Friday, July 31, 2009

Top Tweets of the Week

Some of the funniest Tweets from this past week from Twitter.com:

aedison
I'm new to babysitting, so I'll assume that Amazon knows best when it says kids who like 101 Dalmatians will also enjoy Dog Day Afternoon.

BrianLynch
They're doing a KING KONG prequel? If it's not called PRINCE KONG everyone is wasting their time.

jeremypiven
We don't change we just become more like ourselves...

As usual, there were some amusing trending threads including one called Imperial Edicts that could be implemented in order to make the Evil Empire of Star Wars even more, well, evil:



joelthegreat
All soda machines serve warm cans of Diet caffeine free coke, not matter what you pick.

eddiesaunier
Double coupon Mondays in the Death Star gift shop are suspended indefinitely

rsethery
clone jar jar binks

darthvader
Open more Starbucks

StrivinToThrive
raise the cost of postage... again. pure evil.

HughWoolard
Starting now, ALL movies will be directed by Michael Bay.


Another trend listed Fake Song Parody Titles that were rejected by Weird Al Yankovic.



mshowalter
"Your Body Is A Wonderbread"

nitrogrizz
Fat-Bottomed Squirrels - Queen

ccondry
"Smells Like Tom Skerritt"

c_cappelletti
"Knockin' On Kevin's Door"

Montepenny
“The Pigeon is Gonna Get You" and "Meth (I Hear You Calling)"

themikewhite
You Can Call Me ALF

alyankovic
Depeche Mode - "My Own Personal Cheese Whiz"


One of the raunchier trends included Failed Children's Book Titles that had too much of an adult slant to them:


bortrock
The Lion, The Witch and the Whore's Robe

BrianLynch
ONE FISH, TWO FISH, RED FISH, TERRORIST

States
HORTON HEARS HIS PARENTS HAVING SEX.

MsDelaney
Puff The Magic Bong

noyokono
Bi-Curious George

theseantcollins
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Kidney Stone

Montepenny
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Bra Emporium

muskrat_john
Where the Girls Gone Wild Things Are

Dweeze
Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Overly Affectionate Spinster

Wormito
Charlotte's Web of Lies

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reel Quiz #4

It’s time to test your knowledge of obscure cinema trivia one more time by answering the following ten multiple choice questions.

Score one point for each correct response. The answers will be posted at the bottom.

For those who deem it necessary to validate your self-worth, feel free to base it on the following scale:

Reel Quiz Ratings Scale

9-10 Correct (Ph.D. in Film)
You are so talented that you could remake Titanic with sock puppets and a toy model and still earn a Best Film Oscar.

7-8 Correct (M.A. in Film)
You are an under-appreciated genius, like Yahoo Serious.

5-6 Correct (B.A. in Film)
You are an avid film lover, but you don’t know the difference between a daily and a nightie.

3-4 Correct (A.A. in Film)
You really should try to see more films that don't have "Ernest" in the title.

1-2 Correct (Film School Dropout)
I won't lie to you. You have severe issues.

**************************

1) Before actor Jim Varney died of lung cancer, he had starred in numerous movies as the fictional character Ernest P. Worrell. How many were released altogether?

A) 4
B) 6
C) 8
D) 10




2) In the James Bond movie series, six different actors have appeared in the role of the British superspy. How many total Bond films have been released as of July of 2009? (Note: I am not counting David Niven who appeared in the role in 1967 in the spoof movie Casino Royale as it is not part of EON Productions, which has produced the series over the years.)

A) 16
B) 19
C) 22
D) 28


3) Which actor has played James Bond in the most films?

A) Roger Moore
B) Sean Connery
C) Pierce Brosnan
D) Timothy Dalton


4) Which of the following “BIG” films made the most domestic box office dollars in its initial theatrical run? (Note: there is no adjustment for inflation.)

A) Big
B) Big Daddy
C) Big Momma’s House
D) Big Fish


5) Which of the following Keanu Reeves’ films grossed the most in domestic box office during its initial theatrical run?

A) Speed
B) The Matrix
C) The Matrix Reloaded
D) Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


6) Titanic is the highest grossing movie of all time bringing in over $1.8 billion worldwide. What was its final budget?

A) $160 million
B) $180 million
C) $200 million
D) $220 million


7) Which of the following actors has accrued the highest total domestic box office (as of July of 2009) including voice roles in animated films? Hint: This may or may not be a trick question.

A) Samuel L. Jackson
B) Tom Hanks
C) Harrison Ford
D) Frank Welker


8) According to Movie Body Counts (www.moviebodycounts.com), which movie has featured the most on-screen deaths?

A) The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
B) 300
C) Kingdom of Heaven
D) Titanic


(9) How many on-screen deaths did the leader in question #8 feature (according to www.moviebodycounts.com)?

A) 784
B) 823
C) 836
D) 914


(10) Which of the following titles is NOT the actual name of a movie?

A) Death Bed, The Bed That Eats
B) Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid
C) Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title
D) The Overrated Gynecologist


*************************


Answers:

(1) D (10). Varney appeared as the character in a cameo role first in Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam (1986). He later reprised the role in the following films: Ernest Goes to Camp (1987); Ernest Saves Christmas (1988); Ernest Goes to Jail (1990); Ernest Scared Stupid (1991); Ernest Rides Again (1993); (1994); Ernest Goes to School (1994); Slam Dunk Ernest (1995); Ernest Goes to Africa (1997); and Ernest in the Army (1998). Incidentally, he died during the filming of Ernest the Pirate in 2000. It was never released.

(2) C (22). In order, they are: Dr. No (1962); From Russia with Love (1963); Goldfinger (1964); Thunderball (1965); You Only Live Twice (1967); On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969); Diamonds Are Forever (1971); Live and Let Die (1973); The Man with the Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy (1983); A View to a Kill (1985); The Living Daylights (1987); License to Kill (1989); Goldeneye (1995); Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); The World is Not Enough (1999); Die Another Day (2002); Casino Royale (2006); Quantum of Solace (2008).

(3) A; Roger Moore has been in seven. Sean Connery starred in six. Brosnan was in four and Dalton appeared in the role only twice.

(4) B; Big Daddy brought in over $163 million, beating out Big Momma’s House (over $117 million), Big (over $114 million) and Big Fish (over $66 million).

(5) C; The Matrix Reloaded is his highest grossing film in the U.S. topping out at over $281 million. The original Matrix earned over $171 million and Speed raced out to over $121 million. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues only brought in $1.6 million.

(6) C; Its budget of $200 million is still considered to be the tenth-highest budget of all time (as of July 2009).

(7) D; Frank Welker is a voice actor whose worked in 90 films that have grossed $4,954,899,301. The other three actors are ranked second through fourth, respectively: Samual Jackson: $4,458,983,764; Tom Hanks: $3,985,833,414; and Harrison Ford: $3,630,449,689.

(8) A; The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

(9) C; 836 were killed on screen. Most of them were orcs and other mindless beasts. Unfortunately, not one of the 836 was that whiny sissy-boy Frodo.

(10) D; (The Overrated Gynecologist).

Note: All statistics for questions #4-7 were taken by the web site: www.the-numbers.com in July of 2009.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Six Word Stories Totally Kick Ass!

Brevity is a virtue. Or so I am told.

Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick (which many completely insane people believe is the greatest book ever written) includes over 200,000 words. Needless to say, it takes approximately 17 years to read. I’ll save you the trouble. I can sum it up in six words.

“Call me Ishmael.” Everyone else dies.

OK. Perhaps a little more than that happens, but as the old cliché goes, sometimes less is more... and that is precisely the idea that once inspired a wager between famous American writer Ernest Hemingway and some of his colleagues back in the 1920s.

They bet him that he couldn’t write a complete short story in just six words (or so the legend goes).

The result was a piece of writing that Hemingway considered possibly his best work ever. How did he manage to win the bet? Like this:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.
--Ernest Hemingway

The story is indeed quite powerful, poignant and tragic. It is also unbelievably efficient and currently serves as the inspiration for a website called Six Word Stories (www.sixwordstories.net.)

Launched by Pete Berg in December of 2008, the site collects six-word stories from various famous people, as well as readers and Web visitors.

Today I will present ten taken from the site. You may recognize some of the names of the authors.

1) He got syphilis. She got alimony.Amit Kapoor

2) Starlet sex scandal. Giant squid involved. Margaret Atwood

3) Let’s keep this giant wooden horse!Prattle Assassin

4) “Forgive me!” “What for?” “Never mind.”John Updike

5) Gepetto doesn’t inhale. Pinocchio remains inanimate.Lenny

6) Dead all around. One bullet left.Bryan

7) I win lottery. Sun goes nova.Steven Meretzky

8) Rolls. Falls. Pencil rues pointless existence.M. Hari Prasad

9) House for rent. Must tolerate ghosts.AJ Brown

10) Seeker fails. Hider starves to death.Graham Edwards

And, as an extra special bonus, I'll include a handful that I've written as I find this art form to be uncomfortably addictive.

1) The suicidal vampire bought a convertible.

2) Love conquers all, sometimes even itself.

3) Sleepwalkers really shouldn't live on boats.

4) Eve bites apple. Adam invents profanity.

5) "She is smoking hot!" thought Oedipus.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lessson Learned: Do Not Anger the Baseball Gods

So, last night I learned a valuable lesson: Don't #@$! with the Baseball Gods.

Any superstitious soul knows it's unwise to talk about a perfect game or a no-hitter with the pitcher while it is actually happening. Nothing angers the Deities of the Diamond like assuming that your favorite player or team has earned their favor and is currently being elevated to divine status as a result.

Case in point: my blog yesterday boasted how well the Diamondbacks had played in my presence this season. It was ample fodder for the Mighty Ones to prove a point to me. True, they may have favored me in the past, but my simple mention of that fact was enough to incite them to put me back in my proper place.

The same Diamondbacks who had not given up any earned runs in the full three games I watched live this year gave up six total runs (only half were earned) and were beaten in every aspect of the game last night... handily.

It didn't start off that way, though. Arizona starting pitcher Jon Garland pitched an impressive first three innings, giving up only one walk and no hits to the first ten batters. I found myself wondering if the magic could happen one more time.

Meanwhile, the D-Backs managed to draw walks and hits like crazy. They had two baserunners on in the first, three in the second and two in the third.

Unfortunately, they just couldn't manage to score any runs in those situations. At one point, they had the Phillies' starter Jamie Moyer on the ropes. He faced the worst situation a pitcher can face: bases loaded with no outs. He got out of it without giving up a single run. Strikeout. Double play. Groan.

Then, the momentum changed in a flash. Moyer found his control again and Ryan Howard found the centerfield fence by blistering a monster shot that gave the Phillies a 2 to 0 lead. Prior to that hit, I knew the D-Backs had blown the game already. They had every advantage working for them early and didn't... well, take advantage of it.

Naturally, they soon unraveled after that. They committed two sloppy errors. Second baseman Ryan Roberts also bobbled a potential double-play ball that would have ended an inning, but instead, allowed a run to score on the play.

The D-Backs also stranded eleven baserunners altogether
. The Phillies were up 6 to 0 before Arizona scored a pair of meaningless runs in the bottom of the eighth. However, the outcome of the game was never in question.

The D-Backs outhit the Phils 9 to 6, but the Liberty Bell Bombers played smarter baseball. They are the champions and they showed why last night. They also proved to me that it is much wiser to keep your mouth shut if you actually think the Baseball Gods are showing you any kindness at all.

Still, it was a fun night at the air-conditioned ballpark. Next time I will simply wait until AFTER THE GAME to discuss the divine actions of the Baseball Gods rather than risk their wrath once again. After all, their vengeance hits harder than Ryan Howard's bat, and believe me, that is saying a lot.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Ultimate Test for the Baseball Gods

Last month, I wrote a two-part blog called "A Dissertation on the Deities of the Diamond" about how fans tend to believe that they somehow control the fate of their favorite ballclub through their superstitious actions.

I realize how silly it is for a grown person to believe that wearing a baseball cap backwards will make a .188 hitter come up big with a rally-tying single in the bottom of the ninth, but this is the society we live in.

Then again, sometimes the numbers don't lie. Some fans actually could make a statistical argument that backs up such wild claims. Like me.

I have attended three home games this season of the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that trails the Los Angeles Dodgers by almost 20 games with an unimpressive 43-56 record.

Yet, during the three games I attended the Diamondbacks were 3-0, outscoring the Rockies 2 to 0, the Cubs 10 to 0 and the Giants 2 to 1. A team that has struggled with pitching and hitting mightily all throughout the year just so happens to boast a 14 to 1 scoring margin in the three games I have attended.

Coincidence? Not bloody likely.

Consider this fact. The Diamondbacks have only pitched eight shutouts all year long (and five at home) and I was there for two of them. During the third game I attended, the Diamondbacks were up 2 to 0 with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning when I foolishly uttered aloud: “I can’t believe they’ve pitched 26 straight scoreless innings for me and are about to finish number 27! What are the freakin' odds of that?”

The Giants ended up scoring a run on a wild pitch as the Baseball Gods smote me mightily.

Still, the team has a cumulative ERA of 4.41, but when I watch them at Chase Field live they have an ERA of 0.00 in 27 innings (the one run the Giants did score was unearned).

Considering how bad the D-Backs have been, it is an extremely odd coincidence that they pitch like the Arizona Cy Youngs whenever I'm there.

Of course, every fan has told me that I should attend every game, but I know that this will enrage the Baseball Gods if I try to take advantage of their divine courtesy. Thus, I haven't been to a game since mid-June. However, I decided it had been long enough so I will be there tonight when the team hosts the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now, whether or not the Baseball Gods favor me will be put to the ultimate test. After all, the D-Backs have Garland on the mound (his ERA is 4.41!) and the Phillies have the best offense in the National League. The team has hit 138 homes runs and has scored 527 runs (leading the National League in both categories).

If the D-Backs somehow miraculously prevail AND keep the Phillies from scoring, then I will officially believe that I am favored by the Baseball Gods.

However, I have more than my share of doubts.

The Phillies have been extremely hot lately, winning 17 of 20 games and haven't lost a series since the start of the month. They have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. There is no way the D-Backs stand a chance, right?

Well, we'll find out tonight.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Top Tweets of the Week...

Some of the funniest Tweets from this past week from Twitter.com:

aedison
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. And every time you have sex, this one angel gets his binoculars.

Remiel
If I had a nickel for every time the inflation rate increased, I'd probably have mixed feelings.

AlexDezen
(Lead Singer of The Damnwells)
Cops can't pull you over if they are in front of you. Not unless they're Timecop

There were two amusing threads. One paired actors from different movies and combined them into one movie title:

#fakecostars

ThatArmenianGuy
Samuel L. Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson in Black Snakes Moan on a Plane

HandOfAnubis
Paul Newman and John Candy Long Hot Summer Rental

maxwellh
Hilary Swank and Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys Don't Cry


Montepenny
Julia Roberts, Gene Wilder, Patrick Swayze, George Romero and Nicole Kiman in Pretty Woman in Red Dawn of the Dead Calm

darinking
Steven Seagal & Gregory Peck in Hard to Kill a Mockingbird

gmwait
Charlton Heston and Kathy Bates in Soylent Green Tomatoes


leelubarsky
Daniel Day-Lewis and Kevin Bacon star in this tale of inspiration . . . and dancing - My Left Footloose



Another thread revealed some of the world's lesser-know conspiracy theories.

#conspiracies

CllrTim
The moon landing happened, but the launch was an elaborate hoax done with fireworks.

Scriblit
The Internet is actually run by a tiny psychic Leprechaun living in your Hard Drive.

djhanks
The red shift occurs not because the universe is expanding, but because it is embarrassed

JasperThorn
When you are drunk you let in little Alien people into your head; the 'hangover' is them moving in and putting up shelves


Widgett
The code found within the Bible is identical to that found within The Complete Works of Richard Scarry

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reel Quiz #3

Yes! Your life is now complete once again as it’s time to test your knowledge of obscure cinema trivia one more time by answering the following ten multiple choice questions.

Score one point for each correct response. The answers, which are current through July 23, 2009, will be posted at the bottom.

For those who deem it necessary to validate your self-worth, feel free to base it on the following scale:

Reel Quiz Ratings Scale

9-10 Correct (Ph.D. in Film)
You are so talented that you could help Jim Carey win a Best Actor Oscar in the role of How the Grinch Stole Chanukah.

7-8 Correct (M.A. in Film)
You are an under-appreciated genius, doomed to forever film “quirky indie comedies” that delve into hot button topics such as pedophilia, necrophilia and anything to do with genitalia or paraphenilia.

5-6 Correct (B.A. in Film)
You are an avid film lover, but you don’t know the difference between a gaffer and a foley artist.

3-4 Correct (A.A. in Film)
You really should try to see more films that don't include multiple explosions.

1-2 Correct (Film School Dropout)
You are indeed an abject failure. You probably placed Waterworld on the top of your All-Time Favorite Films.

**************************

In the immortal words of Heath Ledger (in his role as The Joker) And here we go...


1) Which of the following titles IS NOT the actual name of a movie?

A) Castle Freak
B) Attack of the Killer Refrigerator
C) He's My Girl
D) I Married a Mute Kleptomaniac


2) Hollywood has produced an abundance of hot movie stars named Jennifer. Which of the following Jennifers has earned the most domestic box office overall, including all cameos and voice acting for animation (as of July of 2009)?

A) Jennifer Aniston
B) Jennifer Connelly
C) Jennifer Garner
D) Jennifer Lopez


3) Which of the following other hot Jennifers has earned the most domestic box office overall, including all cameos and voice acting for animation (as of July of 2009)?

A) Jennifer Grey
B) Jennifer Love Hewitt
C) Jennifer Jason Leigh
D) Jennifer Tilly


4) Which of the following DVDs sold the most units domestically in 2008?

A) The Dark Knight
B) Iron Man
C) Alvin and the Chipmunks
D) Kung Fu Panda


5) Which of the following DVDs sold the most units domestically in 2007?

A) 300
B) Happy Feet
C) Transformers
D) Shrek the Third


6) Which of the following actors has earned the most domestic box office overall, including all cameos and voice acting for animation (as of July of 2009)?

A) Bruce Willis
B) Tom Hanks
C) Tom Cruise
D) Robin Williams


7) Of that same pool of actors, which one has the highest box office average domestically (as of July of 2009)?

A) Bruce Willis
B) Tom Hanks
C) Tom Cruise
D) Robin Williams


8) Tom Hanks has starred in five films that have earned more than $200 million domestically (as of July 2009). Which one brought in the most box office bucks?

A) Cars
B) Forrest Gump
C) Saving Private Ryan
D) Toy Story 2


9) Which of the following titles IS the actual name of a movie?

A) The Rhythm of Rice
B) The Creature Wasn't Nice
C) The Bloodthirsty Accountant
D) Ghost Car II: Blood on the Highway


10) What name was Michael Keaton born with?

A) Michael Caine
B) Michael Jackson
C) Michael Douglas
D) Michael Myers


*************************


Answers:


(1) D (I Married a Mute Kleptomaniac!)
(2) C; Elektra (Garner) herself has raked in over $972 million. Aniston is second with over $926 million. Lopez has earned over $809 million and the Labyrinth leading lady (Connelly) has tallied over $737 million. All four women have earned well over one billion dollars in box office business worldwide.
(3) D; Jennifer Tilly has actually raked in more than each of the four Jennifers in question #3, as well. Thanks to Monsters, Inc., Stuart Little and Liar Liar, her total is over $975 million domestically. Jason Leigh has earned over $407 million and Dirty Dancing Grey has accrued over $251 million. Ghost Whisperer Love Hewitt has made over $507 million.
(4) A; The Dark Knight sold almost 11 million units.
(5) C; Transformers sold well over 13 million units.
(6) B; Hanks has garnered over $3.9 billion. Cruise has helped bring in over $3.2 billion, Williams is over $3.1 billion and Willis has a shade over $3 billion.
(7) C; Cruise has averaged about $96 million a film while Hanks trails closely with over a $94 million average. Williams averages over $59 million and Willis over $51 million.
(8) B; In fact, Forrest Gump is the only Hanks' film to bank over $300 million.
(9) B (The Creature Wasn't Nice)
(10) C; Apparently, Michael Douglas was already taken by the Romancing the Stone guy.



For now, Jennifer Tilly is the reigning Queen of the Box Office Babes Named Jennifer.

Note: All statistics for questions #2 through #8 were taken from www.the-numbers.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Batman and Robin Revisited (Part Three)

(See Previous Passing Thoughts Blog Entries for Parts One and Two)

*******************

I will finally complete my running commentary of the 1997 film Batman and Robin for the five people out there who are interested.

(45:27 mark) In perhaps the biggest “Holy Shit” moment of the movie, Batman and Robin compete in an auction bid for Poison Ivy that reaches several million dollars before Batman suddenly pulls out a credit card with the bat logo on it. It actually says “Good thru forever." Batman is willing to pay millions in Bat Cash for an overacting Uma.

He even utters the line: “Never leave the cave without it."

This is the GREATEST MOMENT IN MOVIE HISTORY!

Fast Fact: Did you know that the budget for this film was over $140 million? That’s approximately one million for every time Arnold says the words “cool” or "cold."

(48:55 mark) Why are there giant half-naked bronze statues in every corner of Gotham? Did they rename it Gaytham in between films?

(49:25 mark) Honest to God, the key players are now engaged in a car chase on one of the aforementioned giant statues. It ends with three vehicles jumping from a giant open hand. I am speechless for a whole 30 seconds. Anybody who knows me understands this is an incredible feat.

Finally, I ask aloud: How did this movie only win one Razzie Award (Worst Supporting Actress: Alicia Silverstone)? Absolutely mind boggling.

(57:00 mark) Look, it’s the most psychedelic gang of street thugs ever. They are immersed in glow-in-the-dark black light body paint with shiny white skull-like faces, I feel like I climbed directly into a Joel Schumacher nightmare. Any second now, they’ll break out into a song and play Twister.

(57:21 mark) Actual dialog from head glowstick gang guy: “Hello, my pretty, pretty, pretty.” Was this nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar?

Let's skip ahead a bit...

(1:13:55 mark) More Championship Caliber Dialog:

Robin: I can’t believe we were fighting over a bad guy.
Batman: Bad? Yes. Guy? No.

Who knew Batman was such a homophobe? Why then does he live in Gaytham City?

(1:22:21 mark) Poison Ivy unveils a disturbingly-cartoonish animatronic flower creature that will supposedly usher in a new era for mankind blah blah blah. Her plan is to repopulate the world from scratch. Arnold and Uma will be Adam and Eve. It kind of has a nice ring to it. I am now officially rooting for the bad guys.

(1:25:52 mark) During the ceremony when officials unveil Gotham’s new Super Gawdy Telescope, some ecstatic extra in a tux is jumping up and down like he’s just won the lottery. Regardless, he is still the best actor in this film.

(1:35:39 mark) Alfred the butler does an uncanny Max Headroom impersonation. Simply fantastic! But it raises a vexing question: what kind of perverted old man “takes the liberty” of designing a skin-tight rubber Batgirl outfit for his young adult niece?

(1:37:40 mark) Robin the Boy Blunder asks Poison Ivy: “Is your thumb the only thing on you that’s green?” Yowza, yowza, yowza. All we need now is some music: bow chicka mow mow.

(1:38:50 mark) Robin: “I hate to disappoint you, but rubber lips are immune to your charms.” Hmm. I believe rubber chickens are, as well.

(1:39:30 mark) Batgirl drops in (literally, of course) and scolds Ivy: “You’re about to become compost.” Kind of like this entire movie.

(1:40:45 mark) A giant venus flytrap plant eats Poison Ivy. I now realize that Joel Schumaker is basically Ed Wood with a big budget.

(1:41:37) Worst pun of the film, hands down: “Let’s kick some ice.



Then, the movie really starts to go downhill.

Mr. Freeze encases all of Gotham in ice using the telescope, his freeze gun and... well, who really cares?

Robin says something insensitive about how all of the “gothamites” will be “ice cubes” permanently in another eight minutes or so. Batgirl figures they can save the city by using space satellites to reflect the “sunlight from the Congo” back to Gotham and thaw it out. There may be one problem with her plan: reality.

Long story short, the good guys win, but not before Batman taunts his enemy: “Hey Freeze, the heat is on.” That’s the best line the overpaid screenwriter could come up with? Glenn Frey must be rolling in his grave... well, if he was dead he certainly would be.

The Gothamites avoid their perpetual ice cube fate, and Alfred is magically saved from his made-up fatal disease in the happiest of endings. Well, almost. The Batman franchise did indeed die ingloriously and it disappeared for numerous years until the men from Momento and American Pscyho joined forces to successfully resurrect it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Batman and Robin Revisited (Part Two)

(See Previous Passing Thoughts Blog Entry for
Part One)


*******************

I will now resume my running commentary of the 1997 film Batman and Robin, starting with Uma Thurman's first appearance in the film.

(15:30 mark) Oh, Uma, Uma. You can certainly act better than this. You were nominated for an Oscar once, for God's sake.

(17:45 mark) A mad scientist with Yahoo Serious hair creates the supervillain Bane by pumping some involuntary guinea pig-schmuck full of green steroid venom juice. I would have called him “Bonds” but that’s just me.

(18:45 mark) Huh? The remorseless convict who was forced to undergo a disturbing and painful procedure decides to lay a beatdown on the bastard who tries to keep him restrained. Didn’t see that coming.

(20:40 mark) Note to self: Don’t throw a disgruntled crazy employee into a shallow grave of toxic chemicals and plant vines. She might soon turn into a supervillain and seek terrible vengeance.

(24:26 mark) Yup. She comes back! And, she's a lot sexier, too. Being buried in the ground with toxic chemicals will do that to you. It also makes Uma act even worse. Suddenly, she is speaking like a 1920s sexpot.

(27:53 mark) Of course. Mr. Freeze’s “Cryo-Suit” runs on diamonds. How practical.

(30:19 mark) And now, Alicia Silverstone makes her first appearance. She calls the Bat ButlerUncle Alfred.” He can’t believe his niece came all the way from England. I can’t either, since she doesn’t even remotely have a British accent. She has more of a blonde accent.

(30:30 mark) Ms. Clueless reveals that both of her parents were killed in a car accident years ago. Does every superhero have to be an orphan? Let’s do the math: Batman plus Robin plus Batgirl = SIX dead parents.

(34:05 mark) Damn, Gotham is one ugly city. I think it was designed by cartoon characters on crack.


Everybody in Gotham was happy that the city planner
opted for the "Half-Naked Bronze Guy Cupping the Lamp
Post Balls" design for Old Town St.


(40:10 mark) Dancing, half-naked savages at some big Gotham bash are now swinging from vines over the crowd below. Visions of Haircut 100 singing Love Plus One prance around in my head. This movie is only slightly less gay than Brokeback Mountain.

(41:58 mark) This is difficult to describe. Somebody in a pink, puffy ape-suit (made out of what appears to be giant cotton balls) is getting his dance groove on. Oh wait, it’s revealed to be Poison Ivy. Whew. Thought we ventured into Surrealville for a moment, but...

(43:08 mark) Uma now dons a green feathery unitard. She also sports long magenta hair! She is very, very hot... until she speaks. Still, heterosexuals of the world have found a reason to keep watching.

(43:24 mark) Nope. Now, the gay-meter just exploded. The sheer Uma-ness of the scene apparently had to be balanced by a bunch of buff beefcakes in loin cloths. They actually lay on the ground flat so that Uma can walk on them. The critical voice inside me wonders if it all may be a smidge ostentatious.

I think I'll give my eyes a rest and try again tomorrow because I am a glutton for punishment.

To Be Continued Tomorrow...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Batman and Robin Revisited (Part One)

Batman and Robin (1997)

Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Running Time: 2 hours and 4 minutes.

I first watched this film at its advance opening premiere in Tempe back in 1997. I wisely have avoided it since then but recently decided to watch it and provide a running commentary mentioning some of its highlights since all I remembered about it was the infamous Bat Nipples.

Shortly after the movie begins, the camera focuses in on a Nite-Brite Batmobile that looks likes it's powered by a spinning blue light disco ball.

Robin quips: "I want a car. Chicks dig the car." And, we're off. One of the worst films of all time begins with one of the stupidest opening lines ever. I feel like a boxer who was knocked to his knees by the first punch in Round One.

Already, I can't help but feel that the producers of this film bought neon lights at a bulk discount rate. Also, every scene looks like the aftermath of a tragic Crayola explosion.

(3:21 mark) Alfred inexplicably cries in the corner of the Bat-Cave. Apparently, he already knows how much of a suck-fest the film is going to be.

In the first fight between Batman and Robin vs. Mr. Freeze, ice skating goons that Robin refers to as the "hockey team from Hell" appear out of nowhere in a scene that looks straight out of Strange Brew. You know you're in trouble if an action movie is ripping off fight choreography from Bob and Doug McKenzie.

Anyway, The Governator awkwardly spits out his first line of this masterpiece: "The ice man cometh."

I wish he'd goeth away now.


Hey Bats, why do you think they're going through
all of
this trouble for this cheesy-looking
fake diamond?



(7:02 mark) No #@$!ing way! Did Batman and Robin just click their heels together to make ice blades come out of their boots?

(7:30 mark) Oh, no he didn't! The Freezinator just tossed a security guard 25 feet up into the air to knock his freeze gun from off its perch on a giant rock. I am almost positive the exact same thing happened in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

Random Questions Pop Into My Head As I Watch: Was everybody who worked on this film on drugs? Does Joel Schumacher even possess a soul? Wasn't Mr. Freeze a skinny old nerd in the comic books? Is it even physically possible for ice skaters to pole vault?

(9:58 mark) And now the former Mr. Universe has launched a rocket out of the Freeze Mobile with Robin hanging onto the side. Batman's sidekick must be stronger than gravity and physics combined.

(10:40 mark) Mr. Freeze informs Batman: "At 30,000 feet your heart will freeze and beat no more." This I did not know. I can't believe this man was elected Governor of California. I'm pretty sure his opponent would have won by a landslide if he simply showed clips of this film during the debates. At least this film can't get any worse.

(11:11 mark) Huh. I guess it can. Mr. Freeze just leaped from the high-speeding rocket and pulled on a rip cord to release giant metal wings from his Cryo-Suit.

(12:03 mark) Oh good, the dynamic duo managed to save Gotham from being turned into a smoking crater. They program the rocket to blow up in space (because the millions of tons of debris won't come back down eventually) then jump out of it using the thick metal doors as floating boogie boards. Are they #@$!ing with me? Was this written by Beavis and Butthead?

(13:24 mark) Fun fact, kiddos! You can plummet thousands of feet toward certain doom and break your fall at the last second by firing a freeze cannon at the ground, thus turning it into ice! Everybody knows that falling a mile and landing on ice (even softer slushy ice) would in no way shatter every bone in your body and turn your organs into soup.

To say this movie is over the top is a tad bit obvious, kind of like saying it is better to experience a two-hour orgasm than to be eaten alive by porcupines.

(13:47 mark) Yeah! Mr. Freeze turned Robin into a block of ice. No more inane dialog from you, Mr. O'Donnell! Unfortunately, we still have to listen to Mr. Schwarzenegger: "Stay cool, bird boy!"

(15:05 mark) Damn. Batman just thawed the Boy Hostage out. How can there be over an hour and 45 minutes left in this movie?

Oh wow, I don't think I can keep watching today. I'll see if I can stomach the rest tomorrow.


To Be Continued Tomorrow...

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Week's Top Tweets

It's time to retweet some of the funniest Tweets from this past week from Twitter.com.

One of the most popular Twitter Trends was Chuck Norris and his INFINITE AWESOMENESS.

Lanceguitarist
The quickest way to a mans heart is with Chuck Norris' fist.

Julian218
If you spell Chuck Norris in Scrabble, you win. Forever.

kaptainmyke
Chuck Norris can unscramble an egg.

popculturepost
Chuck Norris doesn't die, he multiplies.

Chuck Norris is what Willis was talking about.


OhliviaEs
When Chuck Norris crosses the street, the cars have to look both ways.

MissSquire
Chuck norris destroyed the periodic table because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

marpop
Chuck Norris puts the "laughter" in "manslaughter".

KaiserGuira
how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could Chuck Norris? All of it



There were a few Tweets not related to Chuck Norris, as well:

badbanana
Bruno made $30.4 million this weekend. It's the biggest opening for a gay mockumentary since Top Gun.

The secret to drinking on the job is to not care about the consequences.

aedison
I glad I don't have haemophilia, because that would make me so depressed I'd want to cut myself.

iTwiddle
Seriously, who decided that 'white' was a good colour for underwear??

I'm against picketing. Now how do I show it?!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zombie Mania 2! Haiku? Bless You!

A little while back, I noted how many things in the world could be transformed into sheer awesomeness simply by adding a “zombie” element to them.

While perusing the aisles of a bookstore recently, I found further proof of this Nobel Prize-deserving theory.

Zombie haiku poetry.

Really, do I need to say anything else?

Everybody remembers haikus, right? We learned about them in 6th grade or so when our English teacher said they consisted of three simple lines with the following syllable scheme:

first line = 5 syllables;
second line = 7 syllables;
third line = 5 syllables.

I remember we were all required to write one before the end of the class. I can’t recall mine verbatim, but this would be pretty darn close:

When will the bell ring?
Will English class ever end?

No, no it will not.


Surprisingly, I did not win the Pulitzer that year.

But, enough about haikus... let's get to the zombie aspect of today's topic. I believe the undead are too often victims of discrimination. Seriously. How many people really feel comfortable around zombies? Is that even the right term, or is that word biased? I think the proper term is undead-Americans.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t want my nephew or niece to marry a corpse, even a mobile one. It would only be a matter of time before they were infected with the zombie virus and become one themselves. There, I admitted it. Clearly, I’m a racist, or a bigot, or an alivist (probably the most accurate term).

Yet, despite my disgust, I still believe zombies have rights, not the least of which is to be published. In this case, a guy named Ryan Mecum (which rhymes with lion cecum) wrote a vivid first-hand account of the undead experience called, appropriately enough, Zombie Haiku. It is quite chilling to read, and very educational.

Here is a sample of his zombie haiku poetry:

You are so lucky
that I do not remember
how to use door knobs.


Good stuff, though it does play into the whole stereotype of the undead being brainless. True, many zombies are notoriously stupid and are even known to eat their own limbs, for example. That is a direct result of their unholy, unquenchable hunger. Zombies simply can’t stop eating the living until... well, they are living no more. (Only sexy gun-toting supermodels-turned-actresses seem to be exempt from this phenomenon.)

I find it interesting that a “brainless” creature would crave brains so much, and yet, the only way to kill (or re-kill) a zombie is to destroy its brains. So, indeed, they have brains, or they wouldn’t be staggering around ever-so-slowly looking for more brains.

My own personal distrust and fear of zombies stems largely from their pale, maggot-infested complexion and their rotting, mangled limbs. (I'm also not a big fan of the "eye dangling from the socket like a cat toy" look, either.)

I know it’s wrong, but I at least am trying to make inroads on the matter. Still, it's satisfying to know that adding a touch of zombie flavor to things certainly makes them seem freshly alive again. Oh, the zombie irony.

With that thought, I will leave you with one more example of Mecum’s zombie haiku poetry:

Biting into heads
is much harder than it looks.

The skull is feisty.


Words to live by.

For more information on this phenomenon, visit http://www.zombiehaiku.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reel Quiz #2

Once again, it’s time to test your vast knowledge of obscure cinema trivia by answering ten multiple choice questions.

Score one point for each correct response. The answers, which are current through July of 2009, will be posted at the bottom. I apologize for the "old school" format.

For those who deem it necessary to validate your self-worth, feel free to base it on the following scale:

Reel Quiz Ratings Scale

9-10 Correct (Ph.D. in Film)
You are so talented that you could turn Leprechaun 7 into Box Office Gold.

7-8 Correct (M.A. in Film)
You are an under-appreciated genius, nominated countless times, but have yet to take the Golden Boy home with you.

5-6 Correct (B.A. in Film)
You enjoy film, but you don’t know your A roll from your B roll.

3-4 Correct (A.A. in Film)
Stop watching Weekend at Bernie's and try something new!

1-2 Correct (Film School Dropout)
You are every bit as intelligent as the gum underneath the movie seat cushion.


(1) Über-Lakers fan Jack Nicholson has been nominated for how many Best Actor Oscars (in both a supporting and leading capacity)?

A) 8
B) 10
C) 12
D) 47


(2) How many times has he won in either category?

A) 2
B) 3
C) 5
D) 44


3) Titanic received 14 Oscar nominations in 1997 placing it as the most nominated movie of all time along with what other film?

A) Gone With the Wind
B) Satanic Yuppies
C) Schindler's List
D) All About Eve


4) The Golden Razzies have been celebrating the worst films of the year for almost three decades now. Which male star has earned the most nominations and wins for the Worst Actor Razzie (in both leading and supporting roles)?

A) Sylvester Stallone
B) Jean-Claude Van Damme
C) Kevin Costner
D) Bette Davis


5) Which female star has earned the most nominations and wins for the Worst Actress Razzie (in both leading and supporting roles) as of right now?

A) Bo Derek
B) Patrick Swayze
C) Madonna
D) Bette Midler


6) According to the Golden Razzies, what is the worst motion picture of all-time (as of 2008)?

A) Showgirls
B) I Know Who Killed Me
C) Battlefield Earth
D) Swept Away


7) Which of the following songs from a popular dance movie has never won an Oscar for Best Song?

A) "I've Had the Time of My Life" -- Dirty Dancing
B) "Say You, Say Me" -- White Nights
C) "Flashdance... What a Feeling" -- Flashdance
D) "Footloose" -- Footloose


8) Which of the following blockbuster hits never surpassed the $100 million mark for domestic box office sales during its original theatrical run?

A) Beverly Hills Cop
B) Silence of the Lambs
C) Die Hard
D) Back to the Future, Part II


9) Rock-n-roll icon David Crosby has acted in several movies, but unfortunately, years of smoking his own brand of "silly cigarettes" has damaged some of his memory. Can you tell him which of the following films he did NOT have a credited role in?

A) Hook
B) Backdraft
C) Cliffhanger
D) Thunderheart


10) In the 1997 film Devil's Advocate, what was the name of the Devil played by Al Pacino?

A) John Milton
B) Jack Daniels
C) Lou Cypher
D) Damien Deville


*************************



Answers:


(1) C (12)
(2) B (3); He won in 1997 for As Good As It Gets (Leading Role), in 1984 for Terms of Endearment (Supporting Role) and in 1975 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Leading Role).
(3) D (All About Eve)
(4) A; Sly Stallone has been nominated 30 times and has won 10. The man is prolific.
(5) C; Madonna has been nominated 15 times with 9 wins. She is way more efficient than Sly.
(6) B; Yes, the Lindsey Lohan movie (I Know Who Killed Me) about tortured twins earned eight awards in 2007. Battlefield Earth (2000) and Showgirls (1995) each won seven awards in their respective years of release.
(7) D (Footloose); That certainly makes me want to kick off my Sunday shoes.
(8) C; Die Hard only grossed about $81 million. Beverly Hills Cop earned $234 million; Silence of the Lambs carved up over $130 million; and Back to the Future, Part II raced out to over $118 million.
(9) C (Cliffhanger)
(10) A (John Milton)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Toys Have Changed Since I Was a Kid...

I saw this picture today and couldn't help but think that the overall quality of toys has changed a bit since I was a wee lad. Even a super lame movie like Superman Returns managed to spawn a product as cool as this "Truck Lifting Superman Set" designed by Mattel.

Here's the lowdown direct from the lips of the marketing department, who are all in their thirties no doubt:

Superman can lift a Daily Planet truck clear over his head with this exciting playset. Hand-grips on the side of the truck allow the Superman figure to get a handle. When kids push the figure's right leg forward, Superman actually lifts the truck up and over his head! Truck includes rolling wheels, exploding front end and other play features. Figure measures approximately 10" tall.

Verily, this appears to be quite an awesome toy and I would be a pathological liar if I said I wasn't a bit jealous of kids today. But, I pity them, as well. After all, they will never be able to harness the creativity and imagination that my generation possessed in spades. (We had no choice, lest we die of complete and utter boredom.)

I think I prefer my old-fashioned, low-tech toys. I still vividly recall one fine Christmas morning when my ten-year-old eyes lit up at the sight of my lone gift from Santa Claus himself. It was actually a two-fold present that had been stored in the freezer overnight.

In a fitful flash of fury, I unwrapped a variety box of sixteen mysteriously flavored Popsicles that were as tasty as they were colorful! (Mmmm. I think the dull green one tastes like sugar-covered tin foil!) Then, once I had perilously ingested those delicious delicacies, I was allowed to wash off the wooden stick handles and reuse them to my own devious intents and purposes.

Oh, the boundless whimsy! I can barely describe it.



With my mighty array of light brown Popsicle sticks, I would act out the adventures of the Discontent Denizens of New Stick City daily from dawn to dusk.

Stick Man #1: I hereby challenge you to a stick duel!

Stick Man #2: Thou art the discarded offspring of a timid toothpick! Challenge accepted.

Tik, tak, tik, tak, tik, tak. Fast forward seven hours...

Stick Man #1: I will never yield!

Stick Man #2: Nor will I, despite the oncoming Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has beset itself in my very hands!

Fast forward seven more hours. The fight came to an abrupt end when Stick Man #2 inexplicably broke in half, his splinters spilling out onto the unvacuumed carpeted pastures of New Stick City.

At that point, my father would naturally walk into my room, become significantly angry and make me sleep outside in the Pit of Starving Scorpions for breaking one of my brand new Christmas toys.

Ah, sweet blessed memories.