From the monthly archives:

February 2011

I’m Calling Kutcherbusters

by Dave on February 22, 2011

in Movies,Nerdery

Friends, Romans, countrymen. Listen to me very carefully. I was just directed towards a truly awful rumor by my favorite movie blog. Are you sitting down? I mean it. Take a seat, a deep breath and possibly a Xanax before reading any further.

Rumors of Ghostbusters 3 have been as persistent as rumors about the existence of actual ghosts. And now there’s evidence for an even scarier notion: Ashton Kutcher playing one of the leads.

We, as rational human beings and children of the 80s, can never let this happen. Never. Now, I’m not a radical, a bra-burner or one prone to protest. Until my mid-twenties, I thought that “activism” was the company who brought us Pitfall and River Raid. But I’ve got a petition on the brain. Petitions got Betty White on SNL, Jonathan Winters exposed to a new generation of unworthy fans and they can do wonders for a third ancient and long-suffering throwback – the Ghostbusters franchise. And by “do wonders” I of course mean “keep an already risky venture from becoming a guaranteed cinematic disaster the likes of Ishtar or Howard the Duck”.

Editor’s Note: I am a fan of both Ishtar and Howard the Duck. That doesn’t change the fact they shat the bed at the box office and are readily accepted by sheep who’ve never seen them as two of the worst movies of all time. Back to our regularly scheduled nerdery…

kutcherbustersI’m not going to try and act cool or pretend I’m kidding anyone who knows me. I’d love to see a new Ghostbusters film and I’ve even written about it before. It’s going to happen, with or without Bill Murray, and I do not want to see it fail. According to IMDB, some returning stars are already confirmed (Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis) and there are rumors of several exciting new additions (Bill Hader, Anna Faris). And, even though I’m disgusted, concerned and hyperventilating as a result of his Kutcher-related comments in the video above (as playful as they may have seemed), original director Ivan Reitman seems gung-ho for a return to Ghostly glory.

Mr. Reitman, please. Kutcher’s already demonstrated a penchant for dating marrying women dramatically older than himself. Don’t encourage him to whip out his proton pack and take it one sick step further. Busting ghosts might lead to banging them.

I’ll be watching this production carefully, folks. So you don’t have to. Because you have lives. Stay tuned for what might be my biggest topical dork-fest since the leadup to summer 2008’s return of a certain archaeologist. Dare to dream. Alone in bed.

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nickandmaryMost reviews I’ve read of Don Lennon albums, or articles about the man himself, begin the same way – by comparing his sound to someone else. I get the Jonathan Richman references and I understand the inevitable likening to Stephin Merritt. I refute, however, the notion that Jens Lekman is an influence on Lennon – I’m quite certain it’s the other way around.

Maniac came out in 1997, 6 years before Lekman’s first EP. Don has maintained a strong Swedish following for over a decade. It doesn’t take Sam Spade to connect those dots. Where am I going with this… Released last week, Nick and Mary is Don’s 6th studio album and I pray the day will soon come when the music press stop obsessing over peripheral similarities and inaccurate influencers because they’re doing their readers a disservice. They’re denying them some Don.

More specifically, the incessant comparisons do little but downplay 15 years of consistently outstanding and unique output. You’re no longer coming off clever by discussing parallels to other musicians which have already been done to death. With a new album will come a new crop of reviews/articles and I pray this time around Don’s exceptional new album is judged on its merits and not its Merritts. See what I did there?

Nick and Mary is a double album featuring 24 songs in total. Although I’ve listened to it 4 times all the way through as of this writing, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. One of my early favorites is “Months”, and I put together a YouTube clip so you can enjoy it easily below. I do want to share amazing music with my readers. I do not wish to go to jail for hosting MP3s or have Don pissed at me. This seemed like a good compromise:

”The months, they freak us out.”

Fat-sounding guitar chords kick the song off rather suddenly and were what first caught my ear, helping me make the difficult choice of which of the 24 tunes to feature on Wadio. I could just have easily gone with Rats!, Naked in Public, Bedbugs or Kids at Pearl River Mart – the album is rich with Don’s amazing knack for the catchy, subtle humor, blissfully-jangly guitars and superior songcraft. This LP will be with me for a good long while.

Don’s equally impressive back catalogue is available on iTunes, and you can purchase Nick and Mary from DonLennon.com. Let me know what you think about this song and all things DL related in the comments.

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“Don’t get me wrong – we’re thrilled. Just surprised. You do realize Justin Bieber’s not actually in Arcade Fire, right?”

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Nice to see you again, little Quizzlet. It’s been far too long. I’m making up my own questions this week. They’re deliberately crafted so I can cover a few topics on my mind which might not deserve an entire post. Please take a silly stab at them yourselves in the comments.

dave-kenzieAppetizer: How does it feel to be an Uncle?
Feel free to now think to yourselves, “Wait, THIS doesn’t deserve its own post, jerktard?” Relax. There’s no doubt in my mind that wee Bonnie Mackenzie will feature as prominently on my blog as she will in my life. I’m driving to Jay Peak this very afternoon for a little skiing and a whole whackload of doting. My camera is charging and you’ll be sorry that thought ever crossed your mind when you’re assailed by at least 7 baby videos on Monday. Oh for shame.

Soup: What movie should win the Oscar for Best Picture on the 27th?
I’ve now seen all the nominees except Toy Story 3. I bought it for my friend Mary’s kids but have heard it’s rude to open and watch a DVD before giving it to a child for Christmas. Regardless, at this time in our conversation I feel comfortable giving you my one/two-sentence opinions on the other 9 nominees in descending order of adoration:

  1. The Fighter: I loved this movie, can’t wait to see it again and sincerely hope that it wins. If you haven’t seen this yet, ask yourself, “why?” and then ‘speedbag’ your own breasts/ballsac.
  2. True Grit: I already knew every line of the original 1969 version but the Coens, Jeff Bridges and especially Hailee Steinfeld put thoroughly re-watchable (I’ve now seen it 3 times) fresh spins on the source novel.
  3. Winter’s Bone: The world desperately needed a redneck meth mystery and this one cooked up real good.
  4. The King’s Speech: The cast and director of my predicted winner did this amazing script proud while shedding light on a fascinating royal who’s been all but forgotten by history.
  5. Black Swan: No desire to see it again, didn’t exactly cry when it was over (although I did feel like taking a shower) but Portman deserves the nod for Best Actress.
  6. Inception: Definitely deserves the Oscar for Best Special Effects in a year full of standouts (ahem, Tron) but as a whole this embarrassingly overrated movie bored me. Shouldn’t be nominated in this category.
  7. The Social Network: Enjoyed Fincher’s work here as I always do – but I’m  tired of hearing about this flick and want it to go away.
  8. 127 Hours: Boyle and Franco made an impressive team but in a year already full of worthy contenders this nomination reeks of silly overstuffing as it has no chance of winning.
  9. The Kids are All Right: Gotta call it like I see it here – not that remarkable a film and more overstuffing directly related to Hollywood’s gay marriage fascination popular social themes. 

A quick note on what isn’t on the Academy’s list – I’m definitely not the only person who thinks that at least a couple of films on the above list should have been replaced with The Town. Affleck’s a bit of a douche but he’s definitely coming into his own behind the camera.

Salad: Did Gervais go too far at the Golden Globes?
Are you kidding, Quizzlet? He made watchable an obligatory, self-serving circle-jerk designed to appeal to the foreign press. Next year hold it in fucking Brussels. Any Hollywood heavyweight who shows up for an award show where The Tourist was nominated for best picture with a straight face deserves whatever Ricky dishes out. He’s one of the funniest humans alive and I have been a huge fan of his for over a decade now. Watch him tear Tinseltown’s elite a new one below…

Main Course: Which weekly TV series are you currently geeking-out over?
Glad you asked, Quizzlet. Season 2 of Justified starring Seth Bullock Timothy Olyphant started this week and rest assured that’s a very good thing. Better yet, grab yourself a jar of apple pie flavored moonshine and sit your damn self down in front of the TV next Wednesday at 10pm. But it’s not all redneck’s n’ roses – while one of my favorite new FX series got renewed, the woefully under-watched and underappreciated Terriers didn’t make it off the beach.

Time’s James Poniewozik ranked Terriers at #10 on his Top 10 List of television shows in 2010. The Daily Beast’s Jace Lacob selected the show as part of his top 10 shows of 2010. HitFix.com’s Alan Sepinwall ranked Terriers at #3 on his top 10 list for 2010 as well as #1 on his list of best new shows of 2010. The AV Club ranked it as their number 7 show of the year.

There’s no doubt in my mind FX knows how to market a new show. If I see one more promo for Lights Out or Archer I’ll probably start watching them (who am I kidding – I already do. FX shows rule). I think the network underestimated Terriers and the resulting lack of faith was reflected in the minimal advertising campaign. If there’s any good news, it’s that Terriers had a recurring plot arc which ran in one form or another through the entire 13 episode lifespan. That, coupled with the optimistic and open-ended finale, will make it quite enjoyable as a stand alone season. Seek out a torrent (shhh!) and I’ll post a link to the DVD if and when it’s released. Check out the awesome, cheeky little theme song below. We hardly knew ye.

Dessert: What is the airspeed velocity of a European swallow?
Enough already, Quizzlet. I have some work to finish up and still have to drive to Vermont today. I’ll see all you fresh-faced kids next week.

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Documentaries are a huge love of mine and I find myself seeking them out more and more frequently. As a result I’m going to add a dedicated new category to the blog – Doc Squawk. Where I squawk about the docs, obviously. I may also chirp, bu-gock or even “review” them.

During my senior year of high school Oliver Stone conveniently created a major motion picture/biopic about classic rock band The Doors titled, intuitively enough, The Doors. Jim Morrison was played by Val Kilmer, John Densmore was played by an Entourage douche, Robby Krieger was played by a Pulp Fiction fruitcake and Ray Manzarek was emoted by a Twin Peaks twit. High-calibre director and actors equalled a solid flick overall. I thought that 20 years ago as a confused teenager – and still do.

“Faces come out of the rain? Who’d you buy this shit from?”

Although convinced I hated “classic rock” back in 1991 and spent almost all my time cooing about the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, for some reason my group of friends and I were hell bent on seeing this movie. I remember the pre-flick “preparation” in the parking lot of the movie theater in Woburn, Massachusetts like it was yesterday. In fact, it’s amazing we were able to put one foot in front of the other long enough to have our tickets torn.

We came, we saw, we began listening to The Doors incessantly for the rest of the year. In fact, I distinctly remember creating mixtapes (of which I was a mass-producer) which contained both Doors tunes and the likes of Manchester masters like the aforementioned – plus perhaps Inspiral Carpets, The Farm and The Charlatans – all mixed together. And I remember why I did this. The Doors never had a bass player. The entire low end was provided by Manzarek’s awesome dual-keyboard adeptness. As organs were also a huge part of the “Madchester” music scene, the synergy was obvious to me at the time and I rest my zit-faced case.

I’ve retained my appreciation for the band over the last 20 years, well beyond the strange little pop culture fad I went through way back when. As a result, when I finally signed up for Netflix and hooked it up in the Man Cave via my PS3 last night, the first thing I watched was the recent documentary “When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors ”. It’s full of first-hand footage the world has never seen before and there were many moments and mutterings I remembered (probably because I revisited it a couple of weeks ago) from Stone’s scripted movie. When Hollywood’s version was filmed said backstage/personal/home movie footage was available only to the likes of screenwriters and folks like Val Kilmer.

jim-morrison-miami

My point is, tons of the dialogue we see spoken in the documentary made it into the script of the biopic – and that realization enthralled the heck out of me. For example, I always had a hard time picturing Jimmy screaming, “You’re all a bunch of fuckin’ slaves, man!”, to thousands of people in Miami. I no longer have that problem. I really enjoyed and maybe even nerded-out a little over finally getting to see so much of what was source material for the film I’ve dug for such a long time now.

In short, loved it. Great insight (especially all the movie-like footage of Morrison being chased through the desert in a ‘68 Mustang – anyone know where and why that was filmed?) Fans of The Doors (movie, band etc.) have to seek it out. And in closing I’d just like to say… thank goodness my 17-year-old self never had access to peyote.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Halftime Ho

by Dave on February 7, 2011

in Monday's Quotelet

Last night’s Superbowl halftime show left me speechless. Springsteen, McCartney, U2 – these are SB calibre performers. Whomever “booked the ‘Peas” should be looking for work today. I’m pretty sure that’s probably the exact phrase they use when describing it to their friends, too. I’m so beside myself I’m going to give y’all a little something to get started with and then let you run wild:

fergie-super-bowl
Not the biggest sports fan ever to grace a halftime stage, Fergie was asked why she brought a catcher’s mitt to a predominantly football-related event…

…and then you can insert your very own “plastic surgery” or “weathered vagina” joke. Today I’m just here to inspire.

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