Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Burning bags of egg and dog shit on my windows...

I have never gone trick-or-treating.

I am bitter.


Halloween+ Jersey= something scary, if not itchy and burning...

Ed Helms is my fucking hero...


Smart + Cool = Uh, Good?

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Sexy. Smart. Sexy. Well Written. Sexy. Dramatically Engaging and Socially Recognizant of a time period still echoed in today's supposed "era of equality. SEXY.

AMC's Mad Men has all the trappings of a great show that needs more than critical acclaim to get it going. The fact that it's on AMC, a network notable only for its catalog deficiency compared to TCM, isn't helping, but damn it people, it's SEXY! Not obnoxious, ha-ha-we're-smarter-than-you-elitist-sexy, but that fuck man, Don Draper and Joan are yum-sexy.
So watch it, before it goes away and Ron Howard decides to do a three-hour hemorrage inducing film about it.

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Pushing Daisies is another critical hit of the new season, with an interesting premise and an equally interesting atmosphere. With Barry Sonnenfeld recapturing the fun of his first "Men in Black," 'Daisies' feels like a mildly subdued Tim Burton project, with a charming balance of black comedy bouyed by an glowing color palette and a cute-as-fuck cast.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Came, I Saw, I Got the Fuck Out of There...

A well dressed man in an overcoat walks through the downstairs level of the Union Square Virgin Megastore, completely surrounded by DVDs with massive and multiple screens devoted to various DVD paraphenalia and approaches the DVD desk.

"Is this the DVD section?" he asks me as I begin my first day of training.

"Yes sir, yes it indeed is." I smile and look to the counter and register that await me. Ah.

"Yeah, see, I don't really know how to do that, (turns register procedure page) or that...uh...yeah, see I don't get why they even have me training you. I'm much better on the floor, you know."

A blue blazer approaches the counter and procedes to swipe his credit card without provocation.

"Uh, sir, is that credit or debit?"

"Credit. I swiped already."

"Yes, sir, I just need to see I.D."

"Why? It's such a waste of time..."

"I know sir, it's just store policy, I-"

"I work in accounting, I know all about credit deals and all you need is the signature; what do you care if I have an I.D. or not?"

"I don't sir, I-"

S*****, a vocally proficient register attendant chimes in.

"Mmmm, mmmm. Sir, I've worked retail all my life, and verifying matching identification is important. We need to make sure you have proper identification to protect you from fraud."

"No, you don't. You, you don't know what you're talking about. That's bullshit. I work in finance; I know how it works. And as long as you have signature verification, you're protected."

"No we ain't!" chimes in my trainer K******. "I'onno watchu talkin' bout, but financial services be needin'...."

The verbal acrobatics bounce back and forth for several minutes while I stand idly by waiting for this transaction to be over. I look at the sharp points of the clothing security tags and contemplate gauging my eyes and ears out.

"You don't know whachu be talkin' bout man, I know my job; I do my job well, I'm one of the best there is. Ain't nobody coming in telling me I'm doing my job wrong!"

"Well it's no surprise how you'd end up at such a successful career as this," the blue blazer sneers.

I consider stepping in, being the voice of reason and shutting them all the fuck up with a simple "We don't want to do it either, but it's our fucking job," but my mouth is frozen. I consider whether or not my heart has stopped, and if there could be a more embarassing pathetic death than dying of a stroke at 22 while listening to an argument over credit card identification escalate into a full on race war.

I blink several times and manage to look at my register clock. 6:55pm. Holy fucking shit.


After listening to S****** sonically painful, yet boisterous rendition of Alicia Key's "No One" for the SEVENTEENTH FUCKING TIME, I find myself considering homicide, suicide, genocide, infanticide...anytime with an 'ide in it.

I look at my trainer K***** who listlessly educates me in the finer points of traveler's checks, gift cards, and other things neither of us know how to do.

"Uh, yeah, that one I...oh wait, no. I don't know how to do that one either."

I turn my back to the line of customers and turn back to see a slight man reminiscent of Joey Slotnick (of "the Single Guy" fame). He winks at me, and momentarily I play along. The idea of being forcefully sodomized by a creepy stranger on a DVD counter still sounds more enticing than five more soul-killing hours.

"Hey you...I was just thinking about all these movies I should see, so I decided to just go all out," he says, plopping a massive pile of DVDs in front of me.

"What the fuck man?!" a disheveled pair of NYU trustfund babies whine from the line. "He fucking cut man, that's not right, he fucking cut! You help us look for "Willow" and you shaft us like this?"

I look at the collection of customers on line who glare at me. Shit.

"I'm so sorry," I apologize, hoping my involuntary facial muscles form some semblance of genuine empathy. "It's my first day, I didn't know he cut."

"Oh fuck 'em," my creepy admirer advices, "what's a little cutsies between friends?"

He winks at me and feigns a kiss. Suddenly sodomy doesn't sound so appealing.



Saturday, October 13, 2007

No Offense to Deaf People #2

Disappointments abound:
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The Darjeeling Limited and Lars and the Real Girl were two promising "indie" efforts that were lackluster at best, heavy on mise-en-scene and a little light on engaging plot development.

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In light of the recent indie disappointments, I'm struggling with my urge to drown my sorrows in a wave of big budget baddies, Dan in Real Life and the much bally-hooed American Gangster

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The story of a single father struggling to raise his daughters while balancing romantic enchantments in the form of his brother's girlfriend...and starring Dane Cook? At first glance it would be easy to dismiss the film as simple chick-flick/family safe fare...but it's Steve Carell and Juliette fucking Binoche...just throw in Maria Schneider and Richard Lewis and it'd be my own personal wet dream of sexy/funny mismatches. It looks decent at best, but what the fuck, after "Evan Almighty" anything should be better, no? (Still trying to quell physicial anxiousness arising from the "Get Smart" trailers....ahhhh)

As for "American Gangster"...after all the sad weepy, too cute for it's own good schlock that's violated my eyes in recent months, sometimes it's nice to just sit back, pop a cold one (as I wholly intend on boozing the local cinema) and watch two pretty good actors look cool and fucking blow each other away. Nice. Simple. Not-pretentious. With an almost three hour running time, and Ridley Scott at the helm, "Gangster" is probably (if not definitely) in danger of overbloated grandiosity, but a "bloody good" movie needs some time to simmer.


Actual excitement over a Jay Z / Pharrell collabo? After the "Kingdom Come" debacle it's nice to have a mainstream hip hop release to look forward to (sorry Kanye/50, the 9/11 pop off came and went way too fucking quickly). Simple, stripped down, and sans unnecessary cameos by people that have no business being in there (Dale Earnhardt, really?)...though seeing the clip of Denzel gabbing with everyone's favorite Oscar winning "Snow Dog"-in "Radio" was a little disconcerning.

Project Jenny Project Jan another act that have gleamed my eye (or ear, whatever) and the transition from shitty warm feeling weather to S.A.D. shitty cold weather feeling can be better offset by catchy goodness like "It's Always So Sunny in Brooklyn." Enjoy a snippet:

Boyz II Men are back on the public radar, in support of a new tour and album, and people are actually caring almost a little this time, maybe for the first time since 1998. (or was it 1996? I always forget what part of the 90s everything became irrelevant all at once). This video has everything that was great about the 90s: Duane Martin, random hot lady in bath tub, production by Babyface, and my boy Michael, the deep-voiced-cane-pimpin-cat who made me the deep voiced mimic I am today. How the current incarnation of "Boyz" can go on with him and his scoliosis is beyond me.

My grandmother was celebrating her 80th birthday and my family threw a massive party complete with live band and all (in that fried, sticky manner only Flips know how to). Somewhere lost amid this joyous celebration, my cousins and I (a collective of inncouous mushroom topped boys punctuated by my overgrown fatassicity) somehow rationalized that performing "I'll Make Love To You" would be a great way to show our beloved matriarch our appreciation. She died shortly thereafter....not like I'm taking blame for that or anything. Though I was one sexy fucking nine year old.


Also-ran-Domness # 2

Critics are some of the easier targets of scorn in today's society, and in the bigger scheme of things, who can blame people from hating 'em? They're just a bunch of ugly people who have no right placing judgement on pretty people, right?....

Sarcasm notwithstanding, good critics can still determine the life of most smaller films struggling to find an audience. Which is why criticisms like this are always amusing...

"Hipster-douches and art-twats are among the people who love this film without having seen it."- on " the Darjeeling Limited"

(I seem to be shitting on this Young Turks guy alot as of late, but eh, he just has a face that seems to beg to be shitted on)


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No Offense to Deaf People # 1

I've been mainly indifferent, if not outright bored by new film releases in recent months, with one glorious exception. "The Great World of Sound" is an engaging, funny, and well thought out film that touches all the right nerves, irregardless of one's affinity for the music industry at large. Well acted, and equally well shot, for a film this good to be made on a budget south of $85,000 is a mindfucking miracle. It got a limited run in New York and other cities, but if you happen upon it on DVD, it's definitely worth a view.
And now for some musical musings...

One of my personal favorite albums of the past few years, Cibelle's "The Shine of Dead Electric Leaves" hits all the right spots, and whoever doesn't find her and Devendra canoodling ala Mary Poppins cute as all hell has no soul. Still gotta cop a listen to Banhart's new release as well.
I don't make a habit of watching "Jimmy Kimmel Live" ever (is it bad that I think he peaked during his "Win Ben Stein's Money/Man Show" period?), but every now and then he has a decent musical guest, and last night's performance by Justice was exactly that. Note Kimmel's initial warning prior to the performance of it being "weird", followed by his "accidental" (wink, ha, no) grope on national television of his overexposed-backlash-waiting-to-happen girlfriend Sarah Silverman.

Sometimes a band comes along and changes the face of the musical landscape. This is not one of those bands. Yet as far as novelty acts go (sorry Tatu) the Pipettes' 60's girl group gimmick is catchy as shit. And no one can fault them for being damn good at it. (On a personal note, I'm all about Rosay...who the hell isn't? When she goes through her solo-dark&deep&cute-ala-Fiona Apple-phase, it might not be too bad)


You Can Make It If You Try... To Get Naked

Sorry parents, the days of telling your little girls that emulating the local lady of the night will end up nowhere are long gone, as evidenced by recent events :

  • Apparently you can still collect worker's comp falling off a pole...

  • Slutty import car modeling career? Check. Faux music career bolstered by a rabid MySpace following primarily based on chronic masturbation? Check. "Reality" dating show where 16 men and 16 women compete for your bi-sexual affections?Umm....oh yeah...CHECK.

  • Even mistresses of a nationally abhorred 'roided out Hall of Fame a-hole can parlay that into a career...or atleast the customary spread in a girlie mag. Where's Jessica Hahn when you need her?

Thankfully, there is still some semblance of a balance in the world :


Friday, October 5, 2007

Football Fantasy

Every season there are shows that are supposedly 'smart', 'inventive', and 'finally a reason to watch television.' And most of these shows garner critical acclaim because they are well-written, but also latch onto a very specific, niche audience.

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" started out as such, only to wimper to surprisingly mediocre demise. "Huff" and "Arrested Development" wore their quirkiness like badges of honor, only to have the fine point needle of that badge stab them in their low-rated heart.

Those shows were smart, well acted, but also catered towards to more liberal, left-leaning, bi-coastal audience. Shows like that falter to the likes of programs that the average Joe can identify with, the Southern, Mid-Western, everyday man who likes his beer cold, his football bloody, and his women slutty. Which begs the following question:

Why the FUCK is no one watching "Friday Night Lights"?

It has all the elements of a show that every average American can like, AND critics actually love the shit out of it. But maybe that's just it. Critics love it, ergo, average Joe's are predisposed to be indifferent to it.

Which is a travesty to say the least. Unlike the film it has been spurned out of, "FNL" isn't a lame, predictable, underdog wins in the end sports fable (although some game sequences have at times fallen victim to said premise), it's about people, and not East Coast million dollar apartment uppitty intellectuals who contemplate the complexities of lattes and the white man's guilt, but good looking, compelling characters struggling to find solace in a world where nothing is important but a fucking pigskin.

It's poetic. It's beautiful. It's smart, and holy shit, it's really fucking good. Not Frasier-suck-my-dick-single-camera-show-cause-I'm-smarter-than-you-good, but wow, I like being alive and living in the moment, and maybe I won't beat my wife and kids-good. (Okay I took it a bit too far, but the aparthy towards this show has pushed me)

So please, I implore you (whoever the hell is actually reading this shit...much thanks by the way =) watch this show. It actually deserves to be on the air, not cause those condescending critics say so, but because it helps validate the importance of just trying to get by, and why trying to get by is just as noble as reaching for nothingness.

Oh yeah and ignore NBC's shitty attempts at promotion. It is NOT Varsity Blues. Anyway, with the show being moved to the graveyard of Friday Night, I bid the show an early farewell, knowing, absofuckinglutely no one who can truly appreciate this show will actually be home to watch it....

Whew...on the days Rant-o-Meter, I'm batting a perfect 1.000 going 3-for-3. Maybe more joliness will come tomorrow. Maybe.


Also-ran-Domness # 1

Speaking of songs in adverts that "people-hate-cause-people-love-it-without-liking-it-from-the-beginning", I'd like to touch on the success of Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am," a 2 minute saccharine sweet opus of simplistic love, just the way we all dream of it being, before we grow up and discover that "Pretty in Pink" is a malicious lie, and that we all should have just settled for Ducky (atleast he wouldn't leave us/cheat/give us crabs/make us pay for our own abortions)

Anyway, here is Ingrid Michaelson, in all her Grey's Anatomy/Old Navy-ed out/Lisa Loeb cute/One Hit Wonder/hand clap and all glory:

(Now who the fuck doesn't love a good hand clap?)


Have Ad, Will Travel

Walking through Chelsea one afternoon, I overhead a spirited discussion between two men:

"Like, oh my God right? I totally felt so special when I liked that song and album and everything, but now, cause of that fucking iPod commercial, everyone's acting like that song's theirs. It was mine first, fucking damn it!"

"I know right? God, such a fucking selling out. I mean, come on bitch, like you couldn't have made people hear your music without whoring yourself out, right?"

"Though that new iPod nano is pretty fucking cute."

"My God, I know right? I totally want a pink one."

Now I doubt getting into the long running debate over the idea of musicians "selling out" is worth any mention here (though obviously, I just mentioned it right now), but the iPod example is an interesting one to spur discussion of ownership of art.

If my countless hours spent in classes, film, and dates with pretentious/not-so pretentious artistic types has taught me anything, it's that everyone and no one owns it.

We make shit and put it out into the world for whatever self-serving purpose we may have; whether it be for profit, popularity or pussy. (Granted, the latter is often a product of the aforementioned)

But regardless of our intentions, no one can lay claim to the spirit of the art. I write this blog that no one will read because of a self-serving need to work out the kinks of my writing and training myself to write on a regimented schedule.

Leslie Feist, in all her 30+ years of life experience, has earned whatever status she has attained as a musician, whether it be the scorn of the self-fellating indie diehards who disdain her pop disposition, or the fleeting love of a mainstream public only able to identify her as the "1 2 3 4 girl."

Advertising is evil and corrupt and the reason for the destruction of all that is good and holy in the world, blah, blah, blah... Sure advertising is annoying and infiltrating all aspects of our lives. And yes, it's overpowering presence has had innumerable negative affects on the intellectual development of young people as society's become more commercialized through the years.

Yet all in all, at the end of the fucking day, it's there for a reason: because we want it. And by we, I don't mean those of us in the "intellectual, free-minded, bleeding-heart-liberal-fearful-of-a-idiot-filled-apocalypse" demographic. Nor do I mean the overly stereotyped "dumb-as-fuck-Larry-the-Cable-Guy-blowjob-giving-public" (I avoided a trailer park/white trash reference, just because it's become too predictable. And cause secretly I envy them.)

I'm talking about honest-to-goodness, normal, average, salt-of-the-Earth good people who don't have the time, patience or disposable income to worry about playing a balancing act on the spectrum of sociopolitical polarity. Their indifference doesn't make them bad; it makes them simple. (Which isn't bad, just in case you think my East Coast asshole self is trying to be ironic)

These people don't want to be challenged; they want familiarity. In our current state of political and social extremism, these middle-of-the-road-folk don't want stimulation, they want sedation.

Fuck "Arrested Development", give us "Two and Half Men." You bet NPR, I raise you Z-one-whatever-fucking Clear Channel affiliate will give me a morning zoo.

So don't blame artists, or so-called dumb people for not fulfilling your wish for a world of sanctified musicology. It's not their fault they don't know about anything before it makes the latest iPod or Old Navy commercial; they just don't know better. But you do.


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