Thursday, August 20, 2009

Facecrook

Earlier today, CNN posted an article about "the 12 most annoying types of Facebookers."

The author comes up with various Facebook personas, including "the Let-Me-Tell-You-Every-Detail-of-My-Day Bore," "The Bad Grammarian" and "The Sympathy-Baiters."

What an original idea. It makes me wish I'd thought of it. Nine months ago.

Update: Ok, so I got a link from CNN. Guess I have to spell it out - I don't actually think CNN ripped off a blog regularly read by a grand total of about 10 people (a generous estimate). Relax.

Holy trinity



We have officially reached the point where a single utterance of the word "Expendables" means I have to change underwear: Bruce Willis is joining Sylvester Stallone's film, due next April.
The “Die Hard” star confirmed to MTV News that he is leaving time open on his schedule to shoot a cameo for “The Expendables,” the ultra-violent, star-studded action flick written/directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone. Sly is currently putting the finishing touches on the movie, which also stars Jason Statham, Jet Li and Mickey Rourke as mercenaries overthrowing a South American dictator. Willis said that the he will soon join Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger to shoot a very special scene for the flick.
So yeah, in what obviously will be the greatest single scene in movie history, John McClane will be standing beside John Rambo and The Terminator. Hey Orson Welles: fuck you.

To refresh, as I've written about here and here and here, Stallone is following his amazing Rambo with an throwback Dirty Dozen-type action flick. The cast is fashioned of action stars past and present - himself, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Eric Roberts, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture. With Schwarzenegger and Willis in cameos, which fills so many of my 1988-era fantasies. And 2009 ones, yes.

It hits theaters on April 23, 2010, a date I am actively trying to get Christmas moved to.

Speaking of Couture - well, I really didn't know who he was, but apparently he's a big Ultimate Fighting star. I can't think of anything I care about less about - but that said, put Expendables clips in your commercial, and I'll post it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Calling the plays


This is at least the third time I've used this picture. Because it's that good.

"I have never looked forward to a season this much." It has become a familiar refrain among Atlanta Falcons fans, and I couldn't agree more.

My anticipation, however, goes far beyond my team's sudden relevance. There are a swath of storylines that'll even keep Cleveland Browns fans tuned in until late in the season.

Michael Vick debuts for Philadelphia, including a game against his former team. Similarly, Brett Favre has two games against Green Bay, including a Week 4 Monday Night Football matchup. Tom Brady returns. Fights are breaking out among Oakland coaches. Tampa Bay's quarterback of the future is Argyle from Die Hard. Eli Manning attempts to live up to his "highest paid player" status. Tony Romo and Jake Delhomme undoubtedly find new ways to lose games. Peyton Manning goes it alone without brother-in-arms Marvin Harrison, Trent Edwards goes it with Terrell Owens.

Oh anticipation, I cut off a slice and you taste of cinnamon and dreams.

Here is Martians Attacking Indianapolis's official prediction of the 2009 season. Of course, this will only prove useful in the months to come, to reflect on and mock the glaring errors. I put myself out there for you, O Legion. Because I am ready for some football.

NFC East
1. NY Giants (12-4)
2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
3. Washington Redskins (8-8)
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-8)

Two of the year's best games are bound to be the Giants/Eagles matchups - more specifically, seeing New York's stupid-good defense up against what is bound to be, at the very least, an interesting Eagles offense. Washington will continue to tread water without a true franchise QB, and Dallas will flounder with a guy everybody thinks is a franchise QB - but isn't.

NFC North
1. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
2. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)
2. Chicago Bears (8-8)
4. Detroit Lions (3-13)

Yeah, that's right. While Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will improve, the Brett Favre experiment will be a failure (failure defined as "not making the playoffs"). And I'm not sold on Cutler's immediate success with Chicago. He goes from throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal to Devin Hester and a bunch of guys you've never heard of. Barring injury, Matt Stafford will start all 16 games for the Lions, and be immortalized for winning three more games than last year.

NFC West
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)
2. San Francisco 49ers (7-9)
3. Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
4. St. Louis Rams (3-13)

Just a bad, bad division. Arizona won't be as good as last year, but wins by default.

NFC South
1. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)
2. New Orleans Saints (9-7)
3. Carolina Panthers (9-7)
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14)

Yes, the Falcons technically take a step back from last year's 11-win total. However, when you replace Kansas City, Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis with New England, Dallas, Philadelphia and both New York teams, it's a demonstrable success. And the rougher schedule will only benefit us (yes, us - I'm a season ticket holder) in the postseason. My own personal silver lining would be a division sweep, which Atlanta has never done.

NFC Playoff teams: Arizona, Atlanta (bye week), Green Bay, New Orleans, New York (bye week), Philadelphia.
NFC Championship Game: Eagles @ Falcons.

AFC East
1. New England (14-2)
2. Buffalo (10-6)
3. Miami (7-9)
4. NY Jets (6-10)

Tom Brady is back, and unfortunately, the Patriots are as well. For the record, right now I don't think one of those two Pats losses will be Atlanta's visit to Foxboro - but that doesn't mean I won't change my mind the week before. Miami is a sexy preseason pick, but they'll be out of playoff contention much earlier than expected (starting with an opening loss to Atlanta, naturally).

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh (13-3)
2. Baltimore (11-5)
3. Cincinnati (6-10)
4. Cleveland (2-14)

Pittsburgh and Baltimore will be one of the more interesting battles. Even coming off a Super Bowl win, I find the Steelers a bit overrated - but yeah, I'm still picking them to win 13. If the Ravens had any semblance of a receiving corps, I'd feel better about picking them as a surprise division winner. But alas.

AFC West
1. San Diego (9-7)
2. Kansas City (8-8)
3. Denver (7-9)
4. Oakland (3-13)

This is almost a twin to the NFC West - four teams battling to suck the least. The big reach here is obviously Kansas City. Nobody else outside of Missouri die-hards are expecting a .500 season, but I think this team can be a miniature Atlanta/Miami of '08. (And yet I think Matt Cassel will prove to be a overpaid bust. Can't explain it.)

AFC South
1. Indianapolis (10-6)
2. Houston (9-7)
3. Tennessee (9-7)
4. Jacksonville (7-9)

This will give the NFC South a run as the most hotly contested division, and yet I can't imagine anything more boring than a Indy/Houston/Tennessee horserace.

Playoff teams: Baltimore, Buffalo, Indianapolis, New England (bye week), Pittsburgh (bye week), San Diego.
AFC Championship Game: Pittsburgh @ New England.

Super Bowl: Atlanta v. New England.
Super Bowl Champion: Atlanta.

Duh. What the hell did you think I was going to say?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Whole food for thought

My God, it's like somebody crawled into my brain, copied down my exact feelings about health care, then squeezed out a nostril and said, "I like what you're thinking, but I'm much smarter so I'm going to write it in my own words."

And it didn't even hurt.

First blood and 10

"You know what you are. What you're made of. War is in your blood. Don't fight it. You didn't kill for your country. You killed for yourself. God's never gonna make that go away. When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing."


Photo illustration/awesome scrolldown reveal by DAve.

The last Georgia Bulldogs jersey I purchased was David Greene's #14, around 2002.

Since then, my gameday attire has been a steadily revolving collection of red polos, T-shirts, gaudy Hawaiian button-ups (retired just after my fiancee began tailgating, probably on her recommendation), and an Atlanta Falcons D.J. Shockley jersey gifted by said fiancee. And then there was apparently this. No idea about that one.

Well, it looks like the wardrobe needs an updatin'.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports:

With backup Quintin Banks out for at least three weeks with what coach Mark Richt said was cartilage damage to his right knee, redshirt freshman Bacarri Rambo has moved into a first-team spot along with Bryan Evans.
Bacarri Rambo, #18 in your program, #1 in your heart. And soon to be #18 on my chest, assuming I can find the jersey.

(For the link, a gracious tip of the helmet to Bobby.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quarter Back: August 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.

"Fuck!"

And now, after just one word, this post has rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. Or it would have been, if this blog were a movie. And if I wasn't actually telling you to fornicate, but using the word in a general exclamatory sense. Because that would garner an R. Seriously.

"I'm going to break your fucking neck!" That's PG-13.

"I'm going to break your neck and then fuck you!" That's R. And gross.

From the M.P.A.A. guidelines: "Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture's single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context."

These silly rules have been in place for 25 years today, as the PG-13 rating debuted on August 10, 1984 with John Milius' Red Dawn. (Really, The Flamingo Kid was the first movie to merit the designation, but it wouldn't see theaters until August.)

It was a direct response to increased adult situations in PG-rated films, and most of the parental complaints seemed directed at Steven Spielberg. Some of his films, particularly Jaws and Poltergeist, clearly weren't suitable for their youngest viewers. And the temperature really boiled in summer '84 with the openings of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins. The former showed a heart being ripped out of a body, the latter had creatures melting in microwaves while the heroine lamented the non-existence of Santa Claus.

The parents had a point.

In the past quarter century, PG-13 has become the go-to rating for big summer blockbusters, and adult franchises looking to widen their audience base (in the '80s, it was Vacation and Police Academy, more recently Die Hard and The Terminator). And its non-existence seems inconceivable now, realizing there was once only a single ratings step between Annie and Taxi Driver.

Featured Movies



Tightrope
Seen it before?: Nope.
Release date: August 17, 1984
Actors: Clint Eastwood
Director: Richard Tuggle (Out of Bounds)
Box office: $48.1 million (#13 in 1984)

Tightrope is nothing but a standard serial killer drama, but it adds a bit of flavor with a New Orleans setting and one Mr. Clint Eastwood. In his most interesting performance of the decade, Eastwood plays yet another cop, but one who pushes a hooker's face into his crotch in one scene, and pals around with his daughters in the next (one of them played by real-life offspring Alison, which must have led to some interesting family conversations).

That Eastwood could turn this dark, dour thriller into a hit speaks to his unrivaled popularity (seriously, look at his box office chart - the guy has been headlining successes for over 40 years, and his just pulled off his biggest hit at age 79). It's not even a good movie, but his presence alone convinces you otherwise. Grade: B-



Red Dawn
Seen it before?: Hell yes. And fuck you if you say otherwise.
Release date: August 10, 1984
Actors: Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey
Director: John Milius (Conan the Barbarian, Flight of the Intruder)
Box office: $38.4 million (#20 in 1984)

There were three movie moments that scared the boo-boo out of me as a kid. Number one was Jabba the Hutt. Couldn't handle the opening 20 minutes of Return of the Jedi at seven years old. Two, the clown in Poltergeist. The face ripping and pool corpses weren't a bother - just that damn clown. And third, and perhaps the topper of them all, the opening scene of Red Dawn.

It's your typical school day, scene: history class. Mid-lecture, men in parachutes begin to rain down outside of the window. Teacher walks out to see what's happening - and promptly gets gunned down, along with a number of students. It's the Russians! And Cubans!

This is one surrious movie. I'd really forgotten how unrelenting it is. The bullets start flying in Minute 2, and the bleakness doesn't end until the final, quasi-uplifting voiceover. Even Schindler's List had lighter moments to break the tension, but director Milius ain't playin' any of that faggot "humor" crap here. This is as straight-faced as any movie comes, a mean feat when you have C. Thomas Howell playing a guerilla warrior.

And oh man, the politics. Red Dawn finds time to espouse about gun rights, paint Europe as a bunch of pussies, and lament the openness of the U.S./Mexican border. It's truly a product of the Reagan years, and I can't imagine how the recently announced remake is going to adapt for the Obama era. Spoiler alert: it won't be nearly as good.

I realize that half of you are reading this as a slam, and the other half are putting it at the top of your Netflix queue right now. So please understand, when I say "Red Dawn is the kind of movie Tom Clancy masturbates to," know that it's A COMPLIMENT. Grade: B+

Other films 25 years old this month:

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension - Still heralded in geek circles, this bizarre sci-fi adventure starred Peter Weller as a rock star/brain surgeon/samurai who protects Earth against invaders from another dimension. It joins Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and Supergirl as intended franchises that never got past Part One.

Bolero - "An Adventure in Ecstacy," or so says the poster. This cleaned up at the 1984 Razzies, winning Worst Actress (Bo Derek), Worst Director (John Derek), Worst New Star (Olivia d'Abo), Worst Screenplay, Worst Musical Score and, of course, Worst Picture.

Choose Me - Reading multiple plot synopses online, I can only figure out that this is an ensemble story about love. Not much to go on, I know. Genevieve Bujold, Keith Carradine and John Larroquette appear.

C.H.U.D. - A cheap creature feature about ghoulies living in the sewers. The title stands for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller, just in case not knowing that would keep you up tonight.

Cloak and Dagger - Oh, how many times I saw this one. Henry Thomas (E.T.) is a video game-obsessed kid whose imaginary friend looks like Dabney Coleman (mine, incidentally, was a dead ringer for Wilford Brimley). Well, when evil plans fall into his hands, it's a race against - you get the idea. I'm assuming this one wouldn't hold up.

Dreamscape - I remember some giant snake man freaking me out, but not much else about this Dennis Quaid thriller. Don't even remember if "thriller" is the right word, actually.

Flashpoint - According to IMDB: "Two Texas border guards find a jeep buried for 20 years in the desert, with a skeleton, a scoped rifle, and a box with $800,000 in cash." Sounds like somebody should sue Cormac McCarthy's panties off.

Grandview U.S.A. - C. Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze romance older woman Jamie Lee Curtis, which was probably more fun than killing Cubans in Red Dawn. Or fighting socs in The Outsiders. Geez, I hope those two got along.

Joy of Sex - Director Martha Coolidge was fired from this film for wanting to edit out all of the nude scenes. So you're filming a movie in the '80s, calling it Joy of Sex, and wanting to show zero boob? That deserves a firin', lady.

Oxford Blues - A year before St. Elmo's Fire, Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy teamed up for this Oxford University-set rowing romance. Yes, you could actually call its a sports movie. The most wussy sports movie of all time, but a sports movie.

The Philadelphia Experiment - A military experiment sends two World War II sailors into 1984. With thrilling consequences, I'm sure. (I did see this one 20+ years ago, but can't remember anything but bodies stuck into a boat deck. I think. Am I right here?)

Sheena - Mom took my brother and sister to see this, but I couldn't go because I hadn't practiced piano that day. Seriously, I remember this very vividly. If only the rest of my childhood punishments had been of the "You can't see Sheena" variety.

The Woman In Red - Watching this, you realize how much the ratings board wanted to take PG-13 for a spin. This one had multiple f-words and full-frontal female nudity, yet somehow got the teen-friendly tag. Oh, for more innocent days.

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

Friday, August 07, 2009

When "whipped" just won't cover it

Josiah Neufeld made an unusual decision after he proposed to his fiancee. He would take his wife's last name, not the other way around.

I did it because I love Mona -- because I wanted her to know that I didn't expect her to become anyone other than herself. It mattered to me that we shared a name, so I reasoned I should be the one to offer mine up...

Mona told me afterward my choice made her feel loved.
And then Fark linked to his post. Message board hilarity.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A memoriam, by way of Youtube

In memory of John Hughes, my favorite scenes from his career (at least the ones I could find on YouTube)...

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
One of the funniest movies ever made, written by Hughes and based on his own childhood (Harold Ramis directed). Take a few minutes and read Hughes' short story "Vacation '58." It was originally published in a '70s-era issue of, yes, National Lampoon Magazine.



The Breakfast Club (1985)
I couldn't find a decent, fan-unmolested clip on Youtube - but here's the trailer. The film may not hold up as well as some of Hughes' other stuff (Ally Sheedy's makeover and the dance scene are particularly bad), but it's still pretty damn fun. And oh-so-quotable.



Weird Science (1985)
Stupid crap, but really funny stupid crap. I wish I could find a clip featuring Bill Paxton, the best thing about this movie.



Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
The Great One, right? Certainly the best, and most rewatchable of his teen films. I mean, how many times do you even obliquely refer to this film? Somebody asks the score to a game, and the answer is "zero-zero." Don't you think of adding "the Bears" every time?



She's Having a Baby (1987)
Warning: this is not a funny scene. But it's one of Hughes' best, immeasurably helped by Kate Bush. And man, when the previously disapproving father-in-law gives the thumbs up? I'm just sayin', it is dusty as hell in here.



Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
I'll say it: John Hughes' best movie. Is that as heretical as I think it might be?



Ok, and one extra scene from Vacation, because it's that damn good.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Father, son and the holy post

It's probably best to start the Youtube video before scrolling down. This one needs a soundtrack.



Shield your eyes, brethren!



Yea, Thy Blessed Mail Carrier bestowed upon my holy breast, thy 2009 Atlanta Falcons season tickets! Praise to The Savior!