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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.

- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Movie of the Day: Johnny Handsome

Not to be confused with Mr. Dangerously or Mr. Mnemonic, Johnny Handsome is a slight 1989 crime flick from one of my favorite filmmakers, Walter Hill. Mr. Hill, who was responsible for such The Mike favorites as The Warriors, 48 Hrs., and Streets of Fire in the late '70s and early '80s offers another gritty actioner here. While there's not a lot that's above average in the film's plot, it's got one heckuva cast that made it a must see for me.

Mickey Rourke stars as Johnny Handsome, who's not actually handsome. Seriously, he looks like a cross between Eric Stoltz in Mask and Ron Perlman in Beauty and the Beast. But when he's incarcerated after a job gone wrong in which he was set up a by a ruthless couple (Lance Henriksen and Ellen Barkin!), a doctor (Forest Whitaker) offers him a chance at a new life via plastic surgery. Suddenly, Johnny Cauliflower....errr, Handsome looks a lot like Mickey Rourke. Apparently, in 1989 terms, that makes him actually handsome. He gets out of jail, starts to see a mousy gal (Elizabeth McGovern), and seems to be on the up-and-up. Well, for a little bit. (Oh, and Morgan Freeman's here too as the cop who doesn't trust Johnny.)

The film offers a lot of the trademarks I love about Hill's films. There are dark city streets, gritty urban settings, and a lot of unique characters. The cast is a big asset, too, and Rourke is fine in the lead, especially when dealing with Freeman's questioning cop or Henriksen's baddie. Those two give fine performances (though something's wrong with Freeman's New Orleans accent) that help carry the film through some plot lulls.

The plot itself is a little jumbled, specifically when dealing with Johnny's motivations and morals. On one hand he's trying to get straight, on the other hand he wants revenge, and on the other hand he's planning a score with the people he wants revenge on. That's too many hands, and the short film doesn't spend much time dealing with them. Johnny is a sympathetic character to an extent, but one has to wonder at times due to the film's handling of him.

Johnny Handsome isn't the best thing Hill's done (see any of those films I mentioned above, plus The Driver, Hard Times, The Long Riders, Red Heat, and Southern Comfort first), but it's a good crime flick to throw on if you need to pass 90 minutes, thanks to the cast and Hill's style.

Morning Music: Here Comes My Baby

This song always takes me back to Rushmore.

Artist: Cat Stevens
Album: Matthew & Son

Good Morning!!!!!

Here is a an awesome video to brighten your morning!

Friday, July 30, 2010

For the sports fans-Lou Holtz Spit Fest!!!

A Tribute to She-Hulk

Hottest Comic Character of All-Time? Yup.

Los Locos...aka The Crazies Movie of the Day

I've written about some pretty off the wall topics thus far in the new stages of this fine blog; but I think it is time to get to the core of my very being and write a review of a horror flick. Horror, to me, is like a good nights sleep. It's that feeling you get when you wake up in the morning, feel refreshed, do that morning stretch/itch, and feel like you can conquer the world. When I watch a horror flick, I end up feeling revitalized and pumped that if that situation happened in the real worldz...i can drop those mother truckin zombies with axes, katana blades/machettes, and double-barrel shotguns.

"The Crazies" begins in some podunk town in Iowa called Ogden Marsh (North of the exaggerated metropolis of Cedar Rapids). Timothy Olyphant plays the town sheriff, who is the likeable law enforcement officer everyone is crazy for...pun intended (a huge kudos for casting this pimpmaster flex). His wife, the weird looking chica from Silent Hill whose Aussie accent fades often(Radha Mitchell) plays the classic oh noes, I'm preggers and need to survive a zombie like infection doctor type.

The town gathers for a baseball game when the shennanigans begin. A local drunk stumbles onto a baseball field with a shotty...and Tim to the Olyphant steps in and pulls out a head shot. The town is in utter disarray after they witnessed this death, especially the local school principal. From this point, behaviors of the towns people start to become bizarre, impulsive, sadistic, and violent at a progressively worse rate. People complain of "not feeling right", only to soon become one of the crazies! The sheriff and his wife are left fighting for their lives in a town filled with zombie like (however, they are not undead so I emphasize the LIKE portion) goons.

This movie was a blast. I didn't have to think and I wasn't scared at any given point. However, I wouldn't call this movie great by any stretch of the imagination. This movie falls short of awesomeness on several traditional pitfalls of cliched horror flick mechanics. First, Timothy Olyphant and his preggers wife suffer from the Captain Planet syndrome. This syndrome is fairly common in action horror flicks in the 2000's. The Captain Planet syndrome involves two heroins. The main hero can survive for some time on his/her own, but with the powers of survival granted by love for another, they become pimptastic zombie/crazy killers. Because of the relationship lovelike powers combined...they can indeed fight off pollution, which ironically is similar to the plot of this film.

The second major cliche of action horror flicks these days involving zombies is "The Virus". This is a classic strategy in horror flicks to get you to identify with a human character before they convert to a zombie, crazy, sick person, rager, etc. In this film, the sheriff's deputy is the virus. Usually this role is characterized by a imminent understanding that you will cash out soon, and you might as well sacrifice yourself for the greater good. This film is not above using "The Virus".

A final cliched pitfall is the classic "it's the governments' fault." This one is complicated much like any argument in a relationship. The level of government blame depends on several things. Is it the governments' fault for the zombie/crazies? Has the government taken blame for being the cause? Have they done anything to help the people infected? Have they only focused on quarantine and lied to people? I can say, this movie gives the government a big middle finger. It is actually comical at points.

Some final criticisms of this film involve Iowa's grand misinterpretation in the media. This film did get the small town Iowa feel down pretty pat. That is, one main street and nothing else. People actually going to local baseball games as a community event. In this film, Iowa has swamp like Louisiana marshes. I can say that is bull. Iowa has like 2 hills and no swamps. So...whoops on that one "The Crazies". Don't be like Star Trek and put a GIANT GRAND CANYON like drop off in your Iowa scenes in the straight to DVD sequel that will inevitably occur. Finally, THERE ARE NO SKYSKRAPERS in that grand Cedar Rapids shot you pulled out at the end...LIES!!!!!!!!!! In summary, I give this movie a B- only for shear entertainment value and the fact I had a blast watching it with The Mike.

Narcosleepy out

Morning Music: I Saw Red

Nothing says Friday like a little WARRANT!

Artist: Warrant
Album: Cherry Pie

(Unrelated: This song always makes me think of an early scene in the Brian De Palma film Body Double, which I was not ready to see at age 12. But hey, when the 'rents keep it with the other VHS tapes....)

Quote of the Day

I love California. I grew up in Phoenix.
-Dan Quayle

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rusty the Narcoleptic dog-(This one is for you Narcosleepy!)

Movie of the Day (via From Midnight, With Love): C.H.U.D.

A tribute to the fanny pack!

A man bag, a belly bag, a hip pack, a belt back......what do these all have in common?? They are all terms known as the infamous fanny pack! One of the most ingenious creations of all time, the fanny pack was originally designed to wear directly above the buttocks, aka the fanny, reached a peak of popularity in the late 80's early 90's. Trend had it that the pack itself was mostly worn on the front, as it is easier to access and would prevent pick pocketing.

The pack comes in all sizes and models. There is the one pouch fanny pack, the fanny pack with multiple pouches, the fanny pack that holds a water bottle, and there is even a fanny pack to carry your dog in. The pack comes in all colors and designs, making it easy to have a pack to match every outfit! The practicality of the small treasure carrier is mind blowing. It allows you to carry many everyday necessities all while having your hands free. As you are working your garage sale, it allows you to carry change for customers without having to go back to the money box. While hiking down a trail, it allows you to carry all necessary first aid supplies in case of a fall. And if you are a man, it allows you to wear a bag, while still maintaining your masculinity. Or for those pot dealers out there, here's a place for you stash.

Tragically the fanny pack took a plummet in popularity in the late 90's and early 2000's, but an answer to my prayers has come, and it is making a comeback. Many stars have been sporting them as of late including Hulk Hogan, Rihanna, Chuck Norris, and Madonna. They are now not just available in Jansport but Gucci as well, for those that want a high end fanny pack! So here is fashion and practicality-long live the fanny pack!

5 Things: To Love About Blogging & Social Networking

Hey all, The Mike here. I've been around this internet, in different ways, for a while now. In the beginning, there was email, the official websites of MonsterVision and the Halloween movies (I have fond memories of drooling over Halloween H20 production news), and sports scores. Then, message boards happened, and HTML was learned. My own awful personal site while I was in college? You bet it existed! But now, in the age of blogification and social networking sites, things have changed for the better....and I'm about to tell you why in (O)PP's first "5 Things" post.

5 Things: To Love About Blogging & Social Networking

1) Lots of Personal Recommendations and Help With Decisions - Remember when you had to pick movies based on box covers? It was fun, but it often came with heartache, because nothing's actually as cool as the VHS box for The Dead Pit (Seriously, it had a zombie coming out of it!). Not sure whether Did You Hear About the Morgans? or When in Rome is more up your alley? Someone out there probably has analyzed them side by side. (Both suck hard, BTW.) Unsure if Crackdown 2 or Red Dead Redemption are worth your $59.99? Gamers will break it down to the cutscene.

Say farewell to reviews by Amazon customers and IMDB users, too, because if you get in with the right bunch of intelligent folks who love what they're talking about and aren't just thinking it's cool to write a review and be hip, you'll never want again.
2) The Ability to Actually Compliment People - There's something in human nature that doesn't allow us to actually be nice to someone to their face. My masha is among the three coolest people I know, but when she says "love you" at the end of a conversation, I respond with "you should". I can't explain it, I just know that we, the people, don't feel comfortable telling someone they're important or excellent or totally tubular on a daily basis.

For some reason, the internet is to our reservations as tequila is to a sorority sister's inhibitions. When I read something I like, or someone is clearly rocking their love of something awesome, it's wicked easy to just type "Whoa, this is fantastic dude!" and be done with it. Some people think it's fake when people "stroke" each other's egos on the internet, but I believe it's the people we really wish we were in person shining through.

3) Checking to See if that Hot Girl from High School is Still Hot - Unless you supervise college age employees, you have to love the ease at which you can find people on the web these days. Heck, the kids don't even call it stalking anymore, they call it "creeping". And for whatever reason, creeping is acceptable to many, despite how demented that seems.

If you're like me, you didn't ever talk to that hot girl in high school, you just talked to your friends about how hot she was when no one was around. Now, since everyone in your high school class and the three classes above and below you wants to be your facebook friend, and because no one seems to get their facebook privacy settings right, it's pretty easy to find pictures.

Then: If she's not hot any more, you can laugh it off and believe you're more of a success for not fully buying in to her. If she's still hot, well...then she's still hot. Nothing's better than nostalgia, right?

(BTW, ladies, you have this one way easier than us. Dudes don't change their names when they get married, so you don't get stuck going "Am I sure this is the right Lisa from the class of '87?")
4) Following the Exploits of Random Celebrities IN THE REALZ - I am not a fan of reality TV, but I love reality Twitter. Free jokes from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost? You got it. Wanna find out if Aaron Rodgers is cool enough to take over your heart and your beloved football team? He's out there, and it's year three: MAKE UP YOUR MIND. Think that gal on ESPN's new show is pretty cute? They're probably forcing her to tweet just because of that.

And it's not just about waiting for accidentally tweeted topless pics or football players' "playbooks" either, because occasionally someone like Veronica Mars will do something super cute and give a picture to you all for free! (See above!) And it only takes 5 seconds out of your day, not 60 minutes like some reality show!

5) Getting Your Actual Opinions Out There - People generally need the ability to just speak their mind from time to time. Tired of holding in how much you love the new coffee at the corner shop? Let it out! Frustrated by political developments and the media's overreaction to them? Speak now! Just feel like saying you're having a great day? Be my guest.

It's completely healthy to just put things down on paper, or in this case a keyboard, and get them out of your head. And it's even better when an observer who respects what you've got to say gives you feedback. There is enough release in all of these forms of internet communication, when used properly, to slay the demons of the day with a few keystrokes. Don't be bashful or shy, just do it and feel the relief.

(Word of warning on that one: If you've granted people you work with access to this stuff, and you have to vent about work or political/religious/social beliefs that might not be shared by your employer, you might want to find a different way of venting or a good pseudonym. You do not want to spend the next month and a half going through meetings with supervisors, interviews with HR people, trainings, and possibly more. Believe me, you don't want it.)

The blogging and social networking worlds can, and often do, go bad pretty quickly. But if you find the right people, and don't let the negatives take you down, there's a lot to love about the wacky wide web.

Like pictures of cats with quotes.

Trailer Alert! Titanic 2!!

From the studio that brought you Giant Shark vs. Mega Octopus, Transmorphers, and Sherlock Holmes (not the one with Downey, the one with dinosaurs).

Will your heart go on?

Morning Music: Poker Face


(Also, my knee hurts.)

Quote of the Day

Following a trip to Greece, Shaquille O'Neal was asked whether he had visited the Parthenon. "I can't really remember," Shaq replied, "the names of the clubs that we went to.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Fun!!! Star Wars Alpacas!!!

Movie of the Day: The Royal Tenenbaums

So this past weekend, I decided to crawl out of the rock I must have been hiding under for the past 9 years and view The Royal Tenenbaums. Embarrassingly enough, I have even owned the movie for quite a few years and never gave it a shot. And why I never gave it a shot, I have no flipping idea! I have thoroughly enjoyed Director Wes Anderson’s films through the years (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjiling Limited, etc). They are quirky, colorful, and loads of fun.

In the Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson delivers a perfectly imperfect dysfunctional family. The Royal Tenenbaums are an eccentric family that consists of Royal (Gene Hackman), Etheline (Anjelica Huston), Chas (Ben Stiller), the original emo Margot (Gwyenth Paltrow), and Richie (Luke Wilson). Royal and Etheline have been separated for years. Royal was an unemotional rarely present parent to the three children. Royal decides he wants his family back, and knowing they would most likely not accept him, he comes up with a scheme. He claims he has cancer, six weeks to live, and wants to reconnect with his family. Out of sadness, Etheline asks her three children and two grandchildren to come live with her to cope with the tragic news. With this wacky story comes come crazy secondary stories-Richie’s love for his sister, Chas’ OCD on safety, and Henry Sherman (Danny Glover) vying for the affection of Etheline.

The Characters are so unique and hilarious; it is hard not to fall in love with them. My only complaint of the film would be the under utilization of Bill Murray. Murray plays husband to Margot and is rarely seen in the film. Being a Murray fan, I wished he would have had a more prominent role in the film. Overall I give this film an A. It truly is one of a kind!

Comedy Corner - Demetri Martin and Will Forte

I will give one gigantic internet high five to anyone that can find an actual video of the mean time, I dare you not to laugh.

Head Shots and Knife Throws

Hey, it's me Narcosleepy. I have been thinking about some pretty prominent things lately. These ideas include the meaning of life, who am I, and why do I love Head Shots and Knife throws so much? The last one has been keeping me up at night lately.

I begin by first noting the large plethora of head shots in movies recently. As a social scientist, I like to define my concepts. So, by head shot...i mean a friggin' bullet through the head. The head shot was fairly common in zombie flicks, but now has made it's way into action flicks. And I have to say, every time I see a head shot my fist pumps and I pull out "the trucker pull" both in the theater and at home. Sadistically, I laugh out loud when a bullet decaps someone, or someone takes a 12 gauge to the skull. Call me twisted, but nothin says awesome like a sniper head shot when you least expect it, like when a soldier is talking to another soldier then PUSHKAT...that soldier has a hole in the head and blood flailing out their helmet. I blame Halo and Call of Duty for this reaction. I think what I love the most is the fake blood that sprays from the skull...or a see through hole straight through the diencephalon. Also, the sound effects associated with these head shots resembles the noise made when a pumpkin hits the ground and explodes

Now, I turn to the knife throw/sword stab. My love for the knife throw/sword stab dates back to Highlander. Now, I am not going to talk about the Gandhi like awesomeness of Highlander here, as that will happen soon...but sword decaps are pretty much the opposite of euthenasia. I mean...when you are chillin' with some dude friends, and some cat decaps some scrub with a sword...the only thing to do is high five and fist pump. You become jovial, and the machine gun sprays of fist pumping grandeur makes everyone happy. Due to films like Rambo, knife throws in various bodily organs/structures has become awesome. Back in the day, giant knife throws to the chest was the bees knees. Nowadays, you aint cool unless you are takin' a dagger into an eyeball, ear drum, frontal lobe, or throat. Also, the sound effects accompanying any good knife throw may very well cause you to laugh so hard that you will possibly seizure, cry, or soil yourself. The only thing to to eleviate such jocund is to high five, fist pump, leg kick, or point one finger to the heavens and say thank you G Man. head shots and knife throws...I say thank you for ruining several pairs of underwear.


Quote of the Day

I cried over beauty, I cried over pain, and the other time I cried because I felt nothing. I can't help it. I'm just a cliche of myself.
-Keanu Reeves

Morning Music: Don't Look Back in Anger

"The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."

Artist: Oasis
Album: (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

Also, Patrick MacNee rules.
(And Diana Rigg is gorgeous, too.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Godzilla Revealed!

New Godzilla design was released at the Legendary Pictures booth this week at Comic Con. The film is slated to be released in 2012. Thoughts????

Movie of the Day: Man Hunt

The Mike here once more, with a classic Movie of the Day pick!

From German born director Fritz Lang (he of M, Metropolis, and more!) comes a rousing bit of wartime propaganda. Walter Pidgeon (of Forbidden Planet!) stars as a British hunter who decides to have a "sporting stalk" and see if he can literally get a German leader in his sights. You may have heard of that leader, he was called Adolf Hitler.

When a film opens with crosshairs on Hitler, it's hard to believe that there's anywhere it can go but down. That's most definitely not the case with Man Hunt, as the film quickly turns into a Hitchcockian man-on-the-run film with a clever game of cat and mouse being played between Pidgeon's escaped Brit and a German officer determined to prove that this was an act of war. That German officer is played by one of the most beloved actors in all of Mike-time, George Sanders. Also showing up is Joan Bennett (later the headmistress in Suspiria!) as the woman of the streets that our hero befriends in his quest for freedom.

Man Hunt has everything a classic can offer, but really shines due to its opening scene and the ideas behind it. It's shocking to think that this film - made relatively early in the progression of WWII by a German born director - so accurately captured the image of Hitler we all have studied, and still raises questions today in viewers, almost 70 years later. If you're looking for a thinking-man's thriller with great performances and a moral center, there aren't many movies better than Man Hunt.

(I can't seem to find a trailer online, but here's the first encounter between Pidgeon and Sanders' characters that sets the plot. Don't tell me you're not interested...)

A Tribute to the Mullet

"Business in the front, Party in the back"

As I sat here pondering the meaning of life many things came to mind......religion, love, marriage, children, career, and mullets!!! One of the raddest inventions ever, the mullet is a symbol of pure awesomeness. The modern mullet first appeared in the the late 1960's. It has transformed over the decades from the big and bouffant mullets of the 80's to the permed mullets of the 90's. It has been a prevalent presence in entertainment world from Carol Brady of the Brady Bunch to County Music star Billy Ray Cyrus. The mullet also tends to have a strong presence at the Iowa State Fair year after year. I took the pleasure of collecting some of the best mullet pictures I could party on blogsters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!