Archive for November 2008
Filed Under: The Future Freaks Me Out
As if we aren’t constantly pummeled by Hollywood with reasons to be terrified of the future as it is (the Terminator, Alien, and Matrix trilogies, to name a few — and is it really any coincidence that in all three series, the individual films get increasingly terrible as the future progresses? Improving situations are just not part of the fabric of the future, as opposed to robot holocausts, alien invasions, and liquid food), this weekend the movie-making money machine was up to it yet again with another blow to American optimism in these uncertain times. Yes, that’s right, my friends — Four Christmases debuted in the number one slot at the box office.Despite the fact that, in recent years, Christmas movies are almost by definition devoid of the potential for enjoyment, studios continue to produce them, and that’s only because they know audiences will continue to gobble them up like the roast beast at the Whoville Christmastime feast. Culturally, we are Christmas’ slave, and there is no escape now that we’ve let ourselves be stuffed into its stocking.
Dan Fellman, head of distribution for Warner Bros., describes the oppressive holiday movie atmosphere a little differently, you know, as if he wasn’t a blood-sucking Hollywood drone nourished solely by greed. He chalks up Four Christmases entirely undeserved profits by saying, “It was the perfect time. It’s the only movie out there that deals with Christmas.” And there it is, in carefully veiled terms — “we know you fools are powerless against the artificial charms of old Mr. Kringle, so why don’t you just come over here and sit on Santy’s lap.” Read More ›
Filed Under: Zero Tolerance
Even though I’ve been able to drink legally for years now, it never really gets old. Flashing my ID at area bars, with its red-highlighted “Under 21 until 7/26/2006″ line always makes me feel special, privileged, or at the very least relieved to have left the days of worrying about bars’ carding policies behind me.
So it’s always with great trepidation that I go back to my mother’s house in Pennsylvania, where drinking age is trumped by what she considers the negative stigma of having a few beers in the privacy of your living room.
See, outside of the obligatory glasses of wine with Thanksgiving, my mom’s not much of a drinker. Sure, she’ll get the giggles after two Coronas, but she’s long since left her days of beer-chugging behind, if those days ever even existed. And since she’s not familiar with the satisfaction of cracking a cold beer after a long day, she looks at my own decision to knock back a few over vacation as something akin to rampant alcoholism. As though after pounding the Magic Hat I’m going to wander into traffic on the Pennsylvania turnpike, pulling up my shirt and shouting at passers-by.
There’s nothing quite like enjoying alcohol in the freedom of your own home, or the even more socially liberated atmosphere of a New York City bar, and then suddenly feeling awkward about having one or two beers in the presence of your own mother. Does this end at some point? Will it be okay to drink socially once I’m 30, or 40? Will my mom throw me silent glares as I pop the bubbly at my own wedding? At what point is it okay as a parent to admit that your kids drink, that PEOPLE drink, and that drinking doesn’t always mean getting blackout drunk? I mean, shit, I accepted that the day I graduated college.
The only solution I can think of is to bring more sophisticated and unacceptable drugs into the house, at which point my mom would begin to think of beer as a viable alternative to my heroin and crack addictions. Maybe then I’ll be able to drink in peace.
Filed Under: Movies
Grindhouse, Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 collaborative project with every fucked up director ever (read: Robert Rodriguez, Eli Roth, and Rob Zombie) was an enjoyably mindless foray into intentionally campy gratuitous gore and violence. Not exactly a film with a lot of redeeming, deeper value — but it’s a fun ride nonetheless, and the shorter featurette presentation helped the individual films therein avoid flossing a dead horse.
In fact, the fake previews included as an intermission between the two short films, Roth’s completely over-the-top Planet Terror and Tarantino’s completely self-indulgent Death Proof, were almost as entertaining as the features themselves. The coup de grâce is easily the preview for an absurd horror slasher titled Thanksgiving, which chronicles the zany hijinks of a murderous pilgrim. It’s an uplifting story to be sure, and will only help you to realize that listening to your uncle fart all night was actually not that bad of a way to spend the holiday compared to the unsuspecting saps in this trailer.
Just as a caution, you should probably not watch this one at the office, unless, you know, you intern for Buffalo Bill and spend your working hours putting the lotion on the skin.
Oh, and just to preemptively clear the air: yes, he really is fucking the turkey with the human head at the end. Enjoy your leftovers, folks!
Filed Under: Post-Its
Filed Under: Urban Living
I write to you in advance of my imminent departure for the dreaded local malls and retailers, where my sister and I plan to attack the hoards of shoppers waiting impatiently for the best deals of the year. Our weapon? Youth.
The horrors of shopping on Black Friday are wildly overrated, at least in your generic suburban neighborhood. While I would have likely strayed from major shopping areas if I spent this particular holiday in New York, being in the relative comfort and quiet of Suburbia, PA (not its real name) has always afforded me the luxury of shopping with what I consider a reasonable crowd of somewhat hyped-up people. Put simply, Black Friday here remind me of a normal shopping day in the Big Apple.
Moreover, everyone who shops on this day in suburbia, is old. Not necessarily geriatric old (at some point in the future, I plan to do a tally of the number of times I’ve used the word ‘geriatric’ on this blog - I think I’ll be surprised to find its quite a few) but middle-aged at least, meaning a swift roundhouse kick to the stomach puts them out of the running. First in line, who me?
But really everyone, it’s not like my goal is to “Buy myself things on the cheap” or “Spend as little money as possible on other people’s Christmas presents,” because psh, that would be CALLOUS. What I’m really hoping to do by upper-cutting my way through the soccer moms is stimulate the economy. Obviously. Can we, as a society, band together and get up early to buy unnecessary shit at bargain-basement prices? Yes we can.
Filed Under: TV
Filed Under: Skateboarding, Sneakers
Although DVS’ shoes tend to look like New Balance got in a fist fight with skateboarding trends circa 1999, the sneaker brand sports a truly impressive roster of freakshows far too talented on a board to possibly do anything else with their lives, and has a history of using these beer-fed kickflipping automatons in breathtaking commercials.
For the past few years they’ve been basking in the glory of glitch-in-the-Matrix chic with their “Echo” series of spots, and with good reason, as I’m pretty sure they’re physically impossible to get sick of. As if watching a single Daewon Song beat your ego into a whimpering pulp throughout a video part wasn’t heartbreaking enough, now you can behold the inhuman circus act backside flip to fakie manual to half cab out twelve fucking times in a row. It’s the video incarnation of “stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, why do you keep hitting yourself,” and we all remember what a lovely game that was. Indeed, a skateboarder’s masochism runs much deeper than simply showing off a new scar.
The worst part is… Daewon Song is human. And he actually seems like a really nice guy. God damn it… he’d be so much easier to hate if he were only a machine. Now it just looks like “jealousy” or whatever.
Anyway, DVS just released their new “Shine” spots, featuring Zered Bassett, Andrew Brophy, Torey Pudwill (video below), and the industry’s best ollie, Keith Hufnagel. The ads feature gorgeous lighting, editing, and moody, atmospheric tones, which, while hardly replicating the true act of skating, sure do look purdy. And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters? Like anybody actually skates anymore anyway.
Despite the fact that I have literally no idea what channel these commercials would possibly run on, considering actual skaters don’t really watch any of the programming out-of-touch marketers would assume they do (whatever show Bam Margera is using as an excuse to torture his family these days, all day motocross marathons on ESPN2, porn… okay maybe that last one), if nothing else, they do make for some nice distraction on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when the only people left at the office aren’t even doing any real work because all of their bosses took the day off. Hey, it beats trying to move the hands of the clock with your mind… again.
A lot of people claim “skateboarding saved my life,” but you see, I really mean it. Well… at the very least, it saved my past five minutes, and on days like these, that’s pure gold.
Filed Under: Movies
It’s not that I begrudge Will Smith his attempts at highbrow acting; in fact I’m all for an established actor taking the risks only available to those with a handful of solid movies under their belt. Smith one-liner-ed his way to a stardom that now affords him the opportunity to make less secure decisions, and to put out a few duds. But those duds should still make a little bit of sense.
According to IMDB, Smith’s latest movie, Seven Pounds, is about an IRS agent who becomes deeply depressed after the death of his wife. After deciding to kill himself, Ben (played by Smith) elects to help seven struggling individuals before going through with it and, surprise surprise, falls in love with one of them.
All things considered, the plot isn’t that far-fetched or original. My real issue is that you’d know almost none of this from watching the preview. While it’s clear Smith is embarking on some sort of altruistic mission to help others, the first two times I saw the trailer I was under the impression some sort of freaky car crash left him with super powers that enabled him to offer that help. Superpowers, not overwhelming guilt and a desire to end it all. The trailer mostly shows Smith looking determined, or stern, or motivated - and five whole seconds of a 30-second television trailer is devoted to showing him running in the rain. Seriously, five seconds - two different shots. That’s 1/6th of the preview and unless 1/6th of this movie is spent on shots of Will Smith running while drenched, it’s unfathomable to me why editors thought those scenes integral to viewers’ first perceptions of the film.
Maybe because Hancock came and went without anyone batting an eye, I’m stuck with the perception that Will Smith is making “some superhero movie” next. Or maybe I’m just bitter because the once-Fresh Prince is remaking The Karate Kid - with his own son in the lead role. But really - IRS agents? Guilt over spousal loss? Selfless acts of kindness? A terminally ill Rosario Dawson? If this isn’t pandering to the Academy then I don’t know what is.
Filed Under: Food and Drink
Well… it’s basically a Thursday :\
Filed Under: Politics
I have an awkward question: does President-elect Obama have enough economic insight and instinct to lead us (as a people, of course) away from complete financial ruin?
For the past two days, Obama and his rag-tag team of second-hand economic advisors have outlined their hopes and dreams for the economy. But what’s conspicuously absent is any address of the underlying crisis behind our budding Great Depression II.
Obama’s adorable insistence that the bailout isn’t working because of its “Main Street” negligence is naive. Yes, Americans are suffering but it isn’t because Paulson is throwing money into Wall Street’s black hole as opposed to the black holes in our wallets. The economy is tanking because we’re running out of bubbles to prop it up with.
In the 20s we had an inventory bubble, in the 80s we had a dollar-backed security bubble, in the 90s we had a fucking pets.com bubble, two years ago we had the housing bubble and now we have the CDS bubble - the final and most absurd bubble in our series of economic downturns.
Read More ›
Filed Under: Urban Living
I am so psyched to be old.
Seriously. I think there’s a very under-addressed misconception among people my age, our age, that being old is awful. That entering one’s 60s or 70s or 80s means wearing adult diapers and living in nursing homes, and most importantly means moving ever-closer to certain death.
Well I say fuck all that. Being old is going to be great. Think of it like a great big delicious dinner. You spend the first part of your life buying ingredients, then you cook the dinner and you start to smell how awesome it’s going to be and you taste some and its fly as hell and then the dinner is ready and you eat it — if you’re smart you eat it slowly and enjoy every moment, but maybe you also stop to take a hit and then wolf down the rest with heightened senses — and then you’re done and full and content. (By the way I’m selling this entire paragraph to Chicken Soup For The Age-Aphobic Soul).
See, being old is the content part. It’s the part where you’ve had a great many servings and it was so good but you’re full and sated and totally ready to sit on the couch and watch some TV and eventually, not now but eventually, nod off to sleep. Read More ›
Filed Under: Photography
There aren’t too many drive-in movie theaters anymore, and many of those that still exist have begun offering a different form of entertainment to those who don’t mind a few ghosts. Legend maintains that whenever there is a full moon, the slurping sound of dozens of teenagers sucking face in the backs of long-gone Chevy Novas can be heard echoing across the barren field all night. My battery ran out before I could find out, but the smell of the impressive urine collection festering in the bum toilet in the former concession stand was enough to scare me away as it was.
I took these photos while visiting my devastatingly boring home town in Connecticut a while ago. Whenever I’m in Connecticut, I’d rather climb around in something abandoned than visit any of the currently operating businesses. You know how it is — been to one Chili’s, been to them all… and you’ve also been to Ruby Tuesday’s, TGI Friday’s, and Applebees, all at the same time. Besides, why bother with yet another serving of mediocre chicken strips (I’m being facetious here, of course, all chicken strips are inherently fucking incredible) when you can try a hearty dose of well-aged paint chips? It was the best case of lead poisoning a dreary November afternoon could buy. Read More ›