupid, and I'm not even sure it was 100% beneficial. (although, I liked hearing that thing about my skin, but that's because I rarely can take a compliment). The point is, it's ludicrous. Much like the popular rapper/actor. Who kicked ass in Hustle and Flow.

You know, it IS hard out here for a pimp.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

DanSpeak 8-8-06

To Brian, regarding a female co-worker that will be accompanying us to the cinema that evening: Is she single? Where's she sitting? IS SHE FERTILE?!?!?

(Swear to God)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Best Day in Three Months!

Master cleanse is done. I get to eat soup today!!!

Saw a bunch of really good (and some not so good) movies over the weekend!!!
They include: Jersey Girl, Hoffa, I Like It Like That, Collateral (I have a condition that forces me to watch this movie whenever it's on, no matter what scene it is. It's the same with LA Confidential, and sadly enough, Alien Vs. Predator), House of Wax (remake), The Ring 2, Field of Dreams, The Long Goodbye, Gamers, Little Miss Sunshine. (I didn't leave much, as the lemons kept calling me.)

And now, I have this to send you off to. After years of waiting, someone finally answered my letters!

And just because I have a blog, and I used to do this all the time with my retched MySpace blog, I'm currently listening to this and this, cleverly positioned on my itunes for just such an occasion.

I'll have some reviews up for Sunshine and Gamers in the next few hours/days (Work is getting stupid and needy, just like me).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

MASTER CLEANSE: DAY 6 - The end is nigh

Why do I say that? Because I'm fuckin' sick of this. I'm tired of my house smelling like a citrus grove. I'm tired of the fact that all I have in my fridge is cheese and lemons. I'm tired of hearing my stomach growl for longer than a minute. (That truly happened, and it scared the shit out of me. Not that there's any shit left really, but that's more than you all needed to know).

As it stands, I lost about 11 pounds in 6 days. By no means should I complain, but fact remains this was hellish.

And yet, as I sit here, drinking the last of the hellish beverage, thinking "I voluntarily do this to myself" I realize I do the same thing with smoking. I willingly do horrible things to my body, for reasons that escape only me.

Point is, the re-tox begins tomorrow. This is done mainly for Dan's safety, but for my own to boot. Let's be honest, though, it's mainly for him.

I would never reccommend this experience to anybody. There's plenty of better ways to reach Bill Bradley proportions of weight loss. Proper eating habits, regular exercise, the lack of tobacco inhalation. (Oddly enough, most of my boozing days are long behind me. Wondered how that happened?)

It was indeed a learning experience, and I learned that this is stupid. A mighty huzzah rings out from all the mugmakers at renaissance festival's across the globe.

See what I mean about goin loopy?

Friday, August 04, 2006


If anyone ever tells you to try the Master Cleanse method to detox your body and/or lose weight, I want you to slap them upside the head. Then come out to LA and smack Dan upside the head, too. For good measure.

For the record, I'm on Day 5 (as the title of the post would lead most to believe) and it's hell. To be fair, it IS working, but at what cost? Making your house smell like lemons? Becoming subserviant to "The Beverage"? Seriously, I have put off plans with people this week, solely because I wouldn't be able to make the drink on time for the next day's consumption. Not to mention the more than frequent visits to the bathroom.

Here's a glimpse of what my days have consisted of lately:

7:00AM: wake up
7:15-8:00: bathroom time (the three "S"es, Shit, Shave, Shower)
8:00-8:30: Contemplate various excuses to not go into work
8:30-9:00: Commute to work
9:00: Begin first cup of the day, followed shortly by second and third
12:30-1:00 or so: Finish first of TWO 2-liter bottles. Begin second one.
(Should be noted, every half hour, I go off to pee, every 2 hours, visit the bathroom again for other things)
2:00: have cigarette to relieve the stress of no eating and incessant beep coming from unity drive.
2:30: Have phone call from my friend Jess, who gives me shit for smoking.
7:00: Finish up with work or so, but save just enough in second bottle for home.
9:00PM: At home, having finished second bottle (and yelling at Dan about it) I begin to make tomorrow's drink.
9:15: mental breakdown about how my refridgerater contains nothing but lemons and condiments. Throw knives at picture of Dan's head, and berate him incessantly while chanting "LEMONS" as said by Homer Simpson to Lisa in the episode where Homer opens the bar in his garage, and REM plays.
10:00PM: Beverage is made for the next day's imbibing. Fix self a piping hot mug of laxative tea.
10:30: Futurama
around 11:15, get sleepy realizing that I haven't eaten anything in days. Go to sleep, and dream of sandwiches.

Lost thus far: 6 lbs.

Not exactly the smartest thing to do, but I've never been all that smart to begin with.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Another embedded video.... but c'mon, this one's worth it!

Hey all. Again, in my internet searches of the day, I stumble across something a little dear to our hearts.

This one goes out to three people: my former college roommate Jon, my junior prom date Jess, and T-bone.

You'll thank me for it. Even if it gets you fired.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Snakes on the brain...

I realize I'm not the first person to think this up. I'm not original one iota.

But I don't give a fuck.

This is genius.

Shout out to Mr. Bill Bradley, who sent me mine.

On an off hand note, and for the few readers who would get it, I was watching Wisdom with Emilio Estevez, and two thoughts came into my head:
1) I have a sudden desire to see Men At Work
2) Emilio Estevez looks a lot like Jeep.

DanSpeak 8-2-06

On closing a screen door: I guess I don't realize how strong I actually am.

Because I'm lazy... MORE TWEENERS!!!

Yes, time to catch up on all the flicks I caught in the month of July, and have been too damn lazy ("Preoccupied" is the term I prefer) to post them. Since I don't really write for moviesonline all that much anymore (there's a fun story there, I'll get to later). As it stands, I saw a fwe flicks this month that I'd like to share my opinions on, and hear from you, the readers of Former Dude Speak aka There's Always Mini-Golf.

The only tweener that gets it's own review is 3 Fast 3 Furious, for reasons revealed in that post.

CARS: Pixar has done it again. They created another winner. Although, it's not as cool as The Incredibles, it still ranks up there with the Pixar greats. It's a hell of a lot of fun, and the animation is quite good. Besides, you have Owen Wilson as the voice of a car that gets stuck on it's way to LA in the small town of Radiator Springs. It's Doc Hollywood with talking cars. The supporting cast knocks it out of the park, and creates a fun little community that, were I a talking animated car, would want to be a part of. Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, George Carlin (as the hippie VW bus, no less), Larry The Cable Guy (who I never caught doing stand up, but who made the flick really work for me, if you can believe it), and Tony Shalhoub, among others, make this a damn good time. It's good for whole families, while retaining a good sense of humor for adults and pothead hipsters alike. And not the Shrek 2 style of comedy where it takes something popular and does the same thing, but it's funny because it's Shrek doing it, not Spiderman. It's a good story, beautifully told, with a solid heart. Easily one of the best this summer.

Pirates Of The Caribbean- Dead Man's Chest
: It's made countless millions of dollars and has captured the nation by storm. Odds are, you've probably seen it. But I'm gonna talk about it anyway. POTC was a damn solid film, but it was marred by a few flaws that nag on me. Not to Superman Returns levels of nagging, where it actually changed my opinion of the film. But there are some things nonetheless that bug me about it.

The most common gripe of the film I subscribe to. It's too damn long. Sure it's a lot of fun, but there was a lot of unnecessary stuff. Like the cannibal island bit, which introduced a bunch of strange elements that didn't matter to anything in the world of the film. And every sly, winking nod to the audience about how there was a first film. (Little hints, repeated bits of dialogue, everything but turning to the camera and saying "Hey, remember in the first one when we did that?") And Johnny Depp, despite having an entrance that tops the first film, seemed to be trying a little too hard to recapture the magic of his performance from the first film. It was slightly irritating. I was afraid the film would suffer from what I like to call "The Curse Of The Mummy Returns", where it's bigger and more extravagant than the first film, but it loses it's goofy charm that made the first one so damn appealing to begin with. The first half hour of Dead Man's Chest was going down that road mighty fast.

Luckily, things turned around, though, and I wound up enjoying more. When Davy Jones and his crew arrive, the film comes alive for me. The special effects in these scenes are amazing. Bill Nighy's performance as Jones is also a marvel to behold. He conveys a lot under the effects (I heard he was motion captured, and everything on his face is in fact digital, but I'll be damned if I could tell that, I thought it was make-up). Whenever he and his crew are on screen, the film becomes what it intended to. And that stuff worked for me. Everyone else was on par from the original, Bloom surprising me the most. But the Davy Jones crew, man. That's what this movie's all about. And the cliffhanger ending would have been truly amazing had a) I not read a spoiler of it ahead of time; and b) it arrived about fifteenminutes earlier, thus ending the film.

Still, it is by no means bad or a waste of time. It's a good time at the moviesif you can stand the length. It's worth it, especially for Jones. (And that shot of his ship submerging is gorgeous).

Clerks 2 : Hands down, my favorite summer movie. Well written, just as hilarious as anything Kevin Smith has written before, and poignant to boot. The sequel that most people questioned a need for, Clerks 2 follows Dante and Randall along their career paths. When a fire, caused by a stray coffee pot and Randall's negligence, burns down the beloved Quick Stop, the boys have to move on to Mooby's, the fast food joint that doesn't get many visitors. Once again, the action takes place over the course of one day, but this time it's the last day Dante has before moving to Florida with his fiancee where her family will hook him up with a sweet job managing a car wash. Randall is, naturally, confused by this course of action, but supports his best friend as best he can: by riffing on popular culture and being as openly offensive as anyone can. Along the way, there's a lot more plot this time around, involving Becky, the manager (played by the absolutely gorgeous Roasrio Dawson, who I'll get to in a moment) and Elias, the teenage fast food worker who's a bit naive, but not for long thanks to Randall. And of course, Jay and Silent Bob are hanging outside the restaurant, selling weed despite a trip to rehab (based in no small part on Jason Mewes own stint with rehab).

It's definitely the best film Smith has made in his career. While he often laments about his lack of talent, he tries new things here, and is more confidant than I've witnessed. He even includes a brief musical number that was surprisingly well done. It made me love the Jackson 5 song "ABC" again, after years of loathing. He does with two other songs in the film, actually, finding good uses for previously hated tuens "1979" by Smashing Pumpkins, and "Misery" by Soul Asylum. But Smith knows his characters well enough to let them do what they do, and have us observe them. The film is full of wonderful little moments, like the go kart scene, and the musical number, amongst others. Sure, there's a donkey show, but it's honestly the first time I can say that a donkey show in a movie like this is not only necesary but should be required. And all these scenes worked for me.

For God's sake, there's a C.H.U.D. reference in the film!

The actors are at the top of their game, which is a nice change of pace from the first film, where everyone was a non professional. Brian O'Halloran is Dante, once again, the perpetual stuck in a rut guy who wants something he can't have and settles for the only available option to get him out of the hell he thinks his life is. Age has proven well to the character, as he's now fully aware of how much he hates his life. And Jeff Anderson is back as Randall, which might be one of the greatest characters ever conceived this side of GOB Bluth on Arrested Development. Randall is pure id, even more so than Jay. The things Randall does in this film are brilliant, from corrupting the mind of young Elias (or just taking inthis kid's weirdness for what it is... I speak of the Pillowpants scene) to an attempt to reclaim "porch monkey" as a non offensive term. ("It's ok, I'm taking it back"). He switches unbelievably well between moments of rage and humor. And towards the end, he makes a big speech to Dante that most actors wouldn't be able to pull off in a wet dream. It's touching and hilarious, and he never drops the ball. Randall is pitch perfect. The movie is worth it alone just to hear his diatribe about The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Roasrio Dawson is amazing as Becky, as she is a well written character. And my love of her in this flick has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with a passing resemblance to a recent love in my life, both in look and character. (Not to mention dialogue, which is a little freaky as she says things the ex said. Seriously, Dawson was one step away from saying "Dino Midas!"). She's absolutely perfect, and fits in with the crew. And Trevor Fuhrman as Elias... this kid has a long future ahead of him. He plays the character a little too well, but sells it, and almost steals it from the leads (when Dawson isn't). A perfect foil for Randall, even more so than Dante.

I could keep going on about the movie, but I won't. All I will say is that you should see it. It also has one of the best last shots in a movie, and one that sums up what the movie is about. Clerks 2 may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me, it was the perfect summer blend.

(How's that for lame?)

Miami Vice
: Ah, what would summer be without a Michael Mann film? A movie about guns and machismo and beautiful people in exotic locations driving fancy cars and boats. And guns.

Miami Vice plays like a giant episode of the TV series it was based on. At least that's what I've heard. i never watched the show. My friend Ed says the show was all about style, and very little substance. That's what Miami Vice the movie is like, but it takes itself a lot more seriously. Colin Farrel, whom I've never been afraid of showing the love for, plays Crockett while Jamie Foxx tries valiantly to make me forget about Stealth by playing Tubbs. They work well together, and you can tell that they would be partners for a long time at this point.

I can't really tell you what the movie's about. Mainly because I have no idea myself. It involves Crockett and Tubbs going undercover to nail a drug lord. Or something. A few drug lords, maybe. It's kind of confusing, but the movie is all about mood and texture. And guns.

There's a lot that's not that great about the flick, such as the senseless sex scenes (which, alliteration aside, is something I never thought would be a negative in my column) and a length that almost rivals Pirates and Superman in the "c'mon already" category this summer. But Farrel and Foxx are pretty damn good, and the set pieces, when they work they work hardcore. There's very little in the way of exposition, as it's all about the procedural work. And by procedure, I men Farrel boning Gong Li. for like twenty minutes. In Cuba. You read that right.

I don't know who the guy is, but one of the villains in the piece, the one with more screen time than the main one, kind of looks like Sayid on Lost. And he looks like that Fred Armisan guy from SNL, who's not that funny. And he looks a little like T-Bone's cousin Andrew. Point is, I liked him a lot. He brought more to his character than most would.

Mann shot an impressive flick, on HD no less. It's full of testosterone and Moby tunes, but that's what Mann likes. And kudos on frequent use of Audioslave, for that matter. Mann's films are about tone more so than plot, and the characters that inhabit the worlds he creates. Last of the Mohicans, Heat, and especially Collateral, all show this well. (Insider kicks ass on many different levels). Miami Vice is no exception to the cannon. Not exactly his best (it could have used a little more in the clarification department, and less on the sex scenes), but it's still a worthy entry for the resume.

And the gunfight in the end is ridonkulous. All I can say (and have been saying since I saw it, Dan can attest) is I want the gun Jamie Foxx uses. It's insane. I actually yelled "HOLY FUCK!" when he fired it.

So there you go, kids, some fine tweeners for your day. You see these flicks? Wanna talk about them? Post comments. Try to keep it spolier free, if possible.

Oh, and flicks I haven't yet seen, but plan on include: Nacho Libre (finally coming to the $2 theater), The Devil Wears Prada (my friend wants to go see it, so I'm using her as an excuse), Lady In The Water (just to see what the big deal is), and Monster House. No interest in the other Owen Wilson movie, or the one with the Wayans brother playing a midget.

3 Fast 3 Furious: Addendum

I stand corrected. For all the grief I gave the film earlier, about revealing a surprise ending for the film (which would have been a LOT cooler not knowing when I saw the flick) I wound up really enjoying it. Of course, at the $2 theater, most movies wind up being alright.

I started writing a review, but quickly realized that I didn't have it in me to write anything better then the way I described the film to "Triple" Dave Hyde over the interweb. So I present to you, the conversation we had.

For clarity sake, I will be Dude, Dave will be 3D.

AIM IM with boilerhyde.
7/19/06, 9:05 PM

The Dude: if you see one movie this year, make sure it's "Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift"

3D: thank god
3D: its awesome?
3D: awesome in the first one awesome, or just really cool to watch

The Dude: no dude. it's a piece of shit

3D:damn. i was hoping

The Dude: but it's REALLY cool to watch

3D: ok. so, what the second one should have been if they didnt use all the computer graphics and shit
3D: and if Evan Mendes got naked
3D: Eva*
3D: of course
3D: not Evan
3D: i dont know an Evan
3D: and i dont want to see him nakes
3D: naked

The Dude: you're damn right on all counts, sir
The Dude: this movie knows what it wants, and it doesn't hide the fact
The Dude: you wanna see: FAST CARS

3D: see i can respect and enjoy that

The Dude: AND

3D: is that Aoki chick in it again?

The Dude: No, sadly Aoki's not in it. She was the best part about 2 Fast 2 Furious
The Dude: you know, aside from all the blatant homoeroticism
The Dude: and Paul Walker saying "Bro" all the time

3D: Paul Walker is in this one too...that is sad

The Dude: they're smart as hell and don't even bother trying to tie it into the franchise until the very end, with the thinnest of reasons, but what the hell, it works
The Dude: no
The Dude: he's not in it
The Dude: no one from the original is in it
The Dude: except for one surprise guest at the end which I already ruined for you a long time ago

3D: dont say Vin Diesel
3D: oh ok
3D: see that is the real problem with the second movie no Vin Diesel

The Dude: did you know that after the credits of the first one, it shows Vin Diesel driving in Mexico?

3D: how can you make a movie with him, then make a sequel and not include him

The Dude: easy dude, it's called XXX2: State Of the Union. Don't knock a movie that's got Ice Cube

3D: true... youu got me on that one
3D:VERY entertaining movie
3D:i watch it everytime i see it is on

The Dude: that movie kicked so much more ass than XXX the first

3D:i really liked the first one...but your prob right (NOTE: I AM right)

The Dude: it was such a better made film, and it was short, and it was stupid, and it damn well KNEW it

3D: hahaha
3D: that's all we ask, that they know what they are making and dont try to pretend

The Dude: that's why 3 Fast 3 Furious kicks as much ass as it does
The Dude: by any other accord, this movie should be a turd on the sidewalk

3D: haha

The Dude: but they KNOW what you want. You wanna see Fast cars and hot women and faster cars, and hotter chicks

3D: yes of course

The Dude: and i really want a GTO

3D: i want the new Charger

The Dude: yeah those are pretty cool

3D: that car looks SICK, but apparently it is going to be big $$$

The Dude: here's hoping mega millions pays off tonight

3D: hahaha

The Dude: it only takes a dollar and a dream, dude

3D: is your review of 3 F 3 F up on your blog yet?

The Dude: no. actually i'm thinking of saving this conversation and making it my review. Just put it up like this

3D: go for it

The Dude: because, i can;t really describe it better than I'm explaining to you
The Dude: I could talk about how bad the acting was

3D: but then who cares

The Dude: but that's not why you go see this movie

3D:you wanted to see fast cars and hot chicks

The Dude: exactly

3D: i want to go see this movie now i think

The Dude: right?

3D: hell they should make that the commercial

The Dude: exactly. HA!
The Dude: and it looks like a real life video game
The Dude: and there's one cool character in it, who's not in it that much.
The Dude: and his name is Han
The Dude: like Han Solo
The Dude: only he's not Han Solo
The Dude: that reminds me, at work today I had to drive a director, and I had to take her kid somewhere first, and he's 5 and we talked about Star Wars for a lot of the trip

3D: cool...she hot?


This is where I end the conversation, for fear of many things. Rest assured, we discussed many other things, such as how I'm becoming Ron Livingston's character in Office Space, the desire for a videogame based on Ronin, and explanations for why Triple Dave has yet to join Netflix.

But there you have it. Hot Japanese chicks, fast cars, loud music, and whenever the plot tries to come in, they get bored and throw in a hot chick and a fast car. In a word... Genius.

A Lot Of Updates

Hey all, I know it's been awhile, and I apologize. Not exactly the greatest of times going on out here in the city of angels. There's a lot of crazy shyte going on, some good, some not so much, but all of it getting in the way of me being able to properly (and in a timely manner) post reviews of flicks and other interesting little movie tidbits.

Here's the lowdown of life:

WORK: Work sucks. Plain and simple. It's just full of disorganization and a severe lack of communication, which leads to inflated egos being bruised. (None more inflated than my own, I'll fess up). The good news is that the show is turning out to be a lot better than the dailies would lead me to believe, and while this is not exactly a show I'd force myself to sit down every week and watch, I wouldn't put it next to Chill Factor in my embarassing DVD shelf. And the directors are really cool folk, for the most part. Really cool people, and there's prime opportunity for a geek out coming next week with the director of the sixth episode.

(I'm not name dropping, for fear that some suits in head office might decide to GOOGLE their show, and suddenly my blog pops up, they see me trashing the show, then I get fired. Laugh all you want, I know a girl who got fired for that EXACT THING. Of course, she's a lot lazier than I am, and she spent all day on her MySpace blog bitching and moaning about her co-workers. I like my co-workers, at least.)

I will say this, though. I may have possibly turned a known director/writer into a Browncoat. Here's hoping. (And here's hoping he likes it enough to bring me back my copy of the flick).

SOCIAL LIFE: Non-existent. The girl doesn't call me anymore. It's horible, and the more time I dwell on it, the worse it gets, so I try to think about baseball instead.
(That sadly doesn't mean I've given up hope on her. Just that I finally have the Mets to get me through this time. Goddamn, they are kickin some ass this summer).

SCREENWRITING CAREER: Still non existent as well, but there's more progress (and hope) this time around. I have three scripts out there (two of which are collaborations, and one of those I have given to several readers of this site who I would appreciate feedback from.. hint hint). Hopefully they'll get out there and be seen and that will help lead to other things. I have about 5 other scripts in various stages right now, some in little notes in numerous notebooks, some actual script pages, some just a thread in my mind. I want to finish at least two of the these by the end of the year. I'm trying to get one of those progress bars to share with you how they are coming along. I'm still putting together all the fun stuff. Maybe I'll talk more about the writing process on each one, because I like mixing it up each time I write.

LA TRENDS: Finally deciding that my weight was getting in the way of certain things (like breathing and getting out of tight situations) I foolishly listened to ye old roomie Dan (he of DanSpeak, of which he's had some choice gems of late) and decided to begin the Master Cleanse. Ostensibly it's a good plan. You fast for ten days (or five days, or 14 days, however long you want) and you consume nothing but this concoction derived from lemons, water, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. You calculate your weight, and how much you need to drink in a day. For me, it's a lot. about 150oz of this stuff a day. Luckily, it tastes alright. And it's kind of fun to make. But let me tell you right now, you want food. Any food. ANY!

I'm on day 3 of a 10 day jaunt, and yesterday was pretty bad, as I was prone to seeing things. (The "Dude battles a bee in his car" incident was choice material). But today is working out a little better. I still dream of steaks, and any time Red Lobster has a commercial, I throw something at my television. I might only last the five days, but if I make it to five, I may say, why not go for seven. Then if the seventh day is alright, what's three more days at that point?

The whole purpose of this torturous procedure is to clean out my entire system of wastes that have accumulated over 27 years of life. It's also supposed to help me lose some weight, amd fast, what with prom season right around the corner. I gotta fit in that dress somehow. But seriously, it sounds trendy, but it allows me one more thing to yell at Dan about. (Cigarette quitting was to occur at the same time, but after repeatedly threatening a (possibly non-existent) squirrel, I thought quitting smoking can wait until master cleanse is complete. I realize that I'm just adding more impurities by smoking, but I smoke a lot less now anyway. And it was much needed for the safety of those around me.

That's about all I have at the moment. Gonna have some Tweeners for you all soon, so you can lambast my opinions.

One last thing, though. I have a link for some truly awesome news in the world of Asian Cinema.