Tony Homo

In honor of the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing and shocking spanking of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, I thought I'd take some time to reflect on what's become of Drew Bledsoe. The former Bills and New England QB, Bledsoe has been ousted from his starting job by Tony Romo, who was (until recently) getting ready to be anointed as the next Elway. Or something. Then reality set in.

Note that I couldn't be more shocked by the Eagles' turnaround in the past few weeks. I love my team, but if you told me three weeks ago that we would be in the division lead by now and the hottest team in the NFC, I would have smoten you with a giant fish.

Anywho, it appears that ol' Drew hasn't taken his unseating well. (Has anyone seen a camera shot of him since he lost his job? Is he even part of the organization?) The website TonyHomo.com, Drew Bledsoe's 'official' blog, has some hilarious observations about himself and his replacement...

From his 'Power Rankings', or how Drew could improve any team in the NFL:
    Denver Broncos: ... I'll make Elway's two superbowl wins seem like a rebuilding phase.

    Jacksonville Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew called me the other day. He said if I signed with the Jaguars this offseason, he'll change his name to Maurice Jones-Drew-Bledsoe. I told him, I said "Maurice. That's very nice of you. Thank you." He said, I swear on my life, he said, "You're welcome, Jesus." I'm like a Savior to these people. That's what you guys don't understand!
On his winning playoff record:
    And don't worry about me choking in the playoffs, I'm a proven winner: 3-3 in the postseason, and those three losses were not my fault. Football is a team game -- those wins are all me though.
On the Texans draft pick last year:
    Houston Texans: I don't care what people say, I still think they shoulda taken me with the #1 pick last year.
And how did Bledsoe interpret the Eagles trouncing...
    T.O and Terry are angry "about the offense" not "playing aggressive enough." Translation: We're working on fashioning a Carrie Underwood shaped bomb to lure our QB into a trap and then explode his arms off.

    Coach said "There's nothing good to say. We just didn't make any plays at all, either side of the ball. Just awful." Translation: Romo ruined Christmas. And to a lesser extent, Boxing Day (Canada).
There's just too much material to absorb, so if you have plenty of time at work, you'll enjoy a fresh take on the Cowboys from an insider's perspective.


Harry Potter and the __________

According to Cinematical, J.K. Rowling's official site has revealed the name of the forthcoming Book 7 of the Harry Potter series. However, you need to go through a specific sequence of clicks to get a shot at it:
    In order to begin your journey, you must first visit Rowling's official website and click on the eraser on her desk. From there, you must follow these directions (courtesy of HPANA):

    1. Click doorway in mirror to see Christmas tree.
    2. Click on the top half of the door to get the wreath.
    3. Click on the top of the mirror to get the garland.
    4. Click on the spider web right next to the door to make them go away.
    5. Click the 4th chime in the window and get the key for the door.
    6. Drag key to unlock the door.
    7. Door opens to show a desk with a package.
    8. Click the bow on the package and it will open.
    9. Click the inside of the package and a game of Hangman is shown where you can play a game to guess the name of the seventh book.
    10. You can keep playing till you get it right and when you do a check mark will appear.
It took me two times, but I got it. If you want me to spoil the fun, then scroll down:


Walter Chaw Cutting Down Holiday Movies

I mentioned recently that there was a dearth of quality films to see this holiday season. My favorite critic Walter Chaw has started validating this claim in his own manner: by writing hilariously scathing reviews.

With apologies to Beth and Tony, who actually 'liked' the film, here's an excerpt from the review for Holiday:
    See, high-maintenance Barbie bitch Amanda meets her match in a man who seems a lothario but, wait for it, is in fact a loving family man with a pair of doe-eyed moppets Meyers uses in exactly the same way she does a little dog. (The real magic of Diaz's performance is that if you close your eyes, you can distinguish her from neither the whining of the dog nor the keening of the toddlers.) Seeking escape in the aftermath of a break-up with her good-for-nothing boy-chick (Edward Burns, of course), she heads to Google™ on her VAIO™ laptop and, like all retarded people do in retarded movies like this, proceeds to recite aloud everything she does and everything she reads. Meanwhile, her counterpart across the pond, Iris (Winslet), fed up with pining for her evil boss (Rufus Sewell--reaching his nadir at last as the British Edward Burns), agrees to exchange domiciles on the principle that exhausted, derivative crap such as The Holiday will appear less so with an infantile high concept. Jack Black (50% eyebrows, 50% gut) makes for the worst kind of love interest in that he's both physically unattractive and obnoxious, even turned down to a low simmer as he is here. That said, a scene in Blockbuster™ where he does his Tenacious D™ shtick to movie themes is, by that time, no more upsetting than a dinner party of the damned that accidentally recalls the card game from Sunset Blvd., an entire subplot that has dinosaur-Jew Tuesdays with Morrie pathos scrawled all over it, and a two-second cameo by the once-promising Jena Malone as some girl her Cold Mountain co-star Jude Law is about to screw.
Sounds delish! But what about that inspiring Will Smith vehicle The Pursuit of Happyness? Not much better, I'm afraid:
    If we're honest, the only reason Chris isn't a villain is that we know the outcome. His wife is angry because her husband appears unwilling to get a job that actually pays a salary so she can stop working double-shifts at an industrial laundry, pay the rent and utilities, and keep their child in daycare--what a bitch! The Pursuit of Happyness is great for the minute or two it talks about how hard it sometimes is to come up with the pennies for a hot meal for your family in a single-income household--the rest of it's just such glad-handing garbage. The trailer-friendly tableau of father and son (real-life Smith-spawn Jaden), sleeping in subway can with Smith squeezing out the Denzel Washington-in-Glory Teardrop of Oscar Gold is the perfect counterpoint to its parade of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles anthems and is, again, so affected as to be a single-panel political cartoon. The final equation of The Pursuit of Happyness is that happiness is a job that can support your family, no matter what indignity one suffers in its pursuit and execution--a message that should bring tears to the eyes of The Man everywhere. What I left with is this idea that the three men positioned as Chris' superiors (after Chris goes through his unpaid internship as a boiler-room cold-caller) are each, in turn, shown to be officious, condescending, and racist, leading one to justifiably wonder whether the real message of the film isn't that smart, hard-working minorities should shut up and be grateful for whatever scraps the gentry deigns to toss out. Way to get your mind right, Will.
Well, perhaps I can take refuge in that fantasy vehicle Eragon. I mean, John Malkovich is in it, so it can't be a waste? Can it? Alas, poor Yorick...
    Fears that veteran F/X man Stefen Fangmeier's directorial debut Eragon, a feature-length adaptation of a fifteen-year-old trying on Anne McCaffrey's jodhpurs, would be the sequel to Dragonheart nobody wanted prove unwarranted, as Eragon is actually the sequel to BloodRayne that nobody wanted. It's ugly as sin, with the much-vaunted dragon at its centre (voiced by Rachel Weisz), designed by skilled craftspeople from both Peter Jackson's WETA workshop and Industrial Light and Magic, looking fatally inorganic to its environment. Not helping matters, the titular rider (Edward Speleers) resembles a younger, equally rubbery David Lee Roth and sports the acting chops of the same. Eragon is the towheaded farmboy who heeds a call to glory to save Sienna Guillory's beautiful Princess Arya ("Help me Eragon, you're my only hope") while gaining a mysterious old hermit mentor (Jeremy Irons--the poor sod should've learned his lesson with Dungeons & Dragons) who dies during a daring raid on the Death Star--er, on the castle keep of Darth Vader, er, King Galbatorix (John Malkovich). Alas, this Luke Skywalker also has an Uncle Owen (Uncle Garrow (Alun Armstrong)), and his Darth Vader has a henchman (Robert Carlyle) who at one point kills an underling general and declares the second-in-command "promoted." Eragon is a rip-off and a bad one, a carbon copy made on one of those old mimeograph machines: washed out, juvenile (even weighed against the not-exactly-mature example of Star Wars), and nigh unbearable for anyone so much as cursorily familiar with genre fare.
It's looking more like another showing of Casino Royale.

Tom Brady is Single

No, I don't really care, but I know MaggieMay will care. According to Mr. Durden at WWTDD, he and Bridget Moynahan just broke up, having dated for the last three years. The only reason I post this is of the excellent commentary about the newly single Ms. Moynahan:
    This chick might as well go gay because no dude is gonna wanna follow Tom Brady. He won the Super Bowl three times, he's richer than most countries and he looks like a damn model. I made a list of the guys who have more to offer a girl than Tom Brady:

    1. Bruce Wayne

    And that was pretty much it.


Holiday Movie Plans

Surprise followed by a calm sense of knowing. That's what it felt like to learn (last week) that all the contractors (myself included) would be expected to take vacation from December 22nd to January 8th. It is so much expected that not only will we not be allowed to charge hours (and thus get paid for half a month), but that our security badges will be deactivated during this time.

The 'knowing' part of this is having a history of working for this company, and remembering that managerial decisions often carry with them the stench of ineptitude. Hardly a unique situation; isn't that how Dilbert remains so popular?

Unfortunately for most, the reality of having your monthly pay cut in half right when the holiday season's bills will be streaming in (and the upped heat bill) would certainly do much to spoil the holiday cheer. I sympathize with those folks. Luckily for me, I'm fortunate enough in the financial sphere to not have to worry about that.

What does worry me is what I'm going to do with all the extra time. Well, worry seems strong. I'm worried that there aren't enough holiday season movies being released that will claim my afternoon matinee bucks.

Now, of course, I am planning on seeing Casino Royale again. But, aside from my third viewing of Bond, I'll need a few more to fill the time.

The Good German. Noir homage that looks like the more intriguing of the "Good" movies. Still not a lock, but a contender. If desperate and already seen "The Fountain", this is the most likely.

The Good Shepherd. Stellar cast, Angelina Jolie, spy movie, but I'm just not overly excited about it. A solid "enh".

Borat. Possibly, although I don't enjoy seeing comedies in the theater -- with all the laughter, you tend to miss half the movie. Probably wait for the DVD or the bunny version.

Happy Feet. This is here as a joke. I do not own children. No chance. Ever.

The Fountain. Here's one film that I definitely want to see, but my fear is that it won't be around come Christmas. I will have to watch closely, in case I need to make a preemptive strike next week.

Dreamgirls. I don't like musicals, the Supremes, Eddie Murphy, Beyonce, or the trailer for this, which was forced upon me twice. Not in this lifetime.

Apolcalypto. Fair trailer, decent reviews, and a lot of Christ-like bloodletting. Plus, I'm immune to the Gibson-hater trend. Still, can't say that can muster a want for it.

Rocky Balboa. Sigh. The truth is, with all the weak competition, I just might do it. Hell, I need to complete the series! (Or IS it complete...?)

If I'm missing anything of quality, please let me know.

Update: Congential movie watcher MaggieMay (we all know your real name, but for the purposes of this paragraph, your secret is safe) comments that I forgot We Are Marshall. The likelihood that I will see this is remote, not because of anything against Matthew McConaughey, not because I can't recall the last sports-themed movie I've seen in the theater, but because the title blatantly steals from Penn State, and I just can't deal with it.

Public Service Message From a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

First Chad Vader and now recreating a classic 80's commercial. What can't you do with a authentic costume and a voice-changer? (This is a rhetorical question.)


Journey: My eyes! My precious eyes!

And then you have the premier example of the worst video efforts of the 80's. That would be the shamingly (i.e., if you can remember when this came out and thought there wasn't anything wrong with it at the time) awful Journey's Separate Ways music video. Again, Bill Simmons captures it:
    A recipe for bliss: Take one of the cheesiest-yet-enjoyable bands of that era (Journey), bring them to an empty shipyard, have them play invisible instruments and lip-synch the hell out of their best song, throw in some ridiculous slow-motion closeups and multi-picture edits, and have a hot girl with a bad haircut walking around for no reason whatsoever. And if that's not enough, lead singer Steve Perry gives one of the greatest performances of the last 35 years -- he throws himself into this thing like DeNiro or Pacino. It's incredible. Everything about this slays me. If somebody gave me five minutes to sum up the '80s, I would just show them this video and be done with it.
I'm literally wiping away the tears after watching that clip. I'm also still waiting for that tracking dolly following the girl's heels to cause her to trip. You know there's a take somewhere of this happening. At least they saved some money making it.

Miami Vice and Mann

In reviewing Bill Simmons' YouTube Hall of Fame clips, I stumbled upon a fantastic video from the original Miami Vice pilot. Simmons' captures the import of the clip:
    Two great things about this one: First, it still holds up -- even now -- and "Vice" is about as dated as it gets. Second, up until that point, there had never been anything on TV even remotely resembling that scene. Remember, this was the same era when A) they were still freezing people's faces mid-laugh during the opening credits of any sitcom; and B) nobody realized that you could use music to accentuate dramatic TV scenes. So this was like watching Bill Russell block someone's running hook shot in the mid-'50s for the first time.
Watch the scene here. I still got chills, and I haven't seen that show since its debut. (Translation: Michael Mann is a genius both now and then. Although I haven't seen the movie version, but he's made enough great films already to cement his place in my pantheon of great directors.)


Vesper vs. Tracy

CommanderBond.net has an excellent article about Bond girls and how there are now two films that set themselves apart from the rest.
    In most of the Bond novels, the women are not much less disposable than the smorgsbord of interchangeable women in the films. Yet there are two novels in which Bond’s romantic partner is much more important, and these become the relationships that define Bond’s character. The first is Casino Royale, the first Bond novel. In this, he falls in love with fellow agent Vesper Lynd during his recuperation from debilitating torture...

    It would not be until the tenth Bond novel, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, that Bond would again pursue the desire to marry one of his conquests. This time it is Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Tracy), the troubled daughter of organised crime boss Marc-Ange Draco. Bond and Tracy are married at the book’s conclusion, but as they drive away from the wedding, they are fired upon from another vehicle. Bond survives, but Tracy is killed: the book ends with Bond clutching her lifeless body to him. Once again Bond is penalised for letting his emotional guard down.
Well worth a few minutes of your time to appreciate Casino Royale. In case I haven't rammed the suggestion down your throats by now. Have I mentioned I kinda liked the movie?


Gravity's Rainbow

The accompaniment to Gravity's Rainbow: a painter's rendition. So worth it.


Eva Green. I don't need a reason.

"Holiday" snippet

Taking the lead from my hero of smarm, Walter Chaw, Ryan Stewart's review of the new film-that-I'll-never-see, Holiday, includes this excellent description:
    Amanda [Cameron Diaz] is soon visited by Jude Law, Winslet's single brother. Realizing the serendipity of the two best-looking people in the world meeting by chance at a remote English cottage, they smartly agree that they should immediately screw.
I should aspire to such plot-driven whims of genius.

Random Painting Friday

Caspar David Friedrich has many paintings that I adore, but I think this is my favorite.

Best Nude Scenes

Here's a compilation of (listed, not video, sadly) Best Nude Scenes of 2006. These are mainstream movies, by the way, in case you are fretting over the exclusion of "Clear and Present Stranger".

I haven't seen any of the movies (nor heard of over half), but I did get a chuckle out of the commentary for one of the picks:
    5. Jennifer Aniston in "The Break-Up" - Rent the full-screen version for more of her butt during her windy walk.
Might be the only time I will ever prefer a full-screen version. If only she was remotely appealing to me.

Friday Fun: Milk and Cereal

One of my favorite songs, a B-side throwaway, is "Milk and Cereal". Its lyrics are deliriously simply and silly, and it has got to be one of the catchiest and fun songs ever.

Here's a homemade video from two fans to give you an idea of the kind of goofiness the song inspires. Happy Friday.


Re-Post: Writing Sample

For those of you who haven't read anything I've written, in cleaning up my blog, I stumbled upon a short story that I submitted for a contest nearly two years ago. I'm assuming we all have slow Decemebers, so read at your leisure.


I'll probably go see The Good German just because of the poster. Of course, if you are directly invoking my favorite film of all time, you (i.e., Steven Soderbergh) had better have made a damn great film. Here's the trailer.

Pump Up The Volume

To me, Pump Up the Volume represents a clash between counter-culturalism and formulaic drama. It's a movie with that tries a little too hard to be cool, but somehow manages some great moments by inclusion of a fantastic soundtrack and some witty dialog. In short, it's a movie that I both love and hate, and thus is irresistible viewing.
One of the ironic things about this movie that was cutting edge back in 1990 is that it has become technologically obsolete in the 21st century because of the development of the Internet. Blogging and MySpace accounts have rendered the need to find an outlet or place to get questions answered by listening to pirate radio seem quaint. I can only imagine showing this film to a teenager now, and have them baffled at the concept.

In any event, it was worth the $7.50 to add to my collection.



The buzz about the new show, "Heroes", has been strong, and the supernatural/superhero concept of the show combined with the mystery of "Lost" has made it one of the breakout shows of the fall. Unfortunately, trying to catch up on missed episodes usually means hoping for re-runs or waiting for the DVD's to come out. Only recently have you been able to download some shows from iTunes, albeit for a small fee.

NBC has this week taken a bold campaign to reel in viewers who may want to get caught up with the show, but don't want any of the above options. In an unprecedented move, you can now view online every Heroes episode from this season for free.

I've only seen a couple of episodes, but I love the darkness, and I love how you don't have to wait an entire season to get some answers to clues. The producers of the show have clearly seen what baiting an audience too long (i.e., "Lost") can do to your ratings.

500 -- And reason to keep living

Well, as hard to believe as it is considering my intermittent posting habit, this is my 500th post. In all that time, I feel I should have some reflections on life and living, but that is SO 35th birthday.

Instead, I look to the future, and on the horizon is a gift for me. Christopher Moore (I've waxed on about him before) is releasing the sequel to my favorite book of all time next month, appropriately titled, "You Suck: A Love Story". You may all share, as long as you get your own damn copy (mine is pre-ordered, naturally).
I plan on getting mine signed by the author so I can have both signed. This makes me inexplicably giddy.


Second Impressions

It's not often that I'll attend a second public screening of a motion picture, especially since it costs you $10 just to get in the door around here, not to mention any parking privileges. But more of a factor than cost is that of the films that I would willingly go see again, I never end up making the time. Compared to anyone with kids, I certainly have more time than the average joe, at least to see a film that isn't animated.

I can think of only a few films that I've seen this year that would warrant a second viewing, but that I never got around to seeing. At the top of the list is still my favorite movie of the year, V for Vendetta. Although I've seen the film once in the theater, I've subsequently seen it twice at home. It is the only film that I have openly wept at every time I've seen it. Like a lot of ardent film-goers, I'm sure that I read into film a little much, but what can I say; the film is fucking great.

However, I'm not writing to mention my list of favorite films of 2006, but to remark that as much as I loved V, the film that I have seen twice is Casino Royale, and I'm coming to love it much the same.

I was shocked to discover that I actually liked the movie more than my first viewing, but when I rationalized, I can logically attribute it to the 'Star Wars syndrome'; when you are genuinely excited to see a film, you have a tough time absorbing all facets of the film. This was certainly the case this time around. I knew what was going to happen and when, so I was able to watch the film develop, observe nuances that I had missed, and dispassionately check and see if the things I loved the first time around were really that good.

The first thing I'm going to remark is that I like Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name" theme song the more I hear it. I had heard some disparaging remarks about its quality on the 'net, but it's probably the first Bond song I've liked since "View to a Kill". (Incidentally, my vote for best Bond song of all time is Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better".)

The performances across the board are better than I thought. I'm not going to rehash the comments I made earlier about Craig and Green; I'm talking about Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, bringing so much to his role. The pivotal torture scene has Craig and Mikkelsen playing off each other with humor, bravado, seriousness and desperation -- for both men. Jeffrey Wright does more with the least amount of screen time ever as Felix Leiter than half the actors before him. In only a few lines he conveys that Bond has better skills than him, but commands Bond's respect with his sincerity and a bit of wit. It's not impossible to believe that the long-lasting friendship is solidly formed like this.

The script is better than I thought, containing some of the best dialog ever in Bond film history. There is nary a cringe-inducing witticism or embarrassingly hackneyed line spoken throughout the film, which is something in itself. It's still so fresh in my mind, but I'm hard pressed to think of any two scenes -- they being the first two between Bond and Vesper on the train and in the cab to the hotel -- that not only tell you so much about the characters (possibly more revealed about Bond than in any three minutes of any film), not only is hilariously witty, but really makes you believe that these two have an instant connection. The chemistry between them makes their later exchanges all the more poignant. I confess that I had a small tear well up when the scene changed to Venice, knowing that he really truly had fallen for this woman.

In short, right now it stands as my favorite film in Bond history. If you haven't seen it at least once, what are you waiting for?

Update: If not the best Bond movie ever, it's looking more likely that it will be the top grossing Bond movie of all time.