Showing posts from April, 2008

"We're Your Fucking Friends, Yo!""

Gogol Bordello Live @ The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, April 26, 9:00 pm
I would follow this band everywhere.

If I didn’t have a job… if I didn’t have goals… if I didn’t have plans… if I didn’t have responsibilities… if I didn’t have concerns for the well-being of others close to me… if I didn’t have some semblance of a life, however degraded it may seem to others, I would follow Gogol Bordello to the ends of the earth.

It’s not often that someone will use the immediate aftermath of a concert to sum up how they felt about the entire performance, but when Gogol Bordello ringmaster/bandleader Eugene Hütz strode back onto the stage after closing the show with a massive 23-minute encore version of their defiant (and imaginatively stated) anthem Undestructable, his words echoed precisely what I was feeling inside. Grabbing the mike to say goodnight, Hütz asserted, “We’re your fucking friends, yo!”

My brother and I already felt like his friends. And in a far more personal way than one normally feels…


Tired... sleepy...

So much happened on the trip...

Tell you about it...



So... much... later...

...And Cultural Revolution Right Away Begun!!!

Around a year ago, after seeing them appear fleetingly on some show as I flipped through the music channel area of the cable box, I got into Gogol Bordello. Sort of a gypsy-meets-The Pogues-meets-The Clash vibe (sort of, I say...); marvelously energetic and crude; breathlessly fascinating. Along the way, my buddy Raw Meat got into the group on an entirely different path, though we eventually ended up playing them quite a lot in the office, shutting the door of course for some of the rawer language to not drift out to the far more innocent ears of our office mates. Meanwhile, on a third, divergent course, my brother Otis discovered the group up in the confines of the extended Bay area.

What luck, then, that the group ends up playing in Santa Cruz tomorrow night.

And so it begins. A road trip by Raw Meat, his girlfriend Roar-achel and myself to see Gogol Bordello. It's more of a pilgrimage really, as Raw Meat and I have tried previously to get near the group, but our plans have gone a…

Reasons I Am Watching The Sarah Connor Chronicles Even Though I Never Saw the Last Terminator Film and Haven't Given A Rat's Ass in 10 Years #2

And you thought I was going to go all "Lena 'The New Sarah Connor' Headey" on you. ("NotHedley... Headey.")

No, she's an attractive woman and all, and she has a name rife with promises, but her forehead just isn't quite big enough for me. As I hinted at last time, according to my work pal Luis, I apparently like chicks that could have played Metalluna mutants in This Island Earth. (This is my phrase, actually. I am fairly certain Luis has never seen This Island Earth, nor knew the planet in it -- besides Earth -- was named Metalluna, nor that they had mutants with abnormally huge heads... all he did was mention to me while we were discussing my attraction to her was that "that chick has a huge forehead.") This might explain my sexual attraction to bobbleheads. All I know is that if I could get Summer "River" Glau and Christina Ricci to make out, I would be a very happy man. And if they were both hot robot chicks, even better...

I …

The Shark Film Office/Cinema 4 Cel Bloc: Goggle Fishing Bear (1949)

Directors: Preston Blair and Michael Lah
MGM, 0:07 animated short, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 5
Shark appearance: cartoon shark (undefinable species), able to roar and growl, no sense of humor.

So, who has it worse? Sharks in the movies -- where they are employed mainly to threaten the lives of the (usually) human characters in the film, or at the very least, imply that said characters are in mortal danger -- or sharks in cartoons?

Certainly, the answers is "in the movies," since sharks almost always end up dying onscreen for their sins, and in some films (in the dark, olden days of the industry), really dying for our entertainment. Their menace is perceived as far more real, naturally, and the potential harm to the reputation of sharks in the real world is that much more immense.

Cartoon sharks, on the other hand, not being flesh and blood, have a cakewalk. (Or is that "cake-swim"?) Sure, they show up, flash their pearlies, frighten the protagonist(s) and generally have…

That Familiar Cathode Buzz: So They Weren't Quite Stars...

Ask me why I am the way I am, and I don't have any creepy priests or abusive parents to whom I may point. OK, I did grow up watching and being obsessed with Richard Milhous Nixon, so he might count. Just like anyone, I faced my share of adversity, but overall, that really had little bearing on my shaping as a human-sized monster.

Nah! Like so many others, I was raised on and programmed by the popular media of whatever age it was. Some of it quite excellent by any measure, but mixed in with the excellent were far too many lame movies, too many idiot comic books, too much bad music and way, way, way too much horrible television as a child. Of course, each one of us subjected to such travesties remembers those wonders of our youth with a magical sheen glowing about the edges of each and every item, no matter how rotten they may now seem to modern eyes, even our own.

In the past year or so, I slapped a cassette copy (from the original cassette) of the Hudson Brothers second album, Hol…

So, Which Side Is Up? The Side That Has All the Bucks (That Ain't Us, By the Way...)

Hey, “Studio Estimates!” How did you do since Sunday when you prematurely announced, as you do every single week for eons, the box office take for the weekend before a good portion of the country had even prepared to go to the movies that day?

You initially reported that the #1 film, The Forbidden Kingdom with the Chan/Li tandem, had earned 20.9 million dollars. In the final tallies released following the actual weekend, it was reported Kingdom had earned $21.4 million. Well, there’s a half million dollars difference. Where did that come from? If the theatres had already finished their business properly, from which magical realm did all this cash spring? Forgetting Sarah Marshall, reported as having earned $17.3 million by the Reuters story which so incensed me on Sunday, pulled a similar trick to Kingdom’s and tacked on 400 large to its total by the time of the final tallies.

But then there is that completely unnecessary, and for my purposes, troublesome little remake of Prom Night. Th…

In Which I Have the Worst Case of Morning B.O. (Box Office) Ever

At 12:42 p.m. today (this would be Pacific Standard Time, or PST to those unable to read, or PT to those who are even worse readers than those unable to read), I noticed a link on my Gmail page that alerted me to a story on Yahoo which announced the weekend's box office report from a story reported on another site. This greatly confused me, since it was barely after noon, box offices had only been open in the most populous state in the union for two hours (if that), and I had yet to go see The Forbidden Kingdom that afternoon.

Mostly out of confusion, I clicked on the link. Indeed, it took me to a Yahoo page featuring that very story, itself spewed out by Reuters, the financial news network based in London. The story told me it had been placed "two hours and 6 minutes ago," which in my time would have been 10:36 a.m., just after most of the box offices had opened here, but in England, would have actually been 8 hours the other way, or this evening.

The story reported that…

Mister Rik Grimaces for Ninety Minutes (but not at the movie...)

Alternate Title:
Michael Phillips and Richard Roeper Are Dead Fucking Wrong and Irresponsible (even though they seem to have enjoyed the movie like I did...)

I spent an undue amount of time on the Pylon the other day railing at infantile filmmakers running amok in my backyard, so perhaps its time to swing things around…

For all of my continuing frustration with the way people act in movie theaters, and mankind’s constant de-evolution back to its most primeval state, I must admit that Generation-Oops! (to coin a phrase, so named because the bulk of these kids just have to be mistakes) is not the only target of my ire regarding movie etiquette.

Old people talk during movies, too. A fucking lot.

It seems every time Jen and I take the time to see something that isn’t laden with CGI or animation or robots or dinosaurs or pirates or superheroes or unshaven men in fedoras swinging about on whips, upon entering the theatre, I am struck with the notion that we have mistakenly wandered into…

That Familiar Cathode Buzz: The Curse of Saturday Mornings...

Because I am connected so deeply (and wrongly, and somewhat against my will at this point) to a childhood misspent in front of an RCA television, things like this happen:

Raw Meat and I are knocking out problem after problem at work, and in the midst of this, we tend to throw one-liners back and forth. Raw Meat says something quite out of left field to me, but the word "space" is somewhere in there, and so I call him a "far out space nut."

Why? Because the phrase is stuck in my head. Why? Because I watched every goddamn program on Saturday morning television for years and years. When the shows I really liked went to reruns, I watched the shows I didn't watch the first time. I saw them ALL. And I saw a Sid and Marty Krofft show starring Bob Denver and Chuck McCann called:

Raw Meat had never heard of the show, owing to his not having been born at that point in time (1975). And because he was born in another land far removed from our crappy Saturday Morning televisio…

The Shark Film Office: Shark! (1969)

Director: Samuel Fuller
Excelsior, 1:32, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 4

Just before the opening credits end on this early Burt Reynolds starring feature, the following dedication appears:

"This film is dedicated to the fearless stuntmen who repeatedly risked their lives against attacks in shark infested waters during the filming of this picture."

The film then gives us Samuel Fuller's name as the director, but within about half an hour, the viewer will come under the realization that Shark! (also sometimes known as Caine, the name of Reynolds' character) is perhaps in that small but not so intimate circle of the worst releases ever to be lensed by a renowned international filmmaker. That it is available enough for low-budget schlock house Troma to gain the rights and release it as part of their DVD line might be testament enough as to its haggard status in film history. Fuller, the creator of cult classics such as Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss, Pickup on South Street and The…

These Kids Today: Doomed (2007)

Director: Michael Su
Automatic Media, 1:16, color
Cinema 4 Rating: 3

Is it high praise indeed to say that, at the very least, your zombie film wasn't directed by Uwe Boll?

Please, let us get past the point where things aren't so obviously named after film directors or stars as a supposed "in-joke." That stuff died with Night of the Creeps, where they did it so much and so obnoxiously that it actually was funny. And clever. Here, in the "Survivor meets the living dead" video Doomed, the island on which the prison lifers are stranded for the entertainment of the masses is called Isla de Romero. Too obvious, and not all that clever. A funnier way to go about this would have been to name it Isla de Fulci, since most of the moves here, including the "surprise" ending, are culled from the Italian zombie hack's oeuvre far more than there is any direct influence derived from George Romero here.

And, please, let us get past the point where reality shows are…

Long Live The Trivia King! (Again, You Wouldn't Know This Unless You Watched His Show...)

Every now and then, Entertainment Weekly, a magazine for which I have a long-running subscription (and a long-running love-hate relationship), knocks out one of their massive trivia contests. You would think this is a great place for me to show off (at least to myself) all of the obscure stuff bumping around inside my head. But, as I said, my brain really does not work this way. The trivia tends to fly out of me at inopportune moments -- especially inopportune for those unfortunate enough to be caught in its assault.

I have a really bad habit of saying, when I hear someone doesn't know something about that which I consider to be the gospel, of going "Oh! I can't believe you didn't know that!" Of course, we all have this bad habit. There isn't a person around who doesn't think that everyone else is an idiot for not knowing what they know so well. And trivia contest creators are the worst. They can put together a test with the answers readily at hand, and pr…

The Trivia King Is Dead (Only, You Wouldn't Know That Since You Don't Watch That Show...)

There's no reason to put this mildly, because everyone assumes it's true: I am considered to be a trivia master. I'm not... in fact, I am far from it. But I do enjoy a good trivia quiz here and there. I do like a good game of Trivial Pursuit, and own several editions of the game. My father calls me all the time with random sports or movie questions, as does my mother... and my friends. I watch Jeopardy on a semi-regular-to-regular basis, and while I keep relatively quiet during the show if Jen is with me -- where we only answer out loud if it is an actually tough question where we are taking a stab at it (if it is so obviously easy, we tend to keep quiet in mute agreement as to its wimpiness) -- if I am watching it alone, I question every answer out loud, brassy as hell (and often wrong, but I try my ass off.) Finally, my boss puts his money on me anytime we have a company contest, and this was even before he really knew me at all.

Here's the catch: I have never made an…