Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy hour

At tonight's highly retarded "teachable moment," three guys will have a beer at the White House.

President Barack Obama will host Boston cop Jim Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. over some dumb shit that happened earlier this month. Spoiler alert: nobody's mind will be changed. If you were with Crowley before, you'll be with him after. Gates, likewise. Obama - well, I'm not sure anybody thought he handled this one well.

Ah, but there's a rub. A new detail has emerged, one bound to pull folks firmly into one of the camps: the White House has released each participant's beer of choice.

President Obama will drink Bud Light. Safe, bland, American.

Crowley will drink Blue Moon. Flavorful, a little girly, also American.

Gates will drink Red Stripe. Un-American, obviously communist.

I would have gone with a Sweetwater 420 myself, but if given the choice, I'm drinking with Crowley. Blue Moon is damn good. (I just hope he doesn't put a piece of fruit it in. Good god man, you're a cop.)

What would y'all choose? And is anybody disappointed with Obama's selection? I mean, as much as I don't like his politics, the guy is a suave MFer and should drink as such. And there are probably some pissed off Chicago breweries right now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

History recognized

Loran Smith and Norm Carlson, self-made historians of the Universities of Georgia and Florida respectively, have published Florida-Georgia: Rivalry Football Vault. It's another in a series of Football Vaults each has written, and I didn't actually know it was a series until now. I've been giving Smith credit for a great idea.

The books relate their subjects' histories through photos, text and various "memorabilia" - basically reproductions of tickets, posters, newspaper clippings, or anything else that would be included in a fan's scrapbook.

Well, there's something especially interesting to me in the new book - a copy of The Red & Black's November 3, 1997 front page. The R&B was UGA's student-run newspaper, and I was one of its contributors from 1995-1998. Something you probably already know if you're reading this.

Cool, right?

Well, it started me to thinking. Why include this? I mean, it was a big win - shocking at the time. And it's a pretty good front page. I remember the buzz in the copy editing room that night, as our minds huddled to come up with the perfect headline and image (I probably recommended something like "FUCK YES"). But does it really merit inclusion in this historical record?

And then I noticed it. Ah, of course.

Yep, it's the tease for my Switchback review, which I believe is still studied in UGA's journalism school. It was a stunning dissection of the Dennis Quaid serial killer drama, one of my finest works if I say so myself.

I'm still not sure why it wasn't published on the front page.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quarter Back: July 1984

Quarter Back is a monthly feature looking back at the movies of 25 years ago. One movie will be watched for the first time, one will be revisited.

Trust me, I'm aware this blog is read by journalists worldwide, and is a trendsetter and pop culture standard bearer. The pressure weighs on me daily. However, if you're going to rip me off, at least throw some credit my way.

Anyway, the summer of '84 continues, though most of July's releases were swallowed by the still-rolling Ghostbusters, Gremlins and The Karate Kid. Audiences didn't find time for most of the following films - and they were better for it.

Featured Movies

Best Defense
Seen it before?: Never.
Release date: July 20, 1984
Actors: Dudley Moore, Eddie Murphy, Kate Capshaw
Director: Willard Huyck (Howard the Duck)
Box office: $19.3 million (#56 in 1984)

Eddie Murphy's star blazed after 1982's 48 Hrs. and 1983's Trading Places, but one Dudley Moore comedy had him back at his old "Saturday Night Live" stomping grounds. He hosted the show in December '84, and pinned his presence squarely on Best Defense.

"Best Defense turned out to be the worst movie ever done in the history of anything, and all of a sudden, I wasn't that hot no more," he said in the show's opening monologue. "So, I called up the producer of 'Saturday Night Live,' and I go, 'Um, you still got my dressing room?' So, I signed the contracts to host the Christmas show, and while I was waiting for Christmas to come, sitting in my house by myself, somebody brought me a script for a movie called Beverly Hills Cop. Did Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop is a hit, all of a sudden, I'm an actor again. But, it's too late to pull out, so I had to host the show."

So is Murphy being too hard on Best Defense? Is it the the worst movie ever in the history of anything? Well, considering Patch Adams was still 14 years away from release, the answer is a resounding "quite possibly."

In the film, Moore plays an engineer working on a, uh, computer system for a tank. Or something. I watched the damn movie six days ago, and have already forgotten. In a separate story that takes place three years later, Murphy plays the driver of said tank. The two story threads are interwoven like a flash-forward episode of "Lost," except this damn thing is even harder to follow.

(Rumor is that Best Defense was originally Murphy-less. After a few disasterous test-screenings, Paramount threw a few million Eddie's way, and his whole storyline was conceived way after the fact. Given the bizarre structure of the film, Murphy's billing as a "strategic guest star," and the fact Moore and Murphy never share a scene, I completely believe this).

Director Willard Huyck would get one more chance to helm a film, and the result was the legendary disaster Howard the Duck. Just last year, he was credited as a producer on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Somebody stop him. Grade: F

The Last Starfighter
Seen it before?: A long, long time ago in a galaxy a few miles from here. Little memory of it.
Release date: July 13, 1984
Actors: Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart
Director: Nick Castle (The Boy Who Could Fly, Major Payne)
Box office: $28.7 million (#31 in 1984)

"Kids, we know you spend all of your damn time playing video games! But it could be for a good cause! See, that video game could have been planted at your trailer park by an alien race, and they could be scouting for real pilots to help them defeat an evil space villain about as menacing as Elton John! So keep staring at that screen for hours on end, and a ship might show up soon to make you an intergalatic hero!"

Yeah, that's about it. It's no surprise Atari worked closely with the filmmakers.

The Last Starfighter was one of about a thousand early '80s flicks to try and profit from the success of Star Wars. It had a decent enough premise and good performances, but it failed as trailblazer. Rushing to be the first movie to use 100% computer-created special effects (as opposed to models), the filmmakers didn't seem to realize the technology just wasn't there yet. Grade: C

Other films 25 years old this month:

The Bostonians - Christopher Reeve and Vanessa Redgrave star in this adaptation of Henry James' 1886 novel. Somehow I missed this firecracker.

Cheech and Chong's The Corsican Brothers - The sixth and (presumably) final Cheech & Chong movie is a loose - extremely loose - adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novella. My only surviving mental image of this film is Cheech hanging from barn rafters without pants. And who knows, I could have dreamed that. It sounds like something I'd dream.

Electric Dreams - A champagne-soaked computer comes to life and romances Virginia Madsen. Really. Part of Hollywood's short-lived belief that kids would see anything with a computer in it, after it worked a grand total of once with Wargames.

The Jungle Book - You old, over-30 folks remember when Disney would release one of its "classics" back to theaters every summer, a tradition that died when the video market boomed. Summer '84 saw the return of the 1967 jungle comedy, and it added $23 million to the Mousehouse's coffers. And Disney is just about to relaunch this theatrical strategy - sort of. Instead of just putting the same ol' film on screens again, the next year will see 3-D versions of Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Beauty and the Beast.

Meatballs II - Typically, '80s movie franchises started off R-rated, but descended into kid-friendly territory for the sequels. It happened with Major League, Police Academy, Revenge of the Nerds, Robocop and Vacation. Running the opposite way, though, was Meatballs. The first two - one starring Bill Murray, one starring a pre-Pee Wee Paul Reubens - were PG, while III and IV were raunchy tits-and-giggles wankfests. Respectively starring Mssrs. Haim and Feldman, oddly enough.

The Muppets Take Manhattan - The image of Kermit riding a bicycle still haunts me.

The Neverending Story - Almost four years ago, I wrote about wanting to see a remake of this. Not that there's anything wrong with the original - it was easily one of my childhood favorites - but I'd love to see this story with modern effects. Well, it's happening. I'm cautiously interested.

Purple Rain - Prince's one and only hit movie. It was followed by a small string of flops, including the Purple Rain-sequel-nobody-knew-was-a-Purple Rain-sequel, Graffiti Bridge. I finally saw this a few years ago, and it isn't good. At all. Not sure what our mid-'80s brethren got so worked up about.

Revenge of the Nerds - Of all the boob-baring '80s comedies trying to emulate Porky's, this was easily the best. Legitimately funny script, some memorable performances, a fun soundtrack. And yeah, boobs.

Quarter Back: June 1984
Quarter Back: May 1984
Quarter Back: April 1984

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A simple query

When my iPhone auto-corrects the sentence "Earl is fine" to "Rape is fine" and I send it before noticing, do I stand a chance if ever wrongfully accused?

(Earl is my dog, by the way.)

(And rape isn't cool.)

(For the record.)

Perfect options

Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle just threw the 16th perfect game in major league history, which would be awesome if it didn't come against my fantasy team. (Screw you, Stanicek!).

What was perhaps even more interesting was following Buehrle's Wikipedia page in the minutes leading up to the final out.

After one out in the ninth, this showed up: "On July 23, 2009, Beuhrle threw a Perfect Game against the Tampa Bay Rays." A little premature, a little misspelled.

I think the real in-depth dissection of the day happened only a few minutes later.

In [[2005 in
[1]. Buehrle finished the 2006 season 12-13 with a 4.99 ERA, his first losing season in seven major league seasons.

And below:

On July 23, 2009 Buehrle threw his 2nd no hitter which was a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was pretty kickass if you ask me.
I love Wikipedia, even though some blowhard has probably corrected those literary bon mots by the time you read this. Hoser.

Proud of myself

With $367 million in the pot, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the highest grossing movie ever - that I didn't see in theaters. I think it's worth bragging about.

Of the 30 movies that made $300 million domestically, there are only two others in this category - 2007's Shrek the Third and, oddly enough, 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sonny of a bitch

According to the AJC, all state employees will have to take three days of unpaid leave this year, in order to fill a $900 million budget hole.

“We have to live in the reality of the moment,” Perdue said during a news conference from his Gold Dome office. “These steps are necessary and prudent to make sure we keep our commitment to Georgia taxpayers and allow us to give the most services to our citizens through the money we’re able to obtain.”

That would be a perfect answer, if only he had been asked why alcohol should be legal to purchase on Sunday. Wouldn't the reality of the moment be helped by the millions in tax revenue that would create? But no, Perdue is still a dickhead who compares that step to legalizing prostitution. Because, you know, prostitution is already legal six days of the week.


(Yeah, I know, I'm breaking my "only blog about football and film" rule. Sue me.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A bad, horrible joke I must obviously share

What are Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Walter Cronkite expecting for Christmas?


Friday, July 17, 2009

Separated at nerd

So I just realized the guy from The Last Starfighter isn't the same actor who played young Clark Kent in Superman, something I've thought all my life. Anybody else labor under that delusion?

Nobody is dorky enough to have thought about it in the first place?

Oh, ok.

Jeff East in 1978's Superman

Lance Guest in 1984's The Last Starfighter

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Film the light fantastic

Ok, from what I can tell, this guy takes a basic synthesizer beat, and then creates a song made entirely out of a film's score and dialogue. Not only that, but he cuts a video to go along with the already entrancing music.

Anybody holding?

More available here.

5 reasons MLB's All-Star festivities suck


Tonight is Major League Baseball's 2009 All-Star game, live from St. Louis. What action! What drama! What a freaking joke.

Yes, I can find things to hate about the All-Star festivities. I loathe fireworks, too. Did I tell you that? And puppies. And freedom.

1) The Home Run Derby sucks. I didn't watch last night's Derby, for a couple of reasons. First, like the BCS and college football, it takes a great sporting contest and mucks it up with an illogical way to determine a champion. Josh Hamilton hit 28 long balls in the first round of last year's Derby, a thrilling spectacle. But according to Derby rules, you can't "carry over" any to the next round, so he ended up losing because he was tired. So MLB is telling the players, don't bother creating a career-defining moment like Hamilton did last year, just start coasting when you think you've hit enough. Of course, that's not nearly as annoyi - back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back back - MY GOD! Does any single person ruin an event more than Chris Berman destroys the Home Run Derby? Hitler didn't ruin the '40s this badly. I continue my nightly prayers asking God to give him throat cancer. (Relax. Just enough to ruin his voice, not kill him. I'm not an asshole.)

2) The game's announcers are fucktards. Ok, Berman obviously eats the majority of my Hate Cake when it comes to television announcers. But there are still big ol' slices left for Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, who will be calling the game for Fox. Buck is a smarmy assface of the highest order, telling anybody who will listen that - No, really! - he's funny, standing on his dad's corpse to sell beer, and acting sanctimoniusly apeshit over perceived slights to his moral fortitude (his ranting, which convinced me Moss had actually pulled down his pants, goes on about five hours longer than this clip shows). McCarver? Molests collies. Seriously.

3) No fantasy baseball until Thursday. Dormant. And how exactly am I supposed to fill those five hours every night? Read?

4) The winner means something. Steroids aside, this is the worst sin of commissioner Bud Selig's career - and that's saying something. The winner of the All-Star Game gets home field advantage in the World Series, which is why we've been told over-and-over-and-over-and-back back back back-and-over that this "means something." But it shouldn't. It shouldn't mean a damn thing, because the coaches and players don't act like it does. When you work to get playing time for almost all of the participants, nothing should be on the line. It's an exhibition! San Diego's closer blowing a save shouldn't affect the World Series. An error by Baltimore's outfielder shouldn't affect on the World Series. The Kansas City Royals shouldn't affect the World Series.

5) It's pussy crap. Baseball channels its inner-kindergarten teacher, and becomes a self-esteem enabler. "Ooh, we have to look out for widdle team's feewings! Ewverybody gets to pway!" MLB requires every team have at least one All-Star, which leads to sentences like "Now batting, All-Star Robert Fick." Of course, there are always deserving players sitting home because of this juvenile, wanky, ratings-driven rule - this year, San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval is on his couch despite leading "All-Star" Ryan Zimmerman in almost every offensive category. But hey, we need our Washington Nationals fix, don't we?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The next step

"It's at the point where some people come to the ballpark with the idea of getting themselves on the Fuck-Cam," Perry said. "They dress up for it, wave signs, even start fucking with two outs at the bottom of an inning in the hope they'll get noticed, the whole thing. The buzz has been awesome."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Junk in the trunk

No point to this, really. Just wanted to see how these posters looked side-by-side.

I'm bored.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wrong. Joe Buck doesn't have any additives either.

This time it's personal

So last weekend, did anybody else single-handedly pick up a hammerhead shark, carry it into the Atlantic, and watch it swim off?