Monday, August 31, 2009

The Rundown - August 31, 2009

Welcome to The Rundown, in which a catch-all smattering of all things movie, TV, and geekjuice-related will be spat out, analyzed, overanalyzed, and then posted. Enjoy.

We start out this maiden voyage of The Rundown with the absolutely staggering news of Disney buying out Marvel Comics for the purple-pants-busting amount of 4 BILLION dollars. That's right, nerds - billion. With a B. If you own Marvel stock, this is the time to sell it and finally pick up that Wolverine mask you've been drooling over for so long. Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash, plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own. Bonus!

Furthermore, as evidenced by that raving lunatic Devin Faraci on, there really is a lot to look forward to as a result of this merger. Feel free to read all that at your leisure, but the piece of it that makes me geeksnort the loudest is thus - "Marvel and Pixar? John Lasseter and Marvel honchos recently met and got so excited the suits had to tell them to calm down, the deal wasn't done yet. There is DEFINITELY Marvel/Pixar stuff brewing right now." Um, what?! Given that the great Brad Bird has already gifted us the greatest Fantastic Four movie never made in the form of 'The Incredibles', I can't even imagine what the Marvel guys and super-geek John Lassiter have cooking up behind the scenes. Suck it, Tim Story! From the two crapfests that guy has already left steaming on our collective bathroom tile, I imagine he's got plenty of experience in that area.

Moving on (kinda), has anyone been lucky enough to catch the new 'Fantasmic!' show at Disneyland yet? If not, check out the bad-ass dragon that has been unleashed upon it recently. Cool, right? Of course it is.

Variety sucks, but hey! Sly's making another Rambo film. Um, okay. If it will get the intolerable d-bags on the AICN talkbacks to quit fondling themselves to 'The Expendables', count me in.

'Batman: Arkham Asylum' for Xbox 360 and PS3 has been out for a few days now, but as of post time, I've only played the downloadable demo. Curse you, stagnant economy! If you haven't checked out the demo or even watched the trailer, what are you waiting for? That shit is sick. Written by Kevin Conroy, the Joker's voice supplied by Mark 'Best. Joker. Ever' Hamill... come on. It's not like the game hasn't already been bestowed the rather dubious-sounding Guiness World Record for 'Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever', right?

To close out this edition of 'The Rundown', not only am I going to leave you with some music, but also with a fond wish to all of you to enjoy your upcoming 9/9/09. Yeah, Labor Day's first, but who gives a shit? You can drink too much and get sick of your relatives anytime. The once-in-a-lifetime date of September 9, 2009 is gonna bring us all KINDS of cool shit. Check it out.

The Tim Burton-produced animated creepfest '9' -

The official 40th birthday of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion -

The release of the super-mega-boxset of every Beatles song EVER, completely remastered -

Beatles Rock Band! Holy crap -

And finally, um... what was it? Oh yeah! That music I promised. I'm not an old fart, and I like a lot of modern music, too, but you know what? They just don't make 'em like this anymore. Enjoy, and I'll see you next time. Shemp out.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

TRUE BLOOD: FRENZY episode 2.11

Last week on True Blood: hell broke loose in Bon Temps. The black-eyed crazed followers of Mary Ann captured Sam. Jason passed himself off as the God Who Comes, giving Sam time to shapeshift and escape. Tara's spell broke, and she embraced her mother. Bill sought out the vampire Queen of Louisiana for help with Mary Ann. Jessica and Maxine, Hoyt's momma, went at it, culminating in Jessica biting Maxine.

Bill arrives at Queen Sophie-Ann's quarters to find her drinking from the thighs of a blonde woman. Sophie-Ann (guest star Evan Rachel Wood)says, "Want to join me?"

Hoyt pulls Jessica off of his mother and defends her right to say negative things about him, since she's his mother. Maxine, still black-eyed, admits that she actually enjoyed the biting. Hoyt storms off with his mother, and Jessica cries, having lost her boyfriend.

Back at the queen's place, Sophie laments how humans don't taste as good as when she was first turned because "the Industrial Revolution fucked everything to hell." Discussing the maenad Mary Ann, Sophie-Ann states that as long as Mary Ann is convinced she is immortal, she will be. She notes that "faith can bend or even break the laws of physics." Bill doesn't know what to do with this information. Sophie says, "Shall we have sex?" At Bill's annoyed look, Sophie-Ann says, "Kidding! I haven't enjoyed sex with men since the Eisenhower Administration.

At Lafayette's house, Tara now freed wants to go save Eggs. Sookie objects and Tara protests that Sookie has put her own life in danger to save the man she loves and that Tara should be able to do the same. Lafayette refuses to let Tara go, securing her to the chair again with fuzzy purple handcuffs. Tara curses out her rescuers, and Lettie Mae cries.

At Sam's, Jason question Sam about shapeshifting. Sam wants to leave town but Jason and Andy want to fight back and save Bon Temps. Jason thinks this is Armageddon and wants to get guns and attack. Sam refuses, saying guns won't hurt Mary Ann. Jason then says, "Sometimes you have to destroy something in order to save it. It's in the Constitution." There are no words for how funny Jason is sometimes.

Outside, Sam hears something in the trees- it's Arlene's son and daughter, now hungry and dirty after being abandoned. Sam brings them inside, while Jason and Andy take off to prepare for the forthcoming battle.

Tara pleads with Lettie to let her go, playing on her mother's guilt and love. Lettie Mae prays for guidance.

Sookie and Lafayette discuss their connection to Eric, and Lafayette confirms that he too has sexual dreams about Eric now, and that he hates it. Lettie Mae comes out and wants to take the gun, pointing out that she taught Lafayette to shoot and can handle it. She takes the gun and turns it on Lafayette and Sookie. She shoots a shot off harmlessly and then demands that Tara be let go. Lafayette trembles and cowers, having a Post-Traumatic stress reaction to the violence. He sees Eric's face on Lettie's body, saying cruel things. Tara is freed and drives off with Sookie's loving parting remark: "You are a fucking idiot."

Jason and Andy arrive at the police station to find a blonde woman, who comes onto Jason. Jason allows her to, since it gives Andy the chance to raid the weapon's locker. Sheriff Dearborn turns up behind Andy and shoots off his gun, but misses. The Sheriff is black-eyed and pantsless and forces Andy to square dance with him. Eventually he grows distracted and wanders off.

Sookie throws a statue at Lettie Mae's head, knocking her over, giving Sookie and Lafayette the opportunity to grab the gun and get the hell out of there. Lafayette drives but will not put down the gun because he is terrified after facing the vision of Eric.

Tara finds Eggs at Sookie's house. He's black-eyed and happy to see her. Maryann says it's too late to get out. Mary Ann announces to Tara, "You summoned me." She relates that "You[Tara] saw you through me" during the exorcism last season. When Tara objects since Miss Jeanette was a fake, Mary Ann says that "Ritual is a powerful thing. Calling forth that kind of power has consequences." Maryann does her magic shaking thing, but it doesn't work on Tara. Mary Ann then punches Tara, who goes black-eyed. Tara and Eggs run upstairs hand in hand. The big crazy gang headed by Arlene and Terry arrives. They tell Mary Ann that the God smote Sam, and hand over Sam's discarded clothing. Mary Ann is enraged and the crazy gang scatters, hearing high pitched squealing in their heads.

At the Fortenberry home, Maxine has made a ghastly casserole for Mary Ann, consisting on potato chips, Twix bars, cheese and hot sauce. Her neck is bandaged, as a result of Jessica's attack. Hoyt and his mother argue, with her Maxine telling Hoyt that his father was not hero as he'd been told, that his dad was a secret drinker. Hoyt's father was not killed by a burglar, he committed suicide and Maxine's covered it up so that they'd get the insurance money. Hoyt is shocked and hurt by the lies. Maxine also notes that her husband was probably a closet homosexual since he "liked to dance more than a normal man should."

Sookie and Lafayette arrives at the Stackhouse family home. Sookie feels like the house has been defiled and so has Gran, in turn. Sookie is determined to kick Mary Ann out, and Lafayette asserts that he's going to shoot the maenad in the fucking head. Arlene and Terry drop out of the trees to intercept Sookie and Lafayette, but are distracted by handfuls of fun happy pills that Lafayette begins dropping on the ground. He leads them away, while Sookie enters the home.

Sam takes Arlene's kids to Fangtasia to talk to Eric. Eric and Pam aren't interested in helping, but Eric decides to help, possibly because this is the creature that clawed Sookie's back. Pam observes, "That thing owes me a pair of shoes." Arlene's kids wants to see Eric's fangs and he obliges. Pam rolls her eyes and says, "You make me so happy that I never had any of you." She observes that they're stupid, and Eric says, "But delicious." As the conversation ends and Eric agrees to assist, Pam says,"Please get those horrible things out of here." Outside, Eric says, "Good night, tiny humans" and flies away, impressing everyone.

In the Stackhouse home: Jane the drunken redhead is sawing off her finger. Skinny sitting in the sink, playing with something that look like an intestine. Nerdy coroner guy is on the floor, and brings up Gran's murder in the kitchen. He pulls Sookie down and spoons her. Sookie plays along for the moment.

Back at Sophie-Ann's place, Bill is lounging by a pool with a row of attractive blood donors available for him. Sophie-Ann insists that Bill drink from a man, and he obliges her but asks again to leave. The man offers to have sex, which Bill declines. Sophie-Ann says, "I love watching two men together!"

Lafayette runs into Mary Ann and Carl in the trees outside the house. Lafayette shoots Mary Ann, but it bounces off her hand and hits Carl in the head. Mary Ann shrugs it off, and says to Lafayette speculatively, "You cook, don't you?"

Sophie-Ann and Bill are playing Yahtzee and discussing Mary Ann and maenads again. The queen observes,"Gods only exist in human's mind, like money and moralty." Sophie-Ann explains that Mary Ann won't leave until she's convinced that the god has come, and ravaged her and taken her into death. For this to happen, she needs the perfect vessel,preferably a supernatural shapeshifter or Were creature, whom she'll devour while surrounded by her familiars. The blonde blood donor speaks to Bill. Her name is Hadley, and she asks, "How's my cousin Sookie?" Hadley hasn't been back to Bon Temps in a long time, and doesn't even know that Gran is dead. Bill doesn't tell her.

Bill is about to leave, when they announce Eric's arrival. Bill declines to hang around. Sophie-Ann notes, "All this alpha male posturing. You two should just fuck each other and get it over with. I'd love to watch." Yahtzee!

Bill questions Eric's motives for seeking Sophie-Anne's help, accusing Eric of trying to get closer to Sookie since he gave her blood. Eric points out that Bill gave Sookie blood too, on the very first night he met her. Bill is angry and threatens to tell the queen that Eric has been selling vampire blood.

Jason and Andy arrive for the big fight, and take a moment to carb-load in the truck. Jason ponders, "You think Sam can turn into a chicken and lay his own egg? Kinda weird, eating something that just came out of you." Jason and Andy discuss their not getting along in the past, and Andy says that Jason has had things too easy, being the star QB and getting all the women. Jason says that his knee is shot, and he works hard to get women, working out "like a motherfucker" and watching porn movies to learn new tricks.They decide that God wants them to bury the hatchet and save the town. They throw on their guns and ammo, and get going.

Bill appears in front of Sam, apparently back in Bon Temps. He doesn't say anything. Just kinda stares. Typical Bill.

Sookie escapes the creepy spooning coroner by offering to mount him, and then hitting him with a frying pan. Sookie goes through the house, and finds Tara and Eggs in a bedroom, tearing up the place. They announce they need to do it, and keep working on something on the bed. Sookie gets a closer look and WHOA- it's a nest with a big fricking egg in it.

Still staring, Lafayette comes up behind her and asks where she's been, touching her shoulder. Sookie turns around, and sees Lafayette- black-eyed!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


...and the movies were, well, fairly decent. More than a few of them stunk up the place, sure, but on the flipside of that, there really was a lot of fun to be had this season. As the kids head back to school and we adults get ready to start embracing the resulting silence, let's take a look back at some of the best films the summer had to offer. No particular order here, either. My apologies to those who feel everything must be ranked, numbered, lettered, staggered, and classified.

Star Trek - As a devoted JJ Abrams super-fanboy, I was beside myself with joy when it was revealed that my favorite television auteur this side of Stephen J. Cannell was taking on the monolithic task of breathing some new life into a franchise that has been DOA for more years than I can count. As much fun as 'Wrath of Khan' and 'The Voyage Home' are to watch in an ironically post-modern hipster douchebag kind of way, let's get real - Star Trek movies haven't been FUN to watch in years. 'Star Trek: The Movie' felt like homework, and with the exception of the two previously listed entries, every film in the franchise has been little more than a bunch of old guys standing around the holodeck talking space politics to each other for two hours. Yawn. I like dialogue, too, but come ON, Aunt Bea! Let's pick up the pace a bit.

In any case, JJ Abrams' eleventh entry in the Star Trek movie franchise was firing on all cylinders right from the jump. From the heartbreaking and heroic death scene of George Kirk to the absolutely spot-on delivery of Spock from Zachary Quinto to Simon Pegg playing Scotty as some sort of futuristic rendition of Ralph Kramden, 'Star Trek' completely nailed it. Penned by my 'Lost' and 'Fringe' nerd-heroes Bob Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof, this flick made me proud to raise the Vulcan hand gesture that no one else in my family can do. Live long and get moving on that sequel, dammit.

Inglourious Basterds - I'll be frank. A new Tarantino movie is like a religious experience for me, so perhaps my listing this movie as one of the summer's finest is a little biased and gratuitous. However, I couldn't really care less because dammit, the movie just rocked. We've all heard the stories about how Quentin has been working on the script for 'Basterds' since way back before 'Jackie Brown' was even made, and how he took on the enormous task of getting it finished, cast, shot, edited, and dumped in the laps of the Weinsteins to market the shit out of in time for Cannes this year. One might think that would be an odd way to cap off a career-spanning dream project, and rushing to get it all put together in that fashion might have an effect on the finished product, but in my opinion, the opposite couldn't be more true. 'Inglourious Basterds' is probably the most mature piece of writing QT has ever done, and it's quite arguable that it is his best work since 'Pulp Fiction'. I'm sure I don't have to tell you anymore about Eli Roth's performance now that the review from the lovely and talented Susie Shemp is posted on this very site, but as for everything else, yeah. It rocks. Christoph Waltz's cold, calculated reign of terror as Hans Landa, the stunningly beautiful and horrifying Nazi theater set, the spot-on use of David Bowie's 'Cat People' to make what was probably the best '80s music video never made... I could go on and on. A stunning success for Quentin that will finally put all those 'Death Proof' haters who can't wait to announce the end of his career in their place.

Up - A summer without a new Pixar release just isn't worth living, is it? Last year's Oscar-winning 'Wall-E' set the bar once again for animated films, but as per usual, the resident geniuses of Emeryville, California upped the ante with the story of widower Carl Fredrickson and his balloon-powered flying house. To wax poetic about how incredible the animation of a Pixar film is seems redundant at this point, but man... it really was. That shot of the little girl dancing in her window as Carl and his house float by, the ominous rock structures shooting through the fog as Carl and Russell descend into South America, the tension and horror of the post-dinner scene as Carl and Russell realize they should really get the hell out of the dirigible like NOW, and of course... um... squirrel?

District 9 - See, the main reason this movie blew me away was the sheer fact that it was made for $30 million by a first-time director. $30 million? Are you kidding me? Michael Bay spent that much on Axe Body Spray while shooting 'Transformers 2'. Neill Blomkamp's directorial debut was a marvel, and to see it doing so well at the box office fills me with joy and anticipation of his now-inevitable careeer in Hollywood. Good luck, my friend, but please - don't let them talk you into a sequel. 'District 9' stands on its own just fine, and you do not need to make 'District 10: The Re-Districting' to earn any more of my respect.


Coraline - You wanna see a good fight? Be a fly on the wall when the Academy needs to vote on whether this movie or 'Up' deserves the Best Animated Feature award.

GI Joe - Yes, it's about as intelligent, sincere and thoughtful as a Republican on shore leave, but if you want to see a quality two-hour movie about a bunch of toys kicking each other's asses, this was the one to throw your 8 bucks at. Not that... other one.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - I love how these movies keep turning out as multi-million dollar moody art pieces. Trust Snape!


The Hurt Locker - Seeing it on Monday! Hallelujah.

Bruno - DVD will be fine, thanks. Blu-Ray if I'm feeling especially masochistic.

Funny People - I'll be the judge of that.

Public Enemies - Love Depp, love Bale, love Mann, but I just couldn't make it out to the theater on time. Sorry guys.

Moon - Sam Rockwell is a god, and depressed supercomputers are my bread and butter.

The Hangover - This flick seems a little bro-tastic for me, but I'll give it a shot for Zach Galifianakis alone.

Drag Me To Hell - On second thought, I'll assign this one to Susie Shemp. I'm a pussy when it comes to horror movies.

Land of the Lost - Sorry, but I still can't get Anna Friel's ungodly gorgeous ass in those red shorts out of my head, and here it is nearly Oscar-bait season. I'm a man possessed.

Away We Go - Jim Halpert and Maya Rudolph being adorable in a quirky indie flick? Yes, please. To drink, I'll have a pear floating in perfume, served in a man's hat.

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen - Yes, I'm the only person on the face of the Earth who didn't see this movie in theaters this summer. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The horrendous reviews just killed it for me, but I'll be more than happy to crank up my Netflixed Blu-Ray copy of it in a few months. Reacting to Megan Fox's, um, 'performance' will be much more enjoyable that way, anyway.


Wolverine - I love ya Hugh, but good lord. What a piece of garbage. Here are some sets, here are the costumes. Now... fight!

Terminator: Salvation - Didn't see it, don't care. Can we let at least ONE part of the '80s die a silent death? Please?

Year One - Oh, Harold. Harold, Harold, Harold. Go write another 'Ghostbusters' videogame, man. Now THAT was cool.

Oh, You Sexy Basterds (few minor spoilers)

Inglourious Basterds was so seductive and overwhelming that after the first viewing, I felt like taking off my clothes and rolling around in it. The slow burn of Tarantino’s more mature dialogue combined with the charismatic performances and gutsy violence to make my body electric. My head was swimming, trying to comprehend what I’d just seen. Basterds is an experience, not a clean coherent story. I didn’t want to analyze the movie too much, that first night. I was too busy loving it. Last night, I saw Basterds for a second time and finally feel ready to discuss it. At my second viewing, I was less overwhelmed by shocking twists and acts, and was able to ponder the Basterds truly for the first time.

Enough has been said about Inglourious Basterds, so that I don’t need to rehash the plot or its gaps (yeah yeah, I wondered how BJ Novak turned up in the truck too). I’d like to just discuss two points about performances and music.

First subject of debate everywhere: Eli Roth as the Bear Jew. No one expected much from the so-called “torture porn” horror director. I’ve always been a fan of his films, so I didn’t bring negative baggage to the table when it came to his acting. I think very few people have been able to separate his directing work from his role in Basterds. Most negative comments from internet posters basically state that they didn’t like Roth and his movies suck. But Roth’s directing work has nothing to do with this role. He may have directed “Nation’s Pride” but that film-within-the-film doesn’t involve his character in any way. I was unimpressed with Eli Roth’s short role in Death Proof, but I had faith that friendship or no, QT wouldn’t cast him without knowing that he could play Sgt. Donowitz. I can’t think of a single living, working director who has a better track record with casting than Tarantino has.

Now, what do I think of Roth’s performance? Roth’s Bear Jew reminds me of half the kids I grew up with in Massachusetts: bat-swinging, mouthy, crass and emotionally honest. The Bear Jew really IS a Golem, summoned by the fantasies of everyone who’s ever been wronged terribly. It’s not a Jewish revenge fantasy, it’s a victim’s empowerment fantasy. Hitler and the Third Reich victimized more than just Jews, and it isn’t just Jews that love the alternate history presented in Basterds. It seems from some reviews that critics and fans expected a larger and more complex character in Donowitz, but I think he is exactly what Tarantino wanted- your typical Boston boy made into a violent legend but still the same guy at heart. The post-beating shouting about Teddy Williams is exactly what a Sox fan would say after a hitting a homer during a pick-up game of ball in the neighborhood. It’s a good performance, overall. Maybe not as nuanced as say, Adam Sandler might’ve produced, but I doubt Sandler could match the kill-crazy gleam in Roth’s eyes or the muscles that make him seem overpowering.

I think most of the critics are straight men, frankly, because none of them seem to realize that Eli Roth’s additional muscles and that smear of eyeliner make him SEX ON A STICK in the wife-beater shirt. Honestly I didn’t spend much time analyzing his acting during my first viewing because I was too busy checking him out and purring. It seems like a silly thing to note, but whether or not someone is sexually attractive can change the role. Imagine Adam Sandler in the wife-beater. Serious ewww. It would be like, if instead of Denise Richards and Neve Campbell in Wild Things, we’d had Nia Vardalos and Kathy Bates. Violence is linked with sexuality a great deal, and the appearance and style of an actor can change the perception of the scene.

Second popularly bitched about item: use of “Cat People” during Shosanna’s preparation montage. I listened to the soundtrack a few days before I saw the movie, and wondered where the hell Tarantino was going to fit that in. The fact that “Cat People” is more modern didn’t bother me too much, because that works all the time in movies. Example: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” used in Dirty Dancing. Most of the complete soundtrack of that movie is period-appropriate music, oldies that take you back to the sixties before the sexual revolution changed popular entertainment. “The Time of My Life” obviously was a huge hit and no one cared that the song was so eighties. So quibbling over the modern nature of “Cat People?” Meh, fuck that.
I think the song works brilliantly well, and gets you all revved up for Shosanna’s revenge. David Bowie’s song is sexy and dangerous, like Shosanna in her red dress. I love too that Tarantino understands that makeup really is women’s war paint, what we apply when we’re prepping to face the world. He just took it to another level, like he does with everything.

I have very few criticisms of the movie, obviously. I think the lengthy tavern scene could be tightened up because it starts to lose tension and momentum after a while. It’s good to humanize the German soldiers celebrating the birth of their friend’s child, but some of their discussion and game could have been cut. We just don’t care that much about them.

There is much debate over the morality of Jewish soldiers taking revenge and mutilating the Germans. I think that people miss the point, and maybe the title of the movie. These are bastards, they don’t pretend to be good people. They own what they are without apology. This is a fantasy where morality is moot. Our heroes (not just the Americans, but Hammersmark, Shosanna, etc) are all killers. They deceive, break deals, and shoot in the back and some of them are downright crazy.

Inglourious Basterds may not be Tarantino’s best film but it may in time become his most remembered. It’s certainly his bravest work yet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Want My Trash TV!

The murder of Jasmine Fiore, and the subsequent suicide of husband/suspect Ryan Jenkins of "Megan Wants A Millionaire", has led many to question the casting processes on VH1 shows by 51 Minds. Jenkins was a contestant on the deliriously campy "Megan" show, and had recently finished taping "I Love Money 3". Jenkins claimed to be the winner, but other reports have indicated that he won nothing more than the standard show stipend of $5000+. In response to the deaths and the criticisms, VH1 has cancelled both programs, "ILM3" before it ever aired a single episode. In their official statement, VH1 stated, "Given the unfortunate circumstances, VH1 has postponed any future airings. This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the victim’s family." Frankly, I doubt anyone's feelings have ever stopped a reality show from airing. Vh1 is not to blame for what happened to Fiore, but they're behaving as though it is.

Megan is

This has left millions (okay, maybe just a million or so) fans of VH1 in a bitch tizzy over the cancellations of shows that Jenkins only had minor participation in. Even if Jenkins made it to the finals of MWAM, there are still many other cast members who take up air time, including the butterface supreme star herself, Megan Hauserman. The contestants on these shows are minor caricatures of real people who are easily forgettable until we're reminded of their catchy nickname. Ryan Jenkins didn't even have a nickname, though I admit this tragedy has caused some ghoulish joke suggestions to pop into my head. ("Bronco" and "David Copperfield" come to mind.) Jenkins could be edited out of most of MWAM, and no one would question why. Same with "I Love Money 3", a show that he reportedly did not go far in.

"Megan" was taped before Jenkins met Fiore. "ILM3" is a money competition, and not a romance show. There is no reason to cancel the shows, since they don't exploit Jasmine Fiore in any way. If the episodes are aired on the internet, as some have suggested, there would be virtually no profit for VH1.

Center is Her Royal Weaveness, season 2 winner Myamee

I agree with airing the shows on the internet, or editing the hell out of them and putting them on the air. We're being denied Megan's dazed vampiness and chicks-with-weaves-groveling-in-swimsuits competitions on ILM3 all because some asshole with a personality disorder couldn't handle his emotions and went nutso. Throw us a bone, VH1. Put out summaries of episodes, SOMETHING, because right now there's no closure, especially for Megan's show which aired just long enough to hook shameless trash-lovers like myself.

There's an online petition for I Love Money 3 to be aired. Here's the link. Save the Skanks, people.

Trends That Need To Die - Crocs

In an ongoing series, The Movie Shemps will take time out from hyper-analyzing movies and television shows to bring you what we think are Trends That Need To Die. In our first installment, let's talk a bit about what is quite possibly the ugliest fashion trend to ever slide its way down the pipe and somehow land on the ends of our legs. I'm talking about Crocs, of course, those molded plastic abominations that look like something not even Trailer Park Barbie would be caught dead in.

In short, if you're not a professional chef or five years old, stop it. While I am certainly not opposed to putting the Birkenstock people out of business, Crocs can't be the only way to do it. I would happily endure people tying newspapers and shoeboxes around their feet like homeless people if it meant that I never had to look at another pair of these godawful things ever again. Croc wearers, you are not quirky, cute, or anything of the sort. You look like a broke-ass Smurf. Deal with it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Posthumous Life For Me

I handily approve of Steven Spielberg adapting Michael Crichton's 'Pirate Latitudes' into a men-on-a-mission film with pirates in it. Those are two genres just SCREAMING to be fused together. Granted, the pirates in the movie probably won't have the coolness factor of being dead like they were in the 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' movies, and I'll wager that they won't be nearly as swishy/sexy/cool as Johnny Depp's Captain Jack, but we'll overlook that for now.

I love men on a mission movies. It's a genre that has been around for decades, and when it's done well, the outcome can usually be pretty kick-ass. 'The Dirty Dozen', 'Bridge On The River Kwai', 'Ocean's 11', 'Seven Samurai', right up to Tarantino's latest 'Inglourious Basterds'. Is it because I'm a guy that I enjoy these movies so much? Well, maybe. The majority of those movies are 'dick flicks', so to speak, and I'll readily admit that it's a lot of fun watching manly men doing manly things with some big explosion-y goodness waiting for me at the end. Honestly though, I think the real reason I like watching these movies is because I like watching a plan coming together. Blame the effect that Hannibal Smith had on my youth for this if you must, but nothing is more exciting for me to watch on film than the first bits and pieces of a carefully concocted plan being snapped into place. Again, when it's done well, that aspect of storytelling makes you feel like you're in on it somehow, like you're the one planting the dynamite under the bridge and waiting for that train to roll on in. Like you're the one ripping off Vegas and magically getting away with it. Guys like that shit, and for good reason. It's cool, dammit. Just plain cool.

So kudos to The Beard for taking on this project. He's already got the man on a mission classic 'Saving Private Ryan' under his belt, so it will be interesting to see where he takes this one. I still haven't made much sense of his decision to do 'Harvey' first, but as long as he keeps that film in the same finger-snappy '60s vibe as 'Catch Me If You Can', I suppose I'll just have to deal with it. Alright, Steven, check this out - what about a small ARMY of invisible rabbits that lead a silent attack on a carrot farm. It could work.

Kennedy and Quimby: Bastard Made Lovable

If Ted Kennedy did nothing else for the citizens during his 45 years in the Senate, he provided us with a very human view of American aristocracy. He reminded us why the Founding Fathers wanted to do away with aristocracy, actually.
But even with a stack of scandals, including an accidental (?) death, Teddy never backed down or walked away. You have to admire that kind of balls. And that accent, oh that accent. On The Simpsons, Mayor Quimby was a brilliant parody of Kennedy's lifestyle and nasal speech. A fifth season episode, called "The Boy Who Knew Too Much," skewered Teddy and his wayward nephews. Quimby's nephew Freddy mocks a snotty French waiter for mispronouncing what might be the ultimate Massachusetts word:

The Simpsons - Say Chowder

After the waiter is found badly beaten, Freddy goes on trial but is ultimately cleared by Bart, who witnessed the accidental injury of the waiter while he (Bart) was skipping school. Bart is applauded for his honesty but still receives detentions because rules are rules. The episode was a lesson in honesty that the Kennedy boys would have snickered at. And you know, I kind of prefer them that way.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dress Up Movie Montages Women Love...And One for the Guys, Too

Dress-Up Movie Montages have become as important a staple of women's films as training montages are for men's films. Often confused with the closely-related "Makeover Movie Montage", D.U.M. Montages (as I'll call them, for brevity's sake) are clothing-centered scenes while makeover montages involve putting makeup and sleek hairstyles on actresses we're supposed to pretend were unattractive before the straightening iron was applied.

Why do I love D.U.M. montages? Because in them, everything fits and there are no price tags. There's no asking, "Where would I wear this?" or "Will this trend be over by next week?"

Forget practicality and lose yourself in the shallow goodness of shopping and dressing up with these movies:

1. The Sweetest Thing - Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate raid a secondhand clothing store and recreate some well-known movie outfits, proving that girls can be sexy and spazzy all at the same time.

2. 27 Dresses- Katherine Heigl's perennial doormat bridesmaid models her collection of bridesmaid dresses for sneaky yet fuckable reporter James Marsden. We've all been subjected to fugly gowns with the promise that we'd wear them again. Seeing the "Grey's Anatomy" uber-bitch forced into a yellow tube top with matching skirt and opera gloves takes the sting out, just a little.

3. Pretty Woman- A fistful of cash, parties to dress for, and no one will help her shop? Poor Vivian, that's worse than being a Sunset Strip streetwalker! Never fear, a fairy godfather will rescue you. The montage is a modern chick classic. Cue the title song- Julia's got big fuckin hats to try on!

4. Sex in the City- The fashion fluent series-based movie knows its audience, because there are TWO dress up montages. One is Carrie's Vogue cover shoot, with wedding dresses by Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Christian LaCroix, Lanvin, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Vivienne Westwood. The other displays Carrie's fashion (mis)adventures over the years, as she's packing up her apartment. Big awww moment when Sarah Jessica Parker models the tutu outfit worn in the opening credits of the TV show.

5. The New Guy- Here's the one for the menfolk & lesbatronics- Eliza Dushku tries on bikinis. Who cares why? Enjoy a clip of it!

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The Shemps are movie and entertainment lovers who are tired of websites and message boards filled with snobbery, posturing, complaining, and rageaholic tweeners who should really ask Mommy before they use their computer. We don't see the point of denouncing a film or television show a year before it even comes out, or talking trash about something just because it's the in thing to do. See, we love all kinds of entertainment - highbrow, cheeseball, and everything in between - and we aren't ashamed to admit it.

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The Shemps