Friday, September 29, 2006

Movie Log 2006 #77: Cabaret
This was a soundtrack my parents had when I was growing up, and it annoyed the crap out of me then. Thankfully Klaus Nomi came along in the '80s to help me appreciate the film's freakshow aspect. This was quite good; sorta refreshing to see a musical this bleak, and having a homely leading lady worked well, I thought. Kudos to Liza for going out on a limb to play a woman who gets involved with a bisexual dude. There's a stretch.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Movie Log 2006 #68-76
I haven't updated in a month? Jeezy Creezy! I'd better unload before the film festival starts...

Angels with Dirty Faces - Cagney shooting a gun in the movies is always funny to me. In I guess what is supposed to be a recoil action, he instead shakes the gun at his victim as he shoots. It's like his hand motion is what propels the bullets. He does the same in White Heat. Oh, the Dead End Kids (later the East Side Kids, later the Bowery Boys) also appear, and are pretty good.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - I would have liked this a lot more if not for the interminable Burt Bachrach score. I can't believe he won an Oscar for it.

Borat - I've already talked about this.

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media - Say what you will about Michael Moore but at least political documentaries have picked up the pace in his wake. This one was nearly three hours, and leaden in its pacing. High points included crazy John Silber calling Chomsky a "phony" in a debate, a sequence set in Media, PA, the site of Rosenberg's infamous Gerbil car accident, and seeing a former co-worker's name in the credits.

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades - I'd heard decent things about this series of samurai films. This one got off to a bad start, as three rapes in the first 20 minutes drove Kirsti away. That unpleasantness ended soon enough, but on the whole this installment was not as action-packed as I expected. The one set in winter looked pretty cool, though...

Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories from the Kindertransport - A Holocaust documentary? That won an Oscar? Surely you jest! This was better than most, though, and didn't make one want to open a vein after viewing.

Syriana - Hey! Oil is bad! BAD! That's pretty much all this film had to say, but Stephen Gaghan, confusing "complicated" with "complex," tried to mask its shallow message in a deliberately abstruse storyline. Yawn.

Concrete Cowboys and Lady in Cement - Steve's Movie Dictator selections (theme was "Don't Take Your Work Home With You," as he works in the concrete industry). The former was a made-for-TV movie starring Jerry Reed and Tom Selleck, as well as a young Morgan Fairchild. She was never attractive, by the way. The latter was a Frank Sinatra/Raquel Welch movie.

Monday, September 25, 2006

3-Chord Monday #40-41
Because when you do a musical word-association exercise, "New Orleans" naturally leads to "postpunk." Since the U2/Green Day cover will sell about a metric jillion copies, here's the original. The Skids were founded in Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1977. Their biggest song, 1979's "Into the Valley," hit #10 in the UK, and is still the anthem for Dunfermline's Scottish Premier team. Does the soaring guitar sound familiar? Guitarist Stuart Adamson was a Skid for three albums, then refined the sound in his new band, Big Country.

The Skids - "Into the Valley"
The Skids - "The Saints Are Coming"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Apparently MySpace does in fact have a limited justification for existence, as you can get access to free movie screenings, including the Borat movie. Still, it'll be a while before I attend another "Black Carpet" screening. I don't know that saving $10 is ever worth four hours of sitting around in line. I arrived in line at 6. They had to cap the line at 7:30. Movie started at 10.

As for the film: it's uneven and artless (by design, I suppose). A few of the pieces are retreads from Da Ali G Show, but I don't think anything is recycled. They play fast and loose with geography -- supposed to be East-to-West linear, but they seemingly jump from Mississippi to Virginia to Texas to Georgia, But at least 20 minutes of it had the audience howling. Literally. HOW-LING.

If you've seen any Ali G/Borat and have an opinion on the show, this movie's not going to change your mind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Tournament Announcement
In voting on various music tournaments, Leah and I have been called snobs on par with the folks at Pitchfork. So now we can see if we're anywhere in that weightclass in the Pitchfork '60s song tournament. Leah's taken their 200 best songs of the '60s list and turned it into a 192-seed bracket. As a bonus, Leah is making all 192 songs available for download. So come for the free music, stay for the bitching.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

stupid baseball stuff:

The inner seventh-grade boy never goes away. Reading "Yankees scratch Wang" is always funny. If I were drinking a half-pint of chocolate milk, it would most definitely shoot of out my nose.

The Cubs and I are not pals, but right now Angel Pagan is my favorite baseball name. Only when said like a gringo, of course. Sounds like some goth pr0n star.

Remember a few months ago, when I said I'd throw secondary allegiance behind the Tigers since the Twins were pissing away 2006? Yeah, well, so much for that. Next week provides a bit of a dilemma as the White Sox and Tigers face off. Earlier, with the Tigers running away with the division, I'd be content to root them on and let the Sox fall further behind in the wild-card chase. But now, suddenly the division title is not an impossiblity, and the Twins do not want to face the Yankees on the road AGAIN...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

what's the 411?
As more and more and more people get rid of their landline phones and go entirely wireless, is calling directory assistance for a number becoming a thing of the past? Information still only lists landline numbers. The other week, we were trying to get together with some friends who were making a rare appearance in our area. We left some messages; never heard back. Turns out the phone number I had was for the cellphone they had left at home, and the phone they had with them didn't have our numbers in it. We found out what had happed later, and it's cool and all, but our phone number remains available through directory assistance. Random brain fart, or is this just a utility one forgets about when you're totally wireless?

One potential hitch in this is that our phone is listed, but only under my wife's name. If you assume she has my last name, you will not find us. This has led to friction between K. and some of "our" (I guess they're really only "my," it turns out) friends from MN. We've been married for nine years, living together for 12, and in a relationship for 17. I've known some of these people since high school, and they are not only unaware that she kept her last name, but couldn't be bothered to learn how to spell her first name. Few things irritate her more. I'm not so thrilled with it either.

Monday, September 11, 2006

3-chord Monday #39
The Touch & Go Block Party was definitely worth skipping a wedding for. One of the highlights was this band, whose set featured a theremin and a working tesla coil:

Man or Astro-Man? - "Tomorrow Plus X"

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Compare the mainstream media's outrage over The Reagans miniseries to the comparative lack of outrage over ABC's planned 9/11 miniseries.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Look, I'm tied for the lead in the Alison LaPlaca open! I think this will be the only time I'll be able to say that. If even Dinan had trouble with picks, it's going to be a rough year for everyone.
So here's what I'm going with:

10-Brothers and Sisters (ABC) - behind-the-scenes turmoil and late casting changes...never a good sign.
9-30 Rock (NBC) - Pilot's been retooled. For reasons which may or may not be valid, I think NBC still associates SNL with "Not Ready For Prime Time." The network isn't going to give Tina Fey the benefit of the doubt that they'll give Aaron Sorkin. Kicking Dratch to a supporting role in favor of a more conventionally attractive lead (Jane Krakowski) is a prime example.

8-King of Queens (CBS) - This is an unusually bad year for shows going into announced final seasons. KoQ is the highest-profile of such shows, but I'm taking a risk assigning so many points to a midseason replacement.

7-Help Me Help You (ABC) - Dear John, Trouble With Normal...who keeps greenlighting these support-group shows? Becker lasted a while, so perhaps I'm underestimating Ted Danson's fan base.

6-Men in Trees (ABC) - I just picked this based on a slew of bad reviews. Based on its place in the Top 10, I wasn't alone. It's fashionable to bust on Anne Heche, but I will say she wasn't the worst thing about Six Days, Seven Nights (no, the worst thing was that it was totally stupid and sucked out loud).

5-Gilmore Girls (CW) - the show's creator has left, and neither Gilmore Girl is signed beyond this season.

4-Happy Hour (FOX) See comments for #6, minus Heche content.

3-Til Death (FOX) ditto.

2-The Game (CW) - a sitcom about NFL spouses might not be the worst idea, but placing opposite actual NFL football is.

1-Six Degrees (ABC) - This will fail, but I predict that copycat shows will be huge; most notably CBS's Friendster and Fox's megahit, Myspace.

Monday, September 4, 2006