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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

R.I.P. Legendary Film Director Guys

I haven't done an obituary posting in a while, even though there have been several notable deaths of late (Tom Snyder, Tammy Faye Messner, Lady Bird Johnson, Liz Claiborne, voluntary reading for kids since Harry Potter is finished). But two legendary film directors, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, both died this past Monday, so I figured I'd better memorialize them before another silver-screen great's life is claimed, like the guy behind No Reservations or maybe auteur R. Kelly (please preview his upcoming Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 13 - 22 here and enjoy the multiple R. Kellys crooning "Oh, Shit" in the background).

Ingmar Bergman
Film director
July 14, 1918 - July 30, 2007
Ingmar Bergman finally rejoins Death after having directed
him playing chess in
The Seventh Seal.
Yeah, I know. He totally ripped off Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

I actually don't really have too much to say about Antonioni and Bergman, since their "legendary film director" status means:
  1. I had no idea they were actually still alive
  2. The only other time I've referenced them was to hold my own in a movie geek conversation because I know other people haven't really watched their movies for fun, either
  3. As legends of cinema, their movies -- by definition -- can't feature opening credits that contain the words "starring Steve Guttenberg"

Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic-Connage, Part 2

We've survived another Comic-Con, and I've spent another $20 here and there to buy some vinyl toy that'll just sit around my desk! As fun as it was, this year's show was pretty anticlimactic. With Hollywood geek-cinema currently sitting in limbo between trilogies and franchises, there was no big news scoop to steal the show. The only real news I have is that if you're one of the dozens of dorks who dressed up as slave Leia or a 300 Spartan, you really should've laid off the World of Warcraft for a while to do some sit-ups before suiting up.

I got the exclusive Vampire Jack Skellington.

Steve got the exclusive 300 King Leonidas.

Jenni got the exclusive Grimace toy and Castlevania figure.

Todd McFarlane out-ridiculoused himself with his upcoming
"Twisted X-Mas" figures.
They're even more idiotically gory than his
Twisted Fairy Tales
line of toys.
"Ho, ho, ho" is how Santa describes Mrs. Claus, Claus, Claus.

The new Pirates of the Caribbean toys.
Pillaging whoremongers never looked so huggable!

A Star Wars Lego mural. Ten years from now,
George Lucas will wreck it by adding some Lite-Brite special effects to it.

The many flavors of Artoo droid, including "lesbian."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wittle Hewos

Cute heroes are the only heroes I take pictures of.


I feel like poopsticks today, so while the boys are at Comic-Con, I'm sitting here crying softly in the hotel room (which is located so conveniently close to the highway you can actually tell how heavy traffic is by sound alone), eating extra crunchy peanut butter out of the jar without the help of utensils and overpaying for internet access to upload some piccys.

Comic-Con is like crowded or something. It's never a small group of people, but the damn thing almost totally sold out this year, so I think that means that there are more nerds and geeks in the world than ever before. It's funny that this is the year that Comic-Con is blowing up huge, since in my opinion the programming isn't as good as it has been in past years. I dunno, maybe I'm just jaded.

Anyhoo, I took some pics of cute toys and stuff.

They were actually advertising the fact that you could get real, live Stargate Atlantis water at some concession stands. It's been forever since we made it back to Atlantis, so it was pretty exciting to get a taste of the sweet, life-giving water of the lost continent.

I think this is like a copy of a gold box from some Bible movie or something.

The cutest little world-eater you'll ever meet.

Batman, from the Super Friends series. I like his little half-smile.

Get a load of these huggable heroes. I really like the idea of superhero toys for little kids. I don't know why.

Blogger is being weird so I'll do more pics in another post.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Almost as Good as Doing "The Bartman"

D'oh! This week, everyone's favorite weirdly-complected ne'er-do-well misfit will be starring in a big summer movie, so I decided to honor the film's Friday opening with a special illustration. But then my Lindsay Lohan caricatures of her as a stripper in I Know Who Killed Me turned out too creepy, so I decided to focus on Homer and The Simpsons Movie instead.

The Hands in the Air gang as The Simpsons.
From left to right: Steve, Jenni, Jason and Chris

I actually "Simpsonized" our caricatures on my own and I hand-drew the above picture with pen and ink and then colored it on my computer, but you can get Simpsonized by using Burger King's nifty photo upload system. I think that's what Ashlee used to get her new nose and chin, but I've never actually been able to get the BK program to work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Steve vs. The Spider

No, that’s not the title of the latest summer blockbuster currently thundering at the multiplex next door while you’re trying to enjoy your relaxing romantic comedy. If only. No, this is LIFE people, the cruel bitch of existence slapping me in the face with an arachnid invader in my very own home, nay, my very own private bedchamber! Needless to say, I could not let this intrusion, this unprovoked attack, stand.

Jenni noticed it first, skulking in the corner, its hairy appendages tucked neatly beneath its bulbous body. When she led my gaze to the creature, our eyes locked hard, its innumerable, dark orbs radiating malice. Quickly I shoved Jenni aside, getting her out of the line of attack. The little beast sat there, a coiled spring, plotting some form of vicious plan of assault it had trained long for in one of those many human-killing camps you hear about spiders starting all of the time. I couldn’t be sure at the time, but I think it was some sort of spider-terrorist.

As a freedom-loving, red-blooded American, I had no choice but to declare war. A lesser man or perhaps a very brave toddler might have gone for some sort of spray attack, but not I. Actually, I was informed by Jenni, no stranger to insect-disposal herself, that the Neutra-Air we had on-hand was too light for spider-killin’. I thought about spraying the stuff anyway and using a cigarette lighter to incinerate the foul thing, but then I remembered I’m afraid of fire and I can’t use a lighter (they hurt my gamin’ thumbs). I turned away for a few seconds to look for some other weapon which could slay the beast.

That was a few seconds more than the spider needed.

With a blinding speed that would make you blind if you tried to look at it because it was so blinding, the arachnid darted across the ceiling, positioning itself to strike at one of my vital organs, probably the jugular. The creature looked down at me menacingly, licking its little spider-lips (look close, they have them), assured of its kill. I’m sure at that moment it was dreaming of victory, webbing me up and dragging me back to its spider-friends and devouring my succulent flesh as I writhed in futile agony. Oh it must have tasted so sweet to that mean creature, the thought of sinking its fangs into me. Oh how its rotund belly, surely full of the heads of small puppies and the legs of helpless babies, shook with anticipation.

But as it prepared to lunge at me, perched over my very own bed where I lay my head to sleep at night, I struck first. Oh how its bravado quickly vanished, for not many spiders can resist the “paper towel pinch of death.” There is a Bolivian spider so quick, no human hand can contract fast enough to secure it. There is a Scandinavian spider so large that no human hand can pinch it hard enough. Luckily for me, this was no such beast. My hand, paper towel protecting me from its poisoned shell, closed around the wicked thing like the grasp of death itself, sure and swift. I smote my enemy’s ruin upon the wastebasket.

I emerged victorious, realizing that I had gotten lucky, hopefully not for the last time. I offered my fallen enemy a final, grudging salute, knowing that only by testing myself in the fires of his mortal combat could I emerge as tempered steel ready to cleave through challenges yet to come. That night, I drank a cold Coke. It never tasted sweeter.

Mario Spazzmatazz

Nintendo gamers in the U.K. will have to wait a bit longer to play Mario Party 8 after the game was recently pulled from shelves because of its use of an offensive word. Was it a reference to Mario's "plumbing" or something about "Peach" fuzz? No, the word in question was "spastic," which in England is a very un-P.C. term generalizing that the physically challenged are also mentally impaired.

"Whew! That-a was a close-a one!
Nintendo almost-a perpetuated a negative-a stereotype-a. Mamma mia!"

Mario Party is actually the second game to be pulled because of spazz sensitivity. That's just plain retarded. It's lamer than a Special Olympian's gimpy, shriveled-up legs. This mental-deficient decision will severely handicap sales through a massive product recall and seizure (of the non-shaky variety) that'll require thousands of games to be shipped back on to a short bus bound for the video game factory. I think these marketers need a special education on the topic of words, because it all comes down to intent and no harm was actually meant by the use of "spastic." What a bunch of drooling window-lickers.

Maybe someday the overly P.C. overreactors will learn. Until then, like they say in that one show with that one guy, "Life Goes On."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Mmmm... D'oh Nut!

Since I don't have a Camaro that I could use to hang out in parking lots while blasting Dio from the car stereo, I don't usually find myself at 7-11. In any case, while humming "Holy Diver," I decided to visit the Burbank, California location after it became one of the few to be remade into a Kwik-E-Mart to promote The Simpsons Movie.
There's actually an employee working the front door and handling crowd control to make sure that only a handful of customers can be inside at one time, because you don't want too many people running off with those $8 cartons of milk and overpriced Twinkies. Anyway, when I got in, they were already sold out of almost all of the exclusive Simpsons merchandise.

I did manage to get a Squishee (which tasted suspiciously like a Slurpee) and I also made off with one of those pink, sprinkly donuts that Homer loves so much. The Squishee didn't survive the hot, summer ride home, but the donut made it all right, so I had the Hands in the Air gang give it a taste test.

"Pink." "Creamy." "With a hole."
The Simpsons donut comes loaded with sugar and innuendo.

Very pretty bright-ass deep pink color. Nice lookin' purple and blue sprinkles. The donut is glazed and also frosted. It's a bit much. Very sugary, tho the donut itself is moist and tasty. And I never like eating sprinkles because all I taste is the horrible, chemically, bitter flavor of the food coloring with a touch of sugar paste. Ick. So nasty. Pretty, tho. And the effect wouldn't be the same without them. I'd rather look at than eat. I feel that way about a lot of things.

It doesn't taste as scary as it looks. You know what flavor pink is? Diabetes. This donut is a big pile of sugar with a hole in it. Maybe all that sugar will make you all yellow and jaundiced like the actual Simpsons. Well, it still tastes good and looks just like the cartoon version.

Mmmmm... donut. The frosting is pink, which reminds me of the episode where Homer is committed for wearing a pink shirt to work, (thanks to Bart washing his lucky red cap with the whites). It's sweet like later in that same episode when Bart teams up with a guy who thinks he's Michael Jackson (remember when he was cool? The Simpsons does!) to sing a birthday song to Lisa. The whole breakfast confection is tempting like that episode where Homer was tempted to cheat on Marge with a hot co-worker voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer. Of course he didn't, which went against the strict instructions of a fortune cookie. I'm still awaiting the fallout of that in a future episode. Anyway, as Kwik-E Mart donuts go, not bad.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Robots in Disgust

Like every good patriot, we spent our 4th of July exactly how our forefathers intended -- we saw Transformers. Everyone knows that the true American dream is for a car to turn into a robot, and Michael Bay's blockbuster played out like a flag-waving triumph of the human spirit. Or maybe it was just a bunch of stuff explodin' with a robot pee-pee joke mixed in for good measure. In either case, we saw the movie (or maybe endured is a better word) and have a few thoughts on it...
The Arclight theater in Hollywood had the Autobots on display. In related vehicle prop synergy, the Arclight also had the sailboat from estrogenated weepie Evening on display. That's the movie starring Meryl Streep, Claire Danes and some chick who looks like Laura Dern, Jr. ...Yeah, nobody was interested in looking at the boat.

Jenni's 5 random thoughts on Transformers:
  1. The line "No no no no no" is uttered by literally half the cast, and I think Shia says it at least three times. Sometimes another word is added -- "No no no no no run!" -- or what have you, but, yeah. Shit, I guess screenwriting is easy.

  2. The transforming sound effect never seems to actually correspond to any particular bit of transforming. It's sort of just played early in the transformation. Totally took me out of the moment every time.

  3. There's really no logic to the transformative powers of the robots. They can scan other machines and remake themselves (which you would imagine involves some type of matter generation or at least manipulation) but they apparently can only use that power to change their body styles or paint jobs but not, like, heal themselves. Some robots die when ripped apart, others do not. That's silly.

  4. Shia LaBeouf is not appealing. He can't carry a film. And he's not even that good of an actor. I don't care what Steven Spielberg thinks. He's wrong.

  5. I think they inserted the love story between Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf into the film so that there was at least one thing in the movie more implausible than alien robots that transform into cars and shit.

Steve's 5 random thoughts on Transformers:
  1. What's with the rollerblading Constructicon? I would figure a giant-ass robot can move fast enough just by running, so what's with the skating action? Besides, rollerblades went out a long time ago. He should have formed up a transforming razor scooter.

  2. I appreciated the use of classic Transformer lines from Optimus Prime. Peter Cullen basically saved this movie for me.

  3. Too many humans, not enough robots. The cartoon was basically all about the robots, and rightfully so. There were so many people in this movie and so few of them were necessary to the story, yet we got to spend a lot of screen time with them. As much as I like to watch Anthony Anderson play the same character he's always played in every movie he's ever been in for the umpteenth time, I paid my $10 to watch some transforming robots, thankyouverymuch.

  4. At least Hot Rod wasn't in this one. God, he's a douche.

  5. The ILM folks took Frenzy in a direction I can only describe as Pit Droid-esque. Watch some Phantom Menace, (if you can stomach it, har har), and you'll notice some familiar behavior with the Pit Droids in the podracing sequence. I didn't mind a lot of the humor of the movie, but it really robbed that character of any kind of sense of danger.

Jason's 5 random thoughts on Transformers:
  1. The final edit of Tyrese yelling "Bring it!" is totally different from how he says it in the trailers. I'm still waiting for it to be brought.

  2. Robots don't need lips. Robots shouldn't have lips. Optimus Prime now has lips.

  3. Michael Bay managed to make smokin' Megan Fox altogether unattractive by having her make out with Shia LeBeouf at the end of the movie. Her lips are now officially as gross as Optimus Prime's.

  4. The climactic showdown would lead you to believe that downtown L.A. is a bustling city center, when, in reality, the only reason anyone would ever be there is if you happened to be A) serving jury duty, B) attending a convention or C) a homeless crack whore.

  5. They killed Jazz. I thought Kenny G had already done that.