Category Archives: Movies and Television

Dirty Earth

I saw Wall-E again today. That means a lot because I’m the kind of person who only watches movie once. I’m reluctant even to watch the same movie on DVD. Even when I like the movie, I will rarely watch it again. I really enjoyed Wall-E, so I went with my niece and nephew to see it with enthusiasm, not reluctance.

Anyway, the image of Earth surrounded by all that junk hit me emotionally in a way it hadn’t the first time. The haze of brown surrounding our normally gorgeous planet made my eyes well up.

Social Conservative, Fiscal Liberal

So I was watching 30 Rock today on the internets, and it was the Subway Hero episode. When asked about his political views, he replies “social conservative, fiscal liberal.” I crack up because I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone describe themselves that way. I’ve heard it the other way around — fiscal conservative, social liberal.

But then I thought about it for a second. Isn’t that what Bush and the Republican Party stand for these days? Social conservatism and fiscal liberalism. Just look at their atrocious spending record.

Kidney Transplant TV Show

A joke I came up with a while back goes something like this:

“Have you heard my idea for a reality TV show? Alright, there are 15 kids competing for a prize. But the twist is that they’re dying little children and they’re competing for a kidney.”

I know, a despicable joke, right? It’s not a very popular joke among the ladies.

Lo and behold, Kidney Transplant TV Show Is a Hoax. A real damn TV show. I know, I know, a hoax TV show, but I can’t believe someone had the gall to carry this out.

And I thought I had no taste.

Project Runway 4

Interesting… so 4 make it to the final episode of Project Runway.

That kind of throws off my prediction for the final 3, doesn’t it? Oh well, at least all 3 people I picked (Michael, Jeffrey, and Laura) made it. And, I really liked Uli. So, I didn’t have to really be proven wrong to see Uli go.

Project Runway Picks

After Allison went out, I made my picks for top 3: Michael, Jeffrey, and Laura. I think Laura’s outfits are boring, but it looks like there’s been nothing but praise for them so far. I really enjoy Uli, but she hasn’t been getting much screen time and that makes me think she won’t make it. My instincts were only confirmed when the judges suddenly criticized her the week before last. The producers have a say, I think, and so, I picked the top 3 that would probably produce the most drama.

However, I missed last week’s episode, and my prospects for seeing this week’s are dim. (Fuck you, Calculus III.) Someone tell me if I’ve already fucked up my picks. This initially made me reluctant to make a post, but I’m just putting this out there now so I can either look like an idiot or a genius before the end of the show, before this becomes a postdiction instead of a prediction. I will be glad to be proven wrong on Uli, though.

Worst Hand of the Night: Smooth Call with the Nuts

I was watching PPT on the Travel Channel… actually, I’m still watching it. Has anyone noticed that when someone goes out, when there’s a showdown, there is a clapping noise? I didn’t even think about it at first, but then I was like, “Hey, there’s no audience there!” Did focus groups like it better with the fake clapping?

Anyway, this guy with the second best hand smooth calls on the river. (I apologize. If you don’t know anything about poker, you should probably stop reading.) That’s not what my title refers to, though. The way he played the hand reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to write about.

I caught a flush — an Ace-high flush on the turn. I was playing the hand such that my opponent definitely had no idea I had a flush. (Forgive me for forgetting the details.) Then, my opponent bets on the river and all I do is call. Horrible, horrible move! I should’ve looked at the cards and realized that there was no hand out there that could beat me. I had the “nuts”, so to speak. In that position, I definitely should’ve raised.

I still went on to win that small little tournament with some friends (with a little luck at one point beating pocket 9’s with pocket 8’s after going all-in pre-flop), but that’s no reason to be complacent about the way I played that night.

I hope to turn this into a regular feature on my blog, talking about the worst hand I played.

Exclusive Sneak-Peak Script for New Hummer Commercial

Man walks into restroom. Goes to urinal, between two other men. He takes a peak at one man, then the next.

Tough music starts.

Man goes to Hummer dealership, buys Hummer, drives off.

Compensate for your shortcomings. Buy a Hummer.

If you’ve seen the latest Hummer commercials, this makes more sense. There’s one where this guy is buying tofu and then sees the guy behind him buying red meat. So, he goes and buys a Hummer.

I wish I could film it, or turn it into a one-panel Chalkboard Manifesto.

Head On

Apply directly to the forehead.
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Available at Walgreens

That is the most fucking annoying commercial ever. EVER!

Nacho Libre

Did Jack Black seriously say “douche” in a PG movie?

EDIT: “The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity.” And now you know. Still, I question the usage of “douche” in a movie that was targeted towards youngsters.

The Apprentice and Product Placement

Personally, I think The Apprentice is a brilliant show because it’s just one big advertisement for several companies. Donald Trump didn’t just make a TV show. He somehow created a way to be “subtle” when loudly plugging products and companies. It’s blatant while pretending not to be blatant, as if advertisement is normal in a TV show.

The New York Times (I need to write something one of these days that doesn’t reference the NY Times) put out an article on The Apprentice, claiming that “‘The Apprentice’ has pushed the boundaries for product placement, creating challenges centered on any number of consumer goods (and plugging them). In an episode shown last week, for example, the contestants competed to sell a new sandwich offered by 7-Eleven.”

Even though I think the product placement on The Apprentice brilliant, I find it difficult to agree with the claim of the New York Times. At heart, The Apprentice is a game show, not reality TV. Nothing can ever beat The Price is Right at product placement.

Discourse on Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart seems to me a very niche comedian. He’s found his shtick. He’s the exasperated newscaster. I used to watch the Daily Show everyday. He’s talented and people are right to love him.

However, I’m not sure how well it translated to the Oscars tonight. (Which means, in a roundabout fashion, it didn’t translate very well.) Granted, I only caught glimpses, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I think Jon Stewart needs to be flabbergasted or exasperated to be at his funniest. Of course, the Oscars… for the kind of jokes we know Jon Stewart… not an appropriate venue. Face it, Jon Stewart… Oscars… complete mismatch. The only way for Jon Stewart to be funny at the Oscars would be to completely satirize it.

That being said, the funniest moment out of the parts that I saw: The commercials for best actress. Who did the voice-over? Stephen Colbert? (Hm…) Anyway, they worked because they were in a parody format. Like I said, the only way Jon Stewart could be funny at the Oscars would be to parody it.

Unless, Jon Stewart decided to parody the whole hosting thing. That would be crazy, but too subtle for people to pick up on, I think.

Of course, maybe the biggest joke would be if the Oscars were a parody of themselves. Maybe it was and I missed it…

In any case, stick to the Daily Show, Jon.

03/07/06 – EDIT: According to a article, it was Stephen Colbert who narrated those attack ads.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith remake

Say, did you hear about the remake they’re doing of Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Well, they’re going to give it the same kind of treatment they gave “Guess Who?” (oh joy, we can’t even say the full title in the remake) where they switched races. Only it’s not race-switching. Living in a post-Brokeback Mountain era in movies, there needs to be a different kind of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Two spies trying to kill each other, but entangled in a forbidden love. I can’t wait for Mr. and Mr. Smith.

Super Bowl Commercials: A Dying Tradition

The ads this year for the Super Bowl were decidedly uncreative and lackluster. This makes it at least three years in a row of mediocre commercials. What happened? Could they not take the pressure? With so many people watching for the commercials, did they crack?

Is it part of our sequel culture? Unafraid to try anything bold and creative? I think not. I think it’s part of a different trend.

The art of the commercial is dying. It is going the way of the sitcom. It’s not just the Super Bowl commercials that suck but all commercials. Face it, the 30-second (or 15-second) ad spot is a pretty inefficient way to sell things. People wander away during commercials. It’s harder to hit your target audiences.

The invention of digital video recorders (TiVo for those of you who say Kleenex instead of tissue) puts another nail in the coffin for the commercial. The iPod now has video capabilities. The commercial is no longer needed to fund the show if you can just buy it. TV shows will be available on-demand.

Even if this trend I see in worsening commercials turns out to be a trough instead of a trend, the commercial will still die. Still, the commercial gave us cultural icons. It gave us the Budweiser frogs, the Meow Mix song. Pepsi, here’s a tip: Ditch the hip hop, give us an old-fashioned jingle. Ah, who am I kidding, does it really matter? Even Geico seems to be falling off with its latest spots featuring the amiable accented Gecko.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a few good ads, like the FedEx one, but none especially memorable. If you don’t believe me, revisit this entry in a month.

Another year of this exercise in ad mediocrity and no one will be watching the Super Bowl just for the commercials. It won’t be worth it.

Another five years to ten years, though, and the commercial itself will be a thing of the past.

It’s unfortunate. I really love the commercial as an art form. It’s the thing I miss most about TV when I haven’t watched it for a while.

Phantom Movie

I watched The Phantom of the Opera movie. Ugh, it was horrible. Don’t get me wrong, loved the songs, loved the musical. The Phantom, though, could not sing. Christine had this same dumb look on her face the whole movie. I just couldn’t stand it. Most of the time, it didn’t even look like the people were singing.

Queer Eye Gimmicks

I meant to write this long ago and forgot about it during vacation:

Can anyone tell me what’s up with the latest episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Boston Red Sox. Quintuplets. Why does each show need a gimmick? You’ve already got a gimmick: Five queer guys giving fashion advice to a straight guy. The show’s good enough as it is. It doesn’t need additional gimmicks to keep it fresh.

A Cogent Attack on Me

In response to my critique of The Lance Krall Show, ropadope says:

“You’re not the audience. He’s aiming more for people with a sense of humor, not terminally constipated chronic maturbators like yourself. Go back to reporting on the fate of 60-Minutes II and band camp speeches. [line break removed] Riveting!”

Wow, your ad hominem attack was so convincing that I will have to change my opinion on this infantile television show!

And as for the fate of 60 Minutes II… that, my friend, is irony, which is something you won’t find on “The Lance Krall Show.” However, it is something you will find on a vastly superior sketch comedy show, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Anyone remember the sketch with the son who’s a coal miner? Ah, comedic brilliance.

As for the intended audience, it is most definitely intended for the coveted 18-35 male demographic, not immature teenagers who think using the word “constipated” makes for hilarity.

I saw ideas in the show that may have been humorous, but Krall failed in the execution. Lance Krall’s friends are not actors (and neither is he). The show suffers because of it.

60 Minutes II Cancelled

Just heard this news: 60 Minutes II has been cancelled. CBS insists that it was a ratings issue and didn’t have anything to do with the fake memos about Bush. Indeed, ratings were down. Of course, one has to wonder: Why were the ratings down?

It’s such a shame when some people can’t connect the dots.

Perusing the Adult Swim Boards

I was perusing the Adult Swim message boards, and I came upon this: “Minori-Team: A team of superheroes, composed exclusively of members of minority groups, joins forces to fight against discrimination. Jewcano, Fasto, Dr. Wang, El Jeffe and Quickstop use the power of racial stereotypes to right societal wrongs, one slur at a time. This pilot will air in October and was created by Alex de la Pena, Todd Peters and Peter Gerardi.”

Awesome. I hope this works. I’ve actually had that same kind of idea floating in my head for years, only I planned it as a comic. (I don’t have the budget for a TV show.) Of course, I didn’t call it that title. I had something like “The Multi-Ethnic League of Superheroes”. However, I could never carry the plan to fruition and figured it wouldn’t be worth a whole strip, especially since I can’t draw. I think I was planning a storyarc in TPV at one point, but I’ve since ended TPV. I was also planning a BOTBC comic, but once again, I have no artistic ability. Then, I thought about Majestic, but realized there isn’t enough racial diversity among Lego’s.

I’m reminded of when my cousin and I were looking through a Lego magazine and we both said, “Oooh, Lego Chinese people!” And I also think of somewhere along the line where I piped in, “The first Lego black people are basketball players and Lando Calrissian.”

In other news, Colin has informed me that there is a new movie in the works entitled “Johnny Bravo”. And guess who’s going to be in it? The Rock! That’s right. I have to see this one.

The Lance Krall Show Is Not Funny

I was feeling particularly masochistic today (probably because of my sour mood), so I decided to sit through the premier of The Lance Krall Show. Sketch comedy is in such a pathetic state.

I don’t know how this got on air. What focus group found this funny? And no, Mr. Krall, your group of friends does not count as a focus group. My guess, actually, is that he’s some kind of relative of some higher-management-uppity-up-muckity-muck at SpikeTV. How else would such juvenile crap get on air? I mean, this isn’t the internet, where you can post some random webcomic. This was webcomic quality stuff on television.

What do I mean by webcomic quality stuff? I mean, the reason most people post webcomics. It’s just stuff their friends find funny. And that’s the case with the show. Case in point, the prank phone call sketch. Yes, they really had themselves doing a prank phone call on the TV show. That’s so frickin’ mature. I’m sure it must’ve been funny at the time, but the rest of us, the viewers at home, the ones who matter, we’re not amused.

It could be funny. You see some stuff that could be jokes. But the set-ups and executions are so off, it just doesn’t work. It seemed like they were taking one-line ideas and going, “Let’s make a sketch about someone doing this.” “Yeah, that sounds funny.” And that was the extent of the development of the idea. Improvise the idea for the sketch as you go along, bam, there’s the idea, no need to actually try to make it funny, no need for tweaking or refinement, then just film.

Or maybe I’m giving it too much credit. The humor was juvenile to begin with. Stinky smell, bathroom scene. Girl coming. Maybe that’s funny in real life in retelling, and maybe it could be funny on TV, but it just was not pulled off. Like I said, they probably just sat in a circle, patting each other on the back with their funny idea, but didn’t put any thought into the actual execution.

It got even more mature at the end of the show. So, Mr. Krall is attempting humor at reading e-mails on the first episode. Which he has the gall to explain. “It’s funny because it’s the first episode and I couldn’t have received any e-mails yet. That’s the joke.” FUCK! If you having to explain the fucking joke, it’s not funny! And interspersed into him trying to read this fake e-mail, are his friends interrupting him. Another tip: Breaking the fourth wall does not save a crappy joke. Then, to top it off, he gets in a fight. Wow, that’s real mature.

Another sketch that was done was a parody of Punk’d. Now, I’ve definitely had this idea before to do a parody of a candid camera type show. (I must give him at least credit for not letting the sketch run on too long… pulling an SNL, so to speak.) However, parody for parody’s sake is not funny. If there’s any faux-comedic technique that pisses me off more than anything else, it’s parody for parody’s sake. Once more, an okay idea that was ruined by execution.

Anyone with a budget like his, and marginal video editing talent, could make a show just like his. Unless you’re feeling masochistic like me, don’t watch the show, okay.

Here we Apprentice again!

An unprecedented three entries in one day!

I predicted Stephanie was going to get fired once they entered the three entered the boardroom. And no, it this isn’t a postdiction, it really was a prediction — my sister was a witness.

She was telling me to shut up because she really wanted the loose cannon Chris to get fired.

Whatever, this season is very horrible compared to the last two seasons. (In case you don’t know me very well, horrible is what I use to substitute when I don’t want to use the uncouth “this sucks.”) The first season was definitely the best, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they used real people who had a lot of charisma and personality. They were contenders and all of them were admirable. The last two seasons, they really pushed the reality show theme. They picked people specifically to have conflicts to make the show more interesting. Newsflash, the show isn’t more interesting. Ratings are down. It doesn’t matter what your gimmicks are; it’s the people. The personalities of the contestants make the show, but you don’t have to go out of the way to pick especially quirky or explosive people. You won’t find another Omarosa. Bring back outstanding people and ratings will go up again.

And now, to comment on commercials…

Sunny D. “Wowza meter”?? WUH?? Just… no… just… that’s so… no… please, you’re killing me with the uncoolness.

Why is that one fast food chain (my memory fails me) using a marching band? I guess it’s a successful commercial if they’re targeting a certain demographic, but when I look at it objectively, it just makes no sense.

Last one, those Truth commercials really bug me. That’s not satire! That’s not cynical humor. It’s cheap imitation manufactured propaganda dark humor. (Enough adjectives for ya?) I mean, it’s stuff I should think it’s funny, but it’s obviously not funny. I feel manipulated, worse than what a cigarette company will do. As much as a fan I am of fighting propaganda with propaganda, it almost makes me want to smoke a cigarette in protest. Almost — at least bad commercials won’t give you cancer.