Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No fake sex for me. I'll just stick to the fake killing.

According to a report at Deadline Hollywood, actor Neal McDonough was fired from the upcoming ABC series Scoundrels because he refused to do intimate or sexual scenes of any kind.

There are a LOT of things wrong with this story.

First, his scenes were to be with Virginia Madsen, an Oscar nominated actress who is hot as hell. Huh?

Second, his objection was based on the fact that he is "a family man and a catholic." Huh? I won't get into the usual science and logic about myths and fairy tales and superstitions. But what in the name of a merkin does that have to do with "acting?" He's not carrying on an affair with Madsen, which just happens to be filmed. Or actually fucking her, therefore breaking his marriage vows, in front of a bunch of cameramen and PAs, in a bedroom which only has three walls and no ceilings. See, because just like that bedroom is pretend, and not real, so is the sex and intimacy. I doubt Scoundrels is a prime time remake of The Brown Bunny.

Third, while some might view McDonough's moral, family and religious objections as admirable, what's he's objecting to can be somewhat selective. Remember his last major TV role, as Dave Williams on Desperate Housewives? There, he strangled a dude and burned his body, starting a nightclub fire, which he later blamed on one of the Scavo's rugrats. He tried to shoot Katherine with a hunting rifle, and later attempted to strangle her. That plan didn't work, so he then set his sights on killing Susan's kid, MJ. sum up: "fake sex" is verboten and objectionable. "Fake murder" of women and children? A-OK!

Take a look at some of Neal's other roles:
  • He was in the catastrophically awful Linday Lohan "amputee stripper" movie!
  • He was a serial killer in an awful Al Pacino flick.
  • He was a casino owning meth dealer in the Walking Tall remake.
You get the idea. Those things are all fine and "moral," but pretending to make out with Virginia Madsen is where he draws the line.

Whenever McDonough popped up in a role, I always enjoyed his performances. He brought depth and intensity to projects like Minority Report, Band of Brothers and Boomtown. Now, when I see him, all I'll think is "fucking moron."

Also, this:

Idol Top 10: Surprisingly Old School

Here we are with R&B music night on American Idol. In addition to the increasingly flat competition headlined by Crystal, Siobahn (…and the rest), the theme doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement. I think I lost interest in R&B when James Brown got in a drunken car wreck for the 12th time. I’m kidding, kinda, as I do recall the 80s and 90s era of the Quincy Joneses and Anita Bakers and the like, but when every R&B song started to have a “featuring” credit, or tell a multi-part story about a closet, I just wasn’t as interested as I once was.

I wonder if I’ll know any of these songs, since most of the contestants were born after the era(s) I mentioned above?

How on earth are we spending two fucking hours with this show now that we’re in the top 10, when they each perform only one song? Didn’t they use to cram this into one hour, or at least an hour and a half up until the last couple of years? So much filler, and so incompetently directed and produced. Usher is the guest mentor tonight. I think I might recognize a few of his tunes. Has he been involved in 27 sex scandals, or is he a relatively good guy? He’s shown in clips wearing a Braves hat (your 2010 National League East Champs!), so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Fuck, Seacrest’s hair annoys me. I hate that “gel it up in front” look. I hated it on Angel, one of my favorite shows of all time. Quoth William the Bloody:
Spike: [as Angel] No, helping those in need's my job, and workin' up a load of sexual tension and prancing away like a magnificent poof is truly thanks enough.
Spike: [as Rachel] I understand. I have a nephew who's gay, so...
Spike: [as Angel] Say no more. Evil's still afoot. And I'm almost out of that nancy-boy hair-gel I like so much. Quickly, to the Angel-mobile, away.
Wow. Someone’s cranky tonight. Okay, here we go.

“Through The Fire”
Speaking of hair, I love her big glasses and loose, tousled hair in the interview packages. Why does she have to pile it up every week so it looks like those ribs they put on the side of Fred’s car during the opening of The Flintstones? The first part of her performance was unusually restrained, if off key in a couple of places. Then she gets to hit her big screamy notes in the middle, which were powerful. She finished better than she started, but I’m not sure that was a song or style particularly suited for her. 6

Quick aside: Is it just me, or is Kara giving particularly cogent and spot on criticism this year?

“Hold On, I’m Coming”
Hey, a song I love! And a great choice for Casey, that should suit his scratchy, bar band sound. Well, that was a fantastic marriage of contestant and material. He smoked that one, and gave what was one of my favorite performances of the year. I agree with Simon here, and that was a home run. 8

“Ready for Love”
When I heard the title, a part of me was hoping it was the Bad Company song. (Speaking of which, why don’t more artists choose one of their songs? Paul Rogers has one of the best voices ever, and their songs are known, but not played to death. Wouldn’t it be cool to hear someone bust out “Bad Company” or “Silver, Blue and Gold?”) Despite the fact that Mike didn’t take me back to the 70s, this was a soulful and powerful performance. R&B balladry is right in his wheelhouse, and he delivered. 8

“What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”
Thus far, I’ve seemed to like DiDi more than a lot of folks. Some have compared her to Brooke or the wacky “caw, caw” girl, but for some reason, DiDi’s quirky style has set itself apart for me. I think her performances feel more at home in the earthy, singer-songwriter or rat-packish torch song vein, but she didn’t do too bad with this one. She wasn’t bad, per se, but there wasn’t a vocal connection to a song she seemed emotional about performing. 6

I don’t know if it’s just the power of Bradley Whitford’s mustache, or the judicious use of “Slow Ride,” but I think I might tune in to The Good Guys.

“Sweet Love”
Holy shit. I wrote my opening graff before the show started, and I didn’t really think anyone would actually perform Anita Baker. Too bad it’s gonna be the fucking living emo wig, Tim. Sigh. If vanilla extract could sing, it would have probably sounded like that. Randy says “singing waiter.” I think I agree with the Dawg, dude. That was pretty awful. All the judges, in fact, echo my sentiments. 2

Damn, I can’t wait until we get a new Fringe on Thursday.

Is this that song from the crazy youtube wedding videos? I appreciate taking a chance with the song, and giving it a different arrangement and spin, but that was not very compelling. His voice got in one place, with one energy, and never really left it, and it flattened out the song. The judges love it. Snoozy for me. And we’re wasting time so his mommy can chastise Simon? Kill me now. 4

“Chain of Fools”
I’m happy with another “classic” song choice. Katie looked great, and hit most of the notes, but she didn’t quite have the edge in her voice this one needed. Still, she acquitted herself well for a BIG song by a BIG singer, even if it was a little, mature for her. 6

“Treat Her Like a Lady”
Wow. Another respectable song choice. And Wow, a great performance. He gave this R&B classic a palpable, granular intensity that really suited his voice. Just different enough to make it his own, just recognizable to connect, and hands down the best of the night so far. Lee Was On Fi-Yah. 9

I’m having a hard time with these Knight and Day commercials. Cruise and Diaz grate beyond belief, but I gotta say, this flick looks like it might be pretty damned entertaining.

“Midnight Train to Georgia”
ANOTHER classic choice. And a song about The Motherland. And a GREAT song, to boot. Crystal puts down the gee-tar and gives us a little Gladys. The first part was soulful, restrained and all her own, without a hint of karaoke or Xerox. I wasn’t crazy about her falsetto note, but other than that, she was pretty damned terrific. Again. 8

“Ain’t No Sunshine”
I guess my fears about a dearth of classic R&B songs being performed were unfounded, as Aaron chooses a stone cold classic, and one of my favorites. What the fuck is up with his hair? Is that a fin, like on the Creature From the Black Lagoon? His vocals were definitely better than last week, and fairly clean, but there was just no gravitas, no feeling and no heartache in that performance. Is that expecting too much from a chipmunky teenager? Probably. That was like a leftover cookie; not nearly as good as fresh from the oven, and full of empty calories, but not bad. 6

TNRLM Top 3: Lee, Casey, Crystal

TNRLM Bottom 3: Tim, Andrew, Siobahn

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Here's a fun list from Wired of "100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know"

Most of the ones you would expect to be on there are on there. Here are a few favorites I find myself using that aren't quite as ubiquitous:

“Greetings, programs!” -Flynn, TRON

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” - Albert Einstein

“Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we’re not back by dawn… call the president.” - Jack Burton, Big Trouble in Little China“Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.” - Ian Malcolm, The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s 20 - 1

The preamble:

As I go through the One Hit Wonder countdown, I'll offer some thoughts on the song, video or anything else that pops into my head. Also, I'll examine my iTunes library and indicate if I already have the song there (H), will be downloading it (Y) or will make like Nancy Reagan, and just say no (N). Feel free to chime in with any of your personal remembrances or anecdotes as jump into the Wayback Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody:

100 - 81
80 - 61
60 - 41
40 - 21

Heading for the finish line!

20 Rockwell: “Somebody’s Watching Me”
Originally, I thought this was another case of nepotism, as Rockwell is really Kennedy Gordy, son of Motown Guru Berry Gordy. Daddy probably said “here’s a song, and take some Jacksons with you to sing backup.” However, the younger Gordy steadfastly maintains that he kept his identity secret, and got signed and recorded his album without his dad being aware. So good for you, Rockwell. Though now, when you hear MJ sing about someone watching him, all I can think about is child services. N

19 Dead or Alive: “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”
The Crying Game dude, before there was an actual movie with a Crying Game dude. And would kids today even understand what “like a record” means? Maybe he should do an updated version about being “plugged like a USB.” N

18 Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock: “It Takes Two”
Not being a big fan of hip hop, I don’t recall that much about this song. But Wikipedia tells me that “In David Simon's 1991 book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, which covers the Baltimore Police Department's Homicide department in 1988, Simon calls the song "the summer's hands-down winner for Sound of the Ghetto" and uses its lyrics to frame a chapter summarizing murders and other violent acts that occur over the course of the summer.” And if it’s good enough for the creator of The Wire, it’s good enough for me. N

17 Men Without Hats: “The Safety Dance”
Okay, just like everybody ran in place with “Maniac,” I’m sure everybody made a big “S” with their arms here, right? The band’s name always makes me giggle. And they had a mandolin playing dwarf in the video. That’s all I got. N

16 Nena: “99 Luft Balloons”
Who else thought Nena was kinda hot? Like a Teutonic Chrissy Hynde or something? And nobody in high school knew what the fuck a “luft balloon” was. On the TV show, they showed her now, and she’s even hotter at 50+ than she was back in the day. Maybe I should write a song about balloons. N

15 Devo: “Whip It”
Devo a one hit wonder? No love for “Working in a Coal Mine?” H

14 Big Country: “In A Big Country”
Everybody has one of those bands, or songs, that just rubs them the wrong way. This song was one of those for me. I don’t necessarily dislike it now, but at the time, every time I heard some fucking synthy bagpipe, I would reach for the volume and scream “Do Not Want!” N

13 Thomas Dolby: “She Blinded Me With Science”
Good heavens Miss Sakamoto, who doesn’t love this? This was, and remains, just a funky wacky good time song. My personal memory of this was that during my senior year in high school, I went to Atlanta for a weekend FBLA competition. One of my pals had been "challenged" by a couple of grades, and was older than I was. That’s relevant, because he could walk into a liquor store near the hotel and by a couple of bottles of vodka. Now, my parents were very open about booze and such, and I had knocked back a beer, glass of wine or cocktail every once in a while, and didn’t really wind up being one of those crazy high school kids that winds up in rehab. (I would save all my significant liver damage for college and beyond. Ya know, when I was mature). But for some reason, after the competition and before that evening’s “dance party,” Steve pulled out the vodka and we started mixing up kamikazes (which I think was actually just vodka and Sprite). We went down the dance, started cutting a rug and having a good old time. He brought another pint in his jacket, and we wound up getting completely shit-faced. I think it must have been my first real bender. I was really shy by nature, but this certainly loosened me up, and I wound up dancing with and talking to a pretty girl from Valdosta named Sandra. (“Blinded Me With Science” was one of the songs I distinctly recall from the evening). We spent the whole party together, and I ended up making out with her a little and getting her phone number. It’s a good thing I was being suave early in the evening, because later, I woke up fully clothed in the bathtub with no shoes, and no recollection of the past few hours. We eventually found one of my shoes in the ice machine (???), and I found Sandra’s number in my pants pocket. Over the summer after graduation, we called and wrote letters (Holy Shit. Kids today won’t even understand what it was like before cheap long distance, before cell phones, before texting, before email and facebook and twitter, when you ran to the mailbox each morning to see if you got a handwritten letter that was SWAK. Fuck. I’m old. Get off my lawn!), and eventually, I went down there to see her for a few days. She was really cool, and we kept in touch for a while, before we both wound up going off to college. I guess it was a bit like Danny and Sandy from Grease. Except I think she was German, not Australian. And we went off to college, not back to senior year in high school. And I don't remember her getting a black spandex makeover. And we never got in touch again. Actually, it was nothing like Grease, I don’t know what I was saying. Anyhoo, that’s what I think of when I hear this song. H

12 Animotion: “Obsession”
Not a big fan of this song. But I do like obsession. N

11 Gary Numan: “Cars”
Not a big fan of this song, either. But I do like cars. N

10 Frankie Goes to Hollywood: “Relax”
Who still has a “Frankie Says ‘Relax’” t-shirt? Not that it wouldn’t be like applying a tourniquet, if it was one from back in the day. Still a good song. And still good advice, all these years later. Like thinking about baseball. H

9 Kajagoogoo: “Too Shy”
That’s one of those band names you throw out when you want to essentially sum up 80s one hit wonders. Kajagoogoo. Just say it slowly. Kajagoogoo. No, we weren’t too proud (or too shy!) in the 80s. The lead singer’s hair look like he skinned a Persian cat, put it on his head, and then rubbed it vigorously with a balloon (but probably not a luft balloon) N

8 Bow Wow Wow: “I Want Candy”
A nubile 15 year old with a great rack and a Mohawk, singing about candy. What’s not to love? (Wait, you don’t have to register with the police and talk to the neighbors if you type that, do you?) H

7 Modern English: “I Melt With You”
This song has been featured in so many movies and compilations, it’s almost the anthem of the 80s. Who didn’t sing this to their girlfriend back then? Great then, great now. H

6 Toni Basil: “Mickey”
This is the flip side of “I Melt With You.” Just as ubiquitous in 80s retrospectives, but annoying as hell then, annoying as hell now. I think the only time I appreciated it was when it was used in Bring It On. N

5 Soft Cell: “Tainted Love”
English new wave synth combined with Gloria Jones and the Supremes? Oh yeah, this is still good. H

4 Tommy Tutone: “867-5309 / Jenny”
I don’t know what it is about this song, but it is still one of the most played in my iTunes library. Tommy Tutone certainly wasn’t part of the Tiger Beat, telegenic parade of pop idols in the 80s (like, say Duran Duran), nor did they ever reach the charts with anything else, but this really and truly is just a perfect slice of pop rock that endures after all these years. A great, fun song, even today. Personal memory: in the area where I went to high school, 867 was a local exchange. So naturally after the song became popular (and before the era of caller ID, or ten digit dialing), every teen called 867-5309 and asked for “Jenny.” And OF COURSE it was an old, retired lady who didn’t have the first clue about what the fuck was going on. And OF COURSE the local news did a feature about local hooligans harassing this poor senior citizen because of some “rock song.” Hee. Now, since everyone has BlackBerries and iPhones and the like, you don’t have to remember anyone’s phone number. I bet anyone over 40 couldn’t tell you their best friend’s phone number, or their girlfriend’s number, but they could sure as hell tell you Jenny’s. H

3 A-Ha: “Take On Me”
The song and video were so popular, A-Ha got tapped to do a Bond theme. Anyone remember “The Living Daylights” as a song? Uh, no. Poor Timothy Dalton, who was an underrated Bond, stuck with bad scripts and movies. This was a good song for the era, but an ALL TIME video. N

2 Flock of Seagulls: “I Ran (So Far Away)”
Hair? H

1 Dexys Midnight Runners: “Come on Eileen”
While I might have missed the nuance of what was really going on with “Turning Japanese,” I think I may have read way too much into this one, just based on the title. N

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s 40 - 21

I was flipping channels yesterday, and caught part of VH-1's countdown of the Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. It dawned on me that I had started blogging though this countdown before, and never actually finished the list. In fact, it was almost exactly a year ago when I kind of lost the thread around #41. If you're new to the blog and want to check those posts out, or want to revisit them before proceeding onward, you can do so here:

100 - 81
80 - 61
60 - 41

Here's the preamble:

The preamble:

As I go through the One Hit Wonder countdown, I'll offer some thoughts on the song, video or anything else that pops into my head. Also, I'll examine my iTunes library and indicate if I already have the song there (H), will be downloading it (Y) or will make like Nancy Reagan, and just say no (N). Feel free to chime in with any of your personal remembrances or anecdotes as we jump into the Wayback Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody.

Now, one year later, let's resume the countdown, starting with #40:

40 The Buggles: “Video Killed the Radio Star”
By now, I think everyone knows this was the first video played on MTV. Have you looked at the channel lately? These days, the tune could be “Vapid Attention Seeking Teenage Whores Killed the Video Star.” Good trivia I didn’t know: Keyboardist Geoff Downes went on to form 80s supergroup Asia. H

39 Matthew Wilder: “Break My Stride”
One of the more annoying tunes on the countdown. Once you hear it, you need some mental Clorox to get it out of your head. N

38 Bruce Willis: “Respect Yourself”
Another celebrity vanity project. Not as irony free and tone deaf as Don Johnson’s, and John McClane is much of a badass than Sonny Crockett. Also, this was around the time that Bruce was shilling for (sing along) Seagrams…..Golden Wine Coolers. My mom loved those things, and we were all fans of Die Hard and Moonlighting, so every time mom wanted one of those “drinks,” my dad would sing Bruce’s jingle. I probably would have preferred “Respect Yourself.” (Though really, if you did respect yourself, you probably wouldn’t be singing about wine coolers). N

37 Lipps, Inc.: “Funkytown”
A classic of the disco era, that just arrived too late for the disco movement proper, and also an astonishing lyrical achievement that reportedly made Bob Dylan weep with jealousy. What I remember most about this song was that it was always played at this cheesy amusement park in my area, called “Lake Winnepesauka.” I went there with some friends one time, and we got in the spinning cylinder ride, where the floor drops out and you’re pinned to the wall by centrifugal force. Well, one of my buddies had eaten one chili dog too many, and barfed during the ride. It barely escaped from his face and the front of his shirt, but everyone on the ride knew what was going on, and we were dreading the eventual slowing of the ride, since the bubbling stew would then start to make its way around the cylinder. Yeah, I always think of that with Funkytown. H

36 Weather Girls: “It’s Raining Men”
Letterman’s Paul Schaffer actually co-wrote this eminently danceable ditty, about a meteorological event only slightly less believable than the conclusion of Magnolia. One of the singers, Martha Wash, went on to provide the voice (but not the lip synching hot bod) for C+C Music Factory. Last year, the song was co-opted in a funny video mocking the dimwitted bigots opposing marriage equality. (I was going to put a link to it here, but the video has been taken down from YouTube for a “copyright violation” because it uses some of the laughable scenes from the “National Organization for Marriage” fear-mongering hate vid). Regardless of your sexual orientation, I think we can all agree that the best way to get men would not be via "rain." Wouldn't that be, its very best, messy? Could an umbrella, even one created by The Penguin, withstand a 200 pound studmuffin dropping out of the sky? And would your really want your "man" after he had fallen from the clouds onto the pavement? H

35 Tom Tom Club: “Genius of Love”
Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth to a break from Talking Heads to pen this tune, which was always a dance floor favorite. H

34 The Waitresses: “I Know What Boys Like”
Okay, forget what I said about Matthew Wilder. THIS is the most annoying song of the 80s. Yeah, it captured the new wave attitude of the 80s perfectly, but this on repeat could force me to confess to crimes I didn’t commit. N

33 John Waite: “Missing You”
I remembered Waite from his work with the Babys, a very underrated 70s band, but you couldn’t escape this particular song in the 80s. It’s a little melancholy for my taste, and I actually preferred another song from his first album, called “Change.” H

32 Quarterflash: “Harden My Heart”
This was a great song, and who didn’t have a crush on the frizzy haired, vulnerable sounding chick in spandex who could also wail on the sax? From the same album, “Find Another Fool” was also a good track. Y

31 Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
Oh lord. What started out as a charming little instrument-free lark turned into the earworm of the 80s. It was the first a capella song to top the Billboard charts. N

30 The Vapors: “Turning Japanese”
When this song was released, I was early on in high school, and I don’t think I really got the gist of song’s meaning. It was a guy talking about a picture of his girlfriend, and I thought he had stared at it so long and so intently, he just began squinting. However, as I got older, and really thought about it (especially this lyric: “No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women; No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark”), I realized it was quite obviously an ode to masturbation, joining such other self-gratification tunes like “She Bop,” “You and UR Hand,” “The Stroke,” “Dancing with Myself,” “Blister in the Sun,” “I Touch Myself” and “Darling Nikki.” Wow. There are a lot of songs about masturbating. And I knew all those off the top of my head. I wonder what that means. H

29 Madness: “Our House”
Another song that got played to death in the 80s, that I used to like but just became sick of eventually. And I know it was a massive radio and MTV hit, far overshadowing anything else Madness did, but they also enjoyed some success with “It Must Be Love” and “One Step Beyond,” which I recall seeing on MTV first, and which I actually like better. (N – “Our House”; Y – “One Step Beyond”)

28 John Parr: “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)”
The Brat Pack grows up. Mostly, I remember the movie for Rob Lowe playing saxophone, Emilio Estevez stalking Andie MacDowell and Demi Moore being the hottest cokehead since Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. Some interesting trivia about the song: it was written by prolific composer David Foster and John Parr about a dude in a wheelchair who was rolling around the world to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries. Also, it never appeared on a John Parr album. And again, this is another where I question the moniker of “One Hit Wonder,” as you couldn’t escape “Naughty Naughty” on MTV and pop/rock radio in the 80s. N

27 Stacey Q: “Two of Hearts”
Now here’s a true One Hit Wonder. Did you know Stacey Q appeared on The Facts of Life as a rival to Tootie, named “Cinnamon?” And she sang this song? No, I didn’t either. N

26 Cutting Crew: “I Just Died In Your Arms”
Another song about an orgasm, though unlike “Turning Japanese,” someone else is involved in the act (hence the “your arms” part). The writer dreamed this up just after boning his girlfriend. Musically, he didn’t get it up again. Y

25 Musical Youth: “Pass the Dutchie”
I wasn’t too hep to the slang for the Devil’s Parsley in high school, so I had no idea what was going on with this song. Evidently, it was a remake of song dealing directly with sparking up, called “Pass the Koutchie.” (I wouldn’t have known what the hell a Koutchie was either, but apparently, it’s a bong). When a bunch of kids did the cover, they changed it to “dutchie” and changed the lyric “how does it feel when you got no herb” to “how does it feel when you got no food.” Isn’t that a little depressing for a reggae song by a bunch of kids? Though when I was in college, given the choice, I probably would have forsaken the food. And what the hell was a “dutchie?” If they were hungry, they could have changed it to “Debbie,” to mean a Little Debbie. I loved Swiss Cake Rolls. I would imagine they're even better if you're high, so it all fits together. The group’s efforts to sanitize the tune came back to bite them, however, as eventually “dutchie” came to refer to a blunt. N

24 Edie Brickell & New Bohemians: “What I Am”
Man, there were a lot of ska influences in the 80s. I think I first became aware of the movement listening to the English Beat (who were awesome, and still pop up regularly in my various playlists). This was one of those songs you either loved or hated. I loved it, and hell, most of their first album, too, though the band never saw the success of this single. And then Edie Brickell married Paul Simon. Princess Leia and the “What I Am” chick. Not bad, Paul Simon. Not bad. H

23 Eddy Grant: “Electric Avenue”
“BOY!” The first zillion times I heard this song, I thought he kept screaming “OY!” and it was some bizarre hybrid of English, reggae, electronica and Yiddish. Also, didn’t all the Lectroids from Planet 10 look like Eddy Grant? “BOY!” N

22 Michael Sembello: “Maniac”
Okay, when you read the title of this song, you started running in place and running your hands up and down your legs, didn’t you? Don’t lie. Much like “Dutchie,” this was originally about something entirely different. Take a song a maniacal serial killer and turn it into a tune about a dancing steelworker? No problem! H

21 Twisted Sister: “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Anything that pisses off Tipper Gore is A-OK in my book. And the video also brought back Mark Metcalf (Douglas C. Niedermeyer himself!), and led to his sublime turn as The Master on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. N

Friday, March 26, 2010

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Anyone ever ordered a long sleeve, button-down shirt from Ralph Lauren online? Usually, I just pick up a dress shirt in a brick and mortar store, where I can try it on (and it would typically be or come on a hanger) but I've been more agoraphobic than normal lately. Plus, I know the exact thing I want, and the exact size, so why not have it delivered to my door?

Well, the shirts I ordered arrived today, and I pulled one out.Taking it out of the plastic wrap was no big deal. Nor were the usual tissue liners and cardboard inserts. But Holy Fucking Porcupines, there were a LOT of pins. Every damned corner, every fold, beside every button. There pins in places where even with an advanced degree in textile engineering I could not discern any possible function. I pulled them out, one by one, and lost count after twenty. They were like clowns pouring out of a Volkswagen. After 10 minutes of "unpackaging," I tried on the shirt....and OF COURSE I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. Another pin! I carefully took it off, gave it another once over, and found 5 more. Seriously, is this really necessary? Is Ralph worried that the shirt might become sentient and try to escape the hermetically sealed plastic bag and cardboard bondage without 3 pounds of sharp steel holding it at bay? Or are these shirts marketed by the CIA to unobservant terrorists, who so want to blend into white collar America that they don the togs of a typical business dude and then walk through an airport metal detector only to get taken down when the excess pinnage sets off the alarm and brings a swarm of TSA agents to beat them into submission?

A word of advice: don't sell these shirts to hemophiliacs.

On the upside, if you are one of my enemies, and I have a voodoo doll in your image, watch the fuck out. I'm armed and dangerous.

Tubal Anticipation

Tonight brings the mid-season finale of Caprica, and I can't wait. Of course I was going to be interested in a "prequel" set in the Battlestar Galactica universe, even if Ron Moore and company didn't exactly stick the landing on the finale of that seminal series. Caprica has struggled a bit, as all new series do, to find its footing with tone, story arcs and character development in this first run of episodes, particularly with the adult female characters*, but in my opinion, it's never been less than interesting, and has frequently been captivating and addictive. Tonight's ep, "End of Line," wraps up the first 10 of the show's 20 episode first season, before returning sometime in the fall. The producers claim to have a handle the on the nature of the show now, and say that things really come together in that back run of 10 episodes, which have already been shot. That's very encouraging, since I've been glued to my set for the first half.
*Which is odd, given Jane Espenson's position as head writer. Jane has written for some of the most iconic female characters on television, serving as part of the creative teams behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and Gilmore Girls. Plus, the two adult female leads, Paula Malcomson (Amanda Graystone) and Polly Walker (Sister Clarice) are terrific, immensely talented actresses.
Which brings me to my point for this post. As we know, I watch a LOT of TV. There are some shows that I watch out of habit, or loyalty, and put on while I'm folding the laundry, reading a book, paying bills or surfing around the intertoobz. Then there are others that I actively anticipate, can't wait to watch, and drop everything for when they come on. So what programs rise above the DVR's "I'll watch it when I get around to it" convenience, and become "must watch?" Glad you asked.

This is a list of the "most anticipated" programs each week, not necessarily the "best." (Similar to a discussion of "best" vs. "favorite" TV shows, where the former would almost certainly be topped by The Wire, and the latter would probably be headlined by one of the Whedon tales, like Firefly or Buffy; they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but are definitely different lists).

So, my Top 5 Most Anticipated Dramas Each Week:
  1. Lost
  2. Caprica
  3. Justified
  4. Supernatural
  5. Fringe

Top 5 Most Anticipated Comedies Each Week:
  1. Archer
  2. Glee
  3. Community
  4. Parks & Recreation
  5. Big Bang Theory
Because of the nature of split seasons and airing schedules, some shows I would ordinarily include aren't on here. For example, Sons of Anarchy, True Blood and Doctor Who would probably compete for a place on the list in the "off season" among the dramas, as would It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Party Down with the Comedies.

So what shows to you anticipate most each week?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Idol Top 11: Chipmunk Strippers and Disappointing Choices

Evidently, the theme was going to be “teen hits,” which would fit with the appearance of the loathsome, hypocritical and barely talented Miley Cyrus as a guest “mentor.” (As I mentioned on twitter, what exactly is she going to “mentor” these folks in? How to be annoying? How to flip peace signs while looking like a brain damaged chipmunk? Pole dancing for tweens? Inspiring anyone over the age of 12 to punch you in the face? I actually thought it was admirable of her to defend her “controversial” Annie Leibovitz photos for Vanity Fair. However, once there was a PR kerfuffle, she backtracked, said she was embarrassed, claimed she was taken advantage of, and threw out some hollow biblical protestations. And then put on jorts suitable for a gynecological exam, climbed back up on the stripper pole, and sang about partying for 10 year olds and pervy old men with their houses raised on cinder blocks who keep a box of Kleenex beside them when they watch the Disney Channel.

But thank Cthulu for DVR delay and the FF button, so I won’t have to suffer through any more of her nonsense than required. The theme has been changed to the oh-so narrow “Billboard #1 Hits.” The picks should be interesting, and telling.

On with the show!

“The Letter”

This is one of my favorite songs. Originally done by the Box Tops, and torn apart and seared into our consciousness by Joe Cocker. Lee has the three-pack-a-day scratchiness in his voice like Cocker, but wisely he changes up his phrasing to not sound like a carbon copy, where he would no doubt pale in comparison. His vocals are soulful, energetic and fun. Great way to open the show. 7

“Against All Odds”

Paige was under the weather last week, but seems, in her interview, to be feeling better today. I’m disappointed in the choice, as this is one of those songs that has been flogged to death on Idol. The beginning is horrific – breathy, out of tune and all over the place. She actually sounds worse now than last week when she was laryngitic. She manages to hit a note or two before a complete wipe out at the finish. Awful. One of the worst performances I’ve ever seen on the show. 1


“Crazy Little Things Called Love”

The stripper chipmunk doesn’t think he’s boring, so he’s got that going for him. Which is nice. Fortunately for America, she doesn’t think for us, since yes indeedy, Tim IS boring. Despite the fact that his hair carries a microphone into the audience, he never connects with the song, and his vocals are really flat. “Have some fun with it” is now the new “I sucked, but I’m not gonna get defensive and argumentative with the judges.” It wasn’t abysmal like the previous performance, just utterly lame and forgettable. 4

“I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”

From the interview package, it’s apparent Aaron wants to pull the denim spray paint off of Miley’s labia. However, since she’s still technically a Disney Tartlet (and he’s even younger than her, with overgelled hair), they’ll have to settle for fingerbanging in the back booth at a Chucky Cheese. Another terrible song choice. You have literally thousands of interesting songs to choose from, and you select a shitty Diane Warren ballad? Gah. This makes me want to see Ben Affleck walk animal crackers down Liv Tyler’s goody trail, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. An insipid, uninspiring performance, possibly affected by his health problems. 4

“Me and Bobby McGee”

Is it fair to let Bowersox perform Joplin? Fantastic choice, perfectly suited to her voice and style. For a song so well known (and even expected), she added her own flourishes and nuances to it, starting it slowly and teasingly, before blowing doors at the end. Damn, that was good. A much needed pick me up after the crap of the last 40 minutes or so. This chick is a star. 9

“When a Man Loves a Woman”

A good choice for Big Mike, and he delivers a competent, personable performance. Did it knock my (Bower) socks off? No. Did he find something in his wheelhouse, and give it a fairly good go? Yes. Did it compare unfavorably to Michael Bolton’s cover (much less, Percy Sledge’s original)? Sadly, yeah. Not bad, but he needs to find something where he can fuse personality AND vocals. 6

“Heard It Through the Grapevine”

During the “mentoring” session, Miley’s statutory lips of denim distracted him so much he forgot the lyrics to the song. And really, this song? Has anyone picked anything adventurous? As much as I love “Letter” and “Bobby McGee,” those aren’t exactly walking out on a ledge and trying something wild. And this isn’t a good selection for him. He’s flailing around on the stage, and his vocals are about as soulful as a pinochle game in Provo. Bad. 3


“Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Katie picks one of the few Fergie songs with actual singing, and none of that spoken rap, full of attitude bullshit. She shows some personality, but sadly, it takes a pretty bland performance to make me appreciate the depth and power of Fergie’s vocals. It’s not as bad as some of the wipeouts we’ve just seen, so in comparison, it seems rather pleasing, despite many sharp and just plain off key notes. 5.5


“The Power of Love”

Did he generate 1.21 gigawatts? Not quite, but that was a good choice for Casey, and he delivered the song with energy and enthusiasm, accented by some nice guitar playing. His vocals were right where the songs needs to be, and he didn’t overshoot. The judges were mixed on this, but I rather liked it. 7

“You’re No Good”

Finally, an interesting song selection that doesn’t feel overdone. DiDi looks great, and gives the tune a little bit of a torch song sass. It’s a bit shaky in the beginning, but really picks up steam as she goes along. The judges don’t like it all, but I have to disagree. I thought it was fun, and brave of her to take it on in a way that was out of her comfort zone, but not an embarrassment. 7


Hot off a showstopping performance last week, Siobahn gets the pimp slot tonight. Oh My Fucking God. What has she done to her hair? She looked 1000% better in her little package with the chipmunk, with the downdo and Harry Carey glasses. Despite the Eraserhead dress up, she puts down a fun and vocally proficient version of Stevie’s classic, though I gotta be honest, I was expecting a little more. She’s got a huge voice, and unless she really steps in it, she’s a lock to make through to the final 2 or 3. But this was kind of in the middle, without the soul and funk of the original, yet neither getting down to the bluesy grit of a Stevie Ray version. Still, a standout on a night of mostly uninspiring choices and performances. 7

TNRLM Top 3: Crystal, Siobahn, DiDi

TNRLM Bottom 3: Paige, Andrew, Tim

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Last night's Caprica

Recap of last night's episode:

That was pretty damned amazing, no? I realize Caprica won't get any awards season love (BSG never did, despite being eminently worthy and higher profile than Caprica), but Eric Stoltz continues to bring it week after week, and last night, he just killed. That's definitely Emmy-caliber work.

Season finale next week, and I can't wait.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FlashForward returns. Audience goes "meh" and I agree

When FlashForward started, it looked like it might be ABC's successor to Lost. It had an intriguing premise, a talented cast and showrunners who knew a thing or two about creating genre fiction. I watched, but it grew increasingly tedious during its first run of episodes in the fall, before going off the air for a while. During the hiatus, they changed showrunners twice, and the series returned last night with a two hour episode determined to provide some answers and kick start the drama.

I gave it a whirl, and indeed, they did provide some answers, as well as tone down some of the more irritating aspects of their lead characters, but the whole thing left me rather flat. Apparently, other viewers agreed, as less than 7 million of them tuned in. I'll keep watching for the time being, to see if it picks up at all, but with several other shows returning on the same night that I'm far more passionate about (like Supernatural and Fringe), I don't know how long FlashForward will stay on the season pass list.

URL: Things I Just Don't Get

"URL" stands for Utterly Random List, where I will present a series of items, without detailed explanations, on a single topic. Today's topic:

Things I Just Don't Get

Pee Wee Herman
Heavy beers like Guinness
Non-competitive reality shows
Fruit in a dessert
Sean Hannity
Decaffeinated coffee
Adam Sandler comedies
Menthol cigarettes
Colin Cowherd
Adding a baby to a TV show
Egg salad
Message board posters who still insist on doing the "first!" thing
The 3 Stooges
Men wearing sandals
Howard Stern
Using expensive vodka in bloody marys
Casting Eric Balfour in your TV show

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My cat is a lightweight

I have two adorable "kids," each of whom has their own idiosyncrasies. The older one, Mulder, has an insatiable desire to eat people food and drink people drinks, despite having an overflowing feeder full of all natural cat chow and a delightfully streaming kitty water fountain.

He's remarkably persistent, so much so that when I sit down to eat something, I have to keep a spray bottle of water handy just to fend him off during the meal. In my old house, where I did a lot more cooking, I frequently had to use those mesh "picnic tents" to place over various dishes that were prepared, but not yet served, lest he jump up onto the island or counter to begin his compulsive noshing. And it's not just limited to food. He loves to drink ANYTHING out of a cup or glass. Coffee, Diet Coke, lemonade, beer, name it. If people are consuming it, he wants it, and wants it now.

Quick aside: apparently, this feline behavior is kinda aberrant. My dear friends back in The Motherland have a house full of cats, and frequently have get togethers where there are all kinds of tasty dishes setting out uncovered throughout the house, and their kids get nowhere near them. One time, at a poker tournament a few years ago, there was a huge party platter of Zaxby's chicken fingers and wings (with sauce!) on the dining room table, and none of their half dozen kitties bothered them at all. Unbelievable. Mulder would have met me in the driveway, helped me carry the platter into the house and removed the plastic dome lid himself, before chowing down and eating 50 chicken fingers in one sitting while I was busy taking two minutes to fill a cup with whiskey.

By now, after 14 years, I've gotten used to it, and almost always prepare meals accordingly (putting them in the oven, the microwave, the pantry, etc. when they're not being actively eaten) and carry my beverages around with me as I flit about the domicile. However, a couple of weeks ago, I had a friend over for movie night and we were knocking back some bloody marys. We went over to my desk - which is no more than 10 feet away from the coffee table, mind you -- to look something up on the intertoobz. I brought mine with me, because A) the habit of not leaving something unattended for fear of the feline Hoover sucking it up, and B) let's face it, I really can't be more than 10 feet away from a cocktail at any given time. However, my friend doesn't have pets like mine, and left hers on the coffee table. Minutes later, we found who played that guy in that thing, and I noticed her bloody wasn't with her. Uh Oh. I glanced over at the coffee table, and yep, there he was, snout first into the vodka-tomato concoction. We shooed him away and proceeded to make another one (in a new glass, cuz I'm classy that way). Before too long, Mulder was right in the middle of the living room, becoming a multicolored organic fountain right on the carpet. Thank Zeus for Resolve carpet cleaner.

However, I started wondering what his "tolerance" was. After some quick math, and assuming he had time to throw down about an ounce, I computed that it was the equivalent of me having around 17 ounces, or about two full bloodys in a lowball glass.

To which I say: pussy.

I mean, who is selling Buicks after two bloody marys? He hasn't had his balls in about 13 years, but still, that's not very manly. Later tonight, I think I'm gonna set up a drinking game, Raiders of the Lost Ark style, drink him under the table just like Marion Ravenwood, and take him for all his money. Or, challenge him to a game of quarters, because I'm damned good at that game. And he doesn't have opposable thumbs.

For reference, here's the lightweight who can't handle his booze:


Quick! Go Shopping!

To celebrate 10 years of awesomeness, nerdy online retailer Threadless is having a sale: $10 t-shirts and $30 hoodies. (Sale ends Saturday). Here are a few things I picked up:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

So. About that "leftover pizza" thing.

Today, my favorite TV critic, Mo Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, tweeted about the overflow of good programming on Tuesdays. (Initially, she had forgotten about Justified, which premiered last night on FX, and I'm sure I was one of dozens to remind her about that one, which is AWESOME). And I scratched my head, and thought "didn't I once lament that lack of anything watchable on Tuesdays?" And in fact, I had done that, calling Tuesday "the worst night of television of the entire week" and "leftover pizza."

Well, things change.

Right now on Tuesdays we have:
V, coming back on 3.30




Law & Order: Criminal Intent,
returning 3.30
Also, we have Sons of Anarchy, returning in September (which is a time slot "partner" with Justified on FX), White Collar, which just wrapped up a successful first season (which is a time slot partner with L&O:CI), and Warehouse 13, returning 7.13.

Damn, that leftover pizza tastes good.

Still, it's not the scheduling and DVR-straining cataclysm that happens two days later, on Thursdays:


Parks & Recreation



(Finally returning 4.1!)
The Office

30 Rock

The Mentalist

(season finale this Thursday, already renewed for a second season!)
Burn Notice
(just concluded season, returning in the summer)
(returning 6.24!)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
(not sure when that resumes, but I assume it will be in the fall, where it would be great paired with a returning Archer on FX)
Now THAT is an overstuffed night.

Face Lift

Do not adjust your set.

I've given the blog a face lift.

I had the same white type on black background format since I started this little endeavor several years ago, and just decided to do a wee bit of spring cleaning and spruce the place up.

All the content is the same, and all the links and widgets and archives are the same. It just looks a little...brighter.

Thoughts? Critiques? Don't give a shit?

Idol Top 12: Can Get Some Satisfaction

Well, here we are with the Idol Top 12. It’s a Rolling Stones theme night. Will the performances make Keith Richards roll over in his grave? Wait, he’s not dead yet? Are we sure about that? Does he at least sleep in a grave?

On with the show!

First up is Michael, who gives an 80s R&B, Jeffrey Osborne feel to “Miss You.” It was an interesting, and not unpleasant, arrangement, and his vocals were fairly smooth. But I don’t think any Puerto Rican girls are gonna come around at 12 that are just dyin’ to meet him. 6

Next we have DiDi, who will perform “Play With Fire.” She delivers it with a slow, if somewhat melodramatic, urgency, and kept her vocals in control through most of it. I like the choice and the arrangement here, and she didn’t do anything to hurt her chances. 7

Casey is up third, with “All Over Now.” Is he the first guy to play slide guitar on Idol? That’s a nice surprise. It’s a pretty straightforward version of the tune, bluesy and country, and as far as former Idol contestants, he’s like the bastard love child of Bucky Covington and Bo Bice. Not adventurous, but enjoyable, with vocal a well suited to the material. 7.5

Here comes Lacey, performing “Ruby Tuesday.” The strings sound nice, but as far as versions of “Ruby Tuesday” go, I think the one with the big salad bar comes out looking better. Not a strong vocal. Obviously, I have nothing against a good twang, but hers was well pronounced here, and a talky delivery didn’t help. (“stillI’mgonnamissyou” sung/spoken like a drunken elf) And then she sat down for the bigger notes, which just didn’t hit. First big miss of the night. 4

Andrew will do one of my absolute favorite songs, “Gimme Shelter.” Maybe it’s just because I love this song so much, but that was pretty terrible. You can tell there’s a gravelly, bluesy voice in there somewhere, but Chtulu help me, I actually agree with Kara here. This was delivered with a minimum of passion and intensity, and this tune really needs it. Not good. 4

Katie has chosen “Wild Horses,” which I was kind of dreading as a selection, because it can fall into such listless cliché. It wasn’t a great vocal performance, but it wasn’t terrible either. A missed note here and there, and the melody kind of came apart at the end. Just “okay?” 5

Tim is doing “Under My Thumb.” He’s giving a calypso, busking vibe with a warbly vocal. Oh shit, do we have another Castro here, with only a slightly less annoying haircut? Tween girls will swoon, and I will slash my wrists. WIPEOUT. 2

Next is Siobahn, performing “Paint It Black.” Well, that was interesting. She gave the tune a dramatic spin (will this be known now as “Lambertesque?”), made the most fascinating arrangement choices thus far, and went to town, wailing on the close. Sure to be divisive, but my only complaint was that she wasn’t more aggressive in her phrasing in the middle of the song. 8

Lee will give us “Beast of Burden.” It’s a pleasantly low key performance, and winning compared with previous coffeehouse takes. Probably because the vocal is more heartfelt, if not 100% technically proficient. Not a showstopper, but charming. 6

Here comes Paige with “Honkey Tonk Women.” I don’t know if it’s just my local feed, but the band doesn’t come across very loud here, which sucks a bit of energy from the song. Despite that, Paige puts down a strong, smoky vocal. (which it turns out, was due to laryngitis). The choice and arrangement, from what I could hear, was pretty de rigueur. Not bad at all. 6

Aaron will do “Angie.” Another song, like “Wild Horses,” in the Stones catalog that I’m not crazy about. I was hoping for some more uptempo, provocative choices, but oh well. What the fuck is it with guys today and the little hair gel upsweep? That is so irritating. It’s like a giraffe bent down and licked their whole heads, and they said “this looks great!” That song is twice as old Aaron, but it was a smart choice for him. It was convincingly delivered, and right in the sweet spot for what seems like a narrow vocal range. 7

Finally, in the Pimp Spot, is the only contestant I’ve heard anything about prior to tonight, Crystal. She’ll be doing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Wow. I guess there’s a reason I knew something of her. She’s fucking terrific. Confident, personable, and vocally ahead of much of what I heard tonight. A great, bluesy and sassy performance. (and evidently, not one of her best?) I look forward to seeing more of her. 8

And week one is in the books. Honestly, given some of the buzz leading up to tonight, I was expecting much worse.

With regard to the cast and crew, was it just me or was Seacrest overly unctuous and flat tonight? Ellen was a pleasant surprise, funny, observant and to the point. Simon was his usual self, and the best part of the panel of course. Kara actually made sense (color me shocked, too), and Randy was as always, an extra appendage, but not quite so molten hot dawgie incomprehensible as last year.

TNRLM Top 3: Crystal, Siobahn, Casey

TNRLM Bottom 3: Lacey, Tim, Andrew

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Idol Thoughts

As regular readers know, American Idol is the only "reality" show I watch (unless you count Mythbusters or Sci-Fi Science as "reality," which I don't, since "reality" is nowadays used in quotes, which means that it actually has little relation to things rooted in reality, because "reality" shows are just basic narratives comprised of untalented famewhores being craftily edited into something resembling a marginal at best story, and the latter two shows I mentioned shockingly feature people with brains and discernible skills doing something interesting and thought-provoking). Originally, I started watching because my regular Wednesday night trivia friends loved the show, and by watching, it gave us something fun to talk and debate about between questions and pitchers of beer. I continued watching because, with the magical aid of a DVR, I could fast forward through all the things I loathe about "reality" shows (packaged "highlights" and sob stories from "real life," people saying things that aren't scripted by professional writers) and quickly get to the meat of the show, which is people singing songs that you've heard before, and one knowledgeable and entertaining judge (and 2 or 3 superfluous morons) commenting on them. Also, I could ignore the show during the first month or so of each new season, when it was packed with bad auditions and backstories that would fit better on a local cable access telethon, and wait until the Top 12 debuted, when the show became more about the actual "competition."

So, that's where we are now. I know virtually nothing about the results to date, other than what's been absorbed by pop culture osmosis. Ellen is in, replacing (mercifully) the loopily incoherent Paula. (I never got the love and appeal of Paula. Yes, she had a few hits back in the day, but was more a performer than a singer, and her "analysis" was basically cheerleading spliced with upchucked rainbows, through the filter of a dictionary-impaired word jumble. Surely Ellen is an improvement, as she is also a performer, albeit a more polished and cogent one). This is Simon's last year. Kara is still there, and despite an impressive CV on paper, was annoying and contradictory last year. And Randy is useless, dawg. So it will be interesting to see how the panel of judges has shaped up for this critical year. Also, all I've heard about the contestants themselves is that it's been a rocky road to the finals, many of the performances to date have been underwhelming, and presumably, the early favorite is a chick named Crystal.

For many reasons, I'm not particularly enthused about the program this year, but I'll tune in tonight to see if it captures my fascination again. And hey, it's hard to go wrong with the Stones' catalog, right?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movies you love more than others. Kind of.

Friday, during a double bill of Caprica (which is quickly becoming my favorite show on TV) and the Coen's A Serious Man*, and while quickly emptying two bottles of shiraz**, the subject of "movies you love more than others" came up.
*Despite not being a Jew, or religious at all, this is a fantastic and thought-provoking film. Whatever your cultural, ethnic or faith-based background, it IS the fucking Coen Brothers, the performances are perfectly calibrated and the comedy is pitch black. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now.

**Purely for "decoration" purposes, as my friend needed empty wine bottles for an x-mas light/bottle display. Of course, should we need to replace all the street lights in the local metro area with this same arrangement, we're here and ready to help.
"Movies you love more than others" is really not a good description. And it's not really "guilty pleasures," either, though that appellation could fit for some of the flicks discussed. We didn't really lay out a rigid set of parameters for the choices (which I know, is kinda against my sense of OCD, but we WERE making twinkle light lamp vessels!), but the subject spun off of our viewing of A Serious Man. That movie was nominated for an Oscar after all, and appeared on a great number of year end "best lists," so it's not without critical acclaim. But the Coens are an acquired taste for a great deal of the populace, the subject matter covered here could charitably be called "niche," the box office was miniscule and not everyone is a fan of black comedy. So the conversation was wandering into "I think I love this movie more than other people will" territory.

Here are a few other movies that came up. War of the Roses. Joe vs. the Volcano. Toys. Love & Death. Wonder Boys. Vanilla Sky. Certainly not awful movies, but movies that, for whatever reason, you like more than their mainstream popularity or acknowledged quality.

Then we kinda segued into "guilty pleasures," movies that you find yourself watching knowing full well that they are terrible. Like Deep Blue Sea or The Core.

Or movies that aren't particularly good, but have something that keeps bringing you back, like Kevin Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which I actually own on DVD for the spunky Marion and Alan Rickman's deliciously droll Sheriff of Nottingham. Or "cut-above" teen movies like 10 Things I Hate About You.

Finally, we talked about "movies that you watch almost every time they are on, even though you own them on DVD, just because you love them so fucking much." For me, there were some obvious choices here, like The Matrix, Caddyshack, Animal House, Raising Arizona, Pulp Fiction, Airplane!, Wrath of Khan, The Big Lebowski, The Incredibles and Casablanca.

Then there were others that, while they may be popular or have their own passionate followings, you seem to adore more than a lot of other people. Like Buckaroo Banzai, Big Trouble in Little China, Serenity, Excalibur, The Prestige, Minority Report or Contact. (Or, for example, the fact that we both think Vertigo is our favorite Hitchcock film, when many others would choose Rear Window, North by Northwest or Psycho. Though I do love those, too).

As a thought exercise, it was a little frustrating, given how amorphous the criteria was for selection. I mean, no one would say that Pulp Fiction is an "overlooked gem" or that Airplane! is a "guilty pleasure." A more analytical way to approach this might be to develop more clearly defined categories. Like:
  • Your most rewatchable movies.
  • Movies you love more than the general populace (comparing, for example, where you rank a movie on FlickChart compared to its overall ranking there. Or your passion for it compared it its box office).
  • Guilty pleasures.
  • Legitimately great movies that didn't get their due (from either critics or audiences).
But hey, we were drunk, and at the end of the day, we generated a list of flicks that we love and want to watch over and over again.

So what about you? What movies do you love "more than others?"