Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Yes - that's Billy Conolly. The comedian. The one who replaced Howard Hesseman on head of the class.
The Boondock Saints - 1999
Directed by Troy Duffy
Mrs Jones and I watched it last night - or at least until we had to turn it off. This was one of the most god awful movies I have ever seen most of. Really, it comes down to piss poor writing and poor direction of the cast. Neither the plot nor the characters had any sense, authenticity or even remote believability. You know those movies that fill you with embarrassment as you watch them - yup, this is one of those movies. What's worse is that its set in Boston, which is essentially taking the blade of inauthentic dreck and twisting it in my gut, and then snapping the blade off. Oh yeah, Ron Jeremy is in this. And he's not playing himself. Willem Dafoe's portrayal of a flamboyant homosexual is so over the top and poorly conceived, I'm not wondering if somebody at GLAAD had a fatal stroke; I'm wondering how many of them suffered aneurisms.
The insufferable THE BOONDOCK SAINTS gets two middle fingers, way up. My only regret is that I have but two middle fingers to hoist. I'd like to pop some zits and squirt puss at it, too. Or squeeze out some tonsil stones and smear them across the director's tongue. (Tonsil stones or Tonsilloliths are calcified pus. Picture soggy feta cheese that smells strongly of halitosis. That's how much I hate this movie.)
Come to find out - this movie is near-universally regarded as a train wreck. To make things better, there is actually a documentary about how this movie, and it's director's unbelievable hubris and antagonistic vitriol basically wrecked his career before it got started. Here's the trailer for Overnight, which is now sitting atop my Netflix Queue. One quibble: the trailer narration says he's from Boston - I looked it up and he's not. Connecticut. That explains the slanderously negligent role that Boston plays in his movie, which is essentially limited to establishing shots.
And since I mentioned him - when are we going to get some hollywood loving and see Howard Hesseman as bad guy? Or playing Ernest Hemmingway? Or a WKRP remake?
Friday, April 25, 2008
novelty button on the lapel.
Seriously dude? That's a look you intentionally pulled off? Really?
He must be a radio DJ or Scientologist or sumthin'
Shit, he just complimented somebody with the word "stylin'". He must
be an anthro major, studying lame shit people did in the nineties.
Maybe I can find my old denim fedora and donate it to his "research".
Basking in my own jovial bitterness. It is sublime. DIA is a
cathedral erected to practice this fine, fine art.
Sent from my iPhone
I have to say that Lost is hands down the best show on TV. Ever.
Said it before, saying it now, will certainly say it again. Why is it
so good? Its the first TV serial that executes correctly in in 3
areas: character development, mythology, and quality of scripts. X
files, Twin Peaks, the Prisoner, Battlestar Galactica - all great
shows, but are lacking in one of those areas. The fact that the
showrunners could leverage the show to get an end date speaks to its
On a more topical note: last nights episode, "the shape of things to
come" was my favorite episode of the season, and well inside top 5 for
the series to date. Said it before; if you haven't watched Lost yet,
go rent the available seasons... now.
Sent from my iPhone
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I can't say that I blame her. Maybe if I did some sit ups, worked on my personal fashion habits, and took a shower more than once a week, she might not spend so many hours sitting at her dresser, staring wistfully into a framed, autographed picture of shirtless James Franco lifting bales of hay with a pitchfork. It only cost 1650 bucks on ebay, and when the missus asks for James Franco memorabilia, you don't refuse. And who does sit ups anyways - that's so 1984 - I should slap on a headband and a Casio calculator watch while I'm at it. Sit ups are like Oxford University - old school baby. Two things I am not are:
1: Old School
2: James Franco
But I digress...
One thing about his latest stint of films is that we haven't seen enough of James' comedic side. Fortunately that will change when pineapple express comes out in late summer. Until then, Mr. Franco is satiating our hunger with some acting lessons...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
From the home page:
"Post Expression allows you to create and store multimedia messages that will be sent by e-mail to friends and family after you die."
Is this for people gullible enough to buy into cryogenics, but are lacking the investment capital?
From the testimonials on the about page:
"it's absolutely amazing. i got goosebumps reading the opening webpage."
I agree with the second sentence.
"Try Post Expression now for Free! Let me try!"
Wouldn't that be, "Let me Die!"? Hey, do I need to be dead for these free messages to get processed?
From the logo/tagline:
"Death end a life, not a relationship."
- I agree with the first half of that. Tell the second half to me when I am on my death bed, and I'll make sure my "post expression message" is to a professional who will be paid handsomely to work over your torso with a metal baton.
God - I used to love this show. I had to be 10, 11 maybe. Sure, I didn't even know about Dirty Harry back then, or Police Squad. All I knew was that David Rasche was awesomely insane, and insanely awesome. It's not hard to please a 10 year old boy with daddy and violence issues...
Harrison Page was the screaming police chief - filling the cliche role that only a great B-character actor could pull off. And I would have never known at the time that the actor in this clip, sending up John Vernon's morally ambiguous Mayor from Dirty Harry is none other than... John Vernon.
Holy nuts - John Vernon's birth name was Adolphus Raymondus Vernon Agopsowicz? I kid you not.
Monday, April 21, 2008
John Adams (HBO Mini Series - 2008)
I finish watching both of these last night, and they seemed to beg some comparison. John Adams, a sprawling 7 part mini-series follows the political and personal life of 2 President John Adams, played by tPaul Giamatti. There Will Be Blood follows the professional and personal life of self proclaimed "Oil Man" Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Both capture a period of Americana, that both shows how different that time was from the present, while shaping it in a way that we can't ignore the impact of that era on our own. The drilling of land and cheating of land owners shows the beginning of the loss of America's pioneer spirit. While in John Adams, we see the movement away from the British Monarchy, and clumsily stumbling into something new. JA represents the initial blastoff of America as a beacon of hope for freedom, and by TWBB, we see that the American dream is already become an cannibalistic monster - feeding one man's dreams at the expense of others.
Both movies also show the struggle of the American's complex relationship with religion. In TWBB, the relationship is very parallel, and not very subtle but evocative symmetry of religion and free enterprise as systems of control. In JA, religion is the heart of America, while being kept separate, but close to democracy, the brain of the new Union.
I have to say that after watching JA, I was pretty unimpressed overall. This was another attempt to breath live into the old colonial oil paintings of the founding fathers, to evoke vitality and counter presumed truths. In the end, it really only solidified the stogy notions. Sure, we find out the JA was a lovable curmudgeon (Giamatti seemed to be channeling his role as Harvey Pekar in American Splendor), and that George Washington had a meek voice and often following questionable advice - but at the end of the day, it was the same portrait of men inexplicably rising above their surroundings to become the gods of government for a brief time. It was all too reverent, and all too "good acting". I love Laura Linney, but came to despise her portrayal of Abigail Adams. I'm sure she played it as directed, but she, like everyone else, became more and more one-dimensional. For a mini-series, it was well produced, but a Hollywood budget, this was not. I can't take points away for that. At the end, this fell prey to the common historical drama fate - accomplished actors playing dress up, serving a director who read a "really good biography".
Flip to There Will Be Blood. The first 20 minutes doesn't even have any dialog. Here we don't so much experience the spiraling downward of an antihero, as much as we come to know a man who was inwardly evil all along, and the changes are the resources that become available to him. What is amazing about Day-Lewis' performance, is not how pitch perfect each scene is, but how naturally he progresses into the monster at the end of the film. He doesn't seem any different at the end, but if you go back and rewatch the early scenes, you see how much he has changed. As the audience, I was unable to watch him grow old and change, much like people are unable to see it in themselves and those close to them. The directing was superb - the imagery and cinematography was lyrical - lyrical in the way that Lawrence of Arabia is lyrical.
Finally, the end of each respective piece might but a fine point around their differences. The final episode of John Adams is the prolonged passing of the founding fathers and their loved ones. It was akin to a studio rock track that repeats the same refrain over and over, fading out to nothing. There Will Be Blood ends in a thunderclap, that cuts to credits before you have time to synthesize it's full meaning. It was akin to a crescendo that is followed by silence, and you only then discover the piece is over.
John Adams: One Middle Finger
There Will Be Blood: No Middle Fingers
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Interchangeable shaft drivers. You pay 700-900 bucks for a driver head and a few shafts. You can screw in the shaft you want with a proprietary tool. Let me count the ways of lameness:
1: That is not going to help ANYBODY. Pros don't change their shaft types regularly - they get fit to the type of shaft that fits their game. That would be like alternating irons between brands, depending on course conditions and how you felt that day. Consistency is the holy grail of golf. Interchangable shafts are killing consistency; they represent the "tyranny of choice" fully manifested.
2: 700 bucks? Are you kidding me? For the price, you could basically buy 3 drivers (maybe one 2008 and 2 older models). You know how a top of the line much a shaft costs? 40-80 bucks. You could by one driver, and try 5-10 shafts and still spend less money. Of course, that shouldn't be necessary, which comes to the next lameness...
3: This lets the consumer, rather than the golf pro, decide what is best for you. If you are ready to plunk down 700 bucks, you ought to be getting fit by a professional that knows your game. Trust me - you might think you need a whippy shaft, or know how much flex should be in the tip, but you don't - the golf pro knows. Otherwise, just buy an off the rack driver.
4: You can only use the shafts that are part of their proprietary system. So you are limited to their three shafts. What are the odds that a golfer hungry for shaft experimentation is going to find the perfect marriage there?
5: Things like cutting a shaft to the right length or a different grip are going to be overlooked here - things that are way moire important that flex.
6: The driver is totally not where you want to spend money to improve your game. Get a few hybrids, or blow your budget on a nice, balanced putter. You could do both with the amount you'd need to spend on a driver - whose only requirement is to go a reasonable distance, and stay in play. You can drive a ball only 150 yards, and still make par if you've got game.
7: When you spend this much on a driver, you are apt to hold on to it way longer than normal, and also likely to continue using it, making yourself mad with shaft combinations, when maybe what you need is a different driver. The implicit statement is that the driver head is without flaw, and you just need the right shaft. Perimeter weight distribution, face height and loft are way more important, and shouldn't be taken for granted as absolutes.
8: This just points out to the sad realization that technology innovation for golf equipment is reaching a plateau. They've pushed the limit on just about every USGA regulation regarding equipment. Like square headed fairway woods, "deeper grooved" wedges and hybridized 9 irons, this is just showing that equipment makers are struggling to bring something new to the marketplace. A lot of smoke and mirrors. And in the end, this stuff won't make you better - it will just be enough of a swing nanny to make a horrible golfer into a mediocre one.
9. It smacks of desperation, but not just on the part of the manufacturers. This is for the player who will do anything to improve their drives - as long as it doesn't require practicing or a lesson. If you aren't hitting it right - trust me, three driver shafts aren't going to help you break 90, or 100.
Finally feeling "comfortable" around a course, and not so much like the "new guy". Still have so much to learn, but there is some inner peace from removing that self-conscious burr that had been irritating me my first couple of seasons. I guess its that I feel like while I'm by no means a great golfer, I could play with a stranger, and they might not guess I just picked up the game. They'd just think I suck...
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Remember the little drums in Karate Kid part II? They spun them and little strings with beads would hit the drum face. That's kind like the golf swing motion. Your arms are really there to do very little, except provide a bridge between your club and your body, and act like a whip or flail. Once you put your arms in it too much, they stop being whip like, and start being more stick-like.
Hopefully I'm on to something here; I'm sure it will work for two rounds and backfire, as usual.
Sidenote - looks like Ken, Erik and I are going to play in a tournament at The Raven up in the mountains in June. Should be fun - I am excited to try and play under the pressure of competition. I have so far really let other people get in my head on the course; so maybe this is the trial by fire I need.
Kudos to Trevor - a fine, previously underrated golfer. That south african hit some freaking amazing shots.
Now we get to watch the rest of the majors slip by. Of course the next will be the "fifth major" - the players.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I have a pretty weak stroke - my drives are at best 230 to a level LZ unless I accidentally crank it. I've been trying broaden my swing plane to get more speed, but that has an unintended effect - it pulls my torso laterally - and then I wind up cracking a pull hook.
Overall, it just feels that I am turning, but my arms are doing too much work. Add to that that I am counting on my arms to try and start grooving an inside to out swing plane, and it's no wonder why I hit the ball so short.
Today I learned a little something. The best learned techniques are the ones that don't totally throw something else off. So far so good.
What did I figure out? I focused on turning back farther, so that my shoulder and back are partially facing the ball. By focusing on turning with my torso, instead of trying to crank my spine back with my arms, I was not getting that lateral movement. I did this by trying to glimpse the back of my shoulder at the top of my backswing. Obviously that has to be peripheral, or I'll never make solid contact. I definitely felt the stretch. And the results were a solid 10-15yard gain on average.
Another nice side effect is that by turning farther, I'm getting a flatter, inside out swing plane. Which helps counteract any bad arm movement on my part. So fades were diminishing, and the drives were much lower trajectory - I suffer from pop fly drives.
It worked so well, that I am considering putting a little nib of medical tape on my shoulder next time - so I have that visual cue without having to look for it as much. I do have to say that the Superquad I got last summer really is a nice driver. I had gone through as many drivers as I had years under my belt, but it was worth it. What is nice is that the new CGB drivers now make the superquad somewhat obsolete, so they've already come down in price. Maybe next summer they'll be cheap enough that I can pick up a fresh one. The CGBs are nice, but they can't actually adjust the height of the ball flight, just counteracting slices and hooks. Personally, I am of the mind that you should learn and practice to eliminate your slice - buying equipment to mask it will eventually make it worse, because it will enable those bad habits further. I keep my driver set for a low neutral ball flight.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Rating: One Middle Finger
Okay, I was just expecting there to be more oomph here. In telling the story of Dewey Cox, most of the recent musical biopics get skewered. So there's "Walk the Line" (Johnny Cash), "Ray" (Ray Charles), "The Doors", and... and... Okay, so I guess that's it.
It does a good job of pointing out some of the annoying idiosyncrasies of the genre - insisting on awkwardly inserting dialog to identify side actors playing musical celebrities. Or that cringe inducing moment when they get their shot in the recording studio, and everybody starts head nodding. The performances are good as well. John C Reilly never fails in his acting, and this movie is no exception.
So what went wrong? The jokes didn't have a lot of punch. After some opening dialog that was very amusing, (mostly pertaining to a machete "accident"), it never picks up any more steam. Unlike a Christopher Guest satire, which goes for pitch perfect tone and the skill of his ensemble, this movie was definitely aiming for some below the belt guffaws, and it didn't connect enough. Sure, the musical numbers were well written and it captured the essence of the movies it was sending up - but for a movie designed get people to talk about "wanting cox" - the humor wasn't sharp or frequent enough. Seriously - when you put Tim Meadows in a movie, you better have a damn good reason.
In the end, the movie meanders as it placed Dewey improbably into every cultural/musical back alley between 1953 and the present. Of course that also cuts against trying to keep your story true. Ray Charles didn't drop acid and get into the Disco era. His character dissipates into a cluttered pastiche, and you lose your Cox (sorry, I had to do it). By the end, Cox is everyone, and no one, and you just don't care.
Kudos to Jenna Fischer, who proves she's not a one trick pony on "The Office", and Raymond J Barry as a fantastic as Cox's "Pa". Barry is a consistently awesome background character actor, and it was great to see him get some extra screen time.
Unfortunately, the writing just didn't have the strength to hold the movie up. Enough good stuff to avoid a double eagle, but this flick gets flipped one bird.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
So I'm basically screwed this month.
Packaging design was winding down for client A. All that was left was details like correct UPC bar codes and contracting internationalization (not as bad as contracting syphilis, but close). So, trying to be a smart project manager, and seize opportunities, I built a project plan with Client B for deliverables due in April - requiring about 85-90% of my work time. Signed off - wham, bam, thank you ma'am.
Then on the last friday of march, all of a sudden client A decides to totally start over from scratch with new packaging. Oh, and because of retailer commitments, they all have to be done by the end of April. No questions as to whether this project was doable, or if my schedule could accommodate that. They even had the cojones to ask for a web site in conjunction (sorry, no). The massive amount of changes and revisions, and the finality of the deadline also means that three meetings a week are required. They also need each version of each package to be mocked up, folded and taped together.
The crackling sound you hear is either the maw of hell ripping open beneath my feet, or the sound of my skull cracking from intense pressure. Take your pick.
I know I shouldn't be such a whiny bitch - because I hate people who whine about their pathetic problems. Here's a revelation, Giuseppe, - nobody cares about YOUR problems, because they've already got their OWN problems. People who care about you - they don't actually care about your problems - they care enough about you to put with listening about them. but every person has their limit. Kind of like why "Over There" failed as a series. Nobody wants to watch a show about war in Iraq, when there is already on going on in reality. We business fat cat geniuses call that "redundant efforts". If you aren't a genius business fat cat mogul titan of industry, you can't use that phrase. I shouldn't even be posting it - they may we'll revoke my fatcat card, and the dues are non-refundable.
So you can see, I've devolved to typical Giuseppian fractured chains of thought. I'm getting a little whiny, and a little punchy. But it's my blog, so deal or click away.
Actually, let's not be so antagonistic. As a peace offering - here is a youtube clip of my favorite arcade game ever. Thank god for youtube. You know how much its sucked trying to describe crystal castles, and not have people get it? Moderate to intense suckage.
As a testament to its superiority, it used a scroll wheel, was trimetric-projected like Q-bert, and the main character was a wizard bear named after a Bentley. That's ballsy. Moderate to intense balls.
I wish I had a scroll wheel in my chest - like Iron Man's glowing disc.
Oh yeah, right - the video...
Friday, April 4, 2008
Change Pool to Texas Hold 'em
Swap Cool Hand Luke for The Bandit
Replace Tom Cruise with Some kid who is the right age (but keep the same plaid shirt)
and you get DEAL...
And while Burt Reynold's is notorious for being the opposite of the type of actor who is putty in a director's hands, apparently his face is made out of putty. Gross.
One awesome thing is it has the perfect title for movie critics to use when they inevitably skewer this movie. "What's the Big DEAL" "A Deal gone bad" "No Deal" "DEALing with any horrible card movie".
Frankly card playing is not really conducive to dramatic storytelling on the screen (neither is pool, but Scorcese can handle challenges like that). Why don't we make a movie about darts or hungry hungry hippos while we are at it. Of course, Scarlett Johansson is attached to a feature film adaptation of Milton Bradley's Monopoly, so I guess poker doesn't seem so bad.