Thursday, January 29, 2009

In The Wake of Poseidon: The Podcast?

I was listening to some old shows from my old radio show "The Lost Tracks" on WEXP, La Salle University and I really really got nostalgic. I miss broadcasting. I was thinking I should take this blog and do more than just text but try a weekly Podcast. Maybe get some vocal time again and post feeds with songs. I don't know if this is going to work, but I'm looking in the direction of the internet community. I want to podcast. First off, what are some tips or helpful websites and can I legally podcast without garnering the rights to music and all that jazz? I assume so since it will be free. I don't want money for it, I just want some experience. Anyone reading this: how does one podcast? I know how to make the audio files, I just need the tips with RSS feeds and all that jazz.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Ten Films of 2008

I still have yet to see a few high profile movies, I must admit. The Oscar Nominations are out and they are pretty predictable. Again, many of the best movies of the year got snubbed. Every year I miss a few films that don't get consideration till the next year. Take for example The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Released in 2007. I missed this until 2008 and in hind-sight, it would have easily cracked the top 5. Alas, here we are in 2009 so here is one last look back on the year 2008 and the films it brought us. It wasn't a power house year, to say the least, but it was a year of both decent Hollywood blockbusters and very personal and intimate movies. I look forward to 2009, but let's take one last glance back. Also, rather then go in depth, These will be film mini-views though. Don't want to get too lengthy esp. since I've blogged on a lot of these already.

10. Tropic Thunder - A great send up of Hollywood bravado in the vein of Blazing Saddles, Ben Stiller concocts a a hilariously zany movie poking fun at stardom, big budget movies, Hollywood execs and self centered actors. The best part, some of the cast could easily fall into this category, so it sheds a whole new perspective on people like Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey. Robert Downey Jr, who gets my pick for best overall year in acting, carries even some of the duller moments of the film with his ballsy, yet inspired role as Kirk Lazarus, an actor who goes way too far to "get into his character." Much debate about his borderline black face performance buzzed before the movie, but after watching it, you realize that it's much more inspired and brilliant than what it looked like it could have been on the surface. This all goes to the writing, which Stiller teamed up with Justin Theroux. Rain of Madness is also required viewing as it is silly and a great companion to Tropic Thunder. It takes shots at the following films director.

Best Scene: Downey Jr. acts as an Asian rice farmer to distract the attack from his two comrades and when they realize he isn't what he appears to be, he throws off his fake Asian accent for his fake Black accent and screams "I'm a lead farmer, motha fucka!" Action ensues.

9. Encounters at the End of the World - Werner Herzog is constantly drawn to eccentric people and to remote locations of the world and Encounters fills both of his interests. When he flies to Antarctica to study the scientists who live on the bottom of the world in some of the worst weather conditions ever, he meets the type of people who are drawn to such a crazy place. A man who is a decendent of an Aztec king, a man who is utterly depressed by the sight of his research subject--penguins-- and a performance artist who contorts herself into a tote bag. Accompanied by these images of strange yet beautiful people are that of the wild landscape of both above and under the ice of Antarctica. It's a sweeping film of beauty and isolation that really is intriguing. Not necessarily the best of Herzog's worst , but it still a captivating movie especially on the big screen.

Best Scene: Hearing the music of the seals underneath the ice was surreal, yet gorgeous in its high pitched echoes.

8. Iron Man - Again, Robert Downey Jr. had an excellent year. Iron Man may be strictly a popcorn flick, but hell if it wasn't a great one. Jon Favrau directs here and shows off some muscle with some great action set pieces and hilarious dialogue from Tony Stark, the man behind the iron mask. In an age where every superhero movie has the same plot more or less, it was refreshing rooting for Tony Stark, even if he was a womanizing asshole to most of the people around him. It was good to see a hero who isn't perfect and that is why Iron Man stands above movies like Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk. Marvel Studips first feature may just make it that much harder for anything they produce in the future to have the same punch and luster. A lot of this thanks is to RDJ and his excellent return to form. Many people say he is better now then before, but I think his old ways of drug use just hindered there opinions of one of the best actors of our time.

Best Scene - Tony Stark finally perfects his suit and goes back to Afghanistan to destroy his own weapons. He encounters his armies own aircraft and a great action sequence with well done CGI is born.

7. In Bruges - This is the surprise film of the year. Well, one of them. When I first saw the trailer for this little flick, I was intrigued by it's humor but not totally on board with Colin Farrell. However, after watching, In Bruges is much more than a comedy. It's much darker and has some very interesting characters that are more than just pissed of assassins stuck in a medival fariy tale land. The film packs some excellent laughs and is greatly executed. The end takes some strange turns, but ultimately it ends with a very hauntingly dark message. A bold move for Michael McDonagh's debut as a director. The playwright writes a great story and executes the film with interesting touchs that make it unique. Ralph Fiennes comes in late in the show but steals the screen with a blisteringly scary yet hilarious with a very thick cockney accent. I look forward to McDonagh's next film whenever that may be as In Bruges was a delightful surprise.

Best Scene - Farrell and Gleeson are on a bridge discussing the idea of mortality and of heaven and hell and if what certain situations it is okay to kill. A hilarious dialogue ensues when they bring up that Gleeson killed an old lollipop man who may have known Kung Fu.

6. Slumdog Millionaire - It is written. And so the tale of destiny ensues. Danny Boyle brings his kinetic film making to a heartwarming reality based fairy tale about a young boy from the Mumbai slums who is searching for the love of his life by becoming a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He knows all the answers to the questions, but not because he is smart or cheating but because all of the answers happen to remind him of a moment in his tumultuous life. The acting is authentic, the filming is nothing short of breathtaking, the music is a mixture of classic and new Indian music and the story itself are all masterfully crafted. It's a feast for the eyes, the ears and the heart and is a wonderful story amid a year of heartbreak and social decline. It's a big screen movie delight.

Best Scene - A young Jamal, covered in human excrement, runs to get an autograph from his favorite Bollywood movie star. Later, his brother sells the picture for some rupees breaking Jamal's heart.

5. The Wrestler - Darren Aranofsky, who has grown the greatest creeper stache in all of Hollywood, has finally done a movie that is not epic in scope. Right from the get-go with Pi, Aranofsky slings his craft into some super ambitious projects from the epic Requiem for a Dream to the head spinning, eye meltingly gorgeous The Fountain. In Mickey Rourke, Aranofsky finds a new epic to craft. The remodeling of a star. The Wrestler is a familiar story. A story of a broken down "piece of meat" who is struggling to get by. His fame as a pro wrestler is mostly gone, his addictive personality fails him left and right and his inability to do much else than wrestle is leaving him with close to nothing. Grasping at the last straws of any kind of normal relationship after he finds he will no longer be able to wrestle, Randy "The Ram" is a tragic character who seems to be going nowhere. Rourke, who can be seen as playing himself a tad here, pours every ounce of emotion in his body into this character and proves that he is a great actor. His career may have gotten an injection, but even if it doesn't, his performance is unforgettable, moving and utterly heartbreaking.

Best Scene - Randy "The Ram" struggling to make it through the day at the Deli Counter decides he's ready to be back in the ring and brutally maims himself. The soulless work at the grocery store makes him elicit pain just to feel again.

4. The Dark Knight - The biggest movie of the new millennium just got the shaft from the Academy. That's the problem with the Oscars. Genre films like an action/superhero movie won't get nominated. It's also a shame as although this is an action/superhero genre film, it's more than just that. It hits very close to home. The paranoia in Gotham City definitely echoes the paranoia of today. Things like the Patriot Act, terrorism, the reasons to fight back against something are all ideas that are in everyone's mind. Batman has always been one of the best superheroes and Christian Bale definitely brings a great amount of power and weakness to his Bruce Wayne/Batman character. Not enough cred has been given his way as he is overshadowed by the impossibly brilliant acting of the late Heath Ledger. His portrayal of The Joker is the acting pinnacle of this decade. The entire film, whether The Joker is on the screen or not, you are thinking of him and afraid of him. Even more credit needs to be shown to director Christopher Nolan who has an eye for the dark places of society and an eye for jaw dropping action set pieces that pop with reality.

Best Scene - The Joker and Batman meet face to face in an interrogation that will leave you breathless.

3. JCVD - Jean Claude Van Damme and acting aren't usually used in the same sentence unless the adjective "bad" is before it. But when Mabrouk El Mechri, an up and coming director from France pitched a strange yet intriguing idea to the Muscles from Brussles, born was the film JCVD and with it one of the most unique movies of the year. JCVD follows the muscles through his dull and bedraggled current life. His movies are stuck in straight-to-DVD hell, his abilities as a fighter are weakened by his aging body, he is going through a butal custody battle and he loses roles to Steven Segal. He heads home to Brussels in order to get money for his lawyers fees and get some time with his parents and gets sucked up into a bank heist. At first people think he is responsible but it turns out the robbers are using JCVD for his fame. The movie is less of a great narrative than it is an excellent pos-modern look at stardom. The movie has a strange push and pull of emotions that is utterly fascinating. One minute you are laughing at the ridiculousness of the movie and the next you are feeling bad for JCVD then you realize its not actually about him... but is it? It's a fabulous and original movie.

Best Scene: After a long time of stress during the hostage crisis, Van Damme raises above it all for a single shot soliloquy that brigns him out of the film, but throws you right back into it with self-reflexive hilarity and genuine emotions from the man himself.

2. Rachel Getting Married - Anne Hathaway is not the only great acting in this film. Although it may be the most surprising as most of her movies make her out to be a bubbly dolt. Her portrayal of a tourtured addict trying to come to terms with what she has done to her family and what she has done to herself is convincing, heartbreaking yet somewhat poignant and beautiful. We see the ups and downs she brings to her sisters wedding and how her past actions have changed a family forever. The terrors of addiction are pretty terrible, yet the power of family sometimes has the power to overcome this, even if it's for a short while. Johnathan Demme shows that he is still a force to be reckoned with as a director making many interesting and bold directorial decisions including the usage of handheld cameras, a score that is imbedded into the film and a wonderfully cathartic and joyous wedding scene directly after the massive conflict comes to a head. A definite refreshing film that was quite a surprise.

Best Scene: When Hathaway finally sheds her skin at the 12-Step Program after a series of intense events with her family, she finally comes to terms with what she has done and we learn what the big strain on the family is in full light.

1. Che - A sweeping epic indeed, Che is more than just that. The film picks apart an iconic man who is seen as a terrorist and a hero to others. Benicio del Toro gives the finest performance of his career as a man whose lust for liberation is inspiring yet scary. His tactics are genius, but they sometimes are very destructive. He brings a subtelty to an iconic character that could have easily been more of a caricature but Del Toro nails it with a calm and collected performance. Soderbergh deserves praise for his realistic approach to shooting this film. Shot in the jungles and on the streets, the Cuban Revolution comes alive. It's triumphant during the first half entitled "The Argentine." When the second half begins and Che is in Bolivia, we see the downfall during the segment "Guerilla." Even with it's 4 plus hour runtime, Che is a film that demands your attention and one that is utterly captivating. The cast is perfect and there is not a weak link to the story, the characters and the message that it delivers.

Best Scene: Che's troops, in order to get a better position in a key fight during "The Argentine" literally break through the walls of houses in order to infiltrate a church where Batista's snipers are hiding out.

Onward to 2009. Waiting desperately for The Road.

Viva La Revolucion

Steven Soderbergh's Che is nothing short of epic. In a limited engagement "Roadshow Presentation", I was able to see Che in what I feel is the only way it should be viewed--in it's four hour length with an intermission. Soon enough the film will be split into two separate entities, but after watching both parts, to see one without the other directly afterward would ruin the purpose and vision of the film. That being said, anyone living in the greater Philadelphia area that wants to see a monumental film and get a gratifying experience out of it, see Che this week playing at the Ritz Five. Now on to the details.

Ernesto Che Guevera is an icon of the 21st century. A symbol of heroism and hope, but also of fear and violence. Many saw Che as a hero of the common people who rose up against oppressors and fought against injustice in Cuba. Other saw him as a terrorist, a murderer and an assassin. In Soderbergh's adaptation of both Guevera's "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War" and his "Bolivian Diary," we see both sides of the man.

The first half of the film titled "The Argentine" shows the more glorious Cuban Revolution against Batista and his army after their coup in the 1950's. Che and Fidel Castro discuss over dinner how they will take Cuba through guerrilla tactics and a non-stop fight to Havana. The first half is juxtaposed with an interview of Che after the success of the rebellion and of his famous speech at the United Nations in New York City. These scenes inter-cut with the harsh fighting in the jungles and mountains of Cuba give us a view of a strong man with ideals and an efficient man who becomes a hero of the commoner. He isn't without his weaknesses both in his physical hardships with asthma and in his need for control. His efficiency is sometimes cold and direct, but it is exactly what is needed for him to succeed in his goal.

The second half of the film entitled "Guerrilla" takes us to Bolivia after the success of the Cuban revolution. Che arrives incognito to continue his mission of having all of Latin America liberated from it's capitalistic oppressors. He starts from scratch just like in Cuba getting a handful of men to train in the hills and prepare for a similar overthrow of the government. You can see pretty quickly that this group is less into the government overthrow. The figurehead of the Socialist Party in Bolivia disregards Che's actions and his men are less interested in Che's goals of bringing a better society. This leads to many mistakes and large pitfalls that were not an issue in the Cuban rebellion. We see Che's idealism show it's weaknesses and the man himself falls victim to all his weaknesses as well. These dire mistakes would lead to Che's demise in the hills of Bolivia.

Benicio del Toro brings his best to Che as does Steven Soderbergh. For both of them, this is their masterpiece. It helps that the movie also boasts an excellent supporting cast. Every minor person that walks through the camera eye in this film matters. Even the landscapes of Cuba and Bolivia come alive like a character. This is all credit to Soderbergh. His vision and his style are nothing short of breathtaking.

Even though Che will be widely released as two seperate entities, it is imperative that you see both as the point of the story is lost when split apart. This film deserves many awards, so we will see what happens when the Academy comes out with its nominations.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Movie Quickie Reviews

I've seen some decent and some disappointing movies as of late. Two of these will get some in-depth treatment later on, but for now, here are three quickie movie reviews to keep you satiated.

Rachel Getting Married - The film is less of a surprise and more a shame of under marketed brilliance. Johnathan Demme returns to the narrative form after a long stint of unnecessary remakes ,documentaries and a concert film (which is excellent might I add.) It's good to see him directing a great film again as this defies his usual style for something far more personal and intimate. Anne Hathaway shows she can do more than just rom coms as the destructive Kym, who is released from rehab just in time for her titular sisters wedding. Past traumas are brought to the surface during a time of close quarters with family and friends and tensions mount. The climax is intense and emotional but quickly releases all tension in the form of one of the most beautiful wedding sequences since The Deer Hunter. Beyond Hathaway's nuanced performance and a great supporting cast, one of the elements that really makes the movie come to life is Demme's hand-held directorial style. This brings us literally closer to the family making it almost feel like a home movie, especially since one of the characters constantly has a camera in his hand. Another nice touch was the score of the movie was interior to the movie which made it seem even more like document rather than drama. Kudos, Demme on a tour de force film. You may have the best movie of the year on your hands, but I feel it is getting overlooked due to bloated Hollywood "art films" like Benjamin Button.

Revolutionary Road - Where Rachel Getting Married shines, Revolutionary Road fails to deliver. Minus two good performances from the always stunning Kate Winslet and the better with age Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road suffers from feeling like a movie you've seen done better. Even though the stories novel of the same name was the first of its kind to document the dark side of conformity in 50's suburbia, the movie theme has been done before. Leo and Kate play a young couple who we see mostly in the autumn of their lives together, even though they are both still young and under normal circumstances would have many years ahead of them. Their idealism gets suffucated by the world around them and tensions mount. Sam Mendes' direction is rather pedestrian and very lacking here and the story is filled with predictable moments and dialogue matches that really hit you over the head with why they are having such a terrible time together. Although both leads are convicing, the supporting cast is rife with cliche 50's faces that don't bring anything new to the table. Rather than any kind of realism, we get a melodrama much like we've seen before. If you want to see relationships stretched and strained and the emotional traumas they put on people see Rachel Getting Married and....

The Wreslter - Mickey Rourke was once touted to be the next Brando or next DeNiro. His early career showed much promise in movies like Diner. Yet like many stars, things get in the way. Fame can ruin your life. And that is what happened to Rourke. However, Darren Aranofsky gets a stellar performance from the man in The Wrestler. One that is refreshing, honest and truly astonishing. A very standard story on the surface of a washed-up has-been trying to make due with what he's got left, but inside its about the harsh world many people create for themselves. Alienating those who love you is tough and sometimes the road is permanantly destroyed behind your destructive ways. Much like Rachel Getting Married, Randy "The Ram" has destroyed the relationships with the ones closest to him, but figures out that his family lies with his fans who respect him for his art. They don't know "The Ram" beyond the ring, but to them he is a hero. Even if it means death if we wrestles again, he would rather feel he love he gets from being in the ring then trying and failing those closest to him and conforming to society to make it by. Rourke's loveability that he brings to the character makes it all the more heartbreaking and beautiful. It's truly the best leading male performance I've seen all year and it's definitely worthy of the talk. This is another great small movie that is getting overshadowed by other overrated Hollywood junk.... like Benjamin Button.

top movies of 2008 list will be made soon. Two of these will make the cut. I still want to see Milk, Che, Waltz With Bashir and The Reader before I finish my list, but overall this past year was lukewarm at best. Here's hoping The Road comes out soon as it stands a chance at being my favorite movie of all time.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Top Ten Important Things From 2008

Every year I like to do a lot of year in reviews. Why? I'm nostalgic...even for the year that just ended. I do music, movies, songs and moments. Movies will always come out closer to Oscar time as I can't always see everything in the theaters. This list is about things that affected me in the year, whether it's a band, a song, a game, a quote, a news story or just a moment in time. So here goes, another annoying list. Call me Schindler.

10. The Kids in the Hall Reunion @ The Keswick - Back in 2007 (jeez that's two years ago now... wtf) I got the chance to see one of my favorite sketch comedy troupes live. The UCB theater was a religious experience. Maybe 50 people in the audience and a one of a kind improv show via ASSSCAT. This past year, my sister and I made the trek out to Glenside for yet another amazing sketch comedy troupe, The Kids in the Hall. I grew up watching this show and seeing the guys in the flesh was nothing short of awesome. Great skits, great chemistry and a ridiculous amount of laughter led to one of the greatest nights of the year. The whole group was in top form which was good news as it had been years since they were all on stage together. Nothing like brilliant entertainment to uplift me during a roller-coaster emotional year. I think this show was mid-unemployment so my Mom subsidized my entertainment that day. Thank GOD she did! I almost missed this night.

9. West Philadelphia- My West Philly experience was interesting. Great times for the most part, but a lot of isolation in a tiny apartment. It was something that was necessary to my development, however. West Philly wasn't completely isolated as I had friends only a few blocks away. These friendships grew and made the first 3/4ths of the year better than they would have been if I was out in West Philly by myself. There was also copious amounts of Dock Street Brewery, Lucky's Chinese American, Parties at the Hobbit Hole, Walks in Clark Park, New World Music record shopping and many a game night including Risk and Wii Sports. It was a strange apartment, but an all around important life experience that I needed to have.

8. 111A Cherry Parke - The thing that was missing in West Philly was the ability to entertain. At the end of the summer, due to rising gas prices, a car that was on it's way out and just an overall better living situation, I moved from West Philly back to the Jersey side to Cherry Hill. A longtime friend and I got a place together and Lord knows it's awesome. Miller Time: The Champagne of Apartments. A new chapter in awesome living situations in the grand tradition of The Sexional and the War Room. Hosting some of the years finest events, WYOB & The First Annual Dr. Carey Drunk Ball Invitational were both awesome times. My room is bigger than my old apartment, I got a new car, a quicker commute to work and a PS3... for free. We won't go into those details online, but let's just say it rules having Rock Band and other fine gaming at our fingertips. I'm still not 100% settled, but I don't know if I will ever be 100% settled. I like moving to new places. If only I had the money to move far away and a job lined up somewhere new, I'd be totally happy with that. But until then, Cherry Parke stays as a great time. Oh and I forgot to mention one of the best nights of the year when a handful of Lasallians joined me for the Cherry Hill Greek Agora and a night of awesome times afterward. I need more of those times.

7. Shore House IV - A friend of mine has made going down the shore beyond just a vacation, but a cult like pilgrimage. It's a bit strange how serious he takes it, but this was a great time nonetheless. It was the launching pad for some new friendships and a just all around...interesting... experience. Interesting enough that Shore House V is in the works and I should be there for yet another glorious and relaxing week. I brought down a case of Cane, made stuffed burgers, ate steaks, drank too much and didn't get as much beach time as I would have liked to. Best moment: The first night down, the founder and I head to the beach, find two lawn chairs empty by the beach late at night and we crack open a Cane, down the delish brew and take in the cool weather and late night sites. Zen moment, indeed.

6. Barack Obama - Let's be honest- it is nothing short of amazing that two elections in a row, this country elected in one of the worst presidents in history and now they elect someone like Barack Obama. Maybe he isn't the greatest candidate ever. Maybe he isn't experienced enough. Maybe he will be a terrible president. But let's be real... Obama brings something to this country that it desperately needed: A new face and a competent one. As much as I will miss Bush for moments like this:
Or this:

It's just time to get something different. Think about what was going on in this country 45 years ago. Do you think a man named Barack Obama would be President? Not a chance. His overwhelming success alone is something to admire and hopefully he can do good things while in office. Why is this so important? I felt happy to be an American for the first time since being a naive little kid who just loves America because it meant baseball, apple pie and fireworks.

5. Disc Golf - My life has gotten stagnant in the ways of physical activity. In fact, it's sad how little I get out and do. 2009 is hoping to change that. However, one activity that brought me copious amounts of joy this year as Disc Golf. Going to Fairmount Park on a beautiful day and tossing the disk through the course with various friends was nothing short of amazing. On Cinco De Mayo, rocked a Corona or two, other times a straight up Hurricane 40. There were genius moments were complete strangers offered stromboli or a cold one and some days I even played like a pro. Disc Golf will continue into this year with hopefully a day trip or two to some new courses in the Tri-State area. I hope to get good enough and hope to maybe even return to Ultimate Frisbee this summer, but that depends on work and if I can get out early on Monday or Wednesdays. Regardless, I hope the good times associated with the disc continue into 2009.

4. JCVD - The sleeper hit of the year was easily one of the most unique cinema experiences I've been to since Grindhouse. When I first saw the trailer, I knew something magical was to come of it. A movie about an actor played by the actor that is more of a satire on Hollywood stardom then about Jean-Claude Van Damme, JCVD really was a fantastic film. Filled with laughs, heart-wrenching moments and a truly terrific performance from the titular muscles, I didn't have a better time at the theater all year then during this film. Even The Dark Knight, which was also a great film, couldn't live up to the subdued hype that JCVD brought me.

3. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly - Although this film was from 2007, it's message and brilliance first graced me in 2008. The story of a man with "locked in" syndrome who was still able to think and imagine and feel he was living a fruitful life whiel completely paralized is an amazing experience. The message of hope this story delivers is impressive. I also read the memoirs of the same name and was equally touched by its simplicity and it's message. In a year of roller-coaster emotions between family situations and my own personal life, The Diving Bell & The Butterfly was something that shone like a light in the darkness.

2. Snuff Box - WHISKAAAAAAAY! BBC TV shows in general have been the underdog hit in 2008. But Snuff Box with it's sheer absurdity had the most lasting power of any of them. All the moments on this list have been amplified in greatness thanks to Snuff Box. From the Shore House to HARUMPH to the #1, nothing would be as amazingly hilarious without the greatness that Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher exuted in the small 6 episode series.

1. Karaoke @ National Mechanics - Karaoke as a weekly event was the one escape from the tumultuos year that I had. Getting out with my friends, singing songs, meeting a ton of new awesome people and rocking the whiskey and good times was nothing short of perfection. Tuesday night is a random night, but luckily my job gets me a day off during the week. With Wednesdays perpetually off, Tuesday is the new Friday. National Mechanics is also just a brilliant place filled with friendly faces, great food and awesome beer selections. Without this weekly sojourn, whether it was by bike from West Philly or by PATCO from Cherry Hill, I think 2008 would have sufficently sucked. Thankfully it hasn't. Can't wait to return.

Onward to 2009!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I wanna eat chicken burgers.

How is one of the universally hated movies on of the most important movies of my life? Maybe because it's more than just a ridiculous movie. Maybe because it reminds me of my absurdist friends. I like to think because of a mix of those two things. Not many movies can bring my utter joy because they are utterly absurd. Freddy Got Fingered is just that movie that perfectly blends the absurdity I love out of life and the joy I get out of seeing something so outlandish. I have a friend who gets joy out of all things that are audacious and absurd, whether the masses hate them or love them. And in this love of Fingered, I can see why.

Growing up in the autumn of MTV's heydey, I remember enjoying Tom Green's take on Late Night Talk Show hosting. It was before the time of Jackass and he always did horrible things to his friends and family and I always enjoyed that for whatever sadistic reason. I remember seeing the trailers for the movie and thinking "What the hell?" I never got around to see it and most people I knew who did see it hated it so much that I never got around to it. When I started working at Wow Video in 2002 post High School, a co-worker basically badgered me into seeing it. A female coworker nonetheless so I had to take the chance and check it out. I had no idea I was in store for the most ridiculous thing I would ever see. And I am forever thankful.

First off, the audacity of Tom Green titling a film Freddy Got Fingered, implying that his brother in the film was fingered by his Dad, is utterly insane. I mean, a major production company backed money up on this film with this title. They even gave Tom Green directorial, writing and acting credit. Basically, Tom Green is the Orson Welles of absurdist comedy having total control over this project. The rest is a secret success and a fantastic piece of surrealistic comedy. The movie almost grossed worldwide what it cost to make and that in itself shows that Tom Green won. His vision of "how about I annoy the fuck out of the world" worked and although he made zero profit from it, he accomplished that goal. That's audacios in every sense.

This scene was filmed. This scene exsists. AMAZING! I could only dream of being allowed to do this shit as a job! And someday, I would like to do something so absurd. Look, I am in no way saying Freddy Got Fingered is a great film. It is but it isn't. I guess that makes no sense, but for some reason something entirely insane just really brings a smile to my face. It's like looking at a Salvador Dali painting. Does anyone real know how to interpret them? No but their insane visuals are totally worth looking at, especially in the flesh. I think Freddy Got Fingered has a similar element. Okay so it's not at all like that. But still, it's fun to think that there is some sort of substance beneath the ridiculous comedy.

The movie more than anything will remind me of my core group of La Salle friends. We watched many a terrible film (ie. Road House, Freaked) but this one is the coup de gras. Something about seeing a man-boy run around with sausages tied to his fingers or biting an umbilical cord or getting "inside" the animals was just all too awesome and hilarious for us not to watch. Maybe it is the demented man-boy in all of us that drew my group of friends to Freddy Got Fingered, but no one will really ever know the answer to that question. Regardless, I know my life would be different had I not seen this wonderfully ridiculous film.

1. Cinema Paradiso (1988) dr. Giuseppe Tornatore
2. Rushmore (1998) dr. Wes Anderson
3. Jurassic Park (1993) dr. Steven Speilberg
4. It's A Wonderful Life (1946) dr. Frank Capra
5. Trust (1990) dr. Hal Hartley
6. Donnie Darko (2001) dr. Richard Kelly
7. On The Waterfront (1954) dr. Elia Kazan
8. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975) dr. Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
9. Do The Right Thing (1989) dr. Spike Lee
10. Stop Making Sense (1984) dr. Johnathan Demme
11. Trekkies (1997) dr. Roger Nygard
12. Fight Club (1999) dr. David Fincher
13. The Sting (1973) dr. George Roy Hill
14. Ghost Busters (1984) dr. Ivan Reitman
15. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) dr. Rob Reiner
16. Better Off Dead (1984) dr. "Savage" Steve Holland
17. Robin Hood (1973) dr. Wolfgang Reitherman
18. Mad Max (1979) dr. George Miller
19. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) dr. Milos Forman
20. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989) Steven Speilberg
21. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) dr. Stanley Kubrick
22. Freddy Got Fingered (2001) dr. Tom Green

Up Next: Amelie (2001) Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Friday, January 02, 2009

2008: Tumultuous Indeed

The third definition of tumult reads as follows:

"3. highly distressing agitation of mind or feeling; turbulent mental or emotional disturbance: His placid facade failed to conceal the tumult of his mind."

is the best word to describe my life in the year 2008. I had a involuntary vacation in January, came back to work, got laid off two months later, got rehired one month later after one of the most epic nights of drinking I've ever had, saw my boss get fired and a new one hired and that was just the stuff going on with my job. Although my placid facade didn't conceal my minds tumult, I can safely say that 2008 wasn't all that bad.

I moved back to Jersey after a strange summer. I had a lot of fun going down the shore, but the ultimate disappointment of having to keep working in New Jersey and move back here was at first not something that made me happy. Luckily, my roommate rules and I have had nothing but great times, even if I still haven't finished building my dresser (don't tell Mrs. T!) I also lost my old car due to massive amounts of work needing to be done to it. Thankfully, that has led to the purchasing of Sly, the Chevy Malibu. Lemme Lemme Upgrad'ya.

Turning 25 was fun. Probably the best birthday I ever had. 2008 was the year that friendships that I had for many moons got stronger. This is in part to National Mechanics Karaoke being something sort of a cult gathering. Old and new friends were gained through the weekly excursions to the Olde City establishment and I am forever grateful for it. A new seasonal gathering of
gentleman was also instituted. Yet another great event that helped solidify friendships.

Although this year was fruitless in pursuits of the romantic type, that wasn't that big a deal. I'm getting over that pretty fast. I don't need a relationship that in the past I had so desperately thought I did. I'm not opposed to the idea of a companion, but nothing seems to have come about and although there are always interests out there, I'm not exactly ready to try anything super cereal.

2008 was an epic year for concerts and other shows. I saw many legends I always wanted to check out plus many small event shows that rocked my socks. Here is a list of a few of these musical moments:
Black Mountain, Dysrhythmia, King Crimson, Kids in the Hall, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, David Byrne, Neil Young, Electric Six, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Danava and Secret Machines.

Music is always a driving force in my life. And a mix will be added to this list once it solidifies. The year end musical moments mix is different from the Best Tracks of 2008 as it's not a ranking but a musical biography of the year 2008.

So long '08. You were an interesting ride. I'm looking forward to 2009 hoping it's exciting, but a little more stable.