March Sanity

With Davidson falling to Kansas, we now have the first time ever that all four number 1 seeds have made it into the Final Four. Forgive me if I an less than enthralled.

After watching as much of the eight Sweet Sixteen and four Elite Eight games as is possible, I feel so far this has been the lousiest tournament to date. In my lifetime, that is. Considering I have watched each and every tournament since 1983 with the kind of ravenous intensity normally reserved for the truly insane, you know I don't pronounce this lightly. But here are the facts: of the above mentioned 12 games played in what is usually the best weekend of tournament basketball (the first two rounds don't get as many great matchups), only TWO were watchable. And what I mean by that is that as a hardcore NCAA basketball fan, of course I was watching the games, but it was painful. Blowouts galore. Boring.They did at least save the best for last, with Davidson coming up against overrated Kansas. I don't think the best team won that game, I think the DEEPEST team won. They rotated four guards against Curry and tired him out, if you can call "only" getting 25 points a victory. Kansas looked like a deer-in-headlights all game, and I think they were extremely fortunate to win.

So, that said, my prediction is that North Carolina kicks the holy crap out of them. I'm actually rooting for UNC (!) mostly because it irks me that such an undeserving team as Kansas should steal a game from Davidson. Or maybe I just can't stand Kansas. The point is, as long as you have anger, fear, and aggression, the games become that much more watchable. Embrace the dark side.


Push the Daisy

Film Fodder has interesting news on another TV show that I used to watch, Pushing Daisies.
    A report from SCI FI Wire states that "Pushing Daisies" will have a different feel when it returns this fall. Bryan Fuller, who is the show's creator, said that it will be "harder and a little more aggressive."
The writer of the piece then goes on to complain about the show, pretty much encapsulating why I stopped watching after I started out a big fan:
    To be honest, the novelty of the show had worn off for me. It might have been "delightful" to start, but it devolved into "corny". I still like the "2 years, 16 days and 12 hours" narration, but the storyline of the PieMaker and his untouchable girlfriend wasn't as enjoyable as the series went on. And, although Kristen Chenoweth ("Olive Snook") can really sing, I didn't like the "Hopelessly Devoted To You" rendition at all.

    Thus, Fuller's statements are welcome. Hopefully, the changes will re-invigorate the show and move it out of the "corny" realm. At the very least, the news has me thinking about the show again.

BSG: New School

Speaking of Battlestar Galactica, I just found out via Film Fodder that BSG won't be finished, at least the universe. A new series, Caprica, is apparently in pre-production. The premise (via Wiki):
    The series will revolve around two families: the Adamas and the Graystones. Joseph Adama, father of future Battlestar commander William Adama, is a renowned civil liberties lawyer who becomes an opponent of the artificial intelligence/Cylon experiments wrought by the Graystones, owners of a large computer corporation that builds the first Cylons. According to Mark Stern, Sci-Fi Channel's Executive Vice President of Original Programming, the script for the two-hour pilot episode concluded with an explanation for how the name "Cylon" was coined.[2] On September 20, 2007, Battlestar Galactica writer and producer Bradley Thompson revealed that Ron D. Moore's script for Caprica has a character coin the term, saying, "A cybernetic life-form node, a Cylon."
Titillating! And comforting, like a warm blanket. Even more interesting is the details about how NBC started tinkering with the series:
    According to a statement by Ron Moore in the Season 3 Companion book, the proposed Caprica prequel series will have a story-arc-heavy format like its predecessor; a large reason why the network is reluctant to greenlight the series is because story-arc-heavy series notoriously have difficulty in picking up new viewers, as compared to a series composed of mostly standalone episodes. This was already the cause of friction between Moore and the Sci-Fi Channel at Caprica's parent series — the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica were arc-intensive, with detailed attention to internal continuity, but were not pulling in the Nielsen ratings that the network wanted, so the Sci-Fi Channel pressured Moore into retooling the third season of BSG to consist of largely standalone episodes. This measure actually backfired, as it resulted in negative criticism from both fans and critics, and Moore revealed in the Season 3 finale podcast that the network finally grudgingly admitted that standalone episodes simply do not work in the format of story he is trying to tell.
Complex and thought-provoking shows inevitably need to have story arcs to sustain viewers, which will alienate new viewers, but I think that misses the real reason some shows don't get more viewers: the shows are smart, and the masses are not. BSG has a couple of other things going against it that will never get it CSI ratings: First, it is a science-fiction show. Second, and way more importantly, its religious themes would drive your average mid-westerner batshit crazy. Humans with a polytheistic belief. Cylons with a monotheistic belief. Bam! That was the sound of some viewer's head in Kansas tuning in for the first time. So really, BSG is a liberal weapon of mass destruction. Mmm, genius.

BSG: Old School

Battlestar Galactica fans are chomping at the bit in anticipation of the start of Season 4 this Friday, but in the meantime, NBC has decided to stream episodes from the first series online.I started watching the pilot, and not even two minutes in do we get an appearance by Rick Springfield as a young brash pilot named Zak. Zak Adama, did you say? Alas, we hardly had time to know ye.

Season 4 will also be the final season of the greatest television series ever. Did anyone's head explode on that? It's not an opinion, just plain fact. Look it up. I dare you. Okay, I will concede that Buffy is in the conversation, too, but that's it.


Bond, James Bond. You, too?

I had about six different reactions to the rumor posted on Cinematical that Sean Connery has been in negotiations to be a Bond VILLAIN:
    Ace goes on to say: "Allegedly, the 77-year-old Academy Award-winning actor has been involved in negotiations to land a villain role with the film's producers since Daniel Craig has been tapped to bring Ian Fleming's agent back to the big screen with Casino Royale."
Reaction #1: Way cool! This would be a neat way to have the two generations of Bong meet. There are endless wordplay options to work into the script. For instance, when Connery and Craig meet the first time, have Connery say, "Bond, James Bond, I presume?" One last time saying the classic trademark.
Reaction #2: But, as soon as I think how 'cool' that would be, suddenly it becomes a distraction. It would be almost impossible to see Connery as anything other than Bond in a Bond film. Any dialogue between the two characters would be dripping with metaphor about how each handles the role. This is Craig's franchise now, and as great as Connery was, having him, or Roger Moore, or Dalton or Brosnan on screen is one-step closer to self-parody. Don't produce the best Bond film in years (if not ever) and then follow it up with something closer to the Woody Allen Casino Royale.

Solution: Just get Craig and Connery in a room and do a dual interview and forget muddling an already promising reboot.


This is the way work ends...

... not with a bang, but with a blog. Cinematical has posted:
    The South Park Studios are now open, and not only can you watch every single South Park episode for free (for free!!!), but you can also search among tons and tons of clips (roughly 3000), which you can then embed on your site. Since this is, like, the greatest thing to happen to the online world since the very awesome movie website Cinematical was born, I figured it was worth a post.
Indeed it is, and you can access them all here, if you weren't at a restricted government site, that is.

So, instead, I'll post the same one they did, the Saving Private Ryan homage where they slaughter cartoons. I am in agreement that they should probably never show this in front of a kid's movies. Like ever.


Star Wars Soundtracks: In Order

I have all the Star Wars songs on my iPod, so when I'm at work I plug in the headphones and play them in order. However, I find that the movies should be done in classic-to-new order (Episode IV-to-VI, then I-to-III, for the ignorant), but the soundtracks really benefit from going in chronological (and by chronological, I mean time in the story, not production time) order. It is fascinating to see how John Williams retro-fits the new episodes in with his older work.For instance, the 'Emperor's Theme' is actually the basis of the 'Celebration' song at the end of Episode I. Fun. That all said, since I start from Episode I and don't work enough to get the whole experience in, I hear The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones a lot. While I still think ATOC is a masterpiece on a level with A New Hope and Empire, I have really come to appreciate, nay, love the very subtle tones of TPM. It's growing on me, like the movie does upon repeat viewing.

And not to whet my two readers' appetites, but I am planning on posting regarding my choices for best music from the Star Wars movies. Believe it or not, there are over 100 songs to choose from, so it's not that easy. I will take my time doing this, partly to give each soundtrack a good listen and a fair shake, and partly because I love the music itself. Only then will I divulge. Patience. For the Jedi, it is time to eat, as well.


One hell of an opening night, at least for yours truly, an admitted Duke basketball fan since way back in the mid-eighties. Last night was a heart attack, but not unexpected in many ways, given the circumstances. Allow me to explain. And by "allow" I am clearly talking to the Blogger administrator who has given me access privileges to write to this site and not to you (and you know I know who you are) who is powerless to stop me.Belmont played a great game, but there were certain elements that also lent it to be a close contest. I noticed early on that the referees were 'letting them play' -- while hand fouls were generally called, you had to tackle someone to get a 'body foul'. Belmont was playing some tough man-to-man, so the lack of body fouls means you can get away with a lot of hand-checks. What this does against a shooting or "finesse" team is throw off their timing and rhythm and make getting open 3's even harder. I made it analogous to the Indianapolis Colt's receivers going to New England and being unable to get open -- the ref's were letting the defense maul them. In this game, the ref's weren't favoring Belmont per se, but 'letting them play' made for a more playground-type game. Towards the end, you could see that both teams were just chucking it up from wherever they could because both teams' defenses were being allowed to smother. Unfortunately, this desperation atmosphere ultimately led to Belmont's undoing. As soon as they got the lead late, they began to tighten up, taking quick, ill-advised and low-percentage shots from downtown when they should have slowed it down and used the clock and forced Duke to foul. They had some great free-throw shooters on that team that could have sealed the game (I think the one guard was a 91% shooter), but their inexperience showed up late, and Duke remained calm and got the job done. Luck has a lot to do with anything, but I was fairly confident going into the last two minutes, even down. And as Bobby Knight said, Belmont was there the last three years and would have played anyone tough.

And I still nearly had a heart attack. I love this time of year. Next Thursday and Friday are my two favorite nights to watch basketball.

PS: I would be remiss if I didn't relay a comment I made about Penn State's chances of getting in the tournament this year (they were 15-16). As I am prone to saying this time of year is 'my Christmas', I said if they got in, it would be as ridiculous as the virgin birth. Birth, get it? I am funny, and I must declare as such.



My initial reaction to the rumor that they are making a sequel to 300 is a little mixed. On one hand, the movie made $400 million more than its budget, so these days that almost gets an automatic sequel. On the other hand, how exactly do you make a sequel to a film that is about a group of men that all die defending Greece? I can just see it now... "Michael Bay's 600". Double the deaths, double the fun. And, as a sequel, you have to up the ante, so instead of fighting a million soldiers, this time it will be one billion! Mmmm... genius.

Hot Nerd Girl

It's not often that you see a girl of clear pulchritude praise all things nerdy, so when you do, you post it.

I certainly know what Mandalorian Armor is, so I could SO be in. She has a bunch of videos on YouTube.

Ripped from Jaquandor.


There are worse fates

She might as well save the outfit for sexual requests at this point.

Bad video or clever advertising?

I received what usually would be described as a 'spam' email from one of my friends the other day about a Gnarls Barkley video that was apparently 'banned' from MTV because it failed their epileptic-seizure tests. Whatever that means.

So, blessed with some extra time, and given the subject nature, I decided to see if there was anything to it:
I'm not that familiar with Gnarls' stuff (indeed, if he is not a band consisting of a large black man and a DJ, then the video is spreading misinformation to newbies) but I actually liked the song. However, the video itself was nothing extraordinary. As I was about to close the video and wonder what all the fuss was about, at about the 2:10 mark, the style changed dramatically. Here's some screen shots of what you see:And...And...Keep in mind those backgrounds are constantly moving. I had to look away after a few moments. So, my reaction was that the director was out of his mind if he thought that could get broadcast. And then after a minute I thought: if he hadn't done this, I probably would have never heard of the song and definitely never seen the video. (Not only are my days of watching videos on MTV long gone, but so are MTV's days of showing videos other than between 4 and 4:30 on a weekday.) So, was this an inept director, or a new clever marketing scheme? I can see the FCC review board conversation now: "This video fits perfectly into our guideline of what to reject." "Yes... maybe too perfectly..."

The most anticipated movie of the year

What is it? The Dark Knight? Iron Man? Indiana Jones? No, my friends, according to the sonorifically-pleasing opening voice over on the clip below it is Anna Nicole.
I nearly did a spit-take when I heard the guy start talking. It is one of the funniest voice-overs I have ever heard, and if they guy doing it didn't use at least forty-two takes, he's a better man than I.

Regarding Anna Nicole, this is easily the most fascinating thing EVER about her. I never had any interest in her, and I have no idea what her baby's name is or who is the current guardian. I did wonder why anyone would fight over the child because clearly her mother was mildly retarded and the odds the kid would grow up to be any different are even. Oh wait, I just thought of a reason: money. Now that I think about it, when I was besieged by 'updates' it did seem like the custody battle was more of a sweepstakes than anything else. And damn it I caught myself going on about this chick. The end.

Via Cinematical.


Darjeeling Somewhat Limited

I admit I'm a fan of Wes Anderson films. I can count Rushmore and Royal Tennenbaums as proud additions to my DVD collection, and the only reason I don't have Life Aquatic is that I have bouts of laziness. That and I put off seeing it until recently. Bad Matt, bad indeed.So, instead of waiting around for a year to see The Darjeeling Limited, I rented it the other night. Unfortunately, the film came off disjointed and a little flat for me. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a mediocre 67% rating, but the fascinating thing about the reviews is that they are very polarized. You either love it (for some reason I can't fathom) or think it turned up the suck. I fall into the latte category. Sorry, Wes.

Watchmen Buzz

On the official Watchmen site, director Zak Snyder celebrates the 1-year-to-go date by posting some cool character pictures.Principle photography wrapped a few weeks ago, so I can only imagine how much post-production CGI there is left to do. The few photos look dark enough to keep hope alive that the film will match the legendary graphic novel's anti-hero realism. Like most graphic novels, despite its relative fame, I'm betting most people won't ever realize the source material for the film is two decades old, or that it is the only comic book to be included in Time magazine's “100 Best English Language Novels from 1923 to the Present.” Needless to say, the film has got some great material, but it is really lengthy and details, so I can't imagine the process of whittling it down was or will be easy. S here's hoping it doesn't turn up the suck. Easier said than done.


Bad Month

One of the random things I believe in that I'm not sure anyone else does is the concept of having a bad month. In February, I went to the doctor twice, chipped a tooth, had an overall feeling of malaise and a sore throat for the last two weeks. And got in a fight with the girlfriend, luckily on February 29. We agreed that we'll do that again just like the day itself... only once every four years.

Like clockwork, on the morning of March 1st, my sore throat miraculously disappeared. I've had bad Octobers, Februarys, Januarys, Decembers (several -- see hyper-sensitivity to religious holidays) and Augusts, just off the top of my head. Never in March (the Madness makes everything better) or July (birthdays make everything better). April just is carefully neutral, for some reason.

Anyway, I thought I'd say that the dark days are over again... for now. Yay!

Solo desk

I think I need to petition my office to upgrade my work area to something more practical, yet sending the right message. Like this:I like Captain Solo right where he is... under my TPS reports. Don't fail me again, help desk technician.

Totally lifted from Jaquandor.