Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Best Rented Movies of 2006

If you’ve ever taken the time to listen to me in the past, you will know that I don’t go to the movies. The talking, the candy wrapper crinkling, the noxious breathing of the horrible masses…I’d rather stay at home and watch a movie with only my own noxious gases stinking up the place.

So here are some (rented) films that I enjoyed in the past year:


What looked like cheap laughs served up in a taco shell of typical crap, was actually a funny and fairly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to work in a restaurant. Some of it was a bit fantastical (like if you have the time to play as many ball tricks as they did, your restaurant would close due to lack of business), but otherwise nailed life off of the floor.

Walk the Line

Loves me some Johnny Cash so I liked this docudrama of his life. Joaquin Phoenix was fine as Cash and Reese Witherspoon was even better as June, but at points it just seems like a made for TV movie. I don’t think it was so much the fault of the filmmakers as the subject matter isn’t dramatic enough to justify making a full blown movie. If you like Cash, well you’ve probably already seen it.

Broken Flowers

Jim Jarmusch gets Bill Murray to do a full length and with awesome results. The only bad thing I can say about this is Murray retraces his steps as the glum older man he did so well in Lost in Translation, but I think overall, this is a better film. Why Murray didn’t win a best actor award for Rushmore, let alone Lost in Translation the crime of the century. We’ve seen this before from Murray but really the story and the people in this make it such a good movie. One of Jarmusch’s best in awhile.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Greed and arrogance and the business world equivalent to the Bush administration. If only those fuckers would be found out and Dick Cheney drops dead before he goes to jail. If you don’t know this full story and want to get pissed off, watch this. Then find the nearest Halliburton office and wipe shit on their front door. Halliburton doesn’t have anything to do with this movie, but since Enron isn’t around anymore, why the fuck not?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I read the books well after I had seen the movies and while the books are of course better, this movie does a good job with the material. I liked that they didn’t dumb down the death and darker parts because they are important to the rest of the series. Overall, they’ve done a fine job bringing these to the big screen.

Match Point

Starts slow but finishes up nicely. Maybe the best part of this is the fact that Woody Allen isn’t in it, but I loved the way he pretty much points you to an inevitable conclusion and then yanks it back at the last second. If you haven’t seen it yet, forget what I just said. Scarlett Johansson plays a whiny turd and it suits her. I think she’s very overrated as an actress but she redeems herself in this one. Great viewing and very recommended.

Brokeback Mountain

I watched it and didn’t get a boner unlike some people I know (Phil L). It’s actually very good and the cinematography is incredible. The scenery is stunning and really the film should have won best picture when put up against absolute blood farts like Crash. I think the gay folk were pushing so hard for it and got a wee bit cocky about winning that the academy decided to teach them a lesson by awarding one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (Crash) best picture. It’s too bad because despite all the hype and the jokes, Brokeback wasn’t too bad.

Good Night, and Good Luck

A good historical lesson on how all major media talking heads are complete assholes who could easily be interchanged with someone from Entertainment Tonight. Quiet and subtle and black and white.

Grandma's Boy

Kind of funny Adam Sandler type comedy (I think he produced it) with some fairly funny moments. The video game designer wunderkind who acts like a robot is pretty fucking funny. Get stoned and you’ll love it.

Akeelah and the Bee

Pleasant and uplifting. The little girl in this is great and while fairly obvious to see where it’s heading, I didn’t mind getting there.

Thank You for Smoking

Well done, witty and smart. The best part is seeing Katie Holmes…I mean Kate Cruise get her tube packed like a casing at Hillshire Farms. You’ll never see it again so watch it a couple of times.

Entourage Season 2

Kind of cartoonish but very fun look at a hot young actor’s life and his hangers on who live it with him. Really, if you’re dude who’s well past the age of this ever happening to, it’s fun to watch and dream. I would even be Johnny Drama at this point.

Big Love Season 1

Very cool and well done show about a polygamist family living in the mainstream in Utah. It’s great, makes Mormons angry and there’s tons and I mean TONS of humping. I mean, the guy has three wives so you know he’s getting it on all the damn time. Good acting and endearing characters, plus, did I mention all the humping?

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore is pretty cool. If everyone could have seen how smart and somewhat humorous he is before the 2000 election, I don’t think we would have had to put up with that destructive retard who’s in office now. Even if you don’t buy into the global warming thing, this alone is an interesting look at Al Gore himself.

The Da Vinci Code

I’m putting this in here because it wasn’t as bad as I thought it could have been. Pretty sappy, and kind of a dumbed down version of a popular theory on Jesus. I really didn’t like the whole “let’s get chased and have to escape out of an impossible situation so the plot can inexplicably move forward” thing they did like eight times throughout the movie. And why the fuck did the English grail expert have to double cross them? There was no reason for it. He wanted the truth to be exposed, so why screw them over when they were going to help him? That drove me fucking nuts….you know what? On second thought fuck this movie.

And that leads me to some of the worst shit that tainted my DVD player in the past year:

Nacho Libre

Should have called it Nacho Fastidioso which means NACHO BORING.

The Da Vinci Code

See above.

Friends with Money

Pretty much everything Jennifer Aniston is in pretty much sucks.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand

They took a movie franchise that put out two fairly good movies about some of the most interesting comic book characters to come to the big screen and completely chopped its balls off. This was so bland and awful it was like they took a plot from a Sci-Fi Channel crap-u-drama and crammed Wolverine into it. Shameful and poopy smelling.

Night Watch

Everyone raved about this science fiction/art house movie but what you need to know is that it’s Russian and seems like a pimply faced film student was given some money and he whacked off onto a movie screen. I think it’s about vampires but really I was so distracted by the ridiculous “arty” shots that it didn’t matter. Watch this only if you want a headache and want to be in a bad mood for the next week.

King Kong

This should have been called Rey Fastidioso which means KING BORING. I only bring up the Spanish name again because Jack Black was in yet another stinker. This movie is so goddamned long and boring I couldn’t believe it. And don’t forget that WE ALREADY KNOW HOW IT ENDS. At least in the 70’s version the sent F-16s after Kong and he climbed the World Trade Center. My god, you really have to be full of yourself and full of shit to make this movie.

Transporter 2

Well, Transporter 1 wasn’t very good so how could this be any better? Why did I even watch this? A monkey with half its brain missing could have written a better script than this. This is my rule for 2007: if the first movie didn’t boggle my scrotum, then I will not rent the second one no matter how much ass, car chases and gun shots are in it. It’s just not worth it.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some good tunes of 2006

Everybody’s got a list. And so do I.

These are some of the better albums that came out in the past year. These are in no particular order because, like all of you, I love them all.

Liars – Drum’s Not Dead

Crazy and creepy. Don’t know if it’s so much a concept album as it is just a stone cold freak out. Deep and disturbing and a pretty far departure from their earlier stuff.

Band of Horses – Everything All The Time

Mellow and beautiful. Fans of Sunny Day Real Estate will dig this. There are moments on this record that these guys hit that will knock your socks off.

Belle And Sebastian – The Life Pursuit

Funky and groovy. Who knew B + S could lay down such jams? There are some outright ass shakers on here (which is kind of strange for this band) and some of the usual nice ballads they are known for. The liner notes featuring the hot Scottish girls is worth it alone.

Sunset Rubdown – Shut Up I Am Dreaming

Should I keep going with two word descriptions? Probably and not. The bulk of this is pretty good, but the song “Stadiums and Shrines II” is one of the best songs released this past year.

Decemberists – The Crane Wife

I haven’t even heard this yet because the assholes who are in front of me on the library waiting list won’t hurry up and return it. I’m sure it’s good because their last one was great.

Cat Power – The Greatest

Not her “greatest” but it was still a good record. Some nice Memphis horns give her sound a little less serious vibe. But I guess I like the dour stuff, so maybe that’s why this didn’t blow my ass out. She’s still got my vote though.

Mastodon – Blood Mountain

Again, not as good as their last record, but some pretty sweet metal nonetheless. With all these indie rock wankers ‘returning to cookie mountain,’ I think I’d like to return to ‘Blood Mountain’ and battle the Cysquatch or whatever the hell it is.

Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country

One more time: not as good as their last record, but I am sucker for soft voiced Scottish girls singing about their problems. And any band that tells Lloyd Cole that they’re ready to be heartbroken will have my ear any day.

The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls In America

Where the Killers completely failed in channeling their inner Bruce Springsteen, The Hold Steady captured Bruce in a bottle without even trying. This album is all about Kerouac, getting high and chicks. I can’t think of any better way to spend a Thursday night. Goddamn do the Killers fucking suck!

Wolf Mother – Wolf Mother

I just about wore this album out. Sleazy rock and roll with a hint of 70’s metal and absolutely no hint of irony. These guys are the real deal and when they sing about the “white unicorn” they are dead fucking serious. Put on “the Joker and the Thief” and try and tell me it wouldn’t rock Lincoln’s face off Mount Rushmore.

Slayer – Christ Illusion

Reviewing Slayer is like reviewing the Grand Canyon. You know it rules, so why bother trying to tell anyone? But if I was forced to say something, I’d tell you that Slayer’s original drummer is back on this and he’s phenomenal. I’d also tell you that these guys just keep kicking more and more ass.

The Streets – The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living

A theme: Not as good as his last album, but it’s got some good stuff on it. Skinner might need to get away from the narrative album next time. He’s too good to force the issue in keeping the story going. But what the fuck do I know? I know his last album was nearly a masterpiece.

Beck – The Information

Did Guero come out this past year too? Because if it did, Beck would have two great albums out in one year’s time. The Information is solid throughout and makes me think that Beck is some kind of a genius. Think of all those other acts that got huge during the thrilling alternative rock sweepstakes being held by major labels in the early/mid 90’s…can you name one that has been as prolific and consistently good as Beck? To the person who just had Liz Phair pop into their head: I will slap you.

Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

This took awhile to grow on me. The music that is, not their name. Their band name is one of the worst in music history. Right up there with Carrissa’s Weird (now the aforementioned Band of Horses) and Bare Naked Ladies (now dead I hope). But take the bad name away and all the hype they received and you’ve got a pretty wicked, supercharged power pop record. Give it a spin and let it grow on you like it did for me. The album, not the crappy name…did I explain that right?

Hatebreed – Supremacy

As I am a sucker for Scottish girls, I’m also a sucker for ass kicking metal/hardcore with an underlying positive message hiding under layers of aggressive doomsday crunch. This band sounds like they could have been a straight edge group at one point, but sold their souls for rock and roll while still telling the kids to never give up.

Neil Young – Living With War

Despite this record’s obvious anti-Bush message, it’s still one of the better Neil Young records to come out in awhile. Try not to sing along to “Let’s Impeach the President” and try not to smear feces on the door handle of the next SUV you see with a Bush bumper sticker. Yes, that was me.

Primal Scream – Riot City Blues

I didn’t expect anything from this. I got it from the library and wasn’t even going to load it on my ipod, but I played it in the car and was pleasantly surprised. This is a return to the bluesy, Stonesy groove the Scream seemed to abandon for their techno funk/punk of the last couple albums. Don’t get me wrong, I love Xtrmntr…or Violator or whatever it was called (“Kill All Hippies” is a classic from that record), but this made me think these guys haven’t actually died from drug overdoses like they should have.

Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics

Not as good as their last record? Yeah, why not. One more time.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kid Rock...I hate to break this to you but....

Something had been bothering me lately.

You know how Kid Rock is getting divorced from Pam Anderson after they just got married recently? Well, I guess after he saw her bit in the Borat movie, he got all pissed off and was like "you're a whore!" She didn't like that I guess and decided to get divorced after three weeks of marriage.

What I'm wondering is, after he starting calling her a whore and the divorce papers arrived, did someone take him aside and say, "dude, I hate to break this to you, but EVERYONE has seen your wife naked. EVERYONE."

In fact, that same person might finish what he was saying by going, "in fact, EVERYONE has seen your wife boning greasy Tommy Lee. EVERYONE."

Is this like marrying Carmelo Anthony and screaming "BASKET BALL PLAYER!" Or banging Nicole Ritchie for a week and one day wake up yelling "ADOLESCENT GIRL SKELETON!"

Seems a bit obvious, but then again I don't roll with midgets.