Friday, December 14, 2007

A Recent Trend I Don't Like.

So a few weeks back, Warner Bros. announced that they would be showing the beginning of The Dark Knight at IMAX screenings of I Am Legend. Like, the first six minutes of The Dark Knight. SEVEN MONTHS BEFORE IT COMES OUT.

After all these elaborate bullshit viral campaigns and picture leaks, what exactly are they trying to do? Make us sick of Batman before we even have a chance to buy our ticket? Let us live our lives. Let us enjoy the movies that are actually shot and edited. Let us ring in the new year. The Dark Knight is going to make delirious money. No one needs to be convinced to see it. Especially not over half a goddamned year in advance. So why are they burning all this advertising money? They want to start the buzz for this movie as soon as fucking possible, so they can use said buzz... TO SELL OTHER MOVIES!

I lose respect for movie studios when they try all these shameless tactics to artificially inflate their opening weekend numbers. I know they're more interested in money than they are my respect, but I think we can all agree that this is wrong on their part.

You know what though, it probably wouldn't even matter to me if The Dark Knight was coming out right now. The biggest problem I have with this, fundamentally, is that they think it's okay to show people the beginning of a movie, completely out of context. Like it's a fucking commercial (God knows eventually this movie is going to have a 3-minute trailer that contains more footage than the movie itself, but one catastrophe at a time). Seeing a movie is a magical experience. From the moment the movie starts to the last frame at the end of the credits, you are being taken through a world that was painstakingly and methodically put together for you in a very specific way, and it is conducting a unique symphony in your brain. To saw off the first six minutes and slap it in front of the big holiday tentpole, maybe with a nice little cocktease montage at the end, and a "seeya this July," is an insult and a desecration.

So it was with serious disappointment that I saw all the headlines this past week of movie studios sticking the severed beginnings of all their big upcoming movies online. See the first 10 minutes of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story! See the first 5 minutes of Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem! See the opening credits of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street! See the first 3 minutes of I Am Legend! You can go on your home computer, watch the beginning of I Am Legend, then go to an IMAX theater and see the beginning of The Dark Knight before you re-watch the beginning of I Am Legend (followed by the rest of that movie).

I hope this trend dies with 2007. I hope nobody even notices this trend and writes about it as I have. I don't want this stupid idea to have the tangibility of being called a "trend." When I think about where it might lead, it frightens me. What if ten years from now, studios have screenings entirely composed of the opening credits of all their upcoming movies?

Well, let's be realistic.

What if next year, that happens?

Cheers,
Diego

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Watchmen Set Photos.

Today I saw that Zack Snyder uploaded some pictures from the New York backlot built for his Watchmen movie. Because the movie takes place in an alternate universe, this New York has to be realistic, but with little changes here and there. To someone who hasn't read Watchmen, these pictures are mundane and meaningless. But as a Watchmen lover, seeing some of these characters and locations brought to life, I got very excited. More excited than if Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley showed up at my house tomorrow and wanted to "become one with me" and like, live the rest of their lives with me and them "as one." I find these comic book movie backlot pictures more exciting than if that happened.

Well, maybe not more exciting. Let's say the same level of exciting.

Cheers,
Diego

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Biggest Loser.

I like to watch The Biggest Loser every week. It's a competition show, but the participants live together, with the cameras constantly running, and one of my favorite things about the show is how real things get behind the scenes. Here's a transcript of an actual scene from an episode a couple weeks ago:

Five people are standing around a kitchen counter looking at a big spread of sandwich ingredients. Their trainer, Jillian Michaels, enters.

Jillian: "(laughs) Hi!"
Everyone: "Hey, hi, etc."
Jillian: "I see you're making, uh, some lunch!"
Everyone: "(unintelligible response)"
Jillian: "You wanna know a good trick?"
Someone: "Yes."
Jillian: "Okay. Whenever you're cooking stuff, notice how you kinda... nibble a little bit here, nibble a little bit there, test out the recipes..."
Everyone: "(interested nodding)"
Jillian: "One really good trick is to chew a piece of gum. My favorite is Wrigley's Extra Supermint gum. (holds up a pack of the gum)"
Everyone: "(interested reaction)"
Someone: "How many calories is in there?"
Jillian: "Five calories, it's nothing. (shot of girl nodding) It's just a way of modifying your behavior to protect yourself against temptation."
Some Guy: "(smiles really big and takes some)"
Jillian: "Try it."
Someone: "Would you like a piece? (someone else takes a piece)"

And that's what's cool about the show. That a private little moment of authentic dialogue between competitors could be captured for us like that. It just enhances the weight these people's words carry.

Cheers,
Diego

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The My So-Called Life Box Set.

Today was the release date for the new My So-Called Life DVD Box Set. As I mentioned yesterday, my plan was to go to Target and use a gift card to buy it. I figured I didn't have to call ahead this time, because it was only the first day of its release. So I drove to the Glendale Target and went directly to the TV DVDs. It wasn't there. There wasn't even any sign of it on the display showing upcoming TV DVD releases. But guess what they did have there? A pristine copy of the Saw Trilogy Box Set.

WHAT.

WHAT THE MOTHERFUCK!!!! JESUS!!!! FUCK!

If you recall my previous entry, when I called the Glendale Target during my search for the Saw Trilogy Box Set, they told me they were sold out, so I didn't even bother going. I could have cut my entire day in half! EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION I GATHERED BY PHONE YESTERDAY WAS INCORRECT. WHY IS EVERYONE ON THIS PLANET A FUCKING IDIOT? I think I would have liked to be born during a time of adventurous space travel.

But then, maybe that's a bad idea too. I'd probably spend months traveling between galaxies only to arrive and find that they were sold out of all the space bullshit I was looking for in the first place.

While walking out of the mall, I called the Santa Monica Target, and the guy was acting like he'd never heard of the My So-Called Life box set. He said something about November. No, not November. Dickhead. Now. This thing is on sale all over the internet, INCLUDING THE TARGET WEBSITE. FUCK!

Cheers,
Diego

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Saw Trilogy Box Set.

There is no such thing as the Saw Trilogy. Because there has been a Saw movie every Halloween since 2004, with the release of Saw IV this year, Lionsgate released the Saw Trilogy Box Set knowing full well that it would be obsolete in less than a year. So it was a very puzzling and intriguing product to put out. Like, are there gonna be cheap leftovers of it in stores next Halloween? Containing the 2-disc special editions of the first three Saws, the packaging consisted of six discs and a three-dimensional representation of the clown puppet face behind clear plastic. A useless but funny little thing to put out there, no?

Now, I have been holding off on buying any of the Saw movies. I like them, but I figured if I wanted to own them, I should wait till the series had run its course, at which time I could simply buy the complete box set. But with Saw IV in theaters, a Saw V on the way, and talk of an inevitable Saw VI on movie news sites, I decided to restrategize. Because really, it's a pain in the ass to have to scrounge around for these movies every year when I have to rewatch them in preparation for the new one. I should own them so I can watch the goddamn things. But what if I liked Saw IV? Would I then have to have a shelf with a Saw Trilogy Box Set and Saw IV next to it? I decided the absurdity of it would be hilarious enough to merit doing.

But this box set came out on Tuesday the 23rd, and with the end of the week fast approaching, I was gonna miss out on any potential first-week deals being offered with it. For example, in some places, it was slightly cheaper. And Best Buy was offering a ticket to Saw IV with the purchase of the box set. But all these deals would disappear come Sunday. However, I was busy working at Halloween Horror Nights the entire weekend, leaving me precious little time to go out and get this thing. At one point, I called a couple Blockbusters, which claimed to have it in stock. That night, I quickly popped into the Sunset Blockbuster and didn't see it, so I left, because I needed to get to Baja Fresh to get my dinner before they closed. I figured I could just get the box set later. I then created a small window on Saturday to go get it at the Los Feliz Best Buy. I drove there, losing a lot of time in traffic, and when I finally arrived, I couldn't find a single Saw Trilogy Box Set, nor a single available employee to help me, because it was so crowded. So I had to haul ass to work with no box set, and, as far as I knew, there went my opportunity for a deal.

Today, Monday the 29th, I decided I would just go and get it wherever I could. If I started watching the movies soon, I would be able to go see Saw IV by the end of the week, which sounded pretty good to me. So I called the Los Feliz Best Buy, and no one was answering, so I just said fuck it and drove there. I'd gotten a late start in the day after sleeping off a full weekend of terrorizing theme park guests by waving chainsaws at them, so hopefully this wasn't going to take... too long. When I arrived, the aisles were much more organized and free of stampeding customers than they had been on Saturday. I asked an employee about the Saw Trilogy Box Set, and he said they were sold out. Oh really? Completely sold out? I immediately realized that this was how Lionsgate was going to avoid having tons of leftover Saw Trilogy Box Sets next year. By creating enough for less than a week's worth of sales. Brilliant, guys. So I asked the employee to see which other Best Buys were not sold out yet. He shook his head and told me the closest one was in Burbank. I asked if it was near the Burbank Town Center and he said no, it was past that. He really made it seem like a far drive. I also noted over his shoulder that the monitor now listed the price as $39.99, as opposed to their original $34.99.

So I got into my car and called the Sunset Blockbuster. They told me they had it in stock for $34.98. Sounds like a fucking deal, I thought. So I drove to the Sunset Blockbuster and asked a girl stocking shelves about it. She said it wasn't in the glass case, so they were sold out. I told her I called before I drove over, and was told they had it. She told me to ask the guy behind the counter. The guy behind the counter looked in the computer, then walked over to the glass case and asked the shelf girl, who told him if it wasn't in the glass case, they were sold out. He then looked in the computer for the video game section and said, "Oh, what's today, the 23rd..." "The 29th," I corrected. He then informed me that the box set hadn't been released yet and apologized for my inconvenience. "So no other Blockbusters are carrying it?" "Yeah, not yet. Sorry."

Now, I don't know if this guy was a complete moron or if he was for some reason lying to me (indicated by his Freudian slip of the date), but I felt no desire to argue with him and have to correct him the way I had corrected the shelf girl. So I thanked him and left. I then got into my car, confirmed that I had originally dialed the correct number for the Sunset Blockbuster and that they were idiots, and then called the Hollywood Blockbuster. They told me they were sold out. So while I was in the neighborhood, I drove next door to the Circuit City and asked them if they had the Saw Trilogy Box Set. They told me they did not. So I got into my car and called the Glendale Target. They told me they were sold out. I then called the Santa Monica Target. The guy in electronics had a look around and told me they had one copy left. "Is there any way you could hold it for me?" "... for how long?" "I'm on my way to get it now." "Okay. What's your name?" "Diego." "Hello?" "I said my name is Diego." "Hello?" "Hello? Hello hello hello." "(dead silence)" And the call was cut off. At this point, I could have easily called back. But I got to thinking. The electronics guy at Target knew that there was someone on their way to pick up a Saw Trilogy Box Set. He just didn't know the person's name. So I decided to test the moral fortitude of this young man and see if he would hold it anyway.

I drove to the Santa Monica Target and walked over to the DVDs. There, sitting by itself on the shelf, was their last copy of the Saw Trilogy Box Set (priced at $37.99). So, if the guy answering the phone at electronics is any sort of litmus test, it is clearly a low caliber of men and women they seem to have working at the Target on Santa Monica. I grabbed it and examined it, walking around the store before making my purchase. While handling it, I noticed two creases on either side of the spine, like something had been crushing the box earlier. And I got annoyed, wishing I didn't have to settle and spend good money on a damaged box that I was planning to take good care of. So, just for shits, I called the Burbank Best Buy and asked them if they had any Saw Trilogy Box Sets left. A guy there said that yes, they had two left (for $39.99). I asked if it would be possible for them to hold a copy for me, and he said they weren't allowed to do that anymore, because they got in trouble. Uh, okay, whatever. I then asked if the boxes were in good condition and he said they were.

So now I was faced with a choice. Was a cosmetically damaged bird in my hand worth as much as those two potentially undamaged ones in that bush over in Burbank? It might take me a while to get there, seeing as how I had to stop for gas, drive all the way home, get directions, and then drive to Burbank. But I said fuck it-- if I was gonna pay 40 clams for three Saw movies, I was gonna do it right, god dammit. Before leaving Target, I actually took a few moments and considered hiding the slightly damaged box set behind something else. As sort of an insurance policy, in case the Burbank Best Buy fell through. But it eventually occurred to me that there might be another poor sap out there, possibly a young man like myself, wandering the streets looking for this box set. And maybe he didn't care if the box was damaged. I certainly wouldn't like it if someone came to a store before me and hid the last copy of the thing I wanted just to serve their own insurance purposes. So I put it right back where it belonged and left.

Pumped gas. Drove home. Got directions. Drove to Burbank.

The drive to this Burbank Best Buy was not very long at all. It was basically one exit past the exit I usually take for the Burbank Town Center. So the employee at the Los Feliz Best Buy was just a big drama queen. I gotta learn to expect that from most people.

At this point in my journey, I was pretty well irritated and pissed off from the constant runaround I was experiencing, but even then, I had to take pause and admire the location. It was a pretty nice Best Buy. I dashed all over the store and looked all over for the Saw Trilogy Box Set. A section in the front with lots of DVD titles. A section on the end of the DVDs with the week's new releases. And most of the DVD aisles themselves, including the horror section. In the horror section, I discovered that there was no box set. But they did have something I hadn't expected to see in any single location. All three individual Saw movie special editions. Earlier in the day, I'd been thinking about how there could no way exist a place that would so conveniently carry all three special editions, yet here they were (in abundant numbers too, I might add). And not only that-- Saw III came with the free ticket offer to see Saw IV. What luck! I grabbed these three and asked a guy if they had the box set. At this point I was just curious to compare the two things.

He looked around, all the places I had already looked, then checked the computer and said they had three left. Really? Where did the guy on the phone get two from? Between Blockbuster, Target, and Best Buy, I'm convinced that the people answering the phones for these stores are physically located on a different planet. Anyway, the guy says to me that he doesn't know where they are, but he could check the back. But he kinda phrased it like a question, as if he was asking me if I wanted him to look in the back. What is this, a potential inconvenience? Of course I want you look in the fucking back. Why is everyone on Earth a simpering kitten? Instead of asking me anything, he should have simply TOLD me he was going to look in the back, because he works there and he has eyes and legs.

Anyway, he came back emptyhanded, and I told him to just forget about it; I was going to buy them individually. But before I did, I asked him if he knew what theater chains would accept the free Saw IV ticket (kinda have my heart set on Grauman's). He didn't know, but decided to really hammer home the idea that most chains would not accept it. He said the nearby AMC wasn't taking it, and I would probably be hard-pressed to find a chain that did. Where is this guy's manager? Is there any training program at Best Buy or do you just show up on the first day and get a blue shirt, name tag, and a punch in the face?

As I walked to the register, I thought about the price labels on these discs. Saw was $9.99, Saw II was $14.99, and Saw III was $19.99, which meant that I would be paying about $45 instead of $40 for the box set. And I knew that Target did have a bunch of copies of Saw II for $9.99, which I could probably pick up the next day when I went back there to use a gift card for the new My So-Called Life box set, but I couldn't bring myself to put anything back on the shelf now. To paraphrase Dr. Jack Shephard, I needed it to be over. I needed it to be done. And to my great surprise, Saw II rang up as $9.99 after all. The future leader of tomorrow working the cash register also had no idea which theater chains would take the free ticket, by the way.

So today I inadvertently set off on a day-long quest to obtain the Saw Trilogy Box Set and I ended up getting all three movies individually for the same price, plus a free ticket to Saw IV. And next year, if I decide to buy Saw IV on DVD, the saga's not gonna look so absurd on my shelf.

Cheers,
Diego

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Breast Cancer Survivor.

Today I made a donation to fight breast cancer and they gave me a couple of those pink awareness bracelets. I would proudly wear this thing, but I noticed that it says "SURVIVOR" on it. And as far as I know, I have never been afflicted with breast cancer. So would it be wrong for me to wear a pink breast cancer awareness bracelet that says I'm a survivor? In a way, I may be considered a survivor, because I live in a world where breast cancer exists, and I have never succumbed to it. But that doesn't really work, because when I told my brother this, he then claimed to be a 9/11 survivor.

Further research indicates that the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has expanded the definition of survivor to include family, friends, and caregivers who are affected by the diagnosis in any way. The closest one of those I fit into is caregiver, because I donated money to the cause, so I am providing funds for said care. I know that's a stretch, but fuck, man! Cancer is bullshit! We all have to deal with it every day, because we live in a world with no cure. So we are all survivors. I hate cancer, and the mammary gland just happens to be one of my favorites. Plus, I'm basically just trying to do something nice. So if anyone has a problem with me wearing a pink breast cancer survivor awareness bracelet, they can go fuck themselves.

Cheers,
Diego

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

News Bits: Nickelodeon, Jessica Biel Wonder Woman.

Got some little news bits here. I took note of them like a couple weeks ago, but I didn't get a chance to write about them, so they are now out of date. Just pretend it's a couple weeks ago.

From IMDb:

Nickelodeon to Go Dark Saturday

The kids' TV channel Nickelodeon is planning to intentionally go dark on Saturday at noon, with announcers telling their audience, "Go outside and play." The channel plans to remain dark for three hours, after which Nickelodeon says it will air Let's Play Go Healthy Challenge, produced in cooperation with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.


This might have been a good idea in the 50's when there were three channels. Today, even the dumb kids know they can easily put on one of the other 900 channels on TV, or watch a DVD, or play video games. You think losing Nickelodeon for three hours one day is gonna do anything? When I was a kid, I used to not get Nickelodeon past 8pm every night, because that channel would turn into A&E. You know what I would do? Watch other shit. Their heart's in the right place, but it's just a stupid idea.

And then, from ComingSoon.net:

Jessica Biel Passes on Justice League
Source: Lobo September 28, 2007

Entertainment Weekly has learned that Jessica Biel has decided to pass on playing Wonder Woman in Warner Bros.' live-action Justice League. The former "7th Heaven" star had been in early talks to play the Amazonian princess.

George Miller (Happy Feet) will direct the big screen adaptation. Kieran and Michele Mulroney wrote the script.


Thank fuck. I've always wanted to get a really good proper Wonder Woman. Someone like Jennifer Connelly (really my top choice). In fact, Joss Whedon was working on a Wonder Woman movie recently, and I'm sure it would've been a great movie debut for the character, but Warners pulled the plug on it, so now this Justice League Wonder Woman has to be extra good to make up for it. And the possibility of Jessica Biel playing her really annoyed me, because I kinda hate Jessica Biel. I've touched upon that previously in this blog. I don't have a good reason; I just dislike her. Could be her association with 7th Heaven (I hated everyone on that show). Maybe it's just her face. But she would have been pretty fucking far from my ideal Wonder Woman.

At this point, it's not even clear if this new Justice League movie is even going to be live action. Either way, Jessica passing is good news. Like the time I read that Josh Hartnett passed on the role of Superman (in the Superman movie that ended up not getting made). What if there was a movie where every horrifying casting rumor came true? Like Josh Hartnett Superman would date Jessica Biel Wonder Woman, and there's a love triangle with Colin Farrell Batman and they are joined by Jack Black Green Lantern. Cameo by Halle Berry Catwoman.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Columbus Day Observance/Thanksgiving Day (Canada).

Today I really needed to go to the bank, but when I got there, it was closed. According to my calendar, today is Columbus Day Observance/Thanksgiving Day (Canada).

Now wait a minute. Let's start with the first thing.

Today isn't even really Columbus Day! Columbus landed on October 12, 1492, which was 515 years ago this coming Friday. Today is just the observance of it. Why do we do that, I wonder? Does it make it easier to always have it on the second Monday of October if the actual date changes every year? Maybe it's because we're grouping it together with the Canadian Thanksgiving Day. Which... I mean, talk about irrelevant.

The two things have nothing to do with each other. Meanwhile, I gotta sit on a worthless paycheck for another day while schoolchildren and Canadians celebrate their three-day weekend. You guys win... for now.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cancer Scare.

Last Sunday (9/23), I woke up early and watched Boiler Room. Really good movie, except I couldn't enjoy it, because halfway through this movie is when I noticed that the vision in my right eye was significantly blurrier than the vision in my left eye. I then did what I think most people would have done, which is go on the internet to confirm that I had brain cancer. Indeed, one of the symptoms of a brain tumor is blurry vision in one or both eyes. Another symptom is localized headaches. I've had localized headaches, and always in the same spot. Not recently, but still. I had my last eye exam in March and six months seems a little odd for the prescription in one eye to undergo such a drastic and sudden change.

At this point, I experienced the most intensely vivid panic I can ever remember feeling. The type of panic that can only be inspired by imminent death. It was like in "Hannah and Her Sisters," when Woody Allen is convinced he has a brain tumor the size of a basketball. I couldn't even think straight.

The next day, Monday (9/24), I saw the optometrist. At Lenscrafters. I was praying that he would tell me I had scratched my cornea or something, and that my vision would go back to normal in due time. I wasn't totally hopeful, because I knew I wasn't feeling the pain that would normally accompany a damaged cornea. He told me the eyes both looked fine, maybe a little dry, and that the vision in my right eye seemed to have improved. He told me to get eye drops (for the dryness) and to come back next week in order to confirm that the prescription change was permanent.

The rest of the week I felt a little discombobulated, because I was completely freaked out in the back of my mind-- somewhere near the occipital lobe, where I could almost feel a malignant tumor growing. A friend of mine told me about how people always assume the worst, and she told me a story about how she got spots all over her body and she went to the doctor and it turned out to be prometheus rosea, which is essentially nothing. I certainly appreciated this story, but it still didn't prove that I was not one of the people who get rare cancer and die while they're still young and gorgeous.

Also, I think she meant pityriasis rosea, because prometheus rosea is not an actual thing.

Today, I finally went back to the optometrist (at Lenscrafters) and he said my right eye had improved and stayed that way, so I would need new contacts and glasses. I asked if it's common for one eye to suddenly improve like this, and he said that yes, sometimes wearing contacts for a while can mess with the prescription because the eyes can become a little inflamed or something, but going without the contacts can allow the eyes to get better. Or something to that effect. So I said I probably shouldn't be worried about it being a brain tumor or something, and he dismissed that immediately, saying a tumor wouldn't do that.

What a relief! I suppose I don't necessarily need to go get an MRI now. I am hoping to just get the laser eye surgery later this year, because I've been wearing glasses and contacts since I was in like 4th grade, and they are a major pain in the ass. I can't wait till the day I can just open my eyes and see, like a normal Earth mammal. And if I end up dying of a brain tumor, someone tell this guy at Lenscrafters please.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, September 28, 2007

My Last Day of 18-24.

Every time I go to Baja Fresh, I take my receipt and fill out a feedback survey online. At the end, it gives me a code to put on the receipt that will give me $2 off my next meal at Baja Fresh. They put in the discount before calculating tax and all that, so I'm really saving slightly more than $2, and over time, it really adds up.

Anyway, at the end of the survey, they ask some classification questions such as gender, income, and age. Under age, they have a series of multiple choice options, and I always click on 18-24. But my birthday is tonight at midnight, so from now on, I will have to check off the next option, 25-34. This is the only place where I've seen this age so categorically defined as the milestone that marks the entrance to a new decade. Like, when you become 30, that is the beginning of your thirties (or the end of your twenties). But Baja Fresh has redefined the very stages of my life. Am I in my thirties now? Or am I just starting my twenties, and I won't hit my thirties till I'm 35? Baja Fresh has seen our reality, and they want no part of it.

I think in the end, what they have achieved is something that will make people in their late twenties feel old, and people in their early thirties feel young. Do we need this?

Cheers,
Diego

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From My Inbox.

I got this in my Hotmail today:

Subject: (no subject)
From: aceofqueenfunn@aol.com

my windowslivemessenger emily22purple@hotmail.com addme please handsome fella

One of the nicest emails I've received in a long time!

Cheers,
Diego

Thursday, September 20, 2007

October is Smallville Hotties Month.

Today I saw that the new issue of Stuff has Laura Vandervoort on the cover. She plays Supergirl in the upcoming season of Smallville. I thought this was pretty cool, since I love Smallville. Then, I looked right next to it on the magazine rack and saw that Erica Durance was on the cover of Maxim. She plays Lois Lane on Smallville.

All my favorite things are coming together. I will plan a special trip to Borders in the coming days in the hopes that I can purchase this magical pair that I can then slap the shit out of my nuts to.

Cheers,
Diego

Sunday, September 16, 2007

2006 vs. 2007, Part 4: August

So earlier this year, I got the idea to compare the 2006 summer blockbuster season with the 2007 summer blockbuster season to see which year was better. I did this by doing month-specific rounds where each weekend was represented by a single movie. Here are links to the first three parts:

2006 vs. 2007, Part 1: May
2006 vs. 2007, Parts 2 and 3: June and July

I should make it clear that I am determining each weekend's representative based on my own personal opinion of which of that weekend's releases was the best, and that I am indeed excluding any movies I didn't see. But I do not think this will make too much difference in this already-majorly-flawed process. And now, with 2006 in the lead, here we go into the final round.

TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY (2006) vs. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007)
Talladega Nights was a moderate success, marred mainly by a trailer that undercut every joke in the movie. But The Bourne Ultimatum was fresh to death; a classy, stylish, smart action movie that beautifully wrapped up one hell of a trilogy. The Bourne Ultimatum wins this one by a landslide.
1st Weekend Score: 2006 (0) vs. 2007 (1)

WORLD TRADE CENTER (2006) vs. STARDUST (2007)
Stardust was one of the best movies I saw this year. Original to the extreme, with lots of funny characters and moments. I'm going to reluctantly give this one to the great World Trade Center, but I only do so while giving Stardust my highest praises.
2nd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (1)

SNAKES ON A PLANE (2006) vs. SUPERBAD (2007)
Snakes on a Plane was basically just a lot of hype that all started because of its sweet title. Superbad was extremely overhyped as well, but I was fortunate enough to see it at an advance screening about five months prior to its release. And I guess I can say it was funny and wonderful enough to deserve an onslaught of trailers that ruined it for everyone in the world.
3rd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (2)

INVINCIBLE (2006) vs. MR. BEAN'S HOLIDAY (2007)
You'll notice I'm using Invincible to represent 2006 (this was the movie where Mark Wahlberg plays an ordinary guy who loves the Philadelphia Eagles, tries out, and then becomes one of them, kinda like in Rock Star, where he did the same thing, but with a metal band), and not Beerfest. I didn't see Beerfest until a few weeks ago, and it was pretty good. I don't know if Invincible was better, but to me, Invincible better represents 2006, because that is when I saw it. Doesn't really matter, because I liked Mr. Bean's Holiday better than both.
4th Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (3)

THE WINNER OF AUGUST: 2007. And with that, we have a flawless streak of every winning month being one point short of a flawless victory.

THE WINNER OF THE SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER SEASON: It's a tie. The winning months were May 2006, June 2007, July 2006, and now August 2007. So I guess maybe I can do like a September tie-breaker next month, even though that last bit of September is technically autumn.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jodie Sweetin.

I was looking through the news items on IMDb the other day, and this was the last entry on the page. I really enjoyed how it was worded:

Newlywed Sweetin To Be a Mom
Former child star Jodie Sweetin is expecting her first child just weeks after marrying new husband Cody Herpin in Las Vegas. The wild former Full House star wed movie set designer Herpin on July 14 weeks after meeting him for the first time. And now the 25-year-old former crystal methamphetamine addict is getting ready to be a mom.


Cheers,
Diego

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Britney, Bitch.

This Sunday, MTV aired its 24th annual Video Music Awards. The show itself was heavily revamped, dropping a ton of its usual categories and focusing more on live musical performances and general drunken debauchery. For me, it was noteworthy above all because it opened with something of a comeback performance from Britney Spears, who has been missing from the music scene for the past few years, so she could marry some deadbeat, have two kids, and embarrass herself daily on the tabloids. So I was very excited to see this performance. I was always a big fan of Britney back in the day. Not because I felt she had any kind of noteworthy vocal talent, but because her songs were always very poppy and catchy, and she always looked phenomenal performing them.

So I watched the show and I really enjoyed it. But it seems that everyone else on the planet disagrees with me, and in fact considers the performance an unmitigated catastrophe. I was appalled as I sifted through countless news articles, all of them reporting on what a complete failure it was, as if it weren't even a matter of opinion. Sheila Marikar of ABC News painted the performance as a hapless sleepwalk, citing such accredited sources as gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Even the late night hosts all made sure to get in their licks. I only watched Conan and Letterman (whose Top Ten List for the night simply consisted of Britney Spears Excuses). AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle wrote an article about how both her performance and the VMAs overall were sub-par, but at least his choice of words remained for the most part concrete and unbiased. Which is more than I can say for AP Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody. She heaped praise on the show itself while shitting all over Britney. Hers is the article I'll be focusing on in this entry, because it best embodies the type of virulent prattle I'm talking about.

She says:

As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded on MTV's Video Music Awards. There was just so much that went wrong. Out-of-synch lip-synching. Lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home. The paunch in place of Spears' once-taut belly. At times she just stopped singing, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance.

Let me go through this point-by-point.

The lip-synching. Britney Spears always lip-synchs. And it's not always perfect-- she just always moved too fast for us to notice. But just because she's not breaking her back with the kind of choreography she usually prepares doesn't mean she can't choose to pre-record her vocals. People are always so disgusted by this, like it's not her voice we hear playing back. Go back and watch her old performances. The only times Britney doesn't lip-synch are when she's sitting on a stool next to a piano. Was anyone expecting an out-of-practice mother of two to just open the VMAs by busting out with a fucking aria?

The "lethargic movements." It seemed to me that she was quite deliberately strutting around in a very bold and governing swagger. That kind of loose yet controlled movement can be a million times sexier than some over-the-top showy carnival of spastic dance moves. And the way she played back and forth between her unpredictable sashaying and the minimalist choreography with her dancers went a long way in holding at least my attention.

The "paunch." I am physically repulsed that someone would actually say this in a criticism of Britney's performance. Her PAUNCH? Hey, Nekesa Mumbi Moody. Go fuck yourself, and your name. I applaud every inch of Britney's body. As admittedly more full-figured than usual as it was, she was still one of the most magnificent displays the world saw that night. God forbid the nation should be forced to look at a female body that's not the picture of anorexia. How terrible to have to see a gyrating set of beautiful tan curves. And the way she so openly bared her flesh most definitely served to the advantage of the authoritative attitude in her aforementioned swagger. The outfit itself was almost certainly a tribute to Britney's hero, Madonna.

I'm just so sick of seeing all these malignant articles with nothing but venom for Britney. I've never felt that my own thoughts on something so subjective could be so categorically contradicted by mere word of mouth. I say let's worry less about Britney's flaws and maybe worry more about printing Nekesa Mumbi Moody's bitter insecurities under the banner of news.

The only part of the performance I wasn't totally crazy about was the song itself, which was Britney's new single, "Gimme More." But then, her songs usually tend to grow on me.

Cheers,
Diego

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Week of Three Big Shitty Things.

SHITTY THING #1: BLACKOUTS

Last week, on Thursday (8/30), we lost power in the apartment. I ended up going to Ikea and Barnes and Noble with Justin. While reading magazines at B&N, my brother called and told me the power was back on. So it had been a few hours. The next day, Friday (8/31), the power went out again and we took in a showing of Death Sentence. When we got back, the power was back on, so it had been a few hours again. The next day, Saturday (9/1), we spent the whole day driving around doing fun things and running some errands. After we got back and got settled in, the power went out at 6:15pm. It stayed off for hours. Eventually, we went to get dinner and when we came back, the power was back on. It had come on at 10:30pm, so that was a 4-hour-15-minute blackout. The next day, Sunday (9/2), I was mentally prepared for a fourth blackout, but it didn't come. That is, until 8:45pm. We were so pissed, we just wanted to get out of the house, but unlike all the other blackouts, our garage door was frozen shut. So we were prisoners in our own home. Not that there would have been anywhere to go on a Sunday night. The power didn't come back on until 7:15am the next morning. So that would be a 10-hour-30-minute blackout.

It seems that these started out as power-company-triggered rolling blackouts that evolved into uncontrolled outages caused by blown transformers and shit, because of the heat wave that settled over the city last weekend. The power company was good enough to leave constantly-updating voice messages on their customer service line, informing us that they had no estimate for when the power would come back on (even during the blackouts they themselves engineered). If you have four straight days of blackouts and at no point do you ever have an estimate to give people, what's the point of even acknowledging the idea of an estimate? Okay, you can't make any realistically educated estimates. MAKE SOME UNEDUCATED ONES. WE'RE NOT CALLING YOUR VOICE MAIL EVERY FIVE MINUTES BECAUSE WE LIKE THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE.

The next day, Monday (9/3), we lost power for about a half an hour during the late afternoon. Whatever. My biggest problem with this whole thing is the idea that rolling blackouts and blown transformers are a common thing during big city heat waves, but the power company doesn't feel the need to establish a scheduled protocol so that people's lives are not thrown into turmoil. Imagine if every year in Florida, when the hurricanes started coming, everyone just sat around saying, "Oh, shit!"

SHITTY THING #2: UNIVERSAL

When it comes to Halloween Horror Nights, the people at Universal Studios Orlando know what they're doing. They've been at it since 1991. But Universal Studios Hollywood is still working out the kinks. They started doing HHN in 1997, then stopped after 2000. Because of money reasons, or 9/11, or something, I'm sure. But then in 2006 they started up again. I didn't think to audition at that time because I'm an idiot, but I remembered to do so this year, which, on paper, is their 6th year, but really, is more like their 2nd year. Mentally, I was very prepared for this audition, thanks to the audition I bombed back in March for their year-long House of Horrors. I even made a resume with a headshot and everything.

I love working HHN. As an incentive, they make you an employee for the entire year, so you can enter the park for free and get employee discounts until the next HHN rolls around. And above all, it's just a fun job. Instead of waking up in the morning and sitting at a desk, you go at night and put on a costume and scare people. I was a little disappointed at the audition when they said HHN was 10 nights. I was expecting more, because I was used to Orlando. I later found out they had made me a part of the elite Chainsaw Brigade. This part is a little more demanding than all the other scareactors, because it is more interactive with the guests. And you're operating a live chainsaw.

At my orientation, I found out that my employee status would not be year-round, but rather, I would only be an employee until the last day of HHN; October 31st. This just sounds like a lot of bullshit. What are they gaining by not offering me year-round employee status? On top of that, I won't be able to get free passes throughout the year to give my friends like I did in Orlando. Maybe Hollywood doesn't need the caliber of incentives that Orlando does because it's so overflowing with actors and variety performers who are dying for a job. But if that's the case, why is the Hollywood HHN still short of several tall males to fill all their scareactor positions? Maybe next year they will rethink their list of incentives. So that was kind of a shitty thing. But the main shitty thing here is that I was really hoping to ride Back to the Future: The Ride before they closed the Universal Studios Hollywood version forever (the Orlando one has been closed for some time). BTTF: The Ride closed its doors forever here in Hollywood on Labor Day, September 3rd. My orientation, where I officially received my employee status, was September 4th. It's like they couldn't have picked a worse date.

SHITTY THING #3: DMV.

I passed my California driver's license test in August of 2006. I didn't have a passport to show them at the time, so I showed them my citizenship certificate. Because of this, they said it might take a little longer for me to receive my driver's license. Like, 8 months. I said that was fine. It has now been over a year, and I still don't have my driver's license. What they have been doing is periodically issuing me temporary paper licenses that expire within months. They usually send them to me in the mail, but sometimes they will just forget and I have to go down there and get one. Earlier this week, I noticed that my temp license was expired, so on Friday, I decided to go to the DMV and get a new one.

According to Google Earth, in order to get to the DMV, I had to take the 110-S and take the exit to Flower Street. So I was driving down the 110-S. At one point, I passed an exit called Exposition. I thought, "Hmm, that sounds familiar." But I kept driving. By the time I hit LAX, I realized I had gone too far. So I called my brother and asked him to confirm the directions that Google Earth had given me. He checked, and indeed, Google Earth's directions were to take the exit to Flower Street. But then he checked on MapQuest, and MapQuest said to take Exposition. Apparently, Google Earth knew I needed to take Exposition, but instead of calling it Exposition, it decided to call it "the exit to Flower Street." How the fuck am I supposed to know that Exposition is "the exit to Flower Street?" Typically the name of the exit is the street it leads to. This was all the more infuriating because I know in the past, Google Earth has told me to get off at Exposition. Because that's how I knew that exit in the first place.

So I got off somewhere, turned around, and got on the 110-N. As I was approaching Exposition, I realized that I only knew how to get to the DMV when coming from the other direction, so I consciously decided to pass Exposition, so I could come around from the other way and take the exit I was supposed to take in the first place. This meant I got off on Adams. I turned around and got back on 110-S. But as I was getting on, I realized that I had entered a special lane that was 110-S for CAR POOL ONLY. Total horseshit, because I hadn't seen any "car pool only" signs before getting on. Then I started freaking out for two reasons. One is that if a cop saw me, I would not only be driving in a car pool lane by myself, I would be doing so with an expired license. Two, since this lane was separate from the regular 110-S, it took me waaayyyyyy past Exposition before it gave me a chance to merge out of it. Almost all the way back to LAX. So I exited again, turned around again, and got back on the 110-N. Again.

As I was passing Exposition on the 110-N for the second time, I momentarily reconsidered my decision to pass it so that I could take the exit coming from the other direction. But I decided I should take the time and do it right, because I couldn't afford to get lost. Then, as I was passing the actual exit, I saw the DMV right in front of me. This served to let me know that I could have easily taken the 110-N Exposition exit at any time and arrived at the DMV with no chance of getting lost. But of course, I only saw it as I was passing the exit.

So I got off at Adams again, turned around again, and this time, I did not get on the car pool only 110-S. As I drove past, I tried to see if there really was a sign indicating that it was car pool only. All I saw was an arrow pointing to the lane with the word ONLY. Next to that was a SEPARATE SIGN with a diamond on it. Yeah, that's very clear. I don't know what I was thinking. I then realized there was no entrance for non-car pool vehicles to get on the 110-S. I was going insane. You have to imagine, dear reader, that this entire time, I was dealing with unbelievable traffic, and the knowledge that I had wasted nearly an hour going in circles while people were getting off work and creating a mad rush for the DMV before it closed. So I was screaming and cursing and having a mental breakdown.

Finally, I recognized where I was and just drove to the DMV without getting back on the 110-S. And the stupid thing about this DMV is that there's about 1000 people who need to be in there at any given time, but they only have about 30 parking spaces. So their teeny parking lot is just an ongoing carousel of cars, and getting a spot is just the luck of the draw, depending on where you happen to be when someone comes out and vacates their spot. You could be circling for an hour, or you could pull in and immediately find yourself in front of a vehicle that's pulling out. In addition to this, there's always some genius who gets a feeling about a spot and stops the carousel with no room for anyone to get around him. Eventually, I somehow got a spot and went inside.

I explained to the guy that I needed a new temp license and he said I needed to have my legal presence with me. Meaning my citizenship certificate. I told him I'd gotten the thing renewed before without having to show them anything, and he responded by underlining the text on my temp license with red marker. Oh, okay! Then he asked the lady manager, but he presented the case to her before I had a chance to, and she immediately took his side. I asked her why I didn't have my real license yet, since they had promised I would get it like 5 months ago, and she said it can take anywhere from 1 to 2 years for my identity to be confirmed. What do they need to confirm? I'm obviously me. So after accepting the fact that I would have to come back with my goddamn legal presence, I asked when they were closing, and she said 5pm. It was 4:30. Great. So, I'll see you guys, what, Monday? I'll be sure not to drive my car until then. I will flap my arms and fly home. Then I will fly back on Monday, of course. Why would they put me through this hassle when they usually send me my temp license in the mail? They don't send me a bitchy asshole who comes to my house and asks to see my legal presence. They send me a fucking temp license, because I passed my fucking license test and I should have a fucking license.

Anyway. What a shitty week.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, September 7, 2007

Disney Adventures to Quit Publishing.

From IMDb (like 2 weeks ago):

Despite a 17-year track record, circulation over 1 million, and a 4.6 percent rise in ad sales over last year, Disney announced Wednesday that it will halt publishing Disney Adventures magazine following the November issue. (The current issue has -- what else? -- the cast of High School Musical 2 on the cover.) Advertising Age said that the company wanted "to better focus resources and maximize long-term growth potential through new magazine and book initiatives."

This is really depressing. 17-year track record indeed. I was there since day one. I didn't have that first issue with Rick Moranis on the cover (November 1990), but I believe I had the second issue with Candace Cameron on the cover (December 1990). It had everything a boy could want; comics, cool articles, interviews, movie news, engaging stories, and just a lot of fun Disney shit. This magazine was a major part of my childhood. What's weird is I have no idea when I stopped reading it. I tried to find a cover gallery online to refresh my memory, but no one seems to have taken the initiative to build one. I did come across a shot of a cover from 1997 with Batman & Robin on it. That looks vaguely familiar. Is it possible I was still reading it in 1997? If so, that must have been when I stopped, cuz that was the year I entered high school, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't reading no Disney Adventures in high school.

After I found out that it was going to stop being published, I picked one up at the supermarket checkout and leafed through it for like ten seconds. What I saw was heartbreaking. The magazine was not even a shadow of its former self. It was thin and printed on cheap newsprint and filled with inane bullshit. What happened to the fucking awesome children's literature from my youth? I guess it doesn't matter that they're taking it off the shelves if it's already dead anyway. This turned out to be depressing on multiple levels.

Another magazine I used to read was Nickelodeon magazine. That was a genuinely brilliant magazine when it first started being published in 1993. I challenge anyone who doesn't believe me to check out some of its first issues and tell me you wouldn't orgasm over that shit as a kid. It was really quirky and filled with lots of irreverent humor. But I remember consciously deciding to stop buying it after it became a commercial piece of shit clone of every other stupid magazine in the world. Kinda like Nickelodeon itself. To quote that douchebag maƮtre d' from Ferris Bueller's Day Off... I weep for the future.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monopoly: The Motion Picture.

According to the LA Times, Ridley Scott has confirmed his involvement with the upcoming movie adaptation of Monopoly, the classic family board game. That's amazing. We've had movies based on video games, toy lines, even theme park rides. But board games? How many movies based on board games have we ever had?

Two, to be exact.

The first was 1985's Clue, a hilarious ensemble satire. This was both the birth and pinnacle of the limited genre of board game movies. The second was 2000's Dungeons & Dragons. I didn't see it, but I'm pretty sure it was a piece of shit.

Cheers,
Diego

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Librarians Resent Casual Readers.

So recently the last Harry Potter book came out and everyone immediately bought it and read it, and I really wanted to join in the discussion (plus I wanted to have read it before I came across any spoilers), but I didn't necessarily have it in my budget to go buy it myself, so last week I got a library card and checked out one of their brand new copies. Typically, you get to keep books for like three weeks, at which time you can re-check them out if necessary (which is something you can even do online without coming in), but since this was a highly demanded new book, I was only allowed to keep it for one week and then return it, and I wasn't allowed to re-check it out. So I read it within the week and took it back today. When I got to the library, I saw that there was a big book drop bin outside, but I felt kinda bad about tossing this nice new book into a giant metal bin, so I took it inside. When I walked in, the little alarm thingie went off, and the librarian at the front desk turned around and brusquely said, "Bring it up here, please." As she was scanning it back in, she looked up at me and said, "Finished?" Kind of a weird thing to ask me. Like, what if I hadn't? You gonna help me get this book again, lady? But I told her, "Yah." She then asked me to put it back. I wasn't sure what the hell was happening. Do I work here now? She pointed to the shelves in the front that featured new books and indicated that I could just stick it anywhere on any of the shelves. How disorganized is that? I just put it on a random shelf and she exclaimed that it was perfect. So I started to leave and she calls out to me, "Don't you want to get anything else?"

This bitch decided she was gonna look me over and pin her little label on me. She figures I'm like every mindless stooge out there who lives and dies by their TV set, and the only reason I would ever come to the library is because I wanted to read this big new trendy book for free and then never return again, because I'm too busy with my iPhones and my DVDs and my Internet. So she wanted to make me feel like an ass by pretending to be surprised that I was leaving so quickly, without getting a new book to read. She thinks everyone in the world should get their library card and check out lots of books, and get even more books when they're done with those, all for the love of reading and the thirst for knowledge that only books can quench.

So anyway, I responded with, "No, not right now. I'll be back." But I won't be back. At least not to that particular branch. It was quite a bit out of my way, and I only went there because they had the most available copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the day that I wanted to go check it out. I plan on returning to the library, but it will be to my local branch, to check out some books I want to read, and it's going to be when I fucking feel like it. And you know what, most of them will be graphic novels. I hope that's okay with whatever librarian is manning the desk on whichever blue moon I decide to go.

Cheers,
Diego

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2006 vs. 2007, Parts 2 and 3: June and July

In an effort to determine whether this year is better than last year, going solely by the movies that came out, I decided to compare the two years, weekend by weekend, in monthly installments that cover the traditional summer blockbuster season. In case you missed it, here is a link to part 1:

2006 vs. 2007, Part 1: May

It took me a while to get to parts 2 and 3 because I didn't initially see all the movies on their opening weekend. But now I'm caught up enough to adequately judge the months of June and July.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of these weekends saw the release of more than one movie at a time. I probably should have chosen each weekend's representative by the most widely distributed release, but I decided to go with my opinion of what the best movie of the weekend was, so that each side would always be judged on its best representative. So, for example, disasters like EVAN ALMIGHTY will not bring down a weekend that happened to also see the release of 1408. And that kinda thing makes all the difference when stacked up against the likes of CLICK. So, anyway. Here you go.

Part 2: JUNE

THE BREAK-UP (2006) vs. KNOCKED UP (2007)
What we have here is a decent movie about the end of a relationship and a much better movie about the beginning of one. So we don't have to waste too much of the court's time on this one.
1st Weekend Score: 2006 (0) vs. 2007 (1)

CARS (2006) vs. OCEAN'S THIRTEEN (2007)
While Cars was probably one of the worst Pixar movies, it was still really good. Saying "the worst Pixar movie" is like saying "the least beautiful diamond." But Ocean's Thirteen really delivered. So, based on how well each movie achieved its own goals, I'm gonna have to give the slight edge to Thirteen.
2nd Weekend Score: 2006 (0) vs. 2007 (2)

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006) vs. FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER (2007)
Tokyo Drift was a threquel nobody asked for with no returning characters and everything stacked against it, but it turned out to be a pleasant little surprise. Rise of the Silver Surfer was a galactic improvement on the original Fantastic Four. But that doesn't change the fact that it was still kinda dumb.
3rd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (2)

CLICK (2006) vs. 1408 (2007)
The trailer for Click seemed to give away everything about it, which soured me on ever wanting to see it, but when I finally did, I was relieved to find that there was slightly more to it. Too bad it was only slightly.
4th Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (3)

SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) vs. RATATOUILLE (2007)
This is a really tough choice. Superman Returns is one of my favorite movies from the past few years, because of the love for Superman that Bryan Singer clearly put into it. And Ratatouille was an unmitigated success unto itself. What makes it a difficult decision is that the two movies are good in such different ways. But because the overall winner has already pretty much been determined and this weekend's point is essentially irrelevant, I feel comfortable just picking one.
5th Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (4)

THE WINNER OF JUNE: 2007. A serious hot streak of kickass movies, marred by an embarrassing loss to a no-name threquel.

Part 3: JULY

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST (2006) vs. TRANSFORMERS (2007)
Dead Man's Chest was seriously excellent, and Transformers was just kinda silly and weird. I mean, it didn't suck, but talk about somewhat disappointing.
1st Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (0)

YOU, ME AND DUPREE (2006) vs. HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007)
You, Me and Dupree looked like ass. Then I saw it and it was kinda sweet, but still ass, but it was okay because it wasn't aspiring to be much more than that. But it also kinda ripped off way better movies like What About Bob. Doesn't matter anyway because Harry Potter was a gabillion times better.
2nd Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (1)

LADY IN THE WATER (2006) vs. HAIRSPRAY (2007)
I really liked Lady in the Water. I know that everyone hates everything M. Night Shyamalan does or says or thinks, but I guess I'm just different then, huh. And I know that Hairspray celebrates people who are different-- aha, nice try! Point 2006.
3rd Weekend Score: 2006 (2) vs. 2007 (1)

SCOOP (2006) vs. THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (2007)
Maybe not everyone would have picked Scoop here. But let me just put it this way. I could have represented the 4th weekend of July with Little Miss Sunshine, Miami Vice, The Ant Bully, or even John Tucker Must Die. But none of these shits were ever in any danger of losing to The Simpsons Movie.
4th Weekend Score: 2006 (3) vs. 2007 (1)

THE WINNER OF JULY: 2006. I've noticed that every month so far has been one point short of a flawless victory. This time it's Dupree who ruins everything. Dupree!

The tally so far has 2006 leading with May and July against 2007's June. August will either seal 2006's victory or tie everything up, forcing an unprecedented September tie-breaker. Stay tuned!

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, July 13, 2007

Corrections & Updates.

Sometimes the narrative threads of my life appear to remain unresolved because I will blog about them and then never follow up. So here is a series of corrections and updates on some of the entries in this blog.

In Ripped off (3.28.07), I blogged about how a Supercuts overcharged my debit card and I didn't notice till I got home, and then I did nothing about it.
UPDATE: If I'm reading my online banking history correctly, the charge never went through. So what I took as a ripoff actually turned out to be a free haircut. I hope this will be the last update on that.

In Entourage (4.23.07), I blogged about how Entourage is a good show, but that a lot of the storylines were stupid and/or frustratingly paced.
UPDATE: No change. The best part of every episode is Ari.

In New Shoes (5.3.07), I blogged about how my new shoes were going to facilitate my hiking at Runyon Canyon.
UPDATE: They do indeed grasp those slippery crags way better than my old shoes. So there's some bad news for all my potential mortal enemies.

In Robots in Disguise (5.13.07), I blogged about how my brother and I attended a promotional Transformers event and were promised free passes to an advance screening of the film, but how I probably wouldn't go because I wanted to enjoy the movie at a good theater on Independence Day.
UPDATE: After a lengthy silence, we finally received our invitation to a 7:30pm screening on Thursday, June 28th, at the Pacific Culver City theater. We did not attend for three reasons:

1. We were getting over a cold.
2. We had already long since purchased our tickets for Transformers at the Arclight Cinerama Dome -- about a month in advance, to be exact, to guarantee excellent seats.
3. That whole Independence Day thing.

So on July 4th, we went and saw the movie at the Dome, where they had four cars from the movie on display. I think we made the right call.

In The Upfronts: ABC (5.15.07), I blogged about all the shows ABC was cancelling this season.
CORRECTION: Apparently, According to Jim has not been cancelled, even though I said it was. I guess next time I will have to use a source that isn't completely retarded.

In The Upfronts: Fox & The CW (5.18.07), I blogged about all the shows FOX was cancelling and cited the fact that the last two episodes of Drive would be airing on Independence Day.
UPDATE: FOX pushed the two episodes back to July 13th, and then pulled them from the schedule altogether, thereby proving that it is always possible to lose respect for a company that you already have no respect for.

In The Rialto (5.20.07), I blogged about going to the theater where they shot the exteriors and lobby for the opening of Scream 2 (The Rialto) and how I had already been to the one where they shot the auditorium (The Vista), and how I was going to determine if the men's room scene had also been shot at the Vista.
UPDATE: I went to the Vista and scoped out the men's room. The layout was all wrong, but the green floor tiles and black stalls were identical to the ones used in the film. So my determination is that the men's room scene was shot at the Vista along with the auditorium scene, and that it had to be in a restroom that is either private or has since been renovated in some way.

In Big D Hot 10 (5.28.07), I blogged about the top ten celebrity women I would like to have sex with.
CORRECTION: My list remains essentially the same. I'm not crazy about Claire Danes with her constant anorexic look, but she stays on the list for now. However, there was news that Milena Govich (the girl detective from Law & Order) is going to be replaced on the show's next season, so I guess it's probably time I get her off the list. It just wouldn't feel right to keep her on as my #9 if she's gonna be off the radar like this. It's bad enough Colleen Haskell's on there. Since the writing of the list, I have also become keenly aware that I neglected the inclusion of Jeri Ryan. So Jeri gets the plum #6 spot, everyone slides down one, and Shannen Doherty maintains her disgraceful #10 spot, where she will precariously remain until I become swayed by a sexually charged photograph of Tiffani Thiessen or something. Here's the new iteration:

10. Shannen Doherty
9. Colleen Haskell
8. Neve Campbell
7. Claire Danes
6. Jeri Ryan
5. Angelina Jolie
4. Gina Gershon
3. Naomi Watts
2. Hilary Swank
1. Linda Cardellini

You see any of them on the street, you tell them you have a weird friend who put them on a perverted list. If this turns them on, give them my info and I'll handle it from there.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, July 9, 2007

Aniston Brushes Teeth in Shower.

From IMDb:

The Break-Up star Jennifer Aniston has a novel way to save the environment - she brushes her teeth in the shower. The actress revealed her eco-friendly tip on the eve of Al Gore's Live Earth concerts on Saturday. She says, "I take a three-minute shower. I even brush-wash - brush my teeth while I shower. Every two minutes in the shower uses as much water as a person in Africa uses for everything in their life for a whole day." The 24-hour Live Earth concert launched this past weekend in Sydney, Australia and continued across the world with events in Japan, China, South Africa, Germany, London and Brazil, before concluding in New York.

Now wait a second. You take a three-minute shower? How the hell do you manage that? AND you brush your teeth? Jennifer, let's get real here. In order to properly brush your teeth, you're supposed to do the outer and inner surfaces of both your upper and lower teeth, as well as chewing surfaces, at least ten times each, not to mention your tongue. The whole thing is supposed to take, at the very least, two minutes. And we've always been told that you shouldn't leave the water running in the sink while you brush. But what you're doing is letting water run all over your body while you brush. This sounds more wasteful (and inefficient) than smart. But perhaps you've figured out a way to masterfully brush your teeth with one hand while scrubbing your entire body with the other, all in the span of three easy minutes.

I think a full frontal demonstration is in order. Someone send this blog to Jen.

Cheers,
Diego

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dane Cook.

Dane Cook is in an upcoming movie called Good Luck Chuck. In it, he plays the titular Chuck, a man who discovers that every time he sleeps with a woman, she goes on to meet the man she will marry, so women start seeking him out as a service so they can have a quick fuck and then go on to meet their soul mate. But he becomes conflicted when he meets Jessica Alba and falls in love with her. The movie comes out this August.

That same month, Dane starts shooting another movie called Bachelor No. 2. In it, he plays the titular bachelor, a man who specializes in taking women out on nightmare dates. Recently-dumped men start seeking him out to date their ex-chicks, so that they will then go running back to their great-by-comparison boyfriends. But he becomes conflicted when he is hired to take out Kate Hudson, who I think is his best friend's ex or something.

I would just like to know what Dane's doing here. Is he trying to start his own sub-genre? The romantic comedy where people hire Dane Cook for sex? Is this going to be a section at Blockbuster someday? For now, let's just keep our eyes open.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, June 18, 2007

Standoff.

Back during the upfronts in May, I blogged about all the shows that were cancelled off the big networks' new fall schedules, and how devastating or appropriate each cancellation was:

The Upfronts: NBC.
The Upfronts: ABC.
The Upfronts: CBS.
The Upfronts: FOX & The CW.

It has now come to my attention that I completely neglected to mention a few shows (I guess the list I had at the time was incomplete). But the most noteworthy oversight was the FOX action drama Standoff. So...

FUCK FOX AGAIN
- Standoff -- This is an awesome show about two wisecracky hostage negotiators (Ron Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt) who share a turbulent relationship. First FOX made 13 episodes, then they ordered 6 more for a grand total of 19, then they pulled it (after airing only 11 episodes) for a six-month hiatus and cancelled the show about a month before it came back (to a Friday night death slot). The remaining eight episodes are airing now through July.

Interesting to note is that Gina Torres was part of this show's supporting cast. She was also in the cast of Firefly (which was murdered by FOX in its first season back in 2002), bringing the grand total of Firefly alum-starring shows cancelled by FOX in their first season this year alone to 2. The other is Drive, which I believe airs its final two episodes on the Fourth of July.

Foxy, you're doing a heck of a job.

Cheers,
Diego

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Shirley You Jest.

This past season, Scrubs was at its all-time shittiest comedy low. It was, shall we say, on life support. So, in an effort to (as Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence put it) "shake things up," they did an episode where the sassy Nurse Laverne Roberts dies in a car accident. See, throughout the episode, she had been trying to convince Dr. Cox that God has a plan and that "everything happens for a reason." So when a sweet little girl comes in with a gunshot wound or something, Cox quips, "So what's the reason for this?" It later turns out that they find an operable tumor in the girl when they X-ray her, so in a way, getting shot saved her life (or something like that). At the end of the episode, Cox comes in and is told that Laverne was in a car accident and is now in a non-responsive coma. It actually ended in a "to be continued" and the whole next episode was devoted to everyone saying goodbye before she finally passed away. The characters all briefly grieved in that lifeless mock-serious mumble they all do about once an episode and were back to their zany antics by the following week.

Now Variety is reporting that the actress who played Laverne is being brought back next season in the role of her "single, alcoholic, non-religious" twin sister Shirley. This is because Bill Lawrence evidently promised her that she would still have a job on the show in the unlikely event that they got renewed. So it's not enough that they're churning out these lumbering, hackneyed ratings stunts, now they're going to actually shit all over them. Turns out death is only temporary, kids. So if your friend dies, don't worry, because their twin brother or sister will be along shortly and you can play with them. That's a great message to put out there; very responsible.

I don't really have that much of a problem with this. I just think this show is stupid.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Ballad of Isaiah Washington.

Once upon a time, there was an actor named Isaiah Washington. He was in a lot of movies for almost twenty years, but not everyone knew who he was. In 2005, he appeared on a new show called Grey's Anatomy, playing a cardiothoracic surgeon named Dr. Preston Xavier Burke. This show was a piece of shit, but there was a lot of sex and music and bullshit in it, so it became one of the most popular shows on TV, and now everyone knew who he was.

In October 2006, when the show was in its third season, reports surfaced about vicious backstage battles between Mr. Washington and his co-star, Patrick Dempsey. During one of these fights, Mr. Washington reportedly said to Mr. Dempsey, "I'm not your little faggot like T.R." This was in reference to their privately homosexual co-star T.R. Knight. After this news, lots of people started to hate Mr. Washington, and Mr. Knight was forced to publicly come out of the closet and abandon the privacy he had been enjoying up until that point. Mr. Washington felt very embarrassed about all of this, so, while emphatically denying using the bad word, he stated to the whole world, "I sincerely regret my actions and the unfortunate use of words during the recent incident on-set."

In January 2007, Grey's Anatomy inexplicably won the Golden Globe for Best Drama. When the cast was taking questions backstage in celebration of this fine award, one of the reporters started talking about backstage conflicts and Mr. Washington blurted out, "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot." Saying this word made everybody angry with him again, including all the people who worked with him. His bosses at the ABC network reprimanded him for being such a hateful prick, so Mr. Washington made it a point to publicly ask for help in dealing with the issues inside his soul and entered a rehabilitation program to undergo psychological analysis and take anger counseling for his apparent homophobia.

In June 2007, ABC announced that they would not be allowing Mr. Washington to act on the show anymore, and he was fired. Because of this, the third season finale of Grey's Anatomy ended with the derailment of a wedding between his character and another character on the show, leaving the door open for his impending departure. Mr. Washington publicly stated, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore," paraphrasing a famous line from the 1976 movie Network, but everybody was just perplexed and unimpressed by the quote. He also said something about doing charity work and making an independent movie, but nobody really gave a shit anymore.

Cheers,
Diego

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sean Connery Turns Down Indiana Jones 4.

Mr. Connery's statement:

"I get asked the question so often, I thought it best to make an announcement. I thought long and hard about it and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film. I love working with Steven and George, and it goes without saying that it is an honor to have Harrison as my son. But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun. I, do however, have one bit of advice for Junior: Demand that the critters be digital, the cliffs be low, and for goodness sake keep that whip by your side at all times in case you need to escape from the stunt coordinator! This is a remarkable cast, and I can only say, 'Break a leg, everyone.' I'll see you on May 22, 2008 at the theater!"

Are you kidding? You can continue your stupid retirement later. The only thing you can't do later is THIS MOVIE [THAT WILL EXIST FOREVER AFTER YOU ARE DEAD]. Thanks for ruining my life.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Top Ten Best Shows of the 2006/2007 Season

I recently saw an article that TV Guide did where they came up with their own "dream ballot" for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Some of their picks were all right, but some others were outright disgusting. So I thought I'd write about what I thought were the ten best shows of the 2006/2007 season.

I. THE LIST

10. THE OFFICE -- The mockumentary format of this show affords it comedic opportunities beyond any other, grounding the humor in a more tangible reality. It has a tendency to gravitate towards easy idiot humor a lot of the time, which gives it a significantly lower batting average than, say, the British original. But it can be good.
9. AMERICAN DAD! -- Amazingly different from Family Guy in lots of small ways, this is a total success entirely of itself.
8. HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER -- Normally, the traditional four-camera/laugh track format is a sign of shittiness these days, but this sitcom is hilarious and perfectly cast.
7. DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES -- This is probably the best-plotted show on television. It's like they make a list of eight hundred good story ideas to choose from, and then they just use them all.
6. 24 -- Some people claim this was the worst season ever, but I think that's like, "You know those six 24-hour orgasms I just had? Yah, that last one was the worst one."
5. LOST -- The problem with Lost this year is that they didn't write 22 episodes. They wrote 1 season. And every week, episodes would just end halfway through plotlines, sometimes after a whole bunch of time filler. It was the opposite of Desperate Housewives. The finale, when they finally got to it, was mind blowing and incredible. But their execution before that point needed a little work.
4. BOSTON LEGAL -- I haven't watched this season yet, but if it's as good as when I left off, then its rightful spot on my list is right about here.
3. STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP -- I completely give up on trying to explain why this show got such a poor reception. I keep a small list of shows I love the shit out of, that inexplicably never made it past the first season, and it just got one entry longer.
2. FAMILY GUY -- A show so good it uncancelled itself. I hope it's on forever. But not in that unfunny Simpsons way.
1. HOUSE, MD -- Just, the best show.

II. DOES THIS COUNT?

- EXTRAS -- This was a British import, so I don't know if it technically counts as a 2006/2007 show or whatever, but it was sensational.

III. HONORABLE MENTIONS

- DICE: UNDISPUTED -- This was a reality show about Andrew Dice Clay trying to revive his career, but all the people who work for him are idiots. This resulted in some of the finest incidental comedy I've ever seen. You couldn't write stuff this good.
- LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT -- I don't think there's any dispute that this is the best police procedural right now.
- MONK -- Great.
- PSYCH -- Also good.
- SMALLVILLE -- Terrible, but in a hilarious way. It's also fun to watch for the occasional comic book reference they throw at us. But the only genuinely good thing left in this show is Michael Rosenbaum.

Cheers,
Diego

Saturday, June 2, 2007

2006 vs. 2007, Part 1: May

In an effort to determine whether this year is better than last year, going solely by the movies that came out, I will now compare the two years, weekend by weekend, on the month that kickstarts the summer blockbuster season: May.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006) vs. SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007)
There is no contest here. M:i:III was one of the best action movies in recent years, and Spider-Man 3 was fun, but an overblown mess. One point for 2006.
1st Weekend Score: 2006 (1) vs. 2007 (0)

POSEIDON (2006) vs. THE EX (2007)
What's better, a stupid action movie or a terrible comedy? Gonna have to go with the stupid action movie. Because it may have been stupid, but at least it was fun. The only good thing about The Ex was [most of] its cast.
2nd Weekend Score: 2006 (2) vs. 2007 (0)

THE DA VINCI CODE (2006) vs. SHREK THE THIRD (2007)
Both of these movies were disappointing, but The Da Vinci Code had nothing on the godless steroid-injected disappointing power of Shrek the Third. This movie was computer animated desperation.
3rd Weekend Score: 2006 (3) vs. 2007 (0)

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006) vs. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END (2007)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was very confusing. I had neither a single idea what was happening at any given moment nor the slightest hint of an indication as to what any character was thinking, ever, during the whole movie. It was like The Matrix Revolutions with pirates. In this way, I don't think it lived up to the first two. However, it is American fucking Beauty compared to X-Men: The Last Stand. X-Men: The Last Stand followed the single best Marvel movie of all time (X2) and just took a big shit on it. It's like if Catwoman had been the sequel to Batman Begins. And so 2006 takes its first hit.
4th Weekend Score: 2006 (3) vs. 2007 (1)

THE WINNER OF MAY: 2006. Because it mostly sucked, but not to the extent that 2007 sucked.

And, for the sake of clarity, I actually did like the Matrix sequels.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, June 1, 2007

Open Letter to Jeffrey Katzenberg

From IMDb:

DreamWorks Animation plans to produce two more Shrek movies before shutting down the franchise, CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has told the Australian newspaper The Age. "It's a finite story, has been from the beginning and I think that's part of its integrity, part of its strength, that we're not thinking this up as we go," he said in an interview with the Melbourne newspaper. "Ultimately we will come back to understand how Shrek arrived in that swamp. We will reveal his story." Although acknowledging that he is committed to making movies that will make money for DreamWorks' investors, Katzenberg maintained that he himself never thinks about money. "I've never done anything in my entire life for money. ... I'm amazingly disengaged from it, always have been. I probably would have done even better had I ever paid any attention to it. [His wealth is estimated at $800 million.] My partner David Geffen is a genius at it. He's worth a gajillion times more than me because he does pay attention to it -- he's brilliant at investing."

Now you listen to me, you son of a bitch. How dare you make a statement as stupid as "It's a finite story, has been from the beginning?" If there's anything this franchise doesn't have, it is both integrity and strength. And you are most definitely thinking every bit of it up as you go. That is why you brought in new writers when you decided you were going to make as many Shrek sequels as you possibly could. The only reason you are even making Shrek 4 and Shrek 5 is because you announced them after Shrek 2 (the single most profitable Dreamworks movie to date), and now that you're draining all magic from the franchise, you want to pretend that your motives are pure and artistically motivated. Just be honest, god dammit. As if anybody is going to believe that anyone during the making of the first Shrek ever uttered the phrase, "We see this as a five-movie series." You've never done anything in your entire life for money? Then why was there more than one Shrek? It's based on a children's book. You dumb fuck. I haven't seen this much shameless spinning since Walt Disney's proverbial grave after they released the trailer for Cinderella III.

Cheers,
Diego

Monday, May 28, 2007

Big D Hot 10.

As promised, here's my own personal Top 10. These are the ladies I would put on a card to carry around with me, and if I met them in real life, I would show them the card and they would be allowed to sleep with me. I think this is admissible in court.

10. Shannen Doherty -- Odd choice, I agree. Maybe it's because nobody else likes her. How bout this, I'll carry an alternate list with, say, Rachel McAdams right here.
9. The girl detective from Law & Order -- I realize she has a name, but this is only a passing fancy, so it would contradict my feelings if I were to refer to her as Milena Govich.
8. Colleen Haskell -- She's been off the radar for a while, so I think it would be weird to put her any higher on the list.
7. Neve Campbell -- Recently married, so no real future there.
6. Claire Danes -- Mainly love her acting.
5. Angelina Jolie -- She used to top the list in high school, but something tells me it just wouldn't work out.
4. Gina Gershon -- Four years ago, she was twice my age. Yikes.
3. Naomi Watts -- I think I'd just have her put on funny acts for me, like King Kong.
2. Hilary Swank -- Extra points for being both a karate kid and a million dollar baby.
1. Linda Cardellini -- You could tell Heath Ledger was gay in Brokeback Mountain because he passed this one up. Also he fucked Jake Gyllenhaal in the ass.

Cheers,
Diego

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Maxim Hot 100 -- Who Would I Do?

So Maxim recently put out the issue that comes with the annual Hot 100 bonus magazine. A minimag that basically counts down what they have decided are the hottest 100 women in the world. It's always funny how the hottest women are usually the ones that have posed for their magazine in the past year. I have reproduced the list here and provided commentary on which of these women I would have sex with. The darkened names represent the women I wasn't that familiar with, and hence, didn't waste any time fantasizing about having sex with. And now, the list.

100. Noureen DeWulf
99. Mia Maestro

98. Yunjin Kim -- She plays Sun on Lost. She is a pretty good actress, so I would have sex with her.
97. Kim Kardashian
96. Shanna Moakler
95. Second Life Girl
94. Kelly Carlson
93. Christina Milian
92. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

91. Isla Fisher -- She was in Wedding Crashers. She was funny. I would have sex with her.
90. Salma Hayek -- Hot, but annoying. I would have sex with her and then start reading a magazine so she would get the hint.
89. Haylie Duff -- She was in Napoleon Dynamite. I'm not really in the market for Haylie Duff sex.
88. Raquel Alessi
87. Padma Lakshmi

86. Michelle Trachtenberg -- It is always weird when evaluating the hotness of a former child star, but I guess I would take her for a boner test drive.
85. Kelly Ripa -- I would be very interested in Kelly Ripa sex.
84. Hometown Hottie
83. Ivanka Trump -- Seems a little full of herself, but still yes to the sex.
82. Dita Von Teese
81. Emmanuelle Chriqui
80. Abbie Cornish
79. Adrianne Palicki
78. Joss Stone
77. Hilarie Burton
76. Diora Baird
75. April Scott
74. Tara Conner

73. Mena Suvari -- She was in American Pie and American Beauty. Where has she been? Tentative maybe.
72. Ciara
71. Willa Ford -- She had a hit single a long time ago. Also on the fence.
70. Stacy Keibler
69. Danica Patrick

68. Evangeline Lilly -- She is also on Lost. Absolutely yes I would have sex with her.
67. Gabrielle Union
66. Joanna Krupa
65. Autumn Reeser
64. Lena Headey

63. Bianca Kajlich -- She was on Boston Public and Halloween Resurrection. If the years have been kind, then sure.
62. Danneel Harris
61. Nadine Velazquez
60. Jessica White

59. Jamie-Lynn Sigler -- She is on The Sopranos. But, ah. No thanks.
58. Penelope Cruz -- I don't really like her. Maybe some doggie style.
57. Tricia Helfer
56. Michele Merkin

55. Halle Berry -- Also very annoying. She gets angry sex.
54. Missy Peregrym
53. Adriana Lima
52. Kate Walsh
51. Alessandra Ambrosio
50. Miss Maxim
49. Mischa Barton

48. Mandy Moore -- She's cool. I would like to curl up with her and watch "A Walk To Remember," and then have sex.
47. Katharine McPhee -- At least.
46. Kristen Bell
45. Bar Refaeli

44. Rose McGowan -- Sexy and funny. God yes.
43. Kate Mara -- Might as well.
42. Minka Kelly
41. Jessica Simpson -- Sometimes her stupidity on Newlyweds became a massive turnoff. I think I would have sex with her if we only spoke through scripted lines.
40. Moon Bloodgood
39. Rachel Bilson

38. Shakira -- I don't know. I guess I'd walk in the room and call it on the spot.
37. Ashley Olsen -- Fuck no. I'm a Mary-Kate man.
36. Jamie King
35. Jennifer Garner -- Such a cutie pie. I hope she enjoys getting pregnant.
34. Vanessa Minnillo
33. Roselyn Sanchez

32. Lacey Chabert -- Isn't she like a poor man's Jennifer Love Hewitt? Well, guess what. I'm broke.
31. Amy Smart -- Absolutely yes, and would maybe discuss her career for a little bit.
30. Rebecca Romijn -- What red blooded American male wouldn't?
29. Sarah Silverman -- Not if she's gonna be gross.
28. Carmen Electra -- Actually, I could go either way on this.
27. Kate Hudson -- All right.
26. Nelly Furtado -- Nah.
25. Elisha Cuthbert -- Sign me up for the all-day pass.
24. Sophia Bush
23. Hilary Duff -- She does all those crappy movies... okay, but let's get to know each other first.
22. Nicole Scherzinger
21. Kate Beckinsdale

20. Keira Knightley -- I'd give her a jolly good rogering.
19. Cameron Diaz -- Uh, yeah.
18. Megan Fox
17. Maria Sharapova

16. Ashlee Simpson -- I don't recognize her with the new nose. I'd call this one on the spot too.
15. Avril Lavigne -- What an odd choice. I'll say yes for the novelty.
14. Katherine Heigl -- Not a fan of Grey's Anatomy, but whatever. Hop on.
13. Beyonce -- This fuck has been a thousand music videos in the making.
12. Angelina Jolie -- She would need to clear her schedule (for all the sex).
11. Sienna Miller
10. Fergie -- I would hit it till the London Bridge came down.
9. Eva Longoria -- Only one desperate housewife? She will have to do. And do her I will.
8. Rihanna
7. Eva Mendes -- I would definitely throw it in her for a decent amount of time.
6. Ali Larter -- Not attracted to her. Can you believe it?
5. Jessica Biel -- I really hate her, but am not sure why. She also gets angry sex.
4. Christina Aguilera -- When she first came on the scene, she was a little young; not quite ripe. Then, for a while, she was kinda gross. But she has aged into a seemingly fine wine. I'd tap the hell out of it before she gets corked.
3. Scarlett Johansson -- Yummerz.
2. Jessica Alba -- I think Sin City was the clincher.
1. Lindsay Lohan -- Really? #1? It's not her fault, but I just have a majorly trashy tabloid image of her. Maybe if she washed her vagina first.

And that's the Maxim Hot 100. Pretty lame, if you ask me. I'd say only one name out of this entire list would appear on my own personal Top 10, and that is Angelina Jolie. Perhaps I will post my own personal Top 10. After I'm done thinking of the forty-something yeses I just handed out. I hope you've enjoyed my most culturally relevant blog yet.

Cheers,
Diego

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Rialto.

So I wanted to go see Shrek the Third. I hadn't heard good things, so I expected it to be bad, but I'd expected the same of Shrek 2 (due to the new writers) and had been pleasantly surprised upon seeing that one. So I was equally prepared to either like it or dislike it. I looked up the theaters that were showing it, because I usually shell out for the nice theaters for all the cool summer movies, but I was willing to see Shrek the Third in any old shithouse. And I saw that one of the theaters showing it was The Rialto.

The Rialto is an old theater in South Pasadena where they shot the cold opening for Scream 2. I LOVE this movie, so I figured it would be cool to go check it out. I watched the beginning of Scream 2 to re-acquaint myself with the location and then I drove there. It was in a very nice little neighborhood, where I was amazed to find free parking right on the street. It's been a full decade since they shot Scream 2, and the shops surrounding The Rialto were exactly the same. The tiny box office out front was still there, but it was not in use. Rather, they were selling the tickets within, on the side of the concession stand. I just about nutted instantaneously when I saw the lobby. The door to the auditorium where Omar scares Jada, the stairs where the two guys run around play-stabbing each other, the concession stand that Jada goes to; it was all there. I immediately checked out the men's room to see if it was the same one they used in the movie, but it wasn't. Actually, I heard that the auditorium itself was shot at the Vista (another nearby theater I've been to), so maybe they shot the men's room there too. I will confirm this next time I go.

I then got some popcorn and soda at the concession stand, just like Jada Pinkett Smith. Except The Rialto uses the same overpriced cups and popcorn bags you see everywhere else. See, in the movie, Jada orders a medium popcorn and a small Diet Pepsi. She's given a giant cup with the Pepsi logo and a BUCKET of popcorn. What if she had ordered the large popcorn with a large drink? She wouldn't have been able to lift them. When I ordered a medium popcorn and a medium drink, the concession people showed me how tiny the medium was and started selling me on the large sizes, because they both come with free refills if you get a large. How much do they think one person can eat? Giving me large quantities of something is the only guarantee you have that I won't need a refill, you maniacs. They really want to give people their money's worth. I guess that's why their medium popcorn was a bucket ten years ago. And they were selling Coke, not Pepsi.

So, I guess, not exactly like Jada Pinkett Smith.

They were also selling DVDs at the concession stand. They had copies of Scream 2, The Player, and whatever other movies were probably shot there. Overall, my moviegoing experience was super awesome. Visiting this location was just as magical as when I ate at the Burger King glimpsed at the beginning of Back to the Future a few months ago. And Shrek the Third sucked my balls.

Cheers,
Diego

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Upfronts: FOX & The CW.

And here we are on the last day of the upfronts. It's been a wild ride. There's been lots of cancellations. Some wise, some foolish, and a shitload fairly irrelevant. Today, I will cover the cancellations made by FOX and The CW, and I will mix them all up into my standard four categories:

1. GOOD -- These are the shows I'm glad are gone, and would have pulled off the air myself if given the chance.
2. I DON'T CARE -- These are the shows I have absolutely no opinion of because I didn't watch them.
3. I KINDA CARE -- These are the shows I watched, but are not exactly a huge loss.
4. FUCK FOX -- These are the shows I loved, taken before their time.

1. GOOD
The CW:
- 7th Heaven -- This is a show that I think has probably long outlasted its usefulness. It ran for 10 seasons before they decided to cancel it, and when The WB became The CW, they actually uncancelled it and brought it back for an 11th season. I used to watch it at some point during the earlier seasons when I was in high school. It was about a Christian family, the father being a church minister. The main reason I stopped watching it is that the show sucked, everyone on it was annoying, and the parents were insanely strict, which made the kids act equally insane.
FOX:
- Justice -- I watched the first few episodes of this because it sounded pretty cool. Each episode would follow a court case to its outcome, and at the end of the episode, we would see what actually happened in the initial crime, and we would know whether or not justice was served. Good premise, but the show itself was lousy. They concentrated on all these high-tech tactics the characters had to use to win over the jury, using slick demonstrations and the cutthroat media that studied their every move. But I didn't give a shit about that sensationalistic garbage. I just wanted some good ol' fashioned courtroom justice. FOX ordered 14 episodes, produced 13, and aired 12. But that 13th one did air, in like, Mexico. So, in a way, justice was served.

2. I DON'T CARE
The CW:
- All of Us -- This was a sitcom about a racially blended family. Sounds hilarious! It ran for 3 seasons on UPN, then 1 season on The CW.
- Gilmore Girls -- This was like an hour-long dramedy about a single mom and her daughter. I've heard this is a good show, but I've never seen it. It ran for 6 seasons on The WB, then 1 season on The CW. What's up with established shows helping The CW get on its feet, only to be cut down after a single season?
- Reba -- This was a sitcom about a wisecracking single mom played by country singer Reba McEntire. I can only assume there's people on the planet who actually enjoyed watching this. It ran for 5 seasons on The WB, then 1 season on The CW. Good lord.
- Runaway -- This was an hour-long drama about a family that was secretly on the run from the law (for a crime the father didn't commit) while at the same time being hunted by the real killer. It was one of only two shows that actually premiered on The CW. As such, The CW aired only 3 of its 13 episodes. Ah, see? Now The CW is acting like a real network.
- Veronica Mars -- This was a teen mystery show. It ran for 2 seasons on UPN, then 1 season on The CW. Anyone else pick up on that pattern? Anyway, that's it for all The CW shows.
FOX:
- Happy Hour -- Happy Hour was a sitcom about a young guy trying to rebuild his life after losing everything. I'm gonna guess he didn't make it -- FOX aired only 4 of its 13 episodes.
- The O.C. -- This was a popular teen drama about people who lived in Orange County, California. I could never bring myself to watch this show. I guess I'm more of a Smallville guy. FOX cancelled this after 4 seasons.
- Vanished -- This was an hour-long drama about a senator's wife getting kidnapped, followed by a bunch of other unanswered secrets and conspiracies. FOX aired only 9 of its 13 episodes, leaving no storyline resolved. At least the show's title became tragically appropriate.
- The War at Home -- This was a sitcom about a dysfunctional family starring Michael Rappaport. I never saw this show, but with Rappaport as the lead, how bad could it have been? FOX cancelled it after 2 seasons.
- The Wedding Bells -- This was an hour-long dramedy about wedding planners, co-created by David E. Kelley. Being an admirer of Kelley's work, I tried to watch this show, but it was uninteresting and, just, filled with wedding shit. FOX aired only 5 of its 7 episodes.

3. I KINDA CARE
- The Rich List -- This was a game show in which teams of two would compete at making lists, to see who could name the most things out of each category. Holy shit! I remember this show! I had completely forgotten about its very existence. Maybe that's because FOX cancelled it after airing only 1 episode. You fucking cowards! Don't get me wrong; this show was even more asinine than it sounds, but it was still fun to play along at home and make all the contestants look like idiots.
- The Winner -- This was a sitcom about a man-child in his 30's who lived with his parents (narrated by his future millionaire self). It wasn't a brilliant show, but it was pretty funny, and it demonstrated a love for classic shows (not unlike Family Guy) that made me appreciate it a little more than I otherwise would have. FOX ran all 6 episodes of this, perhaps forecasting its imminent demise by burning them 2 at a time over a period of 3 weeks.

4. FUCK FOX
- Drive -- This was an hour-long ensemble drama about a secret illegal underground road race being run by a mysterious organization. It wasn't a great show, but it was certainly engaging, and as of its demise, I would have kept watching it indefinitely. It was a blatant Lost ripoff, which was at the same time its best and worst quality. And while I'm confessing to this guilty pleasure, I might as well also admit that this show managed to sneak in a twist at one point that actually blew my mind. Which is embarrassing, because that rarely happens, even with far better shows. I hate FOX for putting this in the Prison Break time slot and not helping it build an audience before immediately pulling the plug on it. Especially because they are once again jerking around Nathan Fillion, who previously starred in Joss Whedon's Firefly, an unbelievably good show that didn't even make it through its first season on FOX. In the meantime, Prison Break sucks ass. FOX aired only 4 of Drive's 6 episodes, with tentative plans to burn off the last 2 on July 4, 2007. Well, God bless America.

And that's it for all the shows that were left out of the network TV upfronts. Stay tuned for more upfront bullshit later if I feel like it.

Cheers,
Diego