Man, it seems like a week since last Friday! Finally.
So last night, I'm sitting in a pub watching 2 basketball games at once eating a big ole 3 lb plate of crawfish, potatoes and corn while washing it down with a few Blue Moon beers and it hits me. Life is good. Unfortunately my sister spent the weekend unexpectedly in the hospital. Unfortunately my buddy who met me for some brews lost his father unexpectedly last weekend. You just never know when stuff can hit the fan I guess, so yea... life is good. This weekend there's one of my favorite local bands rockin' it up, a Tough Man contest, going to the horse track and a UFC Pay-per-view. Life is, well, you know. Good and stuff. Write it down. So what's at the theater that's new Cracker? Settle down, I'm getting there. 3 newbies hit the screen:
The Other Boleyn Girl
The Plot: Two sisters (Natalie Portman & Scarlett Johansson) vie for the affections of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana). My Thoughts: Looks really boring to me, but I do like the cast. What are the odds that Portman and Johansson mud wrestle for Bana's attention though? Slim I'd guess. Unfortunately.
The Plot: Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell), the owner-coach-player of the American Basketball Association's Flint Michigan Tropics, rallies his teammates in an effort to make their far-fetched NBA dreams come true. My Thoughts: Will Ferrell has now been an ice skater, a NASCAR driver, basketball player and a soccer coach in movies. So I have a feeling we all know exactly what this movie will be like, but that shouldn't stop me from seeing it and laughing my butt off.
The Plot: Penelope (Christina Ricci) is a modern-day princess who was born with a pig's snout -- a curse that can only be broken when she finds true love with a prince. My Thoughts: I like Ricci and Reese Witherspoon is also in this, but it just looks so offbeat... not that that's a bad thing I guess.
A yuppie couple on a fishing trip in a small boat along the Australian coast end up lost and in dangerous territory as they seek refuge at an isolated farmhouse. Unfortunately for them, the 3 backwoods men who live there have plans for some "fun" with them, and there's nobody around to help.
Yes, pretty much the same story I've seen in hundreds of horror movies... isolation, unknown territory, fish out of water, crazy brutal locals, etc and so forth. What makes this one different? Well, in some of the opening sequences the cinematography is fantastic and the director does a nice job of giving that feeling of dread, setting an evil tone. What really sets it apart once it gets cranking though in the sheer brutality. This movie is hardcore.
Take 1 part Deliverance, 1 part Wolf Creek and 1 part Wrong Turn and mix them up then amplify it a few times and you'll get Storm Warning. As the movie goes along it intensifies and so does the violence. It's probably a good thing it clocks in at under 1:30, because much more would be tough to handle.
The acting is above average for a low budget type film for sure, as the heroin is excellent and believable as she morphs into a tough chick. The 3 local crazies are also really good. Also, for a low budget film, it looks really nice and doesn't have that indy feel to it.
So it's not exactly anything new, but it's well done, vicious and has loads of gore and tension. Horror fans only though, trust me.
So I didn't really have anything exciting to blog about and I figured what the heck, I'll post this:
Why you ask? What's so funny about a fat kid falling off a van? Well, several things. First, he's got no business on the van to begin with. Actually he's got no business climbing on anything smaller than a moon. Second... he seems to have a glandular problem. Lastly, people falling from stuff makes me laugh, I'm that easily entertained. Again though, just as long as it's not me. So yea, I will admit it, these things added up are comedic gold. When I saw Shamu doing a belly flop from atop the Mystery Machine I spit soda out of my nose. I'm a jerk like that.
Spring is closing in so some better movies will be hitting the theaters, or that's how it traditionally works at least. I've still found some stuff to like in the first 2 cold, crappy months of the year, but nothing has taken the box office by storm exactly yet. Here's the top 10 domestics so far:
There is some potential for a blockbuster maybe coming out of March as films like 10,000 B.C., Semi-Pro (with Will Ferrell) and Horton Hears a Who all take a shot at box office bucks. I'd guess any of those 3 might bust to the top of the top 10.
Here's what I've thought so far about what I've seen. I've caught a couple of straight-to-DVD horror sequels that are actually decent, White Noise 2 (review here) and Boogeyman 2 (review here). I caught a new movie on Sci-Fi Network called Beyond Loch Ness (review here) that sucks. I think The Bucket List (review here) is uplifting and pretty funny at times with a great cast. The Spiderwick Chronicles (review here) is a decent dark fantasy for the older kids, The Orphanage (review here) is a pretty darn good creepy ghost story, Rambo (review here) is a fun bloodbath of action and Cloverfield (review here) is a solid monster movie that I enjoyed.
For the record... this is an old song I used to listen to back when they played the Doctor Demento Show on WLS called "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" from 1966 by Napoleon XIV (aka Jerry Samuels).
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, and orphanage out in the country, where she plans to open a home for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with invisible new friends, just before he disappears. As they frantically try to find their lost son, she realizes the answers are in the secrets of the home.
Guillermo Del Toro's name is on this film, but as producer only, so don't go to see his directorial work. Also be warned... it's in Spanish and subtitled so be prepared for a lot of reading. But it's definitely worth it.
It's very atmospheric and creepy and the plot unravels at a nice enough pace to keep you interested. It's sort of a thinking-man's ghost story more than a horror movie, as there are only a couple of jump-type scares, relying instead on cerebral terror over little tricks. It works pretty well as the big house is creepy and the goings-on induce chill bumps regularly on a more psychological level.
The overall look of the film is pretty amazing too, with light and darkness and color used in a unique way a lot of times, giving it sort of a special feel.
The story itself isn't hugely original, as it's another of the "ghost leaves clues to solving the mystery of the house" film, of which there are many (my favorite would be George C. Scott in The Changeling). It's the way this one was done that will leave it sitting apart from the rest in the coming years.
I found it to be a very clever, tense ghost story that I look forward to watching again on DVD.
Here's my tip for the day... never coincide any form of weight loss efforts with the wonderful time of the year when all the Girl Scout cookies come in. To make matters worse, half the people I work with also try to give their's away so everywhere I look at work, including my desk, there are freakin' boxes of Tagalongs and Thin Mints and Dosidos... ah man. I'll get back on the weight loss next week.
Lots to laugh about with 3 comedies out of the 4 new movies in theaters opening today:
The Plot: Initially failing to fit in at his new public school, Charlie Bartlett appoints himself as the new resident therapist, where he doles out advice, and the occasional prescription or two... My Thoughts: This actually looks sort of entertaining, in a teen movie sort of way.
The Plot: Five different points-of-view are woven together to chronicle an attempt on the life of the President of the United States. My Thoughts: Cool cast, with Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker and Matthew Fox among others in what looks like a pretty decent thriller.
Be Kind, Rewind
The Plot: Unaware that he has a magnetized brain, a man (Jack Black) accidentally erases every tape at the video store where his friend (Mos Def) works. In order to satisfy the store's most loyal renter, an aging woman with signs of dementia, the two men set out to remake the lost films. My Thoughts: I love Jack Black but Mos Def gets on my nerves. The plot sounds about as stupid as the trailer looks.
The Plot: A small-town sheriff (Larry the Cable Guy) rescues a woman he believes has been kidnapped, only to realize he's snatched-up the star witness for an upcoming white-collar crime trial. Now he has to find a way to protect both of their hides from the no-good-types out to do them in. My Thoughts: The NASCAR target market might enjoy this moronic looking film. No offense (hey, I like NASCAR).
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures. From the beloved best-selling series of books.
First, a couple of things that shocked me about this movie. I couldn't believe it was rated PG as I checked leaving the theater. It's pretty dark and has a lot of scary moments and very few light-hearted moments. It should be PG-13 as I personally think it's way too much for very young kids. Secondly, I can't believe that role of the twins was played by 1 kid. They did an excellent job with the effects and I really thought it was twin brothers playing the role.
Anyway, about the film itself. I think it's exciting and a pretty good story with solid special effects and plenty of action. It reminded me of a cross between Jumanji and The Chronicles of Narnia with maybe some Harry Potter magic mixed in. There's even an underlying story about a family going through a divorce that's well portrayed I thought and grounds it with some realism.
The magical characters all look fantastic with great CGI special effects, but not so much as to detract from a good story of good vs evil. The story in itself isn't anything too new... the bad guys trying to get a secret book away from the good guys. It's the little extras that make it stand out a bit.
It's a fairy tale with a lot of excitement and adventure that's maybe not for the little kids, but a little bit older kids (that can handle the scary monsters and chases) and adults should find it an entertaining time as I did.
I stumbled across this on YouTube and thought it was pretty creative. It's a music video set to Afternoon Delight which pays tribute to the ever delicious Shiner Bock beer, my favorite beer on earth, and the overall joy of mid-day drinking. Directed by Adam Solomon.
OK, so when I say it's cold here in Arkansas it's sort of all relative. I mean cold to us is when it dips in the 20s. So I won't complain about our weekend being in the 30s since I know a lot of the nation is under some SERIOUS cold. But anyway, I found David Letterman's top 10 pretty funny earlier this week.
Top Ten Answers To The Question, "How Cold Is It?"
10. It's so cold, Donald Trump's hair was shivering and rubbing its paws together 9. It's so cold, in New York City there are more polar bears than rats 8. It's so cold, Democrats are calling for an end to our dependence on foreign cocoa 7. It's so cold, ABC is debuting a new reality series, "Defrosting With The Stars" 6. It's so cold, Matthew McConaughey actually put on a shirt 5. No number 5 -- writer suffering hypothermia 4. It's so cold, Romney changed his first name to Mitten 3. It's so cold, Apple just introduced iScarf 2. It's so cold, Barack Obama is campaigning in Puerto Vallarta 1. It's so cold, Roger Clemens is injecting soup in his ass
I'll whip up a report with some Vegas stories in the next day or 2 I guess. Nothing too crazy to report, I guess I'm too old for that. Just a lot of gambling, drinking, eating, walking and people watching. Not a lot of sleeping.
This year we stayed at Bill's Gambling Hall (formerly the Barbary Coast), which is in a great location and is pretty cheap. I figure why spent too much on a fancy room when you're only in it for about 6 hours a day? I must say, I highly recommend it if you're looking for a cheat place. The rooms were really nice and again, the location is excellent. It's next door to Bally's and right across the street from Caesar's Palace.
Here's a few misc. pics from the Vegas weekend:
The fountains at the BellagioMe waiting on the fountain showSomething I only see in VegasEndless construction on the Vegas StripVegas band Kreep bringin' the rock @ Divebar
Somehow I managed to get checked in for my flight and through security in the Las Vegas airport in like 10 minutes so i'm sitting here waiting on my plane that doesn't board for 2 hours. Oh joy. At least I'm not hungover or broke I guess, so that's good. My 6th trip to Sin City didn't leave me in financial ruin, but I didn't exactly break their bank either. It was a blast though.
This is such a unique city, like nowhere else on earth. I mean where else would you actually utter the words to your waiter "I'll have the tall stack of pancakes and another Sam Adams beer." It's just like time stops when you land here and you never know when to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and you can't remember you're supposed to go to bed before the sun starts climing over the mountains.
Several things are in abundance here:
1) slot machines... I mean the only place you can't escape the draw of these things is in your room or maybe the bathrooms, although I'm sure you can find some in bathrooms if you look hard enough
2) Starbucks... I lost count at about 30 of these freakin' things
3) trashy women... "Oh, our Vegas trip is next week, gotta stop by Skanks 'R Us."
4) drunken fools... can't hold your liquor? no problem, you'll fit right in it seems
5) ATMs... seriously, I'd love to know the count on these things here. I'm guessing about 2 billion
6) condos... every trip here now I notice at least 2 or 3 massive new condo towers going up near the strip
7)implants... need a waitress job? invest
8) Mexicans who slap handouts and try to force you to take one... can this not be banned? You can't walk down the sidewalk without them attempting to hand you free hookers passes or something or other
Anyway though, it's such a fun place and just so crazy that i'm sure I'll still make it a yearly thing or some, but at this moment I don't feel like gambling for a good long time. Well, maybe weeks even.
Ya know, something tells me I've posted this before during a Lego moment, but then I think "how could you possibly post the greatest song in the world too often?" so I'm posting it again with a bonus version for us geeks afterwards (you know who you are). First... The Beer Song. Lego style.
Yeah, today is Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. What does that mean? Hell I don't know, I just know you're supposed to have a few beers and throw beads and stuff. Sounds good to me. Anyway, I thought this might come in handy:
This attaches to all newer iPods. Simply blow on the straw for five seconds to determine you blood alcohol content! It's also an FM transmitter, hence the reason it attaches to an iPod.
Here's the official website, but it looks like they're not selling them yet:
Here's the Audi Super Bowl commercial, their parody on the Godfather movie for the new Audi R8. I find the commercial very amusing, but man I really love that car. I just drool when it blasts out of the driveway at the end. Good marketing.
Not that I'll ever be able to afford one mind you, but can't a man dream? Shutup! I can too dream! (reminder, check lottery tickets)
While I was happy with the outcome of the Super Bowl and thought the 4th quarter was one of the greatest in Super Bowl history, I must say that greedily I was upset about the last Giants drive. In one of the big squares games I was in ($2000/$500 per qtr) I had 4-0 New England. That last drive by Eli basically cost me $500. So yeah, I'm a bit hacked off at the Patriot's defense today. What a game though! The right guy won MVP but the Giant's defense and David Tyree's amazing circus catch were bigger contributors. What a fun game to watch. I spent the entire day making, then eating, a big turkey/dressing/garlic potatoes meal, watching NBA, the Super Bowl, a couple of movies and reading a book. Just for good measure (and since I felt like a fat, lazy pig) I went running at halftime. Great day.
Another weekend MVP in my book was Frank Mir, who survived a 1:30 assault from Brock Lesnar and knee-barred him for the win an action-packed UFC 81. I thought Lesnar actually looked impressive in his short time in the octagon and can't wait to see him fight again. Mir was a bad match-up for him, as he's bad match-up for anyone with little experience. Lesnar looks like he would squash a lot of UFC heavyweights though. Frank Mir looks ready for a title shot.
And speaking of heavyweights, how about the box office dominance of Miley Cyrus? She put the beatdown on Jessica Alba's new flick and smacked Rambo way down the list.
Weekend Box Office
1. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour $29M 2. The Eye - $13M 3. 27 Dresses - $8.4M 4. Juno - $7.45M 5. Meet the Spartans - $7.12M 6. Rambo - $7M 7. The Bucket List - $6.85M 8. Untraceable - $5.4M 9. Cloverfield - $4.9M 10. There Will Be Blood - $4.76M
I think it's a little misleading though, as I heard the tickets for the viewing were double the prices of regular movies at most theaters. Personally I think that's pretty crappy, but I guess it's all about supply and demand. Seems more like price gouging on a bunch of kids and parents to me. How much money does this kid need?
Lastly... how 'bout dem Hogs! A 19 point win over #20 ranked Florida at Bud Walton Arena Saturday was easily the biggest win of the year for a team that couldn't beat Appy State in Little Rock a month ago. Now they've won three consecutive conference basketball games by more than 15 points in the nation's toughest conference. They haven't done that since Todd Day and Lee Mayberry were running things. They're playing great basketball and I suddenly find myself really excited about them again. Winning will do that I guess.
This has the potential to be a great weekend what with the Super Bowl going down on Sunday and Brock Lesner making his UFC debut on Saturday night. I was trying to think of some good Super Bowl memories to share or maybe make a top 10, but most of them aren't really printable, due to the fact that often through my 30 years of watching them I was at some big party or something and lots of the games have been a bit boring and it often lead to drunken debauchery. I remember one at a good friend's house where after we all left, he apparently fell alseep on the couch... with a woman... who wasn't his wife. His wife came downstairs later and needless to say he got a "roughing the passer" penalty of sorts. The story ends 2 years later, on Super Bowl Sunday again, when he married the couch girl. True story.
4 new films drop in the theaters this weekend and we get a couple of comedies, a concert film and another horror movie.
The Plot: A young woman (Jessica Alba) receives an eye transplant that -- like it or not -- allows her to see into the supernatural world. My Thoughts: Jessica Alba is one of the hottest women on the planet, with her own eyes or borrowing someone else's. This looks interesting at least and you know how I love my horror. I might check it out.
The Plot: The two stars of a struggling animal adventure show look to give their ratings a boost by scoring footage of Bigfoot in the wild. My Thoughts: Steve Zahn is a funny guy, but this looks like a Saturday Night Live skit gone too long. I'm guessing there's about 5 minutes worth of good humor. Rental.
Over Her Dead Body
The Plot: A ghost (Eva Longoria) tries to sabotage the fledgling relationship between her old flame (Paul Rudd) and his new, psychic girlfriend. My Thoughts: Hasn't this been done to death? Get it? Death? Eh, anyway, I think the writer is the same guy who wrote John Tucker Must Die. Doesn't look like anything that would remotely interest me. Pass.
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Tour
The Plot: A 3-D concert film of the 2007 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus tour. My Thoughts: This will be big, not only in box-office receipts but also will possibly set a record for the most text messages ever sent during a movie as well as the most North Face coats ever in 1 place that wasn't a retail store.