Friday, February 27, 2009

Well, it started out as a future purchase, but now it just might be on the do-no-buy list!

Have you ever watched a movie for the first time and thought, "This movie is great!"?  You know what I'm talking about, where you really relate to the protagonist, he (or for you female types, she) is someone who seems really cool and you wish your life could be as cool as his, especially for what he does for a living.

I really thought that with "High Fidelity."  For some reason, back in 2001, I could really relate to John Cusack's character, Rob.  No, not the terrible boyfriend part.  I just thought it was so cool that there was someone with that much passion for music... AND listmaking.  I can't tell you how much this ending quote fueled my need to make the perfect compilation:

"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up is hard to do. It takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch. But you don't want to blow your wad. So then you gotta cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway, I've started to make a tape, in my head, for Laura. Full of stuff she'd like. Full of stuff that'd make her happy. For the first time I can sorta see how that's done."

For some reason, that just resonated with me to this day.  And the way Rob would just talk about stuff was something I could relate to.

And, of course, it was MY introduction to a man... an amazing man... a god amongst men... Jack... Black!

I don't what it was, but it started a love affair (not literally!) for JB and all his earthly creations (well, not all of his earthly creations, again, literally).  So it had music, lists, Jack Black - it was just something that resonated with how I felt about love and life.  Since then, I've been wondering what it would have been like to actually own the DVD.  I mean, come on, Jack Black singing - that right there is movie gold!  You can't give that stuff away for free!  It's gotta be earned... or bought for $9.99.

And I was so ready to have this movie as my Future Purchase for this week... that is, until I saw it on IndiePlex last night.  Didn't catch the first half-hour but I had seen it before.  I knew what it was all about, so it didn't bother me (too much) to watch 'til the end.  But as I watched it, I realized that I only liked the movie when I could phase out John Cusack.  Nevermind his character, Rob, John is really annoying!  And he's done it with so many movies since High Fidelity was released in 2000.

America's Sweethearts


Must Love Dogs

I haven't seen any of his other movies since 2000, but I can imagine it's the same thing overand over again: an overly emotional whiner who's unable to be with the woman he loves because he can't get over the way his romantic relationships have ended in the past so he can't love the one woman who would make his whole life happy so he spend two hours of my life, along with any money I spent on tickets, rentals, or purchase of the movie so that I feel like less of a person because I had to watch John Cusack go on and on about how he can't find love in his pathetic little existence of a life, and ANOTHER thing... but I digress... A LOT!

So what's a guy to do in this situation?  Ultimately, I have been searching for the ultimate compilation my entire life because of this movie.  I am in awe of the collection of music Rob has in his apartment and how he can spend countless hours organizing them alphabetically, chronologically, and autobiographically.  It's something I do with my DVDs, probably because of Rob.  But is it worth 10 bucks to own this movie?  As long as my mind continues to block out John Cusack, I possibly could.  

But what if my mind loses that capability?  What would I do with the DVD?  Use it as a coaster?  Play frisbee with it?  Because I can't let this get out in the world for those without John Cusack Blocking Ability (JCBA).  It could turn everyone's brain into mush, just like the acting job he put into this movie.  So what is said in the movie truly moved me, but seeing John Cusack can be too much.  Maybe if I just buy the script...

So this weekend is the SO's turn to choose a DVD for our viewing pleasure (displeasure most likely for me).  And I'll need to get through a couple more movies on the DVR, so plenty more posts to be written...


Thursday, February 26, 2009

You know what REALLY grinds my gears?

Taking a cue from Peter Griffin of Family Guy, I have to bring up something that really DOES grind my gears.  The Oscars... well, not so much the Oscars as the movies that participate in categories including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor and Actress.  You know what I'm talking about.  For some reason, Hollywood decided that it was more important to pander to the voters of the Academy Awards rather than give the consumer his/her due.  What am I talking about?

For some reason, movies that think they have a shot at Best Picture try to get the premiere out right before the cut-off date for nomiations.  What does this mean?  Tons of pompous, arrogant, and oftentimes intellectually unstimulating films will take a huge proverbial 'dump' of their premieres in December.  What does that leave us?  Nothing!

We actually haven't seen those movies BEFORE the Oscars; they usually don't get released into a wider audience until a month or two later.  In the meantime, we're hearing how great so-and-so was in film X, while some schmuck was just riveting, that our lives are incomplete if we haven't seen the performance of a generation.  That's all fine and dandy if you're in New York, L.A., or London.  When you're in Nowheresville, Stuck-in-the-middle-of-the-USA, all we get from the reviews is that we're obviously not intelligent enough to understand the movie, and that's what makes it so great.  Really?  Is that it?

And is that why we're typically left with crappola for the first 3 months of the year, so the riff-raff can be cleaned out of the storage space in Hollywood from January through to March?  From mixed reviews about Watchmen, it's too early to say if March will be a terrible movie month this year.  

Then it seems like we have to squeeze every action film into the space of two months, from Memorial Day to Fourth of July.  Which leaves many of us broke because we have to spend 10 bucks for each one (and that's not including IMAX, which is currently $12.50 around here).  Pretty soon, matinee prices will be phased out.  And because movie theaters see none of the ticket money, they'll jack up prices of popcorn, drinks, and Junior Mints... mmm, Junior Mints.  A explosion of mint and chocolate, and there's only one thing that can compete with mint and chocolate - peanut butter and chocolate!  Yeah, I'm not bitter about not having my peanut butter...

So what can we do to make Hollywood change their ways and put out quality movies throughout the year?  As an individual, not much will change.  As a collective movement, we can do great things.  Now who could lead us?

Eh, probably not him.  I'm thinking more along the lines of this:

That's more like it!  Tomorrow is Future Purchase post.  Can't wait to let you in on what may soon have a place in my heart... and my collection.  Later!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh, Indy, YOU are my focal point...

I was thinking I'd be desperate for a post today, but it all clicked while the SO and I were doing yoga yesterday.  What?  You got a problem with people, especially guys, who do yoga?  Too worried about your heterosexuality or masculinity?  Let me tell you, if you have back problems, like me (just ask the SO - she'll talk your ear off about all the complaining I make about my back), you'll want to do yoga.  And if you stop for any length of time, you'll know yoga is the reason your back pain goes away.  But enough about my longing to be an infomerical spokesperson...

So, anyways, where was I?  Oh yeah, the SO and I were doing yoga.  If you've ever done the tree position (sounds sexual, but trust me, it's anything but).  Kinda looks like this:

So I'm trying to balance on one leg like this.  Now I think I'm able to keep my balance.  I can ride a bicycle, I don't trip over my feet.  So why is it so freakin' hard to stand on one leg like this?!  The "trainer" (not really a trainer, as we do yoga from a Wii game, My Fitness Coach) is telling us to concentrate on a focal point, so we can actually keep our mind from realizing we're on one freakin' leg and about to fall on our asses!  And then it came to me...

As you can see, my DVDs are close to my line of sight to the television.  As these little bundles of joy bring me peace and relaxation, I decided to focus there while not making myself look like an idiot tree.  And you know exactly where my attention went to:

"Doctor Jones! Doctor Jones!"

That's right, Indiana Jones.  Oh, it's so glorious, especially as my collection DOESN'T contain Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.  Once my eyes caught onto that, my tree was as strong as a redwood.  Well, not really, but I did manage to balance for a bit.  More than I did without Indy.  So I have to say it's a small triumph, of sorts.  Well, not so much triumph as I could complete the task.  Well, not so much complete...

So as not to bore you with that, it's pretty simple: If you're doing yoga with your SO and you need to find the strength to make it through, just look for Indy (or Han, or any incarnation from Harrison Ford's work) and you'll be done with the workout in no time.  Now what can I end this post with?  Hmm...


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"And you almost tell her that I'm gettin' married? What's the matter with you?"

You know how you watch a movie for the first time, have certain feelings about it, then don't watch it until almost 4 years later, with a new perspective on life, and see the movie in a whole new light?  Yeah, that's how I felt with this week's DVD choice.  Before this movie, I didn't know the SO nor had I really had any actual "relationship" with the opposite sex (yes, I was the dude who had lots of girl friends but no actual girlfriends... yes, I admit it).  At the time, I could really identify with the lead character, but I actually hadn't watched the movie a second time until this past Saturday.  Boy, was I in for a treat with the SO... 

Back in 2005, I first saw the independent film Sideways.  In the film, we first meet Miles (Paul Giamatti), obviously a man with a mid-life crisis.  For the next week, he and his buddy Jack (Thomas Haden Church) are going up to wine country in California to live it up one more time before Jack gets married at the end of the week on Saturday.  Miles is a middle school English teacher, and Jack is a struggling actor.  Both want to get away, but neither has the same plan for the next week's events.  Miles wants to enjoy some good wines and play a few rounds of golf.  Jack wants to sow some wild oats before getting the ball and chain locked on him for eternity.

While eating at The Hitching Post, they meet Miles' crush Maya (Virginia Madsen) and Jack makes it his goal to get those two hooked up.  Too bad his penis is leading him towards a single divroced mother who works at a winery.  While Jack and Stephanie (Sandra Oh) spend a LOT of time together, Miles really can't get over his divorce (from TWO years ago!).  It doesn't get any better when Jack tells Miles that his ex-wife will be at the wedding... with her NEW husband!  Miles is about as depressed as you can get.  Throughout the movie, we find out Miles is just one hugely depressed dude about a lot of things: about his failed marriage, about his failed book, about his failed life.  And we learn that Jack just wants to have fun, but his fun ways don't make any money and while he may be sowing his oats, he needs Christine, his future bride-to-be.

In the end, Jack's secret gets out, and so does some of his blood.  And he barely gets away with his clothes as well.  Miles, obviously infatuated with Maya, finds the courage to go after her.  And this little independent film ends with the typical mainstream movie ending.  It seems there are two endings to independent films (that I've personally seen).  One, the guy ends up with the girl at the very end, even though it looked like it would never happen (which would have given the movie a sense of reality, rather than a Hollywood-style ending).  Or two, the movie ends in mid-sequence, to leave us wondering what happens next.  Sideways ends with option two.

When I first watched this movie, I obviously identified with Miles.  I had no one to love, no one to love me.  And I desperately wanted to find love.  Miles just wants to find something to be happy about.  And yet, he is always finding the negative in life, which I'm victim of doing myself.

This time around, though, I still feel like Miles, but this time I feel pity for him.  I may still be glass half-empty sometimes, but with the SO, life doesn't seem so bad as Miles may make it out to be.  And that makes this second viewing change my opinion of this movie.  Life is too short to be down all the time, so I've got to make the most of it.  And that's why I'm ready to get done with grad school, no matter what it takes.

So this movie, in my opinion, can stay.  If I had to leave a movie behind, it could potentially be this one.  But it does remind me how lucky I am to have the SO.  And it also reminds me how lucky I have the SO.  I mean, I'm a geek.  I freakin' write a blog about my DVDs and why I need them.  And it doesn't help that I'm crazy over Star Wars.  I don't get into wearing the gear or pretending I can use the Force.  But for a Star Wars-lovin' movie-watchin' geek, I'm lucky to have her.  But maybe she should be glad I'm not as bad as this guy.  


"You ain't heard nothing yet."

Well, it seems most relevant to watch a movie that I had made reference to in Friday's post.  And of course, thanks to TCM's 31 Days I could actually accomplish this goal.  No, I didn't watch Soul Man.  I'm pretty sure that movie has been buried along with E.T. the Video Game.

No, what I watched is one of those movies that screams "classic" (for a number of reasons, but I'll get into those later).  The first motion picture accompanied with sound, The Jazz Singer introduced us to the "talkie."  For most of you, you're probably like I was before seeing this movie, that a talkie meant the entire movie had sound.  You would be in the wrong.  Only those parts of the movie with actors singing did we actually get the "talking" part.  It's hard to trust Wikipedia on this subject, so I'm going to guess that the introduction of sound into movies was rather expensive, much like it is today to have IMAX cameras in use throughout the entire production.  Therefore, to cut costs and yet be profitable, only those important parts would actually have sound.  The most important parts of the film would most likely be with the actors singing, and that's what you have with The Jazz Singer.

Now that you know what the first "talkie" was like, in terms of... talking, the synopsis is rather simple.  In New York, a young Jewish boy Jakie Rabinowitz wishes to be an entertainer -  a jazz singer.  Father catches him in a jazz hall, and tells the boy he will follow in his father's footsteps, to be a Cantor in the Jewish Synagogue.  Boy runs away and the movie moves chronologically to some time later, Jakie is a grown up Jack Robin (Al Jolson) trying to make his name in Hollywood.  A few breaks go his way, and he lands in a Broadway revue in New York.  Jack goes back home to see his parents.  Mom is excited to see her, Father is not.  Father still wants him to be a Cantor, but Jack has his heart set on being a jazz singer.  Father gets ill, so Jack has to choose between doing the show or replacing his father as Cantor.  Jack at first chooses show biz, but chooses to be Cantor for one night.  Father professes his love for his son, and passes away as son sings in synagogue.  Son does blackface while singing in revue?

Confusing, I know.  Throughout the film, Jack sings but without having to paint his face so that he pretends to be an African American.  So why does he have to put on blackface on Broadway?  I'm guessing it could be explained the show he's doing calls for it, and because blackface wasn't an issue in 1927.  Still, it doesn't make sense why he has to do this.  Jack is just fine singing without it, and it actually diminishes the appeal for the movie.  Without it, it's a fine picture.  With blackface, I feel disgusted.

So what did I learn from this movie?  A "talkie" doesn't mean there's sound throughout, blackface obviously meant earning more money at the box office in the late 1920s, and Jewish humor always makes a movie that much better.  Although I'm not personally Jewish, the SO likes to think I am with the way I always have to pick up change from the ground.  Seriously, it adds up!  And in this day and age, it can mean a huge difference.  I'm just saying...

So The Jazz Singer was something to watch, mostly from the historical aspect and for what it did to the film industry, but it will not need to be included in my DVD collection.  At the rate I'm going with watching the films from TCM'S 31 Days, I'll be waking up early for quite a few more Saturdays just to clean out the DVR.  But it will be worth it, mostly so I know whether or not I would like to own these movies!  Just kidding.  Gotta save money for all those Future Purchases...

Just one more post for this weekend to go.  And it's a doozy of a film, something that really warms the soul, like a large glass of wine (wink wink).  Later!

Monday, February 23, 2009

"This is real life! There are steps to becoming a Queen."

You know how I know you're a mid-1990s movie?

That's what kept going through my head during the first of 3 posts about this weekend's endeavours in movieland, aka movies and more!  Because you know when you're watching a movie from this era.  There's just something in the cinematography, the font, the jokes...

So the movie of the night for Friday, obviously, was To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, a two-star movie from 1995 (as if you couldn't tell by my introduction).  Not a part of the TCM's 31 Days, but nonetheless, it could be found on my DVR.  Just couldn't figure out when exactly it should be watched.  And destiny came about on Friday.  With the one-year anniversary of a good friend's death, it just seemed appropriate.  And seeing as this was one of his favorite movies, it just had to be viewed in his memory.  As much as it meant to him, I can see why it was only two stars, but let's get to the quick synopsis first...

So we start out with Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze - yes, that Patrick Swayze) and Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes - yes, that Wesley Snipes) getting into ultimate queen mode, as they are drag queens getting ready for a big New York drag queen contest.  Of course, it ends in a tie between Vida and Noxeema, who are bound for Los Angeles to compete in the national competition.  Now where's the drama in this?  Bring in the stereotypical hispanic queen, Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo - and yes, the joke about "her" name isn't dated at all...), who is crying her eyes out because she thinks she should have won.  Of course Vida wants to transform her, although Noxeema doesn't think too highly of Chi-Chi.  While planning their trip, a picture of Julie Newmar is seen in an eating establishment, and that defines the journey they'll be making across the country.  What ensues is a cross-country trip that only gets a few hundred miles in.  Dealing with how those of the "normal" world might perceive them, the "girls" try to avoid any hotels or locations that might not take too kindly to them.

Somehow, they survive until they're pulled over by a cop, who tries to get lucky with Vida.  Because of "her" strength, Vida pushes him aside, only to think "she's" killed him.  They scurry off until the car breaks down in a small town in the middle of nowhere (literally, that's what the summary says on IMDb, so I didn't know that it actually existed!).   Over one weekend, they're able to change the small town's perception on drag queens, and at the same time, the girls learn to be a valuable team.  At the end of the movie, the typical happy endings occurs (with a key cameo - of course!).

What did I think of this movie? Typical mid-90s tripe.  Nothing to make me want to really ever see it again.  I understand it is a strong symbolic film for drag queens (although I don't think anyone would confuse Swayze, Snipes, and Leguizamo for women, which I can't say for the small town they crash).  It just seemed like the movie should have been about an ENTIRE journey across the country.  So for the girls to stop early on just seemed pointless, even though I understand it was to show that drag queens are people, too.  For what it was, it could have been much more.  I did like the different categorizations for men dressing like women.  Finally!  Someone made it all clear to me what defines a transvestite vs. transsexual vs. drag queen.  And of course, only Snipes could be the one to explain it all.  Snipes, the man who has been a daywalking Vampire, a street baller, and a badass villain in Demolition Man, he was a weird choice for a drag queen.

Ultimately, it could have been much more, for a movie and for the transgendered community.  Of course, the movie has an emotional connection because of my friend, but that's all it is for me.  I can say with the utmost confidence it won't be part of my DVD collection, but that's not to say you shouldn't see it once.  Once is actually plenty enough.  Next up, a post about this weekend's DVD choice, a real uplifting tale... about as uplifting as trying to carry a two-thousand page manuscript.  Until then, I leave you with this, probably the best part of this movie.  Later!

Friday, February 20, 2009

"But Coach said it's fantastic..."

Now don't get me wrong.  It's not so much backing down as I didn't want to go through with it.  I'm talking about last week's Future Purchase(s), Batman (1989) and Batman: The Complete Animated Series.  And obviously I have not actually gone through with the purchase of either.  The reason for the 1989 incarnation is because I can wait until Blu-Ray (and I didn't want to record every single scream from Kim Basinger in that movie!).

I also decided not to go through with purchasing the television series (although it's still in my Wish List on Amazon) because I couldn't allow the SO more money to buy yarn and/or shoes.  And two, even this DVD whore realizes that the economy is tough and the SO and I are essentially terrible with finances.  That's right, we started a budget.  Well, not so much started a budget as admitting how much we make does not equal the amount we have to spend on rent, electricity, food, cable, and other extraneous activities (DVDs the exception!).  
But there are better ways to spend $76.  Possibly spending a portion of that chunk of change on this week's Future Purchase.

That's right, the movie that brings blackface to the 21st century, it's Tropic Thunder.  From what I've been reading, Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of a method actor in this film is phenomenal and because he doesn't break away from character, Downey actually gets it, unlike Al Jolson and C. Thomas Howell.  Wow, that was a long run-on sentence...

So from what I know from the trailer and from my good friend, Coach, a group of actors are doing a Vietnam War movie, and because the film studio hates them, they're dropped into Vietnam!  While still filming!  Obviously, there's comedy in that plot, and with Downey Jr. plus Ben Stiller and Jack Black, it sounds like a sure hit.  On the other hand, my other good friend L-squared thought it was okay.  So that begs the question, who's opinion do I value more, Coach or L-squared?  The correct answer is...


The SO.  I know, because she's holding my bank account hostage currently.  I don't how many times I've picked up the DVD for Tropic Thunder, only to be told that we have to wait until we've seen it or it's a confirmed "definite buy."  It's just breaking my heart!  So what do I have to do to convince the SO to get Tropic Thunder?  Or do you think it's something to rent?  Or is it in that category of "Wait 'Til Cable"?  Let me know in the comments section.  

In the meantime, I've got to find a way to let the SO let me watch two DVDs this weekend (to make up for none last weekend).  With the 'rents coming to town tomorrow, I highly doubt it.  Oh well, a guy can dream...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ha! I was right and you were... well, not right!

Don't you feel good when you're able to make your point to the SO and he/she can't say anything to prove you wrong?  Yeah, I felt like a million bucks last night.  Let me set the scene...

Imagine, if you will, a typical night.  The SO and you have just had dinner, you've been watching a couple things on the DVR, the SO just finished zooming through American Idol (again, thank God for DVR - if I had to hear that awful singing or Paula give a full opinion, I might have to take the gun to my head... and leave the cannoli).  But it's still early to go to bed, but the DVR only has movies (from TCM'S 31 Days!!!).  Even with 5 bajillion channels, there's nothing really new on that has me going for the remote.

So, you stumble upon "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" on TNT.  You don't think to much of it because you've been watching the series since its beginnings on Cartoon Network.  But for some reason you're intrigued.  Why?  Because you have HD!  Now, mind you, you don't actually own an HDTV.  You actually have an antique, one with the cathode ray tube (I know, I'm embarrassed just writing this - but it is 36"... and weighs 200 pounds!).  Somehow, the force is pulling your fingers towards the remote to try a little bit of the dark side, watching a show you've already watched and hasn't even finished its season on the other network.

Suddenly, your world explodes, your eyes have seen the light!  The detail in this cartoon is amazing!  You can see every little dimple in General Grievous's face-plate.  Even though it's not really HD, you can tell the difference between the non-HD and HD versions.  So you flip back and forth between the two versions, and you tell the SO your discovery.  This is when it gets ugly...

You have the SO watch as you flip between TNT and TNTHD.  She's a little bit away from the TV, but no matter, you know there's a difference even if you were a mile away!  She doesn't get it and doesn't believe you.  She doesn't WANT to believe.  Why?  Because then there's no denying the full power of the dark side... a 60" LCD 1080p!  You know what I'm talking about and it's making you drool, too.  Long have I dreamed of watching Star Wars in HD, and even though this is just a cartoon of the Clone Wars, it will be the closest I may get to Star Wars in HD (until the original trilogy comes out on Blu-Ray!).

But back to the part where I'm right and she's... not right (never tell the SO she's wr... wr... see?  I can't even write it because I know she'll do awful things to me, too awful to mention here... things like never letting me have a 60" LCD 1080p!  HUGE Tear!)

So you sit the SO close to the ol' 36" and you flip back and forth to show her your latest and greatest discovery (come on, my last latest and greatest discovery was combining plain no-fat yogurt with Jell-o pudding powder to make my own Oreo mousse... what?  A DVD whore can't watch his figure?).

And there's silence - long, glorious, earth-shattering silence!  Because you can see the smirk on her lips, you know you're no longer crazy, you're motherf'ng RIGHT!  Yes, folks, I proved the SO I was right.  There IS a difference between the cartoon on TNT and TNTHD.  And because of that fact (that's right, it's a fact... just like it's a fact that I'm right... for now, anyways), I might have to re-watch the show in HD just to really appreciate it.  As much as the film was panned, even by the likes of Harry Knowles, the cartoon has been a pleasant surprise for my television viewing.  Maybe because I long for anything that's new in the world of Star Wars, but I really hate to miss one episode.  Now the Holiday Special is another thing...

So, to recap, last night I was finally vindicated as being right, and at this very moment, I know the SO is trying to think of ways to get revenge.  Tomorrow I shall have a new Future Purchases post, and an update on the decision I made on Batman: The Complete Animated Series.  Until then, I leave you with this.  Later!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"And I will try to fix you."

Wait, I have an actual movie to review mid-week?  Well, I guess it could occasionally happen, but this time around it's because I needed to watch before the rental was due.  As much as Netflix sounds like a good idea, I can't help but not trust them, about as much as their business buddy (rhymes with All Dart, as in, "Let's all dart away from this place because it destroys downtowns and doesn't actually HELP the poor community it's sucking funds from...", but I digress).

For once, this is an actually semi-current movie, so I'll try and do my best with this review.  A movie that reminds you that you're never too old to sing at the top of your lungs but also makes you appreciate everyone and everything around you, Young at Heart is a film about a group of elderly citizens (average age of 80 years) who put on performances of rock and pop hits.  Now you may be saying to yourself, "Why would I want to hear old people singing The Ramones?"  The movie is less about the music and more about the spirit of these fine individuals.  You can't help but engulf yourself into their world.

What struck me most was not their singing (not great, but when you're 80 years old and able to get around and do things and still have a smile on your face, I think the singing is the icing on the cake), but their enthusiasm for life.  There's always two paths you can go down in your elder years.  You can either be bitter about how the world treated you, OR you can appreciate all that you've done and seen, the people you've met, and the lives you've changed.  All of these individuals are the latter, in my mind.  And one way to keep living each day to the fullest is music.  There's a little twinkle in their eyes as they're rehearsing (even if they initially don't care for the song selections).  It gives the younger generations hope that one day we'll all be so lucky as they are (even with health issues) and know we're going to a better place after we pass from this world.

I knew a little bit about this movie, so I was ready for some of the sadder moments (don't even need to mention what those could be) but others really tugged at my heart.  Somehow, in less than two hours, you feel like you know these men and women, like they're YOUR grandparents.  And as much as I was ready for anything, I still had trouble controlling the waterworks.

In brief, this documentary follows the rehearsals and keys moments in the lives of the Young at Heart chorus, up to the annual concert in Northampton, Massachusetts.  They're attempting 6 new songs, and it's the journey of their ability to perform these new songs, along with some classics, that encompasses the timeline of the film.  And never have I heard a more tearjerking performance of Coldplay's "Fix You."  Here's the original version:

And here's the Young at Heart's take: (embedding was disabled by request)

Now, imagine knowing these individuals and understanding what they have gone through to be here.  Amidst the sad moments, these individuals rise up and perform despite those losses.  I had originally just seen the video of Fix You from the film, but after seeing the entire movie, I really understood what it meant.

So if I had to tell someone to buy this on DVD, I would say yes.  If I thought I should do the same, I would say no.  Mostly because I don't know if I could deal with the waterworks again.  As much as I truly enjoyed this movie, the emotions I had were something that reminds me I'm human, but I don't think I could deal.

To help lift the spirits, here's something to remind us how lucky we are.  Later!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Put your pencils down, here are the answers

So I'm sure you've been waiting to hear what the answers are to my quiz from a week-and-a-half ago.  Okay, so I didn't get any responses, but I'm going to give you the results anyhow, whether you like it or not.  So the DVDs in the photo are: 


The Dark Knight,
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,
and The Empire Strikes Back!

What's the theme?

(Jeopardy theme)


Undeclared - "sequel" to Freaks and Geeks
M*A*S*H - shown is season two, probably the best of the 11 seasons of this television show
The Dark Knight - sequel to Batman Begins
Help! - sequel to A Hard Day's Night
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - sequel to The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
The Empire Strikes Back - sequel to Star Wars

How'd you do on the quiz?  If you got all 6, you're a person who has great eyesight, because there wasn't much of a view of the DVDs in the rear.  If you got 3-5, I'm impressed.  If you got 2 or less, we need to send you back to school!

Until the next quiz, keep your nose to the grindstone and your butt on the couch (watching DVDs, of course!)  Later!

"Well, what goes good with Ratzkywatzky?"

Well, what can you say at this point?  VDay morning, watched Ninotchka, VDay afternoon, played Guitar Hero World Tour. VDay evening?  How about a movie?

After all the possible decisions I could have done with my time away from the SO, I pulled something totally out of left field (What?  Thought I'd say out of my... you know, your posterior, your bum, your butt!  Well, not so much your butt as mine) and ended up renting GHWT, and I got hooked.  And I say hooked because when you play 3 hours straight and stop just because you're getting tired, that means you like it more than just like - that's right, I like like GHWT!

But what to do when you're tired from playing video games?  I could go for a walk, or read a book, or... dare I say it, watch a movie!  (Answer: Watching a movie.  Question: What will completely turn your brain into mush after 3 hours of GHWT?).  Obviously, I chose a movie, and since I wasn't in the mood for a thinking movie, I went with a movie that deals with partying, fooling around, impromptu marriage, unplanned pregnancy, and bigomy!  Of course I'm talking about The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.  Released in 1944, the movie tells of how a small town can be just as crazy as a big city.

In this small town of Morgan's Creek, the town constable's daughter, Trudy Kockenlocker (Betty Hutton) wants to go to a dance for the boys being shipped off to war, in this case, World War II.  Maybe you're heard of it.  Kind of a big deal, like Ron Burgundy big deal.

And we're back!  So Trudy tries to go, but her Dad won't let her.  Knowing Norval Jones (Eddie Bracken) would eat the SO's Mac & Cheese if she told him to (not a good idea!), Trudy gets Norval to take her "out to the movies" so she can party it up with the boys going to war and leaving Norval at the theater all night and morning.

We find out that during that night of partying and dancing that Trudy did a little more.  What's a little more?  Well, how about marrying a soldier under a false name and not remembering the soldier's name.  And the icing on the cake is she's pregnant!  Because it's a small town, word would get around real quick about her busy night.  Here comes Norval to the rescue, deciding to pretend to be the soldier (and deciding the soldier's name is Ignatz Ratzkywatzky - a very common name) so she and Trudy can get "married" and then get it annulled.

The only problem is that it would actually result in bigomy, which is a crime.  On top of that, Trudy is a minor, so Norval appears to be abducting her.  For Norval, it means getting busted by the justice of the peace, the county police, the federal investigator, AND the army!  The only way out is busting out of jail, but because Norval is too nice of a guy, it takes Trudy and her constable father to force him out, costing the constable his job.

Six months later, Norval comes back to town, ready to see Trudy.  Too bad he's caught again.  Somehow the pardon of all pardons happens for him, allowing him to see Trudy... in the hospital!  The baby is ready to pop out, only it's not one baby - it's SIX!  Because of this, Mussolini resigns, Hitler demands a recount, and the U.S. is ready to kick some evil axis butt!  In the end, Norval and Trudy end up together, although six kids seems to knock the wind out of Norval.  You really can't blame him, he's not even the father, because it's a miracle!

The movie is hilarious, a comedic gem.  It really keeps your attention, mostly because of the ridiculousness as the movie reel turns.  When a movie is able to keep you on the edge of your seat, especially a comedy with a mystery, you know it's good.  I'm not sure I feel like purchasing it, but if it were to miraculously appear at my doorstep, I wouldn't complain.

So this weekend was void of a movie from my DVD collection, but that can only mean two movies next weekend!  Although I still have a dozen or so still on the DVR, along with a rental, so I'm pretty sure I'm dead like Luca Brasi (at least in the eyes of the SO).  Well, here's ending on a high note!


Monday, February 16, 2009

"Comrade, I've been fascinated by your five-year plan for the last fifteen years."

The two movies that consumed a portion of VDay both had to do with romance and World War II.  Interesting combination, but alas, the war (that occurred because the 'war to end all wars' didn't end ALL wars) does create an environment for love, from Paris to small town America.  Too bad the SO missed out on these movies (well, missed out, in that of the two movies, she saw half of the first, none of the second, and probably wouldn't understand their appeal if she had the Cliff Notes...) because as much as they might not appear as comedies to her, they truly make you laugh.  And in a time of war, sometimes a laugh can help.

And what truly gives me the giggles is Communist Russia.  You don't agree?  Well you haven't seen Ninotchka.  I know, the name just rolls right off the tongue.  In this movie, Grand Dutchess Swana (Ina Clare) of the Soviet Union finds out that three comrades (Iranoff, Buljanoff, and Kopalski - sounds like a Russian law firm) are in Paris, selling her jewels (sorry, no sexual joke - the Commies considered her property the property of the State... depressing, isn't it?).  The three comrades have trouble selling them, mostly because the Grand Dutchess sends Comte Leon d'Algout (Melvyn Douglas) to tell them a lawsuit will be on their hands.  Leon loosens them up a bit with a little champagne, a few cigarettes, french maids...

That's when the Commies send in Nina Ivana Yakushova, aka Ninotchka (Greta Garbo), a no nonsense woman who gets the job done at any cost (well, not any cost, because somehow a night in a Parisian hotel could be spent to buy a cow - the movie is making fun of the communist's ideals!).  In some chance meeting, Leon bumps into her on the street, and the chemistry between the two actors is perfect.  The timing of the punch line can be crucial, and Douglas and Garbo don't disappoint.  Leon softens Ninotchka, and Ninotchka makes Leon all hot under the collar.  Unfortunately, their love is not meant to be.

I thought that all Russians could hold their liquor, but Ninotchka seems to be the exception.  Because of this, she passes out in the hotel, the Grand Dutchess steals her jewels back, and Ninotchka is blackmailed into leaving for Moscow in order to get the jewels back.  Seems the Grand Dutchess didn't care that Ninotchka stole Leon from her.  Ninotchka and the three comrades return home, friends for life.  But Leon can't be held back.  Even if he couldn't get into the USSR, he could get Ninotchka out.  And with some fancy handiwork, Ninotchka is swept off her feet by Leon in the end.

What I draw from this movie is, again, the chemistry between Leon and Ninotchka.  Even though the Cold War would be years away (this film was released in 1939), the communists and the capitalists weren't exactly friendly to one another.  Obviously propaganda is a huge part of this movie, showing that a communist's heart can melt for love.  The same way I try to get the SO to like classic films (well, any films that I like - can you believe she doesn't care for Star Wars?  I know, the nerve of that woman!  Bad enough she likes Jar Jar...), this movie plays into the stereotype that communists are barely human, but on the other side, capitalists seem to be smooth talkers.

If you were to ask me if I would buy it, I would say no.  Definitely a movie to see, but not on my waiting list.  Worth renting to see because of the comedic banter between Douglas and Garbo, but not enough to make me own.  I do appreciate the films made during the time of World War II, and it plays a part in the next movie I review as well.  Who couldn't find comedy in it?

How can you fail with Hitler in a comedy?  Or for that matter, how could an assassination attempt on Hitler's life fail as a movie?  (Oops!  Sorry, Tom...)


"Perhaps you prefer a gentleman...Those panting hypocrites who like your legs but talk about your garters."

You couldn't ask for a more perfect Friday the 13th.  I mean, two, TWO, movies in one evening!  That never happens with the SO.  So to pull this off means she either was loopy from something (possibly from the concoction she tried to pass off as mac & cheese - she made up for it with NoBake Oreo Dessert...mmm!) or because she couldn't go to sleep before 11, so she had to pass the time somehow.  Either way, it helped empty the DVR just a little more, and that's always a good thing (especially when it helps create room for more movies!).

So the second of two horror movies Friday night was the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  That's right, the version from 1931.  An oldie but a goodie, as I like to call them.  You all know the tale...Doc believes their are two sides to each human, a good altruistic side and an animalistic bad side.  And he believes that he can create some chemical solution that can bring the bad side out.  With the use of only four beakers (but plenty of action going on behind those beakers with all kinds of glassware with other solutions not even remotely used) he mixes stuff together with a pipe in his mouth (how cool is that) and stirs out what has to be "dry ice."  Dry ice makes anything look cool.

Well, the explosion is cool, doesn't mean the people associated with it can count.  But I digress...

When the Doc takes the stuff, he turns into his animalistic side, Mr. Hyde.  I guess your bad side means you get hairy all over, your eyes sink into their sockets, and your teeth turn British.  Remind me NOT to have what he's having.  Anywho, the Hyde side can do anything Jekyll can't do because Jekyll must be on his best behavior at all times.  But when his bride-to-be leaves for a month, he must use Hyde to have a good time (meaning he can sleep around with the... you know, a woman who receives money so a guy can... you know... okay, a prostitute, Hyde gets a prostitute!)  but soon Jekyll learns that Hyde can come out at any time, whether or not the potion was consumed.

One thing leads to another, Hyde kills the prostitute, and Jekyll is screwed because eventually he will get caught.  As much as he may repent, in the end, Hyde is in control and that leads to the untimely death of the Doc (I guess Hyde, too, unless someone makes a cheesy horror sequel where Hyde magically escaped Jekyll's body and inserted himself into another unsuspecting fool... If you're reading this, Hollywood, just forget I even mentioned it!)

Because I already read the book, I really wanted to study the filmography of this classic.  What I got out of this were two things.  The camera angles are amazing.  Starting out with the camera as Jekyll's view is really amazing, especially when in front of a mirror!  I'm not sure you could do that anymore with films.  I think it's a lost art.

And two, the symbolism oozes out of every corner.  The boiling pot in Jekyll's laboratory seems to bubble and boil more as the story progresses until the solution boils out, just like Hyde.  Even with some of the less-than-stellar acting, the film stands the test of time and really makes you wish you could make a movie half as good as it.

The movie has potential for purchase, based on its filming creativity.  But I would say that it would be on a waiting list, just like those waiting on an organ transplant list.  It'll be a long time before I find an extra twenty lying around to buy the DVD.  But I do hope that I stumble upon it again in the future, so I can intensely study each detail of the movie, because one viewing is not enough.  Hopefully you can stumble on it, too.  If you appreciate the classics, or if you like creative filming techniques, you've got to watch this movie.

So that was Friday night, but the movie viewing didn't end there.  I've still got to go through the comedies I watched (well, they are comedies even if the SO doesn't think so - I think it has to do with her only watching HALF of the movie) and also what I ended up doing on VDay.  So in review, don't drink anything that might let the bad side out, because we all know what can happen if you do...

I'm talking to you, Steven.  Don't let George spike your punch again!


"I looked in the Yellow Pages. 'Furniture Movers we've got; 'Strange Phenomenon', there's no listing."

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their VDay weekend.  I know I did.  When thinking about VDay, I think about love, flowers, chocolate, and horror movies!  Of course you do, too.  That's what happens when you have Friday the 13th right before VDay.

Wait, you didn't watch horror movies all night Friday like the SO and I did?  What did you do?  Restaurant?  Romantic Comedy?  Who are you people?  Don't you realize the significance of Friday the 13th and how you have to watch horror movies?  Well, I'll forgive you, since you do have 2 more opportunites this year (March and November) for Friday the 13th.  Hopefully Hollywood won't try to fill the screens with mind-numbing garbage (I'm talking to you, Freddy...).

We can get into details about how VDay went for me and the SO, but let's get to something a lot more important: movie reviews!  So many movies, so few lines to write them in.  Of course, with TCM's 31 Days, we had choices galore!  But because of time constraints (well, more like the SO and I couldn't keep our eyes open for much longer), we were able to watch two movies Friday night.  I know, it was movie madness, and there were three more days to Prez Day weekend.  So I had to pace myself.

So in this post, I will review Poltergeist, a classic movie about how building on a cemetery without removing the graves can all kinds of bad things - you know, furniture moving on its own, trees trying to swallow children, a vortex hole to a purgatory-like world in the closet - those kind of bad things.  Before we're privileged to that key info about the cemetery, we're introduced to Steve and Diane Freeling, an unassuming couple who live in a new housing development.  Steve (Craig T. Nelson) is responsible for most of the home sales.  He probably gets his suave rapport from the pot he smokes nightly with Diane(JoBeth Williams).  Really?  I can't see my parents doing that kind of stuff.  Even better when the kids know about it.

At the beginning of the movie, Carol Anne, the youngest daughter, is found talking to the TV (with the snow screen - I think she got into Mommy and Daddy's "snacks").  But it appears some spirit (most likely the Devil but it's not quite clear to me) is talking to her like a child, so she's more open to the spirit.  Somehow, this family is privileged to having all hell break loose on their house and no one else.  In order to save the family (including Carol Anne who gets sucked into a vortex in her closet), the Freelings rely on a group of parapsychologists and a spiritual medium in the form of Tangina Barrons, a short lady who appears to actually enjoy all of this, to get Carol Anne back.

Too bad they still live on a cemetery, thanks to Steve's boss, who decided to save a little money (I think the home sales people of today didn't watch this movie too closely!) by moving the grave markers and not the actual graves.  Probably also doesn't help that Diane put the kids back in their room that tried sucking them into the vortex.  That logic made this movie go from a scary movie to an absurd movie.  Again... really?!?  Well, that leads to the kids almost getting sucked in again, Diane having to swim with skeletons (which were real human skeletons - good thing they told Williams AFTER she swam with those bones).  Of course, everyone gets away, and the spirit sucks the entire house into the vortex, and the movie ends with the family going to a motel.

End of story, right?  Nope, two more sequels!  Of course, you have to milk the series for all it's worth.  As far as this film?  Pretty good.  I did enjoy the creatures and the use of special effects, unlike the CGI crap forced down our necks today.  As far as scary, not to me.  The SO gets frustrated because I don't scare easily from horror movies.  Which is bad because the SO easily gets startled.  Why is this bad?  For some reason, the SO thinks we have to make actual tactile stimulation in the form of sitting next to each other during a movie.  So when she jumps, she screams right next to me, so then I jump because I hate (HATE) when she does that, especially when the scene wasn't scary.

So, as far as a horror movie, pretty good but not scary.  As far as a film on its own merits, I would say that it follows a formulaic pattern from the 1980s.  Not saying that's a bad thing, but it does date the movie.  Don't worry, I won't be purchasing it any time soon.  So the collection won't be growing because of this film.  Although it would be nice to have more Craig T. Nelson...

I've got plenty more posts where that came from.  Another horror movie, and then it's on to classic comedies, where you can never go wrong.  Until then, later!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Well, there's your problem!

So after all that was written yesterday, the SO gave me a proposition to the Batman conundrum.  If you remember, I had this yearning for Batman (1989) and Amazon conveniently had it for sale again (it was re-issued or Warner Bros. was dumping the rest of their lot, that's my guess).  Now here is my logic for why I was able to break the need to buy the movie.

1. The new Batman series is really good.
2. When I really started to think about the movie from 1989, I remember it being really cheesy, almost to the level of campy.  It's more about Jack Nicholson playing the Joker and not so much about the movie, as it wasn't of the best quality (i.e. it seems dated and not in a particular good way).

And the most important reason...

3. I think they're selling these off because they're going to issue a Blu-ray version sometime soon!  Forget what I said in reasons 1 and 2 - it's bound that they're going to release it soon.  They already are selling the Import version on Amazon.  Who's to say it won't be that we'll get it here soon enough, and by that time, I can somehow convince the SO to get a Blu-ray player!

Okay, it could have also been because of what the SO said last night about the potential purchase.  That if I bought the DVD of Batman (1989), the money value would not go to her yarn/shoe fund.  Instead I would have to go out and get a tape recorder to record all the times Kim Basinger screams so she can play it back to me anytime I feel like buying another DVD or while we're in the yarn/shoe store.  I know, she's so mean, trying to do that whole psychological thing on me.  It's absurd!  I won't stand for it!  I, well, actually, it would work if I had actually ended up buying the DVD.  Basinger's screaming is loud, obnoxious, and occurs way too many times in the film.  It's worse than Bat-nipples!

Now that I've talked myself out of this purchase, I'm on to why buying the complete animated series of Batman is/isn't important...

1. It's only $75.99 on Amazon!
2. It was an important part of my childhood, and I don't think I watched all of the episodes, so this is a way to see them all at $19 per season.
3. Did I mention it's only $75.99 on Amazon?

I know, I'm bad, but it just sounds like too good of a deal, so why am I hesitating to hit the "Place your order" button?

The SO is in my head again, and I can't get her out, that's why!  Thankfully I wouldn't have to get a tape recorder (Those things are expensive - $30!  I mean, come on, it's a freakin' TAPE recorder!  They should be giving them away!), but the money would go to her fund.  And we should save up for moving to a new apartment this summer.  And, I guess, saving up for a future together.  But aren't we supposed to live in the now, because we have no idea if tomorrow's going to come?

I'm going to take the weekend to not think about it, and then on Monday, if I still feel the same when I come back to this issue, I'll go ahead with the purchase.  If I change my mind (the SO would say I'm coming to my senses, finally)  then I will not have made the hasty purchase that would have occurred today.  With that in mind, enjoy this (we can get into why the WB needs to follow the Disney model for classic cartoons on DVD in another post)!  Later! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009


So it all comes down to this, the reason I buy all these DVDs.

I know, it only took me how long and so much money to figure this out.  I like buying these DVDs because in some way they either represent a certain time in my past (therefore giving me warm fuzzy feelings inside) or fill in an emotional hole (for which I'm sure most psychiatrists would say is due to my parents... but they can only tell me that if I pay the office visit bill first).

How am I sure of this?  Take the last post.  As I was scouring Amazon's site for Batman: The Compete Animated Series, I stumbled upon Batman (1989) on DVD.  I was shocked, to say the very least.  Just a couple months ago, I was hoping to find it on Amazon or somewhere for normal price.  Suffice it to say, all copies were out of stock, meaning I would have to pay too much for it from individual vendors.

That is until two days ago, when Warner Bros. decided to release more copies onto the world, or at least Amazon.  And I'm stuck in the precarious situation.  Currently the DVD rests in my "shopping cart" and I don't know what to do.  I plan on waiting until I can ask the SO to get it, and if she says yes, that's another $20 to add to her yarn/shoe spending.  If she says no, then I have to resort to hiding the purchase.  I know, that's low and I swore off that practice.

But I have this urge to buy it anyhow.  Why?  Because Batman is the first movie I remember being highly advertised on TV.  Whether watching the movie on CBS, or seeing it on the back of Jordan Knight's jacket (come on, I was 7), I just remember seeing that symbol everywhere.  And in some way, buying the DVD would fill in that gap or give me warm feelings or something like that.  And maybe now that I know why I buy them, maybe that can help me stop (or at least slow down) my DVD purchasing habits.

Although I still want to get Batman...

This is purely coincidental...

So for this week's Future Purchases post, it looks like I gave it away without realizing it.  A couple posts ago, I talked about how sometimes I'm just drawn to super-duper deluxe editions of DVDs, and I mentioned this in the case of Batman: The Animated Series.  Well, it turns out I may have sealed my own fate with this slip of the tongue (well, I guess it's more a slip of the fingers, really.  Because I typed it all with my fingers, and I don't really see how I could do it with the tongue.  One moment, let me try... agevawser... okay, not a good idea.  Now everything tastes computery!)
If it weren't for Amazon, I wouldn't have this issue, but they do have great deals.  So this week, I'm really tempted about Amazon's deal for Batman: The Complete Animated Series.  I mean, come on, normally priced at $107.92, it's currently at $75.99!  A difference of $31.93.  That savings right there can get you a couple more DVDs to put on the shelf (I'm just saying).  Why is this collection worthy to be bought?  It's pretty simple really:

It's one of the most badass cartoons ever!  And that's just the opening!

Not to mention it portrayed Batman in a light we hadn't seen on television.  As much as I love the campiness (look up the word "campy" - you'll hesitate to use it again in a sentence) of the live-action series from the 1960s, we're talking about a guy who has to deal with his parents' deaths, and instead of just living quietly with the millions upon millions of dollars from his inheritance, he chose to follow in his parents' footsteps and help the inhabitants of Gotham City.  The animated series of the 1990s dug deep into the psyche of a troubled man.  And what we got was a well drawn and thoughtful cartoon that is probably the basis for my love of both the comics and the silver screen incarnations we've been inundated with for the past two decades (minus Kilmer and Clooney - those movies are even more campy than the '60s program).

In all honesty, it was at this time when the show began in 1992 that I started to really delve deep into comics, in general.  Both the Death and Return of Superman and the Knightfall of Batman were published near the start of Batman: The Animated Series.  For the next few years, comics were an important part of life, but as you grow up, comics are the first to go.  As I've read through those old comics and actually revived my interest in the genre (thank you, Watchmen!), the animated series has a special place in my heart and hopefully, one day (tear), a place in my DVD collection.  So as not to leave on a tearful note:


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A VDay without the SO. Best. Idea. Ever.

Or at least I think it will be the best idea ever.  But it can only happen with a plan in place.  So the SO has already planned on going with a friend to the movies on Valentine's Day to go see Confessions of a Shopaholic.  I know, that is the biggest waste of money since yesterday (what can I do to stimulate your mind about what I'm talking about?).

Yeah, I said it and I'm not taking it back.  Back where, do you say?

Why, the future!

Okay, so I went a little crazy there.  Okay I went octuplet mom crazy, but still, back to this post.

So the SO will not be around Saturday, which leaves me with a conundrum: what can I do with this time alone?  It's not going to be spent in lab.  That's just silly.  It comes down to three things.

1. Play The Force Unleashed on the Wii.  As much as it was given grief because it was too short on gameplay and because we can't be Vader for very long, I'm really into this game just for the sheer fact that the Wii allows for a little more interaction with the Force (viewer discretion advised):

2. I could watch some of the TCM 31 Days films I have stored up on the DVR.  I have this fear that it could get out of hand really quick if I don't watch more than one a weekend, so this is looking promising.  And it also saves the SO from watching these classics.  I already have at least 8 movies on the DVR, and it's not even halfway through the 31 days.  I feel like, like...

3. Finally, I could watch a season from a TV show I have on DVD.  If I really wanted to watch a single DVD selection a week, then watching an entire season of a TV show could prove hard as it takes more than a couple hours to watch.  And as the SO has the patience of a tick, this may be the best time to do this.  But what show should I watch?  Maybe...

If all else fails, I could set up all the TVs in the house in the living room, and arrange them so I could do all three tasks at once.  I could Wii it up on the 36", TCM it on the 27", and DVD it on the 13".  I'm not a multi-tasker, but I'm all for new things.  Although I haven't considered whether this could be detrimental to my health.  It could cause strange things to happen...

I know, it could be THAT scary.  Not to mention what it could do to the space-time continuum or the 1.21 gigawatts necessary to power all three TVs at the same time...

Well, I don't know about gigawatts, but if you notice a dip in power around my neck of the woods, you'll know why.  So after much deliberation on the three possible choices, my decision is...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Blu-Ray edition of Pretty Woman? Really?!?

Well, this is turning out to be a good week for future purchases... mostly because there's nothing, really, that stands out, as far as new releases.  That's not to say I won't have something to say in this week's Future Purchases post (later this week), but I thought I would look to see what Amazon has for new releases.

Nights in Rodanthe? Bridges of Madison County for 2008.

The Inauguration of Barack Obama on CNN?  Recency effect.

Amadeus on Blu-Ray?  Would interest me, if I had a Blu-ray... but I digress.  Would love the music in surround sound quality, but the picture in high-def does nothing for me.

Dragon Ball Z: Eighth Season? If I was 12.

W.?  Bombed at the box office just like the subject material did in the White House.  It's your own fault, Oliver Stone.  You chose a lame subject for a movie, AND during his actual presidency?  Crazier than Margot Kidder (Yes I re-used a Family Guy joke, but that show used this joke in two different seasons:

I'm not saying the FG writers are getting lazy, but they should have at least thought of a different movie/television reference the second time around!)

And to top it all off, Pretty Woman on Blu-Ray?  Give me one good reason I need to see Julia Roberts topless in high definition.  Because I can counter it with having to see Richard Gere.  I mean, the guy has not done a good movie in a long time.  This might have been his last one, and this is a stretch for a good performance from him.  Even in An Officer and a Gentleman, it was Lou Gossett, Jr. who gave an award-winning performance.  If you can give me a good movie where Gere gave a decent performance in since Pretty Woman, I'm all ears (well, not literally).

Tomorrow I should have more to say as I'll try and post what I would really like to buy but really shouldn't (because that would give the SO more money power for buying yarn/shoes - I know, who wants to buy shoes?) I leave you with this:

What?  With warm temps here, I always get in a golfing mood (hmm, I could use some putting practice...).  Later!

Monday, February 9, 2009

"I have a PhD in Horribleness!"

So I had originally planned on watching Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray, but the SO was in no mood to watch (something about being hypothyroid and stressed with nausea - I know, what's her deal?).  I had to think quick, because I thought that with Groundhog's Day occurring this past week, why not watch a movie about how it would suck to repeat that day over and over and over and... but alas, that wasn't the case.  And I had been just dying (yes, I think literally) to watch this past weekend's DVD selection.  So I chose Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Quite possibly the most original motion picture idea to come about because of the writer's strike, this movie follows Billy (aka Dr. Horrible, played by Neil Patrick Harris, or NPH) as tries to take over the world and at the same time, somehow build up the nerve to talk to Penny (Felicia Day), the girl he sees and obsesses over every time they're in the laundromat.  In true form, he sings about his longing to talk to her.  And in a way, the music really moves the story along, developing the characters and what they're going through in this way too short film, laid out in three parts.

Originally shown over the internet, it has certainly created a buzz.  With production in Hollywood halted with the writer's strike of 2007-08, Joss Whedon created this world that exploded fiber optics all over the planet.  Using his own money, Whedon and his creative family (Jed and Zack,  and Maurissa Tancharoen) tell of Dr. Horrible's tale to take over the world, defeat his arch-nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), and win the heart of future Mrs. Dr. Horrible, Penny.  In a world where the musical seems to be on a ventilator, the story really revolves around the songs and music created for this.

Not a day goes by where I don't listen to the soundtrack, listening for little details that I hadn't heard or noticed before.  The SO would describe this as Hufflepuff (inside joke, but if you put everything together, you'll get it... it means I'm acting feminine, okay?).  I think the music is brilliant.  And the story moves along so fast that you don't realize the 45 minutes have passed.  In the end, we learn of the Whedon twist, something that we've come to expect from him.  And in a twist of its own, the commentary has its own musical theme, which just blows the mind (well, not literally - how else could I write this... well it's true a chicken can run around without its head but could it write?  I would need proof...)

As far as I'm concerned, no one's DVD collection is complete without it.  As the SO was surprised I had it (yes, the Amazon thing, I pulled it off with this one... but I haven't done it since... I think... no, I haven't), I think she really likes it.  Well, at least she likes it better than Groundhog Day, but that's a great movie and one that will get its own post one day (tear).  So I think I have a good chance of keeping this one, as long as I play my cards right.  It's okay, I'd hide the DVD from her just so she couldn't take it, anyhow.  How else could I hide her birthday and Christmas presents?  The girl is worse than a curious bunny, and I know.  Having a bunny is like having the most curious creature imagined.  Only it's not imagined, it's real, and it's the size of a Netherland Dwarf.

In the end, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog gets huge laughs, huge love, and an automatic "in" for my DVD collection.  Maybe this upcoming weekend, the SO will allow me to choose the movie I originally want and not have to switch at the last second (although I can never really fail with my bounty of choices).  Later!

Why is it never as easy as it seems?

Well, the SO broke down.  Sort of.  Kind of.  Well, there was a compromise.

So last week's "Future Purchases" post dealt with two movies, Zack and Miri... and Nick and Norah's....  And actually, this weekend, I was able to purchase both, but at a cost that is more than the $34 I spent to buy the two DVDs.  In a nutshe... in simplest terms, the amount of money I spend on DVDs must equal the amount the SO can spend on yarn/knitting stuff.

Yeah, I know.  Sucks.  So she's allowed now to buy $34 worth of yarn or needles or whatever she wants.  I really hope that there's nothing coming up soon that I want to buy.  It's bad enough she would accuse me of just buying it on Amazon and hiding it from her.  Oh, wait, already did that way too many times before.

It's probably bad that I do... did that, but she forces me to.  I mean, how can you withstand the uber-ultra deluxe super duper special edition of Batman: The Animated Series?  No, I haven't bought it (yet).  So I'm not a total schmuck.  But she's just as bad.  Have you seen her stash (no, not that kind of stash - it's a stash of yarn)?  It's like a mile high, almost eight miles.  So I think I deserve to have these treasures in my DVD collection.

So, if you see me in a yarn store, say hello.  And just realize that I have to stand there and watch the SO drool over yarn.  Yeah, I know.  It's disgusting.  It's okay, I have ways to get back at her.