Friday, January 28, 2005

While I’m stealing ideas from my fellow bloggists, here are some golden nuggets from the glory days of Internet Time Wastage:

You might remember me from such movies as…

Angels in the Outhouse
Bend It Like Borgnine
2 Dinners 2 Andre
Monkey Monastery 3-D
Under the Cherry Moonshine
Werewolves of Amarillo
The Six Million Dollar Baby
Weekend at Cheney's
Texas Chainsaw Bachelor Party
Gangs of New Hampshire
Romeo and Julio
3000 Miles to Stuckey's
A Woman Under the Interstate
Coal Miner's Donkey
Tickle Me Fredo
Triumphs of a Man Called Chowderhead
I See Bald People
From Dusk Til Ten-ish
Who's Afraid of Virginia Beach?
Elvis Saves Christmas
The Seduction of Joe Lieberman
Herbie Goes Apeshit
She Wore a Yellow Merkin
The Color of Monkeys
The Last Temptation of Snoop
The Man Who Wasn't Male
Full Metal Mullet
Ass Wide Shut
A Clockwork Orangutan
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Enema
I've Been Dead Since the Beginning of the Movie
The Black Guy Dies in the First Reel
The Dampening
Escape From Hitler's Chimp
Thank God It's Freaky Friday After Next
Lawrence of Pawtucket
The Maltese Fairlane
Fire Walk This Way
Maury, Walk With Me
Sleepless in Sheboygan
The Bad News Bagels
Ice Station Zappa
Bedknobs and Buttplugs
Deconstructing Corey Feldman
From Justin to Gigli
The Squattening
The Groping Man
Love in the Time of Cauliflower
Dial M For Mayonnaise
The Massachusetts Skillsaw Debacle
Tartar Karma
The Passion of Chrysler
Year of the Ocelot
Midnight in the Garden of Dumb and Dumber
The Human Stain Remover
Remember the Alimony
A Night Without Midgets
His Game Was Parcheesi
Sammy and the Sorrowful Sack
The Killer Wore Corduroys
Schindler's Fist
An Eye For an Icepick
Catch Me in the Can
The Executioner's Songbook
Fiddler on the Roofies
I Left My Arm in Deaf Smith County
Jaywalking Tall
Abbott and Costello Meet a Crazy Homeless Man Who Cuts Their Fucking Heads Off
Raiding Neverland
Maria Full of Shit
The House of Flying Sporks
The Hours...I'll Never Get Back That I Spent Posting Fake Movie Titles

The 50 book challenge rolls on…

2. The Great American Novel by Philip Roth

One of Roth’s early funny ones, this is a raucous tall tale revolving around the 1943 season of the Ruppert Mundys, cellar dwellers of the mythical Patriot League. The hapless Mundys are forced to spend the entire season on the road as their home ballpark is converted into a military base for WWII operations. With all the able-bodied ballplayers serving their country, the Mundys are a freak show staffed with the aged and decrepit, including a one-armed outfielder and a midget pitcher. Not a gut-buster really, but it’s a goofy, politically incorrect romp through a funhouse version of baseball history. Our narrator Smitty is an eldery, quite possibly senile ex-sportswriter who scrambles the story with bits and pieces of American literature and 20th century events (the HUAC hearings collide with the Black Sox scandal, references to Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn abound). I suppose it’s a sort of early run-through for The Plot Against America, but since I haven’t read that yet, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

3. When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin

Yes, bathroom reading counts, too. Otherwise I’m never gonna get through this thing. This is pretty much a dry well, though, as Carlin has absolutely exhausted the whole cranky old man shtick. I really couldn’t prove this is a different book than either of his two earlier efforts; he may just have rearranged the chapters and stuck a different cover on it. If you’re familiar with his routines on euphemisms and the “New Language,” well, there’s a whole shitload of that stuff here. Page after page he hammers the same note (“We used to say ‘short,’ now we say ‘vertically challenged’!, etc. etc.) until you feel like you’re trapped in an endless loop. There are a few pages worth of absurdist one-liners here and there, perfectly suited to your toilet-reading needs, but otherwise: feh.

Merchant of Venice

A Love Song for Bobby Long

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

And the nominees are...

First impressions at a quick glance. Giamatti was robbed! Likewise Eternal Sunshine. Otherwise, looks like a tame, predictable lot...

Friday, January 21, 2005

Requiem for Bobby D

What the hell is wrong with Robert De Niro? Does he have a serious gambling problem? Does he owe some real-life goodfellas or casino goons an astronomical sum of money? Does he have 500 children? There must be some explanation. He’s been in decline forever, but maybe because he was my favorite actor for a longer stretch of time, it’s been less noticeable to me than, say, the spectacular decline and fall of Kevin Spacey. But it can no longer be ignored. As if the one-two punch of Meet the Fockers (in which he reportedly breast feeds a kitty) and those sappy American Express commercials weren’t enough, now there’s this item to consider. I guess it’s not enough to simply suck now, he has to create a vortex of suckage that transcends the space-time continuum, a black hole that obliterates any remaining good feelings we might have for him.

But hey, maybe he’s just doing these crappy projects to keep himself afloat, so he can afford to do small, personal pictures and continue making daring choices. Except if you go to IMDb and check out his filmography for the past ten years, you’ll be at a loss to find any such thing. Actually, the cut-off point seems to be 1997, when he did Jackie Brown and Wag the Dog back to back. Two worthy efforts, followed by, let’s see…Analyze This, which would be okay as a one-off send-up of his image, but no, it was only the beginning of the Self-Parody Era, which would encompass not only the sequel Analyze That and the Focker movies, but the immortal Showtime (teaming him with Eddie Murphy and the master himself, William Shatner) and, of course, Rocky and Bullwinkle. (It was while making the latter that he turned up on the Oscars sporting the haircut that led pundits to compare him to “an angry pineapple” and “a retarded convict.” This, truly, is when I should have know it was all over.)

Of course, there have been some dramatic roles, too. There was Men of Honor, in which he screams at Cuba Gooding in some kind of demented Mississippi-by-way-of-the-Cross-Bronx-Expressway drawl. (I saw this on an overseas flight after I ran out of crossword puzzles.) There was Flawless, in which he was a gruff cop who has a stroke and learns to love life again thanks to a piano-playing drag queen. (Need I mention that this was a Joel Schumacher opus? One of my earliest reviews, too.) And he’s got some crappy thriller opening next weekend, on top of last year’s crappy thriller Godsend.

So, I guess the point is, I’m hoping Scorsese wins a shitload of Oscars for The Aviator and can’t find the time to return De Niro’s calls.

Friday, January 14, 2005

50 Book Challenge

Apparently all the cool bloggers are doing the 50 book challenge, so I reckon I’ll get in on that action, thus simultaneously bettering myself as a reader and as a blogger. Here are some rules from someone who did this a year ago. I would add this: if I read something really embarrassing, it doesn’t count (since I won’t want to admit to it here). Another rule: if I started it last year but finish it this year, it counts. Hey, 50 is a lot! The younger me could have done it easily, but the present-day me has DVDs and videogames and the Internets. So that brings me to my first entry:

1. The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton

It’s the story of colorful ex-mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci, who presided over the renaissance of that city whilst lining his pockets and beating the occasional foe about the head with an ashtray. As such, it should be a page-turner, but alas, such is not the case. It’s a juicy tale, but the book is decidedly juiceless. Apparently David Mamet is making the movie. I guess the Farrelly brothers were busy.

If you came here hoping to find a review of Racing Stripes...well, it's your lucky day.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Hey look! Survivor has found 20 new assholes! Ian the dolphin trainer looks like trouble.

In other reality news, there goes the neighborhood! I can't wait for them to get pepper-sprayed and beaten with nightsticks during SXSW.

The Hick Flicks media juggernaut is rolling right along. Why, just today I came across an apparently unread review copy at Half Price Books. Thanks, supportive Austin media! To be fair, the Chronicle did run a little blurb in the film section. I should have held out for the cover story.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The first stinker of the year is here! White Noise